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This is the 2009 review crew. View the current year (2018) review crew here.

2009 Review Crew

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

Katie (katie_kiesow13)
Newbie Member

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Ryan (Dr Caligari)
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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

Elements of Fear

by HocusPocus (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Wednesday, October 28, 2009 at about 2 p.m.

Fun Factor: High Fear Factor: High

Review

Bravo! A very nicely done haunt especially for younger visitors. While Elements of fear may not rock your world if you're a haunted house fanatic, those closer to the age of 12 (...the recommended minimum age for this event...) will definitely enjoy themselves. ....of course that's if they enjoy being scared.



The tour begins with a creepy video presentation that contains a little gore but nothing over the top...just enough to set the tone and make it nearly impossible to resist looking over your shoulder. The remainder of the tour features a fun interactive summoning of spirits, a very comfortable spook filled ride, one of the best vortex rooms I've seen this year and several rooms that very effectively leverage lighting and fog effects to maximize scare and creep opportunities. I really enjoyed how some of the actors seemed to appear out of nowhere and then suddenly vanish. There were others who I knew were there but still managed to make me jump...nicely done!



What I particularly enjoyed about this haunt was how some very simple household items (mirrors, cloth, curtains...etc.) were used to create some really creepy effects and scares.....it really captured my dreams of someday creating my own haunt. What I also was VERY pleasantly surprised to find was that group sizes were kept to a maximum size of 4-5. While this limitation was mostly likely set due to the logistics of some of the rooms it also helped maximize my immersion into the Elements of Fear found at this haunt.



This haunt was a challenging one for me to rate. My inner youth definitely would place this haunt at a 5 out of 5 for the fun and fear factors. The adult haunted connoisseur placed it at a 4 out of 5 for the following reasons: For the fun factor there were only a few rooms that allowed you to interact with the actors/scenes via a skit. Most of the haunt is more of a walk-thru style. For the scare factor while there are some parts that have the potential to make you jump most of the scares are geared more towards a younger crowd.

Signage / Visibility / Location


Located along a major street (27th St) with a lighted sign, a 12ft lighted pumpkin monster and rope light in the shape of an arrow. You really can't miss this location as long as you're looking on the west side of the street.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


Arrived early during a non-peak night (Wednesday) so there really wasn't a wait. The volunteers were very social. A few concessions were available for purchase to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Actors' Performance


Most of the actors were young but did a great job making you jump and seemingly vanishing into thin air. The actors summoning the spirits from beyond were quite good as they succeeded in getting a spirit to appear!

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


One of the best vortex rooms I've been in this year. Some of the scenes were elementary in nature but were still very effective in achieving ghoulish results. This haunt probably did the best job of any haunt that I've been too this year with pulling off some great effects without the luxury of elaborate props. This isn't meant to imply that there weren't any elaborate props, just that the creative staff at Elements of Fear were very successful in getting the most out of what they had to work with. Bravo!

Length


It took our group approximately 10 minutes to complete the terrorizing tour.

Crowd Control


Arrived early during a non-peak night (Wednesday) so there really wasn't a crowd.

Most Memorable Moment


Being unable to resist the temptation to look over my shoulder even though I was instructed to "watch my back"! I found it to be a creepy and irresistible temptation!

Summary

As an adult touring this haunt I gave Elements of Fear a 4 on the scale of 1-5...but for those closer to the age of 12 (...the recommended minimum age for this event...) this one is definitely a 5.

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

Elements of Fear

by katie_kiesow13 (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Wednesday, October 28, 2009 at about 2:30 p.m.

Fun Factor: Medium Fear Factor: Low

Review

EleMents of Fear is a great haunt for a youmger generation. For those of us that enjoy a graduated haunt with lots of psychological thrills, this one probably won't be for you. I would have been THRILLED about this haunt if I was in middle or high school, though. So those with kids - send them here! They did have a few aspects in the haunt that I'd never experienced before that were pretty neat, so I enjoyed that. Overall, though, I spent most of the 15 minute walk-through wondering if the "scare" was over and if I should move on to the next room...

Signage / Visibility / Location


Very easy to find with directions from the site. Labeled clearly - shares the parking lot with the church.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


You wait for the haunt in a church activity center basement - no entertainment or any sort of "mood enhancers" to get you ready for the haunt. It looks like a school room - not scary at all.

Actors' Performance


The majority of the actors in this house are youngsters (middle school, maybe some high school students). I saw maybe 3-4 adults in the house. With young actors come young performances. They rely a great deal on jumping out at you and hoping to scare you rather than interacting with you. One actress in a hallway who was crawling on the ground - great job!

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


Most of the sets and scenes were very simple, but they definitely accomplished what they needed. Not much in this house that I hadn't seen before. The one exception is the room with the couch - that was something I had never experienced before and it was very interesting! I liked that they played with their space in a different sort of way. Nicely done!

Length


It took my group of two approximately 15 minutes to get through the haunt (the wait time was maybe 10 minutes or so). It could take longer, or maybe be shorter, depending on how quickly you try to run.

Crowd Control


We went on a Wednesday night and there were very few people there, so there was really no crowd to control. All was well.

Most Memorable Moment


My favorite parts included the crawling actress, the couch, and also the polka dot room - very interesting. They play a LOT with optical illusions in this haunt and that's always fun.

Summary

If you scare incredibly easily or have youngsters who want a good haunt for their age, this is the one for you!

View all Elements of Fear reviews

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

Burial Chamber Haunted House Complex

by earthangel129 (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 23, 2009 at about 3 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: Very High

Review

Burial Chamber has to be one of my absolute favorite haunts.  Upon arriving they did not disappoint.  It may have been pouring rain outside but inside it was raining screams.  When I arrived I was informed that due to the substantial amount of rain that has been going on this month the Phobia-haunted forest attraction was closed.  I was a little disappointed but once inside the haunts, all my disappointment was gone. In honor of the fact that I know this attraction is well worth seeing, because I have faced my fears and gone through Phobia before, I will let you know, that if you can enter this area, definately go for it.  Walking through what is almost a completely pitch black forest, with creepy sounds and ghouls who jump at you and chase after you is totally frightful.  I am not sure how it is exactly set up this year but it never disappoints so I hope you all have the opportunity to attend.   I first went through Adrenaline.  While waiting to get inside I watched the horror movie clips they were showing on one of their two outside big screens.  Then it was time to go inside.  As we entered the Adrenaline, I was pleased to see that the theme, as always, was changed.  This year it was themed around battlefields, tons of heavy artilery going off, and really creepy soldiers and other creeps.  This haunt had it all.  The props were great, the haunt was almost an entire hour long, and every moment was terrifying.  However, the greatest part of the haunt was the actors.  Due to the fact that one haunt was down, there were actors everywhere in both of the haunts.  They were coming at you from below, above, behind, and popping out right in front of you, without you even noticing.  My absolute favorite part were the actors that were literally hanging from the walls and stretched across the hallway blocking the way.  You had to crawl under them to get through, it was one of the most original things I have seen in a haunt in a long time.  I was amazed at the dedication that I see every year in this haunt.  It truly is a one of a kind experience.    We then made it out full of Adenaline and headed to the next haunt, appropriately named. . .Insanity!  This haunt is just as intriguing and as beautifully executed as Adrenaline.  There are crazies everywhere!  They are pole dancing, crying, and laughing uncontrolably.  These actors were also completely committed and worked their rooms wonderfully.  The props were great.  I loved when it felt like blood was being sprayed all over you.  This haunt was also extremely long, probably lasting about 40 minutes to walk through.  I loved every minute I spent at The Burial Chamber and will continue to return each year.  Remeber you only have one weekend left-you must attend this attraction, if you have not already done so-get up, stop reading, and head to the most amazing haunt in Wisconsin!

Signage / Visibility / Location


Very easy to find, right off the freeway.  Huge spotlight showing in the sky and once you turn the corner you can see the immense complex.  

Actors' Performance


All I can say is they rock!

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


Horrible and beautiful, a wonderful scene to behold.

Length


Extremely worth the admission price.  You can spend hours there.

Most Memorable Moment


Crawling underneath an actor that was hanging between walls while she was screaming!

Summary

I know this review probably seems like I got paid to write it-I promise you I did not.  I just want everyone to know that if you go to one haunt this year it has to be The Burial Chamber Complex!

View all Burial Chamber Haunted House Complex reviews

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

Hubertus House of Horror

by dirkadirka (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 23, 2009 at about 3:30 p.m.

Fun Factor: High Fear Factor: Medium

Review

Hubertus House of Horror is as old as me and I am glad we finally met.  This family-friendly haunt has kept victims coming back for 26 years and I have no reason to doubt they will be around 26 more.  Your journey will lead you deep into a decrepit house to experience a mineshaft, crazy clowns, animatronic monsters, a 20+ft. vortex, and general creepiness.

Signage / Visibility / Location


The online directions made finding the haunted house easy.  Despite the rural setting, there are two welcoming bars located on the same corner.  Who’s up for Karaoke!

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


A large school gym has food, movies, video games and music to keep everyone occupied while they wait.  And you probably will have to wait because this is a very popular attraction that fills up fast every weekend in October.

Actors' Performance


The actors were more entertaining than scary but there was a lot of energy in their performance.  Several rooms had extended dialogue that encouraged interaction from the guests.  My favorite actor was the prisoner busting out of his jail cell.  Best scare in the house!  I also liked the hands reaching out in the dark to grab at your feet.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


The haunt starts off with a bus simulator piloted by Freddy Krueger himself.  It was a great concept but like a lot of rooms I felt it was just a few ghouls away from outstanding.  We were confused about the theme in several areas and were unsure of when to move on. 

Most monsters wore some sort of mask or makeup, but don’t expect to see any gore.  This makes Hubertus appropriate for younger children compared to most haunted houses. The feeling you get from walking through a tired old house is awesome although the uneven footing can be treacherous.

Length


Our group took fifteen minutes to get through the house.  Average length I guess.

Crowd Control


Groups of people are combined to form blocks of eight.  This seems pretty high, but Hubertus does a good job of making it work.  We got shuffled in almost every room and rarely left in the order we entered.  This requires you to get pretty cozy with strangers so get ready to make some new friends.  The pacing was very well timed and we never saw the group in front of us.

Most Memorable Moment


I’m not sure why blacklighting, 3-D artwork, and clowns always get thrown together, but it is definitely trippy.  The 3-D glasses heighten that sensation and Hubertus makes these rooms work better than anyone.

Summary

The evil grandmother of haunted houses in the Milwaukee area.  Hubertus House of Horror continues to entertain customers every year because the operators love what they do and are good at it.   This non-profit organization uses 100% of the proceeds to benefit St. Gabriel School.

For a quick detour, stop by Holy Hill on your way to Hubertus.  The impressive church looks incredibly eerie lit up against a misting October sky.

View all Hubertus House of Horror reviews

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

Lister F/X Presents Monster Mayhem Haunted Laser Tag (CLOSED)

by dirkadirka (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 23, 2009 at about 6 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: Medium

Review

Monster Mayhem is a one-of-a-kind Halloween attraction.   In only its second year of operation it has already become one of the more intriguing haunts in Milwaukee.  The unique theme should appeal to both adults and kids.  Plus, the great location is worth a trip even if you chicken out.  I would especially recommend it to people who are tired of traditional haunted houses and looking for something new. 

I think there may have been a technical problem or some miscommunication because our tour ended rather abruptly after we stumbled into an access hallway for the staff.  One of the actors tried to stay in character as he led us out but he seemed as confused as we were.   I wasn’t upset because this happened towards the end of the haunt and I believe we were the last group of the night.  The worst part was that I never found out how the story ended after being sucked into the entire theme.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


The queue forms in a back stairwell and there was no line entertainment.  That’s okay because we were entering a secret military installation and the screams from the groups ahead kept us on edge. 

Less than 15 people were in line when we got to Monster Mayhem, but I am sure the bar and pizza parlor upstairs make longer waits more enjoyable.  I did not expect to get in so quickly because a quality haunted attraction likes this deserves more customers on a Friday night.

Actors' Performance


All of the actors do a great job of pulling you into the story and making the experience more real.  Brave soldiers sacrifice their lives to keep your group alive and provide safe passage.  Other soldiers and personnel have become infected and hunger for human flesh.   The whole scene is perfectly chaotic as you get whisked from one room to a next.   These actors make this a fantastic haunt.  I promise you will not experience another one like it in the area.  In general, nothing was terrifying but it was a hell of a lot of fun.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


I’m guessing the budget is smaller than other haunted houses in Milwaukee.  However, great scene construction and original ideas easily keep it on par with the competition.  Several rooms are worth mentioning but I especially liked the body parts falling down the laundry chute and the zombies devouring a victim on a hospital gurney.

Length


Short but sweet. 15 minutes and I was satisfied.

Most Memorable Moment


It’s called Monster Mayhem for a reason.  This giant beast scared my whole group and I am still not sure how they did it.

Summary

A fully-immersive haunted house and a really cool concept.  Monster Mayhem is one of my favorite two or three haunts this year and I am already excited to see what they come up with next Halloween.

View all Lister F/X Presents Monster Mayhem Haunted Laser Tag (CLOSED) reviews

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

Fright Factory

by Dr Caligari (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 24, 2009 at about 5 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: Very High

Review

At Hyatt Street in Janesville, rusty fences and decrepit walls greet the unwary visitor to this haunt. There is a stillness which seems somewhat unnatural...



The scene that greets the unwary visitor here does little to warn them about the wild ride they will soon take. Soon they will be crashing around this old factory, trying to avoid some of the less-savory residents that have refused to leave and now call it home.



This is one of the better haunted houses this year. You are thrown into a bizzare mixture for the senses wherein thngs may pop up from just about anywhere-and I mean anywhere.



All protections and comforts normally afforded to one at a regular haunted house are non-existant here. The comfort of a clearly discernable path, any chance to collect your thoughts, and even the fellowship of one's friends is lost in this bizzare attraction.

Signage / Visibility / Location


This is a fairly visible location, once you are nearby. My internet directions took me up and down a number little streets(probably unnecessarily) in Janesville, but I found it with little difficulty when I was in the vicinity of it. Just keep your eyes open for the huge, lit-up old factory building.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


You have to wait in a line, but the full wait was averaging around 30 minutes the night I went, which was much better than other haunted houses that I have recently gone to.

Actors' Performance


Overall, the performances were top-notch. There is a very quick tempo and pace to this place, which is faster than some other area haunted houses. Most of the preformances here are quick and sweet, which are all part of the atmosphere created by this haunts creators.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


I would hate to repeat the comments of others here. The setting is used well and help facilitate the scenes that are created here. So, your not going to find any home-like scenes with gentle ghosts at this place. Freddy Kruger look-alikes chasing you through old factory hall-ways and beings trudging through bloody meat lockers are what haunt here.

The effects here are top-notch, yet they are not over done. They never take away from the experiance.

The narrowness to the hallways also helps create a sense of claustrophobia and plays with your senses, as does any number of additional items. Here you are taken to the limits.

Length


For me, it took 45 minutes, though, I am sure, it could be very flexible(from 30 minutes to an hour-depending on how fast you can find your way through the maze).

Crowd Control


I saw no issue with the way that they were handling the pace during my time through the factory.

Most Memorable Moment


With the technical arrangement of the scene, my favorite scene would have to be the creepy meatlocker. It's a fully interactive scene to be sure. Though, when talking about most memorable scene, it would have to have been when the effects in a Fortune Teller scene scared a girl in my group so much that she literally fell to the ground. Due to the fact that she had a death grip on my jacket, this caused me to go sprawling on the ground too. Good Job, Guys.

Summary

Overall, a very enjoyable experiance. This is probably amongst the best I have seen this year. It's an intelligent, well-thought out haunt that utilizes it's surroundings and just about anything to create a head-pounding, extreme experiance. This isn't a place for those who do not want to get scared and will even test the wits of a jaded haunted attraction attendee.

View all Fright Factory reviews

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

A Theater Of Lost Souls Presents: Nightmare Factory Haunt

by x0char0x (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 24, 2009 at about 3 p.m.

Fun Factor: Medium Fear Factor: Low

Review

A Theater of Lost Souls was a haunt that I always liked in the past but this year I was a little disappointed. They added new additions to the haunt which I liked. I started off on their hayride, which was different for me. I think they did a pretty good job on this. It wasn't very scary but it was fun. The story teller could have seemed a little more enthusiastic about his role but the story behind it was good.



The house itself was put together very well. You start off walking into what I want to call a horse stable. The actors definitely did a good job in there and it was very creepy. There were different noises coming from all over the place and you never knew what was going to jump right in front of you. As you walk through the rest of the haunt there wasn't any scene that was dead. However, because my group got paired with another lets say obnoxious group I didn't get to enjoy it as much as I have in the past.



After the house, we went through their new clown based one. This was very cool but I felt needed a few more actors.

Signage / Visibility / Location


The location of this haunt was kind of hard to find. It is right off the highway but if you aren't looking closely you'll miss the sign to where to turn.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


The wait area is in a barn type building. It had a few actors roaming around as well as a projector playing, however, I couldn't see what was on it because the line forms right in front of it. They also offer the Last Ride simulator for you to do while waiting.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


The scenes were very well set up. They set it so you never knew what was coming at you around the next corner.

Length


Hayride was about 15 minutes long. The house itself took about 20-25 minutes and the clown one was about 10 minutes.

Most Memorable Moment


My most memborable moment was when my friend fell over on the hayride because one of the actors along the hayride scared her.

Summary

Overall, this was more of a fun haunt than a scary haunt. I would recommend this to anyone 10+.

View all A Theater Of Lost Souls Presents: Nightmare Factory Haunt reviews

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

Youth Go's Haunted House

by charmed (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 24, 2009 at about 2 p.m.

Fun Factor: High Fear Factor: Medium

Review

This was my first experience with Neenah's Most Haunted, put on by Neenah's Youth Go. When we arrived, it didn't appear as if the line was very long, but when we realized how far apart they let people in, our total time in line was over an hour.



There were actors of all ages, but most of them in inside of the actual haunt were kids. However, it's easy to transport yourself from even the thought that these are kids, once you see how good they are.



From the moment you step in, you're given an idea of how the haunt will go. I was selected to entertain the queen, but sadly, did a terrible job for her. :) But, the court jester was a FANTASTIC actor and I really enjoyed him. They did a nice job of explaining the upcoming maze areas, and cautioned us to put our arms out to the side to find our way.



As we moved onward, I found the maze to be much more difficult than I expected. There weren't really dead ends, as much as wrong ways. I unintentionally ended up behind set several times throughout my journey and got turned around enough that even the ghouls barely got me turned back in the right direction. And, since I took their instructions about keeping my arms out to the side at face-value, I think I ran face-first into several actors.



It was not the scariest haunt I've been to, but for as long as the Youth Go have been haunting, they know how to put on a good show!



We were thoroughly entertained!

Signage / Visibility / Location


Visible flashing lights, music, easy to find on Cecil.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


Plenty of it. In fact, more than I've EVER seen at a haunt before. They know their wait is long and do their best to keep you occupied. I did feel bad for the Texas Chainsaw guy though...he had technical difficulties with his chainsaw and ended up resorting for a while to an un-scary bat and ultimately to a circular saw hooked up to an extension cord. A chainsaw guy without a chainsaw could really be a detriment, but he did a good job trying to stay in character and work with what he had. I applaud his tenacity. :)

Actors' Performance


For mostly kids, they were good! You could tell the pride they had when they really got you good and scared. I had one laughing at me soooo hard because I couldn't find my way out.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


My only criticism was the lack of dead ends in the maze. I'd much rather run into a dead end and have to turn around than end up someplace I'm not supposed to be.

Otherwise, they had some pretty cool scenes. Not much in the way of effects, but good for what they were working with.

Length


About 20 minutes.

Crowd Control


Crowd was calm and there were enough staff and scary actors patrolling that if anything were to get out of hand, they could have controlled it.

Most Memorable Moment


Getting stuck selecting a door...Gotta see it for yourself!!

Summary

Overall, as I mentioned, not the scariest haunt I've been to, but they did such a good job at entertaining us and throwing in surprises you didn't expect. Good job guys!!

View all Youth Go's Haunted House reviews

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

House of Bathory (CLOSED)

by charmed (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 24, 2009 at about 5:30 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: High

Review

This was my first experience with The House of Bathory, and it certainly will NOT be my last. I was so glad we got the chance to meet Dawn and her husband Jim, who definitely know how to make a haunt a great time. We got to learn some of the 20(!!) year history and what they've learned, they've certainly put to good use.



This is definitely not your typical haunt. It is, by far, the most unique in every way imaginable. From the layout to the effects and the props to the actors, you'll have a tough time finding anything that compares to the House of Bathory. I was also pleasantly surprised at the age range of the actors...some of the quite young, but it didn't matter the age, these actors are there to scare! It's also more hands-on than most other haunts...one sneaky actor just about got my hairclip as I was descending the stairs...I had no idea he was even there!



We were put into a group with 3 others, making a nice-sized group of 5. However, for two of the girls, it was their first-ever haunt. I think they made it through in record time...I'm confident they *ran* screaming through the entire thing, leaving the poor guy they came with, and us, trying to catch up with them.



As a note in general to haunt-goers...please remember to be courteous to the others in your group, whether you know the people or not. If you run at top-speed, the people behind you are affected significantly because you have to allow time for the actors to get back into place. Haunted houses are all about timing and in our situation, we missed a tiny bit of the action in the last 1/3rd of the house because they were so far ahead of us. It also affected our own speed through the house, where I would have LOVED to spend a couple more minutes absorbing all of the creative and amazing things Dead by Dawn Productions has put together.



But, even with that happening to us, it was still above and beyond my expectations and meets all of my personal "perfect haunt" criteria!



So, expect the unexpected at The House of Bathory...and enjoy getting the pants scared off of you!



Overall, this is my new favorite haunt. Can't wait to see what their 21st year brings!

Signage / Visibility / Location


We were led faithfully by my GPS, as I'm pretty unfamiliar with Manitowoc. But, easy to find if you can get yourself to 8th street.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


There was a pretty long line by the time we got there. There is music to keep you entertained, but they actually have come up with an ingenious idea... there is a bar about a block away (The Fat Seagull) where you can have a few drinks and stay nice and warm while you wait. The bartender will let you know when it's your turn. We didn't take advantage of the option, but heard rave reviews from those who did. Great idea!!

Regardless of the wait time, it was 150% worth it!

Actors' Performance


A++++++++++'s all around. If you dare think a kid isn't going to be able to scare you...think again! We loved every moment of it, from the laughs to the screams.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


Amazing, amazing, amazing. Even the stationary props were realistic enough to make you think they were moving. And, scenes like I've never seen in a haunt before!

Length


We were in there for less than 15 minutes, but in any other group, it's probably a 20 minute house.

Crowd Control


Security everywhere, plenty of staff. They did a nice job at keeping everyone in the large line contained.

Most Memorable Moment


I wouldn't dare give it away, but I'll say I left breathless and with a sore throat...from screaming!

Summary

A good haunt knows how to balance, has great timing, and has great stories behind it. Dead by Dawn does it and does it well. You will not be disappointed...go!!! I wish we had 1/2 points, as they would have gotten a 4.5 for fear. For me, it went back to the divided group in the last part of the haunt, since we were stuck behind and ended up with awkward timing.

View all House of Bathory (CLOSED) reviews

Comments: (0)

Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

Hubertus House of Horror

by CC2 (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 23, 2009 at about 2:30 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: High

Review

I have been attending this event for many years and the 2009 version was a strong one, comparatively.



Hubertus makes use of an old house on site, which leads to a natural ambiance of a haunt, including its earthy smells and its dark, stone basement.



The house is negotiated via a series of stops in various rooms where scenes are depicted behind closed doors before you move on.



The props and detail of the sets are at a high level.



You begin your journey through the haunt with a brief motion simulation ride on a school bus and then you enter the house itself.



This year's house features among its numerous scenes a mob shooting, a visit from the earthbound spirit of a fallen bride, an encounter with Pinhead including a person trapped inside a matress from the Hell Raiser series and a face to face episode with the Predator.



A memorable feature of this year's house is a simulated mine train ride.



Hubertus was an enjoyable experience again this year.

Signage / Visibility / Location


As has been mentioned in other reviews, once you get to Hubertus just follow traffic to the house.

If coming from the highway, take Holy Hill Rd West (Hwy 167) and then turn left (North) at the St Jacobi church into Hubertus. It's ironic that a glowing, white cross on the horizon is your landmark to mark the turn to a haunted house.

There is ample parking and rest facilities at the school.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


The wait area for the attraction is the heated gym of the neighboring school. It is equipped with a concession stand and numerous video games. Characters occasionally stoll through the gym, however, for the most part one either sits or stands awaiting their ticket number to be called for entrance into the haunt.

Staff at the attraction are polite and engaging.

Actors' Performance


The actors' performances at this haunt typically feature a lot of scripted dialogue. This year's version featured several such narrative scenes.

The actors were creatively attired with good quality make up and they gave energetic performances.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


The creators of this year's house paid attention to detail and the scenes/sets were elaborate and well appointed.

There were some interesting effects using compressed air, as well.

Length


Hubertus is negotiated via a series of stops in various rooms where scenes are depicted. It took about 20 minutes to complete the tour.

Crowd Control


Ticket numbers are called and 3 lines of visitors that are continuously formed for entry into the house. There was a visible security presence and two police officers on site during my visit.

Once outside, groups are spaced by a staff person to attempt to control catching up to previous groups.

Most Memorable Moment


This year's house features a motion simulation of a mine train that was an excellent production and very imaginitive.

Summary

This was a strong year for Hubertus. The level of imagination and production quality were well done. Scare factors are moderate to high, but it was a very enjoyable visit and is a recommended stop.

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

Dominion of Terror

by CC2 (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Monday, October 26, 2009 at about 2 p.m.

Fun Factor: High Fear Factor: High

Review

The Dominion of Terror is located in an old multi-story building, so it has the natural aura of a haunt.



There are colored lights behind the boarded up windows on the outside overlooking the outdoor waiting area.



Once inside the building, you progress up a staircase to begin your journey through the attraction which covers several floors.



This year's version of Dominion features a walk through a graveyard, complete with a hearse as well as a stroll through a mortuary leading to a morgue.



There are also rooms devoted to a classroom scenario, abandoned mine, a torture chamber with screaming prisoners and ornery guards and a segment of woods with a waterfall into a pond.



There was also an ode to the Confederacy with several Southern voice affected actors sharing some opinions with us.



At one point, we passed through a room set as a barn of sorts with a very strong odor that was quite unpleasant.



Dominion makes good use of its host facility and is a well thought out and diverse event.

Signage / Visibility / Location


Consult website for directions. If unfamiliar with Sheboygan, it might be a little difficult to find. The sign at the approach has a flashing marquee to look for once in the area.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


One of the drawbacks of this event is that you must wait outside in the open to enter the attraction. In the event of rain/cold, dress accordingly as there is essentially no shelter.

There was one portable toilet facility available at the time of my visit.

While we waited, two actors in straight jackets gave very active performances interacting with those waiting in line.

Actors' Performance


During my visit, the actors gave good performances and were certainly conscious of trying to startle the visitors.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


Dominion has fairly elaborate sets and props and a broad set of scenes in this year's haunt. Make up is better than average.

Length


It takes about 20-25 minutes to complete the trip through the attraction.

Crowd Control


As was mentioned, there is a rather small, outdoor corralled waiting area outside of the main entrance. Groups of about 4-6 are called into the house about every 5 minutes or so.

This event is not well set up to accommodate large crowds.

Most Memorable Moment


The most memorable character of my visit was a man in a top hat with a mouthful of needle teeth who met us at the inside entrance to the house. He led us into the graveyard after a brief speech posing under a blue light and he then triggered some scares during our walk through the graveyard.

Summary

Dominion of Terror has become a fairly polished event with the passage of time from it's early years in its current location. It is now an elaborate series of rooms with a number of different themes to experience. Care has been given to the construction of the sets and the appearance of the actors and it is a worthwhile haunt to visit. The scare factor is moderate, but it is an enjoyable haunt to attend, overall.

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

Terror Trail

by pud27 (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Sunday, October 25, 2009 at about 2:30 p.m.

Fun Factor: High Fear Factor: High

Review

Our fourth and final haunt of our three day 385 mile Review Crew tour took us out to Wautoma for Terror Trail. The location is out in the middle of nowhere, back in the trees, the type of area that just makes you feel like your going to die. There are signs off of the highway and then again where you turn to get back to the haunt, so it's not difficult to find even though its in the middle of nowhere. They park a truck with a flashing light on it and direct you to the parking area. There  was only one other car there, but there appeared to be an adequate amount parking available if needed. From the parking area it was a short walk to the ticket area. There was no line entertainment while we were there, but the only thing we had to wait for was the actors to resume from their break. There was a tent as well that would have provided cover for a few people if the weather required it. 
The cool thing about this haunted trail is they also built buildings that make it an indoor/outdoor event. you go through the door and speak with the nurse who allows you admission to see the doctor. This was a very well done scene with quite a few surprises. And when you think someone grabbed you, they did. This haunt allows their actors to touch, which enhances the experience in my opinion. Once through the doctor's office you find yourself out on the trail. It is lit by candles or lights in plastic pumpkin pails. IT provides enough light to guide yourself, but not so much that you see what's coming up. The trail winds a lot, which allows a small amount of actor's to be in a few different scenes. The scares are well done for what seemed to be a fairly small group of actor's. The set up of the trail requires good spacing for the groups, of which they do not allow more than four to go together. This may make for a longer wait, but a much more enjoyable time once inside. They use fog machines and strobes to really mess with your eyes which keeps them from adjusting to the dark. This makes every little scare just a bit scarier because you can't see them coming. The scenes and effects were great throughout. This haunt had possibly the coolest and simplest effect I have seen with the clown room, and the ending is quite a surprise as well. It is definitely a well run haunt that you should not miss if you find yourself in the area. The only problem I really found with it was it was a bit short. I feel they could use a little character development to make people slow up a little bit. At 12 minutes after an hour and a half ride from Green Bay it's a little hard to justify just this haunt for the distance. If you are in the area though, definitely put this on your list to check out, you won't be disappointed.

Signage / Visibility / Location


The location of this haunt was great. It's out in the middle of nowhere, in an almost junkyard/farm setting. As I stated earlier, as you get deeper into the woods, it's exactly like a horror movie, you expect to die.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


They do have a small awning/tent that 10-20 people could fit under if close together. I did not see any line entertainment, but we had virtually no wait anyway. We did have a pretty interesting conversation with the guy at the front of the haunt, although it wasn't haunt related.

Actors' Performance


The actors were great. they were in multiple scenes, and never broke character. There were a couple of them that really made you feel like you were not going to be leaving there in one piece.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


The sets and scenes they had were great as well. They really took their time to construct a really good haunt this year.

Length


As stated before, we completed it in 12 minutes. I'm not sure how it went that quick, because there were so many scares and surprises it felt like it was at least 20 minutes.

Crowd Control


There was no crowd to control, but they do only allow 4 through at a time, and the trail winds and gets close to itself in spots so the spacing has to be good when there is a crowd.

Most Memorable Moment


The most memorable moment is tied between the building where my fiancee walked right into the wall as she didn't realize it turned because of the smoke, and the Jason character who was staring at us from the edge of the woods as we were leaving. Believe me, thats a creepy thing to see in your headlights.

Summary

Overall I was impressed with the quality of this haunt even though it was a little short for my liking. I've been through haunts that were longer and worse. The only major flaw is if you are going from a ways away  make sure you plan a couple of other stops to truly make it worth your while. Keeping in mind that it is a charity operation, it is really well done.

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

Trail Of Terror

by pud27 (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 24, 2009 at about 5:30 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: High

Review

Our Third haunt of the year took us up to The Oconto Jaycees' Trail of Terror. This was my second time at this event, the first being a  couple years ago. I was excited to get out there again as the first time was a lot of fun. Let me tell you, it was well worth the drive! A ten dollar ticket buys you a half hour, guided trail through the woods (depending how long it takes you to navigate the unguided maze....). The waiting area uses a number system instead of a line, and while it is not covered, there is a big bonfire and music playing whil you wait. Watch out for the snake pit on your way to the fire!!! My fiancee and I were put into a goup with four 17-18 year olds and another couple. All fears I had that it would be an obnoxious group trying to act cool were put to rest as the guys backed away from the haybale maze entrance and tried pushing the girls through ahead of them. The actors in this maze were great at scaring and misdirecting, and one actor in particular did the best job of staying in character no matter what happened. I don't want to give anything away, but you'll know who I mean when you see him! We and the other couple made it through and enjoyed a few laughs while we listened to the teenagers in our group scream as they took another 5 minutes to escape.  I've never heard 18 year old guys scream and whine or seen people hide behind me like they did in this section. As I mentioned earlier, this is a guided walk through the woods, but don't let that fool you. It is better this way, as the trail isn't clearly marked at some points (such as the clown graveyard). Plus, the group we were with would have taken off running if they hadn't had to stay behind the guide. As this is a low budget haunt, the sets are not elaborate, they instead rely on their actors and the darkness only a woods can provide. The sets they do have are average in design, great in acting. My favorite by far is the scene where swine flu has obviously hit really hard, with symptoms we have not yet seen outside the woods. Also, the graveyard and the hunting camp are great. The actor's come at you from every angle, and I mean every angle. Also, they are allowed to touch you, so if you think something grabbed at your leg, it probably did. THe actor's did great, and the Jaycee's once again put on a great fundraiser. Props to them and their actor's, by far one of the best nonprofit haunts in the area.

Signage / Visibility / Location


This haunt, as a trail should be, is out in the middle of nowhere. It is easy to find, as it is one turn off of Hwy 41. There is a Sign where to turn, and flashing lights at the  haunt itself tell you you are getting closer.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


If you have to wait, they use a number system so you can walk around and not be tied to one spot. There is a bonfire with metal music and horror theme songs playing as well. Also, whatch for the snake handlers, somethingI have never seen before.

Actors' Performance


The actor's were great, they were dedicated and most didn't break character even if they knew people in our group. You never know who's going to come out from where.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


Again, the scenes and sets are not elaborate, but they do not have to be. This haunt relies on your basic fears, the things in the woods that are going to get you. THe limited scenes they do have add to the fears, but again, it's the actors that make the scenes what they are.

Length


It took us 37 minutes to get through, and there is not a minute of boredom in that time. It is guided, so the guide determines how long it's going to take. 

Crowd Control


We did not see any other groups ahead or behind us, but there were people waiting before and after we went through. I would say they space the groups out real well.

Most Memorable Moment


Has to be the teenagers in the haybail maze.

Summary

For ten dollars this is a great value. On their profile they say their scare factor is medium. I would say as in the past they do no give themselves credit. While not superscared myself, I cannot deny the scares there were after watching how the rest of the group reacted.  I would say it is good for 12 and up, but a brave 10 year old should be fine if the parents want to deal with the nightmares. LAstly, remember it is an outdoor event, so if the weather looks questionable call them and makr sure they are open.

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

The Haunted Mansion

by pud27 (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 24, 2009 at about 2:30 p.m.

Fun Factor: High Fear Factor: High

Review

My second haunt of the year was a trip to Brussels for The Haunted Mansion at Quietwoods South Camp Resort.  A short half hour drive into Door County from Green Bay, you know your going the right way soon as a bill board tells you that The Haunted Mansion is ahead. As you get closer to the haunt itself, signs off of Highway 57 point you the correct way, as  do signs at the rest of the turns you need to take. Be careful though, as the last sign, for Lover's Lane, is right where you need to turn, so there is no warning. The car ahead of us missed it, as did we and we had to turn around. The thing you notice most while driving towards the haunt is it's location. It is quite a ways from the higway, out in the middle of nowhere so it really sets the mood as your driving deeper and deeper into nothingness. We arrived about a half hour after opening, and parking was sketchy. We parked out on the road like a few others, but weren't certain if thats where we were supposed to be. They could use a few more signs or even a parking attendant to show the way to maximize the space.

 If it's busy, you can tell from the road where you're supposed to go as the line starts stretching down the driveway. This line is for the first attraction, the haunted trail. You can either wait in line and by your tickets when you make it to the window, or you can grab a spot in line and send someone up to purchase your tickets so your ready to go when you get to the front. The line features a few ghouls walking around, one being one of the coolest costumes I have ever seen. There are also movie clips and things playing on a big screen for your entertainment. Lastly,  be sure to use the bathroom before you start, they have a nice facility at the start, and even if the waits are short  you'll spend a bit of time in the haunts.

The complex is set up in four parts, which have a certain order that needs to be followed. The first attraction, The haunted trail, is a short walk with a few surprises. My fiancee and I  had the displeasure of taking this walk with a group of obnoxious teenagers, which of course is no fault of the haunt staff., I think it would have been better with a different group. They walked fast so it only took about 5 minutes to get through the trail. Overall I would say the quality was about a 3 and the scare factor could have been a 3 if it weren't for the rest of the group.

The second attraction is the corn maze. This isn't your typical corn maze, which you'll know what I mean when you get there, but it is a neat effect. Here you will definitely catch up to other groups, but that's the point of their set up. Again, I would say this is about a 3.5 in quality and a 3 in scare. Definitely more confusion than surprise, but it's a really neat effect.

Thirdly, you reach the line for the Haunted Bus. I found this to be a very cool, original idea. The bus ride take approximately 10 minutes or so, which by the time you get to the end your happy to be getting off. The bus is decorated like a gruesome murder inside, and the music playing sets the mood right as well. I liked the ride for the fact that it's right in the middle, gives you a chance to sit down and warm up, and gives you a nice tour of the decorated campsites in the resort. One of the coolest effect I have seen happens on the busride, I don't want to spoil it, but I'll tell you it doesn't happen inside the bus. Inside the bus, in my opinion it gets old when the gouhls come out. In my opinion it was more annoying than scary. A person can only take so much random, unrelenting screaming before you've had enough. Ear plugs are definitely not a bad idea here.  Overall I would say 3.5 on quality and and 2.5 on scare. It's a nice way to break it up, but the gouhls are a bit obnoxious.

Lastly, we arrived at the feature event, The Haunted Manison. Wow, is the first thing that comes to mind. When you arrive here, you realize why the set up is as it is. As you progress through the attractions, they are steadily getting better, and they totally save the best for last. The line here features a screen with movie clips, as well as people walking around selling hot chocolate. The group spacing is great, so you do have to wait in line a little longer, but once you enter you don't see anybody else til the other side. The outside of the building looks cool too, like an old rundown mansion should. Before you even enter the haunt, you can tell how the acting is going to be. The person in charge of letting you into the haunted house really plays her part well, as she makes conversation with you. Then, when you enter, the butler plays an awesome role as well. After that you enter through the fireplace and the scares begin. The pathways are kind of tight, so a bigger person like myself had to do a little turning to get thorugh, but it made for more room to scare by having tight spaces. Overall the scenes were great, some of my favorites include the mechanic, the electric chair and the bedroom. All the actors stayed in character the whole time, and no one was scrambling to get back to their spots for the next scare. The only real problem I had in here was some rooms had multiple doorways, some of which led backstage (whoops!) Every room in this haunt led to a new surprise, most of which was original from any other haunt I've been too. I give the haunted mansion portion a 5 for quality and 4 for scare factor.

Signage / Visibility / Location


Signs at every turn you need to make when coming from Green Bay.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


THe only lin that didn't have a screen playing movie clips or ghouls walking around was the bus ride line.

Actors' Performance


Overall the actor's were great. They weren't really character driven with a script, but they did very well with their performances.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


The sets were about average in the outside portion, but they were outstanding in the mansion itself.

Length


We spent about an hour and ten minutes there after we parked, and only about 20 minutes was spent waiting in line. The longest amount of time spent in an attraction was definitely the mansion, and it wax close to 20 minutes there.

Crowd Control


It lacked in the earlier trail, and the corn maze seemed intended to be jumbled up due to the misdirections. The MAnsion control was perfect, not another group in sight after you enter.

Most Memorable Moment


Most memorable moment came when I accidently went through one of those doors that went backstage and I ran into an actor set in his scene and made him jump.

Summary

You more than get your money's worth for the ten dollars you spend per ticket. Where else can you get this much halloween entertainment for that price. As stated in the earlier review, the early stages are just primer's for the main event. If you feel a little disapointed by the time you get to the Mansion, I guarantee your mind will be changed when you get out the other side. Considering all components of the attraction, I would put this at an even 4 for quality/fun and for fear

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

Terror on Rural Street

by CC2 (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 23, 2009 at about 3:30 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: High

Review

Terror on Rural Street is an attraction that historically makes great efforts to be at the cutting edge of scares and creative sets and this year's version of the house keeps with that tradition.



Terror has one of the more impressive and elaborate approaches to the entrance to their house with lightning effects coupled with a tomb and a large gargoyle that looms at the edge of the entrance lines in a margin of manufactured woods.



At the entrance to the lines to the house, you are also able to peer inside one of the areas of the attraction to see visitors getting startled by creatures hiding in the darkness.



During your visit, you will encounter a speaking spider and meet the Angel of Death among others.



You will walk through an elaborate morgue and be confronted by menacing clowns on a carousel.



Passage through the attraction is efficient and attempts are made to space the groups so that you will not catch the groups that precede you.

Signage / Visibility / Location


Terror on Rural is easy to find with well lit signage and a large parking lot.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


The wait area for Terror on Rural Street is in a seperate portion of the building from the house itself. It is heated and features a concession stand and ample seating. You will be visited by numerous actors while you wait. During my visit, I saw no less than 5 characters wandering the waiting area and there was also a significant security presence and two police officers available to ensure proper crowd conduct.

In-between the waiting area and the house, you will be greeted by more actors in elaborate costumes, some of whom are on stilts.

Great care has been put into trying to have the visitor engaged while waiting to enter the house.

Restrooms are numerous portable toilets located outside of the waiting area.

Actors' Performance


The actors at this attraction are invested in their efforts and the visitor will notice this.

The actors appear to enjoy their responsibilites and give active performances throughout the attraction and its waiting areas.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


Terror on Rural historically pays sharp attention to detail and this year is no different, as has been mentioned.

This year's event has elaborate sets and effects and the actors present in quality costumes with artistically applied facial make up.

Length


It took about 20 minutes to negotiate this house while walking at a leisurely pace.

Crowd Control


This event is polished in terms of its crowd control. Terror on Rural has been in existence for numerous years and the management understands how to route visitors in an efficient manner.

Most Memorable Moment


This house features a lit waterfall in a section of jungle that you should stop to admire for a moment during your visit.

There was also a dead ringer for Grandpa Munster/Al Lewis working at the entrance to the house who was amusing to speak with.

Summary

Terror on Rural Street is very much worth a visit. Its operators are concerned about the visitor's experience and take care to try to keep their operation fresh year to year. Terror has a good reputation for the efforts of its management and the performance of its actors as well as its elaborate sets and props. The scare factor of this attraction is moderately high and the attention to detail/props and investment of the actors makes for an enjoyable visit.

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Fright Factory

by louiscyphre (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 23, 2009 at about 3 p.m.

Fun Factor: High Fear Factor: High

Review

An enjoyable all-indoors haunt set at an abandoned factory building on a spooky hill right behind a quiet residential neighborhood, Fright Factory is one of those multiple-floor, dark-maze-and-scene-heavy haunts that tend to have more creative juice and room for acting (Acting!) than the typical walk-through-bleargh!-chainsaw!-heavy-haunts.  Boy oh boy, does this place set the scene as you approach it, snaking past all these rusted out fences and up to a yellow-brick factory building looming above you at the top of a short climb through what looks like an abandoned industrial loading area.  The ghouls attack from all directions in the haunt proper,  including from above (yikes!), but there are also nice opportunities for interaction with actors in their little vignettes, so a full experience all around.  A (Severed) Thumbs-up! 

Signage / Visibility / Location


Very easy to find, just follow the official directions, we had no problem.  It's behind what looks like a residential neighborhood and up on a hill; parking might get pretty dicey when they're really busy, as you park on the street around the haunt and neighborhood, so be prepared for that, and the street is kind of tight and there are all these patrons walking around and clogging up the crosswalks and such (stupid patrons!), so it might be in your best interest to park a little ways away and avoid the crowded streets up close. 

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


All indoors, which was really nice, as it was spitting rain on Friday.  Pay at a ticket window, then line up in one of those queues like at Great America that snake around and you think your wait is going to be shorter, but it's a trick of the eye (very tricksy, Fright Factory).  If you don't want to wait, you can pay an extra $5 and go to the front of the line; this seemed to be worth it, as the wait was about 35 minutes at 8:15 PM and it's all a fund-raiser anyway.  As stated previously, the setting is suitably spooky, it's really an abandoned factory with these huge ceilings and industrial detritus all around, and you climb these dirty stairs and wind through all these dusty hallways and it sure smells like something got abandoned somewhere, which just adds to the atmosphere, of course. 

Actors' Performance


Some great stuff, from black-robe-clad li'l old ladies sitting at a dining table muttering about how much they'd love to eat you, to a really really menacing executioner who was seriously about seven feet tall (in real life, or maybe he just seemed that way) and quite the intimidating presence; perhaps he executes at his dayjob as well.  Also, there's a very friendly butcher and friends who appear to run their own shop, and a great Freddy.  Again, they set up some nice scenes and the ghouls can act out a little stuff if they want to, cause they don't rush you through, so feel free to interact at your own discretion.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


The setting really speaks for itself and allows all kinds of cool opportunities that they take advantage of, from wandering through what seemed like a real meat-locker (no idea what that was originally, possibly just a good set, but the butcher aprons were really wet and sticky, so kudos to you, butcher-apron-preparing-guy), to a really great compression room; this must be the new big thing, every haunt we went to this season had a claustrophobia-inducing scene where you're compressed and crushed by the walls and ceiling and it's pretty intense, and Fright Factory's was very effective.  This might be wishful thinking on my part, but they may also have been trying to tell some story that we didn't completely get -- there's a scene labeled "St. Ana's Orphanage," and it seemed to connect visually with some other stuff with Christmas trees and people in black robes or something; we wondered if this was from a movie or if it had some resonance with local residents of the Janesville area, so if they're playing off some local legend, that's cool.  There's also a scene recreating one of those famous moments from NOES #1 (That's Nightmare on Elm Street #1 to all you laymen out there) with a real-live working industrial fan and a nicely-sparking knife-glove, and some moments where you're not sure initially how you're going to get out of the room you're in, and some disorienting "Didn't we just make our way through this little corridor with the same paintings and wallpaper?" stuff. 

Length


Took about a half hour to get through, more if you want to interact with the ghouls a bit. 

Crowd Control


Ah, this may have been the problem with not rushing you through, they looked like they tried to take different groups through different paths, but we got bunched up with a group of patrons behind us and in front of us, so it got kind of awkward at some points; there was a great interactive tarot-reading scene, but we ended up with a roomful of people in front of the tarot reader, so the scare got kind of watered down.  Good scene, though.  To their credit, I think all-indoor haunts have a harder time keeping groups separated, as there's less room for dawdling than there might be at an outdoor, farm/forest/corn maze setting, so let's cut them some slack on this one.

Most Memorable Moment


1)  Great Floating Jason Mask Room.
2)  There's a point where you have to electrocute a guy to get out of the room; delightful!
3)  Mr.  Executioner, Could You Just Move A Little Bit to the Right or Left and Let Us Through?
4)  Death From Above. 

Summary

A lot of fun, and makes full use of it's creepy abandoned church pew factory setting.  Terrorific atmosphere, scenes move you around in creative ways, and actors are obviously having a good time with the horrifying.  Looks like they planned this out in an interesting fashion, and good misdirection and disorientation, along with some enjoyable performances and good special effects.  Recommended.

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Gilly's Haunted House

by x0char0x (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 23, 2009 at about 5 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: High

Review

Gilly's Haunted House really surprised me. This was my first time going to this haunt and it was one of the better ones I have ever been to. One of the main reasons I enjoyed it is because the actors actually interacted with you. Whenever, you get to a scene they played a little game with you and actually put more effort in it than just popped out and screaming in your ear like some do.

Signage / Visibility / Location


The location of this is very easy to find. They have signs all over the place.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


The wait area for this haunt is located in a green house. They don't have any actors in there other than the man that pops out to greet your group when its time to go in, but they do have stories posted throughout for you to read while you are waiting in line.

Actors' Performance


The actors did a great job. They really know how to entertain you and keep you scared.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


Their scenes are set up very well. There wasn't really any down time throughout the entire haunt, so you never knew what to expect as you were walking along.

Length


The length of this I would say took about 20 minutes to walk through the entire thing.

Crowd Control


I felt they do an excellent job on crowd control. They don't send any more than 4 to a group which makes the haunt itself so much better. The actors also keep you in the scenes longer so you don't run into the group in front of you..

Most Memorable Moment


My most memborable moment would have to be the room with the doctor in it. The friend I went with was so terrified by him it made my whole night.

Summary

Overall, this was a very fun and scary haunt. I would recommend this to anyone over the age of 12.

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Trail Of Terror

by majorXpsycho (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 24, 2009 at about 2 p.m.

Fun Factor: High Fear Factor: High

Review

Northeastern Wisconsin has a new "diamond in the rough". This is my first time at the "Trail of Terror" and I was not disappointed. It is difficult to find a good haunt so far North! It is only a 25 minute drive north of Green Bay and is definitely worth the travel. There is no use of animatronics and some very unique scares. Most of the props are "home made". I've been to a lot of haunts and tend to see similar scenes for every one, but at the "Trail of Terror" there is nothing familiar. You know you have stumbled upon a "good haunt" when the sign clearly states that the actors WILL touch you! Expect a lot of contact with ghouls and be prepared to get lost. They use real live (and dead) creatures ... sometimes the blood you see is REAL. Think smart when you go and consider the weather (it is an outdoor haunt). It can be muddy so wearing heels or "nice shoes" is just stupid! If you are a big PETA fan or are easily offended then stay home ... this haunt is for those who WANT to be scared.

Signage / Visibility / Location


Heading North on 41 there is a sign, but it was not lit up. Be careful if you are not paying attention you will miss the turn on to County rd J. It is two miles ahead on your left ... you have entered northern WI.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


There are no concessions. There are "cow tags" with numbers to designate your group and every group gets a "tour guide". While waiting for your turn enjoy a warm bonfire and ghouls walking around with some of your worst nightmares.

Actors' Performance


The actors are mostly volunteers, there was a highschool group when we went. The acting and special effects are great, they really make it theatrical.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


All of the scenes were unique. This is NOT a high budget haunt, but the use of materials is well done.

Length


This Trail lasted 27 minutes.

Crowd Control


We never ran into another group. The only disappointing factor was being grouped with another "group". Fortunately they were a great crowd to be with, but if we had been grouped with one of those annoying non stop talking groups it could ruin the whole experience.

Most Memorable Moment


I found myself alone and trapped and even forced to the ground.

Summary

Not a high budget haunt, but VERY entertaing! I give it a 4+ for fear and a 4 for fun! Those of us in the North, this is a haunt that should NOT be missed!

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

The Dark Side Haunted Adventure

by Dr Caligari (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 23, 2009 at about 2 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: Low

Review

A rather unpleasant, moody night set the the tone for this horrifying adventure through a Southeastern Wisconsin Farm. Glacier Rock Farms, normally a petting zoo, takes a sinister atmosphere after dark.

They first send you through a haunted mine. This is one of the neater haunted experiances this year. Seeming like a real mine, you are sent down a mine shaft and through a cave populated only by the spirits of departed. Things pop up and out all over sending you yet further on.

Your carriage awaits you after freeing yourself from the mine. You find yourself going through a forest populated with all sorts of fire-breathing ghouls and shadowy ghosts.

This section of our adventure provided me with the very real fear that we really were not going to make it back out. The mud on the paths was deep and my trust in the tractor taking us back into the woods was not terribly strong at times. We did make it through safely and without too much issue.

Then you are left out in the woods and must make your way back along a path in the woods. Many demons are encountered along the way. At the edge of the woods you find yourself making your way through the corn. The corn seems to move on it's own and it seems as though something is there in the fields with you...Or is it all your imagination?

I enjoyed my time at Glacier Rock Farm. The weather really was not ideal for this event, though the individuals whom run it put a lot of effort into still making it an experiance to remember for those whom attend.

Like I mentioned, I was worried that their tractor would not make it down the paths it was supposed to go on. I was also worried, due to the fact that the mud made the walking paths nearly impossible to go down without slipping. Having to be as worried as I was about my footing really took away a lot of enjoyment that I could have had going through it.

I am deeply appreciative to the staff and all that make this event possible even in harsh conditions.

Signage / Visibility / Location


The signage to the starting point for this haunted adventure was fairly decent. Do know, though, that once you turn onto Hoard Road, you will be going a ways. My directions off the internet didn't seem to provide for the fact that you go that far back and a few times I had thought I had must have gone too far.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


Due to the weather on the night I attended, the wait was almost non-existant, though we did wait for enough people to show up to make it worth their while to send us back on the farm.

Actors' Performance


They did an A+ job for the conditions that they were presented with. Most of them were colder and more wet then those of us in attendance. I give them credit for the energy they had.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


The Dark Side is not the most technically advanced adventure. They

Length


Comprising, in all, a haunted house, a haunted hayride, and a haunted corn maze, this event is one of the longer haunted events in the area. It might be too long for some, but I enjoyed myself.

Crowd Control


There were not enough people(due to the weather) to make this an issue.

Most Memorable Moment


Creeping into an old hunting shack in the woods can never lead to good things in October...

Summary

This is a fun mixture for anybody that enjoys being scared. This event is populated by quite a number of dedicated haunters.

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

Lister F/X Presents Monster Mayhem Haunted Laser Tag (CLOSED)

by dubstyle_2k (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 17, 2009 at about 5:30 a.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: High

Review

Monster Mayhem, an outbreak experience!  The night began with kind of a boring wait, you purchased our tickets and waited, no music, no monsters, but this is to be expected, you are waiting in a pizza parlor after all.  Once in, you are led to a dark staiway, where you wait in another line, for a gentleman to get you.  Monster Mayhem was very actor and prop heavy.  The central theme is an outbreak, and zombie takeover.  At times you are rushed by "guards" to get from area to area, this is a great effect, gets the heart pumping.  This haunt has two fake elevators that give the effect that you are going down deep into the ground.  There is a couple effects that involve getting sprayed with water, always nice when there are physical scares like this.  The best part of Mayhem was the giant alien at the end that appears to be an animitronic, you walk by, it follows you!  Mayhem was a short, but fun thrill ride!

Signage / Visibility / Location


If you are not looking for it, you will miss it, no real outside signage, just inside.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


It is in a pizza joint, so not much they can do, don't want to upset other patrons

Actors' Performance


the actors were totally into this!  they made you believe you were in a heap of trouble!

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


the sets were great, unbelievable effects

Length


about 10 minutes, a little short, but fun

Crowd Control


lacking, once you get your wristband, you can sit wherever, seemed like it could get chaotic

Most Memorable Moment


Large alen chasing us

Summary

Short but sweet, Monster Mayhem was full of infected ghouls and heart racing activity.  A full throddle haunt!

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

Gilly's Haunted House

by dubstyle_2k (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 17, 2009 at about 4 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: Very High

Review

Gilly's the haunt I was least excited for, turned out to be the best so far!  The line was short and fast, there were no actors entertaining, but there were, "newspaper clippings" explaining the history of Gilly's.  I really liked the music that was being played as we waited, part circus, part halloween, part ska, it was fun to listen to.  After the line we were led down a path to a very smokie greenhouse-ish area where we boarded an animated boat!  It was great.  A ghoulish woman then boarded the boat and went over a few rules with you.  The smoke was so dense, you couldn't see a thing, it was very cool.  The theme was very circus heavy, which is alright with me, sideshows, clowns and freaks all in one place!  The highlights of the haunt were the spinning room, this left you feeling real disorientated.  There was a room with a swirl on the floor, a strobe light and what appeared to be a fake clown contorsionist on the wall, but he wasn't fake!  Creeped us out!  Another great part was the mirrored hallway, my girlfriend said the highlight of her season was me leading the way down this hallway, walking up to one turn, seeing my refection, and saying "oh wait, that's me"  Great effect!  In all, the effects were great, the actors were top notch, the staff was awesome, and Gilly's was the best haunt of the year!  

Signage / Visibility / Location


Gilly's was well lit, and easy to find.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


Waiting area could have used some actors, but the clippings on the wall and the music was very entertaining.

Actors' Performance


The best actors around, very dedicated.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


The sets were great, all in the circus theme.  They spent a lot of time!

Length


15 minutes to complete, but felt like we were in there for an hour, lots to see, lots of fun!

Crowd Control


The lines were contained very well, nobody bouncing around

Most Memorable Moment


The boat ride was the best, it was just the rules, but nothing I had experienced in a haunt before.  The spinning room definately was second.

Summary

I have been to Gilly's a few times in the past and never was "WOWed" by it, but this year Gilly's made a believer out of me.  It was by far the funnest experience haunt wise.  They had the most dedicated actors.  Lots of fun!

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

Haunted Cornfield at Meadowbrook Pumpkin Farm

by dubstyle_2k (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 10, 2009 at about 6 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: High

Review

Meadowbrook is always one of the highlights of the season for me.  This year was a bit different, but good none the less.  We arrived, the parking was ample.  Decorations on the outside were the same as years past, highlighted by the Killer Clowns From outerspace exhibit and the penned animals that at times can freak you out.  Nothing scarier than a goat making noises when you are not expecting it!  We got our wristbands and headed to the campfire, where a gentleman was
telling ghost stories, this is new to me, there was no fire the last
time I was there.  After about 20 minutes listening to stories and warming up by the fire, our numbers were called and we proceded to the line.  This line would have been uneventfull, had it not been for the above mentioned animals, it was fun watching them.  After about 20 minutes in this line we entered the cornfield.  The cornfield had AMAZING effects, I couldn't even begin to guess how much money was spent on props and electricity.  There were a minimal amount of actors in the haunt, which was a little dissapointing to me, I would have liked more interaction.  With that said Meadowbrook went above and beyond decorating the haunt.  The best part, by far was an animitronic at the end that was reminiscent of an alien from the Alien films, fery good detail and very big!  The field took a good 45 minutes to an hour to get though.  In all, Meadowbrook is probably the best haunt for your money, long and detailed, Meadowbrook knows what they are doing! 

Signage / Visibility / Location


The directions provided on the site take you to where you need to go, The large sign in front and the visable bonfire don't hurt either!

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


The bonfire before the line definately help warm you up, in years past I remember waiting in that line for, what seemed like, forever, freezing.  The line itself was shorter due to this, but no real entertainment, aside from some penned animals.

Actors' Performance


There were few actors in the field, the ones that were there were pretty good, the corn all around them made it hard for them to "sneak" up on you, but they did well.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


A++++, the best props this side of the Rocky Mountains!  but seriously, unbelievable stuff, these people know what they are doing and don't hold back a thing!

Length


Another stellar area for Meadowbrook, If you want to get your moneys worth, this place is it.  Your are looking at upwards of an hour, that is rediculously good!

Crowd Control


The bonfire was a great addition, this keeps the crowd down and eliminates what I remember from the past, lines extending across the main road.

Most Memorable Moment


The LARGE alien at the end, very cool looking, very awesome

Summary

Meadowbrook is a visual masterpiece of horror!  A lengthy journey through the corn with unbelievable effects.  Fun for the entire family!

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

The Wisconsin Fear Grounds

by dubstyle_2k (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 9, 2009 at about 3 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: Very High

Review

Wisconsin Fear Grounds, what a treat this was!  Three haunts in one, all three completely different.  Our night began with a little confusion, as the grounds have many areas , and not all of them are haunt related!  We arrived only to discover we went to the wrong area.  This was totally our fault as there were signs directing us to the haunt, that we missed.  Once we finally made it to the right area, things ran smoothly.  Tickets and concessions along with port-o-pottys are readily available.  We got our tickets and headed into a short waiting area.  The line wasn't too ling and was entertaining due to a television that was running a loop of one of the hallways in the haunt.  You could see, thanks to night vision, some visitors being scared, some to the point of falling!  Next, we were herded up like cattle and lead to a pen, where I can only guess houses cows during the fair season.  The pen was entertaining because just when you thought it was just another waiting area, out come some ghouls to get you!  They were great, smelling us and telling my girlfriend she had gone bad!  After the pen, we were led to the first of three haunts...

Morgan Manor:  Manor was great, reminiscent of haunts I attended as a child, relying heavily on props and ambiance to scare you.  There were few actors in here, but the decoration and effort they had to put in payed off.  Loud sounds, darkness, and ghoulish props made manor very fun and creepy.  This haunt lasted about 10-15 minutes, after we exited, there was a path that led to the next haunt...

Morgans Torment:  Torment was the best of the three haunts.  Torment  utilizes darkness, which is always my favorite feature of a haunt.  The best part of the house was the vinyl balloonish material on the walls and ceiling to give you that claustrophobic feeling as you have to SQUEEZE your way though these hallways.  It was great!  I have experienced this before, but my girlfriend had never, and it totally blew her mind!  There were a few actors in this house, which played there parts very well, separating us from the rest of the group to add an additional scare to those who fear abandonment! 

Unstable:  Unstable was a the most actor friendly of the three houses.  You are first greeted by a tall goat man, who talks similar to Jim Breuer's "Goat Boy" character on SNL, he was a laugh riot, very funny.  This haunt was very much like walking though an insane asylum, lots of crazies, and creepy rednecks!  The actors were very into what they were doing and committed, no pun intended, to spooking you out!   

Signage / Visibility / Location


There were signs, but small ones, simillar to candidate signs on lawns, if it is dark, you may miss them.  Once you find your way though, you can't miss it!

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


Line was good, filled with a loop of haunt highlights and actors.

Actors' Performance


The actors were dedicated to spooking you, none of them seemed like they were ready to retire for the night, which is always my pet peave at haunts.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


The set and all props and FX were top notch.  You can tell they spend a ton putting this thing together, and it pays off in the end.

Length


Each house is about 15 minutes long, so plan on spending a good hour to an hour and a half if you count lines.

Crowd Control


Everything was orderly, the lines were roped off so no stragglers!

Most Memorable Moment


Ballooned hallways were the best!

Summary

Definately worth the time and money, Wisconsin Fear Grounds is three haunts that have something for everyone!

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

Youth Go's Haunted House

by pud27 (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 23, 2009 at about 5 p.m.

Fun Factor: High Fear Factor: Medium

Review

This was my first time at Neenah's Most Haunted, and it was well worth the drive.  It is put on by the Neenah Youth Go, which is a youth drop in center in Neenah. Don't let the above fool you, it's not your typical youth run non-profit haunt. They boast 24 years of experience and it really shows through. While it was not the scariest haunt I have ever been to, the actor's really got into their roles. As soon as you step into the first room, you know how the haunt is going to be. When the king gives you the background on the kingdom, you can see through the dedication he has that he has rehearsed the role to perfection. It sets the remainder of the haunt up very well, and you do not know what to expect around the next corner. The haunt uses their space effectively, with quite a few dark mazes and confusing passages. It took us 24 minutes to get through on an average pace, which was the right amount of scenes in the right amount of time. They also had nice use of common things such as strings, ribbons and mattress pads, all of which you need to see for yourself. Overall, I would say it would be good for anyone ages 10 and up. There are definitely enough scares for those who scare moderately easily, and even a few surprises for those who don't get scared. It is definitely worth your time and money as the quality of the acting and scenes are above average.

Signage / Visibility / Location


If you follow the directions from their profile on Haunted Wisconsin you'll get there no problem. They are easy to see from a distance as they have a lit up sign and some flashing lights that lead you right to them.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


We went about a half hour befor closing on a Friday night and there was absolutely no line. I beleieve the weather probably had something to do with that as it was not very nice. It is an outdoor waiting area, so if the weather is iffy dress appropriately.

Actors' Performance


As stated in the above review, the actor's were right on cue. They put a lot of time into their roles and should be very proud of what they have accomplished. They didn't break character, and when the leader of our group would get lost they would direct you the right way, but not by being obvious. This definitely was the strong point of the night. Keep your eyes open for the king and the baby.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


The scenes were very well done. You could tell here that they have 24 years of experience. They know how to use what they have effectively.  The best example of this would be the ribbon room. They had a few of the standard rooms you have in every haunt but had a few of their own unique rooms as well.

Length


24 minutes, which was a good amount of time for what they have. Definitely enough surprises to keep you interested.

Crowd Control


I believe we were the last ones of the night as some of the actor's were standing outside after we got through, so it's hard to say how they do on the spacing of groups.

Most Memorable Moment


I would probably say the nursery rhyme was very memorable, as it was very creepy and haunting.

Summary

Overall these guys know what they are doing. As I stated before it's not the scariest haunt out there, but I believe for a beginner or even a family this is a great way to spend an evening. it is well worth the time and money. Also  they are wheel chair accessible, which opens more possibilities for people with disabilities as not a lot of haunts have the space to provide that feature. If you are looking for a place to take the kids and see them scared, or just looking for a scare yourself, Neenah's Most Haunted is the place to go in the Fox Cities.

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

A Theater Of Lost Souls Presents: Nightmare Factory Haunt

by HocusPocus (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 16, 2009 at about 4 p.m.

Fun Factor: Medium Fear Factor: Low

Review

It was a dark and cold night...REALLY cold. Fortunately for me I had a warm car to step out of and to warm back up in. As this haunt is contained within the unheated barns of the fair grounds it appears as if the actors did not enjoy a similar luxury. Perhaps I caught this haunt at a bad time? I checked out The Theater of Lost Souls and Theater of the Absurd...but due to the temps I declined the invitation to partake in the hayride.



The Theater of the Absurd was very entertaining! I kind of got the impression that it's billed to be a side show to the Lost Souls haunt but I really enjoyed the unique concept of an attraction that was completely in 3D. The clown was very energetic and interactive. As we were the only group touring at the time we received quite a bit of attention. Not sure if this is typical as there appeared to be just a few actors in the Absurd attraction but we definitely enjoyed it! (Fun Factor = 4 / Scare Factor = 1)



The Theater of Lost Souls had its moments but appeared to lack the energy and enthusiasm to provide for a good scare or a fun interactive experience with a ghoul by way of a riveting performance. Perhaps the cold temps and sparse crowds of the Friday evening played a role in this? I really enjoyed the voodoo room and the acting performance in this room was absolutely superb! (Loved the accent!) The "Two Dogs" room has a lot of potential. The actor did a good job of heightening your anticipation prior to entering the room but the absence of a surprise once in the room made for an anti-climatic experience. A little bit of darkness combined with a sudden flash of light/sound could do wonders for the scare factor of this room. (Fun Factor = 2 / Scare Factor = 3)


Signage / Visibility / Location


Fortunately I looked at the map on this website ahead of time. There were no visible signs along Jackson Street and only a hand painted black and white sign on County Rd Y. Very easy to miss if you're not looking closely.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


Come dressed for the weather. The wait line and haunt are all unheated but at least protected from the elements. A very motivated costumed actor provided entertainment while you walked from your car, purchased your tickets and while you waited in line.

Actors' Performance


There were a few stellar acting performances. The Voodoo room actress and the Clown hosting the Theater of the Absurd were outstanding. Many of the others appeared to be in need of a little red bull....or hot chocolate.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


The sets in the Theater of the Absurd were outstanding. I can only imagine how much time and energy went into creating these scenes. The Theater of Lost Souls had some great props but the sets and supporting FX often times limited the scare opportunities for them.

Length


It took our group 16 minutes to complete the Theater of Lost Souls and 12 minutes to complete the Theater of the Absurd.

Crowd Control


Appeared to be a slow night so there were only a couple of other groups present besides ours.

Most Memorable Moment


The clown hosting the Theater of the Absurd...no shortage of energy! The Theater of the Absurd was a VERY pleasant surprise after checking out the Theater of Lost Souls.

While touring the Theater of Lost Souls someone in our group jokingly asked one of the actors if she was cold. Her reply: "I'm dead...how could be I be cold?" Very funny! :)

Summary

If you're looking for a unique and fun Halloween experience checkout the Theater of the Absurd. Adults will enjoy it and kids will certainly love it!

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

Burial Chamber Haunted House Complex

by HocusPocus (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 16, 2009 at about 3 p.m.

Fun Factor: Medium Fear Factor: Very High

Review

On the scare factor scale, Burial Chamber is totally off the charts!! I've been to 8 haunts this year and this is by far the scariest one...or should I say two? Burial chamber is actually a mega complex of haunted / scary attractions. Due to time constraints I only checked out the two indoor haunts, Adrenalin and Insanity. Both of these attractions were similar but offered a unique experience unlike the other haunts I've been to this year. Rather than parade you through a series of rooms that feature a variety of themes and skits, Burial Chamber's haunts are comprised of a complex maze of dimly lit hall ways and rooms, all with a consistent theme. Acting appeared to be at minimum (especially in Insanity) and was usually limited to a quick entrance from out of nowhere in an attempt to scare you and then a quick disappearance into the shadows....a very effective tactic to scare you regardless of where you might be positioned in your group.



As much as I loved the scare factor of Burial chamber I must admit the mandatory group size disappointed me. Groups were sized as close to 10 as possible. Given the extremely long lines I can totally understand why groups are sized so large. While the maze of hallways provided great scares for everyone in our group, and could certainly entertain the large group size, many of the rooms struggled to accommodate the size of our entire group. To make matters worse at the end of Insanity the group behind us caught us which resulted in a group size of nearly 20. Due to confusion in traversing a circular maze at this point and the unfortunate actor who had no way of knowing where one group ended and the next started a third group actually caught us....quite the mess.



IF you don't like standing in long lines while being exposed to the weather elements I would strongly recommend the VIP pass. The VIP admission allows you to skip everyone who hasn't purchased it. It does not, however, limit your group size or guarantee that you'll be able to enter immediately.

Signage / Visibility / Location


Very easy to find as its just minutes from Hwy 41. The sheer size of this complex combined with several parking attendants flagging you into the parking lot make it nearly impossible to miss this place.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


Come dressed for the elements as the wait lines for Adrenalin and Insanity are both outside. Two large screens along the waiting line along with a few costumed actors help to build your anticipation. There's also a snack wagon parked out back to help satisfy your cravings for munchies.

Actors' Performance


The actors were very skilled at providing quick and unexpected scares. Nothing noteworthy in terms of an academy award type performance...but in their defense these haunts weren't designed to provide an opportunity for a theatrical display. Occasionally the actors would flash a performance that may creep you out.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


Brilliant use of shadows and dimly lit rooms to maximize scare and creep factor. Not the most elaborate set designs I've seen this year but very effective in immersing you into the theme of the haunt. Enjoyed some of the unique concepts and special effects...particularly the cleverly laid out lab maze in Adrenalin.

Length


Took our group 18 minutes to complete Adrenalin. Insanity may have been a bit shorter but the merging of groups towards the end led to a complete standstill for a few minutes.

Crowd Control


Waiting lines for both Adrenalin and Insanity were clearly marked off along with the separate VIP lines. With the VIP passes we didn't wait more than 10 minutes to enter the haunt.

Most Memorable Moment


Several great scares....but I won't give any of them away here. Really enjoyed the lab maze in Adrenalin....unique, clever and fun!

Summary

If you're looking for a good scare you'll be hard pressed to find a haunt that does it better than Burial Chamber. Of all the haunts I've been to this year this one is off the scare factor charts!

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

House of Bathory (CLOSED)

by dirkadirka (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 17, 2009 at about 4:30 p.m.

Fun Factor: High Fear Factor: Medium

Review

Dead by Dawn Productions has surprised haunt-goers for years.  The reason for that reaction is not the scares, although there are plenty of those.   Instead, it is the unique take on “traditional haunted houses” that makes House of Bathory stand apart.   It feels as though monsters actually live in the sets they inhabit rather than just visiting for the haunting season.   They also take harmless themes and spin them around with demented glee until they are either funny, scary, or both.


Signage / Visibility / Location


The haunt is located behind a costume shop on South 8th Street in downtown Manitowoc.  I stupidly forgot my directions and cursed Manitowoc’s layout and one-ways, but it shouldn’t have been that hard.  Flashing lights and music from the entrance make the location obvious once you are close.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


Lines are miserable under almost any circumstances.  If you are over 21, I would highly recommend buying your ticket and relocating to the Fat Seagull down the block until your number gets called.  Otherwise you are stuck waiting on the street in the cold.  We enjoyed a cozy bar and a beer while listening to live music.  Pretty sweet.

Actors' Performance


The acting in House of Bathory was somewhat spotty.  For every amazing Ronald McDonald and Michael Jackson there were at least as many ghouls who basically stood motionless and stared at you.  This may have been partly due to the number of young children staffing the haunt on our visit. 

Unlike most other haunts, touching is allowed by the monsters.  While surprising, it is not overdone and only helps make the experience more real.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


The House of Bathory has four essential haunt elements while most are happy to have one: a slide, claustrophobic room, vortex tunnel, and chainsaws.  Combine this with sets that range from funny to disturbing, or sometimes both, and it adds up to a very unique attraction.  However, some of the scenes are pretty similar to last year and it would have been nice to see more ghouls in makeup instead of masks. Several rooms could have been filled out more making it easier to understand the intended theme.

Length


It took us 15 minutes.  I wish it had been longer but I am guessing they are already squeezing the most out of the space they have.  Victims navigate through three floors and an outside scene before being released back into reality.

Crowd Control


The staff at the House of Bathory makes pacing a top priority.  Group sizes are small and spaced out with plenty of room in between.  This makes the customer experience better but also helps the actors reset and relax before another crowd comes marching through.  Many other haunted houses have great scenes and scares that miss the mark because the timing is off.  Nothing breaks the mood more than having to wait for the group in front of you to leave a room.

Most Memorable Moment


One room had me pretty worried.  My buddy said he figured it out right away, so maybe I was just too far back in the group.  It was pretty genius either way.  I’ll leave it at that.

Summary

Based on past years, the House of Bathory has set the bar high for itself.   A few minor details kept it from being an A+, but overall I thought it once again delivered a very unique and entertaining experience.

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

House of Bathory (CLOSED)

by x0char0x (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 17, 2009 at about 2 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: Very High

Review

House of Bathory is definitely an old school kind of haunt. Unlike most haunts, they don't use animated creatures to scare you. Their actors do an amazing job at scaring you and just leave you wondering what is waiting for you around the next corner. In every scene there is something that will surprise you. Being a smaller haunt, they definitely use their space very well. Every inch is covered in creepy and erie scares. They also touch you in this haunt which I love. Walking through a dark hallway and all of a sudden you feel someone touch your shoulder just sends chills throughout your entire body because you know you aren't alone and who knows what will get you.

Signage / Visibility / Location


The location of this haunt is very easy to find. They have signs all over the windows of the store its located in.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


The wait area for this haunt is outside. There is an awning over it in case of rain. They also have music playing to listen to while you wait. They also have something new this year where you can buy your ticket and wait at the bar across the street if you are over the age of 21 and when its your turn they call the bar for you to come over.

Actors' Performance


The actors are just absolutely amazing. They know exactly what to do. They are lurking around every corner and you just never know where there will be one.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


The scenes in this haunt are very unique. This is a haunt that actually puts creativity into everything they do. There are scenes in this haunt I've never seen in any other haunt.

Length


The length of this haunt is about 20 minutes to walk through the entire thing. But every minute of it you are being scared.

Summary

Overall, this haunt is definitely the best I have ever seen. I would recommend this is anyone 16 and over.

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

Dominion of Terror

by dirkadirka (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 17, 2009 at about 3:30 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: Very High

Review

Always in my top three, this year Dominion of Terror is my favorite haunt in Wisconsin.   This non-profit event never repeats rooms and always has expert set design/construction.  What surprised me this year was the scare factor.   This is easily the most difficult aspect of a haunt to review because there are so many variables that can change an already subjective experience.
  
I was forced to go first and got the initial glance at each room.  Several times I groaned and sincerely dreaded uncovering what horror lay within.  In the worst rooms, (or best depending on how you look at it), we would all get an initial scare, then become disoriented, then frantically look for an exit which was never obvious.  It may sound strange, but this required team work by a group of strangers and there was a sense of relief every time we made it out together.
   
There is a difference between being scared and being fearful.  Big noises, surprises, and shocking gore may scare you, but being terrified requires a human element that monsters and props can’t deliver.  Dominion of Terror was terrifying to me because the actors got in my head and clouded the part of my brain that says, “This isn’t real, just have fun.”  Unfortunately, I can’t guarantee that anyone else will have the same experience as me, but in my case it worked.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


Day or night, rain or shine, Halloween or not, this hundred year old
warehouse is creepy and the outdoor waiting area sets up the terror to
come perfectly.   From the hearse to the lights flashing through
boarded up windows, the whole scene is appropriately ominous and heavy
metal music does nothing to cover up the roar of a chainsaw that awaits
your group.  Two mental patients roved the snaking line and
relentlessly scared a group of young girls.  Their fake screams turned
very real when they accompanied my buddy and I through the haunt.

Actors' Performance


The sheer number of actors made all the scares more successful.  This allowed these ghouls to come at intruders in waves and keep anybody from getting complacent.  They employed startling, screaming, running, dialogue, moaning, misdirection, chainsaws, you name it.  At one point my friend got separated from our group and the morbid janitor whispered to him, “It’s just you and me now.”  The gate-keeper that greeted us at the entrance to the graveyard unsettled our entire group and set the tone for the rest of the haunt.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


Dominion of Terror has a unique way of continuing themes for three or four rooms before transitioning to the next idea.  The school setting was great, but the torture rooms are truly haunting.  We felt sympathy for all the victims and the image of one particular girl with a leg injury will remain burned in my brain.

The attention to detail is fantastic in every room.  This is also true for all actors.  I did not see a single store-bought mask and the gory makeup is almost nauseating, in a good way.

Length


Time stretches depending on how scared you are.  It took us 25 minutes, but seemed to go on forever and a tiny part of me was relieved to be finished.  No comedic or “pop culture” rooms broke up the action and the feeling of being in a horror movie persisted from beginning to end.

Crowd Control


Very good pacing.  We bolted through several rooms trying to get out as quick as possible and still did not run into the group ahead of us until halfway finished.  Some nifty misdirection by an actor allowed us to pass them and we never saw the poor souls again.

Most Memorable Moment


Of all the great actors, my favorite was the zombie in the graveyard.  He nailed his performance and should try out for the next George Romero:  ___-of the Dead movie.

Summary

I can’t guarantee you will be as scared as I was, but the $12 admission goes to a good cause.  The length is above average, the setting is above average, the scenes are above average, and in my opinion the actors are above average.  Might as well go find out for yourself, no?

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

Hubertus House of Horror

by Dr Caligari (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 16, 2009 at about 3:30 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: Medium

Review

In the small town of Hubertus, there is something unsettling finding it's way into an old abandoned house in the middle of town. You are given a ride to this house and you are given the chance to tour it.



Undoubtably one of the older haunted houses in this area, this house again gives a stellar performance. Those who lurk within it are veteran ghouls and goblins (also don't forget the clowns....did I just hear laughter behind me?!). The attraction that they put together could be one of the best that I have seen them have.



One of the neatest things about the experiance is the building itself. It is a genuine old house. It adds a touch of authenticity that you can't build into a set. It a particularly notable example of this, one of the members of my group got all freaked out when he noticed that the spider webs on the stairs going down to the basement were real and not fake.



Once in the basement, you get all the authentic smell of damp earth and mustiness that really does exist. This makes the scares in this area particularly poignant.



One thing of note: This year they have one of the best 3D areas I have ever seen in a haunted house. The basic reason for this is that they actually do a lot with it. I have been in a number of haunted houses where a 3D area is just a little walk through their little 3D world. In this haunted house, there are actually some good solid scares that are hidden in the area. The 3D actually augments it and is not just a distraction.



The only problem with the scene is that it left many in our group wondering when we were supposed to take the glasses off. If you go, don't worry about this, they will collect the glasses when you are done. Just enjoy.

Signage / Visibility / Location


Hubertus itself can be hard to find, but if you can find Hubertus, it is easy to find the haunted house. Their signage is good, but all you have to do is look for the direction everybody in town seems to be headed.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


They have a nice waiting area. It's in a school gym and it provides for plenty area for one to wait while waiting for the house. The wait time the night I went seemed to be around 45 minutes, but expect that it will get longer in the 2 weekends immediatly prior to Halloween. Don't worry about the wait, though, as you have plenty of arcade games and even an old horror movie being projected onto a screen in the back of the gym.

Actors' Performance


There were many spirited actors in the haunted house this year, as always. They were energetic and enjoyable. This haunted house thrives on getting a mixture of extreme scares, macabre humor, and shock. The actors here do not hesitate in getting in your face and often times flow as part of the group.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


Though not the most elaborate haunted house as far as style, but the effects they use are ahead of the game. There is a lot of computer generated imagery and quite a large retinue of animatronics. They also have a large quantity of interactive scares. The only problem with this, though, is that it should be seamlessly be integrated into the scenes. This is a chronic issue with almost all the haunted houses this year. If it isn't seamless, it should be placed in the background, it shouldn't be the focal point for a scene. That being said, they are ahead of the game on integrating some effects into their haunted house. I think it is really neat and can't wait to see what they have next year.

Length


It is a relatively average length haunted house, but they pack a lot into that time. Their is a lot of time given for interaction, which makes the haunted house seem much longer than it really must be.

Crowd Control


It wasn't hugely crowded the night I went. I didn't see any issues with the crowds at the event.

Most Memorable Moment


Unseen dogs can be really scary!

Summary

Overall, a good, creative haunted house. They utilize a lot of different methods to frighten you. They have simply the best 3D work I have seen in any haunted house. Definitly a solid performing haunted house

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

The Wisconsin Fear Grounds

by CC2 (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 16, 2009 at about 2 p.m.

Fun Factor: High Fear Factor: High

Review

This reviewer had never attended this event before, however, had heard good things about it and the producers of this project did not disappoint.



If attending all three attractions, the order of progression of what you will see is Morgan Manor, Morgana's Torment and Unstable.



Morgan Manor is a fairly elaborate house featuring a walk through a library, wine cellar and various other rooms full of actors waiting to meet you. Conditions are dim and hazy, but one can make out the dimentions of the rooms and see most of the actors approaching.



Morgana's Torment is essentially a series of darkened mazes to negotiate that involve passing through several inflated air bag enclosures and a hallway with a lazer light effect. You will hear from actors, but they tend not to appear.



Unstable is a walk through various stables, tool sheds, slaughterhouse/smokehouse where you will come upon actors working at their various crafts who become annoyed at your presence and make that known to you.

Signage / Visibility / Location


Once you get to the Waukesha Co. fairgrounds, it is simple to find your way to the well lit main entrance. The haunts are at the extreme North end of the parking lot. Signage is posted along the fencelines of the fairgrounds and they were not lit. There are no signs to the event from the highway, so you must first know your way to the fairgrounds to locate the event.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


The initial wait places you in several lines seperated by snow fence and you are then moved to horse pens to await your call into the attractions. The waiting areas are covered, but chilly. Dress accordingly.

While you wait, expect to be visited by actors who will enter your pen through the gate or climb over the walls to greet you. Their presence and interaction help to pass the time time as you wait to be called to the houses.

Closed circuit TV shows tape delay footage of people going through the attraction prior to when you are led to the horse pens.

Actors' Performance


The actors throughout this attraction gave a very, very invested presentation, bordering on over the top. Morgan Manor was extremely well staffed with actors who approach you on foot and on all fours. Beware.

If you find yourself disoriented while negotiating the exhibits in Morgan Manor or Unstable, follow the actors who will subtly direct you to the exit of the various rooms, etc.

During my visit, I was well impressed with the investment the actors took in trying to startle and engage the visitors. Comparivitely, this was a strength of this haunt.

Look out for actors approaching you on foot, on all fours and even occasionally from above.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


Morgan Manor is well appointed with props, however, is dimly lit so it is sometimes difficult to appreciate the details. Clearly, great effort was put into the decoration of this haunt, however.

Morgana's Torment is reliant on maze strategies and is lightly staffed. The maze effects of Morgana are a diversification from typical haunts, however.

Unstable is also well stocked with table top and hanging props that the actors are using to enhance their performances.

Length


Morgan Manor took approximately 15 to 20 minutes to complete and my party attempted to walk at a slow pace.

Morgana's Torment was completed in about 10 minutes and would be somewhat disorienting to those unfamiliar with how to address inflatable bag tunnels. It is lightly staffed and reliant upon dark maze negotiations and sensory deprivation.

Unstable took about 15 minutes to complete and is a fairly open air concept attraction in a barn, thus is easier to follow if one looks up for perspective when confused/disoriented.

Crowd Control


The crowd was light during my visit, however, there were more than adequate staff to route visitors and there was a police presence of at least three officers.

There are staff in-between each of the three attractions to route and organize guests and there are also portable toilet facilites available along the way, which is a well thought out convenience.

Most Memorable Moment


Morgan Manor, in general, stood out as the star of the three exhibits during my visit. It was overflowing with engaging actors bent on trying to interact and startle. The home is full of props to attempt to give it the feel of an old manor home and the designers were successful at approximating that. During your visit, you will have cause to walk through a smoldering fireplace, which was an imaginitive twist. You are also greeted with an eerily lit fountain while approaching the entrance to Morgan Manor, which sets the table for what you are about to experience.

Summary

The Wisconsin Fear Grounds is a very well done and polished event. It offers three options at one location to entice its guests. The amount of actors and their investment in their performances make this a memorable and recommended experience.

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

Schuster's Haunted Forest

by louiscyphre (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 17, 2009 at about 4 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: Very High

Review

Cool with a capital "K," and that stands for "Kick Ass," loyal reader.  Schuster's It's-Not-Playtime-After-Dark (tm) Haunted Forest is a first-class outdoor haunt that clearly a lot of time and creativity goes into.  From the moment you get to the front of the line and are carted off in a rickety tractor-pulled cattle pen driven by a trembling and crazy "old lady" in a babushka and housedress, to when you finally emerge from the woods and find yourself unexpectedly back in the very same cattle pen and it whisks you off again (!), this place never lets up.  Terrific ghouls, mega-misdirections, and unexpected surprises and scenes, and over it all the oppressive incredibly dark forest setting, all adding up to a most enjoyably harrowing evening.  I could usually give a sh** about spoilers in haunts, but they asked us specifically not to reveal too much, so I'm kind of constrained in illustrating how cool this haunt really is, but, boy, this is one excellent haunt, boys and ghouls. 

Signage / Visibility / Location


Right there on the main highway (12/18? I wasn't the one driving), all lit up and beckoning you in, follow directions from haunted wisconsin.  Pretty close to Madison.  Park on the lawn near the corn maze, it's a little confusing driving up to the farm, I think we had to kind of circle around something as we left the highway, but it's really quite easy to find. 

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


We had to wait for a while, maybe 25 minutes, because the cattle pen/transport cart broke down while we were there and they had to weld it back together or something (!).  When we got on, we found a hole punched out of the mesh, perhaps someone panicked, heh heh heh, or maybe something tried to get in....  We also heard in the line that someone had a heart attack in the haunt, but couldn't get this confirmed.  Wait wasn't too awful, though, there's lots of stuff to do; snacks and hot cider and hot kettle korn are sold at either a little trailer or a tent or by people wandering around like the little cigarette girls from the olden times.  They also have what looked like a small bakery on premises (!) in the main outbuilding, where they sell little crafts and homemade fudge and cookies.  Wait is alongside the building, and they projected the first Children of the Corn movie on a shed wall while we were waiting, so that was pretty cool; that's not as impressive a movie as when it first came out, by the way.  No ghouls really roamed around while we were there, but that was fine, I think they saved them all for the forest. 

Actors' Performance


Some really cool characters and actually some little scenes for you to watch, sprinkled out amongst the usual ghouls-emerging-from-unlikely-hiding-places.  Tip of the scalp to the "little old lady" who drives your cattle pen at breakneck speed down to the forest and her trembling "little old lady" voice and patter ("and if you're pregnant, well, now, you probably shouldn't have come here anyway") and there's a terrible accident in the middle of the forest but someone called the wrong kind of cop...And, I have to say, they must have some kind of first class training program for teaching some of these ghouls to motionlessly mimic mannequins, because we got to the point where we were all mixed up and thinking mannequins were ghouls and about to jump out at us and then a ghoul would arise from some other area and everyone would start screaming, etc etc I assume you know the drill.  There are some other actors (and pairs of actors) I'd like to highlight here, but don't want to give anything away, so, find out for yourselves!

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


Some really great ideas and sets and excellent use of the wonderfully creepy night-time forest setting, some creative people are obviously involved here.  There are little vignettes in some locations, numerous small buildings to make your way through, and even a weird junkyard.  They also do things like attack your sense of smell at one point, which makes things even more disconcerting.  Again, I don't want to give too much away, so won't go into any further detail...except to say there is an abandoned bus.  And there are clowns.  Enjoy!

Oh, and I should add that there is one compression scene here in which even I, after all my years of going to haunted houses, started to feel claustrophobic and vulnerable.

Length


Took us more than an hour to get through; you first wait in line to get on the cattle pen, and then they drive you out into the freaking middle of nowhere.  I'm not kidding, there was no light, no sense of civilization, nothing; we weren't even sure where the farm or road were compared to our location.  Anyways, you're dumped off at the edge of a forest all by yourselves and have to find your way up a forest path in the pitch black, until you run into a slanted cabin, all lit up by a torch, where you wait to be sorted into groups and get let into the haunt proper.  This is totally cool -- there are no directions here, you just have to find your way up to the cabin and get in line.  Let me tell you, there's nothing like waiting in a pitch black forest with some thing wandering in the woods around you but never really revealing itself. 

Crowd Control


As above, two waits; you can watch movies during the first wait, and you just have to hope you're not attacked during the second wait in the cold dark of the endless forest with the shivery stars shining down on you as you catch glimpses of the fire-lit cabin up the hill there, right past that grim reaper statue....Also, an excellently-paced haunt, we never ran into another group. 

Most Memorable Moment


1)  One rambunctious companion wandered off the trail in the forest and apparently surprised a ghoul who was "tinkling," with said ghoul literally chasing him down the path and then following us menacingly for the rest of the haunt.  We weren't sure if he was actually upset or just really intimidatingly into his character.  These bitches don't mess around, folks. 
2)  Best. Vortex. Ever.  Seriously.

Summary

This is one of those experiences in which the seasoned members of our group were really excited and energized when we left the haunt; lots of thrills and chills, and you really felt like you had been through something exciting and impressive.  Excellent characterizations and scenes at different points, terrific and creative strategies for freaking out the squares, and overall a real sense of menace and darkness and being kind of lost and out there on your own in the middle of the woods where someone might have had a heart attack earlier that night...or maybe something came through the mesh of that cattle pen cart and dragged them away....  Highly recommended. 

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

The Haunted Barn Stoughton - CLOSED

by louiscyphre (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 17, 2009 at about 2 p.m.

Fun Factor: High Fear Factor: High

Review

Another nicely scary working-farm haunt, The Haunted Barn consists of a trek through a haunted barn (ironic, no?) and "Blood Shed," followed by a night-time hike through some spooky fields, up and down a moonlit hill, and then over a spooky rutted path.  It's a good home-grown haunt, not all overly-fancied-up like the more corporate haunted houses out there, and there are some cool scenes and good characterizations.  The ghouls interact and threaten well at times and it has a really nice sense of place and atmosphere, with the stars stretching out above you, and with all the autumnal smells and night time sounds of a rural farm in October.  Unfortunately, the final leg of the haunt might need a few more scares, as we found ourselves wandering around a little too much and hoping for something further to happen a little too much.   Still, a good haunt fer yer money and definitely worth the trip from Madison. 

Signage / Visibility / Location


Very easy to find, just follow directions on Haunted Wisconsin (that's hauntedwisconsin.com, its on the internets, oh, wait, you're probably there right now), there's a big lighted sign pointing you toward the working farm on some rolling hills.  You park on the lawn, which looks like it might get out of hand sometimes, so pick a spot on the outskirts where you can get out easily; we saw some cars almost parked in even at such an early hour, I dunno, maybe that's part of the terror. 

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


We got there very early and really had no wait, but by the time we left, a bit after 8 PM, there was a huge line, so get there early.  There were some ghouls harassing the crowd (let us praise an excellent Beetlejuice, whom one does not see very often amongst the Freddys and Jasons and Leatherfaces out there in this crazy topsy-turvy haunted-house world of ours), and there are a number of snacks'y things to purchase to keep your spookin' energy up.  It's again on a real farm, so there are outbuildings to wander around and there's a pretty cool little giftshop trailer with lots of black-lit halloween/horror-themed stuff going on.  There's also a big lit-up tent with picnic tables, which was a good place to rest with the group, quickly hash over the haunt, and enjoy the screams of other patrons gently cascading down the hill. 

Actors' Performance


Quite good.  The aformentioned Beetlejuice popped in and out of the haunt, doing a pretty dead-on Michael Keaton, and there are several scenes where the actors really act like they mean it; shout-outs to the little girl in the nursery who apparently is of two minds about what she wants you to do with her doll, and the most excellent little vampire girl toward the beginning, who forced one part of our group to engage in a twisted game of Simon Says.  There were also evil children who yelled at you from inside an abandoned schoolbus; yes, that's right, evil children on an abandoned schoolbus, but we weren't sure if they were supposed to be there or were other patrons' nasty little kids, so basically, hat's off to the nasty kids, whoever you may belong to.  Oh, and you end up at Camp Crystal Lake at one point and don't make any assumptions....

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


This haunt set up some of its scenes quite well; there are some interestingly-developed little vignettes which depend on characters, such as the little girl in the f***'ed-up nursery, which always adds a little sumthin' sumthin', and the natural setting of the farm at night, and walking around through fields and up and down hills, is suitably atmospheric.  Had some good props, really loved Camp Crystal Lake and it's misdirection.  Did think that the Blood Shed lacked a little in the creativity department and seemed a little sparse, at least when we were there, which again, was the very beginning of the night.  Apparently another part of our group heard some kids calling out in the Blood Shed that they wanted daddy to get them dinner and they wanted "people meat" tonight, so maybe there was more going on in there than I saw in my group. 

Length


Three different areas with no waiting in between:  the haunted barn proper, then the "Blood Shed" and its outdoor accoutrements, and then a hike up a haunted hill, through a graveyard and back down again through a spooky field.  Took us about 45 minutes, a real value for your dollah. 

Crowd Control


As stated before, there are multiple waiting areas and stuff to distract you patrons while you wait.  You purchase yer tickets and you takes yer chances and then you wait to get in.  Groups were spaced out well throughout the haunt, we never ran into another group, and there are some cool moments outside when you see other groups wandering around and can wait and watch them get freaked out by the scares you know are almost right upon them....

Most Memorable Moment


1)  Camp Crystal Lake and that pneumatic Jason prop. 
2)  Simon Says with the one little vampire girl.  

Summary

A good haunted-house value for your eight bucks -- an enjoyable haunt and a great "cold night on a spooky farm" experience, but not as kick-ass as it could be, as it ends with a whimper, not a bang.  They might be stretched a little thin or something; the haunted barn and overall setting are quite cool and there are some excellent characters and interactions with ghouls, but, at least in my experience, the "Brand New for 2009 Blood Shed" seemed a little underwhelming, and the haunted hill/field/forest area a little lacking in the scenes.  It might be that we were there very early, and perhaps some of the ghouls had not had their din-din yet or were delayed otherwise, I suppose time management can be an issue when one is slaughtering and spooking and terrorizing all day.  We may also have missed some stuff in the Blood Shed, as other people in another group seemed to have seen (or heard) more.  Whatever the case, the wonderful setting itself really seals the deal, and it's pretty much an evening's worth of entertainment and then some.  Recommended. 

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Gilly's Haunted House

by katie_kiesow13 (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 16, 2009 at about 5 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: Low

Review

Gilly's Haunted House is a great find for the Halloween season! It was certainly not the most scary of haunted houses I have experienced this year, but it was definitely one of the most entertaining and fun. We had a blast. The actors really got into their characters and provided an entire experience throughout the house. It was a full themed haunt - not just several scary ideas streamed together for the sake of the scare. I was not scared by much throughout the house, but we enjoyed a couple of jumps here and there. One actor really got me as we were exiting the "freak show" - she told me (in character, of course) that I looked just like the woman her husband left her for and threatened to kill me, too! Creepy. Quite a few of the rooms were unique and interesting. The maze where you need ot find the right exit, the coffin, the room of mirrors, and of course the "boat ride" right at the beginning.

***Warning - just want to give anyone visiting this haunt this year a head's up - they use fog machines to the extreme. I actually couldn't breathe and felt like I needed an inhaler when I left because the fog was so intense throughout the entire haunt, though the first room (boat ride) is the most intense. If these fog machines bother you, I'd be wary to visit this haunt.***

Signage / Visibility / Location


Very easy to find - takes up almost the entire block. It shares space with a flower shop, so look for greenhouses. Using my GPS I found it with no problem whatsoever.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


There were a few actors outside, most of them not in character, however. We didn't have to wait very long, maybe twenty minutes to get into the house. There was a covered waiting area, but no concessions or warmth - so dress appropriately!

Actors' Performance


Overall, each and every one of the actors in this house did an excellent job. They all stayed in character - and each character had a story and a point and a purpose. It was fantastic. A+ all around to the actors at this haunt!!

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


For the most part there wasn't a lot of intricate sets at this haunt, but they fulfilled their purpose. They provided a background for the actors to play - that's where the true talent is.

(As aforementioned - fog machines are used a great deal so beware if these machines bother you)

Length


It took about 20 minutes to get through the whole haunt - could go faster or slower depending on how fast you run away from everything...

Crowd Control


There wasn't any crowd to control while we were there. But we never ran into anyone nor did anyone run into our group, so all was well.

Most Memorable Moment


The actor in the hallway before the last room (clown) as well as the actor in the last room (with the syringe) were fantastic. The doctor asked us for our names and we gave them unwillingly and the actor in the hallway acted a little like a mental patient and said "and I'm Doris..." He was fantastic. And the doctor guy followed us out of the house asking all sorts of silly questions. It was definitely memorable.

Summary

To sum up quickly - a great haunt if you enjoy a good time but don't necessarily need to get scared. It's a lot of fun, but not scary. We laughed through most of the house because it was so entertaining and the actor interaction is phenomenal.

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

Burial Chamber Haunted House Complex

by x0char0x (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 17, 2009 at about 4 p.m.

Fun Factor: High Fear Factor: High

Review

Burial Chamber is a haunt composed of four different haunts in one place. Adrenaline was the first haunt I went through. As you entered it gave you the creepy feeling of not knowing what was coming up next. The actors were great and the scenes were awesome. After I left that, I headed to Phobia Haunted Woods. There is just something about walking in the woods in the dark not knowing where you are going that just scares me. They did an excellent job at hiding actors throughout the woods and making sure you hear their footsteps and not knowing who or what they are. After Phobia, I went through Insanity. The little boy that went through with my group couldn't put it any better, "This is just insane." They did a good combination of dark mazes as well as turning the corner into some insane scene. When you exited that, you entered the burial simulation area. I didn't try this out because I've done it in the past, but my boyfriend decided to give it a shot. He told me it was a very weird experience that people need to try. Just climbing into a coffin is enough of a scare.

Signage / Visibility / Location


The location for this haunt is very easy to find. It is right off the highway and you can't miss it with the spot lights and hearse parked out front.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


The wait for these haunts were extremely long. They did have actors lurking around the lines and they also had a giant screen set up with music videos playing to keep you entertained.

Actors' Performance


The actor's did an excellent job. They were right on target with their scares and knew exactly what to do.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


The scenes were awesome. However, they didn't have the hairstylist scene that they had in years past, but besides that they were set up pretty well. Phobia could use a few lighted areas with scenes it but it was still a good haunt.

Length


I would say they were each about 15-20 minutes long depending on how fast you go through them.

Crowd Control


Burial Chamber did a good job on crowd control with adrenaline and phobia. However, when it came to Insanity we ended up with a huge line forming when we ran into another group and then another group ran into us.

Most Memorable Moment


My most memorable moment was the little boy and his dad who went through with my boyfriend and I. He kept saying I'm going to be 12 I can't be scared and then after every corner he was terrified.

Summary

Overall, I would recommend this haunt to anyone over the age of 15. Its a very in your face type of haunt.

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

House of Bathory (CLOSED)

by majorXpsycho (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 17, 2009 at about 2 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: Very High

Review

The House of Bathory is brilliant, twisted, and frightening! Every year Dead by Dawn finds a unique way to promote nightmares. The House of Bathory actually made me turn around in fear. The detail throughout the haunt is amazing. There no use of animatronics and there is NO "dead time". The House of Bathory makes you feel as if you are in a horror movie. They push the limits. The ONLY bad thing I have to say about this haunt is that I wish it could be longer! If I had to pick only one haunted house to go to, it would be The House of Bathory.

Signage / Visibility / Location


They are located downtown Manitowoc, right off of 8th street. Be careful there is some construction and 8th street is one way.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


There is music for entertainment, but no concessions and make sure you use the bathroom before you come. You have to wait outside, but if it is raining there is a large awning to protect those waiting in line.

Actors' Performance


Actors are brilliant, they are of all different ages and they LOVE to scare. I believe the age range is 12 - 40.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


The sets were very detailed and very real it never felt "staged". This haunt will have you on your hands and knees AND on your back. They know which props scare and they use them very effectively!

Length


The haunt took us 21 minutes to go through.

Crowd Control


Crowd control was amazing, they don't force you to go with other obnoxious groups and you never have to worry about running into other groups once inside. It may mean a longer wait in line outside, but they make sure that every group that goes through gets the full experience. There are never any "unprepared" ghouls trying to run back to their hiding place before the next group comes, they are waiting for you!

Most Memorable Moment


I can't say without giving it away! They "got" me and my husband. Those of you who go through will know what I mean!

Summary

The House of Bathory IS fear! I wouldn't recommend this haunt to anyone under 13. 5+ for Fear, 4+ for fun (you don't come to this haunt for candied apples and hot cider, you come to be frightened).

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

Lister F/X Presents Monster Mayhem Haunted Laser Tag (CLOSED)

by x0char0x (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 16, 2009 at about 3:30 p.m.

Fun Factor: High Fear Factor: Medium

Review

This was my first visit to Monster Mayhem, and let me tell you they blew me away. I was expecting some small little haunt that wouldn't have many actors. However, that was the complete opposite. From the beginning, they had it set to give you a creepy feeling. Once in the house, they definitely followed through with their theme. It was like being in a secret underground workshop for the government, but you were definitely not supposed to be there. It was very different but very good.

Signage / Visibility / Location


The location for this is very easy to find. Its right inside Paulo's Pizza. They have a sign hanging from the Paulo's sign which is a little hard to see but if you look for Paulos you won't have a problem.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


The wait area is right inside of a restaurant/pub, so while you're waiting you can have a pizza or a drink. When it is your turn they take you through the back and make you wait in their erie hallway but make sure you watch out for the zombie on the stairs!

Actors' Performance


The actors did an extremely good job at staying in character. They were always right on target with their scares and lines. They definitely made it feel intense.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


Very good job at their scenes and props especially their "monster" in the haunt.

Length


It took about 15 minutes to walk through the entire haunt.

Crowd Control


They do a very good job at sending groups in without running into other groups. They have someone in each scene who keeps you occupied so that doesn't happen.

Summary

Overall, this was a very organized and put together haunt. I loved it. I would recommend this to anyone 12 and older.

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

The Wisconsin Fear Grounds

by earthangel129 (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 9, 2009 at about 3 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: Very High

Review

Arrival to the haunt was effortless, all the directions were excellent and we made it there quickly.  Once there, make sure that you follow the smaller signs to the correct parking area, because there are more than one parking areas and we originally ended up in the wrong one.  Not the haunts fault, we did not follow the signs, we just saw a bunch of people and followed them.  This would have been great if we wanted to attend the high school dance that was going on, but we ended up going back to the car and going to the correct area by following the signs.

Once there it is very easily labeled, there is a ticket area, concessions, and bathrooms all right away when you walk up.  They have a cool hearse decorated in the parking lot.  We walked up to buy our tickets and were warmly greeted on a cool night.  We were given our wristbands and some instructions on how it will work and we were on our way.

Once in line, the first wait was about 10 minutes and they have a television showing highlights of some of the best scares they have created.  You can watch several people so scared they fall over or grab onto one another.  It is pretty funny, but just because you watch the feed does not mean you will not jump at the same place-I did.  At the front of the line they take your group and lock you up in a horse pen.  There are ghouls walking around and popping up heckling you.  They let you out of your pen and into the first haunt, Morgan Manor.  This haunt is about 15 minutes long and full of props that are everywhere.  The details in this haunt are very impressive.  I love looking at all the different scenes.  The props and decorations are definitely the highlight of this haunt.  There are fewer actors in this haunt and it relies more on sounds and sights to create the eerie feelings.

Next, after what was really at most a five minute wait, we entered Morgana's Torment.  This was my favorite of the three houses.  It is pitch black and you can see nothing.  They have some great terrain effects like foam bags that you have to push through to get to the next room.  Really panic inducing for anyone who has claustrophobia.  There were several actors who called out from inside the darkness.  They also work to seperate your groups so you are isolated.  This totally freaked me out, to the point, where I was almost on the verge of tears.  Wow, tears-way to go!

Finally, when you finish Morgana's Torment you head to the newest of the Wisconsin Feargrounds attraction, Unstable.  While you are in line you are greeted by one of the greatest creatures I have seen so far.  He is approximately 10 ft tall and has horns and makes a baa noise.  It is hilarious.  Once inside you are subject to tons of live actors, most of them seemingly insane.  My favorite character was a chap who seemed to be part chicken and part man.  He had some of the funniest one liners I have heard all season and really got up in your face.

Overall, a great set-up, extremely fun, well executed, and definitely worth the trip!

Signage / Visibility / Location


Very easy to find.  Follow the directions and you will arrive directly at the fair grounds.  Once there make sure you do pay attention to the smaller signs that guide you to the correct parking lots because my friends and I were almost ready to attend a party of some type held in another building.  

Actors' Performance


Actors at this haunt are awesome, they are funny, scary, on-task, and in character.  One of my favorites was a guy that was dressed up like a chicken-man.  He was hilarious, in our faces, and all around entertaining.

Length


Approximately 15 minutes per haunt for a total of 45 minutes if you  choose to attend all three: Morgan Manor, Morgana's Tourment, and Unstable.

Crowd Control


Well controlled, there were police and several workers around to help out with any concerns.  There was also roped lines and rails to guide lines.

Most Memorable Moment


When my group was split apart from me and I started calling out to them in complete darkness and the actors heard one of my friends say my name.  Then all the actors started whispering my name and gathering around me, blocking the way towards my friends.  I will tell you honestly, I was feeling serious panic!  Great job!

Summary

This haunt is one you should not miss, I loved the intensity of Morgana's Torment, and the crazies in the all new Unstable.  Fun, Fun, Fun, and also frightening!

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

Mars Haunted House - CLOSED-

by earthangel129 (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 9, 2009 at about 5 p.m.

Fun Factor: High Fear Factor: High

Review

Once we arrived at the haunt, it was obvious we were there.  There was a huge hearst out in front that said Mars Haunted House on the side.  There were also multiple other signs around on the building.  The line was not too long and there were creatures waiting outside to greet us and entertain us while we waited.  The length of time we waited in line was only about 15 minutes total.  Pretty good considering the fact that the line is usually around the corner of the block!  When we went upstairs we were greeted by a ghoul and she brought us into a dark room.  In this first room we listened to a voice that spoke about the legend of the Mars House.  Once this was done, we were let in on our own and it was super dark.  The house was creepy with narrow hallways leading to each new room.  Some of my favorite rooms had a girl crawling around on the ground, and a room with a guy reciting a willy wonka speech in a creepy voice.  Overall, Mars was, as always, fun.  Screams and jumping came and went but we also laughed quite a bit at the actors.  Overall, I would say that if you live in the Milwaukee area, it is a must see.  It not only is right in the middle of town, but it also has a huge history and has been around for years, with people coming back year after year!

Length


Approximately 15-20 minutes without the wait time included.

Summary

Overall, I would say, if you love haunted houses than this one is as nostolgic as it gets.

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

Haunted Cornfield at Meadowbrook Pumpkin Farm

by earthangel129 (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 10, 2009 at about 6 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: Very High

Review

We got to the haunt in the same time the directions said.  Once we arrived we could easily spot the haunt.  There were quite a few people there for a night that was below freezing at times and because it was so late.  However, this did not suprise me, because I have gone every year for the past five and it is always has tons of people in attendance.  Once we got there we got in line and quickly got our wristbands.  We then looked around and saw some great decorations, the store, and concessions.  We headed toward the bonfire to listen to the creepy ghost stories being told.  We waited only about 15 min.  Then we got in line, the wait in line was another 15 min, but you have cute farm animals to visit with while in line. Then we were let in.  You are immeadiately met by a creepy surrounding that is very dark and full of cobwebs.  You follow a path that flows through the corn.  You come into contact with a lot of strobing lights that make your whole body feel like you are walking sideways and completely disorientates you.  Intermeadiately, you come across several animatronics and or live actors in the corn.  You will also visit several scenes that are extremely elaborative.  I love the pirate ship and the clown areas-really keeps you on your toes.  We made quite a few screams and even more jumps from the frights.  This place is always great and I highly recommend it.
Go now or as soon as you can!

Signage / Visibility / Location


If you follow the directions provided by the website or my google or yahoo maps.  It is very easy.  There are large signs and as soon as you are close you can see all the pumpkins and the bonfire!

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


Very organized.  They have lines running to buy tickets.  Once you get your tickets you are encouraged to look around at the props and pumpkins or even stop in the store.  After you have taken in the scenes, you can go sit by a super warm bonfire that has a storyteller, who tells spooky  ghost stories.

Actors' Performance


They were amazing.  It was late into a very cold night and I felt that they really had it together.  They were funny, scary, and on their marks.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


I go to Meadowbook every year and each year they never cease to top themselves.  Not only do they put a lot of hard work and love into their haunt, it shows through the entire time from beginning to end.  They have the best animatronics in the area-some are of such quality, I would guess they get their props from the same places hollywood movies do!  Great scenes and I love the fact that even though it is in a cold, sometimes wet, cornfield, they are still able to make all the props run, including the motion and weight sensored kinds.

Length


This is one of those haunts that does not let you down.  You have an easy 45 min to an hour once you enter the maze to enjoy all of the wonder that surrounds you.

Crowd Control


Once again, crowd control is great due to the lines set up and the fact that they have a number calling system which tells you when you can enter the maze.  This counter is located near the bonfire.  However, one cavet I would add is that for a night that had freezing temps and rain for several days before hand, it was a little less busy than I have seen it in past visits so the crowd was easier to control.  However, I have also been there when it was extremely busy and have never had a concern.

Most Memorable Moment


My favorite moment was when my group was just completely mezmerized by one of the new animatronic figures that moves, makes noises, and is just incredible.  I don't want to give it away but once you see it you will know.

Summary

Overall, I think this a great haunt.  I love going each and every year, knowing that I am going to be impressed all over again.  You want to go the Meadowbrook corn maze, don't miss out!

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

Hubertus House of Horror

by HocusPocus (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 9, 2009 at about 4 p.m.

Fun Factor: High Fear Factor: High

Review

If there were a granddaddy of Haunted Houses this one would probably be it. The Hubertus House of Horror has been coming back year after year for as long as I can remember. (what is it, 15, 20 years now?) The venue has always remained the same...a creepy lone standing house in what feels like the middle of nowhere. But if you attended this haunt last year and are worried about finding the same experience, don't be. There are some really cool new effects to go along with a few of the best sets from last year.



I particularly enjoyed some of the special effects this year. Yes some of them were carried over from prior years but there were also some outstanding new ones. If you attend several haunts as I do you'll find that many of them will have a room or two in common. In these instances I did feel that the Hubertus House pulled them off a bit better. (...perhaps the result of years of experience?)



As you may have noticed I didn't give this haunt top marks in either the fun factor or scare factor. None of these were deal breakers for me and I still strongly recommended this haunt for everyone. My rational behind the imperfect scores are based on the following:



* Group size of 8. We weren't given a choice in this matter. While I understand why they group so many people together it definitely distracts from your fun when you're stuck in the back as the scare is often times spoiled by the time you enter a room. Also, in a few of the rooms it was challenging to see/feel/hear the action that was taking place. ...this isn't the only haunt that tries to push as many people through as possible with each group. I often wonder, though, if the time spent cramming a large group through each room could be saved with a smaller group that can move through rooms easier.



* Every once in awhile you come across what I call "mystery sets". You walk into a room, wait awhile and then leave when nothing happens or something happens and you're not sure if you're supposed to run to the next set or wait for something more to happen. Our group encountered two such rooms during our tour.



* There are definitely sets that appear geared to provide a few scares...but for some reason our group found them to be more entertaining than scary. Not sure why. Perhaps due to set execution or perhaps due to the actors expecting a younger group?

Signage / Visibility / Location


This may not be the easiest haunt to find but if you're on the right road you really can't miss the lighted. Also, if you come across a mass of parked cars in what feels like the middle of nowhere you've probably found the right place.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


One of the best wait areas around! The Hubertus House leverages a school gymnasium to keep you warm, well fed and entertained while you wait. The concession stand was well stocked with sweets, popcorn, drinks and even burgers. Costumed actors also popped in occasionally to heighten your anticipation of what was to come.

Actors' Performance


A good mix of adult and young actors delivered solid performances. None of them totally freaked me out but they were still very entertaining. A few of them were good at adlibbing and allowed you to interact with them.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


Of all the haunts I've been to so far this year (6) this one featured some of the best special effects. Topping the list of unique special effect sets was a room that brought a cinematic sequence to life, one that provided the illusion of height complete with the echo of your voices, another that allowed you to feel the splatter of blood and even a set that provided a thrill ride with a flight simulator like experience. Also, if you really enjoy Vortex rooms (which are becoming quite common at haunts) I'd place the Vortex Room at this haunt at the top of the list.

Length


Approximately 15-20 minutes. Unfortunately I was so disorientated after the Vortex I completely forgot to stop my watch until I had regained my balance in the parking lot.

Crowd Control


Not sure what happened this year. Usually we have a very favorable experience at the Hubertus House which is especially remarkable considering the high attendance at this Haunt. This year was quite a bit more chaotic. The volunteers mentioned that they were trying something new. I sure hope they go back their original system.

This was our experience this year....As in the past we bought our tickets when the ticket stand opened at 6pm. We then assembled our group and returned at 9pm. Upon returning we were instructed that it was ok to get in line as our numbers had already been called. (There was only one line at this time.) After waiting awhile we noticed that a second line was forming. After inquiring, we were told that the second line was for those whose numbers were called off earlier in the evening. So we then got into this line. After awhile in this line a third group walked in and proceeded to form a third line. We then inquired about this line and were told that it was for those who purchased tickets prior to 7pm. At this point there really didn't seem to be any lines....just one mass of people inching towards the front and a bit confused. Their confusion was certainly understandable as not one announcement was made regarding the formation of the new lines or why the new lines were being allowed in front of the original line.

Most Memorable Moment


Still trying to figure out how they accomplished a few of their special effects...especially the echo room.

Summary

The granddaddy of haunted houses. Perhaps not the scariest haunted house around but a very solid performer year after year. Creative new sets and outstanding special effects make this an excellent haunt to attend.

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

Terror on Rural Street

by HocusPocus (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 9, 2009 at about 3 p.m.

Fun Factor: High Fear Factor: High

Review

Two elaborately dressed 15ft tall creatures greeted us as we approached the ticket window for this venue. Scary for some and very entertaining for others. The tone of this venue for me fell pretty much right in line with this encounter. For those who love to be ghoulishly entertained and occasionally surprised you'll be quite satisfied with this year's Terror on Rural Street.

Many of the of the other reviews that have been posted do a great job of hitting the highlights for this venue. I attended this haunt with 11 of my friends and everyone had a great time. The fun and scare ratings indicated on this review reflect the collective feedback I received from everyone.

Favorable Comments from the group included:

** It was great to see that many of the rooms have been changed from last year.
** The clowns really creeped me out!
** I had a blast hamming it up with the actors.
** That trick floor really freaked me out!
** Loved the grave yard & waterfall.
** Just when I thought we reached the end there was another room!
** One word...Vortex!
** the quick witted 15ft tall Frankenstein eloquently singing America the Beautiful stole the show!

Rather than to leave you wondering why Terror on Rural Street didn't receive a perfect score the following comments were made:

** Caught up to the group in front of us and then got caught by the group behind us.

** felt rushed as the group behind us frequently entered the room before the actors in our room were finished.

** Often times heard what was going on in the adjacent rooms.

** I was stuck in the back of my group of 6 the entire time and missed what was going on in a few of the rooms. I was particularly bummed to have missed the scare at the grave yard scene.

** was a little confused about when we should proceed to the next room as the actors continued to perform and did not provide any indication that they were trying to scare us away.

Signage / Visibility / Location


You can't miss this place as it's right off the main drag in downtown Hartford. Flashing signs point the way. 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


By far the best line entertainment around. A 15ft tall Frankenstein with a quick wit and an opera style singing voice....are you kidding me??? A heated waiting area with concessions is also a bonus.

Actors' Performance


We had a lot of fun interacting with the performers. Some may have been a bit young or inexperienced which may explain the pacing issues indicated in the comments above.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


A nice variety of sets and some pretty descent special effects. For those of you traditionally checkout a few different haunts every year you'll appreciate a few of the rooms which showcase some creative concepts. Compared to other haunts, many of the rooms here were relatively quite spacious....a nice perk for those who don't particularly enjoy being squeezed into a room when your grouped with complete strangers.

Length


Not the longest haunt I've been too but at 16 minutes I felt as if I got my money's worth.

Crowd Control


There wasn't much of a crowd when I attended but there were several law enforcement officers present so I'm sure nothing would get out of control if there was one.

Most Memorable Moment


By far the 15ft singing Frankenstein in the parking lot...not that there weren't any memorable moments in the haunt. I'll leave those for you to discover.

Summary

As always, this haunt did a solid job of entertaining everyone in our group. A great venue along with a nice variety of sets, creative ideas and descent special effects make this the minivan of haunted houses. It may not have all the bells and whistles to knock everyone's socks off but it will definitely satisfy your thirst for a ghoulishly good time.

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

The Dark Side Haunted Adventure

by louiscyphre (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 10, 2009 at about 3 p.m.

Fun Factor: High Fear Factor: High

Review

Ah, the Dark Side, how we love thee, let us count the ways. 

Set at an actual farm, the haunt is spread out over what looks like acres and acres of land, and made up of at least four different segments, an abandoned mine (with one heckuva cool, disorienting spiral staircase/vortex thingie), a hayride with an accompanying soundtrack, a haunted forest with some elaborate setups, and a haunted corn maze that kind of speaks for itself;  by the end you may feel almost entertained-out.  We loved the mine and the forest, but the hayride was kind of short on ghouls; perhaps H1N1 is hitting the ghoul community hard. 

Don't expect an over-arching theme or anything art-y or anything like that, but these guys are serious about what they're doing and they do it well.  There's some clever set-ups, for instance, with distracting you into looking at something that's slightly lit (what's that little fire over there about?), and then dazzling you with blazing flames (Fire Bad!), so your little retinas are overwhelmed and non-operational for a minute, and then a ghoul lurches out of the dark and slams his powersaw into the side of your haywagon, sending up sparks (yes, sparks!) and everyone screams, etc etc.  Is it wrong to think of this as fun?  Whatev. 

It does look like a lot of effort goes into this haunt, and it takes a long long time to get through, so give yourself an hour or more, at the very least, and savor the terror.  And it's all for just the one reasonable admission fee, so kudos to them.

Signage / Visibility / Location


Well, it's pretty easy to find, but it's more north of Ixonia than one might think for having an Ixonia address; Google worked great, though be aware that if you're coming from the west on 19, there is a detour around Watertown that takes you down to 94 or something and back up.  Once you get near the place, they have a lit-up sign off the main county highway that points you in the right direction, and it's pretty clear it's the farm with all the cars parked on the lawn with all the screams and weird lights emanating from it, anyway.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


We honestly had very little wait, probably because it was so freaking cold on Saturday night; it looks like they have a covered barn area, and there are multiple outbuildings you could check out and portapotties for the gentlemen to enjoy and the ladies to recoil from. 

I think they sold little treats and stuff at the main building, but we were kind of rushing in.  Anyways, you line up on a hill and wait to get the high-sign from some ghouls to approach the entrance to the mine; when you reach the entrance, there's a witch who tells you the "Story of Glacier Rock Farms and Its Mad Owner."  I think the story has changed a bit since I was last there, but that's how legends grow, I suppose.  Actually, the waiting on the hill is kind of cool, with the stars all lit up behind the mine and over the ridge and farm as you look down over the whole place.... Some random ghouls kind of wander around, too, but my favorite part is that you still line up next to a real cow pasture, and so cows wander in and out of the scene, and they're kind of spooky, at least to city slickers like us, but I don't think they're vampire cows like the ones featured in the commercials for that Little Vampire movie (it came out in 2000, god help us, look it up on imdb if you're confused), although that would be interesting, I suppose, as long as I didn't have to have any kind of contact with that horrible gel-haired Jonathan Lipnicki kid.  Sorry, accidentally tapped into the decades-old rivalry between me and Jonathan Lipnicki there.   Curse you, Lipnicki!

Anyway, the wait is nice and pleasant and suitably atmospheric. 

Actors' Performance


Well, not a lot of characterization here, but that's fine, it doesn't appear to be one of those haunts where one depends on actors acting out scenes and interacting with guests too much, it's more of a scary chase-you-down-and-menace-you kind of thing.  I do love the witch at the bonfire at the entrance to the haunted forest, though, who uses the screaming of other guests to time her allowing your group into the forest.   She's pretty hilarious, too. 

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


Sets look quite good, there's an impressive cemetery scene and an abandoned cabin, and the mine is quite convincing at points, with it really feeling like you're going down into a mine and now you're underground and the walls are starting to close in.  Some cool outdoor fire effects, and love the lights blinking off and on in the cornfield, all it needed was Mel Gibson's kids running around in their little tinfoil hats.

Length


Took us about one hour (or more) to get through all the different areas; this is one thing they do so well, you get a whole lot of hauntin' for your tiny little entrance fee.  Also, just so you don't get completely worn out, there are breaks between segments, with each being broken up by a bonfire you can stand around while you wait to be allowed into the next phase; this is a good time to eavesdrop on other guests and then make fun of them later amongst your group.  Just sayin'.

Crowd Control


Again, we had no wait, so -- terrific!  Actually, beyond the initial entrance, they had multiple strategies for spacing groups out, which really worked well; we never ran into anyone else, and felt like we had the haunts to ourselves most of the time.  There is some waiting in between different phases of the haunt, as above, but there's always a campfire and some form of ghoul to entertain you or keep the peace.

Most Memorable Moment


1)  Companion getting beaned in her "nether regions" by a fast-pitched corncob flung from the depths of the corn maze by some unnamed ghoul, who was lucky she didn't catch him, as his ghoulish ass would have been seriously kicked.  If one has a goalie or catcher's uniform, one might be advised to wear it; gentlemen, pack your jockstraps or codpieces.  (Actually, to be fair, I think the ghoul was aiming for a metal tub and missed; I guess it did add an element of danger to the proceedings in the end). 
2)  When you enter the abandoned cabin, give the bed a wide berth...that's a pun, sorry.
3)  Oh boy, if you can't stand enclosed spaces, you're going to have a hard time in one part of the mine.  It felt like we were being forced into a cattle slaughtering pen...seriously disturbing.


Summary

The Dark Side is a great "spooky working farm on a crisp fall night" haunt, with a varied approach and a whole lotta heart and energy.  The people working (both ghouls and staff) seem to be having a good time, and the whole thing has a very pleasant and chilling Wisconsin atmosphere to it.  It's really an evening's entertainment, and if you only have time, inclination, or fundage to go to one haunt this year, this would be well worth your investment.  Viva La Dark Side!


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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

Terror Trail

by charmed (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 10, 2009 at about 5 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: High

Review

We had so much fun at the Terror Trail. This was my first time at this particular haunt and I can tell you with was totally worth the drive. So much so, in fact, that I'll definitely be back!



When we arrived, there was no one else there. The parking area is just a short walk from the ticket counter, and very easy to find.



The actors were just finishing up from break and they were trying to stay warm on the freezing cold night. As we walked up, it was cool to see their excitement and hear the "everyone take your places!" on the walkie-talkies. I don't know how many actors there were, but I can tell you they were VERY well staffed.



Our wait was only to allow the actors to get in their spots, just a few minutes. We were entertained by the friendly gentleman who was preparing to let us in.



As we entered what I assumed was going to be an entirely outdoor trail, I was pleasantly surprised to find they also had some "indoor" scene areas. But, even if the entire trail had been outdoors, my adrenaline was pumping enough in the first 30 seconds to keep me warm all night!



From beginning to end, this haunt was a total scream-fest. This haunt definitely ranks up in my top 5 EVER. Scares from every direction, when you least expected. The trail was set up through all sorts of terrain and quite literally, these people have THE BEST environment for a haunt.



Props were great, actors were thoroughly enjoying scaring the pants off of us. I will make note that this is not completely a no-touch haunt, as I know some people have issues with that. I however, feel it adds to the excitement and fun and I wouldn't change a thing. We were running (out of pure fear), crawling (great terrain effects), and just trying not to pee our pants, which with the help of one completely unexpected effect, I just about lost!!



I definitely want to spread the word on this haunt. I'm not sure what their attendance looked like the rest of that evening, but people you NEED to get out and see these guys...they were committed and GREAT haunters. Loved it!!!

Signage / Visibility / Location


Even though it's a little bit "in the middle of nowhere" signs made it very easy to find from Hwy 21. The flashing orange lights are visible all the way at the end of the road, so super easy to locate.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


No wait for us, so not sure...

Actors' Performance


A+, gold stars for everyone. Everyone stayed in character and truly delivered the screams.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


Great, great, great. Loved the "indoors" areas and scenes, and the outdoor portion of the trail was brimming with actors who wanted to keep us on our toes...and screaming!!!

Length


Just under 20 minutes. We probably could have stretched it to 25 if we weren't running our buns off from chainsaws!

Crowd Control


Wasn't necessary, but lots of staff around.

Most Memorable Moment


I can't give it away...I'm just going to say you have GOT to go and if you can get away with out having to change your underwear, you're lucky!

Summary

Totally worth the drive. Tucked away in the woods, this haunt WILL deliver scares. If I could give it a 4.5 rating, I would!

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

A Theater Of Lost Souls Presents: Nightmare Factory Haunt

by charmed (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 10, 2009 at about 2 p.m.

Fun Factor: Medium Fear Factor: Low

Review

In previous years ATOLS has been really highly ranked in my book, with big marks in fun and in screams.



Perhaps it was the time we arrived (about 1/2 hour after opening), or the group we were put with (which contained a young child). As an experienced haunt-goer, I understand these both can be contributing factors to the overall experience of a haunt, so I am going to chalk it up to one of those two reasons.



When we arrived, there was no one in line for the haunted hayride, a new addition to ATOLS in 2009. We were directed to the spot marked with a sign as the waiting line. We spent a few minutes before the first actor, the Farm Boy, came to chat and entertain (and sniff!) us. We spent a total of 10 minutes waiting to see if we could add to our group. The wagon waiting for us had no hay at all, so it was actually a hay-less hayride. After a while, 3 other people joined our group and our tour guide told the driver to head out.



As we took the 15 minute ride around the grounds of the Expo center, we learned the history of the santitarium from our guide. Unfortunately, our guide seemed completely bored. Our ride was totally uneventful as there appeared only to be two actors during the entire ride.



After the ride, we pulled up and saw another wagon, this one full of hay and people, so perhaps we were just unlucky enough to be on the wrong ride. I will also note that the weather was rather chilly, in the low 40's, which may also have been a contributing factor to the lack of outdoor actors.



The waiting line for the first haunt was non-existent, which meant we were grouped with the other 3 people on our hayride, which still included the young child. Now, either the actors were aware of the young child and really toned down the scare factor, or ATOLS just wasn't as scary this year.



There was a lot of pushing us to go faster through the maze, so we felt completely rushed, but there was very little scaring going on. They had some cool new props and effects, LOVED the "puppies", and a lot of recognizable props from previous years.



What that portion of the haunt lacked, was made up for in fun by the 3D/blacklight clown part of ATOLS. A definite favorite of mine last year, I rushed to the front of the line, hoping for some scare-redemption. I was not disappointed. From beginning to end, the 3D clown experience was great, though I still feel it lacked multiple actors. The one actor I saw spent his time solely on scaring me. But, he did a GREAT job of surprising me AND making it fun.



Overall, to say I was disappointed by ATOLS is too harsh. I think they have a lot of potential and I give them props for trying the hayride this year. I certainly think there is potential for that portion of the experience to be successful. There were definitely some good actors, committed to their characters, (LOVED THE VOODOO WOMAN!) but perhaps staffed a little more lightly than they could have been.



This experience is about what I would expect if it was opening night. Just a few kinks to work out, but the scare potential is there!

Signage / Visibility / Location


Since I'm familiar with the area, we had no problems. However, if I wasn't, the only signage I saw was at the actual Expo center itself, nothing to guide you there from Jackson St.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


We were entertained a little while we waited for the hayride, but otherwise we had no wait.

Actors' Performance


Several really good actors. The hayride guide was the only actor I felt just didn't want to be there.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


Some really cool sets and scenes, though with the lighting, many were tough to make out. Several familiar effects from previous years, and some new ones.

Length


Overall, about an hour, including wait time.

Crowd Control


Wasn't necessary during our time, though I'm sure they would have resources, if necessary.

Most Memorable Moment


The 3D/clown experience. It made up for the rest of the event.

Summary

Overall, a sad review to have to give, but they could bring this back up to the fun and fear of previous years. In fact, I'm planning on going back next weekend to give it another try!

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

Terror on Rural Street

by katie_kiesow13 (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 10, 2009 at about 5:30 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: Very High

Review

Once again Terror on Rural Street has proven to be one of the best haunts in the area!!! I have loved this haunt for years and they keep outdoing themselves every year.

Right from the beginning they get you good and scared. Elevator much? Most of the actors that we encountered were really playing their parts - and the make-up is pretty incredible!

There were (I think) 17 different rooms to experience within this haunt - that's a LOT! It took quite some time to get through the whole thing and I enjoyed every part of it. It always goes well when you have boys with you who scream more than you do. That's a good sign that they've done a great job.

Signage / Visibility / Location


Very easy to find - right off of the main street in Hartford. Signs point you in the right direction.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


We had a very short wait, not many people out this early in the month... and when it's only 35 degrees outside. They had a few actors out there scaring the patrons - one certain "Joker" got my friend pretty good. Kudos to that actor (and several others I'll mention below).

Actors' Performance


Overall, the vast majority of the actors did an excellent job of staying in character - which is quite the feat since most of my group were screaming like little girls and then laughing at each other for it. My favorite actors that I remember the most were: mausoleum, torture chamber, clowns (damn clowns ALWAYS get me), oh there's so many - I can't name them all. But great job to all of them. They did a great job of keeping you in the room, also. Instead of just running straight through - they go for the maximum scare level by keeping you in their rooms as long as possible. It's great. And also - spiders = creepy.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


The attention to detail in this house is absolutely incredible year after year - this year I was not let down. Although many of you will be running for your lives far before you get the chance, you really should take the time to look around each and every room in this haunt and take in your surroundings. There is so much to see and the details that they put into every room are amazing.

There is a lot different this year from last year. So if you have gone in the past and don't want to go again because you fear it will be the same... fear not. Or rather, fear... but not for that reason. You'll get scared in whole new ways this time!

Air guns, pounding on walls and floors, strobe lights, dizzying paint patterns, and other props keep you on your toes and continue to disorient and terrorize you throughout this whole haunt. And most importantly, actors come at you from all sides and scare you even when you can't imagine anything is coming... be ready!

Length


It lasted quite a long time - maybe 25-30 minutes (I forgot to check my watch). Considering the amount of space they have to work with, keeping you in the haunt for that long seems incredible. It's great.

Crowd Control


There was one time when we ran into the group in front of us... we held ourselves up for a little bit so they could get ahead of us... then the actor down the way started saying in a super creepy voice, "Why are you so scared? Why are you hiding? Come down and see me down here?" It was great. Crowd control AND in character - love it.

Most Memorable Moment


All I'll say is this - keep your eyes peeled at the end. =) Can't ruin it for you, though.

Summary

Overall, one of my favorites and I would very highly recommend to anyone - even those who don't scare easily. You'll really enjoy this!

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

Hauntfest - CLOSED -

by katie_kiesow13 (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 9, 2009 at about 6 p.m.

Fun Factor: High Fear Factor: Medium

Review

Overall it was a great haunt provided on the State Fair grounds. I have never been to this one and I enjoyed my experience a great deal. Of course, it always helps when you're with a group of guys who scream at everything. The Neverland theme of the haunt didn't really make much sense. They play thriller on a big screen in the waiting area, but otherwise, not much Michael Jackson stuff. It was a well put-on haunt that has some excellent rooms, just don't expect much Neverland theming.

Signage / Visibility / Location


Very easy to find - it's located at State Fair Park. Signage is clearly posted.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


Unfortunately since this is such an urban area, there is little in the way of atmosphere while you're waiting. We arrived around 11:00 and we were early in October so our wait was no longer than 20 minutes (thank goodness, it was freezing outside!). There were a few actors in costume walking around trying to scare people.

Actors' Performance


I enjoyed a good number of the actors' performances. They did a great job of scaring us. Although, they did rely on the boo factor - jumping out right in front of you to scare you.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


All in all, I think that they did a great job of putting this house together. I think my favorite room was probably the maze... it's so disorienting!

Length


I never really checked my watch to see how long it was - but I was happy with the length of this haunt. I'd say roughly 20 minutes or so. The nice thing is that there's no "down time." Your senses are constantly being teased and tormented in this house. There is constant movement and terrorization. It's great!

Crowd Control


The crowd was quite small while we were there so we never ran into anyone else - great job!

Most Memorable Moment


This doesn't have much to do with the house itself, however, I went in with a group of seven... when we walked out... we were only six. We lost one of our friends in the house somehow and had to wait about 15 minutes for him to come out all by himself. I can't imagine - how terrifying!

Summary

Good job Hauntfest - it was a nice first time visit for me!

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

Hubertus House of Horror

by x0char0x (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 10, 2009 at about 4 p.m.

Fun Factor: Medium Fear Factor: Medium

Review

From the start of the haunt you experience things that are completely different from other haunts. They do an excellent job at setting the feel of what a haunt should be like.

Signage / Visibility / Location


Very easy to find. They have signs and lights right in front.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


Their wait area is inside of a heated gym which is always nice. They also have one or two actors walking around as well as a few video games and a TV screen set up to make your wait more enjoyable.

Actors' Performance


I was a little bit disappointed with their actors this year. Most did an excellent job scaring you but there were a few that didn't stay in character very well.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


Their scenes are very unique compared to other haunts. They add in things you never would expect which make it even better.

Length


The wait for this haunt is very long I've noticed from this year and in the past, so get there a little early.

Summary

I would recommend this haunt for anyone over the age of 10.

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

Terror on Rural Street

by x0char0x (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 10, 2009 at about 2:30 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: High

Review

Terror on Rural Street was amazing again this year. This is one of the haunts I always go to every year and I just enjoy it every time. From the beginning, you don't know what's coming around the next corner or who or what is going pop out right in front of you.

Signage / Visibility / Location


Very easy to find, its right off the main road in Hartford and has a sign on the corner to turn.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


They do a very good job at entertaining you during your wait, there's an actor waiting for you before you buy the tickets as well as a few lurking around in the wait area.

Actors' Performance


Terror on Rural Street always has good actors. They stayed in character very well and were always in spots you would never have guessed they were in.

Length


We got there early so the wait wasn't very long if any at all. The haunt itself took about 25-30 minutes to walk through the entire thing.

Most Memorable Moment


My most memorable moment was when we were leaving. The actor that was working the wait area had a thing for the friend I was with, and actually followed her all the way back to the car. It was definitely a sight to see with her looking back the whole way out of the parking lot to see if he was still coming for her. But she made it out alive!

Summary

Overall, one of my favorite haunts to go to. They are always adding new scenes every year and creating new surprises. I would recommend this haunt to anyone over the age of 14 who loves a good scare!

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

The Haunted Mansion

by majorXpsycho (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 10, 2009 at about 3:30 p.m.

Fun Factor: High Fear Factor: Medium

Review

The Haunted Mansion is a great local Haunt. There are four parts to this Haunt. The first is a walk through the haunted graveyard/woods. The walk was brief but plenty of actors from every angle. If you have to go to the bathroom I highly recommend holding it, don't trust the ghouls. The cornfield was more fun than scary. There was a great roadside kill cafe with "skunk burgers". We even found ourselves undecided as to which way to go. When we finally made our way through we jumped on the haunted bus. You are only allowed to sit one person per seat, this allows for easy victimization. Lopsided Lilly was clearly irritated by the group of teens at the back of the bus, and I don't blame her ... I was about to start screaming with her!



When the bus ride finally came to a hault we were at the entrance of The Haunted Mansion. There was a nice warm bonfire and a woman walking around with plenty of hot cocoa. There was also a projection screen playing music videos and scenes from Scary movies. Actors were roaming the lines trying to steal screams. Once inside you will find many unique scenes. The Mansion was by far superior to the cornfield, bus ride, and woods. There were many points in the Haunt that would make you jump, and others that were just plain creepy! I found myself alone a lot in this haunt (which was the ghouls intentions) and I loved it! The Haunted Mansion had the most actors of any haunt I have been to. There is NO "dark/dead time". If you live in the area, this is a haunt I would not miss.

Signage / Visibility / Location


There is a sign off Hwy 57 and as you enter. It is located on a campground in Brussels, WI. Make sure you have directions, because if you are coming from out of town you may get lost.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


There was hot chocolate being sold for only a dollar while you waited in line. There was also a couple goodies at the concessions stand. Watch out for the ghouls while you wait and enjoy scenes from some of the best horror movies displayed on projector screens.

Actors' Performance


The actor's are all volunteers so naturally some were really good and some weren't the greatest. The ghouls on the bus were great, but were a bit distracted by the people they knew on the bus. I loved the shackled ghouls, the crippled ghouls, and the welcoming ghouls of the Haunted Mansion.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


Some very unique Scenes in this haunt. You may find yourself trapped, lost, and stumbling (in a good way). The Haunted Mansion also incorporates some of the more popular new props.

Length


The woods, cornfield, and bus ride lasted 28 minutes. The Haunted Mansion was 17 minutes long.

Crowd Control


In the cornfield we ran into the group ahead of us, but it was no fault of the actors. The group just decided to be extremely obnoxious.

Most Memorable Moment


There is a moment of the haunt that scared the living daylights out of us. I won't ruin it, but it involves clowns distracting us.

Summary

Overall I would give a 4 for fun, and a 3+ for fear.

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

Mars Haunted House - CLOSED-

by dubstyle_2k (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 9, 2009 at about 5 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: High

Review

On the night of October 9th I visited Mars Haunted House in Milwaukee.  My visit started in grand style as we waited in a fairly short outdoor line.  Mars seems to know what they are doing, as they had ghouls walking up and down the line, interacting with the guests.  It was cold, and the actors made the elements much more enjoyable.  After a short wait, we were invited to go up a flight of stairs to purchase tickets.  Once up the flight of stairs and after getting our admissions squared away , we were greeted by a woman who appeared to be undead!  She took us through a door and into a small area where an audio recording played a brief history of Mars, the undead girl was great.  Once in the haunt, we were on our own.  The set was fantastic, seemed like they put a lot of time and effort into this years event.  The actors were also pretty good.  At times it seemed like they were tired, which is understandable, as they had been haunting for a few hours and I can only assume that takes a toll on you.  A few of the actors really went above and beyond.  One actor that sticks out had stopped my girlfriend and "forced" me to go on without her.  He blocked her from advancing for quite some time, sniffing her as if she was that evenings dinner.  This literaly lasted about 2-3 minutes, finally he let her go.  My favorite part of the haunt was the vibrating floor.  It shook violently as you passed over it.  I love haunts that physically jar you, and as you walked over the floor, it did just that.  In all I would have to say Mars is definitely worth the time, just make sure you dress for the occasion!

Signage / Visibility / Location


Signage was good, the giant hearse that said Mars Haunted House on it was a pretty good sign if you ask me.  Also, the line of people outside the haunt doesn't hurt either.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


The line was pretty quick moving, with actors that interacted with you.  My only complaint was the drunk gentleman in front of me that kept leaving and entering the line, despite the rope keeping the people in, bumping into me every time, but that is not the haunts fault.

Actors' Performance


Actors were good, some seemed tired and a few were amped up and really into spooking people.  This seemed to even things out and made for a very enjoyable time.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


Props were great.  The vibrating floor was amazing.

Length


15-20 minutes

Crowd Control


Well, as stated before, there was a drunk guy in front of me that kept leaving the line and entering, while bumping into me every time.  I really wish someone would have said to him that he either needs to stay in line, or go to the back, but he was with a group, so I understand.

Most Memorable Moment


Definately the vibrating floor

Summary

Mars was a fun haunt, with a great set and props, and dedicated actors.  

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

Haunted Cornfield at Meadowbrook Pumpkin Farm

by majorXpsycho (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 9, 2009 at about 4 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: Very High

Review

The Haunted Cornfield at Meadowbrook is the only haunt I would drive 2 hours for! It is located on a large farm that during the day has hay rides, gift shop, petting zoo (with some cute and creepy critters), and did I mention PUMPKINS! This is a haunt that you would want to "make a night of". There is so much to do while you wait. You can sip on Hot apple cider, eat carmel apples, sit around a warm bon fire all while listening to a ghoul tell ghost stories. 102.1 out of Milwaukee was there handing out free ticket opportunites. If that isn't enough enterntainment than play some Halloween games and win prizes, or venture through the gift shop and get some great decorations for your very own haunt.



When it is your turn to go through the haunt a LED screen will show your number. The cornfield itself is spooky with sky rocketing corn stalks that make you feel very inferior. There is rarely a "dead" moment throughout the entire cornfield. Strobe lights guide you through rows of corn, but be careful to go the right way or you may find yourself lost! Don't fear, the ghouls may help you find your way or they may just guide you the wrong way. The animatronics were great, I am amazed at the props and scenes. Everything is HUGE this year ... above and beyond. There are several areas which you will have to enter through different themed "cabins" ... you could find yourself disorientated, crushed, or attacked by vicious creatures.



I would definitely drive 2 hours again to visit this Haunt. You can NOT beat the price, it is cheaper then most Haunts and far superior than any haunts that are the same price. The only bad thing is you have to watch the weather, this isn't a haunt you would want to attend on a rainy night! This haunt is a hidden "treasure" in WI, I live in Green Bay and would have never heard of The Haunted Cornfield at Meadowbrook if it weren't for HauntedWisconsin. I recommend this haunt to EVERYONE!

Signage / Visibility / Location


We used a GPS this year and had no problem finding it. However I know in previous years we had used Google maps and it was completely off. If you get lost the locals know EXACTLY where it is. Once you get there they have lit up signs at the entrance of the drive way.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


The wait area at The Haunted Cornfield is equally as entertaining as the Cornfield itself. There is a huge gift shop with tons of decorations and other Halloween goodies. This is a HUGE farm and there are lots of animals all over, they have a petting zoo during the day. The radio station 102.1 was there also. The best part is sipping some hot apple cider or eating a carmel apple and sitting around the bonfire listening to horror stories. The also have an area where you can play games and win prizes. Did I mention pumpkins? They have one of the largest selections I have seen!

Actors' Performance


A couple actors were great, others were ok. Timing is everything with this type of haunt and a couple actors were easily seen before they scare.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


It is set in a HUGE cornfield, "Children of the Corn" anyone. The Corn is abnormally large, I remember 2 years ago Rick explaining that he buys a special brand of corn just for such an event. It certainly does the trick, you feel very small and very lost. The Props were great, a lot more animatronics this year AND some very, very unique scenes. I have been to several haunts and often times you will see similar "props" or "scenes" ... you will not see this at Meadowbrook, everything is so unique! I would love to speak to the "designing" mind behind some of those scenes!

Length


Perfect length! It took us 38 minutes to get through the Haunted cornfield. I know 2 years ago it took about an hour to get through, but things were too spread out.

Crowd Control


We did manage to pass the group ahead of us and then fall behind again, I don't know how this would be prevented though. The group in front of us was going really slow because they were extremely scared.

Most Memorable Moment


I wish I could give away the "most memorable moment", but I don't want to ruin it for anyone and there is no way to describe it without giving it away. I guess everyone will just have to find out themselves.

Summary

I'm giving the Haunted Cornfield at 5+ for FUN, and a 5 for Fear. I will drive 2 hours again to see this Haunt!

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

Gilly's Haunted House

by HocusPocus (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 2, 2009 at about 3:30 p.m.

Fun Factor: High Fear Factor: Low

Review

Looking for a haunt you can enjoy with your family? Gilly's Haunted House may be for you. While waiting in line I spoke with a group of five 6th graders who were anxiously awaiting their second trip through the haunt. When asked how they'd rate the scare factor of Gilly's on a scale of 1-5 they enthusiastically gave it ratings that were off the chart. (One even rated the haunt as a 100 on the scale of 1-5!)

While adults may not agree with this assessment on the scare factor scale I think all will agree on the fun factor. Solid acting performances are mixed with a creepy carnival / freak show circus theme and dashed with a few instances of special effects to excite the visual senses. If you're looking for a haunt that totally immerses you into the theme of each room you may leave a bit disappointed. While the acting is notable and some of the special effects will totally disorientate and confuse you, many of the rooms lack the attention to detail provided in other haunts. This is most likely the result of the room lighting which certainly will encourage kids to interact more in the sets than to send them rushing through in search of the exit.

If your into evaluating haunts with your senses you might find this helpful:

* Sight: Come prepared with your imagination and you won't be disappointed with this haunt. In some rooms the lighting makes it apparent that this venue does not have as much attention to detail as other haunts. The lighting, however, does encourage more interaction with the actors. The acting, though, does a great job of diverting your attention from the room detail. The vortex double dose will visually excite and disorientate you!

* Sound: The sound won't knock your socks off but is effectively used at times to compliment rooms.

* Smell: Nothing special on this front...although there are haunts that venture into this realm.

* Touch: Nothing special on this front...although there are haunts that venture into this realm.

Signage / Visibility / Location


Hard to miss this venue as it occupies nearly the entire street corner. Gilly's doubles as a floral shop / greenhouse during the day...but once the sun sets the floral displays found at the store font will do little to sooth your soul. Look for the scary bus in front and a fence that surrounds the entire establishment to ensure the creatures from within don't escape.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


A canopied area covers the wait area to protect you from elements but will do little to keep you warm. Dress appropriately for the wait. There was no line entertainment while I waited.

Actors' Performance


Ghoulishly solid & fun to interact with. At times spoken lines were delivered with unique accents to set the tone of the room. Very enjoyable!

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


Loved the double whammy of vortex rooms and really enjoyed the comical maze of doors...clever! The boat ride and acting performance at the onset of the tour were a real treat.

Length


Of the three haunted houses in the proximity of Gilly's this one was the longest...which isn't surprising as it appears to enjoy the largest location of the three.

Crowd Control


I attended early on the first night of business so there wasn't much of a crowd to control. The line inside the canopied area is clearly marked and the narrow sidewalk leading to the entrance to the admission area appear to be adequate to control sizable crowds.

Most Memorable Moment


By far the most memorial moment is not one but TWO vortexes. The first one was cool and disorientating...the second one took me by complete surprise and blew my mind. The opening boat ride and presentation also get honorable mention for the most memorable moment.

Summary

Great attraction for kids and families. Adults who are freaked out by clowns or enjoy the absurdity presented by fun houses will also enjoy this attraction. Solid acting and a fun atmosphere. Gilly's Haunted house may not stand your hair on end or blow your mind with dazzling special effects but it will certainly entertain you.

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

Lister F/X Presents Monster Mayhem Haunted Laser Tag (CLOSED)

by HocusPocus (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 2, 2009 at about 4 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: Medium

Review

If you enjoy original / custom made special effects, this haunt is for you! Unlike other venues that present a variety of theme based rooms, Monster Mayhem plunges you into a unique story line that I would liken to a mix between Aliens and Resident Evil. What I particularly enjoyed about Monster Mayhem is that you don't just see and hear scary things....you actually get to FEEL them on a few occasions!

The superb acting, special effects and detailed story line at Monster Mayhem make for a very enjoyable experience. While every scene won't motivate you to run for the hills there are a few rooms that may make you jump. As a result, I gave this attraction a 5 out of 5 on the fun scale and a 3.5 out of 5 on the scare factor. This is definitely a haunt for all ages and not just adults.

If your into evaluating haunts with your senses you might find this helpful:

* Sight: Custom designed sets and special effects were top notch! See creatures blow up. Watch as the skin is ripped off a dying actor. Peak over the side railing and get a feel for how far the cavern descends.

* Sound: Solid! The sound in every room won't blow you away like some haunts but you certainly won't be disappointed. The element of sound is certainly leveraged to provide a few good scares!

* Smell: Nothing special on this front...although there are haunts that venture into this realm.

* Touch: Outstanding! If a creature blows up right in front of your face shouldn't you feel it? You do here!!

Signage / Visibility / Location


Located in the basement of Paulo's Pizza / Pub. There are signs for the haunt but they're not nearly as obvious as the signs for Paulo's. Located right on the corner of 51st and Howard you can't miss Paulo's....but you may miss the signs for Monster Mayhem.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


Doesn't get much better than this! While you wait....order a pizza, have dinner, play a few games in the arcade or listen to music in the pub.

Actors' Performance


These guys REALLY got into it! Perhaps it was coincidence, but all the actors when I attended were adults....which consequently really sold me on the roles that were portrayed in each room. (i.e. the mad scientist looked and acted like a mad scientist...the military personnel looked old enough to be in the military.)

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


If you have an keen eye special effects, the props/FX at Monster Mayhem are the bomb! Feel creatures blow up. See the skin ripped off of a live actor. Hear & feel creatures bust loose from captivity.

Length


I must admit, the length of this haunt did feel short but the visual entertainment was definitely worth the price of admission.

Crowd Control


I attended early on the first night of business so there wasn't much of a crowd to control. Given that the venue is at a Pizza Parlor / Pub the logistics of how the Haunt patrons mix with those from the Pizza Parlor Pub may be interesting....but as this is their second year of business I would suspect that they've worked out any potential bottlenecks with the flow of traffic through the establishment.

Most Memorable Moment


Watch out for the exploding corpse...it doesn't just look messy!! :)

Summary

Fun for the whole family. A story line most kids can relate to and stellar special effects with an attention to detail that adults will surely appreciate. Monster Mayhem does a solid job of providing for a very unique experience that you will not just see and hear but feel as well!

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

The Wisconsin Fear Grounds

by dirkadirka (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 3, 2009 at about 5:30 p.m.

Fun Factor: High Fear Factor: Medium

Review

The Feargrounds have built a reputation as one of the best Halloween events in Wisconsin.  The praise is well deserved because this big-budget production pays attention to all the details, both big and small.  Find out for yourself why this is the busiest haunt in the Milwaukee area.

Signage / Visibility / Location


Waukesha County Fair Grounds.  Look for the parking area with lots and lots of cars.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


Bring warm clothes because although the waiting area is covered it is not heated and lines will get very long closer to Halloween.  A handful of Waukesha police are around every night and security is monitored both inside and outside all three haunts.

Actors' Performance


Very good overall.  We especially liked Jasper the goat and the leather trench coat maniac.  His face looked like the doll from Saw and he was all over the place.  Expert room construction allows these monsters to shortcut between rooms and continue the scare.  Having such active ghouls makes it seem as though there are twice as many people out to get you.  However, there were too many times when an actor delivers a line and then proceeds to physically block your path to the next room or tries to corner someone in the group.  This is not scary, just really uncomfortable.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


All three attractions have a different theme and stick to it.  In the manor you wind through the library, dining room, bedroom and hallways of a decrepit and demonically inhabited mansion.  Torment messes with your senses a bit more and sends you through a maze and several dark passageways.  Finally, Unstable makes you aware of fears involving farms and livestock that you didn’t know existed.   The continuity is impressive, but I actually prefer a hodgepodge of ideas and rooms that don’t necessary connect.  Attention to detail and room design is superb from beginning to end including the actors’ makeup.

Length


Morgan Manor was long.  Torment was short.  Unstable was average.  I obviously forgot to look at my watch.

Most Memorable Moment


Waiting in line always sucks, but Morgan Manor made it a bit more fun this year.  A camera is set up inside the haunt and people in the queue can watch each scare on a screen.   I was surprised how many people went limp and fell on the floor when scared…not exactly fight-or-flight.  We tried to guess where the camera was located on our walk-through and failed.

Summary

Morgan Manor will not disappoint but Torment and Unstable are more of the same.  Save the $15 and check out another haunted house in the area.

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

Hauntfest - CLOSED -

by dirkadirka (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 3, 2009 at about 4 p.m.

Fun Factor: High Fear Factor: Medium

Review


Although the theme is Neverland, don't expect MJ to make too many appearances at Hauntfest. It is unfortunate because there are some truly terrifying scenes that could have been created from his life.
Push that disappointment aside and enjoy the haunted house for what it is: a series of well done rooms meant to scare and entertain you. What you get is a group of themes that make no sense at all when put together (a disembodied robot Micheal Jackson skull as an example). Why are you
getting into an elevator or traveling through a swamp? Who cares, it's fun!

Signage / Visibility / Location


Hauntfest is located on the State Fair grounds just south of I-94. No, it is not inside the big pumpkin. Keep driving down 84th St. until you see flashing lights and signs. Street parking is available in the adjacent neighborhood, or you can pay to park in the secure lot operated by State Fair personnel.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


We got in right away but the wait area seemed well equipped to handle crowds. Large screens pay tribute to the best videos from the King of Pop and there is a tent equipped with lights and a DJ booth ready to break out a dance party when groups get bigger/wetter. Several ghouls trolled those waiting looking for easy marks to scare.

Actors' Performance


The monsters inhabiting Hauntfest use a number of different tactics to terrorize their victims. Some are quiet and creepy while others will scream your brain fuzzy. It's not overdone, but be prepared to leave with your ears ringing. Scares come from above and below with unsettling dialogue breaking up the usual in-your-face surprises. No particular performances stood out, but the actors were at least average.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


Almost all actors had great makeup and unique costumes. Try to notice some of those details before running out of a room. The different scenes try to assault all of your senses during a visit. You will be spun around, lost, disoriented, blinded, squeezed and probably end up on your hands and knees at some point. Trust me; it's better than it sounds. Again, no particular room was groundbreaking but all were well done.

Length


I forgot to check, but it was longer than expected. The entertainment is sustained throughout because there is no wasted space or empty hallways. Most guests went as groups of two, but later in the season expect group size and pacing to increase.

Most Memorable Moment


We briefly ran into the man in charge of Hauntfest who was sporting fangs and creepy contacts. He wasn't doing it to scare guests or staff a particular room. Apparently it pumps him up and helps him get into the spirit of Hauntfest. Those are the types of people you want running a haunted house.

Summary

A "standard" haunted house done really well. After visiting multiple years, it seems that Hauntfest can be a schizophrenic production that has good years and bad years. Luckily, this is a good year.

View all Hauntfest - CLOSED - reviews

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

Mars Haunted House - CLOSED-

by HocusPocus (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 2, 2009 at about 2 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: Very High

Review

Looking to totally immerse yourself into a nightmarishly good time? Look no further than the Mars Haunted House.

It appears the venue has expanded this year and added a few rooms...unfortunately they did such a good job scaring the bajeebus out of me I totally lost count.

Seriously, it didn't matter where I was in my group...front, middle, back...they did a stellar job providing scares for everyone.

If your into evaluating haunts with your senses you might find this helpful:

* Sight: Elaborate sets with great attention to detail. Lighting and special effects were frequently used to surprise me even though I was expecting it.

* Sound: Superb! The sound experience allowed me to become totally immersed in each and every room. Not once was I distracted by sounds coming from other parts of the attraction.

* Smell: Believe it or not I think there were sets that intentionally smelled a little musty (like BO or perfume) to compliment the scene. Interesting thought...if Barn yard Bob is chasing you around with an ax why shouldn't he smell like one?

* Touch: Nothing special on this front...although there are haunts that venture into this realm.

Signage / Visibility / Location


If the hearse parking by the front door and the elaborately dressed ghouls meandering along the sidewalk don't catch your attention you may be dead already...but if you're not you probably wouldn't be the first person to drive past the site.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


Elaborately dressed ghouls interact with you to heighten your anticipation while you wait to enter. The waiting line is all outdoors...so dressing for the weather may be a good idea if you're attending during peak haunting hours.

Actors' Performance


Brilliant! Some hilariously funny, others ghastly scary. (I'd love to name a few of the characters that were portrayed but I find the element of surprise to be priceless...go and check it out for yourself!)

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


Solid! With the total immersion and interaction with the actors and sound in each room it's very easy to miss some of the attention to detail found in each room....but there are plenty of outstanding effects to keep you visually entertained if the acting isn't grabbing 100% of your attention.

Length


I really wished I would have timed this event....but if you were to measure scares per dollar this one will definitely maximizes your value!

Crowd Control


Waiting line is clearly roped off and patrolled frequently by ghouls.

Most Memorable Moment


Ok...I hope I don't spoil anything for anyone... the 'bubbles' room was totally twisted and disturbingly funny. Complimenting a brilliant acting performance were props that were skillfully leveraged to make this an experience you will not soon forget. This room caught me by complete surprise. I don't think I've EVER experienced a room like this at a haunt. A scary concept that made me laugh so hard my eyes watered...GENIUS!

Summary

An outstanding attraction! If you've been to Mars in prior years I'd strongly recommend checking this venue out again. Unlike prior years, I felt more immersed in this year's haunted experience than in prior years. If you've never checked it out...what are you waiting for? This IS the best haunt in Milwaukee!

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

Burial Chamber Haunted House Complex

by majorXpsycho (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 3, 2009 at about 2 p.m.

Fun Factor: High Fear Factor: High

Review


We were one of the first ones to arrive at the Burial Chamber. We were side tracked by the warm mini sugar doughnuts and had to indulge. Once our bellies were satisfied it was time for the "Fear". The Burial Chamber is known for being one of the best haunts in WI. That having been said, being "the best" means that there is no room for flaws. Overall The Burial Chamber has lived up to its expectations, with only a few minor flaws. The outdoor wait area is not pleasant, especially on a rainy night. Each line we waited in there was always a group of heavy chain smokers in front of us. There was also an extremely intoxicated young lady who felt the need to rub my friends bum. There were also line jumpers which is very obnoxious. I think if there was a way to "monitor" the lines, the wait wouldn't be a problem. Enough about the wait, lets discuss the fear.



The first part of the haunt we went into was Adrenaline "under attack". The actors were out of this world. It was frightening because "monkey boy" (I believe they said that was his name) was doing things beyond human. He was literally crawling up the wall, it was creepy. Syrina was very pleasant and witty, she was the "gate master" of Adrenaline. We got lost in Adrenaline and found ourselves in and out of the same room over and over again. Just when we thought we would never get out, somehow we did. My anxiety level definitely sky rocketed as we thought we could out smart this maze. There isn't much more I can say about this portion without giving too much. Adrenaline has A LOT of in the face, make your heart race scares (hence the name Adrenaline). Adrenaline was 25 minutes long.



After Adrenaline we headed to "Phobia", the haunted woods. It rained and things were pretty muddy, make sure to wear shoes that can get dirty. I did not like Phobia as much this year. It lacked actors and a good theme. The woods itself is a creepy environment, but it is only 6 minutes long (compared to a 25 minute wait). There are not many prop's. The best part was at the end when an actor imitated a creaking door as we were exiting the woods. A possible suggestion would be sending one person at a time through the woods ... everyone knows walking alone in the woods is frightening. That is just a thought. Then we headed back to the snack shop ... they have so many treats such as frankin figers corn dogs.



Insantity was the last portion of The Burial Chamber we explored. The outside prop of a large gory corpse chained to the wall. The sign also said "Gov't Quarantine Area". As soon as you get in the host sets the ground rules and you watch a creepy introductory video. Insanity was AMAZING. The actors were great and always in the right place at the right time. The props were so detailed you couldn't help but realize how much hard work and intellect had to go into them. I was sprayed with blood, got wet in the swamp, and had a not so great experience with an overflooded toilette. We all felt as if we were in another "world". The caves and board walk were amazing. The actor in the caves was incredible, he would appear in front of you making this creepy alien noise and then disappear again. I get chills just remembering the experience. Again I do not want to give away too much. Insanity lasted 19 minutes.



Finally, my friend and husband did the coffin ride (I chickened out). It was great because you could watch their face on a television screen as they fear their journey. It is my understanding that pictures of anyone who has ridden are available on their website. I think that area was still "under construction" ... and a bench to sit on would be nice. Overall The Burial Chamber is aware of the ever changing environment and constantly seeks out new innovative scares. They also employ the best actors I have seen ... PURE talent.


Signage / Visibility / Location


They have a large multi spotlight that is impossible to miss. They are not to far off US 41. You can't miss the signs or the Haunt as you drive.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


The Wait area was great because they had every kind of treat imaginable. Their warm mini doughnuts are the best! There are a few ghouls wandering throughout the lines. They also have two large projection screens playing different video clips and creepy music. The wait area is outside with no seating so be prepared to stand the entire time.

Actors' Performance


On a scale of 1 - 10, I would give the actors an 11! Their energy and psychologically disturbing personalities are perfect. BEST actors around!

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


The props and scenes in Insanity were excellent! I would like to go through it again and again. You can tell that A LOT of hard work went into designing each set.

Length


Adrenaline = 25 minutes
Phobia = 6 minutes
Insanity = 19 minutes

Crowd Control


Excellent crowd control ... even though we were lost in Adrenaline we NEVER ran into another group. This is the first time this has ever happened for me at a haunt, so BRAVO!

Most Memorable Moment


"Monkey Man" ... unbelievable, I thought certainly he was attached to a harness or something ... pure genius and talent.

Summary

I'm only giving 5's out this year to perfection. Adrenaline = 4, Phobia = 3, Insanity = 5!!

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Please note: this review is for the 2009 season rather than the current season.

A Theater Of Lost Souls Presents: Nightmare Factory Haunt

by majorXpsycho (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 3, 2009 at about 5:30 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: High

Review


A Theater of Lost Souls has always been the black horse of the haunt industry. There is so much potential for A Theater of Lost Souls to be one of the best Haunt attractions in WI and perhaps in the Midwest. This year they have certainly expanded and tapped into some of that potential. The haunt began with a "guided" hay ride explaining the history of the fair grounds. What many people may not understand is that the story is actually true! In 1915 there was a Sanatorium for people who had tuberculosis. People who went to the Sanatorium either had money and could be treated or they had no money and had to suffer and die. While the Sanatorium is gone there are still a few remains. The energy of the spirits that still linger there can be felt while on the Hay Ride (you just have to ignore the giggling children seated next to you). The tour guide did an excellent job of explaining the what occurred in this area. I would have preferred more special effects on the hay ride and maybe a few more actors. Maybe a can of WD40 and the lighter? I know it is so difficult to keep things safe AND scary. They hay ride was a perfect bone chilling, thought provoking start to the Theater of Lost Souls.



We went late, but it appeared that they kept everyone waiting in cattle pens. The Theater of Lost Souls had the perfect combination of old school scares and new fears. The Animatronics were superb, you could not decipher it the body tortured body was human or not. The power of Christ that compells one even got me in the head (I took that message seriously). If you have a fear of spiders ... stay out! The Theater of the Absurd is the best 3d haunt I have been too (and I have been to them all over the US). The painting was so creatively done that you felt as if you should be submitted to an asylum. I even had to take my glasses off at one point in time because I was thought I had lost the ground beneath me. The young lady made us go round and round and half of the group disappeared. There is no better ending to a haunt than that loud roaring sound of a chainsaw ... call it cliche, but it works! I haven't been to many haunts so far this season, but I have a feeling that A Theater of Lost Souls may become a favorite. They have grown so much just in the 3 years that I have been attending. They listen and keep the good scares and get rid of the boring ones. They are very innovative and I can not wait to see NEXT YEAR. (oh and crazy country boy, good luck with your surgery)!



A SIDE NOTE
Want to see all the detail that goes into a haunt? Too afraid to go to a haunted house? Have young children? Want to support a good cause?
On OCT 10th A Theater or Lost Souls is having a "lights on" haunt from 2p - 4:30p. It is only $3, and the proceeds go to help the children's hospital. See their website for more information.

Signage / Visibility / Location


There is a Large Billboard when heading South on US 41. If you miss that, its exit 124 on Jackson st. heading West. About half a mile up you will see the entrance to the haunted house along with signs and lights.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


We arrived late so we missed out on some of the in line action. It appears that they lock groups inside of cattle pens while waiting. There are plenty of ghouls wandering around. There is also plenty of snacks ranging from carmel apples to hot dogs. I recommend the warm pretzels and cheese. There is also a great photo opportunity with several creepy murals ... keep an eye on the threads if you want to see what our ghoulish picture looks like!

Actors' Performance


The actors were phenomenal. I was concerned because we arrived so late that the actors would be tired and bored, but just the opposite as if the evening brings out their madness. The tour guide did a phenomenal job, we loved the crazy clown, and of course our country boy buddy. I also enjoyed the crazy young lady going round and round! Not a single actor was out of character.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


I can not say enough about the animatronics! They didn't seem fake like most haunted houses, it was grueling. Typically I don't like a lot of animatronics, but A Theater of Lost Souls literally "hit the nail on the head". It was a great balance of old traditional scares and new innovative ones.

Length


The Theater of Lost Souls and The Theater of the Absurd lasted about 28 minutes. The hay ride was about 20 minutes (give or take 5).

Crowd Control


There were a couple points in The Theater of Lost Souls which we started catching up to the group ahead of us, but we just slowed down or a ghoul would block us from exiting.

Most Memorable Moment


The most memorable moment is when our dear friend from Poland (who has never been to a haunted house before) experienced her first chainsaw scare! There is just something about the sound of a chainsaw coming at you that is priceless.

Summary

If I could I would give A Theater of Lost Souls a 4+ ... just because a 5 would be perfection!

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December 18th, 2018 8:04 a.m. CST 1.5.1