The 2017 Haunt Awards

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A SEASON OUT OF THIS WORLD!
BY NOAH WULLKOTTE

Welcome to City Blood’s 2017 Haunt Awards. Let’s start off this celebration with a season in review. This was definitely a year to remember. A few haunts celebrated anniversaries including USS Nightmare and Land of Illusion. USS Nightmare had its 25th season while Land of Illusion is 20 years old. It’s amazing that in 1997 this large scream park was just a haunted trail known as Middletown Haunted Trail. Land of Illusion has become a great destination for fun and fright. There are 4 Haunted Houses, 1 haunted trail, Zombie Hunting, a Demon Drop, live shows, food and more. It’s quite impressive how this place has grown over time. USS Nightmare opened in 1993 and it’s truly a special haunt with one of the best locations. It doesn’t get much better than a haunted steamboat. You could say that they’re a floating ghost story with some haunting characters. You’ll hear a lot more about USS Nightmare later.

We toured a few new haunts including Carnage Haunted House in Columbus, OH, Ghoul Brothers House of Horrors in Akron, OH and others. Both Ghoul Brothers and Carnage Haunted House were exceptional. Carnage Haunted House has great set design and some unique characters. We liked how they had hidden Easter Eggs in different scenes and it was your job to find the surprises. One scene had a massive obese man who looked like he had passed away. His room was full of garbage and it made me think of the TV Show Hoarders. The taxidermined animals were strange and beautiful at the same time. Ghoul Brothers House of Horrors is pretty elaborate. You could say that we were shocked to see a pregnant Freddy Krueger at this Akron haunt. His water broke and we just wanted to get away from the Springwood Slasher as quickly as possible.

This year The 7th Street Haunt in Louisville, KY made some huge changes. Their attraction known as The Experiment has been replaced with something new. The public got the chance to vote on what the new attraction would be named and they chose Unit 732. The name is based off of Unit 731 which was a Japanese research and development unit that was involved in biological and chemical research. They experimented on humans during the second Sino-Japanese War of World War 2. This is a wild and crazy haunt with sick experiments, demented characters and more. The outside of The 7th Street Haunt now has an entertaining sideshow circus which includes the Bearded Lady, oddities and more. Fort Harmony’s Revenge was impressive. It’s pretty detailed and has a great cast of characters. Nana loves to rev up her invisible chainsaw and show you her TT’s.

ScareAtorium in Columbus, OH was much improved. It had a great soundtrack, dynamic lighting and more detail than ever before. It was a sensory overload. There’s a reason why they had record crowds this season. This is a damn good haunt! Face Your Fears Hotel of Terror in Springfield, OH has been one of our favorite haunts for years. This season, they made some dramatic changes. The new haunted lake was nerve wrecking, their swamp was scary and the soundtrack was better than ever. This is a place where the building will creep you out before you experience a single scene. The Mayhem Mansion in Morning View, KY is another haunt with a bone chilling location. Their 2 story haunted mansion is scary as hell and their actors are relentless. You’ll be pushed, grabbed, yelled at and forced to complete certain tasks. This is a unique haunt and one of the most underrated as well. They have some of the best young actors you’ll come across. Pay your respects to Elizabeth or else.

We made a return to Nightmare on Edgewood in Indianapolis, IN and I walked away with a smile on my face. Their Midnight Double Feature movie theater facade is quite impressive and their haunts offer a lot of variety in the way of scares. Nightmare on Edgewood has some of the best horror movie recreations and their actors are up close and personal. Their Jason Voorhees is pretty intimidating. One second we saw a young man in front of us and the next second he was being picked up and carried away by a killer clown. You could say that this haunt is hands on. Fright Manor is another fun haunt in Indianapolis, IN. This is an old school haunt with just about any type of scene you can imagine. Their Freddy Krueger is great and he kept appearing out of nowhere. The acting duo of Chuckles the Clown and Twinkles had us cracking up. 2017 was the final season at their current location and they have big plans for next year.

Other haunts we toured in Indiana include Hanna Haunted Acres in Indianapolis, Fear Factory in Batesville, Lost Soul Asylum in Aurora and Fear Fair in Seymour. Fear Factory reminded us of a Jaycees Haunted House from the 1980’s and Lost Soul Asylum was pretty fun. It’s on the short side, but there’s a variety of scenes and a talented young cast. Both are charity haunts. Hanna Haunted Acres wasn’t much different compared to previous years. Their Haunted Hayride will always be the standout attraction. It features impressive animatronics and one wild combine chase. The people next to us were scared to death.

Fear Fair in Seymour, IN made many changes. The Walking Dead Downtown Atlanta is now a 14th century town cursed by witches and you’re next to get the Black Plague. We’re always exited to see what this haunt has up its sleeve. The acting is great, the set design is jaw dropping and the props are impressive. Their cavern elevator is intense and the actors are one of a kind. This is one of the best haunts in the country. The Haunted Hotel was outstanding this season and the outside section has improved a lot. I still can’t get over how insane the actors are at this haunt. It’s one of the few places I visit where I get nervous before I enter. The Haunted Hotel is very unpredictable. It’s dark, gritty and scary as hell. No one has a better Hellevator or more insane chainsaw maniacs than The Haunted Hotel.

The Devil’s Attic in Louisville, KY is one of the most detailed haunts around and their dedication to creating realistic horror movie scenes is truly appreciated. Their new Egyptian room was quite impressive. The costumes and lighting at The Devil’s Attic are some of the best I’ve seen at any haunt. Asylum Haunted Scream Park in Louisville, KY once again delivered. This is a fun place and the haunts are great. Our favorite attraction is Zombie City. It’s like a living breathing survival horror video game. The acting is top notch and the zombies are intimidating.

Their haunted trail Darkness Falls on Asylum is nearly 30 minutes long and there are some great surprises. Who doesn’t enjoy sliding into a ball pit or having a witch flying over your head? If you enjoy shooting flesh eating zombies then you’re in for a treat with Xterminate Mutant Attack which now has mutant clowns. Their Zombie Hunting attraction is also very fun. Get ready to annihilate some zombies with your trusty paintball gun as you take a ride in a bus.

City Blood loves charity haunts and we’ve toured many this season. Mt. Healthy Haunted Hall is one we’ve been going to for many years. It opened in 1990 and it’s currently Cincinnati’s longest running haunt. Every season they have a new theme and this year it was the “holidays”. Some of the holiday scenes were very memorable. The homemade Krampus costume in the Christmas room was unexpected. Their vortex tunnel is always one of the best around and their dark maze is very confusing. The route is changed multiple times throughout the season.

The Haunted Schoolhouse and Laboratory in Akron, OH are under new ownership and both haunts have been overhauled big time. The Haunted Laboratory is like a brand new haunt with better theming and many new surprises. The Haunted Schoolhouse has new scenes and special effects, but much of what made both haunts unique still remains. Both haunts are more immersive and the actor controlled animatronics are fantastic. The addition of the Haunted Midway outside adds to the entertainment value. There’s carnival food, games, T-Shirts and more.

The Dent Schoolhouse was great as usual. The catacombs has 4,000 thousand skulls that decorate the walls and a woman is being sacrificed to the Necromancer. Watch her levitate. This is a haunt with amazing detail and some of the best eye candy. The haunt is decorated with old antiques and this is one of the best attractions around. The PTA Fun Festival has crazy clowns that are waiting to attack and there are many hair raising scenes you’ll experience. Zobo the Clown is waiting to snatch you up.

What can I say about Sandyland Acres Haunted Hayride? This is a haunt that’s consistently good year after year. Their horror movie scenes are very entertaining and the vehicle chases will get your heart racing. Their attraction Farmers Revenge is a haunted house that reminds me of a funhouse combined with a classic haunted house from the 70s or 80s. Sandyland Acres is a fun place to bring your family and friends to during the Halloween season.

Halloween Haunt wasn’t drastically different from last year, but this event has so much to offer. You’ve got thrill rides, haunts, live shows and much more. The new Dance of the Macabre Scare Zone was a nice addition. Enter a morbid masquerade party as you walk around the Eiffel Tower which had glowing eyes and razor sharp teeth. Kings Island really knows how to decorate the park. There are skeletons, high tech props, flames, tons of fog and more. The lighting is simple yet beautiful. Our favorite part of Halloween Haunt is their live show Hot Blooded. It combines rock music with hot babes, blood and singing.

Springboro Haunted Hayride and The Black Bog were brought back to life in the form of Brimstone Haunt in Wilminginton, OH. The producers of the Ohio Renaissance Festival, Celtic Fest Ohio and management from Springboro Haunted Hayride and Black Bog created something truly special at Renaissance Park. Brimstone Haunted Hayride is a blast and the Forgotten Forest is one of the best haunted trails. We were impressed with the acting the night we toured both attractions. The acting troupe known as Maul was there and they hit a home run with their unique characters and scary scenes. You have to check out Brimstone Haunt!

I’ve always wanted to visit Foy’s Halloween Stores in Fairborn, Ohio and this year I got the chance to. Fairborn, OH is a community with a population of 33,780 people and their annual Halloween Festival is one of their most popular events. They had a big Halloween parade the night before. We went on Saturday, October 21st and we were shocked at how crowded it was. We could barely move and there were vendors as far as the eye could see. Fairborn is known as Halloween Town for a reason. This town really knows how to celebrate All Hallows’ Eve. Foy’s Halloween Stores are a staple in Fairborn, OH. They have 5 Halloween Stores and one old fashioned diner. I have to say that I was a little disappointed with their haunt. Their Haunted Museum is very short. It’s $4 for adults, but it only lasted 2 minutes. It was mostly random props with a few actors. They did have a nice vortex tunnel though.

The most impressive part of the Halloween Festival was walking the streets of Fairborn, OH. There were so many impressive Halloween displays with big budget props. One house had their yard decorated with a massive grim reaper and Michael Myers. Another yard had an elaborate animated pirate ship that must have taken forever to build. The Fairborn Zombie Walk just had a few zombies. I loved the town of Fairborn. It reminded me of a modern day Mayberry and I can see why their festival is so popular. It’s good ole Halloween fun.

We finished off our season with a trip to Louisville, KY for the annual Jack-O’-Lantern Spectacular. For years we’ve wanted to go to this event and we were impressed to say the least. Every type of jack-o’-lantern you can think of is on display and each section has its own soundtrack. There are traditional jack-o’-lanterns and many professionally carved ones as well. One of my favorites was the angry lion pumpkin. There are few events that perfectly embody the Halloween spirit and the Louisville Jack-O’-Lantern Spectacular is one of them. It can get pretty crowded, but it’s well worth it.

Swamp scenes here, swamps scenes there, swamp scenes everywhere. Just about every other haunt we toured had their own unique take on the swamp scene. One had trees and another had a serial killer chasing a woman through the thick fog. There were many great haunts we toured this season, but only one could reign supreme. The moment you’ve all been waiting for. City Blood’s 2017 Haunt of the Year is……..


#1: USS Nightmare (Newport, KY)
USS Nightmare is one of the best haunts in the country and they celebrate their 25th season of screams. Last year, they introduced their impressive crash simulator where it feels like the boat is rocking back and forth. Being sea sick is the least of your worries as the boat violently crashes. You’ll learn the dark and twisted history of the boat as you pray that you’ll survive. USS Nightmare is a very unique haunt. You’ll explore different areas of the boat including the sleeping quarters, machine shop, laboratory, dinning room and more. Watch out for the man eating Impaler Monster!

USS Nightmare has a crazy cast of characters including Anna, her father William S. Mitchell, a mutant pig like creature, a mad doctor and so on. This is a haunt that has stood the test of time. One of the newest additions is their swamp scene. Get lost in the dense fog as it’s illuminated with green lights. Experience the boat like never before with the new RIP Experience. You’ll enter areas of the boat previously unseen and complete different tasks in order to escape. It’s a more intense version of USS Nightmare with elements of an escape room and it’s well worth the extra charge.

USS Nightmare really brought their A game this year. The acting was fantastic, some of the makeup was grotesque and it was a spooky good time. Everything this season was superb. The props were great including their vortex tunnel with changing lights and a psychotic clown. The music and sound effects were impressive as well. We congratulate USS Nightmare on becoming City Blood’s 2017 Haunt of the Year. You’ll definitely be creeped out by the sight of this haunted steamboat and you’ll have the ship scared out of you!

THE REST OF THE TOP 10 HAUNTS!
2: The Haunted Hotel (Louisville, KY)
3: The Dent Schoolhouse (Cincinnati, OH)
4: ScareAtorium (Columbus, OH)
5: The Haunted Schoolhouse (Akron, OH)
6: The Haunted Laboratory (Akron, OH)
7: Fear Fair (Seymour, IN)
8: Zombie City at Asylum Haunted Scream Park (Louisville, KY)
9: The Mayhem Mansion (Morning View, KY)
10: Forgotten Forest at Brimstone Haunt (Wilmington, OH)


Only haunts we toured during the 2017 season are considered for the Haunt Awards. This was a frightfully fun year!

Best Ohio Haunt
The Dent Schoolhouse

Best Kentucky Haunt
USS Nightmare

Best Indiana Haunt
Fear Fair

Scariest Haunted Trail
Zombie City at Asylum Haunted Scream Park

Scariest Haunted Hayride
Sandyland Acres Haunted Hayride

Scariest Scream Park
Land of Illusion Haunted Scream Park

Best Bang For Your Buck
Land of Illusion Haunted Scream Park

Most Intense Haunt
The Haunted Hotel

Most Physical Haunt
The Mayhem Mansion

Most Interactive Haunt
Zombie City at Asylum Haunted Scream Park

Best Old School Haunt
The Mayhem Mansion

Most Improved
ScareAtorium

Most Entertaining Side Attraction (not a haunt)
Hot Blooded at Halloween Haunt

Best Acting
Zombie City at Asylum Haunted Scream Park

Best Actor
Damien Reaper played by Daniel Ruwan at Forgotten Forest

Best Actress
Survivor played by Emily-Jo Banks at Zombie City

Most Impressive Young Cast
The Mayhem Mansion

Best Young Actor
Female Vampire played by Layla Sackett at USS Nightmare

Best Queue Line Actors
The 7th Street Haunt

Best Queue Line Actor
Nana played by April Hack at The 7th Street Haunt

Best Headless Horseman
Brimstone Haunted Hayride’s Megan Frazier

Most Convincing Freddy Krueger
Fright Manor’s Freddy Krueger played by Justin Danz

Most Unique Characters
Carnage Haunted House

Most Blood Thirsty Vampires
USS Nightmare

Most Twisted Hillbillies
Voodoo Bayou Shanty at Land of Illusion Haunted Scream Park

Most Ravenous Zombies
Zombie City at Asylum Haunted Scream Park

Most Wicked of Witches
Darkness Falls on Asylum

Craziest Clowns
Rip’s Funhouse at ScareAtorium

Most Insane Lunatics
ScareAtorium’s Northland Asylum

Most Sadistic Chainsaw Maniacs
The Haunted Hotel

Most Out of this World Aliens
The Haunted Laboratory

Most Convincing Victims
Face Your Fears Hotel of Terror

Best Costumes
The Devil’s Attic

Best Costume
Face Your Fears Wild Boar Creature on Stilts

Best Makeup
USS Nightmare

Most Horrifying Masks
The Haunted Schoolhouse

Best Mask
The Devil at The Devil’s Attic

Best Design
The Dent Schoolhouse

Best Lighting
The Devil’s Attic

Best Sound
USS Nightmare

Scariest Scene
Malfunctioning Ellevator (AKA Hellevator) at The Haunted Hotel

Best New Scene
Haunted Lake at Face Your Fears Hotel of Terror

Best Actor Driven Opening Scene
Lucian Tomes Jr. who plays The Curator at Ft. Harmony’s Revenge

Most Jaw Dropping Set
Catacombs with 4,000 skulls at The Dent Schoolhouse

Most Intense Vehicle Chase
Hanna Haunted Hayride’s Combine Chase

Best Aerial Scare
Flying Witch at Darkness Falls on Asylum

Scariest Location
Mayhem Mansion’s 2 Story Haunted Mansion

Most Unique Location
USS Nightmare’s Haunted Steamboat

Most Realistic Graveyard/Cemetery
New Orleans Above Ground Crypts at Fear Fair

Most Memorable Swamp Scene
USS Nightmare

Most Confusing Dark Maze
Mt. Healthy Haunted Hall

Most Realistic Horror Movie Scenes
The Devil’s Attic

Most Impressive Facade
Double Feature Movie Theater at Nightmare on Edgewood

Most Spooktacular Queue Line
Fall Festival at The Dent Schoolhouse

Best Props
The Dent Schoolhouse

Most Impressive Prop
USS Nightmare’s Crash Simulator

Most Unique Prop
Last Ride Angel of Death Hearse at Halloween Haunt

Most Frightening Animatronic Monster
Necromancer at The Dent Schoolhouse

Best Actor Controlled Prop
Bad Seed Killer Pumpkin at The Haunted Schoolhouse

Most Vomit Inducing Vortex Tunnel
USS Nightmare

Best Hellevator
The Haunted Hotel

Most Mind Bending 3D Effects
Rip’s Funhouse at ScareAtorium

Most Eye Catching CGI Effects
Fear Fair’s Cavern Elevator

Hottest Flame Effects
Brimstone Haunted Hayride

Best Use of Darkness
Fright Manor

Best Use of Fog
Halloween Haunt at Kings Island

Best Use of Water
The Dent Schoolhouse

Most Bone Chilling Backstory
The Mayhem Mansion

Most Halloween Spirit
The Dent Schoolhouse

What The Hell Moment of the Year
Pregnant Freddy Krueger at Ghoul Brothers House of Horrors

Best Photo Op/Photo Op Stations
The Dent Schoolhouse

Best Concessions
Sandyland Acres Haunted Hayride

Most Reasonable Concessions
Mt. Healthy Haunted Hall

Best Haunt Apparel
The Haunted Schoolhouse and Laboratory

Most Professional Website
The Dent Schoolhouse

Most Impressive Haunt Trailer
ScareAtorium

Best Special Event (Not A Haunt)
Louisville Jack-O’-Lantern Spectacular