Land of Illusion 2014 Review

Land of Illusion Haunted Scream Park (Middletown, OH)

“The Army of the Dead Will Rise Up”

By Noah Wullkotte:

The moon is bright and haunting as darkness engulfs the hollowed grounds known as Land of Illusion. Land of Illusion is where anything is possible and evil reigns supreme. Our review season officially beings with a trip to one of the Buckeye State’s best scream parks. We’re speaking of Land of Illusion of course.

Land of Illusion has become a tradition for haunt lovers over the years by offering a variety of entertainment. You’ll experience 5 different haunted attractions. This includes Dr. Psycho’s Haunted Estate, Temple of Terror, Killer Klowns, Voodoo Bayou Shanty and the Middletown Haunted Trail. For an additional cost, you can shoot zombies at the Zombie Sniper Patrol . We’ll talk about this later in the review.

When we arrived, the parking lot wasn’t full. But to our surprise there were a lot of people inside the Screampark for this early in the season. We parked the car and picked up our VIP Fast Passes. This year, your hands are stamped with a Land of Illusion logo that can only be seen under black light. This proves that you’re a VIP Fast Pass Holder when entering a haunt. Ticket holders are also given a receipt that is scanned before you enter the park.

The first haunt we toured that the night was Dr. Psycho’s Haunted Estate. A vicious German Shepard guards the entrance as it lunges and bites at your feet. Its blood lust is strong, but you’re stronger. After waiting for only a few minutes, we were ready to enter Dr. Psycho’s Haunted Estate.

Dr. Psycho’s Haunted Estate is a 12 minute tour through heart pounding scenes of terror. It’s part haunted trail and haunted house rolled into one. You’ll enter rooms such as a grotesque meat locker with unimaginable horrors, a funeral procession, a demonic church and more. A twisted little girl plays inside a haunted nursery where Kermit the Frog is seen torn to pieces. A large graveyard leads to the entrance to the haunted estate where true terror begins.

The greenhouse has been eliminated from this year’s haunt, but there are quite a few new additions. One of ourfavorite rooms feature incinerators with real fire. You might need a wet towel to cool yourself off after you exit this scene. The new haunted playground is also a nice surprise. You’ll meet some colorful characters who want to tear you to bits.

Most attractions at Land of Illusion are full of animatronics every which way you turn and Dr. Psycho’s Haunted Estate is no different. You’ll be confronted by lunging zombies, mutant werewolves, interactive CGI and much more. I surely wasn’t expecting to have maggots fall on my head. It was just rice, but effective none the less. This is an attraction that spares no expense in scaring its customers.

We always determine what we’re going to visit next on where it’s located. Luckily Land of Illusion has professional quality signs that are well lit . There’s no reason to use a map or ask security where an attraction is. Next up is Temple of Terror.

Temple of Terror is one of the original attractions that was part of Middletown’s Triple Fright. This was many years ago before news attractions were added and it eventually became Land of Illusion. Temple of Terror is one of the few Egyptian/Mayan themed haunts in Ohio and it does a great job at sticking to a theme. This is a very dark and twisted attraction. Many of its dark hallways are lit with torches and subtle lighting is used to illuminate the various animatronics. There’s plenty of eye candy to keep you happy. Frightening creatures and deadly vampire bats can be seen in the mysterious cave. Deadly snakes, a rising corpse and more decorate the impressive swamp that features running water.

The Classic 13 foot Impaler animatronic makes an appearance when you lease expect it and there are many startling animated scares along the way. Temple of Terror features a plethora of creative rooms. You’ll experience everything from a cursed temple to a room with a falling ceiling. This is a great haunt with some intense actors and plenty of high tech scares. The tour time varies depending on how fast you walk or run. We were in and out in 12 minutes, but it could easily be longer depending on your pace. Next up is Voodoo Bayou Shanty.

An old shack is waiting for you to enter. The locals aren’t too kind to strangers. Are you ready to come face to face with killer hillbillies and mutant offspring? This is the Voodoo Bayou Shanty where you’ll never make it out alive. This over the top haunt was introduced in 2010 and has become a staple at Land of Illusion. You’ll enter a dilapidated shack full of sick freaks and murderous psychos. Watch out for the killer with a cross bow or the half human half bore creation. You’ll enter the laundry room, a wooden maze, walk past a camper and even face off with a massive alligator. Watch out for the hillbilly in the outhouse who wants to share his feces. Tour time is around 10 minutes. Next up is Killer Klowns.

Killer klowns capitalizes on your fear of clowns or what psychologists refer to as Coulrophobia. Enter the clown’s mouth and experience a fun house like no other. Killer Klowns isn’t the scariest haunt at Land of Illusion, but this is to be expected because of its theme. You’re definitely going to have a good time exploring this haunt and interacting with the various clowns and monsters.

I enjoyed Killer Klowns, but the lighting and music needs to be improved. When you go to the circus, you expect bright colors, flashing lights and music that would conjure up memories of going to the local circus with your friends and family. There are just too many scenes that are very dark and could be improved in one way or the other. An example of this is the outdoor carnival scene. It features carnival games, a popcorn machine, cotton candy and what you typically expect to experience at a carnival. But the lighting is very dim and the scene is absent of sound effects and music. It could be a much more immersive experience if a few changes were made.

The outside chain maze is fun, but there weren’t any actors trying to distract us which made it much easier to navigate this time around. Killer Klowns features some great artwork that can be seen throughout your journey. There are also some great clown themed props. If you have a fear of clowns then you’re going to have a killer time at Killer Klowns. Tour time is 10-12 minutes.

Middletown Haunted Trail is the longest running haunt at Land of Illusion and it’s also the most popular. It’s simply one of the best haunted trails in the state of Ohio. Unlike most of the haunts at Land of Illusion, it doesn’t follow a specific theme. This makes the haunt unpredictable. One of our favorite scenes is Area 49. Enter a secret facility that’s home to alien life and deadly creatures beyond your control. This dynamic scene has been altered by including blood thirsty alligators and brand new aliens. Alien 49 is truly a show stopper.

There’s something scary about exploring the wilderness in the dark. You never know what’s watching you and waiting to attack. Michael Myers is waiting for you at Middletown Haunted Trail and he won’t stop until you become his latest victim. You’ll explore various scenes such as a witch’s cavern which is known as the Witch’s Brew. A witch is conjuring up a spell as her friend is seen talking to a severed head.

Middletown Haunted Trail features some impressive scenes like the mineshaft which used to be known as the Nest. This time it’s home to deadly coal miners instead of ravenous vampires. The School of Hell has been expanded this year to include more scenes and some surprises along the way. Watch out for the school bully or you might get a swirly. Other scenes include Cherry Hill, an army bunker, slaughter house, nuclear waste zone and so much more.

This is an off the wall haunt where you will get wet, feel the heat from a blow torch and you’ll be confronted with your worst fears. There’s a reason why Middletown Haunted Trail has stood the test of time. We were in and out of the haunt in 24 minutes, but this depends on how fast you walk.

The final attraction on our agenda for the night is Zombie Sniper Patrol. It was first introduced in 2013 and it was a blast. This year it’s better than ever. Tickets are $12.99 a piece and additional ammo is $5 a person for 100 rounds. You and a group of zombie soldiers have a mission. Your mission is to shoot as many zombies as possible and to walk away in one piece. Our military vehicle was named Reaper and we were ready to blow some flesh eaters away with our trusty paintball guns. You’ll travel through the deep dark woods as your navigate through various scenes and encounter the living dead.

There are more zombies than ever before and this makes it a much richer experience. The scenes aren’t anything special, but this is to be expected since most of what you see is going to end up covered in paint. Scenes include a junk yard, general store, pizza place etc. This is a fun attraction. The cost for extra ammo is $5. While I might think this is high, the other people that were on board with me didn’t. The majority were happy to pay the extra price to reload their guns. This year, you’re required to wear plastic goggles to protect your eyes from paint. This is a great idea, but my glasses were dirty which made my experience a little blurry. I’m not a huge fan of paintball, but I had a great time at Zombie Sniper Patrol and I think you will too. It’s not very scary, but it’s definitely a blast. Who doesn’t like to blow the living daylights out of the living dead?

We’re always Impressed by what Land of Illusion has to offer. If you’re hungry then there’s plenty of food and refreshments available. There’s even a psychic on site that can tell you your future. Vendors are setup throughout the park offering different food items at decent prices. I was able to get a large Funnel Cake for $5 and share it with the rest of the City Blood Crew.

Creepy Cafe offers everything from hot dogs to energy drinks. Everything is priced at $3 except for a few items like Energy Drinks which are $4 a piece. If you would like a cold beer or mixed drink then Land of Illusion’s Voodoo Lounge is perfect for you. Don’t forget to pick up a memento at Ghostly Gifts. You’ll find Land of Illusion T-Shirts, hoodies, coffee cups and more. Field of Screams T-Shirts are marked down to $5, but size and quantities are limited.

If your feet get tired then you can take a seat next to the bonfire and enjoy a show or band playing at The Stage of Rage. That night, a country band was playing while a mechanical bull was setup for people to ride. In addition to a mechanical bull, Cincinnati Circus had one of their large mechanical wrecking balls setup and an inflatable bungee run. Inflatable attractions are $5 to enter. If you need to use the restroom then Land of Illusion has you set. They have one of the nicest bathrooms I’ve ever seen at a haunt. Frankenstein’s Monster represents men and Bride of Frankenstein represents women.

Obviously a lot of time and money has been spent on making Land of Illusion an experience you’re not going to forget. We always look forward to our trip to one of the best scream parks around. Tickets are $34.99 on Fridays and Saturdays. Tickets are $24.99 on Sundays (October only). Middletown Haunted Trail and zombie Sniper Patrol are only open on Fridays and Saturdays. VIP tickets are an additional $15 and well worth it for Friday and Saturday nights. The line for attractions can be huge the later it gets in the season. Parking is $5 a vehicle and proceeds are donated to Ohio Hawks and Boy Scouts of America. Please visit for more information on various prices and events at Land of Illusion.

We didn’t have many issues with land of Illusion except for a few actors who resorted to using the same lines. Are you afraid, well you should be or where are you going was heard several times. Land of Illusion could benefit from a few queue line actors which would help pass the time as you wait in line. Killer Klowns could be improved by adding more music, sound effects and better lighting. Some of the attractions seemed a little shorter compared to last year, but it always depends on the person’s pace. It could take one person 15 minutes to go through a haunt while it could take another person 10 minutes. Overall we had a great experience and we think you will too. Check out Land of Illusion this Halloween season. Be afraid, be very afraid!

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-9  Props/Animatronics-9  Acting-8  Scare Effect-8  Final Stab: 8:2

*Temple of Terror: Length-7  Design-9  Props/Animatronics-9  Acting-8  Scare Effect-8  Final Stab: 8.2

*Killer Klowns: Length-7  Design-7  Props/Animatronics-7  Acting-7  Scare Effect-7  Final Stab: 7.0

*Voodoo Bayou Shanty: Length-7  Design-7  Props/Animatronics-8  Acting-7  Scare Effect-7  Final Stab: 7.2

*Zombie Sniper Patrol: This attraction has not been scored, but it has been