Land of Illusion Haunted Scream Park (Middletown, OH)
“20 Years of Hair Raising Scares!”
By Noah Wullkotte: firstname.lastname@example.org
A dark shadow covers a cursed piece of land in Middletown, OH. This land is home to creatures from beyond the grave and evil that lurks in the shadows. Are you prepared to face your fears? This is City Blood’s review of Land of Illusion in Middletown, OH. Beware you’re in for a scare!
Land of Illusion celebrates its 20th year of fright and fun. I can fondly remember when it was just a simple haunted trail. But over the years it’s become an extravagant scream park that people all over the country flock to during the Halloween season. Their massive ticket building resembles a Victorian Mansion. There’s dynamic lighting, scary sound effects and the windows feature impressive animation. One second the mansion looks like it’s been engulfed in flames and the next second there’s an intense lightning storm.
Land of Illusion is unlike any scream park you’ll visit in Ohio. It’s very cutting edge to say the least. Actors dressed as robots interact with customers outside of haunts and there’s even a large digital map that’s impossible to miss. If you want to just sit back and relax then go ahead. There are multiple gas powered fire pits, benches and live acts that perform on the Stage of Rage. Every type of act from county music stars to shocking performers like Gwar can be seen at Land of Illusion.
Land of Illusion offers a variety of concessions that can be found at the Ghostly Gift Shop, Creepy Cafe, their full service bar called Voodoo Lounge, and much more. You’ll notice a plethora of vendors setup throughout the park including a palm reader, Italian sausage booth, funnel cakes, steak sandwiches and more. If there isn’t something at Land of Illusion that will satisfy your appetite then nothing will. Just about everything in the park is themed after something spooky. Even the bathrooms have a picture of Frankenstein for men and Bride of Frankenstein for women.
This is a scream park that features 4 haunted houses, a haunted trail, a zombie paintball ride and the 40 foot Demon Drop. The first haunt we toured for the evening was Temple of Terror. Imagine Indiana Jones meets the Mummy and you have good idea of what to expect. This is a dark and sinister haunt with some impressive eye candy. This includes a 13 foot impaler monster, a massive python, mummies, large vampire bats, a falling ceiling and more. Walls magically come alive as skeletons and corpses reach out to grab you. You’re first encounter involves a room that violently moves as you hold on for dear life. The over the top rain forest was introduced years ago and it’s just gorgeous. There’s flowing water, a rickety bridge and deadly creatures that are waiting to strike. Will the curse consume you?
Temple of Terror is 10-12 minutes long depending on your pace. There’s great detail in scenes that include hieroglyphics and ancient tombs. Lighting could be improved in areas and more Egyptian style music would help with the authenticity of the attraction. This is a fun haunt, but it could definitely be more realistic by improving the costuming and some of the sets that rely too heavily on darkness. But overall this is an exciting haunt from start to finish.
Right next to Temple of Terror is Dr. Psycho’s Haunted Estate. It has elements of a haunted trail and haunted house rolled into one. Before we entered the first room, we were able to watch a few minutes of the movie, The Fun House Massacre which features many scenes that were filmed at Land of Illusion. Dr. Psycho’s Haunted Estate reminds me of an old school haunt that has many high tech scares. There are scenes that take place outside and many that can be found in an old dilapidated haunted house.
Dr. Psycho’s Haunted Estate features multiple graveyards with some pretty scary creatures. Corpses jump out of coffins, a large werewolf is on the prowl and there’s an impressive CGI animatronic with a wet surprise. The incinerators have real flames and the playroom features lots of toys. My favorite was the Chucky doll. Most of the scenes are what you would expect to see in a haunted house, but taken to the extreme. The haunted playground will put chills down your spine. There’s everything from a meat locker to a makeshift hospital at Dr. Psycho’s Haunted Estate. There are some interesting special effects as well. The victim getting cut in half by a large saw blade was pretty horrifying and the CGI image of a ghost girl was unexpected. Tour time is 10-12 minutes and the acting is pretty good.
(Visitors can enjoy a great view of the lake at Land of Illusion.)
I was worried that with the release of Stephen King’s It that many clown themed haunts would center their rooms around Pennywise the Clown. But I can say that Killer Klowns isn’t one of them. This is an interesting haunt to say the least. I would describe this haunt as a dark carnival with some crazy carnies and killer clowns. The best acting award goes to the clowns inside the chain maze. One resembles Bozo the Clown. He loves to stalk his victims with his switch blade.
City Blood is notoriously bad at mazes. We weren’t in the chain maze for too long, but we still got lost none the less. Killer Klowns doesn’t stray from it’s central theme. Some walls are covered with children’s wooden blocks, polka-a-dots or checkerboard print. There are many clown dummies that decorate the haunt including one that holds a wind up jack in the box. One of my favorite effects can be found in the carnival. The effect features simple pinwheels that move by themselves. It’s simple yet effective. If you have a deep seeded fear of clowns (aka coulrophobia) then you’ll be terrified as you walk the haunted halls of Killer Klowns. Total tour time is around 10 minutes, but could be longer if you get lost in the maze.
I’ve said this once and I’ll say it again. Imagine if The Hills Have Eyes and Deliverance had a baby and you would have Voodoo Bayou Shanty. You’re going to feel like you’ve stepped into an old shack that’s inhabited by psychotic hillbillies that want to tear you apart from limb to limb. Halls are littered with beer cans and trash. It’s called Voodoo Bayou Shanty for a reason. There are many elements of New Orleans that can be found in its various rooms. A voodoo priest and witch doctor want to put a spell on you in their voodoo temple. Crocodile is on the menu for tonight and you better watch out for the killer croc. You might even see a mutant killer wild boar. Voodoo Bayou Shanty isn’t a long haunt, but it felt longer than usual. At certain points I felt off balance because of how the haunt is designed which made it even more intense. Total tour time is under 10 minutes. Voodoo Bayou Shanty is a realistic haunt with some convincing characters.
Middletown Haunted Trail is the biggest bang for your buck at Land of Illusion and it celebrates its 20th year of fear this season. This 22 minute trek through the deep dark woods features a variety of scenes and effects. You might even encounter a movie monster or two. My personal favorite is Area 49 which is home to mutant aliens and some mind boggling special effects. This scene is truly a show stopper that includes a swaying catwalk, running water, gun fire and so much more. Middletown Haunted Trail is an elaborate haunted trail with some great props. This includes an animated headless horseman, a school bus standing on its end, alien cocoons, a vicious gorilla, multiple vortex tunnels and so much more. The vortex tunnels are decorated with menacing skulls and bright colors. The haunted animal hospital is home to caged animals that will attack you at a moments notice.
Middletown Haunted Trail doesn’t follow a specific theme, but that’s just fine. You’re going to encounter classic characters like Michael Myers, a witch and more. There are many unique scenes and traditional ones like the School of Hell and a Spider’s Lair. Please don’t try what’s on the lunch lady’s menu. There’s even a mine shaft known as The Nest. You don’t want to find out what’s hiding in there. The new Hatch has something incredible growing and Cherry Hill is wet and wild. Your fears will be exploited. If you have a fear of spiders or aliens then you’re in luck. Even cannibal hillbillies hang out at Middletown Haunted Trail. There are some issues that include acting. More than once, I was asked where I was going . Some of the actors resort to growling or making scary sounds instead of using meaningful dialogue. But these are minor annoyances that slightly affect the overall experience. Like I said before, Middletown Haunted Trail is a great bang for your buck.
Last, but certainly not least is Zombie Sniper Patrol. New this season is a large light tunnel you walk under. Hop aboard a us army cargo truck and go head to head with the living dead. Your equipped with a paintball gun that’s locked and loaded. This is a fun ride that’s quite unpredictable. Zombies are hiding everywhere and your mission is to survive the zombie apocalypse. Are you up for the challenge? This isn’t a scary haunt, but it’s fun to say the least. What can be better than shooting a flesh eater in the head or nuts? There’s a variety of targets you can shoot along the way and some intense vehicle chases. It’s a crazy fun time. Extra ammo is $5 a person and be sure to pump some paint into as many flesh eaters as possible.
Land of Illusion is a fun and frightful destination you can bring your friends and family to. The attractions are easy to find since there’s illuminated signs everywhere you turn and there’s plenty of entertainment whether you enjoy live acts or haunted attractions. Hell, there’s even a mechanical bull. Many of the haunts have changed their layout, but you didn’t think I would tell you which ones, did you?
Tickets are $36.99 on Fridays and Saturdays. They’re $24.99 on Sunday night. Add $17 for Fast Pass admission. Each person who purchases a Fast Pass gets their hand stamped with glow in the dark ink that glows under black light. Zombie Sniper Patrol is open on Friday and Saturday. It’s $12.99 per ride when you purchase a ticket to Land of Illusion. It’s $19.99 by itself, but this ticket does not grant access into Land of Illusion and concerts are not included. The 40 foot Demon Drop is $10 per jump. A Season Pass to Land of Illusion is $120. There are various combo packages available as well. Please visit www.landofillusion.com for information on them. Middletown Haunted Trail and Zombie Sniper Patrol are closed on Sunday. Parking is $5 and benefits Boy Scouts of America and Ohio Hawks. You’ll notice in the parking lot, huge signs with names of all the attractions . This is a nice touch and it adds more lighting to the parking lot.
You’ll have a scary night full of entertainment and horror at Land of Illusion. Opening November 17th is Land of Illusion’s Christmas Glow. Experience Christmas from around the world at this drive through Christmas event. Here’s to 20 more years of Land of Illusion, one of the best scream parks around. For more information on Land of Illusion, please visit www.landofillusion.com.
Final Stab For Each Haunt
*Middletown Haunted Trail: Length-9 Design-8 Props/Animatronics-9 Acting-7 Scare Effect-8 Final Stab: 8.2
*Dr. Psycho’s Haunted Estate: Length-7 Design-8 Props/Animatronics-9 Acting-7 Scare Effect-8 Final Stab: 7.8
*Temple of Terror: Length-7 Design-8 Props/Animatronics-8 Acting-7 Scare Effect-8 Final Stab: 7.6
*Killer Klowns: Length-7 Design-7 Props/Animatronics-7 Acting-7 Scare Effect-7 Final Stab: 7.0
*Voodoo Bayou Shanty: Length-6 Design-8 Props/Animatronics-8 Acting-8 Scare Effect-8 Final Stab: 7.8
*Zombie Sniper Patrol: This attraction has not been scored.