Harknell and I visited Hotel of Horror / Altered Nightmares in Saylorsburg PA on Friday, October 19th.
I have to confess to you that I am dreading writing this review. Why? Because I have so much to say and SO MUCH HAPPENED IN THERE that just thinking about it makes me tired. I am not sure that my words can do it justice.
The TL;DR is that you should be calling out of work, running out the door, and getting on a plane if needed to get to this haunt. Quit your job. I don’t care what you have to do. If you are a haunt fan and you don’t do this one you will regret it. If there is ONE HAUNTED HOUSE you can do this year, this is worth your investment.
HoH has 3 attractions located on the premises.
THE HOTEL OF HORROR PRESENTS THE APOCALYPSE
The unveiling of what horror we have committed on earth to break the seals .Ride on with our Horseman, joining us as we bring forth the End Days.
ALTERED NIGHTMARES PRESENTS THE CARNIVAL OF ARMAGEDDON
In observance of the rise of the damned, Altered Nightmares provides apocalyptic mayhem and merriment for your pure torment.
THE EXHIBITION MACABRE – NEWLY EXPANDED!
The static displays of history’s experiments in practicing medicine, preparing the dead, and memorializing life. Reality in it’s darkest hour.
We did the Hotel of Horror and Altered Nightmares and purchased 2 VIP passes to do so. We did not do the Exhibition Macabre.
NOTE: The lines here are VERY LONG so I recommend the VIP option (especially if you want to hit any of the other local haunts that night).
Why are the lines long? Besides the fact that this place is very good, they do not let a “conga line” of people in. Everyone, regardless of ticket level gets placed into the haunt in tiny groups so that you get all of the scares. There will be no noise pollution from neighboring douchebags who want to prove how manly they are by not taking the haunt seriously. You get total silence around your group. I felt this was a very premium experience.
This is near Allentown, PA, which is about a 1.5-2hr drive from where we live in Central New Jersey. Both of the attractions we did have different themes that seemed to organically grow out of each scene. To be honest, I was so taken aback by it all that I’m going to have to talk about both of them as if it were 1 attraction.
to answer your question of, “Which attraction should I do? Hotel of Horror or Altered Nightmares?” the answer is “Yes.”. Don’t just do one. They are both equally strong.
In my opinion, the set design and implementation rival or exceed the efforts of Universal Studios Florida. The actors here are – no joke – a cut above every other haunt’s actors. I haven’t had the chance to speak to anyone in charge so I don’t know the story behind this attraction. I can only guess that they have been doing this for awhile.
I am a tough sonofabitch that is damn hard to scare. I can walk through most of the haunts I am posting about on this site as if its a Spring day. I’ve seen every trick at least 8 times. I can usually predict exactly what will happen in any room of any haunt.
Believe me when I tell you – Hotel of Horror made me lose my mind and go into the psychotic “OH SHIT!” screams complete with waving arms.
Why? THIS GUY:
I will not tell you what this dapper gentleman does or what his room looks like. I will tell you that this photo does not even begin to show you the full terror. Believe you me – you have to look FAR AND WIDE to find mind-destroying terror that obliterates every facet of your face like Hotel of Horror and Altered Nightmares does.
These guys are like the Insanity Wolf of haunts. They do not care. They are not afraid to offend, terrify, or otherwise get into your head. Many haunts today are censoring themselves after receiving complaints from delicate customers. This is the only haunt that I have seen that has a few rooms dedicated to a Satanic Ritual complete with bloody preacher, succubi, and a giant..wow. I can’t give this one away to you.
Harknell commented to me that he has never seen a haunt that took the opportunity to use so much space just to set the mood and create lavish vistas. I love this. Too many haunts are afraid of offending people and the industry suffers because of it. Not these guys. At one point a creepy guy threatened to shove his cane up my ass while I was going up the stairs if I didn’t help him move his bowels. Really. These guys have it all. Beauty and brutality. It’s like a modern haunted house with a classic sensibility from back when Horror was Horror and Halloween was the real deal. HoH and AN are not just about startle-scares. It’s about the whole package and that package is brutal as hell.
The most intense scares of the year (or possibly my entire haunt career) were in this place. Have you seen how many haunts I’ve been through?
There was a woman behind us with her boyfriend. Normally the girls scream. This was the only time I’ve seen someone seriously bawling through the entire thing!
SEE THIS ONE.
Oni Hartstein is a Los Angeles-based CMO and entrepreneur that is obsessed with progressive rock / metal, marketing, and nightlife. Please direct all business inquiries or review requests to the "Contact" tab on the top nav bar.
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