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.