Junior Review Crew Member

Ron (spirit44)

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Previous Reviews: 2017 | 2016

2017 Reviews

Please note: this review is for the 2017 season rather than the current season.

Catholic Memorial Haunted House (PERMANENTLY CLOSED)

by spirit44 (Junior Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 20, 2017 at about 7:30 p.m.

Fun Factor: High Fear Factor: Medium

Review

Everyone remembers there first. While this house wasn't my first haunt, for many out there this place was theirs. If you have that brave young soul in your crew that thinks they want to give a walk through a haunt a try and make it part of their Halloween tradition, I highly recommend a drive out to Waukesha. It had a very retro feel with how it was put together for me. Even though this wasn't where I did my first, it reminded me a lot of it, complete with some festive Halloween carnival games. There were many kids standing in line, and based on the reactions as they went through, they found it absolutely terrifying. Now I wouldn't recommend this for the hard core haunt veterans, but there was a great effort put into this haunt by CMH and for beginners it hit the mark. The best part for me was that they donate the proceeds to great charities. This year the charity is Operation Finally Home. There were some very creative ideas and design elements throughout the haunt, but the one thing I would have recommended was a little more ambient lighting in some areas where characters were staged.

Signage / Visibility / Location


Just as scary as the haunt itself for many is the drive through Waukesha. LOL But with technology, you should have absolutely no problem at all finding your way here. As you pull up, there is a terrifically spooky house and well lit banners letting you know you've arrived.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


The wait area is within a hall of the school. It's warm, well lit, and complete with a concession stand. There is an area that is set up with games for the kids, again lending to the atmosphere that welcomes youngsters in for their first taste of a Halloween haunt.

Actors' Performance


Many of the actors are students and all are volunteers, some executed their roles with extreme ambition and may have been a little over the top. Others really captured the spirit of their characters and were pretty creepy. But all of them really fit into place, to give this haunt the feel that it has. To me it's a slice of rural Americana, tradition, and great memories of my childhood haunts.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


While the sets were a little crude compared to some of the really high level haunts out there today, this haunt is not set up in a school cafeteria. The haunt takes you through a 100+ year house, capturing some of the eeriness of the season. And there were even a few very clever FX that I have not seen in even the highest budget haunts.

Length


The wait to get into the haunt for us was about 20 minutes with the attraction taking us 15 minutes to get through.

Crowd Control


Crowds were very well behaved and well managed with staff throughout guiding you where to go

Most Memorable Moment


For me the thing that stuck with me was that they were able to capitalize on the resource they had. As you meandered from room to room, you were hit with the recurring theme of the tortured souls of demonic children.

Summary

This was a great community effort, to raise money for a very worthy charity. For that reason alone I would encourage this attraction to be added to your Halloween tradition, especially if you have younger kids and are not quite sure if they are ready for a haunt yet. This is a great haunt for that special demographic

View all Catholic Memorial Haunted House (PERMANENTLY CLOSED) reviews

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Please note: this review is for the 2017 season rather than the current season.

Shockwave Haunts

by spirit44 (Junior Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 6, 2017 at about 7:30 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: High

Review

It was a dark misty October night. Small pockets of fog laid heavy on the country roads. As our path meandered through corn fields we came upon our destination, a farm sat in the darkness with a beacon of light welcoming all who dared to enter, it simply read Shockwave Haunts. After parking we wandered through the grounds a bit and were drawn to a quaint little gift shop to buy our tickets. With the haunt only a short drive from the Metro Milwaukee area, it was well worth the trip. This haunt provided a great value and a setting that I just can't say enough about. You can pick one of the four houses for $10, or treat yourself to all four for only $20. The best part is to enter the houses you walk through the outbuildings of the farm and if you're lucky enough to get the right weather conditions for a perfectly spooky fall evening, it almost feels post apocalyptic.

Bloody Manor was by far my favorite of the houses. in my opinion it did the best job at portraying the horror that the setting of this farm was capable of. As you walked among the outbuildings of the farm, I was put in the mindset of great films like "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "House of 1000 corpses". The walk through Bloody Manor strongly reinforced that feeling with it's gruesome rooms and surprise scares throughout. I really would have liked to see them capture the natural environment of the old farm setting more and grow that theme through the other houses.

Dick's Funeral Home was a very unique haunt experience as it was set up to be a more light hearted and comedic haunted house. I found the high level of interaction between the characters and the guests to be a great change from the ordinary and while the other houses on the lot were your typical scare the pants off of them thrill we have all come to expect, in Dick's Funeral home rather than scare your pants off, they would like to make you wet them with laughter. It was a great change of pace house in the middle of all of the terror.

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, you still even get a taste of the "flavor of the day" and get a popular clown scare. It seems that even a secluded farm isn't immune from what seems to be one of the most popular creepy crawlies out there today.

Signage / Visibility / Location


The location is very remote and you drive down many dark country roads. To be honest though, I think that it lends itself to the overall atmosphere of the farm. As you drive up however, you can't miss the attraction. They have Shockwave Haunts sprawled across the side of the building in lights.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


They have a very large centrally located waiting area that is well lit and has a nice offering of snacks and other refreshments. There is also a costume shop area and a nice country gift shop on site.

Actors' Performance


The performances were very believable. I always am disappointed when you go into a great haunt that they obviously put a lot of time into the details of the rooms, just to have the feeling wrecked by overzealous actors that are just to over the top. Shockwave's actors deliver a great performance that is convincing and not schlocky. They time many of the jump scares perfectly so that the suspense builds to a climax and you almost feel like nothing is going to happen, then they appear out of nowhere to milk a blood curdling scream from you worthy of the farm you're walking.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


The sets at this haunt range from very basic to elaborate. There were some rooms that were very impressive in how they blended living characters into what appeared to be just a series of props. This also added to the great performances of the characters. As I alluded to earlier, the only thing I would have liked to see is taking the naturally spooky setting of the farm and theme more of the haunt to it. Take it to the next level with what could be an absolutely terrifying multi house themed haunt using the great setting they have.

Length


The length of seeing all four houses took us about an hour. However we were there on opening night when the crowds were small. So later in the season expect this to be an hour plus. But having a great waiting area and the natural surroundings tying the haunts together, free of standing in turnstiles would make for a very enjoyable evening.

Crowd Control


It's difficult to assume how crowd control would be on a busier night, but the open flow around the attraction presumably would give plenty of opportunity for disbursement of busy crowds while offering plenty of distractions while you wait.

Most Memorable Moment


There was one room in particular that stuck with me. As you enter it appears to be the meat locker of a madman with bloody bodies severed and hanging all around. The detail in this room was remarkable and totally drew us in, to the point we didn't even see the madman himself lunge at us from the shadows.

Summary

For me a truly great haunt is a total experience. My all time favorite attraction, that is no longer around, had the advantage of being set in an old shut down resort. You started getting the feeling of being pulled in from the drive in, to stepping out of your vehicle onto the premises, and walking into a Hollywood worthy set. This attraction gives you all of that. Do yourself a favor on the drive in to this haunt and clear your mind, let the natural surrounding take you on a terrifying journey into the macabre.

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April 24th, 2024 8:00 a.m. CDT 24.05