The 2016 Haunt Awards

The 2016 Haunt Awards: Things Are Heating Up!
By Noah Wullkotte

The Haunt Awards are in memory of Cris Shortt and all the haunters we’ve lost this year.

You could say that this was a warm haunt season. Temperatures sometimes got as high as 90 degrees. Our season didn’t start off well. On our way up to Land of Illusion in Middletown, Ohio, we drove over a massive tire retread which destroyed the radiator and caused $2,800 worth of damage to the car. We had to be towed home and we were only a few minutes from the haunt. The tow truck driver was a little off kilter and drove like a mad man. The first couple of weeks, it rained like cats and dogs at just about every area we drove to. I shouldn’t be surprised by all this bad luck since it is City Blood’s 13th year online.

We toured a few haunts we had never been to before including The Haunted Loft, Stillwell Manor and The Haunted Orchard. The Haunted Loft in Fortville, Indiana reminded me of some haunts I went to when I was young child. It featured homemade props and creative sets. The cold storage morgue actually looked frozen. Their haunt Piney Acres Corn Maze had a great cast of characters and some interesting scenes. It was the first time I was forced to put a worm in my mouth at a haunt.

The Haunted Orchard in Wooster, Ohio is an old school haunt at heart and does a good job with incorporating their backstory into scenes. It was our first time at Stillwell Manor in Anderson, Indiana and we were most impressed by their flagship attraction Stillwell Manor Haunted House. I’m still recovering from that intense Rat Attack. The other two attractions are Isabell’s Beyond and Tantibus which means nightmare in Latin. Isabell’s Beyond featured a very unique seance scene with a few surprises we weren’t expecting. Tantibus has loads of potential and it featured some bone chilling scenes. The clown ball pit was a blast.

There was lots of breaking haunt news. The Haunted Schoolhouse and Laboratory in Akron, Ohio was purchased by John Eslich, owner of the Factory of Terror in Canton, Ohio. It’s going to be interesting to see what changes are made. Both The Haunted Schoolhouse and Laboratory had actors that used more dialogue and they were more up close and personal compared to previous seasons.

The property that was home to Springboro Haunted Hayride and Black Bog in Lebanon, Ohio was unfortunately sold. Owner Bill Danishek bought back his family’s company DK Bicycles in the fall and he’ll be unable to run the haunts. We will really miss visiting Bull Run Farm every haunt season. Springboro Haunted Hayride has been around since 1989 and it’s going to be a big adjustment for families who’ve made it fall tradition every year.

USS Nightmare in Newport, Kentucky improved their audio by incorporating sound clips and old fashioned music that accompanied some scenes. They also focused more on the dark history of the boat by adding new artifacts and an incredible Crash Simulator. It actually felt like the boat was rocking back and fourth. Dead Acres in Pataskala, Ohio made some notable changes as well. Their new walk through airplane known as Hoochie Airlines was wild to say the least.

The Mayhem Mansion in Morning View, Kentucky was once again a very intense haunt. Their biggest change was how interactive many of the scenes were. I was forced to arrange books in alphabetical order in the library and scrub the floors in the bedroom scene. The entrance and exit was also different. The entrance is now near the ticket booth and the exit is through the window. The Devil’s Attic in Louisville, Kentucky featured a few new scenes that focused on movies like 2012’s Maniac and urban legends like Bloody Mary. This is a haunt that does an amazing job with making horror movies seem real and adding their own twist.

Asylum Haunted Scream Park in Louisville, Kentucky delivered the scares once again and featured a very unique side attraction. Their new mobile haunted house was pretty cool and Zombie City had a brand new storyline that captivated audiences. Literally, a Haunted House at Culbertson Mansion in New Albany, Indiana is always one of our favorite charity haunts. Every season they have a new theme and the entire haunt is a blast. This season they focused on Fears and Phobias. My favorite scene was the monster hiding in the bedroom waiting to grab an innocent little girl. This is a haunt with some very unique characters.

The Dent Schoolhouse was incredible and featured some brand new rooms that we weren’t expecting. The large demonic toys in the playroom was quite frightening and the new sacred temple was creepy beyond words. The Queen City Slaughter Yard was remodeled. It’s a seamless transition after you exit The Dent Schoolhouse. You no longer had to wait in line.

The ScareAtorium in Columbus, Ohio introduced some brand new Escape Rooms. Now they have a total of four three minute Escape Rooms which are Cut-Throat Cabin, RIP’s Boxcar, Lyncon Laboratory and 13 Coffin Maze. There were some amazing new effects inside Rip’s 3D Funhouse. The UV Light Tunnel is the first ever in the United States. The Northland Asylum was insane and it had more detail than ever before.

Haunts like Face Your Fears Hotel of Terror in Springfield, Ohio and Land of Illusion were great as usual. I can’t get over how creepy Face Your Fears’ building is. Land of Illusion continues to be a great value with all they have to offer in the way of attractions, concerts, concessions and more. Sandyland Acres Haunted Hayride in Petersburg, Kentucky introduced new scenes and some of the actors were quite intense. Jason Voorhees hit the wagon with a machete and it was inches from my arm. You could say that I jumped. Their haunt Farmers Revenge is entertaining and creepy.

Fright Manor in Indianapolis, Indiana is an all around fun experience. Many would consider it an old school haunt and they would be right. Zombie Alley returned this season and it was pretty fun. It could be a little nerve wrecking at times as I tried to find the next flesh eater and survive the zombie apocalypse. Hanna Haunted Acres in Indianapolis, Indiana didn’t make many drastic changes, but their dark maze called Hooded was more intense compared to previous years. We liked how they used water and flame effects even through we couldn’t see anything. The actors were more hands on and it was somewhat scary.

Kings Island Halloween Haunt in Mason, Ohio introduced a few new attractions including Field of Screams which was more or less a linear corn maze. I have to say that Blackout was better even though they have glow in the dark arrows pointing you in the right direction. The 7th Street Haunt in Louisville, Kentucky is a great place to get the socks scared off of you. Ft. Harmony’s Revenge and The Experiment are 2 quality attractions. One is old school that focuses more on theatrics while the other has high tech props and detailed set design. The queue line actors at The 7th Street Haunt are great especially Nana. She wants to show you her BIG D. Who can forget Charlie who has a sick obsession with Reeba McEntire. We bumped into him once again at Ft. Harmony’s Revenge.

Fear Fair in Seymour, Indiana was amazing. The amount of changes they made is staggering and the over the top set design should be admired. Fear Fair really brought their A game and was able to create a frightful experience I won’t soon forget. Haunted Bourbon Street was very realistic and the new cavern with an elevator ride was pretty thrilling. This is definitely a world class haunt.

The Haunted Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky was the most intense haunt we toured in 2016. It’s one of the few haunts where I get a little nervous before I enter. It’s no holds barred and the actors take no prisoners. Hell, I even got the side of my face licked by a sick and demented freak while I waited in line. They definitely delivered the scares this season. The final haunt we toured was Nightmare Manor in Middletown, Ohio. It was a last minute decision, but I’m happy to say that it was a positive experience. This is an old school haunt with some pretty neat ideas. The chained up werewolf caught me by surprise and we are definitely looking forward to what they bring in 2017.

We at City Blood would like to sincerely thank all the haunts that we toured this season. We hope that everyone had a great year and we’re looking forward to 2017. We had a ghoulishly good time touring haunts all over Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana and we’ll see you soon.

The wait is finally over. Here is City Blood’s 2016 Haunt Awards. Let’s begin with the best haunt we toured all season. Drum roll please. 

Fear Fair (Seymour, IN)

Fear Fair is one of the best haunts you’re going to experience. The attention to detail and the crazy cast of characters is truly appreciated. Some of the sets are massive including a war torn city featuring a killer Slayer Beast and an electrifying Tesla Coil. The above ground New Orleans cemetery features concrete tombs and zombies that will take a bite out of you. Your journey through fear begins with a tour of an old cavern with poor air quality. The only way to escape is by riding a malfunctioning elevator that takes you straight to HELL!

Much of the haunt has been overhauled and there are very few horror movie scenes that still remain. The Walking Dead Downtown Atlanta is awe inspiring and actually resembles a city that’s been taken over by ravenous flesh eaters. Fear Fair brings New Orleans to life with its foggy swamp full of crocodiles and its realistic reenactment of haunted Bourbon Street. There’s not enough I can say about Fear Fair. This haunt is full of detailed scenes and great props. It’s a very underrated haunt that many people haven’t had the chance to tour. It’s one of the most impressive haunts we visit and it’s a thrill ride from beginning to end. We congratulate Fear Fair in Seymour, Indiana for becoming City Blood’s 2016 Haunt of the Year.

The Rest of The Top 10 Haunts
2: The Dent Schoolhouse (Cincinnati, OH)
3: The Haunted Schoolhouse (Akron, OH)
4: USS Nightmare (Newport, KY)
5: The Haunted Hotel (Louisville, KY)
6: Dead Acres/Haunted Hoochie (Pataskala, OH)
7: The Haunted Laboratory (Akron, OH)
8: The ScareAtorium (Columbus, OH)
9: The Devil’s Attic (Louisville, KY)
10: The Black Bog (Lebanon, OH)

Enjoy The Rest Of The Awards
Only haunts we toured in 2016 are considered for awards. This was a fun and frightening season.

 Ohio’s Best Haunt
The Dent Schoolhouse

Kentucky’s Best Haunt
USS Nightmare

Indiana’s Best Haunt
Fear Fair

Best Haunted Hayride
Sandyland Acres Haunted Hayride

Scariest Scream Park
Land of Illusion

Scariest Haunted Trail
The Black Bog

Most Intense Haunt
The Haunted Hotel

Most Physical Haunt
The Mayhem Mansion

Most Interactive Haunt
Zombie City at Asylum Haunted Scream Park

Best Old School Haunt
Fright Manor

Best Zombie Hunting Attraction
Zombie Sniper Patrol at Land of Illusion

Most Entertaining Side Attraction (Not a haunt)
Hot Blooded at Kings Island Halloween Haunt

Best Bang For Your Buck
Land of Illusion

Best Acting
Zombie City at Asylum Haunted Scream Park

Most Impressive Young Cast
The Mayhem Mansion

Best Actor
Father Nicolas at Piney Acres Corn Maze

Best Actress
Keyawna Michelle Allen as Voodoo Queen at The Black Bog

Best Queue Line Actor
Marco Dominic D’Andrea as Killer Clown at The ScareAtorium

Best Queue Line Actress
April Hack as Nana at The 7th Street Haunt

Most Unique Characters
Haunted Culbertson Mansion

Craziest Clowns
The ScareAtorium

Creepiest Clown
Corey Sandlin as Balloon Holding Clown at Literally, a Haunted House

Best Hillbillies
Piney Acres Corn Maze

Most Sadistic Chainsaw Maniacs
The Haunted Hotel

Most Ravenous Zombies
Fear Fair

Most Convincing Vampire
Eric Vysther as Vampire at The Black Bog

Most Realistic Werewolf
Chained Beast at Nightmare Manor

Best Headless Horseman
Sandyland Acres Haunted Hayride

Best Makeup
USS Nightmare

Most Horrifying Masks
The Haunted Schoolhouse

Best Costumes
The 7th Street Haunt

Best Sound
USS Nightmare

Best Lighting
Fear Fair

Best Design
Fear Fair

Scariest New Scene
Sacred Temple at The Dent Schoolhouse

Most Unique Scene
Live Seance at Isabell’s Beyond (Stillwell Manor)

Best Actor Driven Opening Scene
The Devil’s Introduction Starring Todd Merriman at The Devil’s Attic

Most Interactive Scene
Literally, a Haunted House Coroner Confrontation

Funniest Scene
Toilet Explosion at Piney Acres Corn Maze

Most Blood Soaked Scene
Hand Amputation at Dead Acres/Haunted Hoochie

Most Out of This World Alien Scene
Area 49 at Middletown Haunted Trail

Most Authentic Horror Movie Scenes
The Devil’s Attic

Scariest Aerial Scare
Flying Witch at Darkness Falls on Asylum

Most Jaw Dropping Set
Dracula’s Castle at The Haunted Schoolhouse

Most Realistic Cemetery/Graveyard
Fear Fair’s New Orleans Above Ground Crypts

Most Frightening Facade
Face Your Fears Hotel of Terror

Most Spooktacular Queue Line
The Dent Schoolhouse’s Fall Festival Queue Line

Spookiest Setting
USS Nightmare’s Haunted Steamboat

Best Props
Dead Acres/Haunted Hoochie

Most Impressive Prop
USS Nightmare’s Crash Simulator

Most Frightening Animatronic Monster
Fear Fair’s Slayer Beast

Best Actor Controlled Animatronic
Killer Rat at Stillwell Manor

Best Vortex Tunnel
The Haunted Laboratory

Most Intense Hellevator
The Haunted Hotel

Wildest 3D Effects
The ScareAtorium

Best CGI Effects
Fear Fair

Best Flame Effects
Springboro Haunted Hayride

Best Use of Fog
Kings Island Halloween Haunt

Best Use of Darkness
Fright Manor

Best Use of Smell
Kings Island Halloween Haunt

Most Halloween Spirit
The Dent Schoolhouse

Best Parking
Sandyland Acres Haunted Hayride and Farmers Revenge

Best Concessions
Sandyland Acres Haunted Hayride and Farmers Revenge

Most Reasonable Concessions
The Haunted Loft

Best Looking T-Shirts
The Haunted Schoolhouse and Laboratory

Most Professional Website
The Dent Schoolhouse

Most Professional Haunt Trailer
The Haunted Hotel

What The Hell Moment of the Year
Gary Reeser as Reeba McEntire Obsessed Killer at Ft. Harmony’s Revenge