Let’s just cut to the Real Talk. Hotel of Horror and Altered Nightmares are back this year and they are in fabulous form. They made several changes to their haunts this year and the actors are giving the great performances that these haunts are famous for. A large part of these attractions have been redone. There are completely new rooms. Pre-existing rooms have been totally re-staged. New pathways have been created. Much of what you know from the last 2 years is different.
I know that the first question I am going to get is “How does it compare to last year?” This year’s show is several levels above and beyond their show last year. If you didn’t go last year or were thinking of sitting this year out you should re think your life choices. This is the year to go. Let’s talk about what’s going on this year and why that’s the case.
Hotel of Horror’s theme this year is Judgment Day. “Be witness to medical mishaps injustices and their consequences.” For example, this guy:
Altered Nightmares theme this year is Dark Magic. “Visit a world where spells and curses rule the kingdom.”
I am not going to give away the surprises or tell you what rooms are totally new and how the pathways were redone. Both attractions are more intense and more focused than last year with a higher skill level displayed by all of their actors. And no – they didn’t really know I was coming. I swooped in quickly and paid to go this year because my schedule and mental ability to handle advance organization got eaten by Hurricane Matthew.
I loved almost everything that I saw in both attractions. Most of the actors were on their game this year. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that a very small number of new actors were relying on only pop n scare. 1 used words such that I thought his room would be a theatrical room. When we paid attention to him thinking that there was more he didn’t have more. Some of the newer folks weren’t tag-teaming with their neighbors in the other rooms so in very small places the flow seemed a bit inconsistent, but these instances are few and far between.
It should be noted that I am holding these guys to a higher scare actor bar than I would hold other attractions to because their strength has always been the diversity and improv of their actors. It’s almost kind of silly to say because the staging and layout of both haunts is also A+. The key is that their actors are what makes these guys unique on a national scale in my personal opinion. There is a lot of good work out there. These guys have the most unique scare actors who are allowed to customize their rooms and create their own story for you while they will also scare you. Most haunts don’t put much time into this. This is art. Seriously. This is a completely unique point of view that could only come from Hotel of Horror and Altered Nightmares.
Both attraction are top tier and consistent favorites of mine. All of the actors that I noticed weren’t as developed were new, so of course that is to be expected. I know that as they work at this haunt they will learn the improv. I am already hearing reports that the skill level has improved with the new folks every weekend from some of my friends who have gone on their own a couple times.
This place is a true delight. Snort Gore was wandering around the front, which is always one of my favorite sights to see.
How can you resist that face?
AS USUAL I have to call out one thing that is way beyond anything else you will see on a national stage. And that is this guy in Altered Nightmares:
Not every scare actor will ACTUALLY LEARN JAPANESE over the course of 2 years in preparation for a scare actor role. Anthony HoH did. The sheer amount of preparation, accuracy, and devotion to the craft demonstrated in just this 1 Altered Nightmares room blows away everything else I have ever seen in my writing career. To make it even more impressive, I was an Asian Studies student who was conversationally fluent in Japanese. I still understand Japanese. I could easily understand him. He was so good that I was surprised. My Japanese ended up being bad and heavily accented American – because WTF I did not expect that. This is a culturally accurate kabuki character.
This is Toukatsu:
I often say that Netherworld is worth a plane trip. Eastern PA is also worth a plane trip. Here you have Hotel of Horror, Halls of Horror, Field of Screams, and The Freak and Funhouse all within close distance of each other so that you can make a weekend of it. (Use my reviews here to plan.)
This year Hotel of Horror and Altered Nightmares pulled off a tremendous triumph that brings them back to what they were most strongest in. The attractions are great and so are the scare actors in only the way that this particular group can achieve. Toukatsu is worth a plane trip on his own even if you see nothing else. I can’t guarantee you that this character will be here next year so you really should call out of work, sell your arm or kidneys or whatever if you have to and DO 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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