Scranton, Pennsylvania Haunted Attractions: Reaper’s Revenge 2015 review

So yeah. Reaper’s Revenge in Scranton, PA. Holy CRAP.

This haunted attraction is one of the best damn haunted attractions I have ever experienced in my entire career.


For some unknown reason it’s largely flying under the radar. Why, I don’t know. But you should drop everything and get your ass to this one immediately. OH BOY.

When I first arrived at Reaper’s Revenge I was a bit nervous. The main area is very understated and their website showed some themes that are commonly done by generic attractions. The attractions are also linear so you have to do the hayride first which leads you on a rigid path through each.

We’ve often not liked this at other places because many haunts use this to inflate how many attractions they have. Suddenly a 25ft hallway becomes a separate attraction so they can crow about numbers. When I see a linear path I immediately wonder if it’s worth trying at all because of how I have seen it abused in this industry.

They had invited us to come and check them out so I was mentally rehearsing in my head how to tactfully couch the awkward conversation I’d have to have with them on my way out. I’ve had that happen before – where an attraction invites me out and I just plain didn’t like it. I hate it when that happens, but I am very up front on my site that inviting me out doesn’t control or change what I think or write.

Honesty is so huge with me.

Well – none of this was a Thing. Reaper’s Revenge blew us away. Holy COW. What a sneak attack. I’ve had this happen before with Akron Ohio’s Haunted Schoolhouse and Lab.

The exterior looked harmless. But inside was pure insanity.

That is the case here. The attractions themselves are pure goddamn insanity. I’ve never seen a haunted attraction use these themes and a linear path and make something absolutely revolutionary.

But that’s what Reaper’s Revenge is – revolutionary.

Time to tell you why and get down with the boogity boogity!

The Haunted Hayride:


The Haunted Hayride was the best hayride I have ever been on, ever. Ever ever ever EVER! Each room was immaculately staged and they built up above eye level. I especially liked how they placed glowing pumpkins above and around us in one scene. It created a truly immersive experience. That logic and attention to detail transferred to every scene in all of the attractions. All hayrides I have been on until now have built only in a few directions and not felt like an immersive world. These guys outdid the big guys. They even put some creepy blinking eyes on the woods to create atmosphere. The CAN touch you in all of the attractions but will give you a glow necklace to wear if you don’t want to be touched. It was pretty funny because one guy they grabbed by his leg and dragged him across the cart.

I think a lot of the props must have been custom made because I haven’t seen most of them anywhere else. There was a particularly inspired zombie scene that I won’t spoil for you, but I whispered to Harknell “It would be perfect if they did… now.” And then 2 seconds later they did exactly that!

You’ll ride for a bit until you get dumped off in the woods and go through their clown/carnival attraction.

Lost Carnival:


Much like the hayride, they managed to take a tired theme and make it something unique and special. I can’t even begin to tell you how well executed this attraction was. It felt like an old Silent Hill style amusement park. Each character engaged with you. There are house-like sections that you have to go through but also times when you may have to interact with the characters and play quick games that have hilarious outcomes. The old rides that they used in the attractions to create atmosphere made it something truly over the top. They scared the shit out of Harknell repeatedly in here, which is VERY hard to do.

After this you get back on the hayride for a second part that was just as amazing as the first part. Then you get dropped off at the next attraction, Pitch Black.

Pitch Black:


I am not sure I’ve ever liked a “lights out” style attraction. The reason why is that they are all an excuse for the attraction owners to go cheap on the visual look of their attraction. Usually it’s some asshole in a room banging pots and pans like a 2 year old while you go through an annoying maze that is boring as hell.

Well that wasn’t what happened here. This attraction did the unthinkable – they took this concept and actually made it work so well that it almost overwhelmed me to the eye watering point. I haven’t reached that since going through Dead Exposure at Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights 2008.

You will see almost nothing inside but you may hear and feel things as you find your way along. There are a few rooms that utilize a quick light and scare. It’s not boring, well planned, and executed flawlessly. This is the only lights out attraction that I have ever been in that feels like an added value and a perfectly staged piece of art. I had no idea this was even possible! At the end I was almost glad it was over because it was that intense. They did some fabulous work here!

Sector 13


The last attraction was just as amazing at the others. It felt a lot like my favorite movie, Escape from New York. :D

You start out watching a quick pre-show and then you are led into internment. You may be grabbed and put on a table, or locked in a cage or something in here. They have a pretty good rhythm down so it doesn’t slow anything down. You go through a hospital area, an alien area, and a ton of crazy rooms. At the end there’s a really screwed up flesh demon with a weird stalk head that was the most disturbing shit I’ve ever seen in my life. Congrats, guys. I’ll now have nightmares.

Reaper’s Revenge is actually one of the best haunted attractions in the country. They can hold their own with the Bates Motels, Pennhursts, and Field of Screams attractions – easily.

If you are into haunted attractions you should prioritize this one above the others – especially if you want to see haunted attractions that are truly immersively creative and not just a copy paste of what you’ll find on the floor of the haunted attraction trade shows and Halloween shops. I guarantee you that you will see thins that you have never been done before at this one.

To say that they impressed both of us is an understatement. I rarely see attractions that are staged this well with such innovative executions of their concepts and actors who are this skilled. We went to the gift shop and bought a ton of stuff – we only do that when we truly love something.


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 Lancaster, PA Haunted Attractions: Field of Screams 2015 review

Field of Screams in Lancaster / Mountville, PA is, hands down, the best farm/outdoors based haunt I have ever been to in my life.


It’s one of the locations that I am confident recommending to anyone who asks me for a solid and scary haunted house.

There’s a lot going on at Field of Screams and they get it all totally correct in the implementation. They have an extensive midway with food, games, a gift shop, and benches.



Admission to this area is free. Which makes it a perfect community destination for all members of the family. There are often bands playing or other entertainment. There will also be scare actors roaming about so it’s a lot of fun to watch them take photos with and harass the customers. They do not harass you if you are relaxing and eating, so this is still a great place for parents to wait for their kids to go through the attractions.

Field of Screams has 4 haunted attractions. They have 2 totally enclosed attractions called the Den of Darkness and Frightmare Asylum. There’s a Haunted Hayride and an outdoor walkthrough called Nocturnal Wasteland.



This year there were iterative changes to all of the attractions. The thing is – all of these iterative changes were so well placed and well designed that they added a lot to the experience. Field of Screams is the only place I know of that has such a tight game that they don’t even need to do new attractions. They control their existing attractions so well that they feel fresh every year. This year is even better because there are extensive additions they have done.

I loved the new paths they implemented in both Frightmare Asylum and Den of Darkness. The hayride has lots of new scares added and they also changed the design of a lot of it. Nocturnal Wasteland received some new elements that worked extremely well. What I love about all of these attractions is that they build upward. Most haunts stop at eye level. These guys do not. You’ll see all kinds of things above you – including actors on ziplines here and there. It’s truly an entire world they have built.

I can’t get over the skill and intensity of all of the actors at this place. Every year I see attractions that have great actors, but largely most attractions have good years and bad years in their actors’ skill levels. Field of Screams is the only one that does it on all gears every year again and again with an unwavering attention to detail, quality, and safety. They DELIVER. Every year. I spoke to Jim Schopf, one of the owners, and he said that they do a pretty intensive training program. I wish that all haunted attractions did this because I believe this is how attractions truly own their uniqueness.

I can’t think of anything bad to say about Field of Screams. If you went last year it’s definitely worth your time to go again. If you’ve never gone – what are you waiting for?

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 My internet is back!

Hey guys –

I haven’t been able to access my blog securely enough that I could log in safely for a few days due to Internetz Reasons, but I have still been writing. Now I’m back online so prepare yourself for a ton of Haunted House posts!

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 Williamsburg, Virginia Haunted Attractions: Behind the Scares: The Short Film & Commercial – Howl-O-Scream 2015

I absolutely LOVED the new, more intense house this year at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Here is the making of the commercial for it:


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 Williamsburg, Virginia Haunted Attractions: Busch Gardens Howl O Scream “Monster Stomp on Ripper Row” 2015 Review


This is a guest post by Kara Dennison.

The last time I saw “Monster Stomp” in any form was also the first time I saw it — back then it was still in the New France section of Busch Gardens Williamsburg, and it was rated as five pumpkins (indicating that it was up among the hardest-core things going on during Howl-O-Scream). My friend and I asked a park attendant if the show was really that scary. Their response: “It’s not rated that because it’s scary.”


So, my memories of “Monster Stomp” have been “lots of banging done by people not wearing much.” (Take that as you will.) And that’s not a criticism. The smaller-stage show I saw back then, I recall being extremely fun and accomplishing exactly what it set out to do: be loud and sexy.


The move to the Globe isn’t a new one, as I recall, but it’s new to me. Lots more stage space told me already that there would be a great deal more spectacle, and the “Ripper Row” branding told me we might actually see a storyline come through. Which, I suppose, we sort of did. It wasn’t the clearest one, but it’s a theme park jukebox musical. Plots don’t need clarity, they just need to house the music. In this case, it seemed to follow Jack the Ripper as he hacked and slashed his way through Victorian London until he fell in love with a girl? I think? She fell in love with him, I think. He sure seemed to like her, but he also wanted very much to kill her?


Anyway, that honestly doesn’t matter because, as I said before, this show exists to be loud and sexy. And it most definitely does that, and goes above and beyond the early days of the show in pretty much every respect. The opening is big, boisterous, and gory as all get-out. The Rhythm Chefs (or at least a callback to them) remain toward the middle of the show, doing their knife routine on a coffin. The black light skeletons still do their thing shortly after. Now, tying it all together is the aforementioned plot-shaped thing, allowing for love ballads, aggressive dancing, and a mash-up of “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and “Tonight Is What It Means to Be Young” that honestly left me wondering if I’d accidentally side-stepped into a high-end performance of Tanz der Vampire.

Speaking of other shows — and the aforementioned claim of gore — I’ve gotta speak up about the lighting design. Because when I say “gore,” I don’t mean actual literal gore. Any blood (and yes, there is blood) is done with video and lighting effects. When a character is taken behind a screen and knifed, the audience’s vision is flooded with a wash of red, rather than any use of practical effects or stage blood. Much appreciated for a weak-stomached individual such as myself, and much more in keeping with the spectacle. It was reminiscent of stagings of Sweeney Todd (unsurprisingly), but also shared a lot of stylistic choices with the recent West End musical adaptation of American Psycho. I was even a bit tickled to see that the theme and choreography of their opening number was reminiscent (homage or coincidence, I don’t know) of the second act opener of American Psycho, with a steadily decreasing chorus of dancers being picked off by our antihero.


Some of the musical choices did seem a bit off-the-wall (I’m still trying to grok the placement of “Beat It”), but again, injecting common sense into a noisy spectacle defeats the purpose. It was eye-popping, it made you shiver at points, and it was full of gorgeous people in gorgeous costumes doing gorgeous things. I was also pleased to see that, while they advertised that there would be strobes, said strobes were used in a small enclosed space onstage for one specific effect and not directed out toward the audience. Your mileage may vary, of course, but there was nothing overly intense or inescapable.

I mean, truly don’t take kids or people of a sensitive nature to “Monster Stomp.” That’s a given. There are many family events in the park and this is almost certainly not one for the younglings. But if you fancy a macabre Victorian aesthetic with a pounding bass line, come to the Globe and enjoy.


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