When you think of a haunted house that raises money for charity, you might expect a simple affair put together on a small budget. In the case of Hundred Acres Manor in Pittsburgh, PA you would be dead wrong. Harknell and I visited the location on October 26, 2012 as media guests.
Hundred Acres Manor’s charities this year is the Homeless Children’s Education Fund , which educates and helps kids in need and Animal Friends, a no-kill shelter dedicated to giving animals a second chance. The haunt itself is over 30 minutes long (longer if you aren’t veterans like us and move more slowly) and features gorgeous sets and costumes that are on par with the best in the business. Many of the things in this haunt I have not even seen attempted in Orlando. Harknell and I found Hundred Acres Manor to be unique, high end, and a scary good time.
Ted Sobek is the CEO and President of Hundred Acres Manor and Trustee for the Homeless Childrens Education Fund. He has raised over $2 million for charity ever since he started making haunted houses.
His passion for these projects is evident as he has said: “We have been blessed with the project and how many we have helped with the monies raised.”
Hundred Acres Manor has 5 attractions for 2012: Massacre Manor, Brine Slaughterhouse, The Maze, The Family: Unearthed, and South Valley Hospital. The sets are all Busch Gardens Tampa / Universal Studios quality.
First you enter the haunt through a wonderfully detailed castle facade. There is a talking bust, reminiscent of the technology used in Disney’s Haunted Mansion. You are led into the Dead Lift, a new for 2012 elevator with a ghastly attendant that plays some tricks on you.
Then you are in the Massacre Manor – a house of ghastly ghouls, and very well done sets. They trick you with animatronics and people such that you don’t know what is real and what is not. Brine Slaughterhouse is as advertised and relentless. The length and size of this place is mind blowing.
The Maze is actually a real maze. You can get lost. You might be in here for a bit. There are scare actors in here. This was very unique. My one suggestion for this section is to place clues throughout to engage a narrative and give hints toward the way out. An Alice in Wonderland or other type of theme would be amazing in here.
The Family: Unearthed was also great. We were menaced from every side. South Valley Hospital was really creepy and there is one scene where it looks like a guy gets a nail gun to his head!
I can’t remember which section this was in, but there was a really great area with water all around and a clear ceiling with water running over your head. I have never even seen the theme parks attempt this!
As is typical with my old hometown of Pittsburgh, the creativity of it’s people appear to have no limit. I lived there for 18 years and I still find things that are surprisingly amazing. Hundred Acres Manor is definitely a haunt that is well worth your time. Only here can you see top of the line sets, actors, and support 2 good causes all the while.
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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