Tag: 2012 Haunted House Reviews


REVIEW: Fright Dome

Fright Dome
Circus Circus
Las Vegas, NV

We visited Fright Dome during their 10 Years of Terror celebration in 2012. Creator Jason Egan pulled out all the stops for the massive celebration housed in the Adventuredome at Circus Circus. 

Fright Dome is an epic Halloween party. Five haunted houses, twenty-five amusement park rides, a stocked bar,  celebrity appearances, live music, and four scare zones all capped off with a nightly dance party led by a bunch of terrifying clowns.

Christine visits Fright Dome at Circus Circus

Christine visits Fright Dome at Circus Circus

The weekend we visited the celebrity visiting was one of the cars used in the film version of Stephen King’s Christine. Since my name is Christine, I am a huge fan. Thanks to Christine’s owner Bill Gibson, I had the privilege of sitting in Christine. I watched with awe as the car seemingly came alive.The dashboard lit up, the radio played “We Belong Together,” fog poured from the dashboard, and my seat lurched forward toward the steering wheel. It was AMAZING.

Back to the haunted houses. All of the haunts were stunning with a fast-paced tour guide format. We were completely wowed by their zombie themed haunt, Ward of the Dead, created in conjunction with George A. Romero. The facility was experiencing a breach and the tour guide shouted guidance about how to avoid the creatures. We jumped and dodged and ducked out of the way…. well, I did. Shelly, who was behind me, couldn’t hear the guide’s instructions and found herself fighting through hoards of zombies. We both had a spectacular time and the sets and costumes were incredibly detailed. 

Another highlight of our trip was riding the Adventuredome roller coaster in the darkened Fright Dome environment. You can’t see what’s coming next, which adds a delicious element of surprise.

Final Thoughts

Many haunts try to create a hip party-like atmosphere around their haunted attractions, but no one succeeds like Fright Dome. Fright Dome is the ultimate Halloween party.  

Fright Dome 2014 Season

October 3  – November 1

Ticket Information

General Admission:  $34.95 – $39.95  |  Fast Pass: $54.95 – $59.95  |  VIP Tour: $89.95

Age Requirements

Not appropriate for children under 12.

New For 2014

Six new haunted houses including a Texas Chainsaw Massacre themed haunted house that will incorporate scenes from the film. The new Isolation Haunted House is just for fast-pass and VIP ticket holders and must be entered alone.

Additional Information


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Nyctophobia
Anywhere
Long Island, NY

What is Nyctophobia?  Nyctophobia began as a haunted house and has grown into its own unique brand of immersive promenade theater. Every year it is completely different. We had the pleasure of visiting Nyctophobia in 2011 for its brick and mortar haunted house beginnings. (Read our review of Nyctophobia 2011.)

NYCTOPHOBIA 2012

When we returned in 2012 for their invite-only event, we were thrilled to discover that Nyctophobia had become a story driven immersive theater experience. You had to enter alone and play an active part in the story. This required problem solving and following directions as a rookie investigator of a company called LI Ghosts, that was looking into the disappearance of a young girl. After an initial job interview, you were blindfolded and transported to an actual motel where a detective explained the case and directed you to the crime scene. Different motel rooms were used to create flashbacks and show you what had happened to the missing girl and a mysterious entity encountered in the restroom forcefully gave instructions on how to avoid a similar fate. A highlight was trying to steal a key from around then neck of a sleeping man. When he awoke, he chased you into the parking lot where the detective screamed for you to jump into a van to be whisked back to safety. There’s nothing like running for your life amongst complete strangers.

Nyctophobia 2012

Nyctophobia 2012

Nyctophobia 2012

Nyctophobia 2012

Nyctophobia 2012

Nyctophobia 2012

NYCTOPHOBIA 2013

For 2013, Nyctophobia became a 4 person team experience. Each team drove to a starting location and then with the aide of clues and a map made their way to four nearby locations. Each location provided a piece of the story and your team had to put the clues together to figure out what happened. The various locations included a ghost photographer by the side of the road, a car abandoned near train tracks, a campsite in the woods, and a corpse dumped near a lake. A highlight was running through the woods trying not to attract the attention of blind zombie-like monsters. We encountered a little confusion trying to finding locations and debating clues with teammates, but overall we had a great time.  

 

Nyctophobia 2013

Nyctophobia 2013

Nyctophobia 2013

Nyctophobia 2013

Nyctophobia 2013

Nyctophobia 2013

Nyctophobia 2013

Nyctophobia 2013

Final Thoughts

Nyctophobia continues to be one of the most unique haunted attractions in New York. Creator, Eric Striffler isn’t afraid to take risks and the ever-changing format is exciting and full of imagination. The interactive element combined with the fact that the actors can touch you makes for an unnerving and spine chilling experience. We can’t wait to see what they have planned for 2014. 

 

Nyctophobia’s 2014 Season

October 10 – October 26

Tickets Go On Sale: Friday, October 1, 2014 @ 7:00pm

 

Age Requirements

No one under 16 permitted. You must enter in pairs, but you will be separated.

 

Additional Information


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Eli Roth’s Goretorium
3717 Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV

Horror legend Eli Roth can create blockbuster films on a shoestring budget, so we were excited to see what kind of mayhem he would conjure up with $10 million and a prime location on the Las Vegas strip. Eli Roth’s Goretorium is Sin City’s first year round haunt and with the tag line, ‘You’re F#@ked’ it promises all the gore and terror that Eli Roth fans have come to know and love. 

In typical Vegas fashion, upon entering you’re invited to sip on some liquid courage at Bloody Mary’s bar. The namesake drink is apparently all the rage (we didn’t get to try one) and comes in a gloriously bloody cup. Once you’ve had your fill of beverages, you’re led into the lobby of the haunt. You learn the history of the Delmont hotel, an iconic but unsavory family-owned establishment with rumors of missing guests, torture, cannibalism and worse. There’s a fun photo-op (what attraction would be complete without one?) and then you begin the tour of the hotel, where you’ll encounter buckets of blood, guts and gore. The haunt exits into the Babydoll Lounge, a club with soul-sucking views of the strip, libations and of course, a wall of creepy, creepy dolls. Shudder. Make sure you check out the bathrooms –they’re amazing! No Vegas attraction is complete without a Wedding Chap-Hell and gift shop; Goretorium has a plethora of bloody merchandise in case you don’t want to come home with a generic Vegas souvenir like fuzzy dice or the clap.

 

Is It Scary? 

Eli Roth Says: “We are creating the most intense live terror experience a person can have, incorporating the latest technology with old-fashioned scares. This will be the premiere haunted experience in the world, filled with all kinds of surprises. I’ve spent years planning this, and all my nightmares are finally coming true. No matter which haunted houses you’ve been through, you have never been through anything quite like the ‘Goretorium’.”

The Raven & Black Cat saysGoretorium will splash you in the face with an unhealthy dose of gore.

What We Loved

We love the elevator bit in the beginning. The actors do a great job making it feel like a show and the effect is really fun. The body part infinity tunnel is a great use of an effect that is often florescent and cheesy; Goretorium manages to make it equally gross and disorienting.  We’re always amused by interactive elements, so the dry cleaning scene is one of our favorite parts. The partially burned bodies in toxic acid are the perfect excuse for a black light. The wax figures in the wedding chapel are super creepy, and the zombie reception guests do a great job of creating living, breathing scenery; you really feel like you’re walking into a zombie feast. The incredibly detailed, original sets combined with gruesome effects (dismemberment, burning flesh, and squirting blood) help Goretorium live up to its name.  

What Could Be Better

The set and effects designers are top notch. Everything is so gross and so detailed that you want to stop and study it; unfortunately the lighting is so poor that there are times you can barely tell where you’re supposed to go let alone see the sets in front of you. The lighting should guide you from room to room, showing you where to look to set you up for the scares. Speaking of which…where are the scares?

Yes, Goretorium is jam packed with gore, but blood and guts don’t make you jump or scream.  While we applaud the use of actors as living scenery (one of our favorite things) there needs to be more startle scares to keep us on our toes. I appreciate that Sin City can get away with an R Rated haunt in terms of gore, sexual innuendo and language (one of our favorite moments was when an actor yelled, “Hey, Blondie!  Do the drapes match the curtains and can I have a taste?”) Unfortunately, I’m not sure if that’s enough to live up to the tag line, ‘You’re F#@ked.’ If you’re going to be an adult only, R Rated haunt then you should provide an option to be touched.

Final Thoughts

It seems like Goretorium is marketed towards Eli Roth’s hardcore horror fans, but designed for the touristy Vegas crowd. The sets are amazing, there’s tons of gore and it’s not so scary that the more timid haunted house crowd won’t make it through. As a bonus, Eli Roth promises to change it up seasonally, so we’re definitely looking forward to checking out Goretorium in the future.

Eli Roth’s Goretorium Runs

Year-Round

Ticket Information

Standard Admission:  $29.95 | Death Row VIP Pass: $50.00

Chap-Hell Weddings: $666 and up (Includes VIP admission)

Age Requirements

No age requirements are specified.

Additional Info

 

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Las Vegas Haunts:
Hotel Fear & Asylum
Las Vegas, NV

Hotel Fear and The Asylum have been spooking Las Vegas residents and visitors alike for more than 15 years! In that time, R&J Productions has been leading the way in developing trailer haunts: entirely mobile haunts that are self-contained within groups of customized trailers. We had never been to a trailer haunt and were excited to check out what the genre had to offer. It’s amazing what’s accomplished in such a small space. Both attractions explore the life of Mortimer Feoray, a troubled child that goes mad (Hotel Fear) and is eventually institutionalized (The Asylum). Even with a limited budget, Hotel Fear and The Asylum create a fun and innovative story-driven haunt that’s likely to make you scream for more.

  

Is it Scary?

R&J Productions says: This is the REAL DEAL…the Real Fear you NEED to experience!

The Raven and Black Cat says: The Asylum and Hotel fear provide the perfect midrange haunt: it’s not too gory and it’s not so scary that you won’t make it through. You’ll be delightfully horrified by the carefully designed story and the actors will actually scare you out the door.

 

What We Loved

We love story-driven haunts! Hotel Fear starts out perfectly, picture this: You walk into an old Hollywood style hotel lobby. A sign says ‘ring bell for service’. The moment you ring the bell the lights go out and chaos ensues. It’s fantastic. You’re sent on a quest to find Mortimer in Room 13, but that’s no easy task. The hotel is specifically designed to trap and confuse you. Many rooms have hidden doors and it creates an awesome feeling of distress that you’ll never make it out alive! The key to this scare tactic is the small size and ample spacing between groups.  There is plenty of time to get lost in the maze of the hotel without creating a backup, and if you’re the least bit claustrophobic you’ll be terrified. The fact that both haunts stay true to the theme adds to the realistic nature of the scares. Every scene supports the story and every scare is designed around the theme- you get lost in the story and experience some fun scares along the way.

 

What Could Be Better

There were a few actors that really stood out, particularly the woman in the spa and the man in the white out room – they encouraged you to interact with them and were very successful at creating the perfect atmosphere and set up for the scares to follow. Unfortunately, many of the other actors utilize the scream-in-your-face tactic, which is much less effective. Not every actor is a star and not every actor is able to improvise, but vary the tone and tempo of the startle scares. A whisper is often creepier than a scream and discovering a silent actor in a pitch black hallway would be truly disturbing. Use the actors as living set pieces and get rid of some of the tired animatronics. We love the sections of complete darkness – our first reaction is to reach out for the walls, so make them feel sticky or wet, and maybe add some elements of unsure footing to add to the disorientation.  

It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on younger actors.  Unfortunately, we spotted one high school age asylum patient listening to her ipod. 

 

Final Thoughts

If you’re tired of haunts that jump from theme to theme just for the sake of a scare, then Hotel Fear and The Asylum are your new haven of horror. 

 

Las Vegas Haunts 2012 Season

October 3 – October 31

Ticket Information

Hotel FearGeneral Admission: $15.00   |  VIP: $20.00

Asylum: General Admission: $15.00   |  VIP: $20.00

Combo Pass: $25.00   |  VIP Combo Pass: $35.00

Additional Information


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Lakeville Haunted House
28 Precinct Road
Lakeville, MA

It’s a crisp autumn night, when I pull up to the former Ted Williams Camp, to visit Lakeville Haunted House. Despite being early November, the Haunt is on in full effect: the parking lot is full, a DJ is spinning to a crowd of dancing teens and the aroma of spooky concessions wafts through the air. Delightful. I love to be surrounded by fellow haunt lovers, all dying to stretch the Halloween season a little longer.

I am really excited. Lakeville Haunted House is the first haunt we’ve visited that is entirely non-profit. All of the proceeds are donated to scholarships and local charities. In their ’21 years of ‘blood and tears,’ Lakeville Haunted House has raised a monstrous $200,000 for the community.

 

Is It Scary?

According to their Official Website: “No matter where you turn, you can feel the eyes of someone or something watching you. A snap of a twig, the rustling of leaves, the howling wind and screams of fear fill you with fright as you travel through the twisting, turning maze of horror.”

The Raven and Black Cat says: Lakeville Haunted House explores many different themes and phobias for your terrifying pleasure. If you tremble at chainsaws, run from clowns, and are afraid to walk through the woods alone then Lakeville Haunted House will definitely scare you.

 

What We Love

I love that they have embraced their roots by starting out with a Crystal Lake-inspired camp section. Lakeville is a rural area and there’s nothing scarier than running through cabins and seeing Jason slowly approach your group. 

The fabulously creepy clown maze had a ton of disorienting effects and hidden doors; my group got stuck on multiple occasions trying to find the exit. The troll blocking the path, was my favorite character. When I asked him what the toll was to pass, he whispered, “Your Soul!” and proceeded to ‘suck my soul’ with conviction. It was a fantastic touch. The drawbridge is another great and unexpected effect.                

 

What Could Be Better

Children are absolutely terrifying in a haunt, and the little kids at Lakeville were some of the best actors we’ve seen. Unfortunately, the teenagers were significantly less intimidating, especially when they broke character to say hi to their friends that were attending the haunt. Haunted attractions that rely on a volunteer staff have to work with what they’ve got, but you can increase the intimidation factor by placing teens in a victim role and employing detailed masks or makeup.

Everyone loves a good chainsaw scare, but when there’s a chainsaw around every corner you lose the element of surprise and it becomes banal. Try exploring different power tools like drills, angle grinders, or dental equipment – they’re just as threatening, but will vary the experience and keep your audience on edge.

 

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a traditional walkthrough style haunt in the woods, you should definitely pay a visit to Lakeville Haunted House. It explores all the basic horror themes, features original handcrafted sets and costumes, and enthusiastic actors. There are a lot of scary elements, but you don’t have to worry about anyone touching you and it’s not so terrifying that your kids can’t enjoy the fun too. Lakeville Haunted House is a fun-filled family-friendly attraction for a good cause.  

 

Lakeville Haunted House 2012 Season

October 19 – November 3

 

Ticket Information

General Admission: $15.00

(Anyone with a military ID can get in free!)

 

Age Requirement

No age requirements are specified.

 

Additional Information

 


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Slim Chance’s Chamber of Horrors
5750 Sunrise Highway
Sayville, NY

 

Step right up to Slim Chance’s Chamber of Horrors! It’s easy to scare people in an abandoned asylum or warehouse, but creating an unsettling environment in a strip mall is an adventurous endeavor. Haunt veteran, Marty Arominski has done just that. What Chamber of Horrors lacks in atmosphere, it makes up in spirit.

When we arrived, we were elated to hear blood curdling screams as two zombies chased a teenage girl through the parking lot…at a full on run. Moments later, a chainsaw wielding clown ran through the crowd, eliciting another round of shrieks. Chamber of Horrors is filled with a cast of demonic characters dying to scare you over, and over and over again.

 

Is It Scary

According to Proprietor Slim Chance: “We have sights and sounds to thrill you, entertain you, entice you and ultimately leave you and your gallant party of friends and family, screaming, begging, pleading, running for the exits in terror and crying for the very mothers that birthed you!”

The Raven and Black Cat says: Chamber of Horrors is a faced paced, carnival inspired haunt bathed in blood and loaded with disorienting effects and startle scares. If you’re afraid of clowns, spiders, living dead, and can’t help but scream when things go bump in the night, than this is the haunted house for you.

 

What We Loved

The clever set design allows for multiple points of entry in each room. Instead of lingering after a scare, the actors rush off, creating a glorious wtf moment. Before you can process what just happened, they’re back again for more, sometimes following you through multiple rooms. The heavy use of strobe lights is disorienting and sets you up nicely for startle scares from porcine demons, crazy clowns, and blood thirsty zombies. Favorite moments include a pitch black maze of directional arrows, a Long Island housewife dying to feed us a home baked fetus and a silly sing-a-long rendition of Highway to Hell.

 

What Could Be Better

We would love to see a unifying theme or story line to tie the rooms together. Character development is always more effective when the actor has a very clear idea of who or what they are portraying. A few characters at Chamber of Horrors had fabulous depth and detail, but many of the actors just screamed in our faces, which is ineffective and irritating. Come up with a story for each room and a background for the characters in it. When the actors know exactly what’s happening and what their objective is, then they can react to the audience as they enter instead of relying on a set script or constant volume. Some of the most unsettling moments can come from just a whisper.

The caged mad doctor throwing entrails is a brilliant idea; the effect will be perfect when you dye the wash cloths dark red to look like bloody  flesh.

 

Final Thoughts

Chamber of Horrors is an evil carnival loaded with startle scares, hair-raising creatures and dizzying effects. The weekend after we visited, Attius Plaza hosted an actual carnival surrounding the haunt with rides, games and food. The combination of the two events makes for a perfect Halloween celebration.

 

Slim Chance’s Chamber of Horrors 2012 Season

October 5 – November 4

 

Ticket Information

General Admission: $15.00  |  RIP Fast Pass: $20.00  |  Timed Tickets: $25.00

 

Age Requirements

According to the official website: “This attraction was not designed for very small children. It’s up to parents to decide if their kids are mature enough for The Chamber. If their age is in single digits and you hope for more, give this careful consideration.”

 

Additional Information


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Blood Manor: Bloody Valentine’s Weekend
163 Varick Street
New York, NY

“S” and I returned to Varick Street on Friday, February 10th for Blood Manor’s Off-Season Haunt. Their Valentine to New York City was “Bloody Valentine’s Weekend.” The residents of the manor were celebrating Valentine’s Day and guests were invited to experience a blood soaked version of their October Haunted House covered in broken hearts and dead flowers. The lonely monsters inside were looking for someone to love and mutilate.

Was it Scary?

Our return visit to Blood Manor was just as scary as it was in October. “S” and I walked through by ourselves and found that all the blood, guts, and gore were all still there. We fell victim to several startle scares and had a truly fabulous time.

What I Loved

We absolutely love Off-Season haunted houses! We had a wonderful time playing with the actors and marvelling at the new valentine-themed details. A few of my favorites were: heart shaped end trails, a human heart in a box, and a girl playing “he loves me…he loves me not” with a man’s fingernails. We also really enjoyed the creepy drag queen in the 3-D section. After the haunted house we enjoyed chatting with the lovely zombie pinup girls of Gorgeous & Gory, who were selling their 2012 Calendar.

What Could Be Better

We loved everything in the house. We loved that there was a haunted house that we could go to in February. “Bloody Valentine’s Weekend” could only have been better if it had been open for more than just two evenings (and maybe added some chainsaws.) 

Final Thoughts

“S” and I had a blast. It was the best Valentine’s Gift. We left Blood Manor exhilarated. I hadn’t realized how much I missed haunted houses and in that moment, in the mild February weather, it almost felt like Halloween.   

Bloody Valentine’s Weekend Ran

February 10th & 11th Only

Additional Info