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Newbie Review Crew Member

Chris (CC2)

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Previous Reviews: 2011 | 2010 | 2009

2010 Reviews

Please note: this review is for the 2010 season rather than the current season.

Dominion of Terror (CLOSED IN 2020)

by CC2 (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 15, 2010 at about 2:30 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: Very High

Review


I have routinely attended the Dominion of Terror year after year for approximately the last 5-6 years.



My thoughts upon my first few moments into the house this year were, "my how you've grown up".



The Dominion has been at its current location for several years and has been entirely redone from last year's version.



I did not recognize one familiar scene from last season and that was very much appreciated after visiting some houses familiar to me and seeing recycled material and scenes.



For this year's version of Dominion, visitors will pass through a restaurant and kitchen with items you won't find on the Food Network.



There is also a carnival midway with a carousel, a margin of woods with a waterfall, an elaborate medical and dental clinic you will visit among numerous other scenes and can expected to be aggressively welcomed into all of those areas.



The sets in the Dominion are elaborate and detailed down to minute elements like a gruesome dental set that actually smelled of clove oil. Those little factors enhance the experience, nicely.

Signage / Visibility / Location


The Dominion can be a bit tricky to find if you are not familiar with the area. GPS's will find it and the directions on the website are clear to follow.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


The wait area for Dominion is outdoors, so if there is rain or cold temperatures forecasted dress accordingly.

As we waited for our visit, we were seiged by aggressive clowns who startled inattentive guests and sniffed and growled at those who noticed them.

Dominion features a small concession stand and several portable toilets.

Actors' Performance


This was easily the best performance haunt I have attended this season. I was very impressed with the preparation of the actors and their investment in scaring the guests. Further, it was clear that the staff at Dominion take pride in their performances and enjoy their roles. We caught the attraction early in the evening and I'd marvel if the actors can keep up that effort all night, but what I saw was impressive and heavily invested.

Make up and costuming are solid.

Special acknowledgment goes out to the athletic performer in the padded cell who apparently had some digestive problems before we visited and the two rednecks in the leather shop who affected their characters nicely.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


As was mentioned, the Dominion's producers have taken great effort to make an elaborate and detailed haunt. This year's themes were well developed and covered a variety of contexts.

The Dominion's location provides a lot of natural ambiance for a good scare and its sets are well lit so that visitors can appreciate details of the props, make up and costuming.

Length


It took approximately 25 minutes to walk through the Dominion of Terror.

Crowd Control


Crowds entering the house are formed in lines outside and are admitted in small groups at about 5-10 minute intervals.

My pacing was fairly good, but it is difficult in a haunt of this size not to catch groups in front of you that may lag.

Most Memorable Moment


Among many memorable moments were seeing some very impressive make up effects in the kitchen and our reception by vampires as we left the haunt.

Summary

This year's Dominion of Terror comes highly recommended. Its scares can be intense, so it is probably not appropriate for small children. Kudos to the producers of the Dominion for their efforts to renew the experience for visitors. That work and attention to detail is much appreciated.

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Please note: this review is for the 2010 season rather than the current season.

House of Bathory (CLOSED)

by CC2 (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 15, 2010 at about 3:30 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: High

Review


Creative, innovative, intimate, imaginative and startling.



This year's House of Bathory is darkly themed around the recent Alice in Wonderland movie, and its characters and sets represent that story nicely.



This is the first and only haunt I've visited this season that holds one theme throughout, and that made the trip through it very different and enjoyable.



The journey through the house takes you through multiple rooms on different floors that will bring you into direct interactions with the principle characters of Alice in Wonderland, except with startling twists and turns. They aren't quite what you saw on screen anymore.



Your trip through the House of Bathory is at a leisurely pace and staff do a good job of creating distance between tour groups so that you may not run into one another.



Visitors should be aware that some crawling and climbing throughout your tour is required.

Signage / Visibility / Location


The House of Bathory is very easy to find on 8th Street in downtown Manitowoc. Keep an eye out for the lines, and there is your entrance.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


Lines form outside of the entrance. Some of the wait area is covered by an awning. Other areas are uncovered, depending on how long the line is. If there is rain or cool weather forecasted, dress accordingly.

Concessions and restroom facilities are provided at an adjacent shop.

On my visit, we did not experience any in line entertainment, but I have read that it occurs.

Actors' Performance


All of the performers at the House of Bathory gave very invested presentations. Their scripting was clever and enhanced the haunt.

In particular, I have to make mention of the Alice character that cheerily greeted us when we entered the house who giggled and skipped as she led us through the haunt.

Also remarkable were the Tweedle Dee and Tweedly Dum performers who affected nice British accents and shared amusing rhymes as we walked through their area.

I don't ordinarily like a lot of dialogue from performers at houses as I don't feel they add a lot to the experience, but with this particular theme the remarks of the performers complimented the experience nicely.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


The House of Bathory is richly and elaborately decorated and you should be sure to look around to appreciate them if you visit.

The creators of the house did a remarkable job of making a coherent portrayal of the Alice in Wonderland theme and did a nice job of developing the story as you pass through the haunt.

Make up and costuming were well done. Keep an eye out for the very impressive caterpillar.

Length


It took approximately 30 minutes to negotiate the haunt and we took a leisurely pace to appreciate all of the props and set decorations.

Crowd Control


The crowd assembles at the front of the building and staff route groups inside at approximately 5-10 minute intervals.

Most Memorable Moment


It's difficult to isolate one particular moment as being THE experience of the house as I really enjoyed the overall experience, in sum.

I appreciated the costuming and dialogue of the characters in various points of the trip and there are some surprise scares that follow those words.

There is a glowing sensory effect in the middle of the tour that is probably what I would consider most remarkable if limited to one pick.

Summary

As was mentioned, the House of Bathory is a very distinctive stop compared to its peers. It is part haunt and part theater. I really appreciated the thought that went into the theme, the effort to make a sensible path through the story and the clever dialogue of the performers. This will be a very novel theatrical experience for visitors and is highly recommended.

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Please note: this review is for the 2010 season rather than the current season.

The Haunted Barn Stoughton (PERMANENTLY CLOSED)

by CC2 (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 16, 2010 at about 4:30 p.m.

Fun Factor: High Fear Factor: Medium

Review


As was mentioned in a previous review, the Haunted Barn is a novel experience as a rural take on a haunting.



What makes this place distinctive is the farm nature of the haunt beginning with your walk through a well appointed barn and then continuing on to a stroll through the woods before returning to the barn for some alternative sensory experiences.



There is heavy usage of props and decoration throughout the barn that make it visually appealing.



After initially exiting the barn on your tour, you will walk a lighted path that takes you through a graveyard and past a hearse. Stop along the way to appreciate the atmosphere.



Next, you will pass through a small cabin before concluding your trip back at the barn.



Along your way through the Haunted Barn and its surrounds, you will be confronted by various creatures of the night who do a nice job of creating startles for you, if you aren't paying attention.

Signage / Visibility / Location


The Barn is easy to locate just South of Stoughton on Hwy 51.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


Lines going into the house are well organized. The facility features ample rest facilities, a small gift shop and concessions. The wait area is outdoors, so if there is rain or cool weather forecasted, dress accordingly.

Actors' Performance


During our visit, the actors gave nice performances and seemed invested in trying to scare the guests. They also seemed to enjoy their roles and performed them well.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


The Haunted Barn has ample props and a high visual appeal. It's natural setting amongst the rolling hills of Southern Wisconsin give it a charm all its own.

I caught the Haunted Barn on a clear, moonlit night and it made for a very nice evening's entertainment.

Length


It took approximately 35 minutes to negotiate the haunt, but that included a brief delay after exiting the forest as guests were only allowed into the vortex area 2 at a time. There was a slight crowd back up at that point in the tour.

Crowd Control


Guests are routed through the house in an efficient manner. There were occasional delays to allow gaps between the groups.

Most Memorable Moment


The Barn features some very intriguing lighting effects that were distinctive compared to other haunts.

The walk through the woods behind the barn was the most extensive outdoor path I've experienced this season.

Summary

The Haunted Barn makes for good family entertainment. It is an appropriate stop for families with younger children. It is not one of the more intense scares of the season, but it is a fun Halloween atmosphere, nonetheless.

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Please note: this review is for the 2010 season rather than the current season.

Terror on Rural Street (CLOSED IN 2020)

by CC2 (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 8, 2010 at about 3 p.m.

Fun Factor: High Fear Factor: Medium

Review


I attended with two other people to get different perspectives on Terror on Rural this year.



Both of them raved about the actor's make up and the large and elaborate sets.



On the trip through Terror, you will pass through a prison lock up, witness an electrocution and observe an operation on a patient with very active arteries.



There is a crematorium to pass through as well as an area featuring hanging, wet meats.



There are some nice sensory effects this year with a tunnel filled with changing patterns of light and another hall with walls that will close in on you backed by strobe lighting.



Depending on how easy you scare, you may not find Terror particularly chilling, but at the very least there are some nice scenes to explore and staff that want to startle you.

Signage / Visibility / Location


Terror on Rural is just outside of the downtown area of Hartford with lit signage to locate the house.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


The house has a covered waiting area with benches and a snack bar. There are ample portable toilet facilities.

Actors' Performance


Everyone working at Terror when we visited gave good performances and seemed to care about creating a startle. Special remark goes out to the nurse who showed us her Facebook page and shared a few other jokes before encouraging us all to get flu shots.

Also, the "prisoners" in the jail cells gave particularly enthusiastic performances.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


As was mentioned, the people in my group were very impressed with the make up on the actors at Terror on Rural, and I have to agree. The make up artists are to be complimented.

The sets were lit well enough to appreciate the detail.

On our visit, we found ourselves stopped in an area with a dropping floor effect for several minutes. Apparently, staff were trying to regulate traffic through the house, but the dropping effect got old after about 10 occurrences.

As per usual, the sets were impressive and detailed.

Length


It took approximately 20-25 minutes to walk through the house.

Crowd Control


Visitors are routed through the house in an efficient manner. Ticket numbers are called in groupings and once inside the waiting area of the house, staff will assemble you in lines and share a few jokes with you.

Most Memorable Moment


All in my party agreed the most memorable moment of our visit was the walk through a tunnel featuring changing patterns of green lighting on the wall with a few actors waiting along the display.

Summary

Terror on Rural is always worth a stop. The staff routinely give invested performances. None of us found the attraction particularly scary this year. There are a few startles, but we tended to notice where people were hiding and some of the scenes are kind of predictable. Despite those issues, Terror is still a recommended visit and the effort that staff put forward to produce the house is apparent.

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Please note: this review is for the 2010 season rather than the current season.

Hubertus House of Horror

by CC2 (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 8, 2010 at about 2 p.m.

Fun Factor: High Fear Factor: Medium

Review


The Hubertus House of Horror has been around a while and I attend it routinely.



Creation/re-creation of the house requires a good deal of effort throughout the year to change things up, and staff there are always attentive to trying to keep things as fresh as they can, which is appreciated.



The house features a nice swamp scene and a restaurant with a butcher that wants some acknowledgment, as well.



You will also have an early session with Santa that was an interesting twist.



There is an excellent animatronic effect that awaits you.



There is also a surprise after your instructions before entering the house.



I went with a group of three to get different reactions to the haunt and my guests felt there was too much glow make up at one point in the house and they felt the 3D aspect was not much of a novel experience.



Some of the scenes had rather poorly hidden actors lying in wait, so those scares were unremarkable.



I'm not sure if in week two of the season the actors aren't quite at peak performance, but some of the scenes were slow to develop and the timing was off. There were some awkward waits for the scare during my visit.



The house begins with a bus ride that has essentially zero scare factor and doesn't really provide much of an enhancement to the experience.


Signage / Visibility / Location


If you can find your way to Hubertus, you should be able to find your way to the House of Horror. Look carefully for a small sign on the left side of the road near a church off of Holy Hill Rd, if you are approaching from the highway. The exit will be on your left in front of the church.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


For our visit, a local radio station was doing a promotion with giveaways in the gym. Wii system games were available as were other arcade games for a fee.

Hubertus has a nice snack area available and ample toilet facilities.

Actors' Performance


The house's actors gave nice performances and seemed invested in trying to startle the guests.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


The Hubertus house routinely adorns its rooms with lots of props. It featured one of the best scenes that I've seen thus far this season with a zombie that notices you watching him.

Length


The trip through the house takes about 25 minutes, depending on your pace and how quickly you are permitted to enter various rooms.

Staff at the house gatekeep entry into the different scenes and sometimes you will catch the group before you and hear what you are about to experience.

Crowd Control


The House has a system of lining up guests in 3 lines preparing them to enter the house. this works effectively for routing people into the attraction. Ticket numbers are announced and written on a chalkboard inside the gym so that you know what ticket numbers are able to enter the house.

Most Memorable Moment


The house features an animatronic that is outstanding and also includes a sensory effect. It's been the best scene I've experienced so far this season and in itself validated the price of admission.

Summary

I hate to be critical of an old classic in Hubertus, but I felt the scare and startle factors were a bit lower this year than usual. Perhaps scenes will tighten as the season progresses. For those in the Milwaukee area, I still recommend the attraction as its creators routinely put forth a good effort to diversify the haunt. Despite not being particularly scary per se, I feel this attraction is worth a look. The very fact that you are wandering the corridors of an old house will be chilling enough for some, but for those with higher expectations than just an old, creaking house this may not be a maximum experience.

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Please note: this review is for the 2010 season rather than the current season.

Haunted Cornfield at Meadowbrook Pumpkin Farm

by CC2 (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 9, 2010 at about 2 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: Very High

Review


One never knows what they will come across in a cornfield in Washington County, as it turns out.



On your visit to the Haunted Cornfield, you will traverse a glowing spider web and eventually meet its spitting creator.



There is a pirate ship with its captain and a surprise guest.



Throughout the field, you will encounter glowing red and white eyes staring at you from the dark amidst the sounds of the night.



There are witches brewing concoctions in cauldrons and aliens that have found earth to be a fertile area for colonization.



You will meet the Wolfman and will contemplate a solitary walk through a graveyard.



On your trip, you will pass through a house of confusion with tapestry the same pattern as the walls.



Prior to entering the maze, there are plenty of options for how to spend your time.



The Cornfield is a pumpkin farm and has an impressive array of pumpkins, squash and gourds to buy.



There is also a gift shop on site selling Halloween themed gifts and a snack area selling cider and caramel apples among other fall treats.



The staff maintain a raised fire pit and snacks are sold in that area.



I am told they tell scary stories around the fire. When I visited, people sat and enjoyed the warmth in silence awaiting their call into the field.

Signage / Visibility / Location


The Cornfield is in a fairly rural location. The directions on the website are helpful and my GPS found it with no difficulty.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


Once actually in line, there isn't much to do but wait once your ticket number grouping is called.

Prior to being called, there is plenty of browsing to do through the rows of pumpkins, in the gift shop and around the grounds.

As was mentioned, there is a very pleasant bonfire to sit by to pass the time while you are waiting for your group to be called.

There is a digital message board near the fire that lets you know what groups are currently able to wait in line.

Plenty of snacks, etc. are available.

This is really one of the more rich Halloween environments to pass time in.

Actors' Performance


I particularly appreciated the actor's portraying animals in an area where you eventually end up in a shrinking cage.

Overall, all of the live performers in the field had invested involvements with us and seemed to enjoy their roles. Costuming and make up were above average.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


The creators of the cornfield did a remarkable job of setting up scenes in the field and having lots of audio and smaller scenes in-between the major stops.

There is plenty to pay attention to in your walk through the corn. Quiet moments are few and beware when it becomes too quiet.

Warning: there is a very heavy reliance on strobe lights in the field if you are sensitive to that.

Length


Depending on the pace of your walk, your journey through the field should take you about a half hour.

Crowd Control


For my visit, groups were being called 50 at a time. Groups were sent into the maze in about 5 minute intervals and they were allowing individual couples and small groups to enter on their own vs in pre-set groupings like 8 at a time, etc. This added to the wait, but improved the overall individual experience.

Most Memorable Moment


For my group, we particularly appreciated the scene with a pirate ship and also the area that eventually evolves into a caging. The actors in that area in particular gave very lively performances.

Summary

I really enjoyed this event. The walk through the field really makes you have to keep your wits about you and there is some kind of stimulation either audio or visual throughout the field. This was a very satisfying visit and is highly recommended.

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March 7th, 2021 12:20 p.m. CST 13.5