Land of Illusion Haunted Nights (Middletown, OH)
“Monkey, Madmen and Killers!”
By Noah Wullkotte: firstname.lastname@example.org
2018 was the year of change for Land of Illusion. The park became known as Land of Illusion Adventure Park and they opened their Aqua Adventures in June. Their massive lake was full of inflatables, slides and there’s even a sand filled beach. Enjoy games and paddle boarding as well. Land of Illusion’s Scream Park is now called Haunted Nights and they celebrate 21 years of scaring the shirt off of customers. When you park your car you’ll be given a parking pass with information on different events that they have throughout the year and the rules you must follow. The ticket building is quite impressive. It resembles an old Victorian mansion, but with CGI animation in the windows and dynamic lighting.
Land of Illusion is truly a haunted scream park with a variety of food and drink options. There’s the Creepy Cafe where you can get some tasty treats and drinks. The Voodoo Lounge is a full service bar with mixed drinks, beer and more. If you’re wanting to purchase a souvenir to remember the good times you had then be sure to visit the Ghostly Gift Shop. They offer Land of Illusion hoodies, T-Shirts, cups, scented candles and more. If you can’t find anything to eat at the Creepy Cafe then don’t worry. There are plenty of food vendors throughout the park that offer everything from Funnel Cakes to burgers. There are various games and Thrill Rides at Land of Illusion including basketball, mechanical bull riding, a Gyroscope ride and the Demon Drop. The Demon Drop is a 40-foot free fall that will have you screaming your head off.
If you want to sit back and relax then you can get yourself a seat near the Stage of Rage where there’s usually a DJ spinning some tunes or a band playing. Some nights Land of Illusion even has a fireworks display. There are plenty of gas powered bonfires in case it’s a chilly night. If nature calls then there are bathrooms nearby. One has Frankenstein’s Monster representing men and the Bride of Frankenstein representing women. There are porta potties in the parking lot. Nearly every attraction takes your picture before you enter and there are plenty of props throughout the park you can take your picture in front of. We would have liked to have seen more outside characters interacting with customers. The only one we saw was a girl dressed as a monkey playing a horn and a drum. She was very entertaining and was obviously having a great time as she danced the night away. You won’t have a hard time locating the haunts at Land of Illusion since there are signs everywhere including a large digital map. Land of Illusion has really thought of everything when it comes to customer service.
Phobia is the newest haunt at Land of Illusion. It replaces the Voodoo Bayou Shanty. Phobia is a somewhat unique attraction since its main focus is to capitalize on your different fears. I honestly didn’t know what to expect from Phobia, but I was pleasantly surprised by what I had experienced. It felt like a nightmare that was brought to life. This is a dark and sinister haunt. You’ll come face to face with spiders, roaches, tight spaces, the dark, man eating creatures and much more. The spider cave was downright creepy and the fearless cocoon creature might put chills down your spine. There are elements of Voodoo Bayou Shanty that still remain. This includes a massive crocodile that attacks, a voodoo temple and a ravenous wild boar that will take a bite out of you. This is a short haunt clocking in at 8 minutes and could benefit from additional characters. Phobia relies more on its creepy atmosphere than interaction with actors or jump scares.
“Sit back, relax and enjoy some tunes at the Stage of Rage!”
Killer Klowns has become a staple at Land of Illusion and it’s one of those haunts where you’re going to smile, laugh or scream your head off. Unfortunately not everyone has a fear of clowns or what’s commonly known as coulrophobia. That doesn’t mean that Killer Klowns isn’t entertaining because it is. The artwork that decorates the walls is beautiful and there are some pretty creative rooms. New this year is a walk through pinball game where you’ve become the pinball. City Blood is notoriously bad at mazes and once again we got lost in the chain maze. There are little things here and there that got our attention. One of my favorite props was a large clown head with its tongue hanging out, but the tongue was a red slide. The actor inside of the spinning vortex tunnel had tons of energy as he did flips and made us walk underneath his legs. Killer Klowns features scares that come from every direction. There are animated props from up above, actors that attack you from the side and scenes that come alive thanks to your 3D glasses. Total tour time varies depending on how long your in the chain maze. It took us around 12 minutes to escape Killer Klowns.
Next up is Temple of Terror. Just imagine if The Mummy and Indiana Jones had a baby. This will give you a good idea of what Temple of Terror is like. You could say that Temple of Terror is a sensory overload. This haunt is infested with mummies and creatures that only the sick and twisted could imagine. You’ll encounter a massive 13 foot Impaler monster that’s ready to gobble you up. There’s nowhere to run and nowhere to hide at the Temple of Terror.
One room has a ceiling that comes crashing down and you’ll come face to face with the demon nun known as Valak. The lighting has been improved in most of the haunts at Land of Illusion and Temple of Terror is no exception. The light shining through holes in the ceiling was a nice touch. The rain forest scene was somewhat disappointing compared to years past since very little has changed and there wasn’t much going on when we entered. You’ll enter detailed scenes including a cave full of blood thirsty beasts and a massive flying vampire bat. Rooms are decorated with hieroglyphics and coffins that blend in with scenes. You never know what’s hiding in the shadows. Temple of Terror is one of the few temple/Egyptian themed attractions in the state of Ohio which makes it standout. The first room that violently shakes has become a fan favorite at Land of Illusion and the acting has been improved greatly. Total tour time is around 10 minutes give or take a few.
Dr. Psycho’s Haunted Estate was next on our agenda. It’s one of our favorite haunts at Land of Illusion. It reminds us of a traditional haunted house, but with high tech props and special effects. It’s quite entertaining. It’s a dark and mysterious attraction with multiple graveyards and monsters waiting to pounce. You could say that it’s part haunted trail and part haunted house. You never know what to truly expect at Dr. Psycho’s Haunted Estate. The doll room full of marionette puppets is creepy to say the least and who can forget the crematorium that features large incinerators with real flames?
There’s some extreme paranormal activity that’s taking place. The playground has equipment that moves by itself as it glows in the dark. A crazed man wants to reach out and touch you. You might even become one of the living dead unless you walk through the decontamination tent that has a zombie outbreak. There’s plenty of eye candy at Dr. Psycho’s Haunted Estate. You’ve got a demon werewolf, lunging zombies, a man being cut into by a massive buzz saw, various animated creatures and much much more. The acting is improved as well. My favorite character of the night was the hillbilly woman who wanted me to help her give birth as she shoved her hand in her stomach’s bloody hole. Total tour time is 10-12 minutes, but this always depends on your pace and interaction with characters.
Middletown Haunted Trail is the most popular attraction at Land of Illusion. Since 1997, unsuspecting victims have entered the Middletown Haunted Trail and have come out alive to tell their story. This haunted trail lasts nearly 25 minutes. It doesn’t follow a specific theme, but we’re okay with that. It makes the haunt more unpredictable because you never know what you’ll encounter. This is a haunted trail that’s full of eye candy. You’ll encounter an animated headless horseman, large aliens that rise from the water, school buses that are standing upright, an animated gorilla and so much more. There are many new additions this season. One of my favorites is the farm full of massive pumpkins and a farmer holding the severed head of another farmer.
Scenes include the School of Hell, Cherry Hill, a confrontation with Michael Myers, an army bunker, the vampire cave known as The Nest and much more. This is an exciting haunt that has traditional characters such as mental patients and hillbillies. But there are also some very unique scenes such as Area 49. It’s one of the best alien rooms you’ll ever see. Acting has been improved in the majority of haunts at Land of Illusion and characters are more up close and personal. We wish that more was done with the Michael Myers scene since it’s pretty much darkness with Michael Myers waiting for you.
Zombie Sniper Patrol is now included with your Land of Illusion admission. This isn’t a scary attraction and it’s not supposed to be. It’s more of a thrill ride with zombies thrown into the mix. Hop aboard a large military cargo truck and get ready to shoot some flesh eating monsters with your trusty paintball gun. Additional ammo is $5. Zombie Sniper Patrol is made up of 7 scenes which includes a few high speed chases. This is a pretty entertaining attraction, but we didn’t like the fact that we were informed about what scenes we would experience and how long each would last. It ruined some of the surprises. With that being said, we had a good time shooting zombies in the head, the groin and being chased by random vehicles. Zombie Sniper Patrol lasts around 13 minutes and the flashing light tunnel is a great way to get to the attraction. It’s used in November and December for Land of Illusion’s Christmas Glow event.
Land of Illusion has made some big changes this season. Most notably is the improved acting. Phobia is an interesting attraction and I look forward to seeing how it evolves over time. This is a pretty impressive scream park and the Zombie Sniper Patrol is included in the admission this season. Ticket prices vary and please go to www.landofillusion.com for information on admission. You might want to upgrade your ticket to VIP since it can get pretty crowded the later it gets in the season. It’s $20 more on Friday and $25 more on Saturday if you purchase the VIP upgrade. It’s only $15 extra on Thursday and Sunday. Parking is $5 a person and each ticket allows you to tour the haunts as many times as you like. You can purchase a group photo that was taken earlier that night. It’s near the park exit and the photos were taken by Photo Booth Cincy. If you don’t have a great time at Land of Illusion then you must not have a pulse. It’s a fright filled night of entertainment with the ones you care about.
Final Stab For Each Haunt
*Middletown Haunted Trail: Length-9 Design-8 Props/Animatronics-9 Acting-8 Scare Effect-8 Final Stab: 8.4
*Dr. Psycho’s Haunted Estate: Length-7 Design-8 Props/Animatronics-9 Acting-8 Scare Effect-8 Final Stab: 8.0
*Temple of Terror: Length-7 Design-8 Props/Animatronics-8 Acting-8 Scare Effect-8 Final Stab: 7.8
*Killer Klowns: Length-7 Design-7 Props/Animatronics-7 Acting-7 Scare Effect-7 Final Stab: 7.0
*Phobia: Length-6 Design-6 Props/Animatronics-6 Acting-6 Scare Effect-6 Final Stab: 6.0
*Zombie Sniper Patrol: This attraction has not been scored.