The long and the short of this review is that The Scarehouse in Pittsburgh is awesome and you should go to it this season.
Check out their new attraction, Pittsburgh Zombies:
The Scarehouse Bunny:
The Scarehouse is up this hill to the right:
OK, let’s talk about this topic, gaiz.
Last year, I didn’t go to Pittsburgh’s Scarehouse haunted attraction because I had seen poor reviews on Yelp. It’s a damn shame that I didn’t realize that Yelp has been reported to delete and manipulate the reviews on their site if a company doesn’t pay them. Read the comments of the article I just linked. You will see some business owners who have had mostly positive reviews who are confused as to why they were all deleted and replaced with the one negative review they received. Here is a screenshot:
The Scarehouse in Pittsburgh, PA also appears to have been maligned by the issues at Yelp.com.
I went to The Scarehouse last night. I have never met Scott (the Creative Director) or anyone else who works with this haunt. I paid full price to enter just like everyone else. I also paid to drive 6 hours from New Jersey to my old hometown of Pittsburgh.
The reviews that claim this attraction is 4 minutes long or 10 minutes long are absolute total bullshit. My group was inside the house for at LEAST 20 minutes, probably a lot longer. It was a really long attraction!
I am not sure why competing haunts don’t understand that by planting fake information on other attractions (I have to assume this is the cause), they are encouraging the general public to write off the entire industry. A casual consumer probably doesn’t care that much for haunts. I know a lot of people who experienced a bad one when they were younger and have unfairly judged all haunts based on this. If you train your consumer base to think all haunts are bad or plant fake reviews that claim your bad haunt is good, it’s just bad for everyone.
But I digress. What was inside The Scarehouse?
The Scarehouse is made of 3 attractions this year: The Forsaken, Delerium, and Pittsburgh Zombies. The queue is nicely themed with old movie posters and disturbing film clips. Some scare actors (including the evil Bunny) were outside messing with people. They weren’t conga lining people through the attractions – they were pulsing groups through slowly. This is the best way to put people through a haunt so that they don’t miss anything.
The Forsaken: This haunt is an amalgamation of horrors. I encountered monsters of every type, great set pieces, claustrophobia chambers, you name it. The execution (no pun intended) was great!
Delerium 3D: Delerium is a 3D attraction that really delivers the most unique scenes I have ever encountered in a haunt. I’ve been to many 3D attractions and a lot of them seem to be a “haunt by numbers” deal. That was not the case with this one. It seemed that the designs and set pieces were made from the ground up. I haven’t seen any demonic cupcakes and a TRULY shaky floor at any other haunt.
Pittsburgh Zombies: This one was very well done and just as full of local history as it was scary. Having grown up in Pittsburgh, I was amused by the nods toward the Steel City’s more prosperous past. There is a really great fake ending that surprised all of us, too.
I can’t remember which section this was in, but at one point there was what appeared to be a 20 ft tall robot attacking us. There was also a giant monster that was pretty impressive.
I do have some constructive criticism!
- I hope they develop a more definitive storyline around The Forsaken in the years to come. I know it was awesome because I went through it, but I’m not really sure why they were forsaken or who the Bunny is.
- The small part of the attraction where everything is absolutely dark didn’t work. It caused a blockage because people would just stop dead. This negated the pulsing they were doing to load people into the attraction. I hope that they add some low lights on the floor like Eastern State Penitentiary does in theirs. That way, it still looks scary as if it were dark, but you aren’t disoriented enough to stop dead.
- I liked the haunt enough to buy a T Shirt or Hoodie, but the designs they had (a picture of the evil rabbit) didn’t appeal to me. I tend to like more subversive/stylish T Shirt designs like this. That is just me, though.
Should you go to the Scarehouse? Most definitely! These guys have extremely high-quality set pieces and many scare actors working inside them. I would put them on par with the amazing set pieces that Busch Gardens Tampa creates. (English translation: VERY good.)
I most definitely intend to make the 6 hour drive next year. I am never listening to Yelp again.
The Scarehouse is freaking awesome.
Even since I made my first post about the trouble Scarehouse was having with Yelp.com, I have received a lot of emails, tweets, and other forms of communication. My post was picked up on a few haunt sites and other bloggers have also started tracking this.
Scarehouse Yelp #Fail has been documented. A call to action was put forth, to no avail. @scarehousescott tweeted that he kept getting positive reviews, but Yelp kept filtering them and preventing them from showing. The negative reviews still remain on his profile.
Yelp responded that they were contacting him, but he just received another copy and paste email. Scott still has no solution to his issue. Yelp continues to display bad reviews – some that (I know for a fact) state factually incorrect things and were probably placed there maliciously.
It seems that Yelp does not care that what they are displaying on their website can hurt small businesses like Scott’s. Scott does an excellent job with his haunt. I hope that people see my post about his haunt first and aren’t put off by the misleading Yelp page.
Oni Hartstein is an New Jersey-based entrepreneur that is obsessed with Marketing, Music, and Technology. Please direct all business inquiries or technology review requests to the "Contact" tab on the top nav bar.
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