Tag: 2014 Haunted House Reviews


REVIEW: Nyctophobia

Nyctophobia
Anywhere
Long Island, NY

Nyctophobia 2014 was like stepping into a Lynchian nightmare where garbled sounds and blurred visuals gave way suddenly to eerie scenes that drove forward themes of loss, longing, regret and obsession. An interrogation scene managed to get under my skin without being intimidating, but by forcing eye contact while probing my thoughts on love and failure.  I couldn’t help but feel vulnerable throughout the haunt, though a highlight was being guided through an open field with my vision impaired by scratched goggles.

While Nyctophobia deprived me of my senses to make me uneasy, it also directly assaulted them with great success. The smell… oh the smell of one gentleman I encountered inside the haunt…  just awful. And this is coming from someone who lives in NYC (subways, cab drivers, hipsters!) If I was not thoroughly creeped out by the first 90% of the haunt, the ending climax was enough to push me over the edge with understated acting that ranks with the best that I’ve experienced.

Final Thoughts

Nyctophobia is an intense immersive experience, but the intensity comes from the subject matter, from playing with your senses, and from the terrific performances inside the haunt.  It was never overly aggressive, nor did it rely on jump scares, but it was still one of the more affecting haunts of the 2014 season.

Nyctophobia’s 2014 Season

October 10 – October 26

Age Requirements

Not appropriate for children. No one under 16 permitted. You must enter in pairs, but you will be separated.

Additional Information

 


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Waldorf Estate of Fear
6325 Interchange Road
Lehighton, PA

The haunt that got my adrenaline pumping the most this Halloween season was The Waldorf Estate of Fear.  Even though they told me not to run, I did anyway!  More on that in a bit…  Located in Lehighton, PA, Waldorf is celebrating their 10th terrifying year, with three attractions – a hayride (Terror in the Corn), a group walk-through haunt (The Haunting at the Waldorf Hotel), and new for this year, an interactive zombie experience (Infection) where you don a flag football belt and attempt to juke your way through an onslaught of the undead while keeping your vital organs (three flags representing your brain, heart and lungs) intact.

Is It Scary?

According to the Official Website: “Come find out for yourself!!!

The Raven & Black Cat says: Our competitive nature took over during Infection and it’s hard not to get a jolt when a zombie jumps out at you that you are actively trying to avoid – especially while you’re running for your life!  Between the rush of this experience and some genuinely dark sets in the group haunt, Waldorf delivers solid scares.

What We Loved

Infection was an absolute blast.  Upon entering, we were told not to run and rather to just try to dodge the zombies who were coming for our flags.  I don’t know if it had been a slow night and the ghouls inside were extra hungry, but they seemed to be chasing us harder than I expected and as a result I ran.  I totally ran.  I tried to pull a spin move on one of the zombies coming for me, and I lost my balance and fell on my ass.  As I lay there, my head still spinning from dizziness, I quickly imagined the classic horror movie scenes of a horde of zombies descending on a poor soul, ripping out his innards and having themselves a feast.  Luckily for me, the Jaded Viewer selflessly pulled me off of the ground and saved me and my flags from that sad fate.

After Infection, with our adrenaline pumping, we were greeted at The Haunting at the Waldorf Hotel by James Cudie (spelled CU Die), a cross between a demon bellhop and a stand-up comedian.  It was the start of a terrific trip through a haunted hotel that felt real because it’s built out in a space that was previously a restaurant.  The kitchen set was actually a kitchen.  The bar set was actually a bar.  Beyond the great use of space, the haunt was well paced and the monsters inside interacted with us well.

What Could Be Better

The hayride wasn’t on par with the other two attractions at the haunt.  Things started off on the wrong foot when we were instructed by a giant demon pumpkin not to smoke during the hayride – this could have been handled by attendees who are not supposed to be a part of the show as we were starting.  There were some enjoyable cameos by familiar characters and nice sets, but there was too much reliance on actors screaming as loudly as they could as they mounted the wagon.  I was mostly scared for their vocal cords.

Final Thoughts

The Haunting at the Waldorf Hotel is dark, creative, and one of the better group walk through haunts I experienced this season.  But the star of the show is Infection and it’s a blast for anyone who has ever watched a zombie flick and thought ‘I could dodge those zombies easily.’  Guess what, you can’t!  I may have only lost one flag (I assume it was my brain – I didn’t use it much anyway), but I definitely lost some dignity lying there on the ground.  It’s hard to imagine enjoying being chased by the undead more.

Waldorf Estate of Fear 2014 Season

September 26  – November 1

Ticket Information

  • Terror Package (All 3 Attractions):   $35
  • Scream Package (Any 2 Attractions): $30
  • The Haunting at the Waldorf Hotel Only:  $15
  • Infection Only:  $15
  • Terror in the Corn Hayride Only:  $20
  • VIP Upgrade (Skip to the front of the line): Add $15

Age Requirements

According to the Official Website: “There is no age limit, parents must use their own discretion. Our rule of thumb is 10 and over!”

Additional Information


REVIEW: Field of Screams

Field Of Screams
191 College Avenue
Mountville, PA

Imagine it’s Friday night and you’ve just come home from a long day of work/school/doing nothing and your sweetheart says to you, “I really want to have a local teenager run a chainsaw against the back of my legs, tonight.”  And you say, “I was hoping we could go have Italian sausages and some fried dough.”  And they say, “But I want a demented clown to braid my hair.”  And you say, “But I’ve been practicing throwing softballs at empty bottles in the backyard and I think I could finally win you an over-sized teddy bear.”  This is clearly a tense moment, but then you realize together that there’s a place you could go that would make you both happy and you say in unison: Field of Screams!  Field of Screams (saving relationships since 1993) is a terrific reminder that a little fear can be a whole lot of fun.  With three walk-through haunts (Frightmare Asylum, Den of Darkness and the new outdoors Nocturnal Wasteland), and a top notch hayride, along with a series of horror-themed carnival games and food, there are hours of scare-filled entertainment to be had. I’d offer my services to Field of Screams as a marketing consultant, but with a packed house on the first weekend in October, it’s pretty clear that they’re doing just fine.

Is It Scary?

According to the Official Website: “Live in your nightmares as you journey through each attraction and be prepared for the most horrifying experience of your life because Field of Screams takes fear to a whole new level.”

The Raven & Black Cat says: I saw a woman in a full on sprint being chased by a monster with a chainsaw… out in the main entertainment area!  I also watched the bravest preteen I’ve ever seen go nose to nose with the haunt’s inhabitants and barely blink (she had ice water in her veins!).  I had a few moments of anxiety myself, but more than anything I had a great time throughout.

What We Loved

Right when I entered the Frightmare Asylum, a “patient” snuck up behind me and took my arm like we were on a date.  It was sweet and it felt right, but just before I could ask her to prom, a fellow inmate popped up and screamed in my face.  I was not expecting to be touched and it wasn’t aggressive, but that automatically upped the intensity.  The walk through haunts are terrific, however the hayride is the star of the show.  Highlights included a creepy butcher family and some pig carcasses, a barn full of giant snakes and a spooky circus.  I was hoping for once that the spooky circus would be filled with trapeze artists or lion tamers, but nope… clowns.  Always clowns.

What Could Be Better

When I entered the creepy emergency room, the actor said “What are you doing in my emergency room?”  When I entered the creepy power plant the actor said “What are you doing in my power plant?”  “What are you doing in my kitchen?”  “What are you doing on my lawn?”  Guys, I’m at a haunted house, that’s what I’m doing. Encountering creative dialogue when you enter a room can make a huge difference.

Final Thoughts

Field of Screams is at the top of their game combining great sets and effects with engaged actors and clever scares.  A crazy doctor sprayed me with something and said it was Ebola.  That’s an actor having fun, and it translates to a guest having fun.  By the way, should I be worried about the cough I’ve developed?

Field of Screams 2014 Season

September 12  – November 9

Ticket Information

  • Scream Pass (All 4 Attractions):   $33
  • Triple Combo Pass (Any 3 of 4 Attractions): $30
  • Double Combo Pass (Any 2 of 4 Attractions): $27
  • Haunted Hayride Only:  $16
  • Den of Darkness Only:  $14
  • Frightmare Asylum Only:  $14
  • Nocturnal Wasteland Only: $14
  • VIP Upgrade (Skip to the front of the line): Add $15

Discount Tickets

  • 13Haunts Coupon: $8 Off VIP Scream Pass/ $5 Off Regular Scream Pass –Click Here!
  • Join the Field of Screams Mailing List for Additional Coupons and Discounts.

Age Requirements

Not recommended for children under 10 years old.  (They have a non scary daytime event for children and adults who are young at heart at Corn Cob Acres.)

Additional Information


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Nightmare: New York
107 Suffolk Street
New York, NY

Nightmare Haunted House has a new theme after retiring two years of serial killers. This year the scares are inspired by the real life horror and urban legends of New York City. Journey back in time to be cursed by the Lenni Lenape indians and fight your way through the crazy homeless people, drug dealers, and sexual predators of Ed Koch’s New York. Along your way you’ll also encounter mole people, Typhoid Mary, sewer alligators, and giant rats.  

Is It Scary?

According to the Official Website: “Yes. This isn’t a theme park ride. The whole purpose is to scare you. We have worked long and hard to create the most horrifying experience possible. Get ready for your adrenaline fix.”

The Raven & Black Cat says: Nightmare: New York brilliantly displays the real and imagined situations that keep your relatives in fear of the visiting the big city.

What We Loved

The 1980s subway car set and the Dakota room are both gorgeous and filled with compelling actors to put you on edge. Opting to have a bloody red X painted on your forehead will allow the actors to touch you. Look forward to getting up close and personal with Typhoid Mary and the Headless Horseman.  

Other highlights include a sensory deprivation maze, Uncle Touchy’s Tunnel of Love, and meeting the giant Rat King.  

What Could Be Better

The amazing subway set is just asking to be the scene of a mugging. Throughout that entire scene I just kept asking myself, “Why is no one getting mugged?” That would be scary. 

Another missed opportunity is not dedicating a room to every New Yorker’s worst fear: BED BUGS. Forget roaches! Imagine a room covered in faux bed bugs and then the lights go out and oatmeal (or literally anything) is sprinkled on you as if you might be taking some of them home with you. Chills. 

Final Thoughts

Nightmare: New York is another solid offering from creator Timothy Haskell. History and urban legend combine to put you face to face with your worst inner city nightmares.

Nightmare: New York 2014 Season

September 26  – November 1

Ticket Information

Timed Ticketing:  $30.00 Online  |  $35.00 At The Door

VIP (Front of the line access): $50.00 Online  |  $60.00 At The Door

DISCOUNT TICKETS

  • $20 Student Rush Tickets Available 1 Hour Prior to Listed Start Times.
  • Sunday, October 5th: Military Night – half off for all military personnel all night long at the Box Office.
  • Wednesday, October 8th: Public Servants Night – half off for all police, FDNY, EMT, etc at the Box Office.
  • 50% Off Timed Ticketing & VIP Tickets – Click Here!

Age Requirements

Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. No children under 10 will be admitted. 

Additional Information


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Blood Manor
163 Varick Street
New York, NY

Blood Manor is celebrating its 10th year of terror this October, with the usual dose of ghouls, gore, and good times, along with some new twists!  Conveniently located on Varick Street, Blood Manor opens this Friday, October 3rd.  We were lucky enough to get an early look at the haunt at their Media Preview event.

Is It Scary?

According to their Official Website: “Yes.  Blood Manor is designed to be the most intense, creepy and ‘scream inducing’ haunted house attraction in the New York tri-state area.”

The Raven & Black Cat says: If you’re looking to get into the Halloween spirit with a classic, group walk-through style haunted house with lots of blood, incredible makeup, top notch sets, and 3-D effects, then Blood Manor is for you.

What We Loved

The look of the monsters was outstanding with real attention to detail paid to each actor’s makeup.  Even when interacting up close at the media event with better lighting than inside the house, they still looked terrific.  The characters also varied their approach to interacting with me.  One zombie took the classic ‘be threatening and scary tact’ and whispered in my ear that she wanted to drink the blood out of my heart like it was tea (which I assume means with some half and half and a twist of lemon).  Other characters injected some humor, while still lingering in your personal space to make you uncomfortable.  We met a foul mouthed blonde named “Tiffany” (don’t tell anyone, but I think Tiffany was a man) who asked “D” if he wanted to be her new boyfriend.  The role was available because she had killed her last boyfriend in a way that would have made Lorena Bobbitt blush.  Since he’s married, “D” unfortunately had to reject the offer.  He made a promise that only his wife is allowed to murder him through genital dismemberment.

What Could Be Better

There were some characters who seemed to really enjoy interacting with the Manor’s guests and played off of the crowd well.  Others jumped out and then didn’t offer much beyond the initial scare.  Since a group walks through a room at their own pace, being able to sustain creepiness after that initial jump scare is key.

Final Thoughts

Blood Manor continues to bring grade A presentation and classic haunt style to NYC.  This year, they’ve added ‘Touch Me Thursdays’ where you can opt to be touched by the actors, and Blackout Nights (November 7th and 8th) where they turn down the lights and you have to walk through with only a glow stick – both promise to up the fear factor.  There is also a new timed line system to reduce your wait to get in. 

Blood Manor Runs

October 3rd – November 8th

Ticket Information

  • General Admission (Online): $33.50

  • General Admission (At the Door): $35.00

  • R.I.P. Express Entry (Online): $53.50 (comes with free t-shirt!)

  • R.I.P. Express Entry (At the Door): $60.00 (also comes with free t-shirt!)

Discount Tickets

  • 50% Off General Admisison & RIP Tickets – Click Here

Age Requirements

Children under the age of 14 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. 

Additional Information

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