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


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 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!


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!


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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December 6th, 2019 4:14 a.m. CST 11.0