Overall Score - 8.3 / 10
Individual attraction ratings below
Overall Score - 9.1
Scare Factor - 8.4
Actors - 9.6
Visuals - 9.2
Value - 9.2
Donna - The thing that stands out to me the most about Stillwell Manor is the overall value. If I could give it a ten I would. This is an entire evening of entertainment! Three haunts in one location, firebreather's, roaming actors outside, even food trucks in case you get the munchies after spending what seems like an eternity inside the haunts. The first haunt we went through was the namesake Stillwell Manor which is an old haunted house stuck in time 140 years ago. It is very well detailed with residents roaming around who are there to do anything but welcome you to the past. This is a very very long haunt taking upwards of 45 minutes to go through.
Gayle - This haunt was visually amazing. So much attention to detail, and had the look and feel of an old, haunted mansion straight out of an old Vincent Price flick. I thought the engagement was super awesome with the actors, who seemed to follow ME throughout my entire time there. Great fun, and a nice homage to the classic haunt!!
Paul - Stillwell Manor is a haunt consisting of three attractions: Stillwell Manor, Isabell's Beyond, and Tantibus. All three attractions are included for their very reasonable admission fee, which is $20-$25 for general admission, depending on which night you visit.
When we arrived at the haunt we were greeted with several roaming actors outside including a couple of gentlemen who were blowing fire! The roaming cast had about 6 or 8 characters who made sure you knew you were at a haunt! There were also a couple of food trucks outside cooking up some amazing smelling food to snack on once you worked up an appetite from all of your screaming.
The ticket booth and queue are both right inside the front door and offer one of the better haunt waiting areas. The set and lighting in there make it almost impossible to tell that you're in what used to me a multi-screen movie theater. In fact, that's one of the biggest changes I noticed this year; they hide the 90s-era theater hints better every single year. Last year I remember several scenes where I would look up and see this massive open room that we were in, and it was hard to miss that you were in one of the massive theaters. This year I don't remember seeing that openness once. I think it improved the creepiness of the experience by a pretty good amount.
The first attraction you enter is the original Stillwell Manor. The trip through General Stillwell's home starts in the yard outside, then you wander into and out of his house for one of the best traditional-style haunted houses around. The actors are engaging, the sets are extremely detailed and creepily-lit, and the General's house is BIG. It takes quite a bit of time to make your way through. There are several really memorable areas but my favorites this year were the outdoor/graveyard and the crazy cat lady room. As we wandered through it sure seemed like there were a lot more dark areas and you walked through substantially more swinging doors this year than last. I liked that aspect because it made it harder to see what kind of scene you were walking into until you were pretty much already there. These small things just end up making a better and better experience.
There are only a couple of areas I noticed that could use some improvement. The first is the lighting. Most of the scenes have very appropriate lighting, but there were a couple that I think we missed the full experience of because we couldn't see the set. I don't think they need more room lighting in most cases, mostly just more accent lighting. The other thing is really beyond the control of the haunt, but we definitely noticed they were understaffed on the night we were there. After speaking to the management we found they just had a higher than normal number of them that scheduled off or called in that night. Teenagers...
This really is an excellent haunt. You spend a huge amount of time inside and you really get drawn into the atmosphere of the house. Get yourself over to Stillwell Manor and visit the best haunt in Anderson!
Teresa - This was my second time coming to Stillwell Manor. I had such a great time last year I was pretty excited to see it again. As we got close enough, you could see the giant search lights drawing attention to the building. They added some creepy decor including a huge grim reaper and fog to the outside as well as a large tent to provide cover in case of rain. The queue actors were absolutely fantastic. They did a great job of getting jump scares out of people standing around outside (and inside - more on that later). We also met some fire-eating clowns outside. There was food available, so it's a great place to hang out on a nice night. Inside, the ticketing and waiting area make you feel like you're waiting in a haunted castle. Then you enter the Manor of General Stillwell. You start with a pretty cool video, very Haunted Mansion-like, giving you the backstory and rules. Then we were off. This is a nice, long, old-school haunt. There is just so much decor to see. I love just looking around and taking it all in. I noticed it was more enclosed than last year, which adds to the claustrophobic ambiance of a run-down manor. You notice things like the slanted floors in parts of the haunt, which remind you that it is in an old theater, but honestly, I feel like it works. It makes everything seem a little off. I love that. The lighting and sound effects were really good. I especially loved the laser and fog effect that makes you feel like you're wading through a swamp. My only complaint was that we went through all 3 haunts in a large group, of which I was last. I understand a lot of props go off when people enter the room, so being last, I'm going to miss some things, but I expect the actors to interact with everyone and most will even follow and intimidate the person bringing up the rear. For some reason they didn't do that here, and I missed a lot of the scares, which was disappointing. Again, they were very short-staffed and the actors were a lot of subs and volunteers. They could have just been really busy trying to cover the entire haunt. A few of them were really top notch though. I mean, completely over-the-top awesome, which is what I expected after last year. And even the ones I didn't get to see do their spiel may have done a great job and I just missed it. I did love the crazy cat lady and the butcher. Some of the sets are really impressive, too. My favorites are the shack with the creaky floors, the library, the crazy cat lady room, and the graveyard. Also, I get a kick out of going through the closet. There's also a very impressive giant animatronic that I'll just leave as a surprise. The length, decor, and theming make this lots of fun. They offer an add-on to your ticket where you can go through again on the same night. I would consider doing this just to be able to get some food, hang around outside, then go through and see what I missed the first time around. And don't forget, you get two more attractions for your money!
Todd - Stillwell Manor is the primary attraction within this haunt of the same name. If you're not familiar with this attraction, it's housed in a gutted movie theater. The continual improvements we see year after year are stellar. Two years ago, you could definitely tell it was a movie theater. Now, you may not even notice.
I must first point out the craftsmanship required to build scenes on the slanted floors. Again, two years ago it was very noticeable, while today, hardly at all. Despite the highly unconventional venue for a haunt, it works incredibly well.
Stillwell Manor is a traditionally themed haunted house where you'll walk through various rooms, along with some outdoor scenes. Since it's in an old theater, roof clearance is not a restriction. This allows Stillwell to have larger props and scenes than some other smaller haunts could accommodate. There's some really cool stuff in there.
Speaking of stuff, I just have to say - there is a TON of stuff inside this haunt. Everywhere you turn there's something to look at whether it be an oddity, a piece of furniture, a trinket, etc. Most of the scenes are filled to the brim, eliminating any open space that you may consider your comfort zone.
The actors are highly energetic and some of the best we've seen. Not only is it clearly evident they love what they do and believe in it, they are very entertaining as well. Not all of them are cast to be scary. Some are goofy, funny or just generally creepy but they all do a great job.
==I'm going to insert a break here to talk about one particular actor which I'm fairly confident in saying will probably be the most memorable one of the year - Reverend Silas. I couldn't tell you one thing about the real man behind the character because as much time as we spent around him, he never once broke character in the slightest. As for his character, he was amazingly brutal. He's a floating character, meaning he pretty much goes where he wants. You might find him outside with visitors in line and then again somewhere within one of the haunts.
We first encountered him outside when we arrived and he immediately fed on the fears of Gayle who does not hide her scares well at all. Once Silas learned Gayle's name it was game on. He "forced" her to go first in the 2nd and 3rd haunts, crawl on the floor and would threateningly call her name from afar as we went through the haunt. That's amazing dedication!==
Last year we rating Stillwell Manor as the best up and coming haunt. I don't think they are contention anymore because they're "here." Stillwell has proven their potential and pulled off a great experience. I, personally, can't wait to see how it continues to evolve year after year.
As a whole, the entire experience is quite lengthy and carries high value for the price of admission.
Overall Score - 7.3
Scare Factor - 6.4
Actors - 8
Visuals - 6.8
Value - 8
Donna - The next haunt is Isabellas Beyond which is a carnival freak show themed haunt complete with a fortuneteller who interacts with the group and does tell your fortunes. Some of these you may not want to hear!
Gayle - Again, the actors engagement here was above and beyond! This is where actors can make or break a haunt. They brought you into the scenes, engaged throughout, entertained, and startled every chance they got. The haunt itself had some physical aspects that were pretty amazing as well! Around every turn, there was something cool and someone even more terrifying. Loved this haunt!
Paul - Isabell's Beyond is a carnival freakshow and the freaks want to give you a performance you won't forget. You start out in the entrance tent where the ringmaster goes over how things work and sends you on your way. The attraction takes you up and down stairs, through a maze of tents, and along the way you meet some VERY interesting characters. This was the attraction that seemed hurt the most by the amount of staff missing that night, but we didn't mind so much because one of the roaming actors from outside made his way in and really changed the atmosphere. The Reverend seemed to make it his mission to make sure we got the most out of our visit and he did an excellent job of it!
Teresa - When you come out of Stillwell Manor, you have a chance to grab refreshments, or buy a souvenir from what appears to be one of the old concession stands. Then you wait in line for Isabell's Beyond. It is clear from the line decor that this one has a carnival theme. Once you go in, a carnival barker character welcomes you and tells you about Isabell and her band of freaks that you're about to meet. He was outstanding and very entertaining. He started teasing one of our party right off the bat, making her go into a little cubby of shame.
And then one of the wandering queue actors, Reverend Silas, made us laugh throughout. I think he really helped out during parts that may have been slow due to the actor shortage. I really think the carnival theme is fun. I like all the red and white striped curtains. The fortune teller was back this year and very entertaining. I also enjoyed some crazy lighting effects. I really missed the seance scene that we got to do last year. I'm not sure if it was cut, or if there just wasn't anyone to work it. This one is shorter on decor and actors compared to the manor, but we still laughed through the whole thing, thanks to some entertaining actors.
Todd - Isabell's Beyond is the second attraction you'll go through. It's themed as a freakshow of sorts. As last year, I still find this to be the weakest link in the Stillwell chain. We were forewarned that they were lean on actors when we visited, but I think there's still opportunity for content.
Our friend Reverend Silas found us inside to torment Gayle about half way through (this is when she had to start crawling on the floor and barking like a dog). Poor Gayle. Unfortunately, this was the most memorable part of Isabell's Beyond for me. It felt very short and vapid.
However, I feel there's a HUGE amount of potential here. Out front when we arrived, a few fire eaters were performing. While I understand they can't perform inside, it did spawn the idea what Isabell's Beyond could showcase actual side show artists. The carnival theme is already there (white and red striped panels) but the environment could be enhanced as well. If the level of detail that exists in Stillwell was applied to Isabella's Beyond, I believe the experience would be enhanced tremendously.
Overall Score - 8.4
Scare Factor - 8.4
Actors - 8
Visuals - 8.8
Value - 8.4
Donna - The last haunt is Tantibus which means nightmare. This haunt depicts all of your worst nightmares from escaped insane asylum patients to deadly virus spreading mutants to zombies. You name it it's all here in your nightmares. There's also a fun twist towards the end but I won't give away the surprise. I also have to mention the incredible actors throughout the haunt that made it fun and entertaining along with being scary and creepy. Some of the best actors we've seen in any haunt this year! Great job!
Last year we rated Stillwell Manor has the best up-and-coming haunted house. I have to say without a doubt that this year Stillwell Manor has definitely arrived! Must see in Indy'!!!
Gayle - What more can I say? These are a fantastic group of haunts that without a doubt were WELL worth the 2.5 hour trip from Cincinnati. From the actors engaging people entering the haunt, to the fire breathers outside, to the lighting, sounds, and visual effects...this place was adrenaline overload!! I was literally jumping every 5 minutes...or maybe I was getting a bit more attention than the rest of my group because I'm an easy target, but it was AMAZING. Silas definitely made my trip more terrifying in that he seemed to find me no matter where I was! Great job guys!! You truly gave me nightmares! YES!
Paul - Tantibus is Latin for Nightmare and this haunt lives up to its name. You go through a bunch of scenes that are straight out of peoples' worst dreams. There's a zombie outbreak, spiders, clowns, and my favorite scene was the girl in the padded room- super creepy! This haunt is pretty detailed and I liked how the nightmares just went from one right into the next. It always seems like my dreams jump randomly from one to the next, so I strangely appreciated how there wasn't much of a transition from one to the next.
Teresa - Tantibus is full of nightmares. We saw everything from clowns to zombies to spiders to deranged doctors. This one definitely ups the scare-factor over Isabell's Beyond. There were some very creepy scenes and I really noticed the sound effects in this one. Also there was a portion where the floor made me uneasy. It looked like it was made of milk crates. And there is a crazy-long, wide slide. It was so long that I started going sideways, which is not what you want when you're sliding into...who knows what! Be sure to secure any personal items that could fall out of your pockets! I really liked the spider scene, the quarantined area, and the doctor at the end. He took one of our group and put her in his chair and was trying to harvest her organs! He did an outstanding job chasing us out with his bone saw. Considering the three attractions, you get a lot for your money here. Our whole group had so much fun. The actors, especially the queue actors, really stepped up to fill the void caused by the regulars being out. I really look forward to seeing them again next year!
Todd - Tantibus is the final experience concluding your Stillwell Manor visit. It's a collection of nightmarish scenes to journey through. The epic 2-story slide remains intact once again this year. I picked up so much speed I was sideways by the end of it and I lost my phone (briefly) in the ball pit. Secure your items!
While Silas was still lingering around to harass Gayle, we encountered a memorable, deranged doctor that also picked on her. He did a great job coming close to taking a circular saw to her head. Lots of fun!
Some scenes in Tantibus are a little smaller in parts due to the space restrictions upstairs, however, they're still well detailed. Last year, there was a more interactive experience in the padded room, which I missed this year. Now it's a short, yet more chaotic scene you pass through briefly. The spider infestation was fairly well done and the clowns were pretty creepy. I felt they could have been showcased a little more - after all, it's the year of the clown!
In conclusion, Stillwell it a great haunt and a lot of fun. Not only is their passion evident, so is their philanthropy. Stillwell Manor is a member of the Don't Be A Monster organisation which campaigns against bullying. Additionally, they accept can goods as donations for a discount on admission. They also have special charity nights on which ticket sale contributions are given to charity.
Now knowing that Stillwell Manor will remain in place for at least the next 5 years, I can't wait to come back year after year to support this great haunt.
Overall Score - 7.1 / 10
Scare Factor - 7.6
Actors - 7.6
Visuals - 6
Value - 7.2
Teresa - This was my first year at Fright Manor. I really enjoyed it! We found out on the way in that this will be their last year at this location. In fact, they were planning to be in a new location and when that fell through, had to set up in this building again in a month's time. I have a feeling the decor was a little rushed because of that, but it was still a lot of fun. This building is large and the haunt is one, long trip, with all kinds of different scenes. We started with a redneck Norman Bates-like character, who was all kinds of talkative. He did a great job of starting us on a humorous note. As we proceeded, there was a mix of humor and horror, sort of alternating throughout. I really enjoyed the interactive nature of some of the scenes, including playing skee ball, playing hide and seek, and the pick-a-door game. Some characters were recognizable from movies (like a scary Freddy Krueger); others were unique. Besides Jeb the redneck, I really liked the gravediggers with the dragging shovels, the guy with the grinder making sparks fly, the clowns who played games with us, and my favorite, the girl with the "pet", who was actually a girl with no tongue. The "pet" followed me down the hall, dragging her chain and she was pretty creepy! Some actors had fun homemade costumes, others had not much makeup at all. What I liked about all of them was their ability to interact and that they would keep following us, popping out at opportune moments. Sometimes I couldn't even see that they were still there, but they would call after me, taunting, long after I thought they were gone. There were some fun props, including the strongest vibrating floor I've ever experienced, and an awesome body strung up horizontally and flailing. We also had to crawl through some portions, and go through some air tunnels, which always makes you feel vulnerable to attack. What this one lacked in decor and polish, I think it made up for with fun actors and sheer length. It has the feel of an old-school haunt. I really like the old traditional haunts when they focus on creativity. I can't wait to see it next year when they have more time to set up in their new location!
Paul - Fright Manor is kind of an old-school haunt just south of downtown Indianapolis. It's in an old commercial building in an area where I wouldn't ordinarily expect a haunted attraction to be, but they do a pretty good job with the space, especially given the limited setup time this year due to some unforeseen location problems.
Due to the location issues there were a few obvious shortcomings. One month of setup time isn't nearly enough for a haunt of this size. They use up just about every possible inch of the building, which makes it a pretty long voyage, but there's a pretty heavy amount of un-themed plywood walls that line your path. The lighting is fairly sparse and there are a few areas that could have used some music or noise of some sort; one of the ones that sticks out in my mind is the outside maze portion at the end. It was so quiet in there I was beginning to think we had wandered into an unfinished part of the haunt that we weren't supposed to be in. Like I said, I understand, I just have to mention this stuff as part of the review.
BUT... even with the areas that could use improvement, this haunt was a blast! There are a few scenes I don't remember seeing anything remotely similar to in other haunts, and even being several days out from visiting Fright Manor, I vividly remember more of the experiences here than I do at most haunts I visit. The glowing mask room is a fantastic idea, the blacked-out room with the gravedigger(s?), the clown skee-ball, and the hillbilly house all stand out, as do a few characters; Hillbilly PBR-drinking White Castle-eating guy, Freddy, the clowns, the gravediggers, grinder guy, and the "pet" on the leash. Some of the animatronic props were super old-school, which actually made them more fun than some of the new stuff you see out there.
I had a good time at Fright Manor. Even though the visual appeal may not have matched some of the bigger haunts out there, it's still a really good time. As much fun as I had here with their shortened setup, I can't wait to come back once they have the full production at their new location next year!
Donna - Fright manor is always one of the highlights of our Indy Road trip! Tom has been putting on a great show since 1983 and, even though it has changed locations a few times over the years, it continues to be one of the best in the Indianapolis area. This year was one of the better years for this haunt in my opinion as it had an old school feel and a tremendous amount of detail and every room. Even though they didn't have a lot of time to build this year, you would never know it to go through the haunt witch is by the way very very long.
The actors are very good especially the first room which is more comical than scary but It got us laughing right away. As you progress through the haunt each room has a different theme and some are comical where some are terrifying but all are entertaining and fun. This haunt is well worth the money and I would highly recommend it as an annual Halloween tradition.
Gayle - I really enjoyed this haunt! It had the look and feel of a classic haunt. These are the types that lured me in as a kid! I felt the scenes and props were well done, and there were several eerie areas, where it was somewhat quiet, but not for long. The actors were well placed and did a great job with startling people as they walked through. I do know this haunt was put together in an unusually short amount of time, which speaks volumes toward the passion and dedication of the owner and his staff!! There was talk of this haunt moving back to their original location, which was before I had visited Fright Manor, but after having several discussions about it, I'm SUPER excited to visit next year. I had a great time, enjoyed it thoroughly, and look forward to seeing you guys next year! Excellent job!!!
Todd - Fright Manor is a haunt with history spanning three decades in numerous locations. For me, walking through Fright Manor felt like half haunt, half haunt museum. It's actually a little fascinating and very nostalgic. What I enjoyed the most was the amazing collection of props from years past. Looking at some of the items, monsters, etc., scene to scene, it's clear that some of them have been in use or in rotation for quite some time. I don't mean to insinuate that they're dilapidated; they're actually quite unique and not at all commonly found among other haunts with less tenure. This is where Fright Manor makes an impression on me - I feel like I'm witnessing a little haunt history.
I'd say that Fright Manor is a conventional haunt because it really is just an old-style haunt that doesn't burden itself with having to maintain a theme or an over-arching story. As you go through, you'll simply encounter various nightmarish scenes - clowns, graveyards, gory rooms, dolls, psychopaths, etc. Each scene stands apart from the others, some with highly memorable characters too.
There is also some level of interaction as well in a few areas. Some produce scares targeting one lucky member of your party while others involve some rather entertaining story telling. It might be a good idea to stretch ahead of time too. You'll need to get on your hands and knees and crawl through short tunnels in a few areas (there's a cheat path if you absolutely can't).
There were a few area where it was a little unclear which way to go whether it was due to the sheer darkness of the area or the indeterminable difference between the curtain leading to the next scene and the one intended for the actors. There were also a few scenes where it was very quiet. Next to lighting, sound is the best accompaniment to a scene and it can surely help draw visitors into the ambiance. While the sound of other scenes didn't necessarily carry through the building, the dead quiet in some areas is very apparent.
One surprising factor is the length. From the outside, Fright Manor's current residence doesn't not look like a whole lot of anything, nor does it give any hint of how long it is. There are signs of course, but the building is very unassuming. The maze within is laid out very efficiently, winding all the way down from one end to the other, then back.
The haunt itself is run by a great group of friendly people. It's has a very welcoming atmosphere and is a great haunt for families with older (or brave) kids. I'm highly anxious to return next year as we have learned Fright Manor is likely to move to its previous location. While I've never been there, it sounds like it was a much more optimal location. I'm excited to see how the space is utilized.
Overall Score - 9.5 / 10
Scare Factor - 9.5
Actors - 9.5
Visuals - 10
Value - 9
Gayle - I have to say, USS Nightmare has always been a favorite of mine, because it has always been different. This year, they've set themselves apart even more! They have made some FANTASTIC changes in terms of offering new levels of experiences. They've changed some rooms, added many new props, changed some themes, and tell an even more engaging story than ever before. The actors are simply incredible...special props to the makeup artists! The story-line and level of interaction are like no other haunt in this area. Each passenger is taken on a grisly tour of an old, haunted ship, and along the way they are being engaged, and interacting along, with the actors in this journey. The RIP Experience is PHENOMENAL. You are given tasks, edibles, and could be pulled away from your group to be locked in a cell until they've found your key....just sayin'! The fog room is visually incredible, and the decontamination room is disorienting and mind-blowing! LOVED every intense, creepy, and entertaining second of it. What a GREAT time!!!
Donna - We have been going to the USS nightmare for many years and essentially the theme is always the same a haunted boat with the captain appearing somewhere on board to scare you. This year we were in for a big surprise. We did the RIP tour which I highly recommend you will not be sorry! This is a very intense hands-on interactive walk-through that will have you screaming for the exit holding your breath and thoroughly entertained throughout your terrifying trip. The actors are top-notch the best I've seen this year. There are new parts of the boat to be discovered the storyline is well thought out and well acted by everyone involved. It is dark where it should be dark and creepy and funny at times but I guarantee you this will be the height of your Halloween season. Well done Haunt! If you have not been to USS Nightmare please go! This haunt gets an A+ from the Fightmaster.
Paul - USS Nightmare takes place on an actual river dredge boat that's floating on the Ohio River in Newport, KY, right across from downtown Cincinnati. This is a huge ship built by the Army Corps of Engineers to remove earth from under the water on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. It was retired some years ago and now is a VERY good haunt.
The original dredging equipment is still on she boat. As you wait in line you're right next to the giant reels of cable that fed out to the dredge device, and as you go through the haunt you're constantly walking around original machinery and componentry that supported the work that this piece of history performed. The authenticity of all of this adds so much to the feel as you journey through. I really want to go through and see the ship sometime when the haunt isn't happening, just so I can see the equipment and the history!
The story says the ship was a really intense place to work and the captain was a bit of a slave-driver. He ran a large crew up and down the river and because he was a widower, his daughter Anna lived on board as well. Because it was such a rough life on board the vessel, the captain would occasionally let entertainment aboard when he would stop for food and supplies. This entertainment was often a group of clowns from whatever carnival was nearby to the refueling stop. (Knowing this beforehand would have made a lot more sense of the clown scenes.) There were many deaths on board over the years and toward the end of the boat's active life, it somehow broke free from its mooring one day and started floating downstream and smashing into things along the way. The captain was killed during this disaster, and Anna was never found.
Early on you end up in an elevator where they kind of explain the origins of what's happening on the ship. The elevator operator was really entertaining and did a great job with his part. New this year is the RIP Experience which allows the actors to touch you and adds extra scenes and rooms to the haunt. It isn't like they grab you and throw you around, but they definitely take advantage of being allowed to touch you and do quite a bit of invading your personal space. The elevator guy was our first intro to this and it really adds to the haunt. Well worth the upgrade to do the RIP!
There are so many notable scenes in this haunt it's hard to mention them all, but if you think about the types of rooms you'd find on a working ship, you'll find them here. Boiler/mechanical room, kitchen/galley, really nasty bathroom, Captain's quarters, crazy clown area, fog room, workshop, etc. (All ships have crazy clown and fog rooms right?) The sets were all extremely well-done and the actors were fantastic! This haunt is long, scary, detailed, and several of the actors were among the best I've seen in a haunt; improvisation, costumes, and makeup were excellent.
The only thing I noticed as somewhere they could improve upon is better presentation of the back story of the haunt. I had no idea why there were clowns on the boat until I went to the website afterwards and read the stories. Maybe add a couple of weatherproof TVs outside in the area where you wait in line that could play the videos from the website? There may have been some explanation in the elevator at the beginning but the actor in there was kind of hard to ignore. It's a minor thing, but it would have explained a couple of things that didn't seem to fit the theme.
Overall, I highly recommend the USS Nightmare! It's a great haunt in a perfect location. It's long -I think around 40 minutes for our group-, it has fantastic theming, talented actors, and isn't very expensive. Take a ride down to the river and get on board!
Todd - This year the USS Nightmare has ingeniously implemented an alternative option for their visitors cleverly named the "RIP Experience" which we fortunate enough to have on our walk through.
The general premise is that in addition to walking through the attraction, you wear a flashing necklace that indicates you are a RIP visitor. This signals to the actors that they may touch you and engage you in the various interactive parts of the haunt, exclusive for the RIP attendees.
Without giving away the surprises of this experience, I will at least disclose that it includes eating things, touching things, access to special rooms and in-depth interaction with some of the primary characters.
As for the haunt overall, the flow is primarily the same. I did notice some scene changes but nothing drastic. The more noticeable refinement this year was really in the actors and the delivered experience. Despite having the RIP tour, the execution of the story and its related elements was top notch this year. By far, this was the best I've ever seen the USS NIghtmare. Some very cool new effects have been added this year which we have yet to see repeated in any other haunts (again, keeping this under wraps).
All of the actors blended into their respective scenes quite well and did more than just yell the generic "Get out of here!"-like phrases. They were engrossed in their roles and did not break character in the slightest. As far as the touching with the RIP experience, for the most part, it's pretty mild. One actor did have me in a headlock, but the others limited themselves to actual touching...no shoving, grabbing or other more aggressive contact.
The USS Nightmare is definitely worth its price of admission this year. The upgrade to the RIP experience is HIGHLY recommended since it adds a new interactive dimension to this haunt, making it a great experience overall. Check it out!
Overall Score - 10 / 10!
Scare Factor - 10
Actors - 10
Visuals - 10
Value - 10
Teresa - If you are an adrenaline-junkie, this is the haunt for you! This is a full-contact haunt that takes place in a madman's hotel, full of depraved characters. It is aggressive, vulgar, and intense, and not suitable for children. If you have any doubt about whether you can handle it, just hang out outside for a few. The costumes on the wandering queue actors are terrifying! There was this creepy girl there the night we were there, with long dark hair, like something that crawled out of The Ring, with this goo coming out of her mouth. She didn't move like a human. She had people who were trying to buy tickets running down the street screaming and hiding behind their umbrellas. Too bad that was close to where the chainsaw guy was chasing people out of the haunt. When you do work up the courage to go inside, you meet the owner/caretaker. This guy is fantastic. He grabs you by the head and forces you to line up against the wall while he tells you about his hotel. While he was talking, this other character I can't begin to describe was being so creepy it was mesmerizing. Then we entered the elevator. I've seen people lose it at this point. This place is gorey, gross, and disturbing. We were grabbed, shocked, dragged, shoved against walls and onto tables, picked up, thrown onto beds, had our heads shoved into toilets, had gross items shoved in our faces. It was so much fun!!! The actors are very intense and the makeup is really good. There was a very memorable scene with a narrator, reading from a book, and narrating our movement across this creepy grate in the floor that looked like it could collapse. It reminded me of In The Mouth of Madness. He had us laughing as we went up the stairs. I'm always sad when we exit the building, as it is always over too soon, but I was happy that they added what felt like quite a bit to the outdoor section this year. Because of the heavy rain, some of the lights were out in this section and a character had to shine a flashlight on part of it for us. It may have been even creepier this way. You walk through the maze, just waiting for the chainsaw guys to find you. And wow, are they intimidating, with sparks flying! I love the theme, the run-down hotel decor, the freakishly scary actors, and I love that they were able to up the intensity from last year. Did I get a couple bumps and scrapes? Maybe. Is it totally worth it? YES!!! And in the car on the way home, I saw blood on my arm. Not mine. Stage blood. Probably. And somehow that was like a souvenir. General admission is $25 and worth every penny if you really want to be scared. There are coupons available on the website for Thursdays and Sundays. Oh, and there's a special lights-out night. I really want to come back for that!
Paul - WOW!
The Haunted Hotel is an intense, dark, crazy, nasty, nightmare of a haunt, and I loved every second of it! This is a full-contact haunt and they're definitely not afraid to make some contact. We were picked up, thrown around, yelled at, made fun of, and don't even think that you have any personal space here. The sets, makeup, costumes, music, lights, and special-effects were all outstanding, but the actors are what made it. Their interaction with you as you go through is some of the best I've experienced, whether they were scaring you, shoving you around, making you laugh, or just standing there looking about as creepy as could be. Whether you're Inside or outside of the haunt, you're going to run into some of the scariest actors around. They don't do anything that physically harms you, but you'll remember this place for years to come!"
Todd - The Haunted Hotel is back on point!
Over the past 5 years, the Haunted Hotel proved to be a relentless experience of full contact scares, extreme violation of personal space and one hell of a fun time.
Last year, we felt a little let down and if you read our review, it was pretty evident. Maybe it was just the masochists in us disappointed with the reserved level of hands-on contact. Would we let that stop us from coming back this year? Hell no! The Haunted Hotel means more to me than Christmas with the family. I wouldn't miss it for the world - and - I'm happy to report that the stars have realigned and this year was fantastic!
If you're unfamiliar with this haunt, it's important to note that it's a bit unconventional. Yes it's a house and yeah, it's dark and there are things that make you jump. However, the real heart and soul of The Haunted Hotel are the actors. These aren't the kind of actors that hide around a corner and pop out shouting "Boo." No, these actors are more like professional violators. You WILL be touched...but not just touched...more like grabbed....and shoved...maybe licked, sniffed or uncomfortably caressed.
A few actors have more standout performances such as the hotel owner who is quite up front about your fate upon entry. The mood is perfectly set with his opening monologue and I've personally seen a number of people never make it past this first room. Other actors are simply there to be brutal. I was thrown against 2 walls, bent backwards over a railing with a dull knife to my throat, thrown down on to a ragged couch, and went forehead to forehead with many others. In short - they're not shy. Will you get injured...no. Will you perhaps get some mild bruising? Possibly. I'm confident that the actors know how to read people and are aware of each visitors personal limits.
A few rooms have been modified this year and the outside section at the end has been expanded with a sewer scene that was pretty cool, along with what felt like even more walls creating a longer maze for the chainsaw-wielding maniacs.
The Haunted Hotel may not be the most themed haunt, the most aesthetically decorated, but it excels at what it is intended to be which is an experience at a whole other level. For good or for bad, I never find myself having "down time" going through the haunt to take in all of the scenes because I'm too distracted by whoever is grabbing me or throwing me around at that moment. It's dark, dingy, gritty and relentless. It's an entirely different experience than most haunts have to offer and it "makes you feel alive" which to me, is what makes is so damn good.
Overall Score - 7.6
Fort Harmony's Revenge
Overall Score - 7.6
Scare Factor - 6.7
Actors - 7.3
Visuals - 8
Value - 8
Teresa - Fort Harmony's Revenge is the more established of the two haunts. I really enjoyed the changes they made to this one for this year. Now, you wait in what looks like a street in front of an old theater. On going inside, before going into the haunt, you can get group photos in front of your choice of backdrop. Then you are seated in a theater. While we were waiting for the movie to start, a character entertained us with jokes and songs. The movie was a 1950s-style movie, giving us background information about the town of Fort Harmony. It was well-done and there were some disturbing images of eyeballs. Then there was another short wait next to old movie posters, Godzilla, and a giant man-eating spider (or maybe it was a tick?) and we were inside the town of Fort Harmony. They did a really good job creating this town that seemed to take us back to the 1950s. The actors were a mix of creepy and entertaining (and unpredictable!). There were lots of jump scares. The sets were detailed with lot of interesting props that helped take you way back to mid-last century. I feel like there was so much to take in that I really need to go through a second time to see what I missed the first time around. Each character and room or shop is giving you a little piece of the story. And there's a lot going on here. Definitely some witchcraft and lots of insanity! I won't spoil the end, you'll just have to check it out! Aside from the other haunt in the building, which I'll talk about separately, they have some refreshments and Halloween items for sale. There's also a coffin-ride, and an upgrade where you get strapped to a wheelchair and pushed through the haunt alone. Someone please do this and tell us what you think! And there are lots of special events throughout the year. There are family events (like lights-on trick-or-treating), and extreme upgrades where the actors will touch you and scare the living daylights out of you. I so want to do this! While we were there, there was a Haunters Against Hate event going on, complete with drag show with tips going to benefit the Louisville Youth Group. Which brings me to the outside portion, which has grown a ton and turned into a circus. There are booths with food, games, fortune telling, and a stage for karaoke (or in our case, a drag show). There was a decent turnout, considering it was pouring rain that night. And never to be forgotten, Chaos the clown was back this year. Do go see him!
Paul - In Fort Harmony's revenge, you go through a town that Witches cursed and made the town eternally night. This caused everyone to go crazy and you have to get out. The intro movie was very good, the lead-in actors were great, and the progression through the town was well-executed. It was fairly long, themed well, had pretty good makeup and costumes, but the actors kind of let me down in this one. They weren't bad, but they seemed to just hang out in dark corners and jump out while making loud noises when you went into rooms. It got to be a little repetitive. I had a couple of occasions where they surprised me but I like seeing actors in a creepy starting position too, not having them jump out from a hiding place all of the time.
Todd - The 7th Street Haunt has gone through some revisions and expansions since last year. An outdoor circus/carnival tent with games and entertainment has been added out front. Once inside, visitors are first directed to the original haunt, Fort Harmony's Revenge and then are immediately queued into Unit 732, a new haunt added to the roster this year.
Fort Harmony's Revenge has gone though some changes since last year. Aside from alterations within the haunt, the entire flow of the experience has changed into a very Disney-esque experience. Visitors will first have their picture taken with a variety of backgrounds to choose from. Next up is a small movie theater complete with actual theater seats in which a short intro movie is played introducing both haunts. The film is quite well done. The introduction for Fort Harmony's revenge sets up the lore in an early 60's B-horror movie fashion, while Unit 732 is introduced in more of a late 70s grindhouse style (The haunt itself even takes place in the 80s). After the movie, you're fed right into the queue for Fort Harmony's Revenge.
The haunt itself has been changed somewhat, but mostly resembles the same "town" we visited last year. The town staples are still there - the butcher shop, the florist, the caves, etc. One of the most memorable scenes last year for me was the Reba McEntire room which was a true "WTF" moment for me. Sadly, it looks to have been converted to the Marilyn Monroe room....I think. There's a lot crammed into the space allocated for the haunt, which while it leaves many varying scenes to experience, makes me wonder if less, but bigger and even more detailed scenes would be better. Some of the rooms are so small that you're already through them before you can really take everything in.
For the most part, the actors were decent. Some really nailed their character while others seem to go with more generic material that didn't pertain to their scene one way or another. A few missed the mark, especially one in particular who was a bit of a soft talker and pretty hard to understand. Her dialogue was very relevant to the story and experience so that casting felt like a big miss.
Overall FHR feels more like an old school haunt. It doesn't have a lot of flashy tech and is heavily reliant on atmosphere to carry the mood. It has a very strong story which is carried fairly well throughout but I think there's opportunity to play more into that story in the scenes that feel more ambiguous. I feel this haunt could be improved with more interactivity as well since the story is so strong.
Overall Score - 7.7
Scare Factor - 7.3
Actors - 7.3
Visuals - 8
Value - 8
Teresa - This one was entirely new for 2017. They chose the name Unit 732 from a contest to name the haunt. After doing some research, it evidently comes from a super-secret unit doing biological and chemical warfare experiments back in World War II. I love this idea! When you first go in, you are in a waiting room, which looks like it may be from the 1980s. The receptionist asked us about our favorite music and sang us a song from that era. From there we visited various doctors, some of whom were performing some pretty disturbing experiments, some patients in need of rescue, and others that were completely crazed lunatics. They warn you not to touch anything or you will become infected. We would so be members of the maniac club ourselves, as the first character who came along and asked us to touch something gross-looking, we all did it. What can I say? We like to participate! Unit 732 was more sparsely decorated than Fort Harmony, but it worked with the theme. I really enjoyed the tilted floor leading into the rotating tunnel. All-in-all the theme of this one reminds me a lot of Zombie City in Asylum Haunted Scream Park. I look forward to seeing if it develops over the years in the same way. I really like that theatrical, interactive style of haunt with a story to follow, so I hope this one does that. You get admission to both of these haunts for a very reasonable $28 dollars. I definitely give it a recommend. There are coupons available on the website too. The carnival and live entertainment outside make it a great place to hang out for the evening. And don't forget to check out the special events!
Paul -In unit 732, people were infected by a virus that made them nuts. Most of them seemed very hungry and not happy to see us, and definitely made that known! The actors were a lot more fun in this one and did a much better job of not just jumping out from shadows as you walked in. They were much more interactive and did an excellent job of upping the scare factor with their characters. Again the sets, costumes, and lighting were very professional, and you really felt like you were in some pretty crazy places while going through. This was definitely my favorite at 7th street!
Todd - As a child of the 80s (yeah, I'm old.......or perhaps young, to you), I got a real kick out of the dated nostalgia in Unit 732. Right from the get-go we were greeted by the facility's secretary sporting big poofy hair, complete with a big pink ribbon. She also informed us that Quiet Riot's "Mental Health" has just been released. That was a great way to set the era, although I wonder if today's teens would even get that.
Those who have also visited Asylum Haunted Screampark will notice a fun tie-in between Unit 732 and Asylum's Zombie City - both are themed around Paragon, a fictitious research group responsible for turning the town (and this ward) into a hoard of zombies.
Unit 732 is a more modern-styled haunt (presentation wise) than Fort Harmony's Revenge. The lighting was a little more dynamic and more mainstream effects of "today" were used.That's not to say that the actors aren't contributing. Along with the expected infected doctors / researchers, you'll also come across other 80s-styled characters. I personally enjoyed the street punks wearing leather jackets complete with metal rivets who look like they're straight out of "The Warriors."
The style of the haunt compared to Zombie City was more traditional; there was no interactivity of the story line. Most of the haunt was driven by gory scenes, scare jumps (mostly loud bangs produced by the actors) and actors getting up close and personal. While it was fun to go through, there wasn't anything that really stood out greatly to me. It's not a bad haunt but the theme and execution felt status quo to others haunts storied around zombies or outbreaks. The 80s era added a bit of uniqueness to it, however, I found that more memorable than the haunt itself.
Overall Score - 10 / 10!
Scare Factor - 10
Actors - 10
Visuals - 10
Value - 10
Teresa - This is one scary place! They put on a fun show outside for those waiting, with good music, and wandering actors, like Orlock and the Scarecrow. Orlock is really fun to talk to! And we missed it this year, but look for the Devil himself to make an appearance every so often. They also do group photos which make for good souvenirs. Once you get inside, it is impossible not to be impressed. Horror fans will be in...well, hell! It certainly isn't heaven! These are professional-quality movie sets, re-created so you can visit all your favorite horror movies and characters! The actors' costumes and makeup are phenomenal. And the actors were fully immersed in their characters and very intimidating! It is probably the scariest non-contact haunt I've been to this year. These actors seriously violate your personal space. You get to experience 13 Ghosts, Evil Dead 2, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Sleepy Hollow, The Mummy, Hellraiser, and The Exorcist, to name a few. They are somewhat limited in space in their building and it is always over too soon, but the price is very good for what you get. The Speedpass is a great deal if they are busy when you are there. And this one isn't too far from some of the other Louisville haunts if you want to make a longer night of it. If you really want a scary haunt, and you are a horror movie fan, I can't recommend this one enough. And if it isn't scary enough, they have a full-contact experience called CHAOS that I'm dying to go to. Two nights only! Check it out and let us know what you think!
Paul - The Devil's Attic is one of the best haunts I've ever been through! You walk in and each scene is a scene from a horror/thriller movie of some kind. There were scenes from Frankenstein, Saw, The Exorcist, Hellraiser, and tons of others. Every set had amazing detail, they had some of the best-used animatronics I've seen, the actors did phenomenal jobs, and the costumes and makeup were perfect! The scare-factor was outstanding, and it kept up through the entire thing. It's only $20 to get in and it's one of the best haunt bargains around. Highly recommended!!
Todd - Most memorable for its recreation of horror's most famous film icons and scenes, The Devi's Attic has hit a trifecta of near-perfection this year. The scenes look incredible, the actors are highly energetic and in character and despite each scene's physical space being somewhat limited, the scare tactics used are executed brilliantly. Upon entering a scene you may think you see the actors involved and then out of "nowhere" comes the real scare. The art of diversion and distraction has been mastered.
Many of the scenes from previous years remain. Every year I rave about the Hellraiser scene and for damn good reason - it's amazing. What I love the most, besides how great it looks, is that it starts with Frank (the post puzzle box, mostly re-constructed Frank). Everyone can recognize Pinhead (film fans will surely recognize Chatterer and Butterball as well) but only the true die-hard fans will instantly recognize Frank - the man unsatisfied by all earthly pleasures.
With the continuing positive reception to the Ash Vs. Evil Dead TV show, fans will be happy to find that the Evil Dead 2 scene remains and he who plays Ash does a crazy good job.
Of course, let's not forget the big man himself either, "The Devil", who always looks excellent delivering his iconic monologue as you begin the tour. After all, it's his collection.
I was happy to find a few new scenes - most notably, Bloody Mary and The Mummy (which had some amazing costuming).
Whether your a horror fan, a haunted house fan or especially both, you'll appreciate on-going excellence The Devil's Attic offers in both scares and authenticity of horror legends it pays homage to.
This was easily the best we've seen The Devi's Attic and the perfect score is well deserved!
Overall Score - 7.5 / 10
Individual attraction ratings below
Overall Score - 5.2
Scare Factor - 4
Actors - 5.3
Visuals - 5.3
Value - 6
Teresa - The paintball is much better than the last time I did it. There were more zombies to shoot at, and they put on a pretty good show, coming right up to the windows of our vehicle. The driver was entertaining as well. You have the option to buy more paintballs if you really want to go crazy. The course is still pretty short. You actually end up going back and forth over the same area several times. That didn't bother me too much though. It's the live (undead?) zombies that you can shoot that matter more than the scenery. Personally, I wouldn't pay for this alone, but as part of the All Access Pass, it is a fun bonus. How often do you get the chance to shoot zombies that aren't on a video screen?
Paul - I hate rating Zombie Hunting as low as I am, but it just doesn't fit our categories well. I enjoyed it quite a bit more than the ratings reflect.
Zombie Hunting is an attraction where you get to shoot paintballs at zombies. You board an old school bus with paintball guns mounted in the window openings and they drive you around a course while you shoot zombies who jump out from hiding places. As zombie paintball attractions go it's pretty fun. You get a decent supply of paintballs and the guns seem pretty accurate. It would have been nice if the course was a little longer and had more than the 2 or 3 zombies I saw, but I still had fun with it and was startled by a sneaky zombie or two who snuck really close to the bus and surprised us all.
Todd - Zombie Hunting is a paintball course in which a converted bus with mounted paintball guns drives in a field which is surrounded by building facades with both live actors as well as body props. Various cars and other scenery are sprinkled throughout in the event you're really trigger happy.
I was pleasantly surprised to find improvements over last year. First, last year I do not recall any live actors. Not only are there a few, but they add a little bit of entertainment by walking up to the bus, banging on it, etc. The driver even added some flavor dialogue to help the experience.
Each rider begins with 150 paintballs which can get you through the ride at a moderate shooting pace. Extras can be purchased for those who need to really let out some aggression.
This particular attraction would be better (in my opinion) if it ran through the woods or a more linear path rather than circling a field, but I also recognize converting it to such a setup could be a daunting task requiring more land.
Xterminate Mutant Attack
Overall Score - 7.3
Scare Factor - 8
Actors - 8
Visuals - 5.3
Value - 8
Teresa - In this attraction, there has been an incident that causes all of these clowns to turn into mutant clowns who want to kill you. Your mission is to find these 3 hidden objects so you can cure the mutant clowns and save the world. In my opinion this one was much improved over last year. The guns automatically reload and having a mission made it a much more engaging experience. I really found this to be lots of fun. It feels like living a video game. The sets are pretty basic, but well-done. It is hard enough to find your way through, look for the hidden boxes, and shoot clowns all at the same time, so you wouldn't appreciate elaborate decorations anyway. We moved through the maze of rooms and buildings, looking for the hidden boxes, and all the while, clowns were jumping out and chasing us. You really have to be quick on the draw. I thought it was very exciting! Sadly, we only ended up finding 2 of the 3 boxes, sorry about your luck, world. For me, this is a unique experience I haven't had at other haunted attractions, so it's a no-brainer to at least get the Scare Pass which includes this, Zombie City, and Darkness Falls, if not the All Access Pass where you can do all 4 attractions for the price of 2 purchased separately.
Paul - Here we have a building infested with mutated clowns who are out to get you while you run through a huge area trying to find the switches to the system that will cure them. It's a huge maze that you run through with a laser tag gun to protect yourself. When you shoot a clown they have sensors that make lights on them start flashing, which stuns them for 3-5 seconds so you have some time to get away. This was actually the attraction I had the most fun in. Running around through the maze looking for the switches with clowns jumping out at you and hiding in corners was a blast! Definitely a few startling moments when clowns would jump out from unexpected places too.
I had to leave the visual score low just because you were running through basic wooden building structures. It was still completely enjoyable, but rating this high wouldn't give due credit to the other attractions.
Todd - It's laser tag - Rambo style! First - I'll say it again. BEST laser tag-style guns ever. Love them! No breakdowns this year either!
Xterminate was MUCH improved this year. In previous years, people just ran around randomly shooting at any zombie actor they could find in the allotted time. There was no scoring or any objective other than maybe burning a few calories.
This year, the theme has been switched to mutant clowns (after all, it's the year of the clown with IT being out) and you're tasked with finding 3 large panels with switches which will release the cure, all before time runs out. This worked so much better for this attraction. The course is a very large indoor area with room structures inside with a lot of doorways to weave through and many windows to keep an eye on.
I found it to be so much more enjoyable actually having to find things while still shooting the clowns (which of course only temporarily stuns them) and keeping them out of my way. Conveniently for them, when you did find a switch, it makes a loud cracking noise alerting them to your location. The actors were pretty high-energy and had no reservations about waiting for you in a dark corner.
We only found 2 of the 3 boxes before the time was up. Xterminate this year was by far the most fun of either previous visit.
Overall Score - 8.5
Scare Factor - 7.3
Actors - 9.3
Visuals - 8.7
Value - 8.7
Teresa - Zombie City is an on-going story that has been evolving every year. It is an interactive experience, where you and the people in your group are led through a zombie-infested city and you have to try to get through it alive. You meet up with various characters, some of whom are there to help, some are zombies, and some are infected, crazed lunatics. And disturbingly, it isn't always easy to tell the difference. The sets, actors, and story are great. The characters force you to participate and make decisions and look for objects you'll need to get through alive. This is a lot of fun. Unfortunately, we had a couple people in our group this year who didn't want to participate, who tried their best to ruin it for the rest of the group by making dumb comments and lagging behind and trying to show how not-scared they were. I only mention this because our guide, Gwen, did a commendable job of dealing with them. The actors really are fantastic. This is another unique experience, because rarely do you get to interact with the characters to the extent you do in this very theatrical production. Highly recommended! The only thing that would make it better is real zombies to pick off the people who shouldn't survive!
Paul - This was the most interactive of the haunts, which made it different from any other haunt attraction I've been through. It was almost like being in a live-action video game. You enter into a research facility owned by Paragon Technologies where an outbreak has caused chaos and you have to escape and make your way to safety with the help of a guide. I really enjoyed how this one progressed and how the guide kept the scenes moving. The people that were paired with our group were very challenging, and though I could tell Gwen was frustrated with them, she kept things on track remarkably well. There were several really creepy scenes, awesome sets, some good scares, enthusiastic acting, and it was a really memorable attraction. Great time!
Todd - Once again Zombie City pulls you into an experience, not just a haunt. Rather than a conventional path or maze you walk through yourself, Zombie City always had a primary actor who leads you down the path, feeding into the story, which changes and evolves each year. The over-arching story revolves around Paragon, a research firm who has inadvertently caused a zombie outbreak that has affected the whole area.
This year our guide was found immediately trapped in a room. Upon letting her out, she informed us she knew the way through town. As she led us through the town, we encountered many residents including a delirious bus driver, cannibals, religious cultists and an incredibly well-acted doctor who was featured on the intro video that sets up the story. This guy was fantastic, by the way!
Along the way various threats present themselves and there's interaction between the characters and your guide that contribute to the story. Sometimes you may need to look for something, carry something from one scene to another, etc. There are some interesting effects that take place as well which assist in pulling you into the experience - I won't spoil them here, though.
Zombie City isn't necessarily the scariest attraction at Asylum but it's a very unique take on a haunt that we haven't really found anywhere else. It brings interactivity to a whole other level and presents something different and refreshing.
Overall Score - 9
Scare Factor - 8
Actors - 9.3
Visuals - 9.3
Value - 9.3
Teresa - Darkness Falls is a long trail you walk through some creepy woods. There are some really memorable scenes, including these glowing white mannequins, a shanty town full of crazed cannibals, one actor who was cutting the skin off of someone, a couple cults, a chef offering up yummy meal worms, some insane clowns, a great cemetery and crypt, slides, a couple spots where your group is split up, and a surprise from above. And, of course...chainsaws. This is a great, long, classic trail haunt. The actors were really entertaining and scary, and the scenes are professional quality with very good use of props. This is well worth the cost of admission. I'd highly recommend the Scare Pass or All Access Pass to take advantage of the price breaks. Plus all of the attractions are really fun and quite different, so why not make an evening of it? The park also has food available, a stage show with fire-eaters and other carnival-type acts, a booth with jewelry, and group photos. There was one wandering actor who was really cracking me up. He looked like a creepy rabbit or like a character from the movie, You're Next. He did an awesome job of stalking people, and just popping up in the most unexpected places. He was really freaking some people out. Kudos to him!
Paul - This is a haunted trail through the woods. It's a really long haunt with some very memorable scenes and actors. Some major creepiness to this one, and some awesome scares. I'd say the weirdest scene for me was the one with all of the mannequins. So eerie! This is the longest haunt at Asylum, and I'd say the signature one. There are a few things here that really stood out, but I don't want to spoil them for anyone who hasn't been. I'll just say that some of the scares came at you from unexpected places! This is one of the best haunted trail type attractions I've been through.
Asylum also did a really good job of spacing out groups too. We didn't see any other groups in any of the haunts the whole time we were there. That's a really important factor to drawing people into a haunt for a really good scare, and I'd say is under-appreciated by most people. The lines can be a little longer because of it, but it's well worth it!
Todd - Darkness Falls is, in my opinion, the premier attraction at Asylum. It's a very long, dark, outdoor trail overflowing with various themes and structures. It has everything from crazy hillbilly cannibals, to clowns, to psychopathic murderers, to cultists...it's got it all!
The actors were great. They all played their role quite well within their theme, never breaking character. I'll give a few shout outs - First to the gentleman performing the intro monologue. He did a great job setting the tone. Secondly, one guy about half way in the woods actually stopped us for a moment because we were catching up with the group in front of us. He maintained his demeanor but did explain he wanted to ensure we had the best possible experience by avoiding the conga line effect. It was much appreciated! I also specifically remember the guy with the pentagram carved into his head. He really put off a "yeah...I'm not going to mess with this dude" vibe.
There's a plethora of stuff to look at along the way and the lighting is just right to where you can get through without tripping over the uneven ground but still having to really focus and take in everything there is to see.
Noticeable changes from last year were minimal but as with Zombie City, the environment is a supporting entity to the actors, who are the driving force of this haunt.
It's also worth mentioning that on special nights, Darkness falls goes completely dark for the Slenderman experience. While we have not experienced it ourselves (but we'd absolutely love to), it sounds incredible. Armed only with a flashlight, a group of 2 people must navigate the trail finding all 8 of the randomly placed papers while avoiding the evil lurking about.
Lastly, if you haven't seen it, watch "Monsters Wanted" - a documentary about owner Richard Teachout's journey in making Asylum Haunted Screampark a reality. It's free on Amazon Prime Video:
Monsters Wanted - Amazon Prime Video
...and yes, I will watch it very soon Richard. :)
Overall Score - 8.8
Scare Factor - 8
Actors - 10
Visuals - 7.3
Value - 10
Teresa - I love the Culbertson Mansion! The haunt is in the carriage house behind the mansion. That limits the space, but they more than make up for it with creativity and outstanding actors. These two things make this one of my favorite haunts every year. This year the theme is Circus Inferno. They have completely changed the rooms and characters. Starting outside, I saw a couple of my favorite queue actors, Nightmares the clown and this horrifying clown-witch-looking character (is there a name for that phobia?). There's a short outside section with a couple more crazy circus performers that had us laughing right off the bat. Then we went inside. I cannot stress how awesome these actors are. They had great personalities, accents, costumes, and dialogue. I won't tell you all their secrets, but there were creepy crawlers, a very funny fortune teller, a dramatic scene with a high striker strength tester, shrinking walls, a magic show, and the most entertaining chainsaw I've ever seen. We were grinning and laughing through the whole thing. This isn't the scariest haunt I've been to, but it is one of the most fun. The wait isn't long and the price is very good. Highly recommended! Also, go by in the day-time and do a tour of the mansion. Not only is it beautiful, the history is interesting, as are the stories of actual ghosts experienced by caretakers.
Paul - The haunt at Culbertson blew away my expectations. I knew it was a smaller haunt without a huge budget but I loved it! They change the theme of the haunt yearly and this year it's Circus Inferno. Survivors -or not- of a fiery circus train crash are roaming the premises and the carriage house.
Having the lower budget that they do, the only thing you may notice as missing from some of the bigger haunts are the elaborate animatronics and super-detailed sets. Don't get me wrong, it isn't unprofessional at all, it just wasn't the sets that blew me away... It was the actors. The actors did a fantastic job! They interacted well, they sold their parts, their costumes and makeup were absolutely spot-on, and they made the Culbertson into an amazing experience. And on top of it all, every one of them is there as a volunteer!
If you're ever in the Louisville area on a night they're open, you really owe it to yourself to visit. It's cheap scary fun, and one of my favorites of the year.
Todd - Just about the only "Con" I can think of when it comes to Literally, A Haunted House at Culbertson Mansion, is that it I wish it was 3 times longer! Culbertson continues to bring an original theme and experience year after year. If you've never been, the haunt resides primarily in the old carriage house behind the historical Culbertson Mansion. Space is very limited so Gary Collins and his crew have a tremendous challenge to keep this haunt fresh each year.
Culbertson outshines many "high dollar" haunts that rely on expensive effects and animatronics for scares, primarily with the drive of their incredible actors (I can't speak highly enough about the actors). They carry an insane amount of energy in their performance and really make the experience stand out.
The blood, sweat and tears that go into reinventing this haunt each year are clearly evident. While their budget is modest, some of the things they pull off are absent from any other haunts we visit. The originality is off the charts!
Some attendees may find Culbertson to be a little on the tame side and perhaps turned off by the lack of expensive eye candy other haunts have to offer - and that is a real shame. Culbertson carries with it an "old school" vibe that reminds me of when I was a kid setting up a haunted house in my basement (yes, I was that kid) and dreaming up all of these cool ideas that I had no resources to implement. The passion of haunting lives within Culbertson, which can easily be lost when it comes to developing a high dollar haunt with profit driving decisions.
If you want to feel where haunters' roots are, Culbertson should be your first destination.
Overall Score - 7.7 / 10
The Dent Schoolhouse
Overall Score - 8.7
Scare Factor - 7.2
Actors - 8.4
Visuals - 9.6
Value - 9.6
Donna - This is the first time in two years I have been to the Haunted Schoolhouse and a lot has changed since my last visit. The haunt is still very thematic and very well done. Although it did feel a bit shorter than the last time I went through it, it still had the excellent visuals and attention to detail that the haunted schoolhouse is known for. The actors enthusiasm elevates the scare factor and adds in the fun factor. I did feel that many parts of the haunt were too well lit and the actors a bit too visible for a "jump" scare, so that may need to be addressed. Also, that scene at the school dance was very creepy, but needed one of the fake couples to come to life to make it really scary.
All in all, this is always a fun haunt and even though it is always changing from year to year, they keep the main theme of the haunted schoolhouse and Charlie the janitor throughout the haunt. Well done haunt. If you haven't been there yet this year - GO! You won't be disappointed!
Paul - Welcome to the big leagues of haunts. The Dent Schoolhouse is the most detailed, impressive, enveloping haunt I've ever been to. The attention to detail in this building is the best I've seen, and almost every room I walked into made me look around in amazement; almost Disney-like in the way they make you feel like that room has been in that building since it was built, not one that was constructed as a set for an attraction. The costumes and makeup are great, the props are outstanding, and the theming is spot on. The crypt, school dance, and boiler rooms are imprinted in my mind like scenes from movies, and at one point while we were walking through I turned to Todd and asked if we were actually in a boiler room that had been slightly modified for the haunt or if it was a fabricated set.
The crypt was probably the most visually-stunning room we went through. Every direction I looked just made my jaw drop and eyes go wide. Again, the details are just spectacular. Just about every room was great, and you even get a lot of the haunt experience while just waiting in line. Charlie, ZoBo, and Pumpkin Smasher are all wandering around the premises to keep you on your toes and to get a good scream out of you.
The only "bad" thing that really stood out was that the scare factor wasn't quite as high as some other haunts I've been to. There were still plenty of screams echoing through the halls, I just didn't have the same reaction. A couple of the animatronics are starting to show their age, and the slaughterhouse feels a little like an afterthought, but they're still better than similar parts of other haunts.
That said, the Dent Schoolhouse is the haunt I'll recommend to just about anyone if they ask me what haunt they should visit. It's a fantastic experience that you'll talk about for a long time.
Teresa - The Dent Schoolhouse is always one of my favorites. I cannot wait to see it every year and see what new things they've added. This year did not disappoint. I cannot express the amount of care and detail put into every aspect of this haunt. These guys are masters at setting a scene. If you haven't been, every scene is something you might find in an old haunted school, including lockers, a library, a theater, showers, children's toys, a lunch room, school buses, a creepy basement, etc. Every room is full of authentic items and some very realistic-looking props. I really appreciate how they design and make lots of the props themselves, so you are seeing items unique to this haunt.The bodies were very realistic! The items that stood out to me this year were the giant rabbit jack-in-the-box, the larger-than-life dolls, the ossuary-like skull-walled rooms, and the giant clowns. Oh, and I love the room with the people's heads all carved like jack-o-lanterns. So cool! The actors were engaging and the costumes were very good. The bug-man and his creepy clicking made me feel like I was in a 1950s horror movie. And as you're wandering the dark, cobwebbed halls, be careful Charlie the janitor doesn't get you! The roaming queue actors are lots of fun. Look out this year for clowns, Zobo and Pumpkin Smasher! This isn't the cheapest haunt around, especially if you get front of the line admission, but it is a nice option to have. Honestly, the queue isn't a bad wait though, as there is plenty of entertainment. And whichever way you go, this place is worth it! It is so much fun, and you won't see better sets. Keep an eye out for their special events, too. There are discounts available and options like ghost tours. I'm dying to do a full-contact lights-out tour in November!
Gayle - This place is simply amazing. It seems to change a bit each year, with new and exciting additions! Just waiting in line is an adventure where the actors engage and entertain. There is so much care and attention to detail in each scene, you'll want to keep going back to take in everything you may have missed. The owner, actors, and everyone involved in getting this haunt ready are passionate and energetic and excited to give you the most amazing experience...and they succeed year after year. They also offer the "Lights On" and "Lights Off" event nights, and many other special event nights that cater to all ages and all types. I can't say enough. It is well worth a visit here....multiple times! So incredible!
Todd - To this day, I have yet to visit a haunt as beautiful and authentic looking as The Dent Schoolhouse. Every scene is perfectly executed visually. New scenes that are only months old look like they have been there for decades. This is really what makes Dent so special - no detail is spared.
Even if you've visited Dent as recently as last year, it is by all means worth going again this year. The changes and additions this year are more plentiful than ever, by a long shot. I can personally attest that these changes were in the making all year long. The sheer amount of labor and man hours that have been invested in this year's haunt is nothing short of astounding.
Off hand, I can quickly count 4 major scene changes of varying size, two of which are HUGE scene additions that are gorgeous (in that haunted house kind of way). Without ruining anything, if you're a fan of skulls or clowns you're going to be in for a fantastic treat. If these things disturb you....well....deal with it.
Not all of the eggs went into one basket either. The fall festival area which serves as the final part of the line queue also has additions, providing plenty of opportunities for spooky selfies.
There was an interesting debate among our group this year regarding the scare factor. Dent was recently ranked in the top 3 scariest haunts in the nation. It's always hard for us to determine what is scary; let's face it - we are desensitized. I do agree that in a conventional sense, it's "scary" because everything looks so authentic and Dent has always been king of the hill when it comes to lighting and lighting effects. It's dark where it needs to be and not too dark in the places where they want you to see what's intended to scare you.
The other staple of making a haunt scary are the actors and this is where I personally found some opportunity. Dent is so heavily themed that there shouldn't be much of a challenge with the actors meshing into the environment (and many of them DO). I found there to be two primary categories the actors fell into - Those that played their role well, but were more goofy than scary and those who were intended to initiate jump scares but were either ineffective or didn't quite fit into the scene. I'll be the first to admit this is a challenging thing to manage. The more memorable characters (the lunch lady, for example) played their roles well but there was nothing jarring or disturbing about them. The actors in the shadows felt fairly bland and all shared the same "get out of here!" or "do you want to play?" rhetoric. This isn't to say the actors are bad. They are all costumed and appear to be fairly well directed, but a number of them didn't come across as overly energetic.
I recall Bud (of The Dent Schoolhouse) years ago stating, "You can't scare everyone, but you can entertain everyone." I wasn't scared but I was 110% percent entertained and in awe of the awesomeness of what I was witnessing. The originality and creativity are off the chart which is why I will always come back year after year.
Queen City Slaughter Yard
Overall Score - 6.7
Scare Factor - 6
Actors - 7.2
Visuals - 6.4
Value - 7.2
Donna - The slaughterhouse haunt in the rear was fun and the actor who greeted us while we waited in line to go in was the best, in my opinion, of the entire haunt. It could have been a bit darker, but was well traveled by numerous chainsaw wielding butchers to chase you through to the next area.
Paul - For being included in the price of admission to the Dent Schoolhouse, the Slaughter Yard is definitely worth going through. I don't think I'd pay extra for it but it's worth the time it takes to get through.
There are some actors that'll get your heart rate up, a chainsaw or twelve, some interesting visuals, and one or two unexpected things that really surprised me. It can't compare to the schoolhouse at all but has gotten much better since the last time I visited, and I think the potential is just about there for really scaring the heck out of a lot of people.
Teresa - The Queen City Slaughter Yard is like an added bonus (if you make it out of the school house). The wooden maze, animal cages, body parts, and gore help build the excitement as you pass people screaming to be released, shouting that you don't know what he's going to do to them. It's not too hard to figure out though. The actors played their parts well and they had some evil-looking implements of butchery. And naturally, everyone's favorite...chainsaws. I always enjoy watching people run out screaming. It gives you a good adrenaline rush to end the night.
Gayle - This was a haunt that has increased in size and experience over the last couple years. The scenes are creepy, and the actors are also quite engaging. And...well...chainsaws. Definitely a fun time!
Todd - Queen City Slaughter Yard is the outdoor haunt that immediately follows the schoolhouse - literally. As you exit one, you enter the other. People come to Dent for the schoolhouse. I don't think anyone is coming for QCSY (for short) and says, "Ah, what the hell. Let's go through the schoolhouse while we're here."
The two are not even comparable by any stretch of the imagination. QCSY is a short (by comparison), outdoor, walled maze in the theme of a butcher plant-turned massacre. It's a simple formula. Walk, turn a corner, see a side of beef or swine, guy with a chainsaw, repeat. Ok so there's a little more than that but it's very repetitive. There's not a lot to look at - hanging appendages, animal carcasses, empty chicken coops, crazy mad men with chainsaws and other weaponry....walls...that's about it...just a lot of it extended throughout.
Ironically, the jump scares initiated by the actors were more effective in QCSY than in Dent, which surprised me a little. However, with the lack of variety and the repetition throughout, QCSY only managed to pull a "meh" out of me. Sure, I'll go through it as an added attraction, but it doesn't come off as memorable or a reason in itself to visit Dent.
Overall Score - 6.3 / 10
Sandyland Acres - Hayride
Overall Score - 6.3
Scare Factor - 5.5
Actors - 6.5
Visuals - 6
Value - 7
Donna - Gene has done it again with the scariest, craziest, most fun outdoor hayride in the area! When you first board the hayride, you get the feeling that you are on a ride through a haunted corn field. The first thing you realize is that you are not alone in the field. The corn is so close to the wagon that your view is limited to see who or what is waiting for you so you are at the mercy of the monsters. Sounds, scares, people getting on the hayride and up in your face, screams from the actors blended with your own fill the ride from beginning to end. This is a ride you will want to do more than once. It is a fun, creative, scary, thrill ride that is worth every penny of the cost. There are several unexpected surprises this year that just put this hayride over the top! Well done! Bravo!
Paul - This was my first visit to Sandyland Acres and I'm afraid that one thing kind of ruined it for me. Somewhere near the start of the hayride as we were going through a patch of corn, some sort of hidden gunshot/cannon prop went off right next to my ear. It definitely startled me but it also temporarily deafened me and my ear wouldn't stop ringing well into the next morning. I was so worried about my hearing that I didn't enjoy the rest of the night at all, and just kept my fingers in my ears for the rest of the ride since there were more gunshots to follow.
Teresa - Sandyland Acres Haunted Hayride is a nice place for a family with kids who aren't too scared of scary costumes and some really loud noises to go and have a fun evening out away from the city. There's nothing like a farm in the fall, with cornfields, and a cool silo that shoots fire out the top. There are some fun skeleton decorations and refreshments available. The hayride itself has you sitting on hay bales in a cart pulled by a tractor, as you go through the fields and through some creepy horror-movie scenes. It is fun to guess the horror movie as you go through each scene. The tractor stops periodically for you to witness scenes playing out, and Jason, or Michael Myers, or another horror icon gets on the cart with you, and looks to see who is brave, and who isn't. The best parts are the truck chasing you and blaring its horn, and my personal favorite, the headless horseman. This isn't the scariest haunt, because you are sitting with a lot of other people, and the actors aren't too over-the-top. They mostly get up close to you and pass by, or maybe lunge, but they don't try to make anyone cry. My only complaints this year are the really loud cannons that were a bit much for more sensitive haunt-goers, and that some of the scenes were really hard to see from where we were seated. The other passengers blocked the view. I'm not sure if the scenes were lower than normal or what happened there, as I don't remember this being a problem in the past. However, older kids (and adults) who aren't scared by loud noises should have a nice evening here.
Todd - Sandyland Acres has not changed much since our last visit two years ago. For the most part the scenes remained the same. The hayride is a decent length, traveling to scenes with constructed facades with various themes or famous movie homages. The scenes themselves were enjoyable.
However, the acting felt very flat compared to years past. The traditional formula for the hayride is: you pull up to a scene, watch a short staged event and then the actor(s) come up into the trailer and walk back and forth between the rows of riders.
In years past there was more interaction and energy between the actors and the riders. This year in almost every scene, the actor would come up on the trailer, pace back and forth, perhaps brandishing their signature weapon) and then hop off. There was very little intensity to any of it. A few stood out but overall the entire ride felt very programmed. The actors are the highlight of the hayride and it could have been much better if the gusto was there.
One forewarning that I think is worth mentioning is the use of cannons (for lack of a better term). Sandyland has always had one area where a cannon was fired to produce a very deafening "BOOM." It can be ear piercing. This year, these were peppered throughout the hayride. While they're effective in producing jump scares, they can be disturbing to those with sensitive ears or small children.
Overall this hayride is more than acceptable for families and a younger audience that is ready for the world of horror without the blood or graphic details. For adults seeking thrills, this is not the haunt for you.
Overall Score - 6.3
Scare Factor - 6
Actors - 6
Visuals - 6.5
Value - 6.5
Donna - This was my favorite indoor haunt so far this season! It is a combination of a dark haunt and traditional haunt with just enough "fun" things added in to make it a truly enjoyable, yet scary haunt. I don't scare very easily, if ever, in a haunt and this haunt actually gave me goose bumps during the first part of the walk through. I don't want to give away any of the surprises but Gene really knows what scares people. He did a fantastic job in putting the maximum number of scares in a relatively small area. He should be designing haunts for Disneyworld. I was so impressed with this year's haunt. I highly recommend a visit to Sandyland Acres to get your Halloween on! Great job, Gene!
Paul - As my ears were still ringing from the hayride, I wasn't in the best mindset for going through the indoor portion of the haunt. There were a few good props and actors, some interesting sets, and one of the better spinning tunnels I've been through, but I was still too preoccupied about my hearing to really enjoy.
Teresa - Farmer's Revenge is a little scarier than the hayride. This is a classic walk-through haunt. There are a lot of dark areas, where you can't see at all and you have to feel your way through. You may get wet in the process. I liked the voice saying, "I'm following you..." in the dark. The actors were good, but there weren't a lot of them. They do have a section where you have to squeeze through the inflated walls. And my favorite part was the rotating tunnel. It was so disorienting! It isn't too long, but it is a nice option to have for the adults and older kids who want something a little scarier.
Todd - Farmer's revenge is a short indoor haunt that accompany's the hayride. It has changed very little from years past. The initial portion is a tight and dark walkway you must find your way through. There really wasn't much there to scare you; you just have to creep your way through it. A few scenes follow that have no real continuity with varying levels of details. While it's not a big haunt, there were very few actors inside which made it feel more like something to be observed than experienced.