31
Oct

wharton-new-jersey-haunted-attractions-haunted-scarehouse-2014-review
 Wharton, New Jersey Haunted Attractions: Haunted Scarehouse 2014 review

Wharton’s Haunted Scarehouse is a massive indoor haunted attraction in New Jersey. They have 2 levels. Each level is very large. I lost track of time but I think we may have been in there for close to an hour.

Haunted Scarehouse New Jersey Haunted Attraction Review

They have a lot of high tech set pieces and animatronics. Out of all of the haunted attractions that we review they seem to use technology the most. Even the staging of the scares and rooms incorporate technology.

It’s not used as a crutch. You have likely seen many of the haunts who buy an expensive set piece and use it like a garden fountain in the center of the room with no thought behind it. I felt that the technology was placed well within each room and complimented the scares very well. In some cases you could see yourself while being scared, which was unique.

They have the best photo set up I have ever seen. You know how most attractions now offer photos with your friends? These guys designed a picture taking system that does regular attraction photos as well as 3D and animated photos depending on how large the crowd levels are. There’s also a video that gets taken of you in the attraction getting scared. At the end you have the option to buy these at $5 each. It is sent to your email or social media. We bought all of them plus the video made inside the attraction because why not?! Here’s us, and our friends John and Tara:

Haunted House_[000440B672B23480]_2014-10-18_19-05-38

Haunted House_[000440B672B23480]_2014-10-18_19-05-02

Since 2008 we have been asking why more attractions don’t do it like this and adhere to this pricing level. There’s no reason in the digital age to charge $35 for a photo like many theme parks do. You can make more than that up in volume if the price is right – AND it’s almost free advertising for the haunt with the Facebook/social media integration.

Finally someone with some brains did what we would have done if we owned a haunt.

As far as the haunt is concerned, last year we felt that it had some things that it had to work on.

I am glad to say that they improved on a quantum level this year. Every issue we called out was fixed. There was no backup in the meat room near the claustrophobia chamber. The actors were standing in better places related to the props. The constant screaming in the ear was mostly gone and replaced with more skilled scares.

I knew they could do it. Two of the scare actors from Hotel of Horror moved over to this place. You might recognize them in the attic as the guy with the staple gun and the woman in the shiny black catsuit. They are in my professional opinion the 2 best actors they have. Many other actors are up to par as well. The guy downstairs in the meat room is one of many who were giving it their all. Full Disclosure: I am Facebook friends with these guys. Still, everyone (including them) knows that I would have said something negative if they deserved it.

I actually asked them how the haunt was doing before I went. I have no desire to go to a bad haunt. I would have zinged them if it were bad. I didn’t want to, but I would have due to my commitment to ethics and transparency with my readers.

They did a great job this year.

Matt (the staple gun guy) was on fire the night that I went. I hope that in the coming years more people follow his lead and utilize improv and interaction with other actors to create the scene. I enjoyed the downstairs area a lot. The rooms are more elaborate and have more effects that work well with what’s going on. I felt the attic was the stronger of the two.

Changes were made this year – all good ones. The queue was redone this year to accommodate a VIP line and the above mentioned photos. Honestly – most of my friends have busy schedules. I know many of them would not go to a haunt without a VIP (RIP) line. I just pulled another 70 hour week so I can say that if I were a casual customer I would be the same way. This is a phenomenal addition and a great way for them to make some passive income to fund all of that innovation they are doing.

One thing to note is that this place has become so popular that there is a significant wait just to get in and buy tickets on very busy nights. I recommend that you get a RIP pass online for this reason if you can afford it. Otherwise come with friends and prepare to hang out for awhile.

New Jersey doesn’t have many haunted houses of this caliber. It was bound to catch on. They innovate with technology in here harder than every other haunt in my tour. The best part is that the application of such actually works and isn’t a gimmick.

Haunted Scarehouse upped their game this year. I think that if they keep doing what they are doing they will level up each year in the years to come. I am genuinely excited for them. They should be proud of what they have accomplished in just a few years.

Do this one.


30
Oct

kissimmee-florida-haunted-attractions-legends-a-haunting-at-old-town-2014-review-pt-2-legends-ghosts-of-old-town-haunted-history-tours
 Kissimmee, Florida Haunted Attractions: Legends: A Haunting at Old Town 2014 review Pt. 2: Legend’s Ghosts of Old Town – Haunted History Tours

Read Part 1 of my review to learn about the haunted attraction itself.

I had never been interested in Ghost Tours so I have never done one before. Perhaps it’s my association with them and Cape May, New Jersey that created a bad opinion of them. Cape May is awesome but it’s not a young or innovative town. It always struck me of where my grandparents might go so sit on the porch.

The nearby Wildwood, New Jersey is past it’s prime. All of their good haunted attractions have been removed. What is left is not impressive to me. I always saw this area’s Ghost Tours as stand-ins for attractions that weren’t there but should have been – much like when Disney tears down a good ride (or fails to build one) but leaves a sprinkler playground there to take up capacity.

When the folks at Legends: A Haunting at Old Town asked me to review Legend’s Ghosts of Old Town Haunted History Tours I had to take some time to think about it. I don’t cover paranormal on my blog and prefer to review things that I think there’s a good chance of me having a positive opinion of. I am not here to waste my time or torture myself with a haunted attraction that does not amuse me.

I take this blog seriously, but I don’t force myself to do things that I will not like just to make a post. It would fill a slot of time during my vacation. Was this really worth my time or was it something targeted toward a part of the demographic that I didn’t have much in common with?

Harknell and I weighed the decision carefully. Because part of it was a tour inside the haunted house we opted to try it.

Kissimmee Florida Legends a Haunting at Old Town Ghost Tour review

“When the lights go down on Old Town, spirits rise, as do tales of Central Florida’s past. Our guides will shed lantern light upon little known macabre Victorian funeral customs, and local ghost stories, including a few that take place around the brick streets of Old Town itself.

Then, stay close to your guide as they lead you on a one-of-a-kind tour of Old Town’s Haunted House, which is believed to be haunted by many who have worked in it’s fear-filled halls.

Though the creators of the tour cannot guarantee guests will see an actual ghost, they do promise that guests will certainly learn a lot about them …and since the tour takes guests into a reportedly haunted venue, one never knows what might happen.
Educational. Ethereal. Unforgettable. Discover the Ghosts of Old Town
Tours begin at 9 PM, Tuesday and Wednesday nights.”

The tour is conducted by Dan. He dresses in a funeral suit (no idea if that’s what it’s called, but I am going with it) and carries a lantern. You might recognize him as the guy who plays Mr. Ashdown, the funeral parlor owner in the haunt. He also scares inside when it is running. The haunt is not running during this tour.

The tour starts directly outside the haunt and leads you around some of the businesses nearby. You don’t go too far. I believe the haunt itself is rarely out of your view. I mean you go inside buildings and you can’t see it then, but my point is that if you are afraid of a lot of walking don’t worry. You go places but it’s not really far.

He shares some Florida / Old Town history with you and relates it to really creepy stuff that has happened historically or to the families who own the businesses here. It’s not corny at all. In fact, his demeanor is pleasant and not over the top. He is not playing a character during this tour. We thought that worked well. This had the right tone and was quite interesting.

After a short period of time you go inside the haunted house. Again – the haunt is not running. The idea behind this tour is to give folks who might not like the idea of a haunted house the opportunity to see inside. Yes you can take your conservative Mom or Grandma in here.

The remarkable thing about this tour is that while it’s appropriate for Mom or Grandma it’s also incredibly on target for haunt fans. When you go through the attraction while it is running there is no way to see that theres actually a ton of detail in here. They have a sizable collection of Victorian items ranging from jewelry to post mortem photography to hair wreaths AKA a wreath of hair made from a deceased relative by their family to honor them.

It’s kind of like a museum in there. We had been through the haunt twice and had no idea. Much of the vintage furniture in there is real and was used for funeral purposes. After learning about Victorian times and seeing some of the details in the scenes you get to go backstage into the actor’s corridor and see where scares are done as well as hear about creepy stuff that has happened inside the haunt.

Following that you get to sit in the church and then you will have an opportunity to tell your own ghost story if you like. It’s a great opportunity to meet the other folks on the tour.

I learned that Legend’s Ghosts of Old Town Haunted History Tours is extremely enjoyable. They hit the perfect balance to create a product that both haunt fans and those who are not haunt fans will enjoy. It gives you a deeper look into the artistry that was involved in constructing the haunt as well as humanizes and illuminates some of the neighboring businesses in Old Town. I can’t recommend it enough!

This is really a Can’t Miss event for anyone in the area who likes things that do not suck.

Legend’s Ghosts of Old Town Haunted History Tours are 90 minutes long and $20.00 per person. The group is small and can sell out easily. Reservations are recommended.


27
Oct

oni-and-harknell-on-fios1-news-this-week-talking-about-haunted-attractions-in-new-jersey-and-new-york-city
 Oni and Harknell on FIOS1 News this week talking about Haunted Attractions in New Jersey and New York City

A segment about Haunted Attractions will air this week on FIOS1 News. Thanks to CJ, Jennifer, Wade, Gloria, and team for having us in the studio to film this. This was so awesome to be able to talk about this and educate people on the various genres of haunted attractions. I believe there is a haunt for everyone – even people who don’t like to get scared and I hold to that claim.

oni news

I’ll let you now when it airs / when I get video.

Here I am in the green room before we went on:

oni green room

I was so sleepy! Early in the morning, guys. That’s how the news does it. Earrrllly in the morning. It was worth it! :)


25
Oct

niagara-falls-halloween-night-of-the-living-dead-live-at-the-patchwork
 Niagara Falls Halloween: Night of the Living Dead LIVE at the Patchwork

“Night of the Living Dead LIVE at the Patchwork…are you ready for the zombie apocalypse? Come see the stage adaptation that started the it all and fill you with fear. 8pm, $10, costumes welcome!”

Thurs. Oct 30th
Fri. Oct 31st
Sat. Nov 1st
Thurs. Nov 6th
Fri. Nov 7th
Sat. Nov 8th

niagara

Details are here.


25
Oct

newtown-bucks-county-pa-haunted-attractions-house-in-the-hollow
 Newtown, Bucks County, PA Haunted Attractions: House in the Hollow

It’s not every day that you find something as remarkable and amazing as the House in the Hollow.

house in the hollow

It’s almost like it shouldn’t exist. It’s too perfect. They don’t do things like this anymore – but there it is. What we have here is a work of art in haunted house form that is a genre unto itself.

I’ll explain, but first check out this independent film that is being made inside it:

These guys have 3 attractions. A Hay Ride, a Field of Fright, and the House in the Hollow. The Hay Ride is remarkable in that they use carts with metal fences on the side. The actors actually can hang upside down from them. We didn’t find it to be incredibly scary but we appreciated that it was different from your standard hay ride in this way.

The Field of Fright is a corn maze with many different effects, actors, and wire work inside. It wasn’t as cohesive theme-wise as we’d like to see, but we did have a lot of fun. There was a bit of comedy in here that we appreciated. We’d suggest perhaps bringing more theatrical elements into these attractions as well.

The star of the show is The House in the Hollow. What you have here is a very large house that can change it’s rooms nightly.

Yeah. I said it.

Every night that you go your experience will be different. This is not your typical terror event – it’s theatrical in the execution such that I feel it would be accessible to adults and families. That’s not to say it’s for kids – it’s a solid product for me and I am over 30. It’s just that the beauty of this attraction is the centerpiece of the experience – not mental distress. You’ll be able to interact with part of the scenery and you may even find that you are personally woven into the story.

The level of innovation in this house is mind-blowing. They even installed glass panels so that they can project ghosts throughout. I can’t tell you loudly enough that this is probably the most underrated haunted attraction of our time. If you like haunts or theater at all and don’t go to see this you are doing yourself a true disservice. I am sad for you.

House in the Hollow is impressive, inspiring, magnificent, and worth a long drive to see because you sure as heck can’t come close to this quality level unless you go to Disney World. This is the kind of attraction that I hope to find in my travels but rarely have the honor of encountering. I am very glad we went here and can’t wait to go back and force all of my friends to go.

DO THIS ONE.

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