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Andrea (charmed)

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Previous Reviews: 2010 | 2009 | 2007

2009 Reviews

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

Youth Go's Haunted House (CLOSED IN 2020)

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 (CLOSED IN 2020) 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.

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

Terror Trail (PERMANENTLY CLOSED)

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!

View all Terror Trail (PERMANENTLY CLOSED) 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 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!

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

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June 22nd, 2024 5:39 a.m. CDT 24.08