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.
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.
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.
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.
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.