2004 Haunt Reviews

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2004 Haunt Reviews
All reviews are based on categories described in the Review Categories section of the site. Reviews of the 2004 haunts started September 11th, beginning with The Middletown Haunted Trail. If you own a haunt and want to be reviewed, contact us at jollypumpkin@aol.com.

Loveland Castle Haunted Tours-“Your Family Fun Haunt”

I don’t know, but this haunt seems familiar. It’s similar to St. Rita’s because of its creepy location, but the similarities end there. Honestly I feel that St.Rita’s is a pretty shi**y haunt that gets sympathy because of how long it’s been around. Screw charity. If it’s a good haunt, it’s a good haunt. Well, Loveland castle is a decent haunt, but isn’t worth the time and effort.

Length-6: It lasted about 12 minutes, but was still enjoyable. Loveland Castle has so much potential though. When will they use it?

Design-7: What can I say? This is a perfect location for a haunt, but it’s not used to its potential. There weren’t that many rooms I can remember. There was a toy room with creepy stuffed animals all around while a clown sat down. Most of the design was just the castle and it worked well.

Props/Animatronics-6: Some of the props are just weird and cheap. Dead bodies consisted of stuffed dummies with fake blood splattered on them. There were dolls, severed heads and flaming cauldrons. The outside area consisted of an army of skeletons. Nothing really stood out.

Acting-6: The acting wasn’t horrible, but wasn’t memorable either. The hooded man in the first room explaining a little of the history was the only convincing character, but a single actor can’t hold a haunt together. Another room had a wrench dressed in old century clothing pointing and explaining why the victims on the dinner table died. It seemed as if it was most of the actors’ first night.

Scare Affect-6: Well, the people in front of us seemed scared, but I sure wasn’t. One guy even asked how he was going to drive home tonight because he was so scared.

Fright Value: Loveland Castle is worth the money. The haunt lives up to it’s cost to enter.

Final Stab-6.2: It sure beats St. Rita’s, but that’s not saying much. It’s a family friendly haunt that scares some people apparently, but not us.

Dungeons of Delhi-“This Dungeon Is Full of Scares”

At first I was worried as what to expect from Dungeons because in the past years, it’s been mediocre at best. But I was surprised at how creative it was this year.

Length-6: This is a pretty short haunt, but very enjoyable. I was wanting more, but it came to an end too quickly. They should have expanded it, into the upstairs. It lasted around 12 minutes.

Design-9: Holy crap there is a lot of eye candy at Dungeons. The door opens and you enter Bates Motel with scary props all around. You then go down a small pathway where different props are all around and then one suddenly jumps out at you. The rooms were very creative. One of my favorites was the 13 Ghosts room made of plexiglass. Other rooms included a glowing junkyard, Michael Myers victim room and many others. I won’t give away some of the rooms. You’ll just have to go and see yourself.

Props/Aniamtronics-9: For a charity haunt or any haunt, there are a lot of props that fill the room. There were ghastly figures, body parts, an electric chair, tombstones and many more. My favorite was the knife that created sparks as it hit metal. The motorcycle was pretty cool as it flashed and made noises.

Acting-8: What’s going on? There were only a few child actors and most of them were victims. Thank God. Overall the acting was pretty decent and the best acting goes to leather face who picks up a girl and shoves her against the ceiling. Michael Myers was good too as he put a knife to his victim’s throat. I was surpassed at how good everyone was. The mad scientist bringing Frankenstein back to life was new and so was the butcher who chopped up his next victim. I need Tylenol.

Scare Affect-8: You have to figure that after going to so many haunts, that we wouldn’t get scared, but I did. Who scared me, you ask. A damn monkey that came from nowhere, go figure. The great acting blended well with the scenes and in return scared you.

Fright Value: This is one of those haunts you go to not expecting much, but come out with a smile on your face. Dungeons of Delhi is definitely worth $8.

Final Stab-8.0: This is the best haunt in Cincinnati so far this year and I’m sure it will get better every year.

Kings Island FearFest-“The Fear Isn’t Worth The Wait”

OK, First I must say that Kings Island’s FearFest can be a fun event if you are with a bunch of buddies or your significant other or if you already own a pass. The cost is 25 bucks for all day, but it simply is not worth it if you go around 9-10. As for the Haunts, you will have to wait somewhere between 30 mins- 2 hrs. Depending on the day you go. I went on a Saturday night, so it was pretty crowded. All of the haunts are basically the same in all of the categories, so I am going to give a general review of it.

Length-3: All of the haunts at Kings Island are short. They want the group of people to keep walking so they can shove as many groups in the haunt in the least amount of time. They generally take around 5-7 minutes once you get inside.

Design-6: Fearfest has a number of haunts. They range from CIRCUS HORRORS 3D to Sleepy Hollow. The design for these haunts is decent, but nothing tremendous. One haunt had the group craw over a dark glass pane. A light suddenly comes on and in the pane was a monster lying down.

Acting-7: This is a category that really surprised me at FearFest. The acting was excellent. It seemed like they had an actor around every corner. They had actors get right up in the groups face. One thing that I really enjoyed were the monsters terrifying people before the haunt started. One, in particular, was this man who falls down and starts crawling towards people. I actually thought someone got hurt when he fell down.

Props-7: FearFest had some good props. The clown house was full of scary carnival stuff. The 3d glasses were cool. Sleepy hollow had a bunch of bloody heads hanging from the ceiling. The group has to crawl through them. The whole atmosphere after dark around the park is pretty spooky.

Scare Effect-5: They did have some good acting and props, but I just never got scared. I knew what was going to happen because I heard the group in front of us scream. The Friday the 13th haunt was probably the scariest. 

Fright Value: Well, like I said before, if you go all day and enjoy the rest of the park, this may be worth it. However, if you are going just for the haunts, go on a Sunday and get there early to enjoy all of the haunts. Another hint, wait outside for a few minutes and look pathetic. You may get some free tickets because every pass holder gets one free ticket and some do not use them.

Final Stab-5.6: Well, if FearFest was not crowded and they extended their haunts, this may be the best in Cincinnati. But it is too crowded and waiting 2 hours for a 5-minute haunt is unreal.

Nightmare At The Beach-“This Nightmare Has Fallen Short of Scares”

What confuses me is how close Nightmare’s new location is to the old. We entered the gates with large burning torches attached and parked. The crowd was surprisingly big considering it was its first night at its new location. We got in line and waited and waited. Finally we were next and we entered.

Length-8: The wait in line was longer than the haunt, but that’s how it is with most. There weren’t many pauses in-between where you walked through empty woods like last year. All in all, it lasted around 20 minutes. A lot of time was eaten up when you entered the wooden maze.

Design-8: This year most of Nightmare Estates is inside with the exception of the maze. The design hasn’t changed much from last year. They still have the Michael Myers victim room where he murders a girl. Leather Face could be seen behind bars. Freddy’s bus was still full of victims, but Freddy wasn’t there. He was too busy scaring other people. Some new additions include the cornfield and that’s about all that made a huge impression. But Nightmare at The Beach still has one of the best designs for a haunt in Ohio. So don’t miss out.

Props/Animatronics-7: One of the best props in the haunt has to go to the talking dead Elvis. He just says what he wants and it cracks me up. Most of the props I saw were the ones you see in most haunts. There was your TV in the Michael Myers room, the hanging body bags, the freezer in the meat locker room and so forth. But I got to hand it to Nightmare at The Beach for the haunted Freddy bus you walk through. I haven’t seen it anywhere else.

Acting-6: The best acting goes to the dead Elvis that lies in a coffin as you enter. He actually has a conversation with you and it’s pretty funny. Most of the characters just banged their weapons against the wall. It was as if they weren’t in the mood to scare. Freddy was nowhere to be found in the haunted bus, but when you got off the bus, he finally showed up. Bludzo, the clown was only interested in scaring the girls as they walked through the maze. So much has changed in the way of acting and not for the good.

Scare Affect-6: Maybe it’s because I’ve been to so many haunts that I don’t get scared. No, it’s just that many aren’t delivering the scares that are expected. Nothing scared me. And Bludzo the clown didn’t seem interested in scaring me, but he got my CO-worker. As we walked out the exit, he removed his hat from nowhere. It was pretty funny.

Fright Value- Sadly, this is one of the best haunts Cincinnati has to offer. So if you live in Cincinnati and want to visit, you should. But please use a coupon.

Final Stab-7.2: The best haunt in Cincinnati has fallen short since moving.

Mt.Healthy’s Haunted Hall-“Your Good Old Fashioned Haunted House”

I just love this haunted house. Yes, I said haunted house this time instead of haunt. It just gives me that old fashion haunted house feeling that few give me. Even if it’s disappointing, I still enjoyed it. As I walked the path to the ticket booth, a small skeleton could be seen growling and shaking its’ cage. They called next victim and we entered.

Length-6: It wasn’t too long, but it was good while it lasted. What many of these haunts do is they add a black maze to extend their haunt. I won’t be fooled.

Design-8: The first room you enter is the hotel and your shown the way to the elevator where the evil operator takes you to Hell. As he pulls the switch, the room shakes and flashes. There were some cool rooms that I can’t forget. One of my favorites is the walk through tunnel where the Devil asks you to get on your knees and crawl underneath him. As always Mt. Healthy has one of the best homemade vortex tunnels around. It’s just so professional. There are some rooms that caught me off surprise, but you’ll have to visit to see.

Acting-7: There weren’t as many child actors as I expected. Most of them were operating the slamming windows. But of course in every haunt, the adult actors are the best and Mt. Healthy is no exception. Satan was great in asking for you to bow down and crawl on your knees. The crazed mother who asked you to pick out a baby on the wall was pretty creative. I didn’t expect for her to take out a chainsaw. This time the black maze had actors in cages grabbing at you. Finally we have some actors in a maze.

Props/Animatonics-7: As I said before, Mt Healthy has one of the best Vortex Tunnels around and tonight was no exception. There weren’t too many props to speak of except for your usual and a flashing car with leather face. That’s new for the hall. There were also some moving floors and some ghouls who would jump out from out houses.

Scare Affect-6: I just wasn’t scared. I guess I expected a lot from a haunt that usually delivers.

Fright Value: One of the best values around and one of the best haunts In Cincinnati worth forking your cash over to.

Final Stab-6.8: A haunt that could be so much more if more effort was put into it.

St. Rita Haunted House-“A House That’s Haunted With Crap, Crappy Acting That Is.”

What can I say about St. Rita? It’s a mediocre haunt that has kept itself alive for almost 3 decades. About 3 years ago, I visited St. Rita the opening night and there had to of been 400 people in line. I guess people have just lost interest and the night City Blood visited, it was the same. As I entered the parking lot, no one was there except some teenagers hanging out. We walked to the ticket booth and what do you know, the $6 price is covered up with tape saying $8.

Length-5: Come on guys, get your act together. You’ve been around for almost 30 years now and are still one of the shortest. It only took about 10 minutes to go all the way through.

Design-8: Every year St. Rita has one of the best designs. You feel like your in an old abandoned haunted house and I love that. From the creaking floors to the well designed theme rooms. The poke a dot room was pretty freaky with little kids blending in with the wall. The outside area with Michael Myers and Jason was nice, but was too short.

Props/Animatronics-7: Overall there weren’t too many except for some projecting creatures that came flying at you, a real organ being used by the phantom of the opera. The floors that moved up and down were pretty cool, and there was a talking snake you had to go through. But overall I thought the talking head was convincing until you got up close and saw that the illusion was made using a mirror. But I can’t forget the vortex tunnel. St. Rita has the worst vortex tunnel I’ve ever seen in a haunt. It looks like a spinning trash can and is so noisy.

Acting-5: Once again, too many child actors and none of them are convincing. For some reason they have a girl just screaming for no reason in the middle of a room. What the hell is a pirate doing in a haunted house? The acting was good but it just as an annoying.

Scare Affect-6: Through out the course of the haunt, I was scared once and that was from behind by a small screaming girl. Nothing else caught me off guard. What’s up with the midget Freddie? I keep seeing them everywhere.

Fright Value: What the hell, they raised the price to $8. It’s definitely worth last years price at $6, with a $1 off coupon available.

Final Stab-5.8: Another night, another crappy Cincinnati haunt.

The Haunt-“Your No Thrills, No Chills Haunt”

Is it me or do these Middletown/Dayton Haunts get harder and harder to find each and every year. Could just one of these haunts have a visible sign that shows you where the haunted house is. I get that it’s supposed to be scary, but do the signs have to be black. Common sense leads to the thought that if you make black signs for something that goes on at night, it’ll make it hard to find.

When we finally showed up there was a group of people leaving saying how it sucked. When will I ever listen? This wasn’t the night. As we got out of the car to walk up in line, there was basically no line. Don’t get me wrong, there was a line, but you’d expect it to be massive for a haunt that supposively was voted number one by Cincinnati Enquirer. As we got in line we could here the jungle music skipping as the owner watched as people went through. We signed a waver and were on our way.

Length-7: Yeah, it took a while to go through, but when there are 3-minute pauses where there’s nothing there but woods, it’s going to be.

Design-5: What can I say? Nothing impressed me? You walked and then entered small shacks. The walls were black and nothing stood out. The only saving grace was the black maze, but then, how can I say something is designed well, when it’s pitch black.

Props/Animatronics-4: Well, there were strobe lights and some hanging body parts. I can’t forget the chainsaws or that stuffed animal the clown was holding. Did I mention the strobe lights?

Acting-6: Here we go again, another haunt with a million child actors. Not all of them were bad, but they seemed to try to hard. I even heard a guy say to some of the actors, try your best. Try your best, people are paying $10 a pop to get in and that’s what you say. There were some memorable moments though such as the hissy fit demons, the hissing Michael Myers, the mini granny, the invisible dark maze creature and I can’t forget about the crazed clown. He was holding a stuffed animal and kept talking about how you killed his animal. A lot of the actors hissed like snakes. I hope they weren’t told to do that.

Scare Affect-6: Once again, nothing impressed me. The only part that made me jump was one of the actors in the dark maze, but come on it’s completely dark and you’re unaware of much.

Fright Value: This is one of the worst trails around. It’s like St. Rita’s version of a haunted trail. Don’t waste your time.

Final Stab-5.6: What can I say that wasn’t said? It’s a mediocre haunt with mediocre production values. If it were $7 instead of $10 for The Haunt, then the review would’ve ended better, on a positive note.

Dayton/Middletown

Middletown Haunted Trail- “A True Trail of Terror”

What a weird night. Not only was this haunt located at the bottom of Hell, it was extremely hard to find. What was supposed to take 45 minutes to find, ended up taking an hour and 45 minutes? The only saving grace for finding it was some arguing old timers at the local BP. They both knew where we were headed, but had 2 ways of getting there.

When we showed up, we were lucky enough to be in line behind some stoners. They were piss high, literally. One started pissing in the corner where anyone could see. One of them, who knows who, was so high, that he thought we were out to kill him. Don’t get me wrong; it was a frightful night, but a weird one at that. Luckily I was wearing my trusty Reds hat. Wait, where the hell is it? Damn you Middletown .All, in all it was a great night and a great haunt.

Length-10: Damn, this haunt was long. I must have walked acres upon acres of terror. It lasted a good 30 minutes.

Design-7: The rooms were spaced out pretty well. They included your usual meat locker room, your Michael Myers moaning victim room, your fake flame torch scene and so on and so on. I really enjoyed the modified cornfield with hanging scarecrows.

Acting-6: What can I say; nothing really impressed me with the acting? There were lots of chainsaw wielding maniacs that always make you a little nervous. Some actors blended well with the surroundings and some made loud noises by banging on tin barrels. The dancing Elvira and hot vampires were interesting, but that’s it. I can’t forget predator coming up from the foggy water or that crazy zombie that almost jump kicked me in the head. You bastard!

Props/Animatronics-8: As you know, a good haunt doesn’t need a lot of animatronics if it uses its props well and that’s what Middletown did. You had your caged and tortured skeletons, your imprisoned ghouls, and lots of fog with disorienting strobes. What impressed me the most were it’s vortex tunnels. Yes, they were like most you’ve seen at other haunts, but 2 were within steps of each other and one included a clown who would walk backwards as you walked towards the exit. The props made you feel as if you were really walking on haunted trail instead of a cheap haunt that used carnival tents.

Scare Affect: 7: Was I scared? Well, not really, but nothing scares me too much. There was an eerie unsettling feeling walking upon the foggy paths of the trail.

Fright Value: This is one of the best trails you’ll ever visit. It’s consistent from year to year. You’ll be happy you spent your money.

Final Stab-7.5: A haunt that is well worth loosing your hat over. By the way, where the hell is that hat I lost?

The Chambers of Horror-“The Devil Lives In These Chambers”

Finally a haunt in Middletown that’s easy to find. But it should be easy to find since I tried to find it once before, but to find that I was on the right street, but at a different address. Yes, they moved. Luckily a guy was standing in the middle of the street with a sign taped to his back pointing the way. I swear someone is going to hit that poor bastard. Strobe lights flashed as we entered the parking lot. The crowd was small, but fear was in the air. The living dead man welcomed us in as we began our journey into fear.

Length-8: Overall it was pretty lengthy, with little lag time in between. Luckily when there were pauses, you were entertained by actors. They actually split half the group up and had them come out and try to scare you. That’s something different.

Design-9: What’s this, a haunt where you actually know where you’re going? There were trap doors cleverly placed that were locked at one time and opened another. They had your typical Michael Myers TV room, your Freddy Krueger Boiler Room, your crawling tunnel and so on and so on. But unlike some haunts they were used perfectly. I won’t give any of the secret rooms away. You’ll just have to visit and see yourself.

Acting-9: The best acting so far this haunt season. I loved the undead guy in the suit who told you the rules and showed you the way. Back up to the yellow line. The clowns at the beginning who separated you and your group were hysterical. One of the clowns said that this was the boogie room and told me to get down. Most of the actors were in your face and wouldn’t leave you alone. That’s a good thing. Thank God, I only saw about 2 child actors. This is a change.

Props/Animatronics-7: As I’ve said before, a good haunt doesn’t need animatronics to back itself up. You had your flaming cauldrons, your severed body parts, walk in freezer and of course your disorienting fog. The lack of animatronics made it feel more realistic. If you were trapped in a haunted house with tons of menacing monsters, would you see electronic creatures trying to attack you? I don’t think so.

Scare Affect-9: This is a haunt that is in your face and coming from all corners. If it weren’t for a few child actors, I would have given it a 10. The banging of tin barrels always gets me. I can’t forget the long nosed troll that gave an eerie stare or the slamming windows with monsters yelling at you from the other side. That damn clown from the beginning would pop up from nowhere. Everything was just done so well.

Fright Value: You’ll have a damn good time spending your money on Chambers. It’s a very creative haunt.

Final Stab-8.4: Now this is what I’m talking about, a haunt that backs its name up. You actually feel like your going through dark torture chambers and you are the victim. The tight and dark rooms make you feel lost and trapped and that’s always good in a haunted house.

Mad Jaxe House of Horror-“Horror Breathes Well In This House”

What a night, 2 haunts right next to each other for the price of 14 bucks and wait, it was worth it. As we showed up to Terror Maze and Mad Jaxe House of Horror, the anticipation for a good haunt rose and these haunts delivered. Lets start with mad Jaxe House of Horror.

Length-8: This was a pretty lengthy haunt indeed. There were few pauses in between rooms and when there was, there was a lot of eye candy to look at. Mostly dismembered corpses and creepy paintings across the walls.

Design-9: Very impressive design. Many of the walls were painted with creepy pictures and the fluorescent paint glowed brightly. Most of the props were located behind glass where many of the actors were. If you didn’t already guess, it was a maze and many of the rooms were concealed behind doors. There were so many rooms, that it’s hard to remember. You had your poke a dot room, graveyard and many others. I could go on and on, but that would get boring. There was a Halloween room, but instead of your usual Michael Myers with a knife attacking a girl. They had a floating ghost with glasses like in the movie, with glowing pumpkins across the walls. There were some areas where you had to crawl very low underneath tunnels to get through. That’s stressful.

Acting-8: The acting was pretty good and for once some of the child actors were convincing. There had to have been a 7-foot tall monster walking the maze. It was freaky.

Props/Animatronics-8: Most of the props included spinning heads and body part upon body part. Much like Slaughter Yard in Dayton. There was an electric chair that was pretty convincing, but when the person stopped shaking, you could still hear the same noises as if he was getting fried.

Scare Affect-8: There were certain parts that got me such as the impaled person on the board that you would never expect to jump at you. He looked like a prop. That’s how still he was. Leather face was pretty convincing with his wielding chainsaw. For me it was a tad too convincing. All in all, it was frightful.

Fright Value: One of the best frights for your buck. It’s great and worth the time and money.

Final stab-8.2: A mind-twisting haunt that confuses you while scaring you.

Terror Maze-” A Haunt Above and Beyond Terror”

What a night, 2 haunts right next to each other for the price of 14 bucks and wait, it was worth it. As we showed up to Terror Maze and Mad Jaxe House of Horror, the anticipation for a good haunt rose and these haunts delivered. Lets end with Terror Maze.

Length-10: This was a damn long haunt and very little lag time in-between rooms. Around every corner, it was something different.

Design-9: I think this haunt was actually part of a person’s house. About 80% of it was inside and the other 20% was used well. It felt like a never-ending house of terror, but that’s a good think. Like their other haunt, there were hidden doors where you had to find your way out. There was a glowing Jason Room, where about 50 Jason Masked camouflaged the wall, where different actors were hidden. The dark and winding mazes were confusing, but many of the actors would shine an extremely bright flashlight in your eyes. Many of the rooms felt like your were part of a freak show with many actors and props behind windows. There were so many rooms that it’s very hard to remember.

Acting-8: The acting was pretty decent and convincing. The actors came at you from every which way.

Props/Animatronics-8: There were plenty of glowing spiders and body parts flung around the place. I can’t forget the Exorcist animatronic with the demon possessed girls head spinning and then falling off.

Scare Affect-9: This should be the standard for haunted houses, non-stop terror at every corner. What was up with that baby Michael Myers? I think he grunted at me.

Fright Value: Terror Maze is an unknown haunt with a first rate haunt attitude. It’s well worth the money.

Final Stab-8.8: A haunt that is well worth the money.

Panic Box Spookhouse and Kruegers Korn Maze-“Intensity Brews In The Spookhouse”

The air was fresh and the fog was tasty. It was just a perfect night for haunts. Well, some were decent and some were great. The first haunt of the Night was Panic Box Spookhouse. As we entered to park, a guy showed us where to go. We entered and were off to the ticket booth to get our hands stamped. Loud music was coming from the Spook House and it was blaring. An actor dressed as Freddy Krueger stood behind us perfectly still. It looked as if he was smiling at us. We entered the spook House and this is where the review begins.

Length-9: This was a pretty long haunt if you include the acres upon acres of corn. Unfortunately it wasn’t too tough to navigate through.

Design-7: Great design. You first entered a small trailer type room where you crawled under a narrow tunnel with body parts and insects laying right across from you. After you got out of the spook house there were small shack like areas with different themes. I really enjoyed the fun house room with clowns pinned up against fluorescent walls standing stone still. The corn maze was a bit confusing, with a few actors trying to scare you. I liked that you had to duck under cobwebs to navigate through different areas of the corn maze.

Props/Animatronics-7: Well, I kind of consider The spook House a huge prop of fear with blinding strobes and disorienting fog. It was a claustrophobic person’s nightmare. There weren’t too many props. Just your standard tin barrels with nuclear waste, your projecting monsters, body parts and not much more that’s memorable.

Acting-5: This area hurts this haunt and in a big way. If you had adults in the costumes instead of kids in mask wearing pullovers, it would have been more convincing. Michael Myers and other actors would follow you around the majority of the time in the corn maze. You’d figure that in Krueger’s Maze, you would see Freddy more.

Scare Affect-7: This 7 doesn’t belong to the actors; it belongs to the Spook House alone. This is one of the most intense and stressful rooms in a haunt in Ohio. It’s such a tight space you have to crawl through, that you feel as if you’re going to get stuck. None of the acting was convincing therefore I wasn’t too scared.

Fright Value: The Panic Box is worth the $7 with a coupon. But the Krueger’s Maze, I would leave alone.

Final Stab-7.0: A haunt with true potential that fails in areas due to poor acting.

Springboro Haunted Hayride-“A Ride Into Madness”

This was a great night for haunting and I was the one haunted. The gravel parking lot was full of cars, but the lines were short. It figures when most of the tractors held 30 people. The tractor was full and we were off to a bumpy and scary ride.

Length-10: This is a very long haunt with bumps and turns while in the back of a tractor. There were some long pauses in-between where there was nothing, but the whole experience made up for it. It had to of lasted 40 minutes.

Design-9: This is one of the few hayrides I’ve been to and I was pretty impressed with the overall look. When you first begin, you’re greeted with clowns covered in fluorescent paint that jump on the tractor and get in your face. The graveyard behind the woods had two men digging graves while the psycho circus under a light tunnel was pretty cool. I’ve seen it many times before, but instead of your typical Jason mask room, many of the masks were professional looking that blended in with the wall.

Props/Animatronics-9: Where can I start? To begin, there was a headless horseman on a live horse who would chase after you. It doesn’t end there. Flaming cars, ambulances and semis would chase after the tractor and would get so close that they were almost touching. Towards the end of the hayride there was an electric chair with a very small child in the chair. I still don’t know if it was fake or not. But it was funny as hell.

Acting-9: Some of the acting towards the beginning reminded me of a play. It was that good. The actors would jump right onto the tractor and get right in your face with chainsaws, knives and what not. In some scenes the doors would close and the havoc would begin. I really enjoyed the psycho circus. While you entered the light tunnel, a small clown danced on a stand with a porcelain mask on. He acted as if he was crying and then ripped it off to reveal another mask. The acting was in your face and intense. Do you ever see a flashing skeleton chasing you down in a flaming car in a regular haunted house? I don’t think so.

Scare Affect-9: When the actors got into their rules, they got into their rules and there was nothing you could do since you were stuck in a bumpy old tractor.

Fright Value: This is one of the best hayrides around and one of the best deserves a high price. It’s definitely worth $10.

Final Stab-9.0: A new haunting experience that shouldn’t be missed

The Black Bog-“The Bog Has A Life of Its Own”

This was a great night for haunting and I was the one haunted. The gravel parking lot was full of cars, but the lines were short. It figures when most of the people are there for the hayride. We were told to enter and were off to pure terror.

Length-7: It was good while it lasted and that was about 20 minutes worth. But the first 3 just had you walking a dark path with little or nothing that jumped out at you. There was also your typical dark maze that haunts use to eat up time. But when there were actors and props, it was good.

Design-8: It was laid out pretty well. The dark maze wasn’t confusing enough while the homemade vortex tunnel was one of the best I’ve seen. I actually felt dizzy after I got off.

Acting-7: Much of the first half included random kids just jumping out at you. Even one actor ran out so quick to scare that he hit his chin on someone’s elbow. Dumb ass. Some of the actors were extremely tall wearing dark robes with grim reaper type masks. This one hillbilly looking character jumped in front of me with his machete asking if he could have my hat. Al in all, the acting was average.

Props/Animatronics-7: There weren’t many props or animatronics at all. The only ones that really come to mind are the cowboys letting off the loud buzzer in your ear. Man that was loud. There was a skeleton behind glass. But what impressed me most was there vortex tunnel. Man, I love vortex tunnels and The Bog had one of the best. The colors, the rotation, what else can I say? You could feel your stomach turning. Not really, but you get the point.

Scare Affect-7: After going on the hayride, The Bog isn’t much in scares. There are a few good actors, but most of them are your teenyboppers who jump out from the woods saying boo.

Fright Value: Black Bog is a new attraction and maybe in a couple years it will be awesome. But for now, it’s worth $5, not its $8 price.

Final Stab-7.2: Your typical haunt with the occasional scares

Haunted Spook Coop-“Your Best Mix of Fear Is Here”

One of my favorite haunts is back this year and is better than ever. The Haunted Spook Coop has the perfect blend of everything from incredible animatronics, great masks and Hollywood Design. As we entered the parking lot we knew we wouldn’t be disappointed and we were right. The torches were lit and showed us the way to the ticket booth. We got our tickets and we’re off.

Length-8: This is a pretty long haunt and every second there was something to look at. If it wasn’t animatronics, it was props. Even the winding dark mazes were confusing. Most haunts use them to take up time, but it didn’t bother me a bit. Overall, it was about a 25-minute haunt.

Design-9: Where do I begin? Walls were decorated with haunted paintings, burning candles, glowing Jason masks and so forth. There were so many rooms that had great design, like the cemetery where you walked around as actors grabbed at you from every corner. The bloody wedding room was great with blood soaked brides hanging from the ceiling. The dark mazes were extremely dark and very confusing as they should be. This year, Spook Coop has a vortex tunnel and it’s as good as any you’ve seen. Other rooms include your ball pit with psycho clowns, the glowing Jason mask room, the floor made of bed mattresses and many more.

Props/Animatronics-10: Spook Coop has the best blend of animatronics and props. Unlike some other haunts, they have a mix of actors and props, so it all evens out for the best. There were projecting copses, flying ghosts, 2 electric chairs, haunted paintings, body bags and so much more. My favorite animatronic every year is the caged rat with rattling chains. The vortex tunnel was as good as other haunts have. A review doesn’t say enough about the props and animatronics.

Acting-8: The best acting goes to the cowboy in the beginning who tells you the rules before you enter. He just kept on cracking jokes with the young girls. A pattern I’ve been seeing more this year is that the actors seem to focus way to much on the young girls in groups and forget to scare the older crowd. But overall the acting was real good even if most of the actors just growled or grunted at you. The bride in the blood soaked wedding room, asked me to smell her flower and I almost took a bite.

Scare Affect-9: This is a very dark haunted house from the dark and confusing mazes to the creepy graveyards and haunting designs. The acting balances out with the robust amount of animatronics and in return scares you.

Fright Value: Get the money from your wallet because it’s worth every dollar. The animatronics and props alone are worth admission.

Final Stab-8.9: This is one of the best haunts you’ll go to this season and is well worth the drive and money.

Psycho Path-“Words Can’t Describe This Mess”

I’m speechless. I’m just speechless. Out of the years of visiting haunts, this is one of or if not the worst I’ve been to. I don’t really feel like reviewing it, but I guess I will.

Length-9: Yeah, it was long but out of 30 minutes, 20 were just walking through endless woods.

Design-3: I was expecting a greatly designed haunt when I first entered. The woman told us the rules and was surrounded by glowing pumpkins and I thought the rest of it would be creative. But I was whole heartily wrong. It seemed as if it was rushed and the group behind us felt the same. The rooms towards the end had hanging skeletons, caged and covered with glowing paint. Most of it was just empty woods.

Props/Animatronics-4: There’s something wrong when the most memorable prop was a hanging man. Yeah, there were some glowing skeletons and a cheap electric chair, but nothing else was memorable.

Acting-3: What can I say about the acting? Did you hear that? That’s right, nothing. The groups in front of us were experiencing everything way before us. Maybe next time, you could space the scenes out better.

Scare Affect-3: I wasn’t scared at all, but the groups in front of me were.

Fright Value: Psycho Path isn’t worth the money or distance. They should be paying me to enter.

Final Stab-4.4: Just because you can open a haunted trail, doesn’t mean you should.

Lewisburg Haunted Cave-“A New Haunting Experience”

What a night. This cave is a perfect setting for one of the creepiest haunts I’ve been to. As you walk down the hill to wait for entering, glowing skulls and pumpkins decorate the cave’s walls. The walk down is very steep and slippery. So be careful. Before you enter the cave, you’re told the rules. One thing they tell you is that if a bat gets stuck in your hair, someone will come by to remove it. Of course, they have to use scissors.

Length-10: This is a damn long haunt and when there is empty space, you still are creeped out by the dark and spooky cave. It lasted about 35 minutes.

Design-10: Most of the rooms were themed after movies. Towards the beginning you enter the pet cemetery where dead animals lay around tombstones. The tour guide stops you for a minute and dog animatronics burst out of the graves. They also had a Hannibal Lector scene where Hannibal was seen eating a leg in his jail cell. I enjoyed the clown room with many clowns standing still against the walls. They also had a Carey scene, a dark maze, hall of mirrors and many other great rooms. Overall, if it wasn’t for the rooms, it was for the dark cave. This is a perfect atmosphere for a haunt.

Props/Amimatronics-9: There weren’t that many animatronics to speak of except for some animated dogs coming back from the dead. The props they had sure made up for the lack of animatronics. At one point, you go through a scene where guns are pointing straight at you and you hear a shotgun being cocked back and then it’s fired. Boy was that loud. Another scene had a large torch fire straight up in the air and the heat was intense. Other props included flaming torches, body parts and etc, etc. You get the point.

Acting-7: The best acting would go to the tour guide. He was in character the whole time even when people were making fun of him. The actors were mostly kids, but there was one scene where about 7 kids with chainsaws went after you in the dark cave. Overall, it was above average due to the cave being so creepy.

Scare Affect-9: Even though, I wasn’t very scared by the actors, an unsettling feeling came upon when walking through the cave. It was as if I was being watched. I did jump when hearing the live shotgun being fired at me, but that’s about it.

Fright Value: The cave alone is worth the admission, but the haunt is an added bonus.

Final Stab-9.0: This is one of those haunts that you need to drive to just for the cave itself. Everything else blended in so well.

Slaughter Yard Haunted House-“Blood Drips From This House”

One of my favorite haunts of the year is finally here. It’s slaughter Yard and I think it’s one of the best old school haunts around. A lot of these haunts have the money, but not the heart.

Length-9: It’s much longer this year and has more body parts and blood then ever. It lasted around 25 minutes.

Design-7: When you enter you can tell that it’s a budget haunt, but this is an advantage. When you go through, there are plastic tarps dividing the rooms. At any time an actor can come out from one of them without you knowing. There wasn’t anything spectacular except for the gated area where you walked through a gate where you were treated like cattle. You had to wait for it to be opened.

Props/Animatronics-8: Good, god, there’s a lot of body parts scattered throughout this place. There’s severed heads, torsos, arms legs. You name it. I loved the glowing puppets that shot out at you from the walls. I can’t forget the girl who was cut in half and stuck in a pole. The props suited the theme.

Acting-8: There weren’t too many actors, but the actors that they had come from different places. You’d see one actor in the beginning, then he’d show up towards the middle of the haunt. My favorite actor had to be the chainsaw maniac. At first he couldn’t get his chainsaw started, but after he took off his gloves. He got it started and was in your face. I like the pointy nose monsters that I’ve been seeing at a lot of haunts. It looks like they’re a mix of troll and witch. The skeleton on stilts was pretty cool too. He’d follow you throughout the haunt. After you leave, Michael Myers and this crazed clown chase after you with chainsaws. I enjoyed the acting and felt that they put a lot of effort into it.

Scare Affect-9: I was caught off guard a couple of times. It’s an old school haunt with modern scares.

Fright Value: This is an old school haunt at an old school price. $8 is a great price for a great haunt.

Final Stab-8.2: This was an intense haunt and you could tell that the actors really loved what they were doing.

Riverside Jaycees 3D Haunted House-“Fright and Fun Have A New Hangout”

When I found information on Riverside Jaycees 3D haunted House, I was expecting an actor to hand me 3D glasses before I went in. I guess when every other haunted house does that, it’s hard not to expect it. Fear Fest even charged a dollar for the glasses, its first year. At Riverside Jaycees you didn’t need glasses and I’m still a little confused at what the 3D part was. But it was a good, small town haunt.

Length-6: Why was it so short? There were so many good areas and creative ideas, but not enough of it. 8 more minutes and Jaycees would have been one of the highest rated haunts in Dayton. Why God, why. Just kidding

Design-8: Some of the best designs I’ve seen in a small town haunt. They had walls that actually closed in on you. Doors opened at certain times, but disappeared at other. The dark mazes were dark and winding and the woods were glowing with camouflage netting.

Props/Animatronics-9: There weren’t that many props or animatronics compared to other haunts. But if you consider the short length, then there were lots and they were good. Towards the beginning, you witness a guillotine slam down on a corpse’s head and cut it clean off. You walk a little further and an actor dressed in a black robe pulls a switch and activates a smoking electric chair and it’s one of the best. The victim’s body smokes as he thrashes back and forth. At one point you’re standing and an actor tells you to stop and the walls start to close in on you. Other props included dangling pumpkins, large beds, flashing headlights of a truck and a vortex tunnel that was hidden by a circular door. For a charity haunt, or any haunt, it was impressive.

Acting-7: First things first. There were way too many child actors and they tried way to hard to scare you. A few made me jump since it was so dark. In the Nightmare on Elm Street dream room, girls sang back and fourth. One two, Freddy’s coming for you. You know the rest. Freddy came out and what does he do? He growls. He was also over 6 foot tall and in real life Robert Englund is pretty short. There were monkeys in cages, more grunting kids and so on.

Scare Affect-7: I jumped a few times when going through the dark mazes, but the acting stunk up the place. The best scare were the walls that closed in on you. You’re screwed if you’re claustrophobic.

Fright Value-This is a prime example of what St. Rita should have been. Jaycees is intense creative and very fun for a short walk into fear.

Final stab-7.4: I enjoyed this dark ride to the fullest, but wanted more. It could compete with the big time haunts if it was longer. This haunt has a lot of potential.

The Mill of Fear-“The Darkness Never Ends”

This was one of the creepiest locations I’ve seen for a haunt this year. It was in an old run down paper mill behind a Kroger. There was an unsettling feeling as I walked up to pay, but unfortunately the feeling wasn’t as good as the haunt.

Length-7: Yeah, it lasted a while. But we were stopped by our guide every couple of minutes because of the slow group in front of us. Half of the Mill was a dark maze. Overall, it lasted around 15 minutes.

Design-7: When I first entered the building I was expecting a lot due to the decorated walls and ceilings before you enter. There were skulls playing music and glowing figures painted across the black walls. Unfortunately, inside there wasn’t anything too memorable. You first enter an elevator that keeps going down and down, was obviously it’s fake. There was a Jason scene where Jason kills a girl with a buzz saw. That was pretty cool. Another room had clowns up against the walls with stuffed animals all around. The rest of it consisted of a very dark maze that lasted way too long.

Props/Animatronics-6: There weren’t many to speak of. There was a buzz saw, some coffins, a small bridge, stuffed animals and that’s about it. The only memorable prop was the moving elevator at the beginning.

Acting-7: The best acting goes to the clown who let off a loud air horn in Marcus’s (my CO worker) ear. He went deaf in his right ear for about an hour. The guide actually talked too she and us was pretty hot splattered with blood on her face. At one point I even saw her talking to one of the actors and they seemed pretty close.

Scare Affect-8: Well, the creepy building where it’s held adds to the affect of being scared. The only part that made me jump was when the clown let off an air horn in the dark maze. Someone could go deaf and they did.

Fright Value: Honestly, The Mill of Fear isn’t worth $9. If you want to experience a creepy building in the back of Kroger, then have fun. As of now, it’s worth $6 at best.

Final Stab-7.0: A haunt held in a creepy building like this should be better.

Buford Haunted School-“This School Runs Well With Horror”

Once again, another haunt that is in the middle of nowhere in a place no one knows about. It was a dark and cold night. Halloween music could be heard on the radio while leaves blew across the sidewalk. We arrived at the haunted school around 12:10 and we were getting a little nervous. The parking lot was full, but most of it could be actors. We showed up and it looked like they were closing. We told one of the workers that we were from Cincinnati and he happily let us in. Oddly another group of people from Cincinnati waited inline in front of us.

Length-8: Well, it lasted around 20 minutes but felt longer. There wasn’t a dull moment throughout and most of it was nonstop and in your face.

Design-9: The haunt mostly consisted of a dark winding maze with scenes and rooms in between. One part was completely dark, but suddenly you hear a voice. Lights come on and Freddy Krueger is right in your face while going in and out behind bars. There was a meat locker, medusa room, chain link walls, spongy floors and many rooms and designs. Here’s another haunt that’s similar to Baxter Avenue Morgue in the sense that there aren’t any specific rooms rather than scenes throughout. I won’t give any of the surprises away.

Props/Animatronics-8: Well, there weren’t that many animatronics to speak of, but the props they had suited the theme of the haunt. There were buzz saws, chainsaws, body parts, moving walls, haunted portraits and much more. A haunt doesn’t need all the Hollywood props if it can back itself up with scares.

Acting-9: I’d have to say that I was impressed with some of the actors. They were really into their job and it showed. At one point someone bit me on the shoulder. Towards the middle of it I was screamed at as someone pulled on my shoulder. I was grabbed by hands so many times I can’t remember. Some of my favorite characters included The Medusa who would stare at you with snakes on her head as she screamed at you while passing by. Freddy was creepy as he stalked you behind bars as was everyone involved was. When exiting the School my CO-worker Marcus and me were attacked by chainsaw maniacs who wouldn’t leave you alone until you left.

Scare Affect-10: This is an intense haunt indeed and they are in your face. The design alone is scary as you navigate through tight spaces and dark corridors. I was caught off guard a couple of times.

Fright Value: The Buford Haunted School is well worth $10 to enter. You won’t forget your experience because it’s that good.

Final Stab-8.8: With a little more work in the props area, Buford could be a 9 or higher.

Columbus, OH

The House of Nightmares-“This House Will Haunt Your Dreams”

I never thought I’d find a perfect haunt, but I did and anyone who doesn’t enjoy The House of Nightmares, doesn’t enjoy being scared. I live 2 and half hours away from it and it was worth every mile. It was one of those nights that were perfect for haunts. Rain was pouring and the fog was immense. We drove and drove until we finally made it to The House of Nightmares. It was 12:15 when we arrived and we were the only ones there. The mansion lit up as lightning struck and a cemetery could be seen next to the place. Boy were we in the mood for being scared and scared we were.

Length-10: This is the longest haunt I’ve been to. There are floors and floors of room upon room and very few pauses in between. When you think it’s over there are more rooms you enter. It lasted about 40-45 minutes.

Design-10: This place is amazing. You start off walking through a dark maze where a hillbilly looking guy pops out from nowhere with his flashlight. It’s very dark. You enter a small room where a woman in black tells you its history. You then walk the halls as this creepy woman guides you into rooms showing you how people were tortured throughout the house. You walk downstairs and then enter room upon room and this place is massive. There was a funhouse, meat locker, cemetery, Freddy’s House, Hannibal Lector Cell, haunted woods, chain link fence and so much more. I won’t give too much away. It’s just incredible. A review doesn’t due this place justice.

Props/Animatronics-10: The House of Nightmares is a more traditional haunt that uses creepy atmosphere and sets to induce fear instead of animatronics. Haunted furniture and fixtures are abound while skeletons, burning cauldrons, moving bookcases, flying bats and more is what you can expect while on your journey. Don’t forget to visit The Torture Museum where you can view medieval devices that will put chills down your spine.

Acting-10: All actors in the house are convincing in the characters they play. You’ll come across traditional horror icons such as Michael Myers and Freddy Krueger while some are out of the ordinary. At one point during the tour you’ll come across a group of clowns who will eventually separate you from your group after they terrorize you of course. The variety of actors is great even if there are a couple of kids here and there.

Scare Affect-10: The House of Nightmares is a great example of how a haunt should be. From the wickedly creepy mansion to the great detail in the frightening rooms, it’s hard not to jump once or twice while touring.

Fright Value: While some haunts charge $10 or more and don’t deliver, The House of Nightmares does the polar opposite. It goes far and beyond the expectations of a haunt at $10 and delivers a creepy and traditional haunt.

Final Stab-10.0: Remember the creepy houses in old black and white horror movies. Well, The House of Nightmares embodies everything a haunt should. From its authentic Victorian mansion to the graveyard that’s nestled beside it, it’s a truly classic scare in every sense of the word.

Kentucky

The Baxter Avenue Morgue-“Death Chills The Air”

This was one of those cold nights that are perfect for visiting haunts. Pulling up to the morgue gives you a strange feeling of death and rightfully so. As you wait in line, a group of kids from a performing arts school performs “Thriller” for the waiting crowd. We paid for out tickets and got in line. It was finally our turn to enter the morgue.

Length-8: It lasted around 20 minutes but felt longer since there were scenes and props around every corner.

Design-10: What can I say? The design was flawless in my opinion. Baxter Avenue Morgue is much different than other haunts in that it doesn’t feel like you enter different rooms, but a long path of horror. There were many rooms such as the Spiderman room where cobwebs surround the wall as a guy attached to the ceiling grabs at you above as he slides across the ceiling. There were jail cells with crazed kids, meat locker room with heavy body bags. There were body parts attached to walls, doll rooms, walk through coffins and much more. There was one point where you see a girl lying on a bed being attacked by a transparent through ghost. That was pretty amazing.

Props/Animatronics-10: Body parts, cob webs, coffins, corpses and everything in between was at the morgue. Puppets could be seen dancing as they suddenly jump out at you. Hands come out from the wall to touch you. But my favorite prop had to be the transparent ghost who attacked a woman lying on the bed. That was amazing. I also enjoyed the spider man. The whole morgue was so full of props that I can’t remember them all.

Acting-10: At the beginning you’re welcomed by the owner of the morgue stating the rules. He said that there were doors with chickens painted on them if you were too scared to continue. This guy sets the mood. The acting was very good and even though kids were used it didn’t matter. Hunchback creatures and crazed kids walked the morgue along the way. One scene had a girl in a high chair being forced to eat her intestines by her sister. As you walk by, a crazed man licks the glass as blood covers his face. People can be seen hanging from hooks crying out for help while towards the end crazy kids are locked up behind bars fighting over stuffed animals. This one girl popped up everywhere asking if you wanted to play with her. She was pretty creepy as were all the actors at the Morgue.

Scare Affect-10: Just knowing that this once was a morgue gives you the chills. The acting and atmosphere mixed so well that it was hard not to be scared.

Fright Value-10: It’s amazing how much some haunts charge, but The Baxter Avenue Morgue is more of a haunting dream than a haunted house. It’s worth every penny of $15.

Final Stab-9.6: This is the real deal and you’ll have a hard time finding a haunt this good.

USS Nightmare-“All Aboard Your Trip to Terror”

Boy was it hard to find USS Nightmare. I’ve been there a million times and it was easy to get to Newport, but impossible to get around the stores and venues. If the lights had burnt out, it would have been like a dark maze you go through at your typical haunt. But it was worth it once we arrived. The crowd was small, but fear was in the air. We got our tickets and entered.

Length-10: Boy was this a long haunt and unlike some, there weren’t a lot of long pauses in between scenes. It lasted around 35 minutes.

Design-9: What a perfect setting, a haunted steamboat. Everything was so well put together. Some rooms I can’t forget are the dollhouse room, where dolls surrounded little Annie as blood dripped from her mouth. This time around, the boat looked more like a haunted tour with choreographed scenes and I love that. The rat lady was creepy with rats crawling all over her as was the girl who made you crawl through a doggie door or standard door in the Egyptian room. Then there were your standard rooms such as the meat locker, the fun house, ball pit and so on. There were some rooms, you’ll just have to go and see. If it weren’t for the area that had you walk outside the haunt and onto the deck, design would have gotten a 10.

Props/Animatronics-10: Any kind of animatronic you wanted to see was there. There was your raising Frankenstein, vortex tunnel, projecting corpses, haunted paintings, animated monsters and much more. But USS Nightmare has one of the biggest animatronics I’ve seen. It’s called The Impaler. It’s a 13-foot monster with long claws and a huge spear that lurks at you, as you pass by. It seemed as if most the animatronics were close up and in your face.

Acting-9: Some of the best acting in a haunt this year was at the Nightmare. I once criticized USS Nightmare for having a lack of actors, but this year it’s the opposite. When you first enter the boat, you are greeted by the rat lady who is covered with rats. That was a little weird. Some actors seemed to come from nowhere. If they didn’t scare you one time, they would pop up from somewhere else and do the same. Freddy clicked his nails as you entered the bowler room. Towards the end of the haunt you’re greeted by Leather Face who revs his chainsaw and screams at you. All in all, the characters stayed in their rules. If it weren’t for a few actors who just stood there staring at you, the acting would have gotten a 10.

Scare Affect-8: The actors and animatronics seemed to work together. While you were looking at an animated creature, an actor would jump out at you all of a sudden. The scare was as good as it was the first year I visited USS Nightmare.

Fright Value: This is the best-haunted ship/boat around and it’s worth the $14. On Thursdays and Sundays, you can use a $4 off coupon though.

Final Stab-9.2: USS Nightmare is back and the way it should be. It’s as good as when I first visited back in ’97.