Land of Illusion 2008 Review

Middletown Haunted Trail-“Another Year of Startling Fear
One of the longest running haunted trails in the state of Ohio returns for another you to strike at your deepest and darkest fears. The line was surprising long for how early it was in the haunt season, but there is a good reason for that. This is a quality haunted trail that has stood the test of time and seems to be consistently good year after year.

Length-10: Your twisted tour through nearly a mile of terror will take anywhere from 25-30 minutes to survive. Many of the usual dead spots have been filled with actors, sets or props to take its place.

Design-8: Unlike Temple of Terror, Killer Klowns and Dr.Psycho’s Haunted Estate Middletown Haunted Trail doesn’t rely on one set theme. There are a variety of scenes that are sure to stir up some of your deepest fears. These include a bone yard, Area 51 infected area, a junk yard, wooden maze and much more. While there aren’t any new major scenes that will make your mouth drop in shock everything seems to fit together perfectly as you go from one room to the next.

Props/Animatronics-8: Most haunted trails you’ll come across use cheap homemade props that have been made to withstand harsh weather. This sure isn’t the case with Middletown Haunted Trail. The shear amount of high end animatronics from companies like Scare Factory and Scare Parts takes a seamlessly ordinary haunted trail to another level. You’ll come across alien creatures, a rising Headless Horseman and much more of the impressive eye candy you’ve come to expect from Middletown Haunted Trail. Please make sure to visit the gift shop to view a model of one of the alien beasts that inhabits the area 51 scene.

Acting-8: This year the trail seems to be littered with fresh young actors who are enthusiastic in the roles they’re playing. There aren’t any real stand out characters, but the majority of actors compliment the scenes they reside in.

Scare Effect-8: Walking on a dark and twisted path on a moon lit night always creates a spooky effect as you wait to see what lurks around the corner. Middletown Haunted Trail has a good mixture of well timed props and intense actors waiting to startle.

Fright Value: $15 for 30 minutes of fear is a bargain and when you purchase a comb ticket you can tour each and every haunt at Land of Illusion for the incredible price of $7.50 each. Where else can you tour haunts of this caliber for the price of 2 gallons of gas?

Final Stab: 8.4: The first haunt of the season hasn’t left us disappointed for the most part. While I would have liked to have seen some major improvements, I was still impressed with the areas that have been fine tuned. Many of the dead spots where little to nothing is going on have been erased while new enthusiastic actors have been thrown into the mix to make the trail seem fresh and new. Overall this is one of the best years for Middletown Haunted Trail.

Killer Klowns in 3D-“Fright Can Be Funny”
$65,000 worth of 3D paint has been invested in turning Killer Klowns into a creepy 3D adventure. But with the new in your face 3D paint will the new haunt be a big enough improvement over the original Killer Klowns?

Length-7: Depending on how long it takes to escape the outdoor maze it may take anywhere from 10-15 minutes to exit.
Design-7: The 3D paint used on the walls of Killer Klowns is downright impressive to the point of where you feel that objects are floating in mid air. But the impressive art work that decorates the walls can’t make up for the lack of creative rooms you’ll venture through. While there are some new rooms here and there, there’s nothing that sticks out. For many haunt owners it’s difficult to come up with fresh new ideas for a clown themed haunt since every idea imaginable has been used. In the near future I would like to see a possible story line be implemented into Killer Klowns which has the story progress from scene to scene. This would truly make the customer part of the haunt.
Acting-7: The major focus of this year’s Killer Klowns is the 3D effects while making the acting a minor part of the haunt. When doing this it creates more of a fun house atmosphere instead of a frightening experience. The addition of an acting coach to help new actors develop their characters would take this haunt to another level. Right now the characters rely on just being silly and while it’s funny at first, it gets old after a while.
Props/Animatronics-7: There aren’t any major high end animatronics at Killer Klowns, but the props used have been altered perfectly to fit the clown theme.
Scare Effect-7: Killer Klowns is the least frightening haunt at Land of Illusion. As people become more accustomed to clown themed haunts their fear of clowns is going to wear off. Years ago when this haunt was first introduced at Land of Illusion it was fresh and new, but even with the addition of 3D effects its starting to become less frightening and more of a sight seeing adventure than a haunt.
Fright Value: $10 is a deal for a haunt that uses some of the most impressive 3D effects around. Make sure to buy a combo ticket and only pay $7.50 per haunt.
Final Stab-7.0: Something major needs to be done with Killer Klowns. Customers are getting bored with the standard 3D haunt and are craving something dramatically different. Personally I feel that the bright fluorescent paint needs to be done away with. This haunt would benefit from being dark and twisted instead of fun and playful.
A dimly lit graveyard can be seen off in the distance as lights flash on and off in a creepy decrepit house. Do you dare to enter Dr.Psycho’s Estate?
Length-8: Your journey through the old and decrepit estate will take 15 minutes or less to walk through. It’s a Hell of a ride while it lasts.
Design-8: Dr.Psycho’s Haunted Estate has always been an elaborate haunt that takes high tech scares and scenery to another level. Before you even enter into the estate you’ll travel through a haunted graveyard leading to the spooky haunted house. The way the rooms blend together is seamless and in the end you feel as if you are walking through an actual haunted house possessed by spirits. Rooms include a haunted graveyard, Exorcist possession room, bloody meat locker, bloody laboratory and so much more.
Props/Animatronics-9: This is a high tech haunt to say the least. Almost every single room has some type of animated scare or frightening effect. Unfortunately many of the air compressors used for the animatronics are very loud to the point where they drown out the sound of the prop. But either way you look at this is a very professional Hollywood style haunt.
Acting-8: Just like with Temple of Terror, Dr. Psycho’s Haunted Estate doesn’t rely very much on actors. But the shear amount of animatronics makes up for the lack of acting. The addition of actors in various rooms would take the scares to another. Having too many props has an opposite effect where people are so used to them popping out of a scene that they’re able to point them out a mile away.
Scare Effect-8: Dr.Psycho’s Haunted Estate’s only downfall is its lack of actors and lack of change. Actors give people the sense that they are in danger while at the same time they know they’re in good hands. An animated prop will have the same effect every time you walk in front of it while an actor brings something new every time.
Fright Value: $10 is a great deal considering how over the top this haunt truly is. Buy a combo ticket and you’ll only be spending $7.50 per haunt. Where else in Ohio can you get a deal like that?
Final Stab-8.2: Dr.Psycho;s Haunted Estate is one of the best haunts at Land of Illusion. But if you are a returning customer you may not be impressed by the same rooms you’ve been seeing for years. This could be a reason why the lines are so short for this haunt. With the addition of new scenes and more actors this haunt could easily be one of the best in the state of Ohio.
A dark cursed temple can be seen off in the distance. Screams can be heard within as people scream in terror as they leave. Will you be able to handle the cursed temple of will you be the next victim at Temple of Terror?
Length-8: Your adventure through the cursed temple will take you around 15 minutes. There are very few dead spots, but the addition of a few more actors would help with areas that only include props.
Design-8: As you may have guessed Temple of Terror is modled after a cursed temple. As you enter the que line you’ll immediately notice the intricate enscrptions on the walls while army netting is hung from above. This over the top haunt is well themed, but lacks dynamic lighting. Improved lighting would help showcase the highly detailed scenes and props that people have come to expect from Temple of Terror. There have been a couple of scenes added here and there, but nothing dramatic enough to remember. Scenes you’ll experience are an ancient cave, simulated earth quake, walls that come alive and much more.
Props/Animatronics-9: There’s no doubt that Temple of Terror’s biggest strength is its over the top animatronics. But unfortunatley the majority of these animated props aren’t well lit. You can spend thousands of dollars on props, but if you don’t showcase them with great lighting you aren’t getting your money’s worth. Great lighting really brings scenes and props to life. Many of the props you’ll come across are from Scare Factory and Unit 70 Studios and thankfully they all coinside with the temple theme. You’ll see angry natives, massive beasts, flying ghouls and so much more.
Acting-8: Temple of Terror isn’t a haunt that is known for great acting, but over the years this has improved. This year actors have been placed in darker areas of the haunt so they are better hidden within scenes. But once they jump out to scare you, there are very few lines they speak. But as usual the high end animatronics and props are the star of this haunt.
Scare Effect-8: Temple of Terror is an unnerving haunt to say the least. The scenes are very dark and when you least expect it a prop is activated. The haunt is convincing enough to make you feel as if you are in an actual haunted temple.
Fright Value: $12 is a great deal for a haunt of  this quality. Obviously much time has been spent detailing scenes, setting up props and creating a great atmosphere. Be sure to purchase a combo ticket and pay only $7.50 for each haunt at Land of Illusion.
Final Stab-8.2: Temple of Terror is always one of the better haunts at Land of Illusion, but has the shortest line out off all 4 haunts. Hopefully in the future the lighting is improved and more actors are used for many of the scenes in the temple. But overall this is an incredible haunt for those who love high startle scares.