Land of Illusion 2009 Review

Land of Illusion Haunted Theme Park

Land of Illusion is one of the most successful haunts in the state of Ohio. What once started out as a mere haunted trail has expanded into a haunted theme park with a variety of haunts, concession stand, live bands, dance floor, gift shop and much more. If you are wanting to have a fun frightful night with friends or family Land of Illusion is the place to be. If there isn’t something you can find entertaining at Land of Illusion then you must not have a pulse.

This year Land of Illusion has been ranked number 31 on Hauntworld’s top haunt list along with 3 other Ohio haunts that share the honor of being one of America’s best attractions. No longer can Land of Illusion be considered just a well known Ohio haunt. Now it’s nationally known and rightfully so. The night we visited the lot was rather empty, but business soon picked up 2 hours later. We were excited to say the least because Land of Illusion is just an all around fun experience that people look forward to year after year and so do we.

Middletown Haunted Trail-“Terrifying Trails Await You”
Arguably the most popular haunt at Land of Illusion is Middletown Haunted Trail. It’s fun, frightening and lasts a long time. If you are wanting to only purchase one ticket for a haunt at Land of Illusion your best bet is this classic haunted trail.

Length-10: This classic haunted trail has a variety of different scenes to easily fill nearly 30 minutes worth of haunting entertainment. Middletown Haunted Trail is one of the longest haunts in Ohio with over a mile’s worth of terrain to navigate through.

Design-8: Middletown Haunted Trail consists of many scenes ranging from contemporary to your more traditional themes that you’ve come to expect. Some favorites include Cherry Hill, a bus taken over by ghostly prisoners, hillbilly shacks, a haunted forest, Area 49 and so much more. One of the major additions this year is the new expansive graveyard which contains realistic turf grass and authentic looking tombstones.

Props/Animatronics-8: Middletown Haunted Trail is an unusual Ohio haunted trail because it utilizes many high end animatronics. Many haunted trails you’ll come across in Ohio stick to budget props or homemade animatronics while Middletown Haunted Trail spares no expense when it comes to eye candy. You’ll come across a headless horseman, monsters rising from water, a falling ceiling and all the impressive animated scares you’ve come to expect from this haunt. New animatronics that have recently come out would enhance the experience for those who visit this haunt annually.

Acting-7: Unfortunately on the night we visited there were many scenes that didn’t have many characters. The actors we came in contact with lacked impressive makeup or prosthetics. The addition of a highly talented makeup artist would help create more convincing characters. We also didn’t see any queue line actors which was rather disappointing. Queue line characters are really great in helping people pass the time as they wait in the line for the haunt. They also get customers excited about the haunt they are about to experience.

Scare Effect-7: There were very few moments that had me jumping out of my skin and a few times I was able to see where the actors were hiding. More emphasis needs to be put on acting for Middletown Haunted Trail to be a scarier haunt. You can have the best props the haunt industry has to offer, but if your acting is poor your haunt will suffer in trying to scare people.

Fright Value: For $15 Middle Haunted Trail is the best haunt for your money at Land of Illusion. With over 30 minutes worth of entertainment you can’t beat this price. 

Final Stab-8.0: Middletown Haunted Trail is one of the best known haunts in Ohio today. If it’s your first year to go through the trail you will be blown away, but if you are a returning customer you may be disappointed. Not enough changes have been made to make this haunt drastically different from last year.

Dr. Psycho’s Haunted Estate is easily the most underrated haunt at Land of Illusion and always has the shortest line at the theme park. It’s puzzling how the most high tech and over the top haunt is the least popular and has had the smallest ticket price over the years. Dr. Psycho’s Haunted Estate is a true gem among the haunts at Land of Illusion.
Length-8: Your journey through the haunted estate will last around 15 minutes and after you exit you are begging for more. This haunt never lets up and always has something emerging from the darkness rather it be an actor or animated scare.
Design-8: Half of Dr. Psycho’s Haunted Estate takes place outside while the rest of the haunt is inside an actual house. This is what sets this haunt apart from the other haunts at Land of Illusion. The first portion of Dr. Psycho’s has you traveling through a haunted graveyard full of animatronics and pneumatic props popping out every which way you turn.
After you’re done walking through the graveyard you’ll then step foot into the haunted estate which has some very detailed sets with incredible lighting that dims off and on. Scenes include a haunted dinning room full of ghouls, a mad scientist’s laboratory, a bloody slaughter house and much more. Dr. Psycho’s Haunted Estate could be a perfectly designed haunt if more time and effort was put into the large graveyard in the beginning. It just feels that some of the graveyard was added so it would be a lengthier haunt.
Props/Animatronics-9: Words can’t describe the amount of impressive animatronics that are in Dr. Psycho’s Haunted Estate and they go perfectly with each scene they are in. The only downfall is that many of the props in the large graveyard are very similar and after a while they start to loose their impact and become repetitive. More variety could go a long way in improving the first half of Dr. Psycho’s Haunted Estate. But once you step inside the haunted estate you will be blown away. Everything from a shaking exorcist bed to corpses bursting out of walls can be seen. I would love to go into detail about some of the animatronics that you’ll encounter, but I don’t want to ruin some of the surprises.
Acting-7: This haunt’s strong points are its use of high end animatronics and detailed sets. More then likely you aren’t going to be blown away by the characters you come across. But that’s ok since the rest of the haunt is that good. Most of the actors compliment the scenes well, but the impressive array of eye candy is the highlight of this haunt.
Scare Effect-8: Dr. Psycho’s Haunted Estate achieves what many haunts can’t create and that is the sense that you are in an a building that is actually haunted. Yes, the actors aren’t very good, but this can be overlooked due to how great the rest of the haunt is. This is a creepy haunt you shouldn’t miss out on.
Fright Value: Dr. Psycho’s Haunted Estate used to be priced at $10, but this year the ticket price has been increased by $5 making it a $15 haunt. Although this is a great haunt, it’s not worth $15 because of its short length and mediocre acting. You have to remember that if it takes you 15 minutes at the most to go through Dr. Psycho’s Haunted Estate then you are paying $1 a minute which is pretty high for a haunt of this caliber. Make sure to purchase a combo ticket so you can go through all four haunts at Land of Illusion for only $30.
Final Stab-8.0: This is easily one of my favorite haunts at Land of Illusion, but nothing has really changed much since 2008. Most of the scenes are the same and not many new animatronics have been added. Either way you will be impressed by the incredible sets and animated scares at Dr. Psycho’s Haunted Estate.
Temple of Terror is back to quench your appetite for shear horror. There are few temple themed haunts in Ohio and this is one of the best you’ll experience this year. The temple gods are angry. Will you survive their wrath? This is Land of Illusion’s Temple of Terror!
Length-8: Your journey though the haunted temple will last from 10-15 minutes depending on how well you can navigate through many of the dark corridors leading into scenes. There are very few dead spots and always something waiting for you on the other side.
Design-8: Temple of Terror is a combination of Indiana Jones meets The Mummy. Scenes are modeled after ancient ruins, haunted caves, a spooky swamp and much more. While many of the scenes are rather detailed the areas in between sets can be somewhat dull with little decor. The entire experience is very immersive, but could use some more time and effort in connecting areas of the haunt to create an overall more realistic experience.
Props/Animatronics-9: Temple of Terror is one of the most state of art haunts in Ohio. Nearly ever scene features some type of animated prop. These include a falling ceiling, moving walls, massive creatures from beyond, screaming ghouls and much more.
Acting-7: The majority of attractions at Land of Illusion primarily focus on high tech props and unfortunately this is the major downfall of Temple of Terror. When it comes to haunts actors are what bring scenes to life while animatronics serve as distractions. The addition of queue line characters and more detailed makeup and prosthetics would help greatly in making Temple of Terror a more frightening haunt.
Scare Effect-7: Temple of Terror is a very dark haunt and you never know what you are about to see at the next turn you take. Unfortunately a few of the animatronics weren’t timed correctly and have to refill with air. There were also a few times where a couple actors were easily spotted.
Fright Value: I can’t believe that the price of admission to each haunt has increased. Last year Temple of Terror was reasonable at only $12 for admission, but this year the price is $15. This is a Hollywood style haunt with some impressive sets and animatronics, but the poor acting and somewhat short length make this haunt not worth the price of admission.
Final Stab-7.8: Nothing has drastically changed since last year and if you are a returning customer you will be disappointed with Temple of Terror. But if it’s your first year experiencing this attraction then you will surely be blown away. I just wish that more money was invested in acting instead of all the fancy props and sets that so many people expect. I’s fun, but not frightening.
When Killer Klowns was first introduced in 2005 I was a little unsure what to think. It was somewhat creative, but nothing stood out. But in 2008 it got a facelift and went 3D. Over the years this haunt has grown on me and has become a staple of Land of Illusion. Rather you love clown themed haunts or not, you’re still going to have a fun time when you go through Killer Klowns in 3D.
Length-7: This can be a somewhat short haunt depending on how well you navigate through its steel maze. But the majority of people will be able to exit this haunt between 10 and 12 minutes which is about average for most haunts.
Design-7: Major money has been invested in Killer Klowns. There are many clown themed haunts around the country that use 3D paint, but Killer Klowns has some of the best the industry has to offer. The attention to detail in the different paintings is impressive and the crazy art jumps out at you while you wear your 3D glasses. There aren’t many new scenes that you’ll notice, but the 3D paint makes the rooms quite stunning. The most memorable room most people remember is the outdoor steel maze that is inhabited by killer Klowns at every corner. Good luck in trying to make it out alive.
Props/Animatronics-7: There are many impressive props in Killer Klowns, but at a point they become quite repetitive because they are all clown themed. After you’ve seen one clown dummy you’ve seen them all and many of the animatronics just aren’t very frightening. They go great with the rooms they are in, but none are really that original. You’ll see hanging clowns, large jack in the boxes, static clown dummies and much more. There also seems to be an issue with some of the audio the animatronics use. Instead of clowns laughing they are screaming and it doesn’t really make too much sense considering the theme.
Acting-7: There are no developed characters in Killer Klowns and most of the actors rely on being funny instead of scary. An acting coach and scripted lines would help with this major problem that this haunt seems to have every year. When I go through a haunt I want to be convinced that these characters I’m interacting with are real and not just paid actors. Most of the actors you’ll come across just don’t seem to be taking it seriously enough and are just goofing around because that’s what they feel their character should be doing.
Scare Effect-7: For the life of me I will never understand some people’s fear of clowns, but many people have this deep seeded fear. If you are scared of clowns you are in for a real treat when going through killer clowns. The majority of the public will be entertained by the funny characters they come across instead of being truly scared like you would be with a typical haunted house.
Fright Value: $15 is an awful high price considering how short this haunt is compared to Middletown Haunted Trail which is priced the same, but is more than twice as long. Last year the ticket price for Killer Klowns was $10. So this is a $5 increase without any major changes. Please purchase a $30 combo so you are able to go through each haunt at Land of Illusion for only $7.50 each.
Final Stab-7.0: You can probably tell by now that I’m not a huge fan of clown themed haunts, but many people are. Killer Klowns is one of the better clown themed haunts out there and is fun while it lasts. You’ll have a hysterically good time.
Rather you love haunts or not Land of Illusion will have something you are sure to enjoy. There’s a big reason they’ve been around for so many years with massive crowds later in the season. They offer variety and a reason to spend hours of your time at one location. So come on out to Land of Illusion this Halloween season and hopefully you’ll walk away in one piece instead of pieces.