|Scare Factor: Very High | Atmosphere: Very Good|
Visibility/Location: The location is clearly visible as there are no other businesses near the site and there was a promotional van parked right in front with one of those dancing air-bag characters.
Wait Entertainment: The only wait entertainment was the security guys who wanded us. My guy very bluntly let me know how he felt about the new Sox manager due to the fact that I was wearing a Sox cap. For the record, I have never been wanded before entering a haunted house or a Sox game.
Length of Event: Probably around 15-20 minutes. It was a comfortable length. It definetly felt like you'd spent some time in the attraction without feeling like the event was dragging on. If you are the type of person who bases time in the event and quality on how much it costs, you won't be disappointed.
Actor Performance: There were some strong peformances here. Standouts were the twin girls in the Victorian hallway, a girl who climbs on a white fenced walkway, the clowns and counter girl at the gift shop, and all the actors in the car arena, to list a few. There were a few actors that seemed like they may have been new to a scene and seemed as though they were still developing or perfecting their styles and characters. But even their performances were noteworthy.
Patron Flow Inside Attraction: We went early in the season and late in the day so there were only few people at the attraction. We did, however, run into a group ahead of us at the pet shop but we also lost half of our group during the event and never saw them again.... It all evens out.
Appropriate Ages: It was not overly gruesome. I would guess and say 6+.
Props / Special FX: The animatronics were amazing. The pop-out ghosts and zombies were great because they fly right at you or over your head and seem as though they might actually hit you. The cloth and wrappings do actually brush your face so it makes you jump back wondering how close you were to actual contact. The props throughout the attraction were detailed and elaborate.
Costumes / Make-up: The costumes and make up were very well done. Many characters had make-up that would change as the lighting changed such as when a black light was used. This allowed the actors to flip into a more aggressive or ghoulish character and give the patrons a two for one experience with them. Several actors had make-up used with prosthetics that deformed their face and added to the depth of their character design.
Summary: I am a serial haunted house goer and travel to at least 5 or 6 attractions every season. Suffice it to say, I have been to several haunted houses over the years, many through the guidance of this website. I would have to say that this haunted house was my personal favorite and I believe it to be among the strongest I have experienced. The level of planning and design that is apparent in this attraction is a testament to creativity and dedication of Dave, Mike and their hard working, enthusiastic actors and staff.
The haunt begins with the typical speech from an actor letting you know what you can and cannot do while inside. There is a blackout scene that includes what the crew calls "the Blender" or a dead end wall that rotates. My group got seperated as I moved ahead and they got lost and wound up returning to the entrance. I had to go back to get them to get us back on track. The blackout was not a complete blackout because you could see somewhat if you looked at the ceiling, which is what the actors told my lost group to get them on the right path when they re-entered. The haunt trails around through different scenes including a morbid pet shop, a force feeding scene, a Victorian hallway filled with locked doors and a pair of ghoulish sisters, a life sized toy room with giant Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a snowy TV room, a Frankenstein lab, and a gift shop scene with a surprise twist. There are several other scenes but I don't want to give everything away. Most scenes were detailed and well put together. I was startled by props and actors consistently throughout the attraction.
Suggestions I might have would be to add a second scare or actor to the TV room. Definetly add another actor to the white fence maze, entirely black-out the blackout maze (I personally feel it adds to the disorientation although I did speak to the actor who runs that scene and he mentioned that it was brought up to completely black it out and that idea was turned down because it slows patron flow.) and add some sort of foot/ankle floor effect so as people walk it feels as though something is moving on the floor or grabbing your ankles. I would also cover the ceiling there were areas where the ceiling was uncovered and it took me out of the moment because you could see the arena ceiling. These things were minor overall because the attraction was very well done and gave me a great scare for my money.
After going through this attraction for the first time, I was so impressed by the level "visual sleight of hand" and flawlessly integrated scare tactics that I had to go right back in for another round. When I eagerly professed this to the ghoulish house greeter, she immediately put me in contact with Dave who graciously gave me and my friend a tour of the house to see behind the scenes and allowed us to meet with the rest of the staff so that we could share our excitement about the haunt. We capped off the night by spending some time with the crew in the upstairs lounge until 2am. It was a great night. Thanks to everyone at Asylum Xperiment. Great job this year.