Overall Score - 6.6 / 10
Scare Factor - 6.5
Actors - 6.3 *
Visuals - 6.5 *
Value - 7.3
Todd - Phobia is Land of Illusion's new haunt this year, which replaced the VooDoo Bayou Shanty (RIP). Phobia's uniqueness among its neighbors is that its fright level is mostly dependent on YOU.
Phobia is a dark haunt which means just that - much of it is in the complete darkness. Anyone inherently scared of the dark will find this utterly terrifying and hard to navigate so cling on to a buddy. Phobia isn't all about what you see; it's about what you don't see. Much of the time you'll find yourself stepping forward very slowly, feeling the walls to determine when you need to turn a corner. It's very disorienting in the best way.
Make no mistake - you have "company," and while you can't see them all the time, you'll probably hear them. This concept is sure to give some a fair amount of anxiety.
If you're ok with navigating the dark, perhaps one of the phobia rooms will have you facing what you tend to normally avoid. Many of these room contain things that are commonly disliked by the populace so there's a good chance at least one may make you hesitant.
The structure itself is put together with a configuration of shipping containers which are all covered by a large tensioned membrane roof, which not only keeps the haunt safe from the weather, but those waiting in line as well. Just like the addition of the Zombie Sniper Patrol's line queue last year, Phobia's waiting area looks like a modern amusement attraction.
Phobia is a "less is more haunt." The unseen and unknown are the true stars here. For the scenes that are staged, some are quite effective while others need some work. For it's freshman year and a reportedly (and incredibly) short construction time, it was put together very well. There's plenty of room to grow and enhance the experience. Since we visited on the first weekend of the season, it's entirely possible Phobia may be much enhanced by October. We were invited to return at the end of the season, so if we do, we'll surely update our review to cover how this haunt improved in a matter of weeks.
* The numerical scoring on this haunt could be mis-interpreted because there's so much not SEEN. All in all, there aren't a lot of visuals and there are not conventional actors so please keep this in mind.
Teresa - Phobia is brand new this year and I thought they did a good job covering a whole gamut of phobias, including spiders, bugs, snakes, clowns, tight spaces, and of course, the dark. One of my favorite parts was the absolute dark in sections, and the things you could hear in the dark. Creepy! This one has a lot of room to grow, and I’m really excited to come back and see how it develops over time.
Paul - Phobia is the newest haunt attraction at Land of Illusion. It’s in a brand new structure that stands where the Bayou used to be, and it was created to dig into your biggest fears. I don’t want to give away the scares within but there are a half dozen or so different scenes themed around different things that people typically have fears of, with a lot of dark maze-like passages in between. When we visited this year, Phobia was only finished a day earlier and they were still fine-tuning some of the scenes. It’s an impressive start and I hope to make it back to check out what they do with it through the season!
Donna - This haunt was designed and executed surprisingly well for a first year haunt. The theme of Phobia was carried out throughout the entire haunt with enough dark areas and in your face actors to keep you on your toes. You get the feeling of dread after the first scene like they really know what you are secretly afraid of. As you walk through each scene, people follow you and whisper into your ear, making the experience more terrifying with each turn. I really liked this neew haunt and feel it is an excellent addition to the Land of Illusion experience.
Killer Klowns 3D
Overall Score - 7.5 / 10
Scare Factor - 6
Actors - 8.5
Visuals - 8
Value - 7.5
Todd - IF you have followed me throughout the years, you know I'm very skeptical of 3D blacklight haunts. The novelty of the 3D scenes only made possible by wearing glasses never impressed me enough to get over the fact that the blacklights are so bright that you can see everything all around you. I never found that to be scary or disturbing.
This why when I learned that Killer Klowns went BACK to using blacklights after ""going dark"" for the past few years, I was initially disappointed. To my surprise, there were some new things in store that left me pleasantly surprised.
First off, I'm not scared of clowns. If you are, then naturally this one is going to bother you no matter how well executed it is. The clowns inside are not your traditional Bozo-like circus clowns....more like Rob Zombie's "31" clowns. They're grimy, bloodied and have a sick sense of interpersonal cohabitation. They're quite creative regarding the use of various internal organs. In other words, the actors were noticeably improved from earlier years.
MUCH of this haunt has been modified this year. While it's actually shorter (some was segmented off for Escape Rooms opening later on), it's not even noticeable due to many improvements and additions. First - the art. While some of the wall art is the same in places, many larger mural-style paintings have been added which due to their size, created a very effective sense of depth when viewed through the glasses.
The chain-link maze still remains, only now it's fogged so navigating it feels a bit more complex since you can't see all the way through it.
At one point in the haunt you become a human pinball, navigating through flippers and bumpers, which I found to be very original and fun throwback to gamers like myself. There was also the addition of cotton candy cocoons a-la Killer Klowns From Outer Space, which was great.
Overall, I walked out agreeing with the others that the changes were for the better. I liked the clown haunt when it was dark, abandoning the blacklight approach that had become common everywhere. However, with the new changes and additions it feels unique again.
Teresa - Killer Klowns 3D wins my vote for most improved. The walls are decked out in new psychedelic murals and with the 3D glasses you really get a trippy effect, where it feels like everything is constantly moving and shifting. Combine that with walls that do move, and it gets really fun! The thematic elements are spot on, with giant pinball machine decor, mazes, and spinning tunnels. One simple thing I really liked was the giant cotton candy cocoons that you had to push past, and could occasionally see a face inside. Killer Klowns from Outer Space, anyone? The lighting and sound effects were good, and the clown-actors were fantastic! They laughed, taunted and jeered, stomped and climbed all around us on the bridge, and pleaded for us to play games with them. Great funhouse, Killer Klown-style!
Paul - Killer Klowns is the most physically changed attraction of the year. Last year’s Klown experience was a little darker than usual, but this year you get a brand new 3D experience. Fresh visuals all over, a bit of a different layout, and they deliver the best creepy clown experience I’ve been through this side of Netherworld. The actors did a GREAT job (honestly, the actor enthusiasm seems to be one of the biggest improvements through the entire park this year and it makes a massive difference), the paint/murals were outstanding, and I thought it was much improved over last year. You can tell there was considerable time and money spent in the offseason, and it shows.
Donna - This was a good 3D clown haunt but was made better by the actors. It was pretty typical as far as the props go and visuals were pretty much what you would expect for this particular theme. The actors were, however, over the top scary and had excellent costumes that were both convincingly cute and horrible at the same time. Well done.
Temple of Terror
Overall Score - 8.9 / 10
Scare Factor - 8.8
Actors - 9
Visuals - 9
Value - 8.8
Todd - Temple of Terror wins "haunt of the night" for me. Going in, I was expecting the same, unchanged experience from the past. While the flow and structure was seemingly the same, added details and fantastic actors have instilled new life into his haunt.
The Temple has always resonated with me because it has a lot of things good haunts tend to have in common - dark, narrow corridors, lots of corpses, various monsters and standout scenes that make you say "wow" or "now, this is cool."
Everything you've come to experience in recent years still lives on in the Temple - but now, layers of detail have been added which gave it a new vibe. Great-looking spider webbing has been added over what was already highly detailed wall coverings. Blood smears have been added over the faces of mummy coffins that line the walls. Small things like this all put together really improved the visual impressions of the haunt this year.
The most radical improvement however was with the actors. They were absolutely fantastic and exploding with energy. Many were somewhat free roaming so if we moved on, they cam right back around to give us more. Others that were stationed in specific areas were either very creepy or exuberantly pumping even more chaos into the scene with shouts and wails.
It was very unexpected but incredibly satisfying. I now look forward to what else they'll bring to the table next year.
Teresa - Temple of Terror was probably my favorite of the bunch this year. This one has a lot of great scenes and is really fun to experience. The actors were quite skilled and played their roles well. They did an impressive job of sticking with you, disappearing, and reappearing when you least expected it. And I love it when they interact with you. It is so much fun when they are scary and funny, all at the same time! My favorite costume was the goat man. My favorite scenes were the swamp and the bridge. They have so much atmosphere! Add some giant animatronics and superb sound effects, and this one is not to be missed!
Paul - If you’re ever curious what actors can do to make a haunt better, Temple of Terror is a perfect example. For a haunt that was relatively unchanged, Temple was the biggest improvement over past years that I’ve seen, and it was almost exclusively due to actors who enjoy and care about their craft. Physically I didn’t notice a huge change inside the attraction, which is themed to an ancient temple where an overwhelming amount of supernatural occurrences are happening. There were a lot of small “attention to detail” things that were changed and made noticeably better, but nothing massive. The entire reason this was my favorite haunt of the night was the crew. The performance they put on and the passion behind it was fantastic. There were characters jumping out all over the place, hiding in places I didn’t know were there, and getting really close to you before you knew they were even there. Excellent work!
Donna - This was my favorite haunt at Land of Illusion this year because of the unique visuals and additional actors throughout the dark, creepy tomb-like catacombs. I loved the changes this year (no spoilers! Just go and see for yourself!). The actors were excellent, the haunt was very claustrophobic and just felt like a cold, damp tomb with every type of creepy crawler and crazy mummy chasing you. This haunt will take your breath away and make you want to run, not walk, out of the place!
Dr. Psycho's Haunted Estate
Overall Score - 7.9 / 10
Scare Factor - 7.8
Actors - 8.6
Visuals - 7.3
Value - 8.3
Todd - Dr Psycho's Haunted Estate remains as the most conventional haunt at Land of Illusion. Part house, part outdoors - this one offers a little bit of everything.
Aside from some reconfiguration of the outdoor pathing, not much noticeably changed this year. I don't necessarily mean to convey this as a bad thing. Dr. Psycho's packs in a pretty lengthy experience with plenty of eye candy with more details than you'll have time to full observe.
The actors, consistent with the rest of the park, performed with more gusto than we've seen in recent years. Dr. Psycho himself did a great job - I only wish I got to interact with him more. Another standout was a nameless little girl converted to a life-sized marionette puppet using her veins as strings.
The exit exterior has also received a very impressive facelift. It's now a well designed "Oakley Cemetery" which looks great. We were told that similarly themed areas will be staged around the park in the future.
While Dr. Psycho's didn't offer anything dramatically new, it's still a haunt I'll always find myself wanting to visit because there's just so much to look at and experience.
Teresa - I like that Dr. Psycho's Haunted Estate has indoor and outdoor sections. It’s more like you really are wandering around an estate. But the actors are what I like the most about this one. The puppet girl was fantastically creepy! Others were shrieking so loudly that chills ran up my spine! And one was talking about eating my eyeballs. Gross! These creeps stalked around us, cajoling us to do dubious things, banged loudly to startle us, and elicited screams from their victims. Some may have even chased us with chainsaws. Or maybe not. I don’t want to spoil the surprise.
Paul - Dr Psycho isn’t a nice fella. He’s been performing a lot of experiments on people, and the ones who are still alive aren’t very happy about it. They’re also not happy you’re there. This haunt’s theme works very well, and again, the actors do a good job of selling it. The haunt hasn’t changed a huge amount from previous years but when you have something that works this well, sometimes a huge change isn’t needed. As for improvements… The outside area needs a little bit of re-thinking to keep it fresh, and some of the props inside are showing their age- Fairly minor things. Dr Psycho’s place continues to be a really creepy experience and will get your blood pumping!
Donna - I really liked this haunt because it is more old school haunted house visuals. It was a bit too well lit in places, though, but made up for that with the intensity of the actors. The girl on the puppet strings was fantastic and Dr. Psycho was chilling and creepy. The outside areas needed better lighting as most of the scenes were invisible in the dark. But it was still fun to walk through the indoor/outdoor areas. Again, the actors are what really made this haunt good. Very impressive and convincing. I would do this haunt a couple of times to see everything because some of it is so scary, you'll want to shut your eyes! Nightmare stuff for sure!
Overall Score - 7.9 / 10
Scare Factor - 7.5
Actors - 7.5
Visuals - 8
Value - 8.5
Todd - Anyone who has walked the Haunted Trail before knows that it's quite a hike. Trying to remember every bit of it for the purposes of this review is a real challenge so I'll do what I can...
Just like every year, parts of the trail have been refined. More than ever, the trail seems void of unnecessary, wide open spaces - especially around the middle where the buses are. Rather than filling up these spacious areas, the fences have been pulled in to keep a direct path.
2018 is the year of Michael Meyers so of course he still roams the decked pathway, which was filled with some of the most dense fog I've ever been in (it's great!). All of the standout scenes still remain - the spider infestation, the school, the butcher shop, the cemetery/crypt and of course the hillbilly shanty area which to my surprise was actually reduced in size. The opening section with the sewer is still quite impressive, which leads almost directly into the hanger now where the machine gun fires louder than ever (it's damn near deafening).
The challenge with the trail has always been maintaining a flow of engagement among an inconsistent theme. The trail is the perfect place to have a hodgepodge of experiences, however each has different levels of execution so some are better received than others.
One issue we had when going through was the pacing. The fireworks had just ended and since most people naturally like to go through the trail late a night, quite a line had formed. It was evident the staff was really pushing the crowd through due to the lines. Unfortunately this was a real detriment to the experience. Not once, twice but three times we either wound up on the tail of the group ahead of us or another was on our heels. This isn't good for any haunt. While I can appreciate them trying to compensate for an abnormally long wait, the experience surely suffered from it.
The trail is always a popular attraction simply because it's long, it's in the unlit woods around the lake and it carries a natural spooky vibe and if you're at Land of Illusion, one simply doesn't skip the trail.
Teresa - I love a good haunted trail. This one is long at around a mile. The lighting, fog, and sound effects are really well-done. I love the long, dark, eerie bridges. The spider scene was really creepy, and I loved the spider sounds. Skin-crawling! The cave was also really horrific. One of my favorite parts was the jack-o’lantern garden. I’m a Halloween geek, what can I say? The music really added to the atmosphere, and walking around up-ended vehicles lent a post-apocalyptic feel to parts of it. There are some pretty loud sections, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Paul - This is the attraction that got Land of Illusion started. It’s a HUGE trail that takes you through some really well-done scenes and has you confronted by dozens of creepy people who want to make sure you remember them for a long time. We unfortunately ended up right in the middle of a really obnoxious group of drunk people who seemed like they were only there to prove how tough they were, and they took a lot of the fun out of it by constantly trying to draw attention to themselves. However, one of the best parts about Land of Illusion is that once you’re inside you can go through any of the haunts as many times as you want! Your admission covers your entry, then it’s up to you what, when, and how many times you go through each attraction (except zombie paintball which you pay for each time). Since we’ve been through the haunted trail several times before, I know just how good it is. It’s definitely a can’t-miss attraction and one of the best haunts around.
Zombie Sniper Patrol
Overall Score - 6.1 / 10
Scare Factor - 4.5
Actors - 6.5
Visuals - 6.5
Value - 7
Todd - Zombie Sniper Patrol is an "add-on" to your admission in the park. Since it's a ride and a somewhat interactive experience, you'll need to pay a little extra.
There's always some satisfaction in shooting people with paintball guns so it's hard to be bored shooting at well-padded zombies...and let's be honest, we all tend to aim for the crotch. I know I do.
The large bus will drive you through the woods stopping at about 4 scenes staged with static objects and building fronts occupied by a few brave actors who get paid to be your target.
The ending, as we've now come to expect, results in a chase scene with (at the time of our visit) three vehicles to unload on. Unless you're equipped with some spare cash, pace yourself as you shoot. Extra paintballs are $5 a fill.
I always ask myself, "what could make this better?" and to be honest, I don't know. It is what it is. This type of thing is becoming more common across large multi-haunt parks and they all are kind of doing the same thing. In my opinion, for a higher premium, going through a zombie survival course on foot, armed with a paintgun and a set of objectives would be an absolute blast. I get that there are logistical challenges and probably some liability risk in that, but the interactivity would be off the chart.
For now, you're set with a ride through the woods with a mounted gun - not bad after a stressful work week!
Teresa - Zombie Sniper Patrol was the best it has ever been this year. There were lots more zombies to shoot at, and some of them were really asking for it! I especially liked how they would die after being shot a bunch of times. It really makes it feel like you’re killing zombies. Head shot, head shot, head shot! I was feeling pretty formidable. My only complaint is that the truck is so loud, I couldn’t hear the instructions as we were heading to our first elimination site. It turns out, I didn’t miss anything important, but maybe the guides need an intercom or something? There are so many zombies now, that you can burn through your ammo pretty fast, so I’d recommend having an extra $5 bill on you so you can get more if you run out. I didn't score this one high on the scare factor, but it is exciting and lots of fun.
Paul - Let me preface this by saying that I've never really had a zombie paintball experience that's blown my socks off. That being said, this is still the best zombie paintball attraction at any haunt I’ve visited. The waiting area is great (and fully covered, just like almost every other haunt at Land of Illusion- Don’t let the weather scare you away!) The trucks are really cool, the scenes are well done, and these are easily the most active zombies around. It’s a pretty wild ride and the ending gets your blood pumping pretty fast.
Donna - This was the most fun of the night! The Zombies were really into it and having fun with the people shooting at them. The bus chasing the truck we were riding at the end was a great addition. It seemed longer this year and had an additional scene added. This is a must do at Land of Illusion!!!!
Todd - Land of Illusion is really starting to come together as a full-fledged amusement park. They had their first successful summer with the new outdoor water attraction and the park looks better than ever.
The actors all went through a "school" prior to the haunt season and it really paid off. The actors were great and if they can keep up that level of energy throughout the entire season, all visitors are in for a real treat.
It's also beneficial to everyone to note that although Land of Illusion is a large haunt park, 4 of the 5 haunts are indoors with covered queues for the lines. Don't let the threat of rain dissuade you from coming. Aside from the haunts, there are 2 bars (one indoors, the other covered) and a large canopy over the central fire pit for you to take shelter under in the event if inclement weather.
Based on our visit, Land of Illusion is going to have one hell of a season.
Teresa - I am very impressed with Land of Illusion this year. Every year it gets better, but since I didn’t get to come last year, this year was much improved over the last time I was here. The grounds are turning into a Halloween amusement park. There are shops, food, bars, the Demon Drop, a mechanical bull, a giant bonfire, which is under a roof in case it rains (as are most of the queue lines for the haunts, so that’s really nice), and there is new décor which is great for photo ops. Some of the haunts take your photo too, which is offered at a reasonable price on your way out of the park. There’s also a big stage with live music. The night we were there, there were Rozzi fireworks, played to creepy music! I’ve never had the pleasure! And the lake is now a water park, which looks like a Wipeout set. It looks like so much fun! I loved watching the wandering actors scaring (and posing with) the visitors. One looked like a voodoo man, complete with saxophone which he would play and offer a Cajun greeting to guests. Another was a creepy ghoul who handed me a leg (prop I hope?). It sure felt real! Then there was the girl who did not look at all well…possibly possessed, who was zooming around in a bed and yelling at people. She was hilarious! This is not the cheapest place, but for what you get (4 indoor haunts, a long trail, zombie paintball, live music, fireworks, and refreshments galore along with lots of entertainment), this makes for a fun night out with friends. If you live nearby, they offer season passes, which would make this a great go-to hangout.
Paul - Land of Illusion is one of my favorite haunts we visit. The park is fantastic! The actors are great, the atmosphere is one of the best around, and year to year you can see they aren't just "phoning it in". There are substantial improvements every year! As a matter of fact, the acting this year was so much better than previous years, I thought they must have brought in some kind of acting coach. The difference is that obvious.
While the price is a bit higher than most haunts, you also get WAY more for your admission. You get to go through any of the attractions as many times as you want, there's a stage with live music going, there are roaming actors everywhere, there's a bar/restaurant, and a huge fire pit in the middle to relax around and watch the mayhem unfold around you.
Every attraction but the haunted trail has covered waiting areas and is indoor, so you can visit rain or shine. As a matter of fact, a rainy night might end up being better since attendance tends to be fairly low in inclement weather... Shorter wait times for all!!
Unlike most haunts where you go through once then go home, Land of Illusion gives you multiple haunts in one place and is a place you can spend the entire evening in. And you should! Tell them Haunted House Tour sent you.
Donna - Land of Illusions just gets better and better every year. This year was no exception. They now have a huge gas fire circle inside a covered gazebo with picnic tables in the center of the area. The night we were there they had a country/rock band playing and fireworks. This is not just your average 30 minute walk through haunt, this is a pay one price, all included complete night of entertainment. The five haunts plus the Zombie Patrol keep you in the Halloween spirit and the bands and DJs keep you entertained while you take a moment to catch your breath in between haunts. There are plenty of places to get refreshments, funnel cake, beer, snacks or whatever and a very nice gift shop to visit on your way out. This is one of my favorite places to spend an evening. If you really want to get into the Halloween spirit, or are just looking for something to do that's fun and different, check out Land of Illusion! Tell them The Frightmaster sent you.