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2017 Review Crew

Our Review Crew members travel to haunted attractions throughout Wisconsin to give honest and unbiased reviews. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Sarah (majorXpsycho)
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Ted (Captn_DeathSchlager)
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Brett (wm)
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Ron (spirit44)
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Brittany (BrittanyAnnBula)
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Kari (kariniepow)
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Kyle (KR385)
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Terror Trail

by BrittanyAnnBula (Junior Review Crew Member) after attending on Sunday, October 22, 2017 at about 8 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: Very High

Review

Terror Trail... that's exactly what you will get when you enter the unknown woods. As you make your way down dark wooden trails lit with only the moon light you never know what will be lurking in the darkness. Expect the unexpected. The trail will lead you to countless shacks spread through out the trail filled with mazes, tight spaces and you will have to find your way out of others! This isn't your typical haunted house, this is a haunted trail that you wouldn't want to miss! The actors put in the effort with each and every person in the group. They limit the group size to only 4 and they don't rush the groups in right after each other.

Signage / Visibility / Location


There are signs on the corners of the road directing you to the haunted trail. Also strobe lights when you arrive on location.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


There isn't any entertainment, but the guy checking you before you go in really makes an effort to talk to everyone.

Actors' Performance


The actors go above and beyond what I ever had expected. They take time with each group and put in 100% to scare you.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


Each shack is different and you never know what to expect. The props look real and the detail is amazing.

Length


It took us about 40 minutes to get through the whole trail!

Crowd Control


There is a guy doing metal detector tests as you enter, but limited people at the ticket booth and entrance.

Most Memorable Moment


Actually getting scared and having actors take the time to give you a great experience.

Summary

I highly recommend going there. It is great every year so this spot makes the list yearly!

View all Terror Trail reviews

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The Morgue

by wm (Senior Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 21, 2017 at about 8:30 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: Very High

Review

The Morgue has been around long enough now that it's become a staple haunt in Northeast Wisconsin. One would assume that an old school, homemade haunt could not compete against the large, corporate haunts that are always advertised as 'the best'. Well... that will teach you to assume!

I've been to the Morgue at least a dozen times. The first several years it was the best kept secret in the Green Bay area. Most experiences were great, and a few were mediocre. For a while it seemed as though this haunt was stuck in a rut. It's been several years since I've last visited. Would this trip renew my love affair with the Morgue?

I’m thrilled to say that the Morgue did not disappoint! It’s everything that it was in the past with some great additions. The staples of the Morgue are still there: The ominous walk in the woods, the great wait area with a huge bonfire, and the unique ending. So what's different? Since I've last attended, a lot!

This haunt always starts off with a nice walk through the woods. One change that I noticed as soon as I drove in was the structure that you have to walk into to start your journey. Music was blaring, and several ominous figures hung out above the entrance. I assumed they would be moving to the music like they do at other haunts. These two gents did nothing of the sort! They just hung over you. Looking down on you as you waited and ultimately walked under them. Sometimes pointing, but mostly just staring you down. Kinda creepy! Once in the woods you start your dark journey to the bonfire that awaits. The woods seemed a little under staffed, but the those ghouls were excellent. This haunt can lay claim to the darkest woods walk by far!

After waiting by their fire and having a treat from the snack bar, it was our turn to make our way up to the house. Once you’re near the entrance, there’s was about a 10 minute wait to get in the front door. This is subtle, but brilliant. It gives you time to look around at the great props that they have out. It also gives you time to think about what you’re about to encounter. Once in the front door, you’re greeted by the Morgue Witch. Another staple of the community! She plays a quick video regarding the haunt as her white eyes stare into those that dare look back. Then, it’s time to begin your journey as you enter the elevator.

I’m not sure if the elevator was going up or down, but it sure was a rocky ride! As we exited the elevator it was complete darkness. This haunt is not for the faint at heart. It’s part obstacle course, part haunted house! Much of it is DARK. Each room was different from the last. There’s plenty of opportunities for them to scare the pants off you, and that’s just what they did.

Signage / Visibility / Location


It's very easy to find, with a big lit-up sign in front of the haunt. Lot's of parking in a open field.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


The Morgue has one of the best wait areas in Wisconsin! There's a huge bonfire for those chilly nights, and a great concession area for food and drinks. No waiting in line here, they call you up to the haunt by groups 4. No waiting in line means you can go by the fire, the food stand, or anywhere else when you're waiting! They also have a fun live 'video game' you can play that triggers a scare upon an unknowing participant making their way through the Morgue! I did not see any actors in the wait area, but they did play videos/music on the side of building for those waiting.

Actors' Performance


They all did a great job this year!!! These are volunteers, and my hats off to them. Some jumped out right at the right time, others waited for you to pass before they made their move. Some screamed at us, others whispered in our ears. A haunt is only as good as their actors, and everyone went all out.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


Many rooms were dark, but the rooms we could see were impressive. Rooms that I remember from previous visits, but are very impressive, are the funeral parlor and the kitchen! One thing to remember is that this is a HOMEMADE haunt. There were a few places where we tripped over things. Some spaces were very tight. A few times, we had no clue which direction to go. Like any haunted house, use caution but have fun!

Length


It took us about 25 minutes to make our way through the Morgue.

Crowd Control


They do a GREAT job at crowd control. Everything seems to be timed out perfect the way they call groups up.

Most Memorable Moment


There was a room that was so creative, I've never seen it before in a haunt. We walked from a very dark (pitch black) room into a room that was the exact opposite. So bright that we were squinting! The room was covered in a heavy, thick fog. The contrast was amazing. What awaits you in the fog? You’ll have to find out for yourself!

Summary

I have a soft spot for the Morgue. It's an old school haunt with homemade props and costumes. It's dark, spooky and creative. The price is old school as well! Cost of admission is a fraction of what you’d pay at some of the other local haunts. Checking out this haunt is a no-brainer, even zombies would agree!

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Gags Nightmare A Haunting Experience

by hex_on_you (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 20, 2017 at about 7:30 p.m.

Fun Factor: Low Fear Factor: Low

Review

Living in Green Bay and having heard of Gags nearly a year ago when he first made his appearance on the dark streets of the Green Bay area, I was thrilled when I heard that they would not only be releasing a film, but also having a haunt this season! I was very excited to see that their location was directly downtown Green Bay, was easy to find, and was in close proximity to a parking structure, making it a breeze to get to. Unfortunately, that's where most of the perks to this haunt ended for me, as myself and the group I was with left not scared, or having had a great time, but confused as to the direction they were trying to take with the Gags Nightmare haunt.

The actors were great--excellent makeup and very dedicated to their roles. Without giving too much away, this haunt is set up in more of an interactive way. In the beginning you are set up with a pen and notepad to take notes throughout the haunt and told that there is a test of sorts at the end. This excited our group, as we felt it would be more of an escape room/game show type experience as opposed to just a walk through haunt. The idea behind the attraction was great, but I feel it really lacked follow through. We were led through the haunt with a 'tour guide' of sorts. As we were doing each task, we weren't set up well as to what exactly we were to be looking for in each room, and at the end not a single one of us knew the answers to the test, or even felt like we got to take a trip through Gag's mind. We were set up in the beginning so wonderfully by a "drunken" carny stating we were to take a trip through Gag's mind and what made him the man he was today, and we felt as though the attraction didn't touch on this subject at all.

When we got to the end, there was a physical written test, which didn't include some of the tasks we did, and no one in our group of 5 knew most of the answers. There wasn't closure as to what the answers were either, as we weren't told what the correct answers were. Our group of 5 left confused as to what we had just completed, and didn't feel like we had been through a haunt or an escape room and didn't feel like we had "accomplished" or "failed" as we weren't properly set up to complete the tasks.

All in all, if you're looking to get a first hand look at the celebrity clown who has been haunting the streets of Green Bay, going to Gags Nightmare would give you the glimpse at him you're craving, however, for the price and length of the haunt, and with it not either being a traditional haunt or an escape room, I'll leave it up to you if you want to venture to this downtown Green Bay attraction.

This haunt is open multiple days during the week and weekend, so I recommend checking social media or their website for more information. They sell tickets until 11pm, which I wasn't able to find anywhere but was able to call and find. It was also on the main sign to the haunt.

Signage / Visibility / Location


Gags Nightmare is located downtown Green Bay, and was easy to find, and there was ample parking available in the Pine Street. Multiple signs, and a staff member were present at the entrance to direct you where to go. This is the first haunt that I know of directly downtown Green Bay, which was a fun environment.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


Gags Nightmare had an indoor heated waiting area, with the ticket takers in makeup and a concession stand. There is a waiver to sign (but don't worry--no extreme effects or monsters touching you during our experience). There was no wait when we went; we were able to purchase our tickets and go directly into the haunt. There was concessions available for purchase as well. (We weren't able to really check this out as we were ushered directly into the attraction).

Actors' Performance


The actors in the haunt were great. We were greeted by a "drunken" carny, who set us up for a great experience inside the haunt. He was animated and very dedicated to his role. He set it up that this haunt would be a look inside of Gag's mind, and what made him the man he is today. We were disappointed by the lack of follow through on this wonderful greeting in the first room of the haunt, but more on that later.

The rest of the characters in the house had great makeup and were dedicated to their roles. I was singled out throughout the haunt, which started off as a fun and memorable addition to our experience, but it got old being picked on by every monster by the end of the haunt. I feel it detracted from the experience.

Watch out--you'll be followed by a certain "celebrity" throughout!

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


The "scenes" were set up well and the decor was on point. A few of the rooms you were put in for 60 seconds and told to look for things or complete a 'task' for a test at the end. I wish these rooms would have set you up more for success, since at the end we didn't feel like we were pointed in the direction of what exactly we were doing or looking for. I loved the feeling of being in a circus tent, and I loved the change in room types and hallways we were in. Great job with set up.

Length


All in all it took us about 15-20 minutes to get through the attraction. We were led through by a 'tour guide', so running into other groups wasn't an issue at this attraction.

Crowd Control


There wasn't anyone besides my group of three and another group of two when we arrived. If there was large crowds, they had waivers out on tables for extras to fill out, but they weren't set up to deal with large crowds in terms of their ticket line.

Most Memorable Moment


Being followed around by a certain clown 'celebrity' was the highlight of this haunt. After seeing him in both the local media and on social media, it was cool to steal an up close look at the clown himself.

Summary

All in all, I feel like this haunt had excellent intentions, but lacked execution and follow through. The actors had great make up and were dedicated to their roles, the rooms had wonderful decorations, but I feel that the 'tasks' needed more thought. Either there needed to be more set up for the attendees, or a more solidified task with a definite answer, or 'pass or fail' feeling. When I invite my friends out for a haunt or an attraction, we want to feel like our money was well spent on either something we had fun on or something we accomplished, and we didn't have this feeling at the end. While the actors makeup was well done and the scenes looked great, this attraction also lacked a fear factor that would have maybe made up for the other downfalls. I would recommend re working the tasks and the idea behind this haunt could be a great one! And incorporate Gags a little bit more--I want to know more about the namesake of the haunt!

View all Gags Nightmare A Haunting Experience reviews

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Twisted Realms Haunted House

by PaigeBerrier (Junior Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 21, 2017 at about 9 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: Very High

Review

I love this haunt! Last year was my first time attending, but I fell immediately in love with the unique style of this haunt and the creativity of the staff who puts it together. This year was no exception, and in a brand new location at the Bavarian Bierhouse!

I mentioned the location because it was a particularly cool element of the haunt – visitors can truly have a full night out in one place (and located very conveniently for those of us who live in the Milwaukee area). After enjoying some food at the restaurant, Twisted Realms offers a bar in the waiting area for the haunt, complete with activities like bobbing for beers! TR also featured a dance party after Friday and Saturday haunts this year, with an awesome DJ and lights. I loved all these additional elements; it just makes the whole experience that much more exciting and fun. VIP tickets come with a free drink as well!

As for the haunt itself, my favorite part of Twisted Realms is the unique, interactive elements. Several of the rooms require “escaping” from, often times while being scared and screamed at by actors! The puzzle element is such a fun, different way to scare people – it can be really anxiety inducing trying to find your way out while also determinedly avoiding eye contact with some really scary people! TR also does an amazing job with their timing – we never encountered any other group, and never felt rushed. I loved the variety of scenes, including a red church and some very creepy bedrooms. The actors had a great mix of providing jump scares and being scary just in their presence; and they weren’t afraid to scream in your face!

All in all, Twisted Realms is one of my all time favorite haunts – the staff is clearly passionate and loves what they do, and that shows through their determination to provide an experience that is both scary and fun. I love the changes from last year, and I can’t wait to experience a blackout night there for Halloween!

Signage / Visibility / Location


Very easy to find; located in the same area as the Bavarian Bierhouse, complete with a neon sign (that can be seen from the highway), and tons of parking.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


Loved, loved the bar area with games, as well as the dance floor.

Actors' Performance


Very committed to the scares and weren’t afraid to get up in your face, which is something I particularly love. They never lost character as they “helped” us find our way through puzzles and rooms.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


Unique, moving parts, fake walls, and intentional diversions were really different and fun.

Length


Relatively long; about 30 minutes.

Crowd Control


Great, it was very organized and we enjoyed just hanging out in the general area while we waited!

Most Memorable Moment


The creepy red church! I love the feeling of not knowing who is “real” and who isn’t!

Summary

One of my favorite haunts of all time – such a fun experience for those who are looking to get scared and have a good time doing it. The interactive element of puzzles and trick rooms is amazing, and the waiting area/after party was a blast!

View all Twisted Realms Haunted House reviews

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The Haunted Barn Stoughton

by kariniepow (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 20, 2017 at about 8 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: Very High

Review

The first time we went, we had just paid for our tickets and the power went out. Thankfully, the staff took our name and let us come back a different night. When the power went out, they followed their protocol and handled everything likes pros. They kept the line actors in character to guide guests out of the waiting area and haunted barn. We were really happy to be back!

This haunt combines a haunted house with a haunted woods! Well done all around! You begin the haunt in a mine and end up in the woods, surrounded by freaks and creatures of the night! The haunt combines actors, props and animatronics in a unique way that leaves you uneasy and happy to get back in your car AND lock your doors. I've had the privilege to experience this haunt over the years and they topped themselves this year! It is a drive from the Milwaukee area but well worth it.
The haunt has fast pass, Zombie Paintball and Knocker Ball - you know, the big balls that fit around you? Yeah, they have that! It was a riot!

Signage / Visibility / Location


There is a lighted sign pointing towards the haunt. It is easy to find right off 51

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


The wait area includes food and beverages (bring cash), paintball shooting and knocker ball. The waiting area to get into the haunt was well done for traffic control and covered for the elements. It was a busy night and took about 30 minutes of waiting. It was no problem because the line entertainment was epic! Pee-Wee the Clown stole the show! He was so dedicated to his role, energetic and even worked an onion into his performance. We had a great time waiting and it went by fast.

Actors' Performance


The actors were spot on! The one room with the hospital beds had a woman that would not let up! She had this amazing ability to click and snicker while holding eye contact the entire time. We were terrified! The actors love to scare you and it shows.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


The props were excellent! Sadly, the spacing in the haunted woods ruined some of the animatronics that were timed. The barn was well done and made you feel as though you were in a mine, rainforest and hospitals to name a few. There was a mixture of mazes, optical illusions, labs, classic fears scenarios and a graveyard.

The zombie paintball was more fun than I had thought! You can shoot targets and knock them over or just blast one target. We did it after the haunt because there is no waiting system to get in the haunt. Knocker Ball was in a field and you got to run into people and knock them over! There was a group of younger guys that were really tearing it up! We were just busting a gut!

Length


The haunt took over 20 minutes to get through, perfect! The paintball and knocker ball were about 5 to 10 minutes.

Crowd Control


During the start of the haunted barn, they did a great job but it fell off in the haunted woods. The group ahead of us was very slow so we kept catching up to them and ruining some of the haunt's timed scenes. We were still scared but the element of surprise was lost on some of their scenes.

Most Memorable Moment


Watching Pee-Wee the Clown mess with everyone. He even made it into the haunt and scared us. He has an energy that excites you and makes you extremely uneasy. He literally shows up out of nowhere. I am pretty sure there is only one but he seems to be everywhere at once! The pig man almost had me falling down the trail. Bravo!

Summary

This haunt combines an inside haunt with the natural creepiness of the woods. The weather was perfect with clear skies and a strong breeze that swept over the field creating sounds to terrify. The Haunted Barn did not disappoint this year. We left scared with plenty to discuss on the ride home.

View all The Haunted Barn Stoughton reviews

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Catholic Memorial Haunted House

by spirit44 (Junior Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 20, 2017 at about 7:30 p.m.

Fun Factor: High Fear Factor: Medium

Review

Everyone remembers there first. While this house wasn't my first haunt, for many out there this place was theirs. If you have that brave young soul in your crew that thinks they want to give a walk through a haunt a try and make it part of their Halloween tradition, I highly recommend a drive out to Waukesha. It had a very retro feel with how it was put together for me. Even though this wasn't where I did my first, it reminded me a lot of it, complete with some festive Halloween carnival games. There were many kids standing in line, and based on the reactions as they went through, they found it absolutely terrifying. Now I wouldn't recommend this for the hard core haunt veterans, but there was a great effort put into this haunt by CMH and for beginners it hit the mark. The best part for me was that they donate the proceeds to great charities. This year the charity is Operation Finally Home. There were some very creative ideas and design elements throughout the haunt, but the one thing I would have recommended was a little more ambient lighting in some areas where characters were staged.

Signage / Visibility / Location


Just as scary as the haunt itself for many is the drive through Waukesha. LOL But with technology, you should have absolutely no problem at all finding your way here. As you pull up, there is a terrifically spooky house and well lit banners letting you know you've arrived.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


The wait area is within a hall of the school. It's warm, well lit, and complete with a concession stand. There is an area that is set up with games for the kids, again lending to the atmosphere that welcomes youngsters in for their first taste of a Halloween haunt.

Actors' Performance


Many of the actors are students and all are volunteers, some executed their roles with extreme ambition and may have been a little over the top. Others really captured the spirit of their characters and were pretty creepy. But all of them really fit into place, to give this haunt the feel that it has. To me it's a slice of rural Americana, tradition, and great memories of my childhood haunts.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


While the sets were a little crude compared to some of the really high level haunts out there today, this haunt is not set up in a school cafeteria. The haunt takes you through a 100+ year house, capturing some of the eeriness of the season. And there were even a few very clever FX that I have not seen in even the highest budget haunts.

Length


The wait to get into the haunt for us was about 20 minutes with the attraction taking us 15 minutes to get through.

Crowd Control


Crowds were very well behaved and well managed with staff throughout guiding you where to go

Most Memorable Moment


For me the thing that stuck with me was that they were able to capitalize on the resource they had. As you meandered from room to room, you were hit with the recurring theme of the tortured souls of demonic children.

Summary

This was a great community effort, to raise money for a very worthy charity. For that reason alone I would encourage this attraction to be added to your Halloween tradition, especially if you have younger kids and are not quite sure if they are ready for a haunt yet. This is a great haunt for that special demographic

View all Catholic Memorial Haunted House reviews

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Haunted Cornfield at Meadowbrook Pumpkin Farm

by dubstyle_2k (Senior Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 20, 2017 at about 9 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: High

Review

Haunted Cornfield at Meadowbrook!!! Here I thought a fire destroyed this place in 2015 and it was never to return... Well, no, turns out they never missed a a season... See what rumors can do! Meadowbrook has always been one of my favorite attractions during the hunting season and I was psyched to go back, to say the least. Not much has changed since my last trip here in 2014. Once you buy your tickets you are told to wait by a bonfire until your number is called. In years past this has been a great feature, but apparently mid to late October nights in Wisconsin is now 68º season! The ambiance was still nice. Once our numbers were called we were herded into a line, like cattle to slaughter, ironically with a view of cattle that were freer than we were! Waiting in line was entertaining, not because of roaming ghouls and goblins, as there weren't any, but because of the farm animals were hanging out! We soon entered the corn, and our adventure began!

Now I mentioned earlier that Meadowbrook has always been one of my favorites, though that still remains the same, I do think my three year hiatus has given me time to reflect on this place and allowed me to come to some conclusions that maybe I had missed in years past. Meadowbrook continues to awe me with their presumable fortune of animatronics and lighting. Every time I go through that trail I walk away thinking 'That must have been expensive, and their electrical bill must be staggering!', but the lack of updating seems to be catching up to them, Those animatronic props were once my favorite part of the haunt, now just seem kind of boring. There was an over use of strobe lights, which don't get me wrong, can be a great effects, but we found ourselves saying, "Oh great, here comes more strobes." several times through it.

My favorite part of the haunt was the live actors, which there were WAY TOO FEW OF!!! To me, nothing is creepier than being shocked by actual voices in a corn field. If I were Meadowbrook, I would scale back on the animated props and get a significant amout of actors out there. While walking through the trail you will encounter several areas you have to enter, these are some of the more entertaining parts of the haunt. From pirates to backwoods creeps, these sections are what makes Meadowbrook shine! In all though, Meadowbrook is dark, disorientating, and lenghthy! It still remains one of my favorite haunts in the area!

Signage / Visibility / Location


Meadowbrook is down a very dark road, but you'll see it no problem thanks to a marquee and lights!

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


The waiting area is great, there is a nice bonfire to warm you up. The line once you are called is less entertaining, except for tehe farm animals who carry on as usual!

Actors' Performance


The actors in the corn are top notch, and they are the highlight of this haunt.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


Again, the animatronics and props are phenomenal, my only beef with them is that it's time to update.

Length


The actual haunt is quite lengthy. You will comfortably be roaming around just short of an hour!

Crowd Control


Meadowbrook has a flawless system in place to get everyone from waiting area to line. They know what they're doing.

Most Memorable Moment


I'll keep saying it, the actors all day! They do what they do, and do it better than most haunts!

Summary

Haunted Cornfield at Meadowbrook Pumpkin Farm is, has been, and assumably will always be one of my favorite haunts. It's a high budget, scary trip that won't disappoint! I can't wait to see what changes they make in the future!

View all Haunted Cornfield at Meadowbrook Pumpkin Farm reviews

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Phantoms: Matinee of Nightmares

by dubstyle_2k (Senior Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 20, 2017 at about 8:30 p.m.

Fun Factor: Medium Fear Factor: Medium

Review

Let me preface this review by saying I admire Phantoms: Matinee of Nightmares, it's a small operation, it's presumably put together by a small group, if not just one man, and it's proceeds benefit the Historic Downtown Theater in West Bend.

Not being familiar with West Bend, Apple Maps was my navigator, and I found the area no problem. Matinee of Nightmares is located in the downtown area, so don't expect much more than a sign on a storefront (a live actor was behind the glass as we left, which would have been helpful when we were looking for the spot!).

Upon entering the location you have to descend a flight of stairs to the ticket area, please be advised, this is a cash only operation, but I was informed that tickets can be purchased online at: https://phantomshauntedhouse.ticketleap.com/matinee-of-nightmares/dates, From there we were ushered into a room where the proprietor welcomed us and gave us a little backstory. I was very happy to hear that after a few years of moving around, Phantoms was back to where it started in West Bend. Hopefully they can remain in one location and can continue grow a great following!

The haunt itself is interesting. At first I was a little confused due to the lack of blaring crunchy industrial guitar that we've come to expect while walking through a haunt, but for the most part Matinee of Nightmares scrapped that idea and piped in little to no noise, which at times added to the creepiness of the whole thing. Walking down hallways hearing nothing but the shuffling of your own feet adds an element that we don't experience often enough in these haunts The live actors were few and far between, but the ones that were in there were pretty good at what they do.. The biggest jump came from a little girl actor, which I think is great. I was fortunate enough to meet that little girl after, and she was so polite and genuinely seemed to enjoy spooking patrons! Matinee of Nightmares will not blow you away with gore or extreme jumps, but it does fill a void for haunt fans that aren't looking to be uncomfortably terrorized. Matinee of Nightmares was a nice, easy haunt that you are safe to bring the whole family to!

Signage / Visibility / Location


Located in downtown West Bend, it's not easy to get lost trying to find it. Pay attention to the address because the physical signage isn't super eye catching.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


We were the only ones in the haunt, or at lease in the waiting line. There were no actors roaming the area, possibly is it were more busy they would have had entertainment.

Actors' Performance


As stated above, there wasn't an abundance of actors in the haunt, but the few that there was were very dedicated to their craft!

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


The sets and effects were pretty elementary. A lot of the rooms were simple props laid out with no interactions. They had their share of light up props, abut nothing amazing.

Length


In their description they wrote, "Tour takes about 10-20 minutes, depending how fast you run!", which is a stretch. It was a short haunt, lasting less than 10 minutes from start to finish (I most certainly don't run through haunts!)

Crowd Control


There was no crows at the time of my tour

Most Memorable Moment


The little girl I mentioned in my review. Good spook!

Summary

I definitely love a haunt with a purpose! Anytime I go to a haunt that donates at least some of the proceeds to a cause is alright by me. Matinee of Nightmares wasn't the scariest haunt I've been to, far from it, but it's a small operation and small fee justifies that. If your looking for a nice starter haunt to kick off your season, this is a good option, for a good cause!

View all Phantoms: Matinee of Nightmares reviews

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Dwelling Of Despair

by Captn_DeathSchlager (Senior Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 6, 2017 at about 9 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: High

Review

If you tour as many haunts as I have you’re likely to encounter one that’s a traditional favorite you absolutely adore that unexpectedly disappoints you.  While this first sentence may sound like this is going to be a bad review for Dwelling of Despair, it’s not meant to be.  My tour group of 6 adults (3 couples) really enjoyed this haunt and thought it was “Super Fun” (…to quote a haunt newbie from my group…) but we all had one concern that I uncharacteristically can’t resist the urge to mention.  …but first, here’s what my group really enjoyed about the Dwelling of Despair…
 
The Dwelling of Despair Haunted House & accompanying Forest of Fear is a self-guided, interactive ghoulish attraction known for its awesome animatronic special effects, elaborate decor, skilled actors, unique monsters, unusual themes and chilling detail! Now in its 32nd season the Dwelling of Despair has prided itself in providing a creative and ghoulishly good time to all haunt goers along with a few (ahem, more like several!) frightful moments. 2017 marked my 25th visit to this haunted venue and similar to prior years I was once again amazed at how many of the sets/themes have changed. While you may notice a few similarities along your terrifying tour outside of this haunt what awaits inside will torment and twist your mind in new ways. Following the lead of last year’s version, the chills, thrills and scares are delivered more upfront and in your face than with the skits that traditionally tormented you in the Dwelling of Despair. Rest assured though, this haunt still offers opportunities to interact with the demon’s inhabiting the Dwelling of Despair and retains the same Halloween charm that has brought guests back for the past 32 years!
 
The 2017 edition of this haunt presents two horrifying sections to test your wits and your desire to survive. THE Forrest of Fear kicks off your terrifying tour on a dark and twisted path patrolled by evil spirits and several fiendish ghouls.  If you're lucky enough to slip past these gorish guardians the entrance of the 3 story Dwelling of Despair awaits from the 3rd floor balcony.  To escape the nightmares found within the unfriendly confines of the Dwelling of Despair you must successfully navigate a maze of uniquely themed rooms and hidden passages through the bowls of the entire house.  Along the way you are sure to encounter each and every inhabitant of the house...some fun, some helpful but most of all they are all quite frightful!
 
If you’re touring this haunt as a couple….BEWARE!!!  How would you feel if a stranger in your tour group tried to separate only your partner from the tour group?  What if this stranger not just once but several times ONLY attempted to separate your partner from the group and didn’t once attempt to separate anyone else?  What if this stranger wasn’t in costume or didn’t offer any indication that they were with event security?  …and what if this stranger joined your group wearing a plain grey hoodie NOT from the watchful eyes of event security but while you were walking through the woods as you were approaching the entrance of the haunt?  This situation resulted in a few tense moments during my tour of the Dwelling of Despair which unfortunately ruined the experience for both me and my date.  As there were 3 couples in our group we are all scratching our heads at why there were repeated attempts to isolate only one person (versus two) from the group and why it was always the same person.  In my opinion it is unacceptable for a haunt to not clearly identify the ghouls and event staff that are interacting with you as it creates an unsafe environment for haunt goers and event staff alike.
 
TOUR GROUP RATINGS:  Here’s how my tour group rated Dwelling of Despair for both the Scare and Fun scale (1 to 5)
 
Haunt Newbie (first timer) #1:  SCARE-4 / FUN-5
Haunt Newbie (first timer) #2:  SCARE-3 / FUN-5
Haunt Newbie #3:  SCARE-4 / FUN-5
Haunt Newbie #4:  SCARE-3 / FUN-5
Haunt Novice:  SCARE-4 / FUN-2
Haunt Veteran:  SCARE-3 / FUN-2

Signage / Visibility / Location


This may not be the easiest haunt to find.  If you’re on HWY 60 in slinger look for the lighted portable sign with a flashing arrow on the north side of the road.  Fireman’s park is an immediate right turn after you turn north off of HWY 60.  The Haunted House is actually tucked away after a short winding drive into the park.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


This haunt offers a heated wood shack with a concessions stand to comfort you while you anticipate the horror that awaits you.  A tented staging area provides shelter from the elements as you undergo last minute preparations before your terrifying tour through the woods.

Actors' Performance


A great mix of adult and young actors delivered entertaining performances…unfortunately most of these were overshadowed by an overbearing and controversial tour guide. Less veteran haunt goers looking to get freaked out will not be disappointed. All haunt goers will be certainly be entertained.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


Some really unique sets and a several outstanding special effects.

Length


Approximately 25 minutes.

Crowd Control


Numbered tickets allow you to purchase your tickets and assemble wherever you’d like while you wait.  No long lines to stand in at this haunt.  VIP tickets allow you to avoid the wait and skip to the front of the pack.

Most Memorable Moment


Sorry but I cant get past how annoyed I was by our apparent tour guide....so this unfortunately has become my most memorable moment of 2017 for the Dwelling of Despair.

Summary

The Dwelling of Despair provides an exceptional balance of scares, ghoulishly gratifying visual treats and interactive entertainment making this haunt a fun Halloween destination for both kids and adults alike.  The indoor waiting area complete with concession stand make this a howling good time regardless of the weather.

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Terror on Rural Street

by Captn_DeathSchlager (Senior Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 6, 2017 at about 8 p.m.

Fun Factor: High Fear Factor: High

Review

It was a dark and stormy night on the evening I visited Terror on Rural Street.  It was clear that Mother Nature had chosen to begin the Halloween Season for this haunted venue in a more trick than treat spirit.  Contrary to Mother Nature’s unpleasant tricks, Terror on Rural Street comes stocked with several creature feature treats to combat life’s unavoidable tricks. 

Upon arriving this haunt greeted my tour group of 6 adults with a well-lit, paved and spacious parking lot along with a patrolling ghoul which little doubt that we were in the right place.  (No trudging through muddy dim lit fields as you approach the ticket window here.)  As an added bonus we were delighted to find that Terror on Rural Street has a heated indoor waiting area with a fully stocked concession stand complete with food, snacks, beverages, beer and Jello-shots.  (A very welcome perk for my tour group companions who had just finished working out at a nearby fitness center!) 

Another nice treat offered by this haunt is the numbering of tickets which allow you to wander about as you wait for your tour to begin…no need to stand in a dreadfully long line and count spiders on the wall as you wait here!  If you love taking selfies with your brothers and sisters in crime you’ll certainly enjoy the photogenic ghouls wondering about the waiting area who are just dying to photo bomb your shot.
 
Here are some of my personal observations about Terror on Rural Street…
 
SPACIOUS ACCOMODATIONS: My tour group of 6 adults consisted of 4 haunt newbies (…2 of which who were attending their first haunt ever…), 1 haunt novice who visited Terror on Rural Street for the first time in 2016 and 1 seasoned veteran who has yet to miss a season of Terror on Rural Street.  Despite having the option to tour this haunt as a smaller sized group the 6 of us decided to stick together….a decision that was not taken lightly by me as being placed into an oversized tour group and crammed into small rooms is a personal pet peeve mine.  Put your mind at ease if you share this personal peeve as we found that the mystic maze of mind bending sets and corridors easily accommodated our group. 
 
CINEMA QUALITY SETS:  This haunt features several Cinema quality sets many of which are pimped out with a dedicated sound system and special effects you won't find any place else.  Portions of this haunt are an interactive style haunt with rooms showcasing a unique theme and a skit performed by volunteer actors. While the actors may be volunteers the costumes and make-up were professionally done and very realistic.  This was most evident in the final pre-tour staging where you receive final instructions before embarking on your tour.  While it’s very easy to get distracted by the costumed actors be sure to take note of the keen attention to detail found with the facial make-up/costumes of the actors as well as the staging set as well.  This same attention to details persists throughout this entire haunt.
 
DAZZLING SPECIAL EFFECTS:  Admittedly not all of the acting performances knocked my socks off nor did every room send me off screaming to the next.  But what Terror on Rural Street lacked with its actors and potential scare factor it more than made up for with its dazzling special effects and elaborate sets.  Scares and surprises frequently came from unexpected flashes of brilliant light, dedicated room specific sound systems and a variety of lifelike techno effects
 
CREATIVE CONCEPTS:  Terror on Rural Street continues its strong tradition of being a techno haunt goer’s dream come true!  There has never been a year when I have been disappointed with the electrifying showcase of terrifying themes found at the Terror on Rural Street.   This year was certainly no exception.  If you’re leery of visiting a haunt more than once in a lifetime you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the number of new rooms/concepts found in this year’s edition.  While a few of the techno-effects have been recycled for this year’s haunt most of them have been given a new creative twist.  (I particularly enjoyed this year’s version of the observation deck!)
 
TOUR GROUP RATINGS:  Here’s how my tour group rated Terror on Rural Street for both the Scare and Fun scale (1 to 5)
 
Haunt Newbie (first timer) #1:  SCARE-4 / FUN-4
Haunt Newbie (first timer) #2:  SCARE-3 / FUN-3
Haunt Newbie #3:  SCARE-4 / FUN-4
Haunt Newbie #4:  SCARE-3 / FUN-4
Haunt Novice:  SCARE-4 / FUN-4
Haunt Veteran:  SCARE-3 / FUN-4

Signage / Visibility / Location


Don't let a full parking lot scare you away before this haunt does!  Terror on Rural Street shares it's parking lot with the Schauer Art Center and the Wisconsin Automotive Museum.  Not all the cars parked in the lots may necessarily be for Terror on Rural Street. 

This haunt can be found right off the main drag (Hwy 60) in downtown Hartford. Look for the flashing sign to point you to the parking lot. Great location. An abundance of well lit parking and a warm place to hang out while you wait. The court yard between the waiting area and the entrance really set the tone nicely.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


A heated indoor waiting area with a concession stand that features beer and mixed drinks.  If you’re of drinking age be sure to try the syringe style jello-shots!  By the way...all proceeds from the concession stand benefit the Schauer Arts Center which is located just next door.

Actors' Performance


We had a lot of fun interacting with the performers in the waiting and staging areas.  Throughout this haunt the elaborate costumes and finely detailed make-up enhanced the appearance of all performances.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


A nice variety of sets and some superb special effects. For those of you who traditionally checkout a few different haunts every year you'll appreciate the creative concepts and elaborate sets that have the look feel of a genuine movie caliber set. Compared to other haunts, the rooms here were quite spacious....a nice perk for those who don't particularly enjoy being squeezed into a room when your grouped with complete strangers.

Length


My tour lasted approximately 15 minutes.

Crowd Control


Waiting room with concession stand is fairly spacious. Plenty of room in the court yard to wait also. Patrons are free to roam about until the Reaper calls their number to be assembled for final preparations before entering the haunt.

Most Memorable Moment


Several to choose from for me...I particularly enjoyed exploring the multi-level sets and the observation deck.

Summary

A fantastic venue along with a nice variety of sets, creative ideas and exceptional special effects make Terror on Rural Street a haunt definitely worth checking out!

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The Haunted Mansion

by majorXpsycho (Senior Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 6, 2017 at about 8:30 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: Very High

Review

The Haunted Mansion received Haunted Wisconsin’s “Visitors Choice” for 2016 and I had to personally verify this prestigious award! First of all, if you haven’t been to The Haunted Mansion in over 3 years, you have to go back, it is NOT the same haunt! Although it is not located in a heavily populated area, the Haunted Mansion rivals some of the largest commercial haunts in WI! The three things that really stand out to me regarding the Haunted Mansion are 1) The Length – much longer than most haunted attractions. 2) The innovative use of props and scenes – there are things you see at the Haunted Mansion that you will not get anywhere else. 3) The Fun – associating “fun” with “terror” seems like a contradicting mix, but I felt like a kid in a horror story.

We attended on a very rainy/wet opening night. I expected a lot of “hiccups”, but to my surprise it was as if they had been open for weeks! The rain was a bit of a bummer, but the best part was the line was very short. We started on the Haunted Trail, which seems to have doubled in length. The trail reminds me of those horror movies where the individuals are trying to hide from the nightmare waiting for them in a cornfield. You are busy trying to find your way, but there are ghouls and evil above and below. Definitely a lot of screams throughout the trail (and most from a 46 year old male)!! The trail has some major unexpected twists and you may find the ground carries its own surprises. We were on the trail for almost 20 minutes.

The next stop, on to the Zombus! It was great to get out of the rain and what seemed like a typical bus ride quickly revealed horrors inside. The bus drops you off at what I will refer to as the “entertainment” district. You receive a number … NO STANDING IN A LONG BORING LINE. You can walk around, try out the zombie shooting range, enjoy snacks, bonfires, music videos and burial simulator all while watching for your number to be called. Our group was escorted inside ALONE … no pesky groups to deal with while navigating the house. As seasoned attraction goers know, nothing KILLS the experience more than being crammed in with a bunch of annoying unfamiliar faces.

Once inside the first room, we knew we were in for a terrifying experience. You need to be strong and face your fears or you are not going to get out of this one! As someone who does not scare easy and attends more haunted attractions than I will ever admit, there is no way to prepare for the obstacles and horrors inside the Haunted Mansion. Think animatronics (animated huge props that come at you) are only for “big city” haunted attractions? Think again!! I usually dislike a lot of animatronics, but at the Haunted Mansion, they were used so dangerously (in a good way) that they only added to the tremendous amounts of horror inside.

In summary, if you are looking for a haunted attraction that lasts more than an hour and pushes the boundaries of fear, then the Haunted Mansion should be on your list! I would have to agree with the “Visitors Choice” and list the Haunted Mansion as one as my favorite in Wisconsin!

Signage / Visibility / Location


The Haunted Mansion is located at a campground in Door County. The roads are dark, long and without a GPS it might be hard to find. It is not until you arrive at the Campgrounds that you realize you are in the right place. There are a few different routes you can take to get to The Haunted Mansion and there are signs placed at each major turn.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


Since it was raining and opening night, the wait (which is typically very long) to buy tickets was very short. Aside from that wait, you do not need to wait in line!! Hoorraayy!! You can enjoy snacks, Zombie paintball, burial simulators, a bonfire and more while waiting for your number to be called.

Actors' Performance


It was opening night and there was not a single actor out of character. It seems they are wiling to climb anywhere and literally fly at you.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


A lot of scenes and sets that you will not witness ANYWHERE else. Who would have known that revolving doors could be so horrifying!

Length


The length is great, you do not have to worry about spending a ton of money for a 15 minute attraction. With the trail, bus ride and house (not including any wait time) we easily surpassed an hour of non-stop haunted attraction.

Crowd Control


We went in with just our small group of 3!! Never ran into another group and never had another group catch up to us.

Most Memorable Moment


It is difficult to say which was the most memorable, I am still trying to grasp all the different "moments" that took my breath away. Elevators, slides, bodies, entire rooms that shake, and actors that literally fly!

Summary

If you are looking for a haunted attraction that lasts more than an hour and pushes the boundaries of fear, then the Haunted Mansion should be on your list! I would have to agree with the “Visitors Choice” and list the Haunted Mansion as one as my favorite in Wisconsin!

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Hill Has Eyes

by hex_on_you (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 7, 2017 at about 9 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: High

Review

If you're looking for a haunt to add to the top of your list this season--the Hill Has Eyes is it! With a great waiting area, multiple well thought out attractions, and numerous live actors paired with interactive special effects, this haunt will keep you guessing what could possibly come next!

The Hill Has Eyes is located in Franklin, WI at a once operational (and soon to be operational again!) ski hill. There is plenty of parking to accommodate large crowds, and there is an excellent waiting area (because you may be waiting a bit for this popular haunt!). The waiting area located in a large covered tent totes a DJ, a full bar, and an outdoor area with some lurking creatures and multiple fire barrels to keep you warm!

Our group of three opted for the "VIP" speed passes, where we could skip the line at each of the five attractions at the Hill Has Eyes. I would highly recommend spending the extra $10 to upgrade, as it jam packed our night with more scares and entertainment and less time waiting in line. Our group loved that we could stay together as a group of three, and went through most of the five attractions as just the three of us! It truly added to the experience and made the haunt one to remember!

The Hill Has Eyes requires a signed waiver, as they have a lot of interactive special effects, including a "hooded" portion of the event, a section of the woods which is "shocking", and a ride on their "scare" lift! I didn't research the haunt much before attending (which I wish I would have because the back story for each of the attractions is wonderful!), and I almost let the waiver scare me away! But don't let it! This haunt was excellent and our entire group had so much fun from beginning to end, and the interactive special effects made it a haunt to remember!

Add the Hill Has Eyes to your haunt adventures this season, you won't regret it!

Signage / Visibility / Location


This was my first time visiting, but luckily someone else in our group had been to this haunt before. We had a hard time finding the entrance to the haunt as there wasn't much signage, and we didn't see anyone directing us where to go (there were also a lot of other buildings on the grounds!). When we finally trekked down to the large tent to buy tickets, we realized we went in the wrong entrance and the monster outside the correct entrance directed us into the wrong line and we ended up in the line for patrons that had bought tickets on line--which we hadn't. But we found it and got in the right line eventually! It would have been great to have a large sign or security pointing you down the haunt and another large sign at the door/person directing you into the correct line.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


While the wait was long--there was plenty to do while waiting! There was a DJ set up in the corner of the large tent, a full bar, and a couple of creepy characters roaming about! While you're waiting in line, they have waivers going around for you to sign before purchasing your tickets. We opted for the VIP experience for an extra $10--it was well worth it!

Tickets are available online until 6pm the night of the haunt--I would definitely recommend planning your trip and purchasing tickets prior to arrival to save time. And to save more time opt for the VIP experience.

Actors' Performance


The actors were excellent! Once in the haunt, there were plenty of characters and security directing you where to go! One of the actors at the front of the house picked up on my name--and a few extra actors in the first attraction called out my name as well! Huge kudos as it added so much to the experience! For how many attractions and how long each of them were, there were more than enough live actors to go around. Every actor stayed in character and committed to their roles and the costumes and makeup was wonderful!

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


The Hill Has Eyes has five attractions and each one had a life of its own. While I've been to some haunts with multiple attractions that I've said "less is more", at the Hill Has Eyes, "more is more!" I wish that I would have researched the haunt a bit before going and read up on the back stories of each haunt--but even without the extra research it was easy to figure out the general theme for each attraction.

The scenery for each haunt was detailed and set the mood. I enjoyed the incline changes, the wooded paths, and the different effects -- from gory props, to stunning animatronics, and more, these haunts are sure to "SHOCK" you in more way than one! Keep your eye out for the bus in the woods--awesome actors were able to set mood and make it feel like we were in a scene of American Horror Story in Twisty's bus!

This haunt has waivers--and for good reason. Don't let this scare you away (like it nearly did to me!) The waiver details why you need to sign before entering the haunt--from wearing a black hood for part of a haunt, a little "shock" in the woods, multiple elevation changes, and even a ride on the "scare"-lift! Each of these effects set this haunt apart and made it a haunt to remember!

This haunt kept me guessing--I didn't know what to expect next, and after each new effect or scare, the next was able to top it! Our whole group enjoyed the "scare"-lift portion of the haunt! There is a sign at the entrance that details an "accident" that happened here -- it would be nice if it was better lit to read and set us up for the section of the haunt! They did an awesome job handing out "news articles" about the accident too! Great touch.

Length


FIVE attractions--FIVE! While this was the priciest haunt that I've been to this season, it was well worth the money. We were at the haunt--from ticket line to leaving--for approximately 2 hours (and that was WITH the VIP experience!). With the VIP experience we were able to skip the line at each attraction, which was a major time saver that I would highly recommend!

Crowd Control


From the ticket line, to each of the five attractions there was plenty of staff on hand to direct you where to go and what haunt was next. They had adequate waiting lines at each of the five attractions, and each attraction was paced well. Groups were sent through each attraction with 6 or less people, and we never caught up to other groups. Some staff at the very entrance of the haunt and ticket line would have helped clear up confusion at the beginning, but other than that great job!

Most Memorable Moment


There were so many "wow" moments throughout the haunt, but I would have to say what sets the Hill Has Eyes apart from other area haunts is the interactive portions--having to place a hood over your head, getting a little "shock" and the "scare"-lift!

Summary

Awesome job to the staff and actors at the Hill Has Eyes! This is a haunt that you will want to add to the top of your list this season. Check out their website for pricing as it changes throughout the season--and it looks like there will be a special promotion for Friday the 13th! This haunt is a great mix of live actors, amazing sets, and interactive special effects that will keep you guessing what could possibly come next. There is plenty to do both inside and out while waiting, and plenty of parking to accommodate the large crowds that they deserve. This is a haunt that I will definitely be returning to in the future!

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The Dark Carnival

by kariniepow (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 7, 2017 at about 8:30 p.m.

Fun Factor: Medium Fear Factor: Very High

Review

Where to begin?! This haunt takes you through the carnival of the senses, disorients and terrifies its victims. From the start you feel uneasy as the wind blows the tent around. The skeleton allowing you access was not shy about picking at your fears and the rest of the haunt hit about every fear a person could have. Hold onto your group because the ghosts in the haunt hate odd numbers and did their bidding to dwindle our group from 5 to 4...

This haunt was the best way to kick off haunted house season and will be added to my list of must attends from here on out!

Signage / Visibility / Location


Pay attention and be on the lookout for a small sign, store front display and a large circus style tent hidden off to the side of Wisconsin Ave. It was windy so the sign had fallen over.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


It was surprisingly dead when we got there, ha! We waited about 15 minutes in line but there was an emergency inside the haunt so that is why it was longer. Thankfully that person is ok!
You enter a circus tent complete with the infamous red balloon. The waiting area is covered with line entertainment. The staff selling the tickets were great! A really cool backdrop lets you take a really eerie selfie!

Actors' Performance


These actors were next level! The skeleton taking tickets was so calm when he told us what was to come and he was right! Each actor kept to their room's theme and never let up.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


I tend to rush through haunts but promised myself that I would keep my eyes open and take it all in. The Dark Carnival did not disappoint! Every detail down to the moss was executed perfectly.

Length


It took over 20 minutes to get through. Hold your haunted house buddy tight and remember they don't like odd numbers.

Crowd Control


The wonderful Oconomowoc police and EMTs were onsite keeping us safe. The EMTs were needed as someone didn't make it through the whole haunt.

Most Memorable Moment


The smoldering body at the morgue was disgusting and stunk! The ventriloquist dummy made an appearance and watch out for the dragon. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Summary

This haunt incorporates all your nightmares into one spot. It was well run, with excellent actors and high end props to make this a permanent spot on my haunted house tour.

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Dwelling Of Despair

by KR385 (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 7, 2017 at about 7:30 p.m.

Fun Factor: Medium Fear Factor: Low

Review

The Dwelling of Despair was my fourth haunt of the season, but technically my first haunt in the month of October. For this haunt, this was their opening weekend. We arrived about thirty minutes before they had started selling tickets for the night and the crowd was very light. If you buy tickets online remember to print out the ticket, as their website says, "Dwelling of Despair will not accept digital versions of the receipt". We bought tickets in person and had no issue with this, but keep it in mind. The haunt also offers deals for veterans, which is very cool. Another amazing feature this haunt has, that very few do, is a covered area with concessions available. Do not confuse this concession area with the waiting area, though there are benches and I swear I saw a door that said, "enter". This was not the waiting area by any means, it was a small white tent located just outside of the concession room. Since there was not many patrons, we had a very short wait once we found the actual waiting area.

Before entering the indoor portion of the haunt, there was a short trail through the woods called the Forest of Fear. Very little happened in the woods, but it was a cool feature that adds to the spook factor. We headed up the stairs to the indoor haunt, which were extremely slippery due to the recent rain, where we had to knock on the door to gain entrance. Don't be afraid to knock very loud, because I don't think they heard us knock for the first minute. The interior of the haunt was composed of a vast amount of disconnected scenes. The props, decorations, and animatronics were not very high quality or new, but the scenes were decently put together. The house didn't have too many human actors that we had interacted which is very disappointing to me. Most of the actors we did see had lower quality masks that muffled their voices and broke the illusion of being in another world.

After exiting the indoor haunt there is an awesome looking outdoor maze where the walls appeared to be made out of pallets. Our group of three was disappointingly broken up before we entered the haunt though, where they had decided to separate the women from the men. I would have enjoyed the experience much better if we could have all experienced it together. Making our way through the maze was very entertaining due to the multiple dead ends they had placed in strategical positions. We had to turn to the guidance of an actor, who hilariously had led us to another dead end. The maze was actually my most memorable part of the experience.

All in all, after being at some of the top rated haunts already in the season, the Dwelling of Despair was not one of my favorites, but I do encourage you to go. The haunt is put on by the Hartford Jaycees, which does an awful amount of good for the community. Their prices are in line with the experience you will have and the amount of time that the haunt takes, you will be able to stop at a few other haunts in the same night. If you have never been to a haunt before, or you are going to take some younger individuals through with you, I would definitely recommend the Dwelling of Despair.

Signage / Visibility / Location


The Dwelling of Despair is located off of highway 60 in Slinger, WI. You will not be able to see this haunt from the main road, but the light up signs they had placed will help you find it.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


The concession area they provide is excellent, but do not confuse it for the waiting area. The waiting area consisted of a tent with benches. There was no line entertainment that you see at many other haunts.

Actors' Performance


The actors were far and few, and remember that this was from my experience on the first weekend of running, your miles may vary. The actors that they did have had low quality masks and makeup and none of them stood out in my memory.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


The sets were very well put together for the materials and props that they had. The use of low quality animatronics in place of actors breaks the sense of being in another dimension.

Length


From buying our tickets and making our way through the haunt, we were there for about 30-35 minutes. The crowd was very light when we were there, the line may increase as you get closer to Halloween.

Crowd Control


The crowd was very light and we never ran into another group going through the house.

Most Memorable Moment


The outdoor maze at the end of the haunt was by far my favorite part of this haunt, and one of the best mazes that I have been to!

Summary

I would recommend attending the Dwelling of Despair to support the surrounding community. The haunt would be great for a younger crowd, or ones who cannot handle some of the more intense haunts. I would definitely recommend this haunt if you are planning on making a trip to some other haunts in the area. You will get lost in the maze!

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Splatterhaus Presents - HELLWORLD

by hex_on_you (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 6, 2017 at about 7:30 p.m.

Fun Factor: High Fear Factor: High

Review

Add Splatterhaus to your list of haunts to visit this Halloween season! Their high tech animatronics mixed with live actors will keep you on your toes and keep even veteran thrill seekers coming back for more!

The haunt is located in Sheboygan and is easy to find, not far from highway 43. The waiting area, while it is all outside (which wasn't the best for a rainy night!) was well lit and had plenty of parking.

While this is the shortest haunt that I have been through this season, they made use of your time and jam packed it with scares and effects that are sure to haunt your dreams! Some of the effects are interactive and move in your path of travel--which is great and keeps you questioning what will come next! For the $10 price tag--it was well worth the trip and money to visit!

Signage / Visibility / Location


This was my first time visiting Splatterhaus and it was easy to find! They had signs directing you where to go, and once you're in the parking lot its well lit and easy to see where to find your tickets and get in line. I drove from Green Bay, and some friends met me from near Milwaukee and we both had an easy time finding the haunt!

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


The waiting area is all outdoors, and besides hearing the screams of the house and some animated entertainment on the main attraction, there wasn't any outdoor entertainment while we were waiting. We didn't have to wait too long--which was good because it was raining!

Actors' Performance


The actors inside the house were great. They were committed to their role and did a great job staying in character! There weren't many live actors inside the haunt--but the ones that were were great!

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


The scenes and effects in the haunt were excellent--each scene was broken up by dark hallways with hidden scares, and they had excellent effects in each room that were interactive. Splatterhaus is a modern haunt with a great mix of animatronics and live scares. It takes a lot to scare me in a haunt--and I had multiple jump scares!

Length


The haunt was the shortest of the haunts I have been to this season--it took us maybe 10-15 minutes to get through the entire haunt. Its located in four semi trailers--which you would never know once you're inside! The haunt wasn't long--but they made use of the time you were in the haunt and jam packed it with scares! Splatterhaus is also paced very well--they kept small groups and we never caught up to the group ahead of us.

Crowd Control


It was a rainy night and wasn't very busy, but the wait line was set up for easy crowd control. They did a great job of tracking our groups and tickets and were willing to take pictures of us for us while we were waiting in line!

Most Memorable Moment


The most memorable moment was when I thought an effect at the end of a hallway would give way to a door...but it moved at me instead! I loved that this house wasn't predictable and kept me on my toes!

Summary

Great job Splatterhaus! This was my first visit, but it definitely won't be my last. The attraction is short, but is jam packed with high tech effects and scares that you will remember! Our group exited the house in laughter at how much fun we had in such a short period of time! Keep up the great work--I can't wait to see what the future has in store for your haunt! Happy Haunting!

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Dominion of Terror

by PaigeBerrier (Junior Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 7, 2017 at about 9 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: Very High

Review

I LOVE this haunt – last year was my first time going, and I ended up going three times! I was so excited to go on Saturday for my first time of the season – and I know it won’t be the last! DOT is truly an amazing haunt – fantastic location, great price, nice and long, but best of all, VERY SCARY! My partner and I went, alone, on Saturday night, during the opening weekend. We waited for about 20 – 30 minutes with general admission tickets, enjoyed a beverage in line as well as the little store they cleverly have set up in the area while you wait. Once inside, we were given the rules in a very creative movie format, and then we were off!

Dominion of Terror is a multi-level, winding haunt that will have you crouching, crawling, descending stairs down to a creepy basement, and walking through a movie set, scary kid’s rooms, a less-than-peaceful nursing home, and so many more scenes. We experienced a TON of well-timed jump scares, and we though the actors had amazing skills of “misdirection” – several times we were distracted by props/scenery, only to be scared moments later. The quality of the “sets”, the rooms themselves, was so detailed and intricate; each room truly had its own theme and they used lights, videos, mannequins, and all sorts of other props to scare.

My absolute favorite thing about DOT, however, is the fact that from last season (even in April of this past year), everything was completely different, both in the content of each individual room and the actual layout of the haunt. Every single room had changed! We were so impressed! Such a fantastic and creative haunt full of dedicated volunteers… I can’t wait to come back again before the season ends!

Signage / Visibility / Location


The haunt itself is very visible and easy to find, as it is a three-story building, however, the parking, while ample and convenient, could benefit from someone to guide the patrons.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


There weren’t too many actors in line while we waited, but DOT does have a snack/beverage area (with hot cider) that you can drink while you wait, as well as a store with shirts, beads, pins, and other merchandise. We did not have long to wait after all!

Actors' Performance


Awesome – great misdirection, as I said before, and true commitment to their scares, including screaming, crawling, growling, and more. I thought the actors used their areas really well, as well as the lights and effects in the space.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


So, so high-quality – I loved the eye surgery videos, the dark silhouette room, the nursing home, the hotel ballroom and so many more scenes. I love seeing actors work with strobe lights as well, knowing when to run and crawl for the maximum scariness!

Length


Very long; probably about 25 – 30 minutes.

Crowd Control


Great – they had lots of volunteers helping with the line, as well as security/officers on the scene. The line was very clear and we didn’t experience any problems at all.

Most Memorable Moment


I loved a moment in a hotel bar/ballroom with masked figures – spooky! Also loved the dark silhouettes, that part really gets to me!

Summary

Dominion of Terror is one of my favorite haunts in the state. It’s very long, very well-done, very unique and very SCARY! I would 100% recommend it to anyone who is interested in a great haunt, and the price is a bargain. FANTASTIC!

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Terror on Rural Street

by PaigeBerrier (Junior Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 6, 2017 at about 8:30 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: High

Review

I’m so excited to say that this is my fourth year attending this haunt, and every year I am more and more impressed with the creativity, professionalism, and of course spookiness of this haunt – and this year was no exception! From the moment patrons arrive, to their walk to their car, TORS is chock full of jump scares, cool animatronics, and amazing actors.

We arrived around 8:30 PM on Friday, their opening night, in a light and creepy rain. We had purchased our tickets online ahead of time, and we only had a few moments to wait before our group of 4 was allowed to enter, however, in that time we enjoyed interacting with quite a few actors, including a memorable woman with a shopping cart. TORS also offers snacks and drinks in their covered waited area. Once entering the haunt, we journeyed through the shops of Rural Street into the main part of the haunted house.

There were countless memorable scenes, including the “hellevator”, a mystical field of lasers, a scary kitchen, a creepy church, and a live execution. We also loved their animatronics, which were all of amazing quality, but our group did feel like the timing on a few of them was just slightly off (a little behind). All of the actors were fantastic – they were not afraid to get up close, and at times we had to edge away from their touch! Another thing they were fantastic with was communicating our names and using their throughout their scares – front of the line goers, make sure you whisper the name of the most scared person when you pass! Our group was also offered the opportunity to scare some of our fellow patrons toward the end, which is something we adored!

Overall, we had a fantastic time at Terror on Rural Street. I was so impressed with how much they changed from the year prior (and those before that)! It’s clear everyone there is extremely passionate about what they are doing, and we really enjoyed every element of the haunt! I only wish it were longer!

Signage / Visibility / Location


The haunt is very easy to find, as it is located in a permanent shared building. There was lots of very visible parking and a big sign directing us in!

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


Great line entertainment – we loved the woman with her shopping cart and the creepy bear! They had several, very varied actors walking around their covered waiting area to entertainment the guests. We also enjoyed our traditional of jello in plastic syringes!

Actors' Performance


The actors were all fantastic – I loved that they remembered our names and “preyed” on certain people; they weren’t afraid to scream or get really close to us! They all used their costumes, space, and lighting amazing as well.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


Fantastic animatronics (several VERY memorable ones that I won’t divulge!), great use of strobe lights in combination with the actors, and unique uses of lazers/neon, including a “field” of neon and a corridor light by neon red lines.

Length


This haunt is a little shorter, maybe 15-20 minutes.

Crowd Control


I saw several officers on the scene, but there was no need for major crowd control on this night.

Most Memorable Moment


The most memorable moment for me was when I was looking over the field of laser mist standing on the bridge… and I will leave it at that!

Summary

Overall, we had a fantastic time at Terror on Rural Street. I was so impressed with how much they changed from the year prior (and those before that)! It’s clear everyone there is extremely passionate about what they are doing, and we really enjoyed every element of the haunt! I only wish it were longer!

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Scare USA 2017

by wm (Senior Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 6, 2017 at about 7:30 p.m.

Fun Factor: High Fear Factor: High

Review

A damp, chilly Friday night drive to Two Rivers. A town I have not visited in at least 5 years. Two Rivers was once home to THE scariest haunt in all of Wisconsin. But that was then. And since then, I’ve heard for a few years that there’s a new haunt in town. Hello Scare USA, pleased to make your acquaintance!

We arrived about 20 minutes after their opening and were the first victims. There was really nothing going on at first. That is, until Francisco decided to show up and get some people jumping! It took some time for them to start things up, and then the rain started coming down. We entered the haunt a little before 8pm. I didn’t really know what exactly to expect. Walking in, it sure felt like the unrelated Haus of old. But in the first few minutes I realized that this was different. This was a mash-up of many different haunts I’ve seen over the years. A monster mash if you will. (Yeah, I just went there!)

Love narrow, twisting turns? Dark room where you can barely see or not see at all? Other rooms with strobes, loud lights? Air guns? Creatures above you, or below you? Some areas with very low lighting or fog? Some pretty bad smelling… ? I really don’t know what I was smelling, and I don’t think I want to know! If you said yes to any of those, then Scare USA has you covered. They’ve have certain elements from other haunts and crammed them all into one warehouse! There are also some very original props and sets! The ending was a little predictable, as they are showing a video during your wait in line that gives it away.

This haunt is also heavily promoting Don't Be A Monster. This campaign aims to stop bullying in schools with a creative approach. I fully support this cause and I love that haunts are embracing it! http://dontbeamonster.org

I'm not going to go into to much detail here. Reviews that give away all the surprises scare me. But I will say that this is an old school haunt with elements of modern ones. If you've read my reviews over the years, you'd know that I prefer the old-school haunted houses. Dark and spooky! This warehouse has that. They also have some loud music at times, strobes at other times, etc.. Considering how many different things they were including, they were able to make it flow very well! We left Scare USA knowing we would be back again someday!

Signage / Visibility / Location


The signs for this haunt are very small but it's pretty easy to find. If you end up in the river, you've gone too far!

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


We were the first to arrive, so there was no line. By the looks of it, they are set up to hold a good number of people in their line. There was only one monster roaming around on the night we attended and he was great!

Actors' Performance


Some actors were a bit off on their scares. Others were spot on. Overall I’d grade the actors a solid B. Most of them didn’t speak which I found interesting.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


Some great things to look at in this haunt! There were some rooms that were lit only by 'candlelight', which I loved. Overall, it's a very dark haunt. One thing to note: There are some VERY narrow hallways in this maze.

Length


It took us around 20 minutes to make our way through. Again, we were the first ones in line. I would think it would be closer to 30 when there's a crowd going through.

Crowd Control


At the time, we WERE the crowd! There were over 20 actors in the warehouse, so I'm sure they can slow up a crowd if need be.

Most Memorable Moment


We heard a noise throughout the haunt. As we continued making our way, the noise was getting closer. I didn't expect what we eventually met! Trippy!

Summary

This haunted warehouse has a lot going for it. Seriously, there's something for everyone. It will be interesting to watch how it develops over the years. If you haven't visited yet, make sure you check this one out!

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Shockwave Haunts

by spirit44 (Junior Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 6, 2017 at about 7:30 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: High

Review

It was a dark misty October night. Small pockets of fog laid heavy on the country roads. As our path meandered through corn fields we came upon our destination, a farm sat in the darkness with a beacon of light welcoming all who dared to enter, it simply read Shockwave Haunts. After parking we wandered through the grounds a bit and were drawn to a quaint little gift shop to buy our tickets. With the haunt only a short drive from the Metro Milwaukee area, it was well worth the trip. This haunt provided a great value and a setting that I just can't say enough about. You can pick one of the four houses for $10, or treat yourself to all four for only $20. The best part is to enter the houses you walk through the outbuildings of the farm and if you're lucky enough to get the right weather conditions for a perfectly spooky fall evening, it almost feels post apocalyptic.

Bloody Manor was by far my favorite of the houses. in my opinion it did the best job at portraying the horror that the setting of this farm was capable of. As you walked among the outbuildings of the farm, I was put in the mindset of great films like "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "House of 1000 corpses". The walk through Bloody Manor strongly reinforced that feeling with it's gruesome rooms and surprise scares throughout. I really would have liked to see them capture the natural environment of the old farm setting more and grow that theme through the other houses.

Dick's Funeral Home was a very unique haunt experience as it was set up to be a more light hearted and comedic haunted house. I found the high level of interaction between the characters and the guests to be a great change from the ordinary and while the other houses on the lot were your typical scare the pants off of them thrill we have all come to expect, in Dick's Funeral home rather than scare your pants off, they would like to make you wet them with laughter. It was a great change of pace house in the middle of all of the terror.

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, you still even get a taste of the "flavor of the day" and get a popular clown scare. It seems that even a secluded farm isn't immune from what seems to be one of the most popular creepy crawlies out there today.

Signage / Visibility / Location


The location is very remote and you drive down many dark country roads. To be honest though, I think that it lends itself to the overall atmosphere of the farm. As you drive up however, you can't miss the attraction. They have Shockwave Haunts sprawled across the side of the building in lights.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


They have a very large centrally located waiting area that is well lit and has a nice offering of snacks and other refreshments. There is also a costume shop area and a nice country gift shop on site.

Actors' Performance


The performances were very believable. I always am disappointed when you go into a great haunt that they obviously put a lot of time into the details of the rooms, just to have the feeling wrecked by overzealous actors that are just to over the top. Shockwave's actors deliver a great performance that is convincing and not schlocky. They time many of the jump scares perfectly so that the suspense builds to a climax and you almost feel like nothing is going to happen, then they appear out of nowhere to milk a blood curdling scream from you worthy of the farm you're walking.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


The sets at this haunt range from very basic to elaborate. There were some rooms that were very impressive in how they blended living characters into what appeared to be just a series of props. This also added to the great performances of the characters. As I alluded to earlier, the only thing I would have liked to see is taking the naturally spooky setting of the farm and theme more of the haunt to it. Take it to the next level with what could be an absolutely terrifying multi house themed haunt using the great setting they have.

Length


The length of seeing all four houses took us about an hour. However we were there on opening night when the crowds were small. So later in the season expect this to be an hour plus. But having a great waiting area and the natural surroundings tying the haunts together, free of standing in turnstiles would make for a very enjoyable evening.

Crowd Control


It's difficult to assume how crowd control would be on a busier night, but the open flow around the attraction presumably would give plenty of opportunity for disbursement of busy crowds while offering plenty of distractions while you wait.

Most Memorable Moment


There was one room in particular that stuck with me. As you enter it appears to be the meat locker of a madman with bloody bodies severed and hanging all around. The detail in this room was remarkable and totally drew us in, to the point we didn't even see the madman himself lunge at us from the shadows.

Summary

For me a truly great haunt is a total experience. My all time favorite attraction, that is no longer around, had the advantage of being set in an old shut down resort. You started getting the feeling of being pulled in from the drive in, to stepping out of your vehicle onto the premises, and walking into a Hollywood worthy set. This attraction gives you all of that. Do yourself a favor on the drive in to this haunt and clear your mind, let the natural surrounding take you on a terrifying journey into the macabre.

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Green Bay Fear Haunted Attractions

by hex_on_you (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, September 29, 2017 at about 7 p.m.

Fun Factor: Medium Fear Factor: Medium

Review

If you're looking for more than just a single walk through haunt, Green Bay Fear is the place to visit! With a "Freakshow" midway including a fire to wait around, live entertainment, and four different attractions, there was plenty to do to pass the time. The scenes were set up beautifully and there were plenty of live actors in each attraction. I'd recommend visiting later in the season, when actors have time to get into the roles in the main house and work on the timing of their scares.

Signage / Visibility / Location


I've been to this house before, so finding it was a breeze. It's located not far from 41 and is easily accessible for anyone visiting from out of town. There were plenty of signs, and even someone directing you from parking to the short wooded trail to the ticket booth.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


There wasn't much of a line (we went early and it was the first night!), but if there were, there are plenty of things to keep you busy. A small gift shop, a fire, live music--and even a few roaming creatures to keep you on your toes!

Actors' Performance


Three of the four attractions had live actors (the odditorium could use a knowledgeable tour guide!), and it seemed like there were plenty of live actors to staff the other three attractions--with a few extras to roam the midway! The experience level of the actors varied--some of them were immersed in their roles and some could definitely take direction from the former. Its hard with it being the first night, as I know it takes some time to get into your roles within the house and learn your timing for groups coming through, but there were some areas of the house that lacked the scare factor when it came to the actor's performance. The house has a wonderful back story (check out their website and social media!) which was set up perfectly by the actor welcoming you into Shawano Manor, but they lacked follow through throughout the rest of the house following the theme.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


The scenes and sets were set up wonderfully! There were four different attractions to visit--the Odditorium, Mr. Jingle's Fun House, the Twisted Trail, and the main attraction--Shawano Manor. I loved the scenes set up along the Twisted Trail! If you're new to Green Bay Fear you'll appreciate the detailed scenes in the main house. If you're returning to Green Bay Fear, you may see some scenes from years past, and a few new scenes as well!

Length


There were four total attractions, and it took about an hour from ticket booth to being done with the final house to see all four attractions. We were able to get through all of the attractions at a good pace and didn't catch up to any other groups.

Crowd Control


Again, with it being early and only the first night, a large crowd hadn't had time to build up, but with the variety of houses and other attractions, I don't think it would have been too long of waits and I think that with the way that their midway was set up they would be able to control crowds with ease.

Most Memorable Moment


There were definitely two actors that made the experience memorable -- the fan favorite Mr. Jingles is always fun to interact with, and the character welcoming you into the main house were wonderful! Kudos to these actors--keep up the great work and spread your enthusiasm to the other actors in the attractions!

Summary

Overall--job well done Green Bay Fear! Your scenes and props were great -- take advantage of the effects and props that you have and enhance them with a bit more work on your actors, and you'll have an attraction that will have thrill seekers coming back year after year! Happy Haunting!

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The Dark Side Haunted Adventure

by Captn_DeathSchlager (Senior Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, September 29, 2017 at about 8 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: Medium

Review

OVERVIEW:  While most haunts measure their size by square feet The Dark Side actually measures its size in acres.   At 40 acres The Dark Side is larger than the Bradley Center (6 acres), the Pettit National Ice Center (9 acres) and Miller Park (25 acres) combined!  If you compare The Dark Side to a popular Theme Park like Noah’s Arc you’ll find that the 40 acres and 6 attractions of the Dark Side compare to 70 acres and 8 attractions for Noah’s Arc.  With this in mind perhaps The Dark Side should be considered more of a haunted theme park than a haunted house or attraction? 

Haunt goers that appreciate the use of endowments over size will find that this haunt has an impressive arsenal of astonishing surprises.  The base price of admission includes 6 distinct adrenalin filled adventures that feature a multi-story mine shaft, hay-ride, ginormous vortex (…perhaps Wisconsin’s largest?), wilderness village, tree top suspension bridge, two mind boggling and bizarre mazes, an exploding car, multiple bonfire locations and a train ride to boot.  For an additional admission fee ($10-$15) haunt goers can join the fight to prevent the walking dead from invading The Dark Side’s base camp aboard a double decker hay wagon equipped with fully loaded paintball guns.  (Yes, that’s right…on this ride you not only see zombies, you’re actually allowed to shoot them!)
 
PERSONAL THOUGHTS/REFLECTIONS:  My immediate tour group consisted of one novice haunt goer, three 13yr old first time haunt recruits and myself…an avid scare seeker of 20+ years and over 100 haunts.  (Yes, that's 5 or more a year!)  For the duration of our 90+ minute tour through the haunted attractions of The Dark Side my immediate group was combined with approximately 15 others.  If being stuck at the back of a VERY large tour group makes your blood boil like mine fret not.  At the entrance of the Decent, Backwoods Revenge and Foxglove Nurseries attractions the large tour group is broken down into groups of 2-5.  The large group reassembles for the hay wagon ride that tours “Twilightmare” and the grand finale attraction. 

As most of the theme park tour is outside and requires a little downtime for the large group to reassemble definitely do come dressed for the weather.  If you’re concerned (…as I was…) that a haunted theme park that’s been voted “Wisconsin’s Scariest Haunted House 4 years in a row” would be a bit much for younger first time haunt goes, don’t be.  While the new haunt recruits of my group did scream on a few occasions these screams were always followed by laughter and never tears of terror…a noteworthy point since the three 13yr old first timers were allowed to tour the attractions by themselves when the large group was divided. 

While personally I wouldn’t consider my experience at The Dark Side as the Scariest I would definitely classify it as THE most immersive haunted theme park adventure I’ve ever toured.  The Descent, Twighlightmare, Backwoods revenge and train ride contain amazing effects that will satisfy even the most avid scare seeker’s thirst for thrills!
 
INSIGHT & SCARE/FUN RATINGS FOR EACH ATTRACTION:  (averaged 1-5 rating from my group of 5)

The Descent – Multi-level tour of a haunted mine.  Scare: 4  / Fun: 4

Twighlightmare – Enjoy a bonfire hosted by locals before taking a hayride through the forest that surrounds The Dark Side.  Scare: 2 / Fun: 5

Backwoods Revenge – Warm yourself by the fire and listen to the stories of Grandma Townsend before taking a self guided tour of the pine forest dwellings.  Scare: 4 / Fun: 5

Mephistopheles Lair – Enter if you dare and exit if you can find it.  Scare: 1 / Fun: 3

Schizophrenia – Tour the corn maze but beware of what lurks in the shadows.  Scare: 2 / Fun 3

Foxglove Nursery – Visit briefly with a bizarre botanist before taking a peak at what’s growing inside these greenhouses.  Be careful, it is not what you’d expect to see!  Scare: 3 / Fun 4

Train (with no name) Ride – Enjoy a ride through and around The Dark Side Theme Park while being entertained by the locals.  Scare: 2 / Fun 5
 
note:  I toured The Dark Side on it’s opening night which can be a blessing a curse when it comes to a fully operational haunt.  As most haunts don’t advertise their technical issues it’s quite possible that I may not have experienced The Dark Side at an unintended scare level.

Signage / Visibility / Location


This may not be the easiest haunt to find as most would likely consider this location the epitome of “the middle of nowhere”.  If you’re traveling on HWY 67 keep your eyes open for the small town of Ashippun.  In the heart of Ashippun you’ll find an angled intersection for Hwy O.  Follow Hwy O west until you see a lighted sign with an arrow that points you towards The Dark Side haunted theme park.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


This haunt offers a heated barn complete with ticket window, gift shop, concession stand and a waiting line that features a spa/salon station for those looking to spruce up their ghoulishly good looks.

Actors' Performance


During our tour we encountered 5 locations with actors who’s role was intended to interact and entertain rather than to just scare the bejeezus out of us.  These actors portrayed their roles brilliantly and were absolutely exceptional at adlibbing and allowing you to playfully interact with them.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


A nice variety of themes and superb special effects you won’t find anywhere else.  A genuine haunted theme park complete with rides and demented dwellings.  All sets were elaborately decorated with a fine attention to detail to ensure haunt goers receive a totally immersive experience.

Length


Approximately 90-120 minutes.

Crowd Control


Indoor waiting line weaves through the stables of a barn.  Ghouls entertain you periodically while you wait.  VIP tickets allow you to avoid the wait and skip to the front of the pack.

Most Memorable Moment


As you may have guessed if you read this entire review, the immense size of this haunt and how much they’ve packed into this experience make this a uniquely memorable haunted theme park!

Summary

With 7 different attractions covering 40 acres The Dark Side has more in common with a Theme Park than a traditional Haunted House!  For the base price of admission haunt goers enjoy 6 distinct adrenalin filled adventures that feature a multi-story mine shaft, hay-ride, ginormous vortex, wilderness village, tree top suspension bridge, two mind boggling and bizarre mazes, an exploding car, multiple bonfire locations and a train ride to boot.  For an additional admission fee ($10-$15) haunt goers can join the fight to prevent the walking dead from invading The Dark Side’s base camp aboard a double decker hay wagon equipped with fully loaded paintball guns.

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Abandoned Haunted House Complex

by BrittanyAnnBula (Junior Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, September 23, 2017 at about 7 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: Very High

Review

Ambush and Hysteria - Two indoor haunted attractions that run back to back. Characters all over! They put in the effort of making you really feel the moment. From the different scents, the energy from the performers and the effort is second to none! The long passages that twist and turn you around making you anticipate your next thrill! The fear of tight spaces, inclines and descends all on one area. Characters appear out of no where leaving you wondering how they actually got there! As you navigate you find yourself in many different dimensions that somehow flow so perfectly together. No matter if you are leading the group through the narrow hallways or you are the "chicken" of the group you will be scared and scared multiple times!

The special effects in this haunt are second to none: strobe lights, black lights, scents and moving floors you truly don't know what to expect or predict what is coming next! As you navigate through both houses your senses will go crazy and leave you anticipating what is coming next and wanting to see what all is possible!

Stalker - Corn Maze...Not so much! Haunted with characters surprisingly jumping out at you somewhat! In my mind a haunted corn maze would be weaving your way through corn; coming up to dead ends, and trying to find your way out. This is a haunted corn trail. We enjoyed it, but the name is deceiving! Go through the corn trail, come up to haunted rooms that are filled with characters, tight spaces, and detailed scenes.

Signage / Visibility / Location


Large strobe lights, along side the interstate, can't miss

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


They have a large TV playing music, Shows, and showing ads for other attractions. They had many characters roaming the lines and interacting with the crowds. Concession stand that is reasonable priced, sitting area.

Actors' Performance


The characters were very good! They put in the effort to scare you!

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


Very detailed, never miss an opportunity to make everything perfect!

Length


Stalker about 20 minutes

Ambush and Hysteria about 40 minutes

Crowd Control


Several security guards and characters roaming

Most Memorable Moment


The effort that the characters put in and the small details that weren't missed! We drove 2.75 hours to get here and it was worth the drive for sure!

Summary

One of the best haunted houses in WI! These people truly love their job and scaring people!

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Terror on the Fox

by majorXpsycho (Senior Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, September 23, 2017 at about 8:30 p.m.

Fun Factor: High Fear Factor: Very High

Review

Terror on the Fox continues to be one of the most popular haunted attractions in Northeast Wisconsin. If you have not seen the terrifying promotional videos, then I am certain you do not have a pulse. But … does Terror on the Fox live up to its hype? In my opinion … yes! I attended on a sweltering opening weekend and Terror on the Fox delivered an outstanding performance. They are constantly seeking new ways to make their attraction better and consistently making changes that keep even the most seasoned attendees on their toes. There are three things that stand out to me when thinking of Terror on the Fox: 1) The fact that they are located at a National Railroad museum and include a double Decker haunted passenger train ride. 2) The amount of collected gruesome décor that makes this a haunt that would be frightening even with the lights on. 3) The dedication and passion for fear displayed by their “ghouls”.

There was a pretty significant line when we arrived, so I recommend purchasing your tickets online in advance and splurge for the VIP as it is worth it! We walked right up to the wait for the train ride (which is semi covered) and patiently waited for the skull ridden train to arrive. There is music and a large screen to help build the anticipation while you wait. Once aboard, a small strobe light and fog filled the cabin as you hear screams from those above or below you. The ghouls are not your typical white paint (looks like your mom did your makeup) ghouls … they are professionally created creatures that are never caught out of character.

Once off the train, you arrive at the Slaughter House and unlike some of its “counterparts”, you DO NOT have to pay separately for each attraction! Our small group of 4 were allowed in “alone” which is a major plus when wanting the full effect and attention of every horror that waits around the corner. The Slaughter House reminds me of the old civil war era Slaughter Pen Farm in Fredericksburg, VA. There are no dark corners or long blank hallways, they WANT you to see the horror they have created. The ghouls are not afraid to show themselves at the most unexpected times and this Slaughter house is full of them!

Our last destination was Blackthorne Manor, the staple haunted house at Terror on the Fox. Every year I think I know exactly what to expect when going through Blackthorne Manor, but every inch inside and out are so carefully mastered that it is impossible to see everything. Our time in Blackthorne Manor was shorter than expected, but I would rather have a shorter, high quality haunted house, than one that is extended simply by adding a bunch of long dark hallways. There is NO dead space and before you can even grasp what that was that tried to attack you in the previous room, you are in the grasp of another horrifying scene. I have to give a shout out to the ghouls, as it was a sweltering “fall” night and they never once came out of character and filled the house with horror.

Signage / Visibility / Location


As always, if you are not familiar with the area it may be difficult to find. The haunted attractions are set far back on the property and covered by tree's, so it is not obvious if you are attempting to just drive around and find it. Just google the National Railroad museum or ask Siri!

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


There is nothing "entertaining" about waiting in line, but you are able to break up the time by going on the train and through the Slaughter House. However, you will stand in a line outside so be prepared for dismal weather.

Actors' Performance


Excellent! Amazing! Those were actor's?

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


The props, FX and scenes of Terror on the Fox are done by professionals! This attraction would be just as horrifying during the day as it is at night, there are no blank spaces and awkward scenes.

Length


We spent a total of 50 minutes combined with the train, Slaughter House and Blackthorne Manor.

Crowd Control


Excellent in Slaughter House, but could be better in Blackthorne Manor.

Most Memorable Moment


The "first scream" from those I am with is always the "most memorable" and that started on the train and did not end until we were walking back to our vehicle.

Summary

Terror on the Fox continues to be one of the most popular haunted attractions in Northeast Wisconsin. I attended on a sweltering opening weekend and Terror on the Fox delivered an outstanding performance.

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Terror on the Fox

by PaigeBerrier (Junior Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, September 23, 2017 at about 9 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: High

Review

This was my first year going to this haunt! We went Saturday night, one day after opening, in a group of 4. It was a relatively short wait for the circumstances and considering all of us had General Admission tickets. I was really excited to go after hearing about the train and seeing all the pictures of the outward façade, and overall we had a great evening full of scary moments!

The haunt consists generally of 3 parts – a (genuine!) train ride, a more maze-like haunt (Slaughterhouse), and the Blackthorne Manor, the main haunt. In between each we had a short outdoor wait. I thought each section was unique, with a distinct theme and the acting/costumes/props reflected that – everything was very well done, professional and looked scary! The authentic, double-decker train is an amazing, unique section and the actors used the train to their advantage, nimbly crawling amongst the patrons. They used special effects and props to their advantage without being too much, particularly in the Blackthorne Manor. The middle section, the Slaughterhouse, was a little less intense, both in the decorations and the amount of actors, but the actors we encountered had great timing and gave us some nice jumps! The Manor was fantastic, nice and long with several really unique rooms, including creepy dolls, cockroaches, confusing mirrors, and disorienting lazers. Overall a really great haunt that I can see why people return to year after year!

Signage / Visibility / Location


The haunt is very easy to find, with a sign for parking and a sign for the haunt itself. There were individuals directing people to park, as well as police around for safety. We stayed at a hotel (being from out of town) and it was quick and easy to get to, and we had fun in the bars around the area after!

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


While initially waiting for the train, we didn’t see any actors or workers directing us, but the signs were clear and easy to follow. In the other wait areas the actors were great, and overall the waits were very short, and there were screens and music to provide visual entertainment as well.

Actors' Performance


All of the actors were fantastic. I was impressed with the train actor’s ability to crawl in the luggage compartments and from one story to the other, and all of the actors in the Slaughterhouse and Manor had great timing – there was an awesome variation between who in our group would get the jump scares, which is something I really love (not always the first person!). Some actors were cleverly disguised by props or scenes as well!

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


Nice and varied – each room was a distinct theme, and there were several memorable ones, as I mentioned earlier. We particularly liked one room with large, creepy dolls and another disorientating laser/inflatable room. I absolutely loved the outward mansion façade and the use of special effects throughout, including lasers, blowing air, fog, and of course lights. One thing I would have liked to see a bit more is strobe lights!

Length


Train was about 10 minutes, the Slaughterhouse was about 15, and the Manor about 30. I enjoyed the little bit of a break in between sections to discuss and take pictures of the actors and entertainment!

Crowd Control


As stated, I did see police and the staff was surrounding all waiting areas. The lines were very obvious and everything ran super smoothly!

Most Memorable Moment


For me, that would be a tie between the amazing train and the mirror maze. The train was just so different and unique to the location – I wasn’t expecting to actually go anywhere on it and I was pleasantly surprised when we did, I also loved the flexibility and strength of the actors weaving in and out of the patrons, climbing all over the bars of the train. It was a great way to begin out evening! I also loved a mirror maze in the Manor – it was tight, disorienting, and had a great actor flitting in and out to add that element of anxiety.

Summary

I would absolutely recommend this haunt to those that live in the area, I thought it was great value for the money and is a scary, professional, well-done haunted house. It’s was a great night for all of us and we all enjoyed several moments of heart-pounding fear and jump scares!

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Burial Chamber Haunted House Complex

by KR385 (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, September 23, 2017 at about 8 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: Very High

Review

This haunted house complex seriously knows how to scare you! There are three very different attractions all at this one location that cater to different scare tactics. Each of the three main haunts is filled with creative ways to disorient and instill fear in its patrons. From floors that tilt to snow inside every corner you turn is a fully decorated scene designed to transport you to another dimension. You may have to stop covering your eyes in fear to take a good look at these movie quality sets! These sets really come to life with dedicated actors that fill each house. Each and every actor was dedicated to get a scream out of every guest. Every year I have been to this haunt was worth the trip, and this year was no exception.

Signage / Visibility / Location


Located just off of Interstate 41, this haunt will naturally lure you in with sky high spotlights. As you pull up to the haunt, workers will help guide you into a well lit parking lot.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


Crowd management is executed very well. There are separate lines for each haunt and they have a great mix of music, videos, and actors to keep the guests satisfied until it is their turn to meet their doom.

Actors' Performance


The actors were one of the best assets to this haunt. Each attraction had plenty of actors that knew how to read and interact with the crowd.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


Each scene is filled with an enormous amount of detail intended to transport you to another world. The lighting, fog, and bubble (yes, I said bubble) effects they use really add to the experience.

Length


Each of the three haunts will take you roughly a half hour to go through. If you are buying general admission, you may have to dedicate a night to visit due to the length of wait for each haunt. By the sheer amount of people waiting in line, you can tell this haunt is loved by many.

Crowd Control


Be forewarned, this haunt will take a long time to go through the general admission line. Luckily, they do sell fast passes! During our visit, the haunt was very packed but the actors knew how to keep the crowd entertained and evenly spaced as you are making your way through the haunts.

Most Memorable Moment


While adventuring through one of the haunts, I had to do a double take to make sure what I saw was not my imagination. My group did confirm that there is an oompa loompa mannequin lurking in the depths. Please keep your eyes peeled for this and confirm that I am not insane!

Summary

Another great year from a great haunt. I would advise you to add this to the list of haunts to visit this year, you will not regret it!

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