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Spring City, Pennsylvania Haunted Attractions: Pennhurst Asylum 2014 review Pt. 2 – Pennhurst Asylum

In Pt. 1 of my review I talked about the Pennhurst Museum. Now we are going to talk about the 3 Pennhurst Asylum haunted attractions and Ghost Hunt.

Pennhurst Asylum is the product of many people’s hard work and dedication. Bates Motel Productions (Randy Bates and Todd Beringer) partnered with Pennhurst Acquisitions (Tim Smith Sr. and Executive Assistant Deb Bosher) as Pennhurst Haunt LLC. Michael Majewski Jr (Juice) is the Operations Manager along with Haunt Manager, Chris Riddle, and John Brady on Tech and Sound. All of these guys are on the top of their game and it shows.

Pennhurst Asylum is where you go when you want it all. Great haunt design, phenomenal actors, and inspired execution. This makes them probably the scariest haunted attraction in the country. Most haunted attractions don’t offer everything. The excel at the design part but the actors fall short. Or they have phenomenal actors but the design falls short. Or they nail general experience but the haunts aren’t the strongest.

Pennhurst just said to hell with that and did everything to the maximum.

I can’t find anything bad to say about this place. Every room of each attraction is designed to destroy you to the highest degree.

Yes, they can touch you.

They really understand psychology and how people naturally flow throughout their space. You almost feel that they designed this in the 80s before political correctness killed a lot of the creative edge that many haunted attractions had. If you are expecting a modern color by numbers chainsaw-chase dime-a-dozen ballhockey festival you will not find that here. They have something that is both timeless, modern, and batshit loco. The best part? For true haunt fans around the country I’d even recommend this as a vacation destination. Pennhurst’s proximity to other strong haunted attractions like Hotel of Horror, Field of Screams, and Bates Motel make eastern PA the haunt capital of the country.

Pennhurst Asylum is a hospital themed walk thru attraction featuring many items and artifacts that were part of the original State School. Many changes were made to this attraction this year.

Their actors will destroy the hell out of you the entire time you are in here. You may get slimed, you may have to hold someone’s hand. For the most part you’ll be running for your life. I loved the changes they made for this year but I’ll let those be a surprise for you when you go in. I felt that thematically it brought a bit more narrative to the scenario with perhaps a nod to a certain popular horror TV show that aired last year.

We are pretty desensitized to scare actors after going through hundreds of these things and it was tough for even us to think straight in here. We were sweaty and exhausted after going through this. The actors were high-energy, skilled, and very thorough. We even got a doctor’s note:

doctors-note-pennhurst

The Dungeon of Lost Souls is a “human experiments gone wrong” themed walk thru attraction.

The quality of the sets and actors in here is just as high as their namesake attraction. We were greeted by a mad scientist with what I think was supposed to be urine and things got crazier from there. The actors were doing scare tactics that took a considerable amount of energy like falling through windows and fighting with each other.

That’s not normal, guys.

It’s like each actor has set cycles of insane shit that they do that is harmoniously synced up with the other actors and scenery. Imagine a video game of uniquely programmed characters gone wild and you’ll have a small idea about the coordination and intensity in this attraction.

The actors have the freedom to speak with you so it’s not like some attractions where they only have set lines that they can say. One guy messed with us for about 5 minutes in a room with hanging bodies and made us do some hilarious things before we could pass.

The Tunnel Terror is a 900 foot long gauntlet underneath the grounds of the old State School which has been upgraded with catacombs and many new sets.

How far this has come since their first year in 2010! What once was simply a wet tunnel is now a kaleidoscope of Insanity Wolf segmented into sections that flow seamlessly from nightmare to nightmare. They’ve built sets that integrate with the tunnel and flow in ways that psychologically signal to you how afraid you should be at any one time. The execution is masterful and it just gets better each year.

A+++ to the person on the tricycle with the Mickey Mouse ears that kept hilariously hitting on me throughout the section.

Yes, they even nail comedy seamlessly in here. This is the kind of shit that Universal Studios wishes they could pull off but cannot.

Ghost Hunt is a self guided tour of the Mayflower Building, reportedly the most active of all the locations on the campus. You are are allowed to wander through the dormitory with just a flashlight.

ghost-hunt-room-1

This is not a haunted attraction but it’s both interesting and damn creepy. The lights are off and many of the rooms have been left intact. They have placed some creepy toys throughout the building which just added so much to the atmosphere. Be sure to hit up the museum before you go through this.

Pennhurst Asylum began in 2010. In just a few years they managed to accomplish something that most haunted attractions could never dream of. The actor training is clearly the best. The set design is so good that it almost hurts your face to even think about it. The psychology behind the execution of the entire package is insightful and devious. Even the customer service at the event itself is of the highest quality. Their on-site staff reminded me of the friendly service that you normally see at Disney Parks.

You should Do This One, but it is not for the faint of heart.



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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