A lot of fun, though suffers occasionally from an apparent issue some haunts are having, with multiple houses at one location leading to a dilution of scares. These guys do get points for having one of the haunts be an outside walk through a haunted woods (inexplicably named "Phobia"), which was incredibly, pants-wettingly scary. Man, if you're scared of zombies, you're basically toast here -- best damn zombies this reviewer has ever seen; my scalp is off to the actors out there in the cold dark woods, shuffling along behind or toward us, contorting their bodies, dragging their busted leg behind them.... Oy Vey. And I like how they just let the dark woods be the dark woods, and then something would come lurching out from behind the trees...
So, three haunts to go through, and also a little burial simulator, where you get put in a coffin, and then you go through a whole Disney-Haunted-Mansion's-trashier-cousin thing where you're "lowered" into the grave and someone is talking about how you're going to an "Underworld of Doom" (are there other kinds of Underworlds?) where your soul will something something something...I will say, though, being put in a coffin has its own disturbing "is there enough oxygen in here" sense to it.
Ghouls in this haunt also seemed a bit more on point about performance; there's a disturbing "bikini wax" offered, a cool and confusing Autopsy Room, and a child's room where we're still not sure who was a mannequin and who wasn't. Another really cool point -- the ghouls in these haunts don't just
menace you by growling or saying something threatening, they're also
making weird little noises, like clicking or sniffling or snorting or
whining or rattling something in their throat. I liked that they
really seemed to be trying to unnerve you on multiple levels. And boy,
that haunted woods.
And for all those Allie McBeal fans out there (anyone?), get ready for a Dancing Baby of a very different order....
Signage / Visibility / Location
Very easy to find; just off the main highway, it's a whole complex with a parking lot in front and very clearly marked (how could it not be, I suppose), with a blazing searchlight over the whole thing.
Wait Area / Line Entertainment
We got there right when they opened, so didn't wait in line very much, thank Satan, 'cause the lines when we left at 8:30 were wrapping around the buildings, so get there early. There are huge video screens which were showing Rob Zombie videos (appropro), but then sometimes would show footage of stand-up comedians and SNL and dance videos. I didn't really understand. They also have a huge tent and a well-stocked concessions stand, including mini-donuts, which are kind of the (un)holy grail of concessions to this writer. And, again, points for them; the guy cooking Brats on a grill also had bloody body parts on the grill, in case you were into something more exotic, I suppose.
Im-freakin-pressive, there is a giant Dancing Baby who danced us out of his room (very cool idea, guys), the autopsy room doctors click and swing a mean scalpel, and there is a really really cool leaf monster in the Haunted Woods (I'm sorry, "Phobia") who came out of a pile of leaves and crawled along the ground and kept following us while making weird hard-to-pin-down noises. I can't tell you how disturbing it is to have something emerging from the bank of a body of water and just make weird noises and crawl after you in the dark woods. And, as above, awesome awesome zombies. Oh, and we llked the vampire lady who does crowd control at the front of one of the haunts. I wonder if they have a group of college theatre people helping out or something -- ghouls seemed like they gave it kind of an extra something.
Sets Scenes / Props / FX
Good stuff; really cool underground tunnel look at one point, some elaborate sets, spooky outhouses, but a little too much dark hallways. Maybe the dark hallways are one way to space out groups; I don't know.
Very good -- each haunt took about 20 minutes to go through, and then you wait in line for the next one. I bet this could get kind of ponderous if there are lots and lots of people, though, so get there early. But I guess you could enjoy some delicious mini-donuts while you're waiting, so it's not all that bad.
As above, there's a huge tent and concessions. You line up outside whichever haunt you want to go through and get to watch videos.
Most Memorable Moment
Dancing Baby Dancing Baby Dancing Baby. And pretty much all the ghouls and zombies in the Haunted Woods (You too, Leaf Monster!).
A very enjoyable haunt experience, though I could see it being even better if there were less haunts to go through overall, and they correspondingly upped the quality of remaining scenes; really, one does get kind of numb after traipsing through three haunts in the course of 1.5 hours. Impressive actors who seemed to really get into it, and I bet think up new ways to disturb people on a regular basis; whoever came up with the "clicking"/other weird noises idea should get a gold star (if ghouls do indeed value gold stars). I got the impression the people doing this are enjoying themselves, and it showed. Recommended.