The Land of Fear

Greetings readers, let’s talk Western MD’s newest Haunted attraction. What started out as a man’s passion for all things Halloween has now turned into his very own haunt. The Land of Fear is a 20 minute or so long trail with about 50 actor volunteers. The HRC got there upon their opening for the night. There is a ticket booth, a bonfire area and a movie screen playing Halloween. The wait to do the trail is pretty long. We waited over an hour. The actors range in all ages. The woman who gave us the rules was hilarious. They have an option to wear a glow necklace so the actors can touch and interact more with you should you choose. The scenes are homemade and very well done. The cemetery, the circus area and asylum scenes were our favorites. The clown scene was honestly the best , most fun clown scene we’ve experienced. There were a few gotchas, along the way throughout the trail. The actors are definitely dedicated to scaring and having fun. We enjoyed it, if you have kids not sure about doing haunts this would be a fun one to attend. Not overly scary but absolutely fun. We do recommend some adjustments to make the wait time a little less. This is the attractions 2nd year open so we are excited to see how it will grow and develop over the next few seasons. If you go check them out please tell them the Haunt Review Crew sent you!

Laurel’s house of Horror

Ladies and gentleman, Maryland is stepping up their haunt game. Laurel’s house of Horror is a serious game changer. The location is an abandoned movie theater. You pull up to this shopping center and you wonder how good this could be. We are here to tell you the answer is, very good indeed! Firstly, the actors, kudos to you all! These folks are everywhere in this attraction. We were convinced they had more than one person playing certain roles. We learned after that no, in fact these actors are running all over and keeping this amazing storyline going. The bunny, Anthony, Miss Laurel and the movie theater security you all were fantastic! The characters are in Hollywood level make-up, their costumes aren’t just thrown together but also complete the look and storyline. Next, let’s talk scenes. The scenes in here are so realistic we weren’t sure of we had been dumped outside and back in at a few points. The level of attention to detail in this attraction pays off huge. The use of smells, sounds and perfectly placed and timed scares makes this haunt a hit. Another bonus is it is indoors so you can always go without worry of weather.

Attached to the haunt are several escape room games. We had the opportunity to play the American Horror story game. It was a blast. We ended up in a group of really fun folks and just loved it. Had we had time we would have done them all! We cannot say enough about how excited we are knowing that Laurel’s house of Horror is truly just beginning. We see big things ahead for them and we will no doubt be back to see what they come up with next! Let us know what you think when you visit!

The Nevermore Haunt

On October 19th the Haunt Review Crew experienced The Nevermore Haunt in Baltimore. The wait for the haunt even after arriving at the time they opened was about 35 minutes. The haunt itself is in a large building in downtown Baltimore at the Old Town Mall. The attraction is themed in old school Baltimore. Very fitting and paid homage to Edgar Allen Poe. The scenes in this 10,000 sq foot attraction were awesome. There was clearly a lot of thought put into the set designs. The first few rooms didn’t offer many scares or “got ya” moments, but boy when they kicked in the haunt delivered. The actors are very in character, well costumed and great makeup. They were consistent and well placed throughout the show. They have some giant props that really surprised us. Overall, it was really a good show. We are excited to see where this place will go as far as growing into the space they have.

This is their 3rd season and while we see opportunities to expand on the scares and scenes there is really some dedication and heart showing. If you have an opportunity to check this one out it is worth it.

Waldorf Estate of Fear 10/13/18

For the first time, the HRC took in the Waldorf Estate of Fear on the evening of October 13th.........pity it wasn’t Friday the 13th. Waldorf is a gem of a haunted attraction tucked away in Lehighton PA. Waldorf has 3 attractions; Terror in the Corn hayride, The Haunting at the Waldorf Hotel, and Infection (a zombie plagued walk-through).
We started our adventure on the Terror in the Corn hayride. First off, we were totally wowed by the Scarecrow line-keeper’s mask. His hinged mouth and jagged pointed teeth were very realistic. Scarecrow began the creep factor, for us; he was so quiet and creepy.....excellent acting. We hopped onto the wagon and met the Pumpkin King on the other side of the gate. The Pumpkin King layed out the ride rules and pumped us for what was ahead. Pumpkin King had an amazing costume and his voice was spot on. This hayride is a horror movie fan’s paradise; from the old classic 80’s movies, to newer movies, there were scenes right off the movie screen. The actors make the scenes come to life. Victims got chased down by villains like Freddy Krueger, Chucky, Michael Myers, and many more. The hayride was filled with a lot of scenes and even a surprise here and there. This hayride is fun for customers of all ages.
Next we hit the Waldorf Hotel. The vibe, before even entering the hotel, is a creepy one. The boarded up walls and windows delivered eerie warnings of “murder,” “go away,” and “turn back.” They can’t say we weren’t warned. We were brave enough to enter, in spite of the creepy warnings. At the front desk we were greeted by the bell hop, who set the tone for the tour through every disgusting and horrid room. The bell hop was superb!!! He took crazy to the next level. A stellar actor, by far!!! He had us so rattled, we accidentally walked into a closet and had to turn around to get to the next room. Throughout the hotel we encountered the creepiest characters gone mad. Top props to the exorcist girl, who nearly had us airborne as she stealthily leaped from one room into the next, right behind us. We are pretty certain the hotel would not pass health inspection! This is one hotel you may check into, but will be dying to check out of. We made it out alive, but we felt like we had just been engulfed in a horror movie.

We hit Infection last, but have to say, it was our favorite. It’s a walk-through filled with infected zombies trying to steal your 3 major organs (much like flag football). We were instructed to walk quickly, not run, to the safe town, but beware of the hungry zombies. While these were not World War Z zombies, they were stealthy and great at surprising us and nearly getting our organs. Glad we all had good shoes, because we had to use some football moves and make fast tracks! We all survived!! 2 with all our organs, and 2 only lost 1 non-essential organ each. This was our first encounter with a zombie run type attraction. We were very excited to encounter this hybrid attraction and give Waldorf a huge ‘hats off’ for originality!

Halls of Horror 10/13/18

Once again the HRC chose the blood option at Halls of Horror in Palmerton PA. Halls definitely kicks it up a few notches with the blood option. This attraction is fully immersive and adult themed. Your personal space will be invaded. You will be touched. You will get messy. This is what the blood option is all about! Halls is set in the middle of a shopping strip and seems like a totally harmless standard haunted attraction. Then you read the release you’re signing, they give you goggles, and begin telling you the rules. At that point some folks might wonder what they’ve gotten into. And the staff know many folks will decide it’s not for them, once they get started. So, the customers are given the option to exit the attraction at any time. The actors will come out of character and escort anyone out if they ask. We were surprised to learn about 15 people, per night, punk out.......oops........we mean, exit early.

Larger groups are broken up into smaller groups for a better haunt experience. When the door opens you are led down into a dark and foggy basement. Each room is set up to have a little fun with 1 or 2 poor unfortunate souls in the group. You may become the doctor’s next patient, or the dentist’s next patient, or even the crazy barber’s next customer. In almost every scene multiple members of the group get doused with some messy, smelly stuff. We were basted, made into human sundaes, examined, and assaulted with very realistic disgusting fluids and other stuff.

The Haunt is way longer than it looks from the front of the building. It even goes outside, but it winds and twists so much, you don’t know if you’re at the front, back or side of the building. The pictures and video give a better idea of the experience. If you are a true Halloween haunted attraction fan, don’t miss Halls of Horror! It’s worth the drive. Make sure you don’t wear your “fancy” clothes or shoes, that’s for sure. And tell them the Haunt Review Crew sent you!

Markoff's Haunted forest 2018

Markoff's Haunted forest is amazing. Lets start there. We only got to do The Town and one trail due to some flooding. We started with The Town. It was so much fun. We took a creepy very dark tractor ride over to the town and once we were dropped off Benny greeted us and filled us in on the laws of the land. Then we were set off to fend for ourselves into an old mining town where something toxic has occurred. The actors in this town were fantastic. They were very well timed and in the best costumes. The girl in the asylum, the General store full of oddities, and the gigantic saw were most impressive to name a few. Mike, one of the towns people also provided scares waiting for the tractor ride to go back to the midway. The Town was a lot of fun and never faltered from the storyline. We loved the show . Next we did the trail. We are going to go on a limb here and tell you this is the best outdoor trail we have done. We are all trying to find time this year to go back and do the one we missed because this one was that good! There were realistic dinos, a giant Viking ship, a seriously demonic church scene that had us all running, and an industrial scene complete with heavy metal playing added to the fun! There were a lot more scenes in there but we do not want to spoil this for you. Seriously. This place is amazing. The timing, the actors hidden so well…just insane. They make you sign a waiver here because honestly they do such a nice job of keeping it dark and so foggy that you could fall down. Wear boots or good shoes! The terrain isn’t some nice flat surface. You are in the woods. You go up hill, down into deep woods. If we do not make it back this year, we guarantee you we will be back there next year.

Maryland is looking at its best haunted attraction here. Please go and tell them the Haunt Review Crew sent you!

Gravensteen Haunted Production’s 2018

The HRC took a little road trip to Virginia to check out Gravensteen Production’s 2018 haunt. The haunt itself is located on a military base so be sure you have proper ID if you wish to check it out. We arrived at a very large building with a few food vendors set up (check them out the food was good). A perk of being inside is rain or moonshine the show goes on! The scenes in here were very elaborate. The detail going into them is clearly well thought out. The scene with the nun made us all jump a good bit, she basically appeared out of thin air. They seem to lean towards scenes from movies this year that are popular in the horror genre. They didn’t have a ton of actors but they have mastered how to use what they have effectively. We had a few gotchas but truthfully the scenes stole the show here. There was a hallway of ghosts that was eerie, a room of dolls and more. The makeup and costumes in here were also high quality. If you’re in the area we recommend checking this place out.

Fright Factory 9/29/18

What do you do with 25,000 square feet in the basement of a couple of old, truly haunted, warehouses? Create a haunted Halloween experience, of course! So, the HRC decided to check this place out on Saturday, 9/29. The Fright Factory is located in the heart of the South Philly (PA) warehouse district. Not where you would expect to find a haunted attraction, but an absolutely perfect location. The Fright Factory has been in business for 18 years, and we see why! This place has a great maze of twists and turns that allows for optimal scares. They have utilized space effectively to keep you distracted and wondering, while setting you up for the big scare. The aisles are wide, which give you the feeling of vulnerability. You wonder where the scare is going to come from, but the lighting, timing, and effects make it so difficult to figure it out. This is the type of attraction where less actors is more; they had a skeleton crew of actors on the night we visited. For us, it was just the right blend of actors, props, animatronics, scenery, and natural ambiance. The scenes transitioned well. The swamp, insane asylum, barrel room and unholy room were standouts for us. Walking into the swamp room we were immediately distracted by a creature known to inhabit swamps. Then the swamp witch came out of nowhere! That room was the perfect swamp. Barb, in the insane asylum, was beyond creepy and played the “crazy patient” perfectly. Not sure what “number 7” smells like, but Barb made us question our deodorant! The zombie in the barrel room had the creepiest voice! We were certain he was using a voice box, but were later surprised to learn he just had a talent for making a really creepy voice. The unholy nun, in the unholy room, had her timing perfected. Just as we thought we were safe, and almost out of the room she came to life (or should we say, came to death). In multiple rooms, the actors not only startled us going in, they very quietly followed us out. This gave us some of the best scares, because we were so busy looking at the upcoming scene that we totally missed the creep following us. Fright Factory had some of the biggest animatronics we’ve seen in an indoor attraction. The standout star animatronic had to be the giant rat. Totally looked like a still prop; then he came to life!!!

The owner and manager informed us about 2 real ghosts that have been sighted in the Fright Factory. Not only were they seen, but 1 (the tall man) was caught on security cameras! The other apparition, a little girl, has been seen by multiple staff, but she’s pretty shy so she doesn’t hang around very long. Unfortunately, we didn’t see the real ghosts, but we still had a great time at the Fright Factory. Please make a trip to the Fright Factory, and tell them the HRC sent you. You will not be dissapointed!!

Bates Motel & Haunted Hayride 2018

On September 22nd we went to Bates Motel to check out their 28th season’s show. The first thing we did was get some food. The vendors at Bates are among our favorites so dinner had to happen. We recommend checking them out while you’re there!

Bates has 3 separate attractions. Their main attraction is of course the Bates Motel. We hit that up first. The motel has seen some changes and upgrades since last year. They have added scenes and definitely perfected the balance of comedy, theatrics and scare. We felt like the action in there was nonstop. One of our members said “The irony of the motel is the desire to take in the details and realism of the sets while the amazing actors have you running for your life.” It is so hard to write a review and not give away their details. There was a scene where we were staring so intently at this “statue” that we all about died when he moved. It was incredible. There was a wacky coat rack and scary stuffed animals… see what I mean? This place takes risks in their costumes and make up and execute the scares flawlessly. The motel set the bar so high for the night. Once we caught our breath from that we went over to the Hayride. This Hayride, it is absolutely incredible! First the soundtrack is THE BEST soundtrack we have heard on a hayride. The sounds go with the scenes perfectly. There are subtle references in there and amusing songs galore. The sound quality on the wagon is great too. As we rolled along the 20 min or so long hayride we really felt like Bates does a great job of not rushing it. We were able to take in each scene and set. The sets in here are no joke. You can clearly tell they build a lot of them there. They don’t just “plop props” this place creates full scenes where you’re submersed into the show. It is so hard to get scared on a hayride as the wagon sometimes makes you feel protected. The scenes, actors and props in there are just creepy. We also noticed as the wagon pulls away the actors remain in character. That is so important for maintaining the show. Even if haunts aren’t your thing, anyone would appreciate the attention to detail in this hayride. We had a lot of fun watching scenes change, going down into the mines and even taking a trip back into prehistoric times. The ending is the best, I will not give that away but a classic Bates character is back. Bates is easily our favorite hayride currently. Lastly we did the Revenge of the Scarecrow’s haunted trail. The trail has been lengthened, the sets clearly upgraded. It also felt like more actors have joined the corn, as there were fewer gaps in scenes than previous seasons. We loved the lady telling jokes and ribbing guests. The “swamp thing” got us more than once. We loved that we could hear a giggle, breathing or corn moving but the sound never gave up the scare. The foreshadowing in here is legit. We felt like the trail really did a great job with timing out scares as well. We had a group of 5 and it seemed like we all evenly got surprised and scared. The snakes are the best ones we have seen, that is all we will say about that.

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Overall we highly recommend a trip to Bates. Please finish your trip by checking out Gram’s donut shop. They make fresh hot donuts on the spot! Amazing! Way to go Bates!

Field of Screams in Lancaster PA. 2018

It is the 2018 Haunt season my friends! We are so pumped to bring you our reviews for this season. Let's begin with our experience here at the legendary, original Field of Screams in Lancaster PA. This place embodies Halloween. When you arrive you walk up to a ticket window and friendly greeter. There you have several options for ticket packages. They have 4 attractions total, with one being added just 5 seasons ago. You can do them all or just the ones you choose. HRC highly recommends all of them. Do not drive to FOS and miss out on any of the show. There are upgraded skip the line passes as well for those nights it is very busy. Once you pass through ticketing there is the largest midway of activity we have seen at a haunt. There are several food truck vendor choices, plenty of seating to enjoy the food and relax. They have a huge stage where there is always something happening. The night we were there they had various bands playing. Special shout out to Linda who was covering sound and dancing for hours straight! There are games to play in between visiting the 4 attractions as well. Really this is quite the set up. This year the attractions were so evenly matched that it was hard to choose which one got us the most. After debate we did end up favoring the Asylum. They had some seriously creepy characters in there (looking at you dentist and girl in the medicine room) Well done! Overall what makes Field of Screams a winner is their constant change and growth. In all 4 attractions the attention to detail is spot on. They have mastered make up to the point where we cannot tell props from people. They have realistic organs twitching from the ceilings and walls. The use of pitch black darkness and well placed floor changes, smells and textures is amazing. At one point we knew we were crawling through bodies and we all wanted to get out because we just knew one of them was going to spring to life and scare us. The actors are well trained, and truly love to scare. We love the use of technology and old school classic scares.

Field of Screams touches on every aspect of haunting. The indoor haunts, the very creepy hayride (lets be real it can be hard to get scares on a wagon) they do amazingly well, and their newest outdoor walk through. This place never ceases to impress. Some haunts we find go stagnant and barely change over the years. FOS isn't one of those. It is always obvious that they are reinvesting and inventing. Please go check out their 2018 show. If you cannot make it in September or October, they have decided to do their extreme show again in November. You will need to sign a waiver to participate... you've been warned. Go if you dare.