Senior Review Crew Member

Ted (Captn_DeathSchlager)

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Why do I like Halloween? Here are a few reasons why my ghoulish tendencies come out for Halloween every year: (1) Imagination: What other holiday encourages kids to pretend they're adults and adults to pretend they're kids? (2) Creativity: Fueling our imagination while providing a chance to showcase our creativity so that our alter egos can shamelessly take center stage for a day! (3) Originality: No two Halloweens are ever the same! (4) …plus the candy is a pretty nice perk too. J

What do I look for in a haunt? These are elements that give me the heebee jeebies at a haunt: (1) Anticipation of the element of Surprise such as wondering through a dimly lit hallway (2) interactive haunts that include you in the action rather than relegate you to the mere role of spectator (3) techno-effects that excite your senses while challenging your mind to figure out how they did that.

Previous Reviews: 2021 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014

2016 Reviews

Please note: this review is for the 2016 season rather than the current season.

Splatterhaus Presents - HELLWORLD (PERMANENTLY CLOSED)

by Captn_DeathSchlager (Senior Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 15, 2016 at about 7 p.m.

Fun Factor: Medium Fear Factor: High

Review

New location...new scares...same great scaretastic experience! Just to set record straight, here are 3 items of interest for those who haven't already checked out splatterhaus.com (1) HELLWORLD, which is presented by Splatterhaus, has moved back to Sheboygan. (2) This year’s haunt is located in semi-trailers so it's considerably more intimate than its predecessors. (3) This haunt is still presented by Splatterhaus. Rest assured that the fright fanatics who have masterminded Splatterhaus' uniquely terrifying experience in that past are still 100% dedicated to scaring the crap out of you!

From the outside this haunt looks very uninspiring. Upon arriving you will find a desolate but well-lit parking lot with temporary fencing, a small convoy of semi-trailers parked side by side, a shuttle bus proudly displaying a Zombie Assault banner and a dimly lit window with an illuminated "Tickets" sign. While there are no signs or wandering ghouls to indicate that you have found HELLWORLD the unmistakable sound of blood curdling screams will assure you that you're in the right place.

As one might expect with this venue, HELLWORLD is comprised solely of a maze of intimate creeped out corridors and hidden passages. What HELLWORLD lacks in size it more than makes up for with smash mouth style in your face scares. (Note: nothing actually physically smashes you in the face but take note of the facial expressions of the terrified haunt goers as they exit.) If you've attended a Splatterhaus haunt in the past you've certainly experienced their immersive sound experience and techno-scares. HELLWORLD certainly does not disappoint on this front...in fact this haunt is so LOUD you'll likely not be able to think! A nice mix of intimately dark corridors, explosive sound, elaborately costumed characters and terror-technology make HELLWORLD uniquely electrifying. A noteworthy point for those concerned about a haunt comprised of semi-trailers...there's no place to run or hide when the ghastly ghouls greet you inside HELLWORLD!

While waiting to tour HELLWORLD and following my adventure I had the opportunity speak with several haunt goers who ranged in age from 10 to 60+. Interestingly they all shared similar comments. (1) They were initially concerned that HELLWORLD would not meet their expectations but afterwards they were pleasantly surprised. (2) All agreed that the $10 admission fee was a bargain! (3) Note: I wound up touring this haunt with the 10yr old and his father. Judging from the 10yr old's experience and the intense nature of the scares in this haunt I, nor the haunt goers I spoke with, would recommend this haunt for pre-teens!

Zombie Assault. While I wouldn't recommend touring HELLWORLD with a group larger than 3 the Zombie Assault attraction seats 8...and there's not a bad seat on this ride! All the windows on this bus simulator bus are pimped out with video monitors that not only look like realistic windows but give you the perception that the action surrounding the bus is live. An immersive sound system, hydraulic suspension system and a few additional techno-scares make this a uniquely terrifying thrill ride that puts you right in the action!

Signage / Visibility / Location


Be sure to study your maps or set your navigation system prior to traveling to HELLWORLD. The signs leading you too this haunt are not illuminated....but there are a few for those with keen eyes.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


Tickets are purchased outside in the elements as is the waiting area. There were no ghouls present to entertain you while wait when I was there.

Actors' Performance


The actors encountered at HELLWORLD were not there to entertain you. Their sole purpose is to scare the crap out of you...and their quite good at it!

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


The technology and sound packed into these semi-trailers is VERY impressive! How they can power their arsenal of animatronic wonders has to be one of the marvels of the world!

Length


Took my group 10 minutes to complete the tour through HELLWORLD

Crowd Control


The waiting line was clearly fenced off with several volunteers present to ensure those waiting to tour HELLWORLD did not fall victim to any of the hell hounds attempting to escape the haunt.

Most Memorable Moment


At one point I thought I could avoid an apparent scare by proceed along the adjacent wall before I was un-relentlessly jolted by a techno-scare. The experience made me realize that there's no hiding or escaping a scare when you're in tight quarters...cleverly done!

Summary

New location...new scares...same great scaretastic experience! The intimate corridors, immersive sound and arsenal of animatronic wonders found in HELLWORLD provide a unique smash mouth in your face frightful experience.

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Please note: this review is for the 2016 season rather than the current season.

Dwelling Of Despair (PERMANENTLY CLOSED)

by Captn_DeathSchlager (Senior Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 7, 2016 at about 7 p.m.

Fun Factor: High Fear Factor: Medium

Review

The Dwelling of Despair Haunted House & accompanying Forest of Fear is a self-guided, interactive ghoulish attraction known for its awesome animatronic special effects, elaborate decor, skilled actors, unique monsters, unusual themes and chilling detail! Now in its 31st season the Dwelling of Despair has prided itself in providing a creative and ghoulishly good time to all haunt goers along with a few (ahem, more like several!) frightful moments. 2016 marked my 24th visit to this haunted venue and similar to prior years I was once again amazed at how many of the sets/themes have changed. While you may notice a few similarities along your terrifying tour outside of this haunt what awaits inside will torment and twist your mind in new ways. Highlighting the changes this year are more in your face chills, thrills and scares than the skits that traditionally tormented you in the Dwelling of Despair. Rest assured though, this haunt still offers opportunities to interact with the demon’s inhabiting the Dwelling of Despair and retains the same Halloween charm that has brought guests back for the past 31 years!

The 2016 edition of this haunt presents two horrifying sections to test your wits and your desire to survive. The Forrest of Fear kicks off your terrifying tour on a dark and twisted path patrolled by evil spirits and several fiendish ghouls. Survivors from prior years will notice the addition of new frightful fiends as they approach the door steps of the Dwelling. If you're lucky enough to slip past these gorish guardians the entrance of the 3 story Dwelling of Despair awaits from the 3rd floor balcony. To escape the nightmares found within the unfriendly confines of the Dwelling of Despair you must successfully navigate a maze of uniquely themed rooms and hidden passages through the bowels of the entire house. Along the way you are sure to encounter each and every inhabitant of the house...some fun, some helpful but most of all they are all quite frightful!

Signage / Visibility / Location


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

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


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

Actors' Performance


A great mix of adult and young actors delivered very entertaining performances. A few of them allowed you to playfully interact with them. Less veteran haunt goers looking to get freaked out will not be disappointed. All haunt goers will be certainly be entertained.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


Some really unique sets and a several outstanding special effects

Crowd Control


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

Most Memorable Moment


Several to choose from…. I don’t want to trick anyone out of experiencing the sensational surprises but I particularly enjoyed the acting performance of The Butcher and mind bending maze patrolled by the jolly jesters.

Summary

The Dwelling of Despair provides an exceptional balance of scares, ghoulishly gratifying visual treats and interactive entertainment making this haunt a fun Halloween destination for both kids and adults alike. The indoor waiting area complete with concession stand make this a howling good time regardless of the weather. The Dwelling of Despair & Forest of Fear is the total package - an extremely high quality immersive event that merges SCARY, FUN and COOL into a safe environment. Highlighting this year’s haunt are new scares, characters, story lines and an extended terrifying tour.

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Please note: this review is for the 2016 season rather than the current season.

Abandoned Haunted House Complex

by Captn_DeathSchlager (Senior Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 1, 2016 at about 8:30 p.m.

Fun Factor: Medium Fear Factor: Very High

Review

Abandoned Haunted Complex - Burial Chamber’s sinister sister haunt is sensationally sick!! For years I’ve been proclaiming the Fox Valley’s Burial Chamber as Wisconsin’s scariest haunted attraction. While I’m not quite ready to recant this proclamation (yet!) I will admit that Abandoned has done something that no other haunt in Wisconsin has been able to do…quench my insatiable thirst for more of the unique thrills made famous by Burial Chamber.

2016 marks the 6th season for Abandoned but was the first year that I have toured the Haunted Complex. Here are some devilish details that I acquired from my terrifying tour…

This haunt features 3 haunted attractions: Ambush, Hysteria and Stalker. Both Ambush and Hysteria reside inside while Stalker consists of a mix of disturbing dwellings connected by a creeped out corn maze. The layout of Ambush and Hysteria are similar in that they are both comprised of a seemingly endless maze of cleverly crafted corridors consisting of a variety of themes. The journey through both Ambush and Hysteria progresses continuously without stoppages for elaborate skits. Rooms here are more like themed corridors than rooms and your pace through these haunts are determined more by how quickly you walk than it is by the creatures lurking in the shadows. The ghouls throughout are unrelenting in their quest to scare each and every visitor regardless of their position within a group. Yes, you read that correctly…you will be terrorized regardless of your position in your group as there is no place to hide from the menacing monsters lurking throughout the haunts. Sets were lit effectively…dim enough to encourage you to keep your scare guard up but light enough so that you could appreciate the amazing attention to detail with the sets and costumed actors. Gore and special effects were plentiful with several visual abominations that will torment your mind long after your exit. Laser lighting, black lit rooms, a vortex, strobe lights, and trick floor were just a few of the visual stimuli offered up.

Bonus note for those familiar with Burial Chamber but not Abandoned….the journey through Ambush and Hysteria is continuous unlike Burial Chamber’s Adrenalin and Insanity where you exit one and are required to get in line for the next one.

Unlike Ambush and Hysteria, Stalker incorporates a creepy corn maze with occasional petrifying passages through eerie dwellings found along the way. Rustling corn and sinister sounds heighten your anticipation of what’s to come as you proceed along a moon lit path. Similar to Ambush and Hysteria, the monsters in Stalker were menacing, highly motivated and acrobatic doing an exceptional job of appearing out of nowhere to scare each and every member the tour group regardless of position.

The haunted complex also offers a side attraction, Shoot-a-Feak, that allows you to shoot a ghoul with a paintball gun. A large courtyard with a ginormous movie screen, bumpin’ sound system and a concession stand can be found directly behind the main complex. A nightly parade of ghouls also takes place here every night at 6:45pm.

Signage / Visibility / Location


Very easy to find as it’s located on the frontage road running alongside of I-94. 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 portions of the wait lines for Ambush, Hysteria and Stalker are outside. As you near the entrance to Ambush and Hysteria the waiting lines are covered. A courtyard with ginormous movie screen, bumpin sound system and a concession stand along with a few costumed actors help to build your anticipation while you wait to enter the haunts. Be sure to arrive early and check out the parade of Ghouls which takes place nightly at 6:45pm. If you don’t like long lines and lengthy waits be sure to purchase VIP passes to take advantage of the shorter VIP lines.

Actors' Performance


The actors were very skilled at providing quick and unexpected scares. Only a few actors performed on sets that provided an opportunity for a theatrical display and in these situations they did not disappoint! I particularly enjoyed the performances in the Chapel Room, Gas Chamber/Shower Room and the Stalker Intro room.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


Brilliant use of shadows and dimly lit hallways/rooms to maximize scare and creep factor. Set designs were very effective in immersing you into the theme of the haunt. Not the most elaborate set designs I've seen but definitely better than the average haunt. Enjoyed some of the unique concepts and special effects. Trick floors, vibrating walls, tripped out laser lights….there’s a little bit of everything to keep you on your toes.

Length


Took my group 25 minutes to complete Ambush/Hysteria and 25 minutes to complete Stalker

Crowd Control


Waiting lines for both Ambush/Hysteria and Stalker were clearly marked off along with the separate VIP lines.

Most Memorable Moment


Several great scares...the Chapel Room wins the ‘how the heck did they do that’ award!

Summary

If you’re looking for a totally terrifying experience in SE Wisconsin this Halloween look no further than Abandoned. The scares in Ambush and Hysteria come early and often thanks to an amazing arsenal of gruesome gore and visual effects that maximize scare opportunities. For those who thirst for more thrills Stalker offers even more horrific haunted mayhem.

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April 24th, 2024 6:49 a.m. CDT 24.05