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.


25
Oct

augusta-new-jersey-haunted-attractions-scareland-stadium
 Augusta, New Jersey Haunted Attractions: Scareland Stadium

homeheader

Oni and I were invited to check out a brand new Haunted Attraction happening in Augusta New Jersey at the Skylands Stadium called Scareland Stadium. This event is a co-production between the stadium and the group that produces State Scare. We’ve been to a similar concept before (placing a haunted attraction inside a stadium), but in this instance, the idea was to actually embrace the idea of the haunt being related directly to the stadium.

The attraction is an outdoor haunt, which was built with “rooms” but is open to the elements (just a note in case it is rainy). They fully embraced the notion that this takes place at a baseball stadium, and you, as the attendee, are placed in the roll of a “rookie” trying to get a place on the team. Of course, all of the member of the team now are either dead, or working to make you dead.

The budget on the event isn’t the starring role here, since given it’s setting and location they couldn’t make overly elaborate sets, but they did something else which I’ve always suggested in these cases: they went for a bit of comedy. While it is certainly scary, with people jumping out and being creepy–they really had a ball (ha!) with the idea of making each room have a bit of humor and the actors did a great job with the one-liners and other interactions. They even had a few really inspired setups (like a “Press Conference” that you were the star).

Overall I’d suggest this haunt as a fun family experience. It’s scary enough to be a haunt, funny enough to entertain, but not as rough or overwhelming as some of the more intense haunts we visit–so I can easily see this as a great all ages destination. They also have a food service location and bench area that you can hang out at and have some stadium food before or after your trip around the bases. (oh, and that was a fun bit as well–they set up a “zombie” team on the field which was a neat touch).


25
Oct

lake-hopatcong-new-jersey-haunted-attraction-26th-annual-halloween-haunted-house
 Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey Haunted Attraction: 26th Annual Halloween Haunted House

We visited the Jefferson Township 26th Annual Halloween Haunted House on Oct. 16th, 2014. This event was a bit different than the normal haunted attractions we visit because it was designed and staffed by the local kids from Jefferson Township as part of a fundraiser for their activities. It runs only 2 days a year and is set up within 2 days before the event. Yes, it’s worth your time.

jefferson township haunted house

Right off we knew that this haunt would be something special. Since it was a fundraiser the enthusiasm and spirit of the staff was really high–they really showed that they were there to make the event fun and have a good time doing it. It was also funny to see times when the people in the haunt and the people going through it recognized each other and made funny remarks or especially tried to scare people. Given the limited time, and the age of the developers/creators the set up was of course fairly “adhoc” but even so it had a great range and phenomenal understanding of psychology demonstrated within the attraction.

This was way above our expectations for quality.

The only things we’d recommend to them is to lower the fog levels a bit–many of the rooms actually were pretty enough that they can stand on their own without the fog. Also have the actors change up from mostly shouting “get out” or other similar statements to perhaps improv skits with each other. We recognize that actor training in their circumstances is somewhat limited but maybe giving the kids the idea to come up with characters and motivations that they all define for themselves might be a great teaching tool and maybe an opportunity for the local theater groups to get involved.

They implemented a really great solution to pacing for the haunt: a rope system where the attendees held onto a rope lead by one of their staff. This was a spectacular idea to keep the attendees moving while preventing the typical backups that can happen. A really great extension for next time might be to have this staff member also have a story that connects with the haunt which they then talk about as they go through.

This is an idea so good that I think other haunts might want to look at this idea and add it. It would really add a new dimension to things and make the walkthrough a bit more like a ride.

So, what does this tell us? That even the most basic style of haunted attraction can have great ideas and that there can be some unique fun found in going to these types of haunts even for the most hardcore haunt fans. We were extremely impressed with what we saw here. If these kids continue to embrace creativity like this they’ll be earning 6 figures in no time as adults. This is a can’t miss event that I’ve told all of my haunter friends about.

I also have to give the kid in the parking lot an A+ for being the only person to scare me this year. He put his skull mask face in my car window before I got out and I jumped. I just didn’t expect a scare to be THERE. A+ fun, guys. A+


25
Oct

wall-new-jersey-haunted-attractions-camp-evans-base-of-terror-2014-review-an-unsafe-haunt-to-avoid
 Wall, New Jersey Haunted Attractions: Camp Evans Base of Terror 2014 review – an unsafe haunt to avoid

I am very sad that I have to write this review.

Camp Evans Base of Terror is a charity haunted attraction staffed by volunteers to raise money for the InfoAge Science History Leaning Center and Museum. If you’ve been reading me for any length of time you will know that I have a soft spot for science centers, volunteer efforts, and kids. Many high school kids round out the volunteers who staff this haunt. I feel that efforts like this are what make life worth living.

Unfortunately Camp Evans Base of Terror isn’t just bad – it’s extremely unsafe. In my time here I was hurt by one of the scare actors. I also saw and old lady get hurt. The floor is covered with broken, wobbly boards. Some of the walls of the clown haunted house are made of glass mirrors that have shattered. Broken glass and splinters are everywhere.

no-3

This is not part of the show nor is it a part of the historic military base. These were damaged part of the haunt. This is dangerous to both the people inside the haunt and to customers going through. They make you sign a waiver like many haunted houses do before you enter. In American law you cannot sign away your right to sue. These waivers at haunts are generally marketing efforts.

Somehow I think whoever runs this haunt thought that they could use a waiver to excuse the poor condition of the haunt. What. The. Hell.

In addition to all of this they are most likely breaking the law. They are operating a maze with dead ends. To my knowledge this is illegal in the state of New Jersey due to the laws made after the fatal 1984 Six Flags Great Adventure haunted house fire.

This maze is made out of very shaky pallets turned on their side. It’s scary but only because I was standing next to one that was dangerously wobbling. Again – that was not part of the show.

The actors aren’t trained at all on how to safely scare people. I don’t care how much of a volunteer effort it is – at least try to train your actors to scare safely. This is for both the customer’s safety and their safety.

I was literally assaulted by 1 scare actor who thought it would be a great idea to press herself up against me and scream as loud as she could into my ear to the point of extreme pain. When I didn’t react at all hoping she would stop she did it again. I then calmly asked her to stop because it hurt like hell. She was not letting me pass and did it a 3rd time.

I tried to use the back of my hand to gently nudge her out of my way. She refused to let me pass so I had to shove her (gently) to get the pain she was inflicting on me to stop. She was a total jerk. You’d have to be a moron to not see that she wasn’t scaring me – she was hurting me.

My ear still hurts badly and it’s been hours since I’ve been here.

She wasn’t the only one – she was just the most persistent one. Most of the actors were just trying to hurt people’s ear drums or walk around aimlessly. I witnessed an old lady break down in tears in the maze section because her ear had been hurt so badly by one of the actors. In the maze again an actor hurt my ear so much that I instinctively turned to her and yelled at her to cut it out.

Again – a reaction to being subjected to sharp, extreme pain. This was not scary. This was painful and torturous.

This is insane. The old lady in front of me is crying and all they did was scream louder in her ear. She complained to one of the workers who just looked at her and said, “Uhhh…ok.”

What. The. Hell.

I am a firm believer that there is something positive about almost anything. You very rarely see a negative review on my blog for that reason. If I don’t like something I try to think of who would like it and give them the information that they need to partake. Both Harknell and I can’t find anything positive about this experience. If we could have exited the haunt 1/4 of the way through we would have but it was impossible to find an exit. This haunted attraction is very long, boring, upsetting, poorly implemented, and unsafe. Many customers were getting visibly upset that the haunt wasn’t over yet – and I have to admit that I was enraged and really wanted out as well. It was a phenomenal waste of time.

Camp Evans Base of Terror should be shut down. I appreciate what they are trying to do but this is an example of people who are extremely unqualified to operate a haunted house. They don’t know what they are doing so badly that they are going to seriously injure someone. If they want to continue to do this I would advise them to look up someone like Randy Bates who knows a lot about setting up great haunted attractions. Get help. I’ll bet that for a charity many haunters would help them FOR FREE.

But as it stands if they want to do a fund raiser they should sell candy, do an art show, or hold a costume contest – not something upsetting, dangerous, and possibly illegal like we experienced today. This could turn someone off of haunted houses for life or – worse yet – seriously injure someone.

Avoid this one. As of this writing this is the worst haunted attraction I have ever been to in my entire career.

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