Overall Score - 9 / 10 *
Scare Factor - 8.3
Actors - 9.3
Visuals - 9
Value - 9.3
* Forsaken was not open for our visit. These ratings are an aggregate of both Stillwell Manor and Tantibus.
Have you visited this haunt? Tell us what you thought!
Todd - Stillwell Manor very well could be Indiana's best "unknown" haunt and what a shame that is. I don't mean to imply that this talented group of people have not made a name for themselves - far from it. It's just that this unique attraction feels overshadowed by larger, less-inspired haunts. We are BIG fans of "Stillwell" and always try to get the word out that this one is worth your time and money.
Stillwell Manor as a whole is divided up into 3 separate attractions - its namesake - Stillwell Manor, Tantibus and Forsaken (opening in October, replacing Isabella's Beyond). Forsaken was unfortunately not ready at the time of our visit but from what was described to us, it certainly sounds thematically darker than anything we've seen there in the past.
Stillwell is a prime demonstration of what true passion for the craft can create. Every year it improves more and more. As most know, it is constructed within an abandoned 80's-style movie theater. Today, you wouldn't ever know while inside the haunt. Rooms and environments have been created with enough detail, utilizing real furniture, real decor and creativity that the vibe is entirely unique.
Stillwell Manor is immensely fun. The experience is always memorable for me and it feels great to experience a haunt with so much evident dedication.
I find it actually challenging to put into words the experience that Stillwell offers. The primary haunt (Stillwell Manor) feels very traditional which is becoming less and less common in this era. It doesn't rely on expensive animatronics for its scares. It's not hyper-stimulating, it's not psychologically challenging or overly grotesque. The heart of Stillwell solely resides in its actors and its authentic setting. Almost all of Stillwell features settings in a home, outdoors or cemetery (I'd like to add here that a new, phenomenal mausoleum has been added).
While Stillwell's character comes from its impressively furnished sets, its personality is fueled by the actors - many of which were great. One thing we learned this year is that the actors contribute a lot to their staged area. Much of what you see in an actor's area may very well be something THEY brought to the table or created themselves. The premise may be handed to them, but the execution may be left to their personal approach. The actors also attended hours of pre-season training this year and it shows. Many of them are excellent at staying in character during improvisational conversation (trust me - we test them).
Tantibus (english translation - nightmare), another haunt at Stillwell Manor, displayed many of the same positive qualities mentioned above - particularly regarding the actors. The feel of Tantibus is a bit more 'in your face' and fast-paced. Rather than exploring an eerie estate, you are pushing your way through one oppressive situation after another - zombies, demented doctors and of course, clowns. Tantibus supplies very little recovery time from one scene to another, which compliments Stillwell Manor quite well. It also still features its signature..."ride" which never gets old.
As a whole, Stillwell Manor is immensely fun. The experience is always memorable for me and it feels great to experience a haunt with so much evident dedication. The actors add so much charisma to this unique setup, it's hard to imagine not coming back year after year.
Paul - Go to Stillwell Manor. Now. Really. I’ll wait.
Did you go? Ok good. Totally worth it right? Did you drive a couple of hundred miles round-trip like we did? Still worth it! If you love haunts like we do, you really have to make the voyage to Anderson, Indiana and visit Stillwell Manor.
Stillwell Manor is one of the more unique haunts we visit as it’s built inside of an old movie theater. The sloped floors are still there, and occasionally you’ll catch a glimpse of one of the weird corrugated-concrete walls the building is made up of. But every year as the haunt gets better and better, you see less of that due to the phenomenal sets that this passionate group of haunters put together.
This is my third trip to Stillwell and I’m blown away by the improvements every year. This year I think I noticed the biggest transformation, and we even visited before the third haunt opened for the season! The layout has changed a bit, there are several brand new scenes, and the actors are better than they have ever been.
If you love haunts like we do, you really have to make the voyage to Anderson, Indiana and visit Stillwell Manor.
Stillwell is comprised of three haunts… Stillwell Manor, Tantibus, and the new haunt that we were too early for is Forsaken. Isabell’s Beyond is no more, and I can’t wait to see how Forsaken darkens things down!
Stillwell Manor is the main attraction here as you’d probably guess. It’s kind of your classic haunted house, themed around General Stillwell’s mansion that has been frozen in time for years. There are all kinds of residents and most of them are very unhappy to have visitors. You'll walk and crawl through dozens of different scenes, and a couple of the new ones this year made a big impression; especially the doll house and the mausoleum. The detail blew me away. In addition to all of the super creepy scenes, the actors showed big changes this year as well. There were so many great performances, it’s hard to remember them all. I especially remember the girl offering fingers to snack on in the dining room, the doll house girl, the doctor, and the 3 little girls trying to get you to play with them. Excellent.
Tantibus is the second attraction we were able to experience. Tantibus is a collection of fears that you have to face. This was a surprising haunt because it has remained mostly the same for each visit, but somehow keeps getting better. This year there were a couple of new scenes, and again there was a huge improvement in the acting. The two you run into first were fantastic, as was the noodle-room inhabitant, the dark-walker, the insane-asylum resident, and my favorite was the character at the very end, right before you get your freedom back!
There were a couple of small things that weren’t working properly since we visited on opening weekend, but they didn’t take away from the experience at all. This is still one of my favorite haunts and I’m sure it’s going to stay up near the top of my list the rest of the season. Go visit and tell them Haunted House Tour sent you!
Teresa - Stillwell Manor is 2 attractions in one (soon to be 3 again when they open Forsaken this October). On a cool, damp, opening weekend in September, we arrived pretty late and the crowd had died down. We were able to go right in. There is a Haunted Manor-esque talking bust that acquaints you with the background of the manor and tells you the rules as you wait to go inside. Once you get inside, you go through all the rooms and outdoor spaces you may find in a (very) haunted manor house. The decor is made of real items they collect, like you might find in an actual haunted manor. It gives each space a legitimacy and loads of character. Being inside an old theater, floors sometimes slope strangely, and it makes finding your way through all the more unsettling. I absolutely love the haunt actors here. Their costumes are unique and they are so entertaining! Some of them improv with the best of them. I love being able to interact with them. Others are scary without ever saying a thing. They alternate between being creepy, funny, and down-right terrifying. While not a touch haunt, they are not afraid to get right up into your personal space, with whatever creepy face or items they may want to show you. The actors here are top notch and they make the walk through the manor so much fun. I loved the crazy cat lady (hissing at us), the (new for this year) doll room (with the creepy mannequins), the sisters in the bedrooms (really intimidating), trying to find our way (and making so many wrong turns!), having to go through a Narnia-like closet, the foggy outdoor space (with weird plants), the mausoleum (I can't even explain how cool this was), the huge chapel facade, and crawling through a coffin. The spaces are so creative, and I love the changes they made for this year. It is definitely creepy, as noted by the couple who was there who tried to bail out early! They left, cursing and laughing about how scary this place is. It is pretty long, with lots of rooms and simulated outdoor spaces, and so worth the money. Especially if you go in with a small, intimate group.
This is a really fun haunt and I'm amazed that it wasn't busier when we went. Maybe it is too scary because it is so intimate? ...maybe they have heard stories about the real ghosts who haunt the theater?
Once you exit the Manor, there is an indoor area with concessions and souvenirs where you can hang out and take a break while you work up the courage to enter the second attraction, Tantibus. Tantibus is Latin for "nightmare" and nightmares are what you face (face you?) in this section. It immediately started off with a bang as we ascended the stairs and I saw, down a back-lit hallway with laser lights, some really creepy girls. I stopped to stare, then reminded myself to keep moving toward them so the rest of the group could see them too! There's a zombie outbreak section, a really gross bathroom (who hasn't lived that nightmare?), a funhouse section with creepy clowns and an enormous slide into a ball pit (you really have to try this!), people climbing the walls, some really dark passages holding characters you won't see until it is too late, and another great hallway scene at the end. The lighting and effects made this character look so unnerving! It is hard not to stop and just stare in awe (or run screaming!). The decor isn't as detailed in this section as it is in the Manor, but it is more nightmare-like. And come on! Where else are you going to find a giant slide and ball pit like this? I won't tell you what else is at the bottom. Who wants to go first?
I'm not sure where Forsaken will fall, whether you will do it after the Manor or Tantibus. I can't wait to see it. My understanding is that it will build on the story of Isabell and her Beyond that they had in previous years. See our past reviews for more on this. I really enjoyed Stillwell Manor and Tantibus this year. I really love the updates they made and very much want to see Forsaken. Especially since it is advertised as being interactive, which is one area in which these guys really shine! The only thing I missed, and I think it was because we were so late in the evening, so early in the year, were the queue line actors. There was no queue line, so no queue line actors. However, not having a big crowd is a huge win for you! Go before they get really busy next month! Prices are discounted until Forsaken opens, and the other 2 are well worth the money on their own. Plus parking is really easy. This is a really fun haunt and I'm amazed that it wasn't busier when we went. Maybe it is too scary because it is so intimate? Maybe people are afraid they might get lost in these dark rooms forever? Or maybe they have heard stories about the real ghosts who haunt the theater?