October 17, 2012


HW @ Dr. Scary's Haunted House


This past weekend, the HW staff had the terrifying opportunity to visit Dr. Scary's in Fort Atkinson. Now, normally the HW staff doesn't post "reviews" of events that we attend. We take great pride in maintaining an unbiased and supportive professionalism towards all of Wisconsin's Haunts. However, I feel compelled to at least share an anecdote of our phenomenal experience.

A couple of amazing Janesville Haunts had dished up some fantastic scares for us, and now it was time to meet the Doctor! The drive out to Jellystone campground was dark, desolate and wooded. The air smelled of burning leaves, earth, rain and rotted flesh. Perfect. We were greeted by a surprisingly dense fog in the parking area, as well as roaming ghouls. One of our favorite scareactors immediately began stalking us as we approached the waiting area. This charming gent sported a straitjacket, some green nastiness dripping from his face and an unsettling devotion to his character. Here we met Steve Cline, Dr. Scary himself. We discussed business while avoiding the aforementioned minions who had begun circling like vultures to carrion. Mr. Cline guided us to the Haunt's entrance and following some random banter with fans of HauntedWisconsin in line, we entered the house.

I’m not giving anything away, but beware the snakes. The HW staff are well-seasoned veteran Haunters and, as you can imagine, it takes quite a lot to really get us freaked out. This Haunt not only managed to freak us out, but caused a couple of us to panic. At one point, Jenny and I were literally running backwards from the horrifying ambush in front of us. The props and sets at Dr. Scary’s are some of the best we’ve seen. The detail and realism only added to the unnerving dread that built as we continued through the house. By the time we made it out to the reception tent all four of us were carrying on like Tweens about our favorite parts. At this point it had begun raining, but we cared it no mind as we were still in Haunters’ ecstasy. So much in fact, that we had forgotten there was a second attraction awaiting us! This is awesome!

Pandemonium. In retrospect, it’s really a very fitting title for this attraction, though I might have named it something like, “HOLY SH##!”. I can’t speak for the rest of my party, but I honestly had no idea what to expect with Pandemonium.

As we mingled with HauntedWisconsin fans and event staff, we also skimmed over the Haunt guidelines and disclosures posted next to the entrance. Ok, so this was a maze with strobe lights and loud music, and the sign gave all the standard health warnings associated with this type of environment. As our group gathered inside the Haunt we were given a verbal reminder of the rules stated above, and we were also told that there were multiple exits to the Haunt, but only one was “The Winner”. Apparently it wasn’t uncommon for people going through the maze to bail out. That sort of struck us as unusual, seeing as the general audience in line was about 13-years-old and up, not to mention the seriousness of which this “exit strategy” was presented to us, four veteran adult Haunters. Andy led our group into the darkness, where we were met with chest-pounding bass a-la-Dubstep (true story: I contacted Steve requesting the playlist from this Haunt, it was epic).

Then came the fog. Then the maze walls became tight and claustrophobic. Then it was pitch black. Then came the strobe lights. Lots of strobe lights, and massive volumes of fog. Then came the Death Metal. All of your senses are relentlessly assaulted, almost to the point of being overwhelmed. We now understood why there were so many “I quit” exits. We had gotten split up in the madness of the maze. I stumbled upon (literally) one of the bailout exit doors and hesitated, tormented by the choice I had to make. Suddenly Erika, my wife, and Jenny found me. We decided to push forward, scraping, clawing, inching, crawling our way through the abyss for what seemed like forever until we located the chicken dinner. Outside, in the brisk night air, we gathered our composure as we waited for Andy to make his escape. Fog billowed from seams in the tent which encapsulated the maze as Rammstein and Rob Zombie rattled the metal frame holding it all together on the outside. Andy appeared like an apparition from the chaos inside. Bewildered, disoriented and enthralled by our experience, we stood in the cold rain replaying the last hour aloud to whoever would listen. We spent a little time meeting some of the actors and getting an up-close look at our favorite scenes before heading home. FTW.

April 24th, 2024 6:59 a.m. CDT 24.05