The Dent Schoolhouse (Cincinnati, OH)
“Cincinnati’s Halloween Tradition“
By Noah Wullkotte: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cincinnati’s Halloween tradition returns for its 14th season of scares. I’m of course speaking of The Dent Schoolhouse. This haunt is known world wide as one of the best around and it’s hard to disagree. An old boarded up school has red lights shining on its brick exterior. Bikes are chained to a rusty bike rack and there’s not a soul in sight. I hope to god those innocent school children come back in one piece. A school bus sits there empty. There’s an eerie silence and suddenly screams can be heard off in the distance. Are these victims crying for help or are they spirits trapped in the schoolhouse? You’ll soon find out.
The Dent Schoolhouse is an extremely elaborate haunted attraction and the queue line is something truly special. Enter a fall festival where it can be a bit overwhelming. There’s a lot to take in and we haven’t even entered the haunt yet. A Costume Contest Booth is decorated with a plethora of jack-o’-lanterns that are synchronized to Halloween music. It’s very entertaining. The queue line features vampires, a small cornfield, various monsters and much more. Did that scarecrow just move or was it my imagination? There are many festival booths like the kissing booth, a witches brew, a selfie station and so forth.
The real fun begins when you step foot into the schoolhouse. It’s like you’ve entered your favorite horror movie and you have a starring role as one of the helpless victims. This isn’t your run of the mill haunt in any sense of the word. To say that the set design is awe inspiring is a true understatement if I ever heard one. Practically every room is filled with amazing detail and over the top props. The creative team at The Dent Schoolhouse gets a round of applause from me.
The catacombs consist of over 4,000 skulls that line the walls. A 15 foot corpse like creature known as the Necromancer is looking to snatch up some souls. He makes a helpless girl levitate off the ground. The Dent Schoolhouse can be very immersive at times. The trash heap is full of body parts and human remains. Walk through the flesh covered tunnel as a poor girl screams out for help. The Dent Schoolhouse spares no expense when it comes to production value and it’s a very realistic experience. The school is full of old antiques. There’s also plenty of rust, dust and spooky goodness.
The Dent Schoolhouse features various scenes that you would experience inside an actual schoolhouse. This includes the cafeteria, biology class and much more. The school dance has high levels of paranormal activity and lost souls dressed as ghosts dance the night away. Ghouls, ghosts and even insects have taken over The Dent Schoolhouse. The Orkin Man would have a field day as he tries to fight off an army of mutant cockroaches. Spiders run rampant in the casket room and there’s a massive man eating snake you’ll meet along the way. Even the school’s pet rat is larger than a Rottweiler.
The Dent Schoolhouse doesn’t play around when it comes to set design. There’s eye candy galore. This is a jaw dropping haunt. If you’re not impressed by the attention to detail then you need your head examined because it’s world class. The playroom has massive demonic toys that want to kill you. You’ll come face to face with human sized dolls that block your path and you must walk around them to escape.
The carnival is home to Ka’Blamo Mortem who is played by the legendary actor Daniel Ruwan. Daniel is best known for playing Damien Reaper throughout the years, but his twisted clown character is a great addition to this year’s Dent Schoolhouse. Another great actor is none other than Andrew Becker. He can be seen in the basement playing a serial killer with a sack on his head. His character’s name is The Creep and boy is he creepy. He’s been an actor at The Dent Schoolhouse since 2007 and his character is always one we look forward to seeing.
(“You can watch a synchronized pumpkin light show while you wait in line!”)
Dent’s newest character goes by the name of Dr. Dent. This isn’t your everyday physician. He’s not what you would call conventional. Just imagine Dr. Frankenstein with a mutated face and an appetite for destruction. He’s sick and depraved to put it lightly. You’ll soon find out what Experiment DS6 is all about. This over the top scene features Frankenstein’s Monster, an electric chair and much much more. It’s quite electrifying if I must say so.
The majority of the rooms are themed after an old dilapidated schoolhouse. Then there are scenes that are pretty random, but they’re gorgeous none the less. The sewer has green glowing toxic waste. You better be careful of you might get infected. There are many high tech animatronics that you’ll encounter and quite a few detailed static props. Some students bang their heads against the chalk board while others can be seen hanging from hooks in the basement.
The Dent Schoolhouse has plenty of Halloween spirit. One room is full of jack-o’-lanterns, severed heads and a girl who has her face carved like a pumpkin. If I had any complaints it would be that the outside portion featuring a maze of school buses could be improved. It’s somewhat anticlimactic. Walking through the soap suds is interesting, but it didn’t add much to the experience. It seemed somewhat out of place.
The Dent Schoolhouse is one of those attractions you always hear people talking about. There’s just so much that’s impressive about this place. The makeup is grotesque, the set design is beautiful and the animatronics are cutting edge. This is the real deal and a haunt we wouldn’t miss for the world. After you survived The Dent Schoolhouse, you’ll get in line for their second attraction called Queen City Slaughter Yard. Queen City Slaughter Yard is the polar opposite. I would call Queen City Slaughter Yard a haunted maze instead of a typical haunt. If you love chainsaws then you’re in for a treat.
It seemed like everywhere we turned there was some type of psychopath with a gas powered chainsaw. Queen City Slaughter Yard is a much gorier attraction compared to The Dent Schoolhouse. There are plenty of severed limbs, hanging slabs of meat, bloody livestock and many victims. There are also some very large props that might catch people off guard because they make physical contact. This haunt is intense at times, but I feel that there should be fewer chainsaws since they stop being effective after a while. Sometimes less is more. Queen City Slaughter Yard was 8 minutes long while The Dent Schoolhouse was 15. Queen City Slaughter Yard has not been scored.
General admission on Thursday & Sunday is $20, $22 on Friday and $25 on Saturday. Add $20 to the ticket price for Fast Pass Admission and you can go straight to the front of the line for $30 more. Have a group of 20 or more people and get $5 off per ticket. It’s cash only at The Dent Schoolhouse, but an ATM is onsite. Ghost Tours are Wednesdays in October and the Lights on Tour is on October 27th. Ghost Tour tickets are $40 a person and Lights on Tour tickets are $10 per adult and $7 for children 10 and under. Regular tickets are only $15 on Halloween night.
Lights Out – ZoBo’s Revenge 2.0 is where you only have a glow stick as your light source and it takes place on November 1st and 2nd. General admission is $25, and a Fast Pass is $40 (online discount). General admission Touch Pass is $35 and a Touch Pass Fast Pass is $50. A Christmas Nightmare is on December 6th, 7th, 13th and 14th. General admission is $25, Fast Pass $45 and Front of the Line is $55. It’s 6 PM – 11 PM on all dates for Christmas event. Please visit www.frightsite.com for details on special events. This includes, pricing, dates, times, etc.
Parking is free. It’s available at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Cincinnati Christ Hospital up the street. It’s secure since it’s watched over by the Green Township Police and there’s lots of lighting. Please be aware that the haunt gets very crowded on Friday and Saturday nights. So, we definitely recommend that you visit on Thursday or Sunday where you won’t be waiting nearly as long.
There are plenty of tasty treats and refreshments available at the concession stand. You’ve got Twizzlers, M&M’s, Hot Dogs, Caramel Apples, Coke, Sprite and much more. There’s plenty of Merchandise for sale that includes T-Shirts, pins etc. Don’t forget to pick up your photo that was taken earlier. Prices vary depending on if it’s a regular photo, 3-D Photo or a combo package. There are also plenty of photo-op stations where you can take your own picture.
The Dent Schoolhouse has a legendary reputation for a reason. The attention to detail is bar none, the acting is great and the props are some of the best. You owe it to yourself to make a trip out to the one and only Dent Schoolhouse. I would like to dedicate this review to the memory of Allie Kurtz who passed away in a boat fire. She was only 25 and worked at The Dent Schoolhouse in 2010. She will not be forgotten.
Length-8 Design-10 Props/Animatronics-10 Acting-9 Scare Effect-8
Final Stab: 9.0