The Scare-A-Torium (Dublin, OH)
“Dublin Welcomes Fear”
By Noah Wullkotte: Jollypumpkin@aol.com
2011 will mark the first time a haunt has operated in Dublin, Ohio in over 25 years. This haunt is of course, The Scare-A-Torium. For the past 2 years, it has taken place inside the old Big Bear Store in Columbus, OH which was renamed Big Fear Store. But because of leasing issues, they had to find a new area to haunt. We made it to Scare-a-torium around 10:20. It was a little difficult finding the location in the Dublin Village Center, but once we saw the large pumpkin inflatable, hanging vampire bat, a strobe light and creepy girl in the top window, we knew we had found the right place. We parked our car and we were ready for the 2011 installment of The Scare-A-Torium.
We slowly walked up to the front doors when out of nowhere Scare-A-Torium’s Colonel Frightmare introduced himself. I’ve never been to a haunt where they announce the rules before you ever enter the building. But it’s very smart andthe character portraying Colonel Frightmare is very enthusiastic and gets you excited about what you might experience inside the haunt. Once we stepped inside, we noticed Scare-A-Torium’s beautiful facade right away. It resembles a medieval castle that’s been taken over by evil dwellers and unspeakable horrors. Before entering the haunt, there’s not much to look at except for a small area appropriately named “Shop of Horrors”. It includes Halloween Costumes, props and other scary goodies. Behind the counter where you purchase tickets, is Scare-A-Torium apparel, Bloody Mary Makeup and more.
We only waited a few minutes before entering the haunt and to say we were impressed with what we saw is a huge understatement. This 31,000 square foot building houses some impressive scenes and an incredible cast of characters. It’s quite amazing that the entire haunt was put together in 6 weeks when it looks like it took many months to assemble this massive house of horrors. Workers must have spent many sleepless nights woking on The Scare-A-Torium because this is far from your run of the milll haunt. This year’s Scare-A-Torium is made up of two uniquely themed attractions. This includes The Haunted Manor and Rip Stinker’s Fun House. Both haunts are around 12 minutes long making the entire experience close to 24 minutes depending on how fast you walk.
The Haunted Manor focuses on an array of different themed rooms. You’ll walk through various rooms and mazes like a nuclear lab featuring the infected, a room full of lit jack-o-lanterns, a dark maze with flashing lights, a lair with vampire bats that come alive, a funeral parlor, a haunted graveyard with the undead and a variety of dark hallways and labyrinths. One of the most impressive areas of The Haunted Manor is the Hillbilly infested town that features some very interesting characters. You’ll come face to face with a young female buck toothed hillbilly and even Big Momma who wants you to get in her belly. This area of the haunt is flooded with backwoods hillbillies that want you to squeal like a pig and change your big city ways.
A new character that’s been introduced inside The Haunted Manor is the new crazy doctor who has one of the most impressive costumes I’ve seen at a haunt. He wears a clear plastic box on top of his head that projects an image on the plastic that makes the actor look distorted and as if he was from another dimension. This actor won the Scariest Character award at this year’s Midwest Haunters Convention in Columbus, OH and his costume is a crowd pleaser.
The second attraction at The Scare-A-Torium is called “Rip Stinker’s Funhouse”. While you wait a few minutes in line, you’ll get a chance to interact with the Rip Stinker’s Daughter who is a very colorful character that is cute and has a dark side to her. There’s something about her that just isn’t right. In previous years, Rip Stinker’s Funhouse was more of a large themed area at The Scare-A-Torium, but now it’s a full fledged independent haunt. The Haunted Manor is more intense while Rip Stinker’s Funhouse is a more modern take on the classic funhouse you experienced at your local fair. Both haunts are polar opposites, but they go great together.
Rip Stinker’s Funhouse is one of the better clown themed haunts I’ve experience in recent years with a few things I haven’t seen before. You’ll venture through various funhouse rooms like a fair that has a ghoul hiding behind bags of Cotton Candy. You’ll see many sights at this haunt that will have you taking a second look and wondering what the hell you just saw. One particular scene involves a large clown head that temps you to climb inside his mouth so he can eat you for dinner. This room also includes a clown that dances in a go go cage. It’s not scary, but it’s very interesting. There are many scenes at Rip Stinker’s Funhouse that will scare you and I’m not for a second going to give away. Overall I really enjoyed Rip Stinker’s Funhouse. It’s not your typical haunt that relies on fluorescent paintings or 3D effects. It’s just plain old fun.
The Scare-A-Torium has lots of scenes that are entertaining and nerve wrecking at the same time. But without its great cast of actors, the scenes wouldn’t be the same. The Scare-A-Torium takes its acting very seriously and has some of the best characters I’ve seen. There aren’t certain actors that stick out in my mind because the majority of actors I came across were pretty incredible. There were a couple that just stared at me, but this was rarely the case.
When it comes down to it, The Scare-A-Torium has improved greatly over the years and this is by far the best they’ve been. The new location may be a little difficult to find, but scenes have a better flow to them and its a much better experience. Whatever you do, please don’t overlook this haunt. It has great actors, some unique scenes and a long tour time. It’s well worth your time and money. For $20 you can tour both The Haunted Manor and Rip Stinker’s Funhouse. For $24, you can pick the time you want to tour the attractions. On Sundays, from 4:30-7:00, they have a lights on tour for young children who can’t handle the haunt when it’s dark and scary. Visit www.scareatorium.com for a money savings coupon.
Length-9 Design-8 Props/Animatronics-8 Acting-9 Scare Effect-9
Final Stab: 8.6