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Senior Review Crew Member

Paige (PaigeBerrier)

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Previous Reviews: 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016

2019 Reviews

Please note: this review is for the 2019 season rather than the current season.

Dominion of Terror

by PaigeBerrier (Senior Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 26, 2019 at about 8:30 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: Very High

Review

Dominion of Terror has been one of my longtime favorite haunts! This haunted house, located in Sheboygan, is an incredible volunteer-run nonprofit, with a very reasonable ticket price, AND the only haunted house to do a special encore every spring (seriously thank you for giving me my fix halfway through the year)! It’s amazing to see how they completely redo the whole thing again and again, creating a new path to walk through and unique sets every time. This is one I definitely look forward to!

My spouse and I visited DOT on Saturday, October 26, which is traditionally one of the busiest days in the haunted house season. We got there around 8:30PM, and elected for their speed pass (VIP) option, which I would definitely recommend given availability for those who don’t want to wait! However, DOT does have a partially indoor waiting area, refreshments, and a little shop to provide entertainment while you wait in line. With the speed pass, we were able to bypass most of the regular line, waiting only minutes before we entered into the haunt with another pair, making us a group of 4.

This is a multi-story, long, and intricate haunt - there are a few flights of stairs up and down, and one very memorable slanted room! I loved their campfire area as they explained the rules - the actors in there were amazing and really set the scene for the night. There were several other awesome “outdoor” (they were indoor for real) scenes, including some spooky, dark, shiny water and a really nasty little outhouse! There was a movie theater scene I thought was super unique as well, and we really liked an area with tight, dark hallways and a slow, creepy strobe. One other thing we really enjoyed this year was how funny some of the actors comments were! They were really quick witted and made us laugh in between our screams!

Signage / Visibility / Location


This is a very visible, easy to find haunt located in a big, 3-story brick building with lots of signage. One area I always have felt they could improve on a little is the parking, as it’s not very clearly labeled, and there is no direction, but it’s not hard to figure out!

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


The wait area is half indoors, half indoors, with a booth next to the ticket area for refreshments. They also have a nice shop with branded merchandise and some other jewelry and accessories. While we didn’t encounter a lot of actors personally during our very short wait, I saw them walking around interacting with the general crowd!

Actors' Performance


The actors at DOT have good timing, although at the front of the line, I did feel just a few too many of the jump scares were saved for the end. However, there were some amazing screamers, and a lot of scary humor in the mix, which we loved!

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


There is a ton of variety in DOT’s sets, with some memorable ones being “outdoor” scenes, tight hallways with fake doors, a weird movie theater, a religious living room, and a room full of boxes we dubbed “Moving: The True Horror”!

Length


This haunt is nice and long, taking at least 30 or 45 minutes to go through!

Crowd Control


I thought they did a great job controlling the crowds, especially for such a busy night. A few times we encountered other groups, but always we were held back by actors in character, or they stalled the groups behind us.

Most Memorable Moment


My most memorable moment was a bathroom scene that seemed to happen again, and again, and again… ;)

Summary

Dominion of Terror has been a long time favorite haunt of mine, and once again, they have produced a haunted house that is long, creative, fun, and scary! I love what they do for their local community, and I really look forward to seeing their new ideas year after year! I can’t wait to revisit the horror this spring for their Terror in April!

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Please note: this review is for the 2019 season rather than the current season.

Terror on Rural Street

by PaigeBerrier (Senior Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 26, 2019 at about 6:30 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: Very High

Review

As a southerner, I have a hard time saying the name of this haunt, but that doesn’t stop me from coming back year after year! This was my fifth consecutive year going to Terror on Rural Street, and with each year this haunt continues to top themselves, both in creativity and scariness. Best of all, this haunt is nonprofit, meaning they give back to their community with your ticket purchase!

We (my spouse and myself) visited TORS on Saturday, October 26, which is traditionally “Halloweekend”, or the busiest night of the haunted house season. Even though we arrived right when they opened at 6:30, there was already a fairly large crowd, so we elected to purchase their VIP passes for a $10 upcharge ($25 each total). However, TORS has a fantastic waiting area (one of the best I’ve seen) - indoors, very secure, and featuring both entertainment and refreshments. They then call groups in a designated line area using ticket numbers, but as VIPs we were brought immediately to the line. Therefore we had no wait at all before going into the haunt, and we were grouped with another pair to make a small group of 4.

I thought TORS did a great job this year in particular with their “gross” scares - they had a really nasty bathroom scene, a very scary and aggressive jail section, and one area in particular with a strobe light maze that I found to be the scariest thing I’d seen there yet! There is also a really cool “science experiment” scene that will surprise you! I love their combination of well-timed actors and smart use of props/animatronics - they know how to use them to their advantage and don’t overdo it! There are a good amount of jump scares in this haunt, and they utilize air puffs to constantly startle you and keep you on your toes. I also have always enjoyed a certain “problem solving” element of their haunt; they often have hidden or misleading doors, and you need to “find your way out”. I think this is super fun and can be really disorienting!

Signage / Visibility / Location


Terror on Rural Street is located as part of a large, community building, and is very easy to find, with a bright sign and lots of clearly labeled parking (in a lot).

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


Slightly N/A on this one for us, as the VIP passes allowed us to skip the general wait area. However, we did go back in just to check it out before we left, and I saw several actors milling around interacting with guests. They also have snacks and drinks available for purchase as you wait!

Actors' Performance


Really great - lots of jump scares, but also lots of restraint as well; some people knew how to be creepy with just their eyes and body language. I also thought there were some funny comments and jokes thrown in as well, which I always love.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


TORS is very creative with their sets! I really loved the field of laser mist, and a really intricate, creeeeeepy room full of dolls. I also loved the two areas where you had to find your way out; one full of doors in a hallway and the other in the strobe light maze. I also really love their neon cave room!

Length


It takes around 30 minutes to do this haunt!

Crowd Control


They do a great job with the crowds at this haunt, with security on site and a really efficient system of calling ticket numbers that means you don’t have to stand in line all night, and can instead sit down or hang out with your group.

Most Memorable Moment


I definitely thought the best part of this haunt, hands down, was the strobe light maze. It was legitimately scary, disorienting, and overall just “gross” - so I loved it! It was confusing to navigate with actors crawling along the fences and things swinging from above; truly the scariest set I’ve seen them have yet!

Summary

Terror on Rural Street has outdone themselves once again! This haunt is fun, unique, and definitely scary, featuring a wide variety of different scary scenes and actors for every person to find terrifying. At $15 a ticket, this haunt is also very reasonably priced, and does a lot for their community in putting together this house. It is definitely one I really look forward to returning to year after year!

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Please note: this review is for the 2019 season rather than the current season.

Abandoned Haunted House Complex

by PaigeBerrier (Senior Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 11, 2019 at about 8 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: Very High

Review

When people in Milwaukee ask me what haunted house they should go to, Abandoned is always my number one suggestion. Year after year, I am blown away by this haunt’s professionalism, fear factor, and constantly expanding space and ideas. This year was no exception. We had an amazing time during our visit to Abandoned!

The haunt has grown over the years to include 3 individual houses, one of which is a combination of indoor and outdoor. The space also includes a (new) axe throwing game, a souvenir shop, food, drinks, and a photo site. It is a very well maintained and managed site, with tons of parking, guides, bathrooms, and entertainment while in line. Our group all had quickpasses as well, and while it wasn’t super crowded, we experienced literally no wait at all for our haunts!

STALKER
Stalker is Abandoned’s outdoor(ish) haunt, and we chose to go through it first. We couldn’t have asked for a better night - the cool breeze rustled through the corn and the moon guided our way through. Within the corn, there was the perfect mix of spot lighting, misdirection from props, and just enough areas of “nothing” happening to build that creepy anticipation. The indoor sections were all really amazing and creative as well - we loved a trailer, a chicken coop, and the creepy coffin room. All of the scenes were incredible, and had the perfect amount of actors, who both knew when to scare and when to hold back. I especially LOVED the final scene!

HYSTERIA
This is such a long, detailed haunt - we loved the different levels you could see down into as well as the different floor types. I love how it begins, with an amazing, dramatic, foggy scene, and then uses a ton of different light types to distract and confuse you as you make your way through. There were a lot of rooms with a ton of attention to detail, and we experienced truly move-like qualities with fake snow, humidity, sounds, and smells. The actors were, again, incredible in this haunt - whispering to us through screens, remembering our names, and clicking in our ears. We also loved seeing a real mouse in this haunt (he was really cute and was obviously a beloved pet being held, not being poorly treated in any way)!

AMBUSH
This haunt had a super fun start to it with some sassy nuns! There were also a ton of startling and creepy people within it, including a girl curled up on a table and an actor who reached out to us from a really unusual place. This haunt featured a chainsaw actor as well, and my favorite scene, the subway car, which is always super unnerving. We also thought some of the actors were funny/scary in this haunt too, which I think makes for a really fun night overall. The only “downside” to this haunt was that we did experience issues with spacing, but it was toward the end!

Signage / Visibility / Location


Abandoned is very easy to find and very visible from the highway. There is plenty of parking that is well monitored, visible lines, and security on site.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


Excellent - the lines are so clearly labeled, and there are tons of actors walking around through them. I also noticed they had a bar this year, and while we didn’t partake, I believe you could drink in the line for the haunt, which is an awesome addition.

Actors' Performance


Truly incredible. A perfect blend of holding back and giving it their all, creepy, funny, lingering, all of the above. Abandoned has an amazing group of performers that are clearly passionate and talented.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


Also absolutely incredible - so detailed, so varied, different every year, and has something for everyone - you name it, there’s a room for it. For example, I have a fear of birds - and there we went into a chicken coop! I can’t say enough good things about their sets, it’s like walking into a horror movie.

Length


Abandoned is very lengthy! There’s the three haunts, and each take at least 30 minutes. We had quickpasses and waited for NO time for each, and we were there for about 2 hours!

Crowd Control


Very good, with the exception of a little backup in the haunt, which is completely understandable. Abandoned is very professional with their setup and security.

Most Memorable Moment


So many, but I would have to say the final scene of Phobia was my absolute favorite moment.

Summary

This is my fifth year attending Abandoned, and once again, they’ve outdone themselves. This is a professional, scary, fantastically fun haunt that has 3 full haunted houses with seemingly endless themes and actors. I would absolutely recommend it to anyone who is looking for a Halloween event - you WILL be scared!

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Please note: this review is for the 2019 season rather than the current season.

Burial Chamber Haunted House Complex

by PaigeBerrier (Senior Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, September 27, 2019 at about 9 p.m.

Fun Factor: High Fear Factor: Very High

Review

Burial Chamber has long been one of my absolute must-see haunts for the season! Year after year, I’m impressed with the length, creativity, and scare factor of each of the three haunted houses they offer at their location - Adrenaline, Insanity, and Phobia. For those who don’t know, Burial Chamber is also the sibling to Abandoned, another amazing haunt, so patrons of both can utilize ticket combined ticket options. Our group attended their opening night, and purchased the combo Abandoned/Burial Chamber ticket, which is for all 3 haunts at each + quickpass entry for both locations, and we did have a bit of an issue with this particular ticket and Phobia (see more below).

ADRENALINE
We went through this haunt first, as it’s almost always my favorite of the night (and this night was no exception!). This haunt is the most “traditional” in terms of content - scary hospitals, military scenes, and creepy nuns make up just some of the scenes you will encounter upon. We loved so many of the actors in this haunt, experiencing specialized moments like breathing in your ear, singling out specific people in our group (pro-tip: if you’re in the front, whisper your friend’s name in the back to an actor to really creepy them out!), and some really great jump scares. We especially liked a confusing hospital scene that messed with our perception of reality!

INSANITY
This haunt is more focused on clowns, neon lights, and distorted reality. We loved the glowing elements, the strobe light maze, and some of the specifically scary costumes, including a demogorgan-like mask and a Samara-like figure (that I quickly rushed past in fear). This section also includes a spinning vortex, which I personally have an intense love/hate relationship with, and was sprinkled with actors along it, making it even more terrifying. Lastly, this section of the haunt includes the famous “Big Tina”, which is startling even when you’re expecting her!

PHOBIA
We were not able to go through Phobia on the night we visited. This was really unfortunate, because the haunt was closed early due to lack of a line, something we weren’t informed was a possibility when we got our tickets for all 3 haunts. There seemed to be some confusion from the staff as to what was open and what wasn’t, and we were disappointed we didn’t get the chance to go through, as I have always found Phobia to be one of the best outdoor haunts I’ve seen. Had we known there was a chance of it shutting down, we would have done that one first, however we were completely surprised by the info, and not able to come back at another time (we live about 2 hours away). They shut it down about 45 minutes before the ticket booth closed for the night. This was also all on their opening night.

Signage / Visibility / Location


Burial Chamber is easy to find via Google Maps, and typically has workers with lights showing where to park, however, they didn’t on this night. It’s very easy to find though, and has a huge warehouse with their logo on the side that’s very well lit.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


We very briefly had to wait in line with our quickpasses, but the actors we did encounter there had on amazing costumes, and were both scary and very funny and entertaining. We enjoyed talking to them and taking pictures!

Actors' Performance


Burial Chamber is chock-full of amazing actors who know just when to go for it and when to hold back. I always appreciate the way they stagger who they scare within the group, and those that linger toward the back to growl or whisper into an ear. We had a ton of jump scares in these haunts, and a lot of creative costumes and masks - absolutely excellent group of actors.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


The scenes at Burial Chamber are superb - highly detailed, changing every year, and always super scary. I feel that they have a good balance of more realistic looking settings and traditional Halloween props that move and make noise.

Length


This is a full night of haunts - each one takes about 30 minutes to go through, if not longer depending on the night.

Crowd Control


Very good - there are lots of actors working in the lines to direct traffic, and I felt like they did a pretty good job of keeping groups apart within the haunt itself. On a busy night though, having a quickpass is key!

Most Memorable Moment


The Samara-like character, with the hair down over her face, really does it for me. Such a creepy image that I always scoot right on past!

Summary

Burial Chamber is an amazing, scary, lengthy group of haunted houses that is always full of fantastic actors and creative scenes. It’s been a must-see of mine for years, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a true night out at haunted houses. We were, however, disappointed in the fact that 1 out of 3 of the haunts closed early with no warning or communication from the staff. However, I truly feel like our situation was unusual, and the 2 we were able to go through were fantastic, scary, and a really fun time!

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Please note: this review is for the 2019 season rather than the current season.

The Dark Side at The House on the Rock

by PaigeBerrier (Senior Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 12, 2019 at about 7 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: Medium

Review

Tucked away between the fields and farmlands of Wisconsin is the infamous House on the Rock, a one-of-a-kind experience that combines one architect’s creativity for unusual spaces and a passion for collecting strange and unusual objects. It is a must see for Wisconsinites; half-museum, half a weird old antique store, and is one of the rare things that is even more unbelievable in real life than described. On a regular day, the House on the Rock is full of tons of strange and sometimes creepy objects, but every fall the weekends are dedicated to the Dark Side, a special route that focuses especially on the more haunted side of the attraction.

I am a huge fan of the House on the Rock for their normal season (my spouse and I even took our engagement photos there!), and for years now I have been curious about the Dark Side. I came with two others, and we were all very impressed with their dedication to decor and the overall length and size of the haunt. Red lights led you down into the starting area, inside the short museum portion, and then your path continues through portions of the second and third areas of the normal attractions, which is a very different route than one takes on the normal tour. Through these areas, several of the normal (creepy) elements are more heavily featured (namely scary dolls and dollhouses), and additional, more Halloween elements are added (like animatronics and props). All of this is accompanied by some amazing scary sounds that featured classical music and organs.

This haunted house is definitely untraditional, namely in the sense that it doesn’t feature very many actors, and some of the items are real antiques and collectibles. It’s very long, taking about an hour to go through, and certainly has a lot of attention to detail with a ton of decor, lights, and sound. However, I wouldn’t say it’s scary in the jump scare sense - it’s more psychological, and interesting from a historical standpoint. Our group felt they could have benefited from more actors and less props within the haunt, as well as a bit better crowd control, but overall it is a super interesting, fun place to go for the Halloween season. I would especially recommend it as an add-on to your normal day at House on the Rock - I’d love to see it during the daytime normal and then this version at night!

Signage / Visibility / Location


The House on the Rock is very clearly marked from the road and is easy to find via services like Google Maps. They also have a year round website and Facebook page that puts out information about the attraction.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


It’s a bit of a winding path down to the start of the haunt, and while we didn’t encounter any actors on our way there, the area was decorated really nicely with red lights, speared skulls, and some nice signage. We had virtually no wait to start our experience, which was also nice.

Actors' Performance


This is the primary section I felt could be added to for this haunt. I would say for the hour-long haunt we saw a maximum of 10 actors. A few of those were amazing though, whispering in our ears or following us along our path. However, a few were there to simply guide traffic and didn’t do much in ways of acting. I would love to see twice or three times as many people within the haunt itself - it’s super creepy and that would have really added to the haunted house experience.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


I enjoyed seeing some of the normal collections re-lit or re-arranged, which included the carousel, a lot of dolls and dollhouses, and the organ room. I enjoyed less the more traditional Halloween props - spooky animatronics and things like that.

Length


This is a very long haunt, you could easily stroll through it for an hour or more.

Crowd Control


I also felt this was a little lacking at his haunt. There was no attempt to hold groups back, it’s more like a free-for-all in terms of walking wherever you want at your own pace. That in itself can be very cool, I was just expecting more a traditional haunted house, and we ended up running into a lot of other patrons.

Most Memorable Moment


I am always stunned by the carousel room, and this night was no exception. I can only imagine what it would be like to come upon that room never having been to the attraction before. It’s huge, glittering, and has an eerie glow, even in the daytime.

Summary

The Dark Side at the House on the Rock is a fun, casual, naturally creepy attraction; the perfect supplement for people who are already fans of the normal attraction, or are in town visiting it during the regular hours. We had a great time seeing all of Alex Jordan’s creepy collections and structures with new lighting and a new vibe!

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View my 2020 Reviews




July 11th, 2020 9:50 a.m. CDT 11.13b