OHIO VALLEY HAUNTS
Ohio Valley Haunts Full Moon
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- 2006 -
2006 Official Haunt Awards
As we close the book on another great season, I'd like to personally thank everyone who touched our lives these past few months.
2006 was an interesting year, seeing many of the previously lower rated venues stepping things up a notch or two, while a few of
the annual pace setters stumbled a bit for various reasons, creating somewhat of a log jam at the 7 - 8 range on the grading scale.
Hats off to all the owners, workers, and sponsors for all the hard work and support that goes into operating a successful haunted
 attraction, and for all the fun and scares 2006 brought to us all.  We very much enjoyed seeing everybody again, and meeting some
new friends along the way.  This year's weather made it pretty rough at times, especially on many of the outdoor attractions, while
others enjoyed record crowds.  Ohio Valley Haunts surpassed even our own expectations again this year, visiting 65 different haunts!
And that's counting Fearfest and Scare U as one event each!  As we move into November, and look ahead to Thanksgiving, I'd like
 to wish everyone a peaceful, and prosperous Holiday season!  We're already looking forward to doing it all over again in 2007! 
 Thanks again for all your gracious hospitality, and most of all, for  some of the finest entertainment around!
- Gary (Founder) and Jim (Webmaster) - Ohio Valley Haunts -
HAUNTED HOUSE REVIEWS 2006
Link directly to specific reviews by clicking on the alphabetical HAUNT listings below:
Acres Manor (Hanna) Fear Factory (Findlay, OH) Haunted Town Hall Phantazmagoria (Hanna)
The Asylum (Fearfest) Fear Fair Haunted Trail of Horror Pitch Black (Industrial Nightmare)
Baxter Avenue Morgue Fearfest (Kings Island) Headless Hollow (Fearfest) Poasttown Insane Asylum
Black Bog (Bull Run Farm) Federal Valley Fright Nights Heckle and Howl (Fearfest) Psycho Path (Fearfest)
Bloody Mary's Massacre Meadows Fright Manor Hells Half Acre (Hanna) Psycho Path (Xenia)
Buford Haunted School Fright Night 31 Ways to Terror Holiday Horror (Fearfest) Riverside Jaycees Haunted House
Carnival of Macabre (Gates of Terror) Gates of Terror House of Nightmares Sandyland Acres Haunted Hayride
Chamber of Horrors (New Albany, IN) Ghostly Manor Hustead House of Horror St. Rita Haunted House (97.3)
Chambers of Horror (Middletown, OH) Hamilton Haunted Hayride Industrial Nightmare Scare University
Circus of Horrors (Fearfest) Hanna Haunted Acres Jamestown Haunted Woods Scream on Shortridge
The Coffins Hanna Haunted Hayride Killer Klowns (LOI) Superstition (Fearfest)
Cornstalkers (Fearfest) Hauntcert Series (Fearfest) Land of Illusion Temple of Terror (LOI)
Cowboy Carnage (Fearfest) Haunted Cave at Lewisburg Massacre Manor (Fearfest) Terror Park
Culbertson Mansion Haunted House Haunted Firehouse Middletown Haunted Trail (LOI) Terror Within Zombie Island
Dead Acres Haunted Hayride (Bonnybrook) Monster Bash (Fearfest) Too Dark Park (Zombie Island)
Dementions (Industrial Nightmare) Haunted Hayride (Bull Run Farm) Mount Healthy Haunted Hall USS Nightmare
Dr. Psycho's Haunted Estate (LOI) Haunted Hollow (Wilmington) Night Fright Haunted Trail at Silver Lake Beach Waverly Hills Sanatorium
Dungeons of Delhi Haunted Hotel Nightmare on Main Street WEBN Haunted House
Dungeon of Doom (Xenia) Haunted Spook Coop Nightmare on Valley Street The Worksite (Fearfest)
Entanglement (Hanna) Haunted Swamp Ohio State Reformatory (Prison) See you in 2007!
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HAUNTED ATTRACTION RATING REVIEW
DEAD ACRES
13861 Broad St.
Pataskala, OH  43062
- 5 miles east of Columbus -
(740) 927-3568
$15 ($25 VIP) + $2 parking
Dead Acres
click logo to visit their web site
DEAD ACRES:  Rated the ninth best haunted attraction in the country by Hauntworld magazine, Dead Acres simply must be seen to be believed!  Flames shoot out of the tops of giant silos as you wait to enter the most impressive haunted attraction in our area.  Once inside, you immediately find yourself at the mercy of an enormous monster, that springs forth through double wooden doors, that weren't capable of restraining him!  Haunted coffins, shake under their own power up ahead, their lids partially opening over and over again.  You just know something is desperately seeking to escape, you just don't know what!  Careful!  You just might fing out!  From here on, startles are intense, and basically non-stop.  A large serpent comes to life right before your very eyes, spraying a mist from its mouth, and an huge inverted bat begins to move its wings after you disturb the slumber of its sleep.  Many more similarly animated monsters are still to come, just waiting to wreck their havoc on all who enter the haunt formerly known as The Haunted Hoochie.  Highly energetic characters take every advantage of the numerous distractions provided by their mechanical counterparts, grabbing at you from the rafters overhead, and behind panels in the walls.  The unrestful bunch jump out of the darkness blocking your path and refuse to let you pass until they're good and ready!  Hallways appear to be engulfed in flames as you continue to make your way through.  The first of two entrapments is forthcoming, where the path ahead is closed off, and you're sequestered in a darkened area, before a caged clown.  Suddenly, blinding strobes begin to quickly flash on and off making it even more difficult to see, and a booming voice begins to interact with the group - that of  a blade waving lunatic who delivers an alarming surprise before releasing you to the caskets, skeletons, and evil clowns that lie ahead.  You witness a bathroom scene, where a girl hopelessly seeks to avoid her attacker, leading to an incredible encounter with the headless horseman!  Outside, a large fiend loudly clangs the iron blades of his weapons together, and you just know he plans to use them on you!  The cellar to hellar offers an ax wielding madman, and a dark maze that must be transversed in order to escape, but you're still not safe!  Sparks and chainsaws await your emergence from the maze.  Dinner tables rattle, and more surprises materialize from underneath beds, and beneath a ladies dress!  You accidentally disturb a mad nurse who readily turns her evil intentions on you!  More attacks descend upon you in the form of a rabid dog, a near miss with a hit and run bus, and a spinning vortex all leading to second entrapment featuring a victim hanged by chains, and a horrific surprise before exiting into a cage maze, and your eventual salvation Dead Acres!

Analysis:
LENGTH - 9, More or less, 20 minutes depending on the various entrapments.
ACTORS - 10, Not a lot of dialogue outside skits, but not much room for it either due to the intensity of the event.  The most highly energetic crew in the business, especially the chainsaw ghouls that actually rub their gas guzzling noisemakers up against your legs!
SCARINESS - 9½, Numerous distractions provided by a boat load of outlandish props, perfectly capitalized upon by their first class crew.  Not a lot of traditionally spooky music, but the soundtrack is designed to compliment the intense nature of the haunt, which it accomplishes dutifully.
DESIGN - 9½, A noticeable increase in course length, and nice variety between indoor and outdoor scenes.  Structures are outstanding, but groups tend to bunch up as a result of the entrapments, which causes some of the more technologically advanced scares to be missed.  Props are perfectly positioned, and actors are well concealed and anxious to pounce!
PROPS - 9½, Just tons of state of the art scares.  Timing might be occasionally improved upon (possibly with a reduction in group size), especially with the headless horseman.
VALUE - 9½, A little on the expensive side, and a parking surcharge, but a lot of bang for the buck.
Final Score:  9½, The most action packed adventure around, featuring the latest animatronics, and volumes of highly motivated characters combining to provide the best possible haunted house experience.  This annual "Haunt of the Year" contender is in a league all to itself.  Don't miss a chance to experience Dead Acres!
reviewed 10/19/06

THE HAUNTED HOTEL
3000 S. 4th St.
Louisville, KY
(502) 634-4478
$14 - ($2 discount coupon on web site)
- coupon valid Thursdays and Sundays only -
The Haunted Hotel
click logo above to visit their web site
The Haunted Hotel
THE HAUNTED HOTEL:  No vacancies as usual at this demented depot!  Non-stop action is the rule as the adventure gets underway in a rickety, old elevator.  A pig-faced attendant, having barbed wire, and a noose around his neck selects your floor, and the elevetor begins thrashing about violently, while the lights on the panel board flicker off and on.  Suddenly, a power failure brings it to a screeching hault leaving you in complete darkness, before "dropping" you to the bottom floor.  Off the elevator, the journey continues through blood-splattered rooms, where skeletons and other monsters are propelled at you from all directions!  A bloody girl in a bed gives way to a shocking surprise, and another comes your way courtesy of a drop-down panel in a wall.  Attackers are armed with shovels and chainsaws.  A distant cry for help reveals a girl strapped to a chair.  Abruptly, her captor appears maniacally threatening, "Shut up, or I'll KILL you!"  Skeletons and body parts lie ahead, and a poor, tortured soul has his head ripped from his body by some sort of contraption.  Up the stairs, walls are covered with bloody handprints, as "Rock-a-bye baby" succumbs to heavy metal, and the floors begin to shake beneath your feet!  Cupboards open and close on their own, sparks fly, strobes flash, blood squirts from lifeless bodies, and shocking sounds accompany close encounters with animated objects!  Gas mask wearing fiends and chainsaw packing lunatics chase you to a staircase that leads out of the Hotel, into a spinning vortex that serves up a startling surprise, before exiting into a fog-filled maze.  A prisoner shakes the bars of his jail cell in desperation, coinciding with the sounding of a deafening alarm as the life of another convict is snuffed out in a cloud of smoke from the voltage in an electric chair!  Then, the maze resumes, yielding to a multiple chain saw chase-out.

Analysis:
LENGTH - 9, 20 minutes with the lengthening of the maze.
ACTORS - 10, Aggressively intense and covered with blood!
SCARINESS - 9, Numerous surprises and intimidating acting, but some areas are devoid of a mood setting soundtrack.
DESIGN - 9½, Several differences and changes, including the introduction of fog to the outdoor maze that obscures much of the street light that has hindered its effectiveness in the past. 
PROPS - 10, A multitude of perfectly timed animatronics delivering the best possible scares.
VALUE - 9, $14 (unchanged from '05 and $2 coupon valid on Thursdays and Sundays) gets you the most bizarre scares around!
Final Score:  9½, Never a dull moment at The  Hotel!  Lengthening the outdoor maze, and adding fog are noticeable additions to a haunt that's difficult to improve upon.  Group size is limited to no more than 5 or 6 to insure everybody experiences surprises equally.  The Haunted Hotel once again delivers its patented standard of excellence, continuing to serve as the blueprint of the industry, and the measuring stick of the business!  This legitimate  "Haunt of the Year" contender is one you must not miss!
reviewed  9/30/06

BAXTER AVENUE MORGUE
451 Baxter Ave.
Louisville, KY
(502) 589-0959
$15 / $25 VIP Express
Baxter Avenue Morgue
click logo above to visit their web site
Baxter Avenue Morgue
BAXTER AVENUE MORGUE:  The macabre adventure begins with the unnerving seclusion of your group in a quiet funeral parlor, where pallbearers guard a closed casket at a wake service.  Soon, you enter The Morgue, through a spooky iron door, and are greeted by the mortician, Warren Vanderdark who releases you into a dark maze.  Unsettling music and ceremonial chanting accompany the venture through realistic body bags, hospital gurneys, and a disturbing kitchen scene where an insane butcher slaughters a victim he was preserving in a refrigerator.  The soft melody of a music box sets an eerie tone for a solumn encounter with a little girl (Diedra) and her doll.  Death is omnipotent as you make your way through various scenes of coffins, body vaults that open and close of their own volition, a vampiress springing forth from her upright wooden casket, the ghost apparition of a surgeon operating on a distressed patient, and a cemetery inhabited by distraught souls held captive against their will, and destined to fall prey to the undead zombies that roam the grounds. A cute girl innocently admiring herself in a mirror turns into a shocking surprise, as does a gravedigger, whose shovel suddenly becomes electrified!  Even spiderboy (a ghoul who emerges from overhead, and slides back and forth along a very low ceiling) gets in on the act, offering an unexpected  surprise of his own, prior to a chainsaw chase-out.

Analysis:
LENGTH - 8½, Around 15 minutes
ACTORS - 9, Alarmingly intense!  Outstanding make-up, but fewer in number than in years past, especially early on.  Crazy Ernie's shtick selling caskets is out of place in The Morgue.
SCARINESS - 10, They isolate you in darkness to allow your emotions to build, then expose you to genuinely chilling scenes that eventually conquer you.  But much of that conquest is from within, as your own nerves are mostly responsible. Background music, and sounds alone are enough to strike fear into the hearts of the fearless.  At one point, a hand from above reached down out of the darkness and gently touched my shoulder!
DESIGN - 9½, Potentially a perfect 10.
PROPS - 10, Realistic decor, and a nice balance of mechanical props.
VALUE - 9, a bit expensive, but the best always costs more!
Final Score:  9½, Last year's "Haunt of the Year" is absolutely THE most fear instilling experience around!  If you're in search of an overwhelmingly scary Halloween attraction, look no further than The Baxter Avenue Morgue. Whatever you do, don't miss this one!
reviewed  9/30/06

OHIO STATE REFORMATORY
HAUNTED PRISON
100 Reformatory Rd.
Mansfield, Ohio  44905
(419) 461-0120 or (419) 360-5689
$14
Ohio State Reformatory
click logo above to visit their web site
Ohio State Reformatory
Haunted Prison
Ohio State Reformatory
9+ ReformatoryOHIO STATE REFORMATORY HAUNTED PRISON:  This may be the most intimidating haunt around, based on appearance alone.  A vampire hunter's kit and a demon hunter's exorcist kit are on display in the spooky old foyer where you wait to enter The Reformatory.  Pay attention, as these items could become vital later in your journey!  Up a rickety old staircase where paint is peeling off the walls begins the GHOSTMANIA REVOLUTION adventure.  Abandoned offices offer plenty of hiding places for the crazed ghouls that now reside at the former Prison.  Animatronic skeletons and other mechanical monsters pop up out of desks, spring forward out of walls, and rise up from a variety of other obscure locations throughout the institution.  Perfect, and LOUD sound effects and background music accompany your each and every move along the route. Oxidized iron jail cells and doors are an amazing sight, and just adds to structures authenticity.  Intense characters lurk in the darkness, bolt across your path from one side of the hallway to the other, and painstakingly crawl at you on the floor begging for help!  Warning sirens and screams enhance the experience.  Deafening alerts shriek simultaneously in accordance with skulls leaping through the tops of barrels.  A rabid dog ferociously attacks as you work your way back to a steel staircase that leads downstairs to an area inhabited by ghosts, then an execution chamber where an inmate suffers the fate of an electric chair.  Strobes, sparks, caskets, strange noises and the most unnerving music you'll ever hear contribute to this transcendental exploitation of one's nerves, conjuring up your deepest fears.  A short dark maze contains a suspenseful surprise from a ghoul so completely concealed in the lightlessness, that I never did see her!  Progressing on, through solitary confinement, more shadows and darkness introduce additional startles as your anxiety continues to mount.  Up ahead lies a fork in the road.  Demons or Vampires?  Choose your poison. Those hunter's kits displayed earlier in the queue line sure would come in handy now!  Depending on your chosen path, numerous horned demonic creatures, or supernatural vampires stalk, and aggressively pursue you while proceeding down a darkened cellblock, that features stories of incarceration chambers stacked one upon the other.  "VAMPIRES!, a voice repeatedly warns from behind, the reverberations of which echo off the seemingly endless ceiling above.  A bizarre looking dragon hovers above a mysterious pit as you finally come to another stairway that leads up and out of the penitentiary area, and eventually to a chainsaw chase-out.

Analysis:
LENGTH - 10, Nearly 25 minutes.
ACTORS - 9, Well-hidden, often unnoticeable until it's too late.  Highly intense and offering plenty of dialogue filled confrontations.  Good use of make-up too.  Still think additional actors in the cell block areas would be an asset.
SCARINESS - 10, Masterful assault on the senses throughout.  The legitimacy of the facility itself plays an enormous role in the achievement.  Loudest sounds and creepy music you'll find in a haunted house.
DESIGN - 9½, A vast amount of The Prison is explored on multiple levels.  Could do a bit more with the cellblocks.
PROPS - 8, More than in years past and some animatronics, but the facility itself is still the primary scare factor.
VALUE - 9, A dollar price increase this year, but an experience like no other.
Final Score:  9+,  This place makes your skin crawl!  Three people were unable to make it as far as halfway through on the night of our visit!  Be sure to arrive early, as lines are reflective of the fact that The Haunted Prison is one of the scariest, and most popular attractions around.  You'll not soon forget your visit to the Ohio State Reformatory!  Remember to visit the souvenir stand, where t-shirts bearing the awesome Ghostmania Revolution logo cost only $8!
reviewed 10/12/06

USS NIGHTMARE
Newport on the Levy
Newport , Kentucky
(859) 261-8500
$15  -  or $20 RIP pass (no line)
$4 off coupon on their web site
coupon valid Weds./Thurs./Sun. only
USS Nightmare
click logo above to visit their web site
view photos taken aboard USS Nightmare
9 USS NightmareUSS NIGHTMARE:  A skeleton ticket taker waits just inside the haunted boat.  Signature characters like Capt. Mitchell, his evil twin, and Rat Girl are back, and anxious to cast their own brands of fear into all who dare to enter The Nightmare.  A secret wall panel drops down freeing a large, hoooded skeleton that lunges out at you, as clasps of thunder ring through the ancient ship.  An innocent glimpse of a sleeping Impaler (13 foot tall aimated, growling monster) turns wicked, as it soon springs to life before your very eyes, madly waving a spear in one hand, and dangling what's left of a recent victim's body in the other.  Many areas in the bowels of the ship are explored including the infirmary, boiler room, torture chamber, and for the first time ever, the mysterious cargo hold.  Popular villains include the crazed infirmary doctor, Captain's daughter Anna, and an Exterminator spraying some foggy mist in a hopeless attempt to kill rats aboard the wrecked steamboat.  Spooky music and eerie sounds lead to encounters with intense actors crawling on the floors, dangling from the rafters, and lurking in the darkness just waiting for the right opportunity to make their presence known.  A warning siren sounds as you "choose your fate" by selecting one of two paths that eventually lead to a prisoner spinning about wildly on an upright table.  Convicts are tortured, put to death in an electric chair, and even hanged.  One body is seen roasting over a coal fire!  Crates, chains, body bags, and spider webs are part of the ship's decor.  Skeletons pop out of coffins, and crazed crewmen bang loudly on the ships hull.  One character wears a welding hood, and another a miner's helmet.  Gratings are transversed as you cross over the muddy waters of the mighty Ohio River while making your way between levels of the vessel formerly known as the William S. Mitchell.  A freakish meeting with Count Dracula and his bride chill you to the bone, while a mad, bloody butcher threatens to "cut you up and feed you to the captain," and a deranged chef serves up generous helpings of human intestines.  Mummies, coffins, hazardous waste, fog filled, dark mazes, and a spinning vortex with a well-hidden ghoul occupy other areas of the dilapidated old craft, leading to a clown ball room, jungle scene, and a sliding panel offering up a mechanical startle that serves as a distraction for a surprise chainsaw chase-out of the haunted USS Nightmare.

Analysis:
LENGTH - 9½, Just over 20 minutes.
ACTORS - 9, Highly energetic characters, outstanding make-up, and love the way they interacted with us, and their various dialogue.  Only negative is encountering some of the same ones more than once.  Captain is understandable, but highly unusual to see 4 or 5 characters a second time.  Dracula, eyeball freak in the rafters, crawling crewman, and Rat Girl are most memorable, aside from Capt. Mitchell himself. 
SCARINESS - 9, Background music and sounds are awesome, and the condemned ship itself sets the stage for an intimidating experience with its cramped passageways and authentic steamboat equipment (valves, pipes, boilers, etc.).
DESIGN - 9, Course is altered with major change being the addition of the cargo hold area.  Two decks and over 30 scenes are visited, but just can't comprehend how playful clowns and a jungle scene fit into the haunted boat theme, thus the final moments leading up to that fantastic finish are  somewhat anticlimactic.  The clowns have been here for years, but "Welcome to the Jungle" is about as displaced as it gets.
PROPS - 9½, Outstanding decor, and numerous animatronics employed aboard The Nightmare.  Timing is good.  Inpaler is most memorable.
VALUE - 8½, One of the higher priced haunts around, but one of the most prolific as well.  Try to visit on coupon days.
Final Score:  9, Now in it's 15th year, The Nightmare is a polished attraction, ranked in the top 13 in the country among haunted events by Hauntworld magazine.  Although we can't shake the feeling that it was slightly better last year, the setting is unique, mysterious, and always professional making it a must see Halloween adventure.  The legitimacy of the rusty old wrecked boat itself plays hugely in their favor.  When you visit, be prepared to have the ship scared out of you!!
reviewed 10/11/06

NR PICKLE BROTHERS FREAK SHOW:  This added attraction outside USS Nightmare showcases strange occurrences in the animal world, and an exhibition of rarities including sword swallowers, weapon juggling, people lying on a bed of nails, and a human being driving a nail into his nose! Cost is $6, or $5 in combination with USS NIGHTMARE.
WAVERLY HILLS SANATORIUM
4400 Paralee Ln.
Louisville, KY
(502) 933-2142
$20
Waverly Hills Sanatorium
click photo above to visit their web site.
9 WAVERLY HILLS SANATORIUM:  The 2006 installment is titled "Asylum of the Dead."  Built in the 1920's to house tuberculosis patients,  The Sanatorium is purported to be among the 10 most legitimately haunted places in the world!  A realistically intimidating Michael Myers stalks the grounds and queue line prior to your entering the foyer.  A huge surprise occurs during your introduction to the facility in the form of an abduction.  The Waverly Hills experience begins with visits to various physicians including Dr. Noe's laboratory, and  Dr. Madison who gets his throat slit!  Clasps of thunder and flashes of lightning accompany your progression through the old hospital, and the lights flicker on and off, teasing you with glimpses of the terrors that lie ahead.  Cadavers are torn in two by a menacing saw, and possessed girls carry evil, fanged babies.  Abundant darkness characterizes the hallways that lead to settings like the rubber room, home to a psychotic prisoner who manages to break free of his chains and torment your group!  Other scenes include a priest guarding the coffin at a wake service, sparks flying from an electro-shock therapy patient, and a fast spinning vortex that leaves you dizzy for a cemetery chainsaw chase-out.

Analysis:
LENGTH - 9, Nearly 20 minutes.
ACTORS - 8½, Some very convincing characters, but some kiddie actors as well including the indoor Michael Myers.
SCARINESS - 9½, The authentic facility itself is unmatched.  Child actors in aggressive roles is the only deduction.
DESIGN - 9½, Mostly improved, except psycho ward was better last year, with hyperactive, screaming girls jumping around wildly on their beds, and grabbing at passerbys through the iron bars that confined them to their rooms.  Elimination of Beyond the Darkness is also disappointing, and might possibly be added on, not as a separate attraction, but incorporated into the current course, perhaps near the end to further lengthen the event.  Flickering lights, and thunderstorm effects are superb.
PROPS - 9, Noticeable improvement in this department as well with the addition of several new scenes.
VALUE - 7½, Awesome attraction, but a $5 price hike from a year ago.
Final Score:  9, The hospital theme is a real winner considering the structure's actual history.  The first part is conducted as a tour, which detracts a little from the nerve wrecking atmosphere that's created here. The Waverly Hills Sanatorium is a highly intense adventure in the perfect setting for a haunt, and a must see experience!
reviewed 9/30/06

GHOSTLY MANOR
3319 Milan Rd.
Sandusky, OH
(419) 626 - 4467
$10
Ghostly Manor
click logo above to visit their web site
view photos taken at Ghostly Manor
9 Ghostly ManorGHOSTLY MANORGhostly Manor is not a place for the timid or faint of heart.  From the moment you first set foot inside this high-startle complex, there's not one safe place where you're free from poltergeists, ghouls, skeletons, and other monsters sneaking up on you from behind, or leaping forth from innocent looking objects and spaces.  Frightening music welcomes you inside, where "Fluffy" the dog naps quietly in his doghouse - or does he?  Shutters bang loudly, cabinets and doors open and close on their own, and monsters spring to life from everywhere!  Even the walls are alive!!  This place IS haunted!!!  Harmless pictures and panels give way to surprises.  Unnerving laughter, blood-curdling screams, coffins, body bags, and numerous skeletons are encountered on your trek through the dimly lit rooms and foggy corridors. For a brief second, the den offers a moment of solitude, but things aren't always what they appear to be in this dusty old house, and the desk suddenly yields to yet another shocking encounter!  A gas mask wearing fiend, and various other inhabitants of the Manor stalk your every move!  One offers an invitation to join the skeletal remains of a family seated at their dining room table, and an enormous caged impaler prepares to devour some victims of his own, as he dangles their lifeless bodies above whats left of the bones of those that preceded them.  Gigantic bats hang from the ceilings, suspending themselves above coffins containing the corpses of the recently deceased.  Animated skeletons cover the walls of a tight, secluded hallway, reaching out and grabbing at you inhibiting your progress.  Jailed maniacs seek desperately to escape their incarceration, before they meet the same fate as of one of their comrades, whose body convulses to its death of capital punishment from the voltage supplied in the electric chair.  And Pinhead guards the only escape from the evil spirits who reside inside Ghostly Manor!

Analysis:
LENGTH - 8, About 15 minutes.
ACTORS - 8½, Outstanding make-up with original costumes and intense characters, but some of the same ones confronted us more than once.  Could stand a few more.
SCARINESS - 9½, Believably realistic!  Intimidating actors, traditionally spooky (and loud) background music, "haunted" doors and shutters, etc., combined with an abundance of convincing surprises!
DESIGN - 9½, I just didn't want it to end!  Meticulously decorated rooms - exactly what you'd expect to find in a haunted house!  The progression of rooms (dining room, kitchen, bedroom, den, etc.is well done too!
PROPS - 9½, Tons of perfectly placed animatronics featuring plenty of face to face encounters, complimented by just the right static props.  I can't emphasize the detailing of the rooms enough!
VALUE - 9, No price increase from last year.  A discounted combo ticket enabling visitors to experience the new XD 3D for a reduced price with paid Ghostly Manor admission could raise the value.
FINAL SCORE:  9,  One of the best Haunted Houses around, employing state of the art technology.  Only negative is the surroundings to the entrance, which shares a single story enclosure alongside a skating rink.  The personality of an authentic, stand alone structure would only add to its credibility.  Ghostly Manor is a first-rate haunted attraction, boasting many more props and animatronics than most, and one that's certainly not to be missed this Halloween season.  Ohio Vally Haunts highly reccommends visiting Ghostly Manor, which is fully accessible to the handicapped!
reviewed  9/16/06

NR XD 3D:  XD 3D is a reastically vivid roller coaster simulator attraction similar to what one might expect to find at an amusement park. Patrons are seated at a large projection screen in one of 8 "simulators" which, move around a bit to create the effect of riding an actual coaster.  Special 3D glasses are worn to bring the entire video experience to life.  "Haunted Mine" is one of three themed options available to choose from.  Hold on tight, as your mine car rides the rails through the ancient gold mine!  Beware of bats, ghost apparitions, huge boulders speeding down the tracks that might impact the mine car, and other obstacles that are encountered along the journey.  XD 3D is fun and entertaining, but not a "haunt" per se, and therefore has not been rated in this review.  Be sure and check it out when visiting Ghostly Manor.
THE HAUNTED HOUSE
5963 Harrison Ave.
Dent, Ohio  45248
(513) 598-4600
$12 ($18 Fast Pass Option)
$2 coupon on website valid Fri/Sat in Sept.
and Sundays in October only
$5 Re-entry Option
Parking is FREE this year
The Haunted House
click logo to visit their web site
view photos taken at The Haunted House
9 The Haunted HouseTHE HAUNTED HOUSE:  Cincinnati's Frightful Favorite has a complete makeover for 2006.  The old schoolhouse is quite an intimidating sight.  A flickering light in an upstairs window sheds just enough ambience to reveal a gargoyle-like creature peering out at the yard below.  A school bus accompanies the queue line, warning lights flashing, and packed with crazed kids, and a mad bus driver, who strictly disciplines the unruly students.  A walk through a foggy, eerie graveyard leads back to a second encounter with the bus, and into the front door of The Haunted House, where the school principal lays down the law to all who enter.  A succession of appropriately themed rooms lies ahead, including classrooms, the science lab, library, detention hall, and first aid station, home to a syringe wielding nurse, and a patient convulsing in pain from the medical scissors attatched to his head!  Numerous scares from intense acting, and abundant animatronics accompany the well-detailed rooms.  Pots and pans shake and rattle about of their own volition in the haunted kitchen, which of course serves up a smorgasbord of body parts!  Downstairs, the boiler and maintenance rooms are explored, each offering their own brand of fear.  The cellar of the old building also houses the psycho ward, where mentally insane lunatics are restrained by straightjackets, and one fries in an electric chair! Mummies, werewolves, roaches, evil clowns, a spinning vortex, a chained coffin, whose undead corpse struggles to escape, and the ever present janitor must all be survived in order to escape The Haunted House.

Analysis:
LENGTH - 9, Around 20 minutes.
ACTORS - 9½ - Outstanding make-up and original characters, combined with intense personas.  Favorites are the straightjacket wearing schizos, bloody kitchen worker, and Bloodzo the Clown, who spews plasma from his mouth as he invites you to stay and see the show!  There are some kiddie actors, but they're utilized as students on the bus, or partaking in various school activities, and as such become beneficial to the environment, not a detriment.  Although not necessarily associated with the school theme, contemporary high-profile characters like Freddie Krueger, Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, etc., have become an expected part of modern haunts, and to novices, are conspicuous by their absence.  But it's their evil counterpart who's the star of this show.  He's that coverall wearing, child hating, tool pouch toting, cellar dwelling killer known as THE JANITOR!
SCARINESS - 9½ - Great music, lighting, startles from animatronics, and intimidation from aforementioned actors.
DESIGN - 9, Scenes and rooms show meticulous detailing, for example, the students in detention have been forced to repeatedly write "I will not taunt the Janitor." on the blackboard.  The hallways connecting the progression of rooms are short, and for the most part equally as decorated.  However, the transition from the school theme to various scary scenes is a bit confusing, and the toxic waste ending seems abrupt.
PROPS - 9, traditional elements compliment the decor, and a number of technological animatronics employed as well.
VALUE - 8, A fantastic haunted house, but $12 ($18 to bypass the line) is a bit pricey.  Might as well get your money's worth, and take them up on the $5 re-entry offer.  NOTE:  Discount coupon is only valid on specified days.
FINAL SCORE:  9, A major facelift (more aptly a complete overhaul) offers a refreshing change at the old Dent schoolhouse The new owners have a lot to be proud of, a solid foundation to build upon for years to come, and WEBN's promotion machine back on board for 2006. Ohio Valley Haunts urges you to get out and experience a legend in the Cincinnati haunt scene - the icon known as The Haunted House!
reviewed  9/22/06

FRIGHT MANOR
350 Anniston Dr.
Southport, IN   46227
(317) 767-7540
$15 / $25 Speed Pass
coupons available on their web site
Fright Manor
click logo to visit their web site
9 Fright ManorFRIGHT MANOR:  The queue line winds through a spooky cemetery before a creepy confrontation with a little girl and her dolly initiate you into Fright Manor.  Darkness, scary, intimidating  music, and loud sound effects begin the assault on your emotions.  An electricution scene, where a convict convulses in pain, gives way to an attack by a maniacle madman armed with a power saw!  Floating skeletons, an evil witch stirring the concoction brewing in her cauldren, and mechanical surprises wait in a room where even the ground is alive, evidenced by the earth moving on its own as if something buried beneath it is trying to escape!  Fantastic effect!  Characters come from everywhere - behind coffins, barrels, and other dark, secluded locations.  A werewolf, devouring its latest victim, interracts with you for a time, before serving up a huge surprise!  Animatronical scenes, like a caged skeletal convict sit quietly in the dark, then suddenly illuminate, and spring into action as you approach, this one in particular feverishly rattling the bars of his jail cell attempting to break free!  Bats haning from a ceiling, skulls, screams, and loud, intense music give rise to haunting red eyes down a blackened corridor that unexpectedly deliver an immediate surprise of their own leading to a clown room featuring House of 1000 corpses Captian Spaulding, and offering a unique, tightly cramped crawl-out, but you're not in the clear yet, as Grinner attacks with his favorite weapon of choice, a barbed-wire covered baseball bat, prior to an eerie encounter with an evil girl that has a black cross painted on her forehead!  Onward, where a viciously barking, rabid dog impedes your progress, a head roasts over an open fire, and stacked barrels hide a major surprise!  Michael Myers, an evil dentist (Dr. Cadaver), and a hostage restrained with noisy, retractable chains are yet to come, as some sort of warning siren loudly blasts an alert, on your way to a laboratory, then an overwhelming surprise from a vibrating floor!  Rob's casket company yields to a prison scene, where one of the inmates intimidatingly demands a roommate, and you won't like or believe what happens next!  Sparks, spiders, a mad doctor, Wolfie's funeral parlor, high voltage areas, and an execution chamber offering a guillotine and mini "Electric Man" are still to come, as you progress to a confusing maze and intense, multiple chain-saw chase out!  Don't say they didn't warn you, as an earlier sign cautioned against trespassing, reading "Violators will be buried alive!"

Analysis:
LENGTH - 9, Just under 20 minutes.
ACTORS - 9, Much improved from a year ago, as the rooms are just loaded!  Numerous nerve wrecking confrontations, with interacting characters.  Quality and original make-up too.
SCARINESS - 9½, Tremendously impressed with the '06 effort!  Darkness, music, and loud sound effects set the stage for a multitude of startles delivered by diverse mechanical props, and intensely determined characters.
DESIGN - 9, Great job keeping the scenes close togoether, and providing ample scares.  Balanced mix of static and impressive state of the art props.  The larger cast on hand this year makes a big difference.
PROPS - 9½, Many well-timed animatronics that produce abundant superior startles, and best of all serve as distractions for the onslaught attck provided by the highly energetic cast.
VALUE - 8, A little pricey.  Take advantage of the discount available on their web site if you can.
Final Score:  9, Fright Manor reaffirms itself as the industry leader in the Indianapolis area, similar to the status held by USS Nightmare in Cincinnati.  Lots of impressive animatronics on display, and a talented crew of actors committed to their roles.  You come for scares, and that's what they give you, and lots of them!   Will you survive?  Pay them a visit and find out! 
reviewed 10/25/06

FEAR FAIR
800 A Ave.
Seymour, IN
Adults $10 / $15 Speed Pass
12 and under $8 / $13 Speed Passs
$1 Fri./Sat.; $2 Sun. coupon on web site
Fear Fair
click logo above to visit their web site
9 FEAR FAIR:  The queue line begins with a walk through the old western ghost town of Rockford, original population 368, but that's been crossed out in blood, and reduced to 17!  Winding past the General Store, Richard Funeral Home, a spooky old water tower, and climbing wooden plank board steps and walkways, you eventually arrive at the entrance to Fear Fair.  House rules are read inside The Winscott Saloon, decorated with an old player piano, and spiderweb covered bottles of booze.  Entering the Sheriff's Office, a jailed prisoner escapes his confinement, and charges after you, then around the bend it's into the funeral home, where corpses are propelled forward out of their upright coffins.  Onto the gallows, where a horse thief convulses in agony from the noose around his neck, choking the life right out of him!  Dredging through the wetlands leads to an attack by a swampmonster, and a walk across an old wooden bridge that has a surprise in store for you!  A scary looking cemetery delivers an intense blast of air, and another surprise from a monster in a casket..  One area of the graveyard is occupied by a mausoleum, where a winged vampire suddenly descends from above, landing on one of the tombs!  The VONDEE Theater is visited during the Horror Movie Madness presentation of a Halloween marathon.  The cinema yields to a realistic house facade.  Entering through the front door, and into a kitchen presents an up close and personal confrontation with Michael Myers, who unexpectedly emerges from a secret panel concealed behind a corner cupboard, that moves aside on its own exposing the killer's hiding place!  Various other horror film scenes are visited including, Frankenstein; Scream; a cabin at Friday the 13th's Camp Crystal Lake offering a horrifying encounter with Jason Voorhees; Hellraiser, where Pinhead lurks amongst the suspended chains, Nightmare on Elm Street, having original street signs, Freddy's face materializing through the wall, and an authentic looking smoking furnace that actually gives off heat; and an amazingly shocking surprise from The Entity, complete with impressive electrical arcs radiating toward you from the output of a Tesla coil!!!  A cornfield is home to Earl's outhouse, customized with the traditional crescent moon-shaped cut-out, then it's onto Bubba's Barn that serves up a gruesome meal, and a liquid surprise, that gives way to a chainsaw chase-out!

Analysis:
LENGTH - 8, Just under 15 minutes.
ACTORS - 9, All well hidden, some good make-up, and pretty intense. Several offered dialogue while interacting with our group.  Could benefit from a few more. 
SCARINESS - 9, The authenticity of the various structures is remarkably believeable.  Ample startles are produced not only from the energetic cast, but from the nice compliment of mechanical devices as well.  A more traditional soundtrack for the cemetery scene would be much more frightening.
DESIGN - 9½, This might be the most realistically designed haunt the industry has to offer.  The theater setting, and various movie scenes are constructed with authentic looking entrances, and intricate detailing.  Actually having to open a real door to enter  places like the cabin at Camp Crystal Lake, and feeling the effect of the flames in Freddie's boiler room are indescribable!  Rooms are near one another, NOT spread out, and even the exposed corridor ceilings are covered with netting, etc. as much as possible. They do a  masterful job of creating tension through meticulous efforts, exemplified by the authentic street sign identifying Elm and Dream Streets, then turning a corner to a warning on a wall, "one, two - Freddie's going to get you!"  Further down the hall, "three, four - better lock your door!"  Around the next bend, "five, six...!"  All building to that ultimate encounter with the metal clawed killer himself!  You know it's coming, and the fear instilled leading up to it makes your skin crawl!  In addition, all of the scenes are designed with a certain degree of closeness to them.  They're right on top of you!  Moreso, than at most other haunted attractions.  On the other hand, scary music would be much more unsettling in the creepy cemetery scene, as opposed to Metallica, and there's one spot early on where you actually pass back by the noise and confusion of the queue line.
PROPS - 9, Nice mix between static and animatronic varieties.  Tesla coil is beyond comparison!
VALUE - 10, Less than $10 with coupon available on their web site gets you one of the best, most realistic haunted attractions around.
Final Score:  9, Extremely impressed with the efforts at Fear Fair!  What a great job!  Can't stress enough how the recreations are constructed in such close proximity to the course that you actually feel like you're a part of them.  Realism is better here than at most, and arguably the best in the business!  2006 marked our first visit to Fear Fair, and we're already looking forward to returning!  They've earned a spot on our annual "can't miss attraction" list.  Hope to see you there! 
reviewed 10/29/06

BUFORD HAUNTED SCHOOL
State Route 138
Buford, Ohio
$10
Buford Haunted School
click logo above to visit their web site
9 BUFORD HAUNTED SCHOOLWARNING:  This is not your typical haunted house!  You will be pushed and touched at The Haunted School, and if that makes you uncomfortable, then you shoulndn't enter.
       A new enterance is on tap for '06 and it's readily apparent that this is more than your everyday haunted house.  Monsters blast you with air guns before sending you through a door and into The Haunted School itself.  Pinhead makes sure you're on the correct path, as chainsaw packing fiends chase you into the school, pushing and shoving you toward a staircase.  Ascending the steps, you meet up with Ivanna Die, the Buford Nurse Supervisor mumbling to herself from the comfort of a wheelchair that rests dangerously close to the top step.  A girl with her wrist slit, a convulsing electro-shock victim, a gas mask wearing character, and a girl in a straight jacket pursue you, relentlessly seeking your help.  Deafening sirens blare as numerous ghouls grab at you from all directions, as you make your way through the tight, narrow corridors.  Frantic girls clutch onto you begging you to stay, or at least take them with you.  Coffins, sparks, a room with a hidden exit, bats, witches, werewolfves, and devious clowns are all encountered inside The Haunted School.  Caged villians, and a girl with her rib cage exposed where the flesh has been eaten away scream desperately for assistance, as you make your way through a dark cage maze and onto a chain-saw chase out.

Analysis:
LENGTH - 9, A little longer this year, around 20 minutes.
ACTORS - 9½, Lots of kiddie actors here, but they're so intense you hardly notice them.
SCARINESS - 9½, Having the monsters actually touch you makes this a haunt like no other.
DESIGN - 8½, A new, longer course, but some of our favorite scenes have been removed. 
PROPS - 7, No animatronics, and the elimination of the table saw scene, and caged entrapment finish hurt the score.  The actors make up for the lack of props.
VALUE - 9, No price increase and plenty of scares.
Final Score: 9, It's hard to imagine, but the intensity is greater this year than ever before.  Several scenes are not in use this year (body sawed in half, caged chainsaw entrapment, dropping spiders, spongy floors, etc., the chase-out isn't as strong, and they haven't been replaced by anything nearly as memorable.  That said, the actors are more aggressive, pushing the limits by touching, grabbing, and shoving, while begging, pleading, and screaming their lungs out!  If you plan to visit only one haunted house this season, stop reading now and head to Buford!  You won't find another one like this!
reviewed  10/13/06

LEWISBURG HAUNTED CAVE
4392 Swishers Mill Rd.
Lewisburg, Ohio
(937) 962-5602
$9.00 / Repeat visit $5
($1 coupon on their web site)
Haunted Cave
click logo above to visit their web site
Entrance to Cave
9 THE HAUNTED CAVE AT LEWISBURG:  A hundred feet beneath the ground, in an abandoned limestone mine lies one of the creepiest haunts around.  An old wooden bridge-like walkway leads you deep into the cave where a sudden surprise emerges from the surrounding waters.  Coffins, flames, sparks, gunshots, and a loud revving engine, are just some of the unnerving elements that play on your senses during your visit to this underground cavern.  One member of the group must participate in a creepy ceremony - placing flowers on an unmarked grave, that terminates with another surprise. The tour guide meets an unexpected fate, leading up to an awesome encounter with The Devil that offers several potential escape routes.  One leads to a successful getaway, but others dump you right back into Satan's abode, and he sits there glaring at you, and wickedly laughing at your inability to free yourself from his presence!  Wire mazes, fog, and strobes confuse and intimidate the bravest of souls, who must endure a spinning vortex, multiple chainsaws, and a few other surprises that might overrun their emotions while desperately seeking the only way out of The Haunted Cave.

Analysis:
LENGTH - 10, 30 min. 
ACTORS - 9, A lot of interaction from a variety of  irate, demanding beings.  Devil is by far the best.
SCARINESS - 9, A welcome return to spookiness.  Could benefit from additional mood setting background music to suppliment the attraction, but quite intimidating as it is.
DESIGN - 9, Genuinely scary.  Particularly like the maze that repeatedly brings you back in front of Lucifer himself! 
PROPS - 9, Tons of decor, but timing is off on some of the animatronics, possibly due to group size being too large. 
VALUE - 9, No price increase for this refreshingly revamped attraction.
Final Score:  9, The most improved haunt of 2006.  Make the drive to Lewisburg and experience The Haunted Cave.
reviewed 10/7/06

HAUNTED SPOOK COOP
4753 E. Lower Springboro Rd.
Waynesville, Ohio
(937) 603-5228
$10 + $ 2 parking 
($2 off coupon available at Scary Ohio.)
Haunted Spook Coop
click logo to visit their web site
9 SPOOK COOP:  Outside The Haunted Spook Coop lies a great hidden surprise that not all patrons will get to experience.  Hope you're one of the lucky ones!  Once inside the foyer of the Coop, the house rules are read, and the journey into fear begins in a tight, blindingly dark maze.  Uneven floors add to its difficulty.  Beyond the maze, one finds ghouls behind bars shooting sparks off the metal!  Beware, for there's no warning before the sparks begin to fly!  Other scenes include a creepy cemetery where many undead creatures lurk to terrorize you, as one warns of your impending death!  Numerous animatronics move in all directions, popping out at passersby.  Navigation through hanging body bags is mandated, along with a surprise in a room lined with glow in the dark masks, and a zombie looking bride offering a black rose.  You'll see The Ring girl climbing out of a well, a Pig faced fiend with bloody knives and evil intentions, and a prison room where a crazed convict breaks free, forcing a nun and a priest into electric chairs, then turns on the juice!  Killer Clowns await as you enter their playroom of plastic balls and spongy floors, and a large skull with red, glowing eyes stares you down as you voyage through a spinning vortex and escape The Haunted Spook Coop.

Analysis:
LENGTH - 9, Almost 20 minutes
ACTORS - 8½, best to date at The Coop, but mostly masks. Disappointed with the elimination of the "overhead flyer" in the cemetery from a year ago.
SCARINESS - 9, Lots of screams emanate from the startling props, and intimidating maze and actors.
DESIGN - 9, Nice variety in the set up including several mechanical props, imaginative scenes and challenging mazes.
PROPS - 9, Good blend of animatronics with the other decor.
VALUE - 9, Only $8 with the Scary Ohio coupon, although they do charge $2 for parking, but it benefits the Waynesville Police Explorers.
FINAL SCORE:  9, Make the drive to Waynesville and see if you don't agree that continued improvements are making this "better than average" haunt one of the best around! 
reviewed  9/29/06

CHAMBERS OF HORROR
1601 S. University Blvd
Middletown, Ohio
$9 - ($1 off with canned good)
Chambers of Horror
click photo to view their web site
THE CHAMBERS OF HORROR (Middletown, OH):  Scary background music makes you antsy while waiting to enter The Chambers of Horror.  A Ghoul butler eventually leads you through the double doors where tickets are purchased from a seller dressed in full costume!  Nice touch!  Then, it's onto the queue line where the butler stands motionless in the corner allowing that wonderful music to work its magic of unnerving the unsuspecting.  Suddenly, he springs to life, barking out instructions, and rules of the house!  One member of our group nearly jumped out of her skin the instant he began pacing and speaking, not realizing until that moment that he was a real person!  Fantastic acting!  When he's done, the journey into The Chambers gets underway with a walk through the "Dead End Cemetery" where caskets, and tombstones are the rule, and the undead rise from gravesites!  (This is a new beginning from previous years!)  Uneven floors and dim lighting add to the intensity of the corridors, which are booby trapped with many dead ends, and false exits!  Soon, a room with several doors is encountered.  Most of the doors don't open, or have surprises waiting on the other side.  There's only one way out, but it might not be easy to find!  And, it doesn't get any easier, as walls and ceilings are out to get you!  There's a coffin to walk through, and mad butchers who have plans for you in their kitchen!  Numerous dead ends, locked doors, and entrapments are encountered as your emotions begin to get the best of you.  An elevator takes you to "Hell" and a bloody head resting on a table is still ALIVE!  A hallway with a descending ceiling forces you to crawl your way out, and many masked monsters including Michael Myers and Freddie Krueger inhibit your passage through the 28 Chambers.

Analysis:
LENGTH - 8½, Over 15 mins. with the addition of the graveyard entrance.
ACTORS - 8½, Some of the most intimidating acting around - would  benefit from using more make-up and fewer masks.  The butler, butchers and their trademark freezers, and wheelchair bound lunatic are standouts!
SCARINESS - 9, In a word, Intense - this place will expose your fears!
DESIGN - 8½, Continued improvements this year, with the new beginning, and more plausible use of the "Hellevator." 
PROPS - 8½, Not much to see in many of the hallways, but ceiling and wall surprises are unequaled.
VALUE - 8½, $8 gets you get plenty of traditional scares for a reasonable price.
Final Score:  8½,  The Chambers of Horror lacks a lot of the modern technology displayed elsewhere, but sets the standard for scaring people the old fashioned way!  From the wait outside the double doors, to the timing of the scares, they encourage your own emotions to play a role in allowing your fears to surface, then they exploit them.  Ohio Valley Haunts believes it's worth a trip to Middletown, so pay them a visit!
reviewed 9/16/06

THE HAUNTED FIREHOUSE
10363 Museum Trail
Piqua (Lockington), OH  45356
937-773-8180 
$8
Lockington Haunted Firehouse
click logo to visit their web site
Lockington Haunted Firehouse
THE HAUNTED FIREHOUSE:  Mysterious music welcomes your entrance into the Lockington, Haunted Firehouse.  A tragic farm accident scene is encountered, where a farmer has been victimized by his own plow.  A beheaded body violently bleeds from the sight of its severed head, alongside another monster clutching the poor soul's noggin in its hand!  Onto a cornfield inhabited by evil scarecrows that leap off their crosses to startle and attack you!  The cornstalks lead into a cemetery that delivers a major surprise from one of the gravesites!  Red lights flash and warning sirens sound as you progress into radioactive and laboratory areas occupied by the skeleton of a man recently put to death in an electric chair.  Medical cell 101 contains an enormous rat-headed creature desperately trying to grab at you to the soundtrack of The Smashing Pumpkins, Bullit With Butterfly Wings!  Despite all his rage, he's still just a rat in a cage!  Darkness, rocking passageways, and gimmicked doors inhibit your progression eventually leading to a duck down panel, and a creepy staircase.  Ascending to the upstairs level, wind gusts through an open window, as you make your way into an office where a corpse, collapsed on his desk, brings about another shocking surprise!  Tight, uneven walkways deliver you into a casket room, where a cabinet shakes on it's own, then onto the first of two slides, followed by a dark, intimidating crawl maze that exits onto another slide, and a darkened room that illuminates with a final surprise, courtesy of  a car crash scene, and a chainsaw chase-out of The Lockington Haunted Firehouse

Analysis:
LENGTH - 8½, Between 15 and 20 minutes depending on your luck with the crawl maze.
ACTORS - 7, Too few in number, and mostly masks.
SCARINESS - 8½, Lightless crawl maze is best, and really exploits any claustrophobic tendancies you might have.
DESIGN - 9½, Utilizes both upstairs and downstairs levels, traversed by slides in addition to steps.  Crawl maze and trick doors are unique, in this lengthy, enjoyable attraction.
PROPS -  9, Could do a little more with the decor, but an impressive number of animatronic and man-made devices delivering plenty of surprises.
VALUE - 9½, Only $8, quite affordable by today's standards, especially for a quality haunted house. 
Final Score: 8½, Honestly, we weren't expecting much when planning our visit, but were we ever impressed and pleasantly surprised! The Lockington Haunted Firehouse is a really good seasonal attraction, and well worth the price of admission.  Ohio Valley Haunts hightly recommends visiting, and lending your support.
reviewed 10/27/06

CULBERTSON MANSION
HAUNTED HOUSE
914 East Main Street
New Albany, IN 
(812) 944-9600
$10
Culbertson Mansion Haunted House
click logo to visit their web site
Outside Culbertson
CULBERTSON MANSION LITERALLY A HAUNTED HOUSE:  Built in the 1800's, the Culbertson carriage house is where this haunt begins!  Up a rusty, old iron staircase and into a séance room, the group forms a circle, stands on symbols painted on the floor, and joins hands while a creepy medium conducts a ceremony attempting to contact the spirit of Wendy Culbertson.  But somehow, this mysterious venture into the occult goes terribly wrong, and the paranormal ritual instead conjures up an evil spirit instead of Wendy.  Follow the light to make your escape, and enter into a corridor where you hear screams of "help me, help me"!  A girl cowering in the fetal position hides by a sink, shaking vehemently as we enter into a blood splattered bathroom!  A surprise awaits behind the sliding shower door!  A severed head comes rolling down the hallway at us as we continue into a room of flesh eating zombies looking for food! Bloody nurses wearing surgical masks await in the next room, followed by a crazy drill waving dentist in search of his next patient!  Check out his most recent victim still seated in the chair!  Progressing up stairs to the attic, you encounter spiderwebs, bats, coffins and a variety of deranged ghouls before escaping down into the cellar where roaches and dispicable monsters await.  A large, open  coffin lies ahead!  Is it yours?  The surprise of the year awaits!! 

Analysis:
LENGTH - 7½, About 15 minutes if you're lucky enough to escape!
ACTORS - 8, Acting was good, but elimination of those outside the haunt (gravedigger, undead bride, undertaker measuring you for a casket while you wait in line) are sadly missed.  Hooded medium and chainsaw fiend are best.  Great make-up work on some pretty unique characters.
SCARINESS - 8½, Great mood setting music and a spooky environment.   Creepy ceremony is quite intimidating and one of a kind finish most unnerving!
DESIGN - 8½ , Could stand to be a bit longer.  One of a kind ending is classic!
PROPS - 8½, Lots to look at, but could use some animatronics. Surprise finish is a standout !
VALUE - 8½, $10, Reasonable price for a haunt of this length.
Final Score:  8½, A few changes this year sort of cancel each other out. The new surprise finish is remarkable, but the loss of outdoor acting (discussed above) is a negative.  Literally a Haunted House is operated entirely by volunteers, and all proceeds benefit the restoration of the historic Culbertson Mansion.  Pay them a visit for the "ride of your life!"
reviewed  10/14/06

HUSTEAD HOUSE OF HORROR
- A CARNIVAL OF KILLER CLOWNS -
2592 Hustead Rd.
Hustead, OH
$8
$1 off discount coupon available
click for map or coupon
HUSTEAD HOUSE OF HORROR:  With its boarded up windows, the haunted house itself is quite an impressive sight.  The adventure begins in a dark foyer, where groups are momentarily seated, and read a brief history of the premises.  The story of the Emmett Kelly (a renowned clown) family is recounted, and you learn of the suspicious disappearance of their neighbors.  Following instructions, and a SURPRISE, you're sent into the uproarous atmosphere that continues for the duration of the experience.  Loud, relentless pounding on the walls accompanies the introduction.  Upon entering, a re-enactment of the story you just heard leads to a bloody bathroom scene, then onto the first of many maniacal clowns, all of whom wickedly laugh at you, taunt you, and mislead you through the rooms, into mazes, and up and down stairs.  One of the evil jokesters threatens a screaming girl with a loudly revving chainsaw.  The others are preoccupied with trailing you every step of the way, and making fun of the mistakes you make encountering dead ends, darkness, and fog.  At one point, a twisting slide is the only method of navigating from an upstairs floor to the one beneath, all the while being teased and tormented by overwhelmingly loud carnival music, noises, laughter, screams, and the persistence of this entourage of sideshow lunatics.  Eventually, you progress to three doors all marked "exit," but refusing to budge!  You're trapped, until one of the clowns kicks open one of the doors finally allowing you to leave the Hustead House of Horror.

Analysis:
LENGTH - 7, Just over 10 minutes.
ACTORS - 10, An enormously energetic bunch, offering multiple encounters, enriched with interacting dialogue.  Great make-up too!
SCARINESS - 9, Intimidating clowns, and remarkably loud sound effects disorient and unnerve you throughout.
DESIGN - 9, Every inch and floor of the house is utilized to its fullest potential,  even incorporating a twisting slide along the way to move between floors.  Just a little short.
PROPS - 7, Slide is best.  Could benefit from additional decor.
VALUE - 8½, Reasonably priced.  Need to lengthen the experience to raise the score.
Final Score:  8½, This is hands down the best haunt the Springfield, OH area has to offer!
reviewed 10/20/06

INDUSTRIAL NIGHTMARE
DEMENTIONS & PITCH BLACK
835 Spring St.
Jeffersonville, IN
$17 for Ind. Nightmare and Dementions
$12 for Pitch Black
Industrial Nightmare
click logo to visit their web site
INDUSTRIAL NIGHTMARE:  A short dark maze leads to the queue line decorated with authentic scenes from various horror movies, featuring realistic likenesses of Freddy Kruegger, Jason Voorhees, Frankenstein, etc.  Dracula's red eyes illuminate signaling your imminent entrance through the double doors, and into Industrial Nightmare.  Welcome to the laboratory, where an array of different experiments are underway.  Scientific gadgets are everywhere, and Frankenstein thrashes about wildly on a table, then delivers a startling surprise!  A corpses spits blood, and bathroom stall doors sequentially slam shut on their own, as you continue to explore Industrial Nightmare.  One of the stalls (take note of its occupant!) features some sort of  malfunction - a plumbing problem that you'll surely discover while passing by! 
Overhead pipes dangerously leak toxic waste into a cistern below, and a see-thru walk bridge is the only escape possible, and it offers a startling surprise of its own as you attempt to cross!  Ambulance medics tend to distraught workers, while, animated mutant monsters, and other frenzied characters, tormented by their own entrapment, inhibit your escape from this living Hell!  Some wear gas masks in desperating attempts to avoid the toxic fumes and prolong their lives!  Loud, frightening noises and banging is everywhere.  Barbed wire and tipping barrels that glow in the dark from deadly radiation must be avoided at all costs.  A horriffic kitchen serves up pizza topped with eyeballs and roaches, while spiked ceilings fall down, and walls, sporting the crushed remains of others that preceded you, close in on you from both sides as the factory begins to collapse from this devestating accident!  Are you next, or will you rescue yourself, and make it out alive from the hazards of this Industrial Nightmare?  The emergency exit is near, and one lucky soul, washes the remnants of waste from their body in a teasing shower scene.  Walking around the corner reveals all!  Will you be as fortunate as they were and escape to the safety of the outdoors, or does The Industrial Nightmare have yet another obstacle standing in your way?

Analysis:
LENGTH - 9, Nearly 20 minutes.
ACTORS - 8½, Quite energetic in their attempts to deliver scares.
SCARINESS - 8, Intensity is way up, but the event's theme possibly limits its effectiveness as a traditional haunt.
DESIGN - 8, Shows a lot of improvement in a few short months, and offers a promising future.
PROPS - 9, Many additions in this catagory as well, including lots of the animated, mechanical variety.
VALUE - 7½, Tough call here, $17 makes it one of the highest around, but you get Dementions as an added bonus, so not that unreasonable.
Final Score:  8½,  New owners have had a major impact.  If you've soured on this one from past experiences, give it another shot.  You won't be disappointed!
reviewed 9/30/06

7 DementionsDEMENTIONS:  Included with paid admission to Industrial Nightmare, which exits into Dementions.  A spinning vortex welcomes you inside.  Eerie music, sets the stage for a trip into this DEMENTED dungeon.  Abominable scenes include a kitchen where the cook fries body parts, a deranged celebration of the holidays featuring a maniacal Santa, and bloody Rudolph, and a sexy shower scene packing a horrific surprise!  Evil clowns, and other mad lunatics reside in these chambers, along with reptile-like monsters.  Body bags, and a vast array of moving skeletons, etc. provide additonal startles as you navigate the dimly lit corridors leading to a multiple chainsaw chase-out.

Analysis:
LENGTH - 6, Really short, but expect major improvements!
ACTORS - 6½, Ones here are into their roles, just need lots more.
SCARINESS - 7, Some surprising startles.  Expect much more over time!
DESIGN - 6, Other than some new (and improved) scenes, not much change in the course that previously existed here, as most of the new owner's efforts were concentrated on Industrial Nightmare.
PROPS - 7, Hard to rate since seven feet of water from previous weekend's flood wiped out a good bit of their efforts.
VALUE - 10, Free with Industrial Nightmare!
Final Score:  7,  You won't recognize the place by next year!
reviewed 9/30/06

9 PITCH BLACK:  A totally dark maze containing numerous dead ends, and brand new surprises I've been asked not to reveal!!!  Go see it for yourself!
Final Score:  9, Bypassing the usual rating criteria in order to protect the secrets that have been added here.  Take my word for it, this is a highly intense, fear inducing attraction, featuring a first of it's kind innovation so surprising, you won't believe it's really happening!!!  Your emotions will be exploited to the point of near panic!  Pay a visit to Pitch Black!
reviewed 9/30/06
WILMINGTON HAUNTED HOLLOW
1261 W. Dalton Rd.
Wilmington, OH  45177
(937) 382-6147
$10
Wilmington Haunted Hollow Ride
click logo above to visit their web site
WILMINGTON HAUNTED HOLLOW RIDE:  Gravedigger, Widowmaker, or Undertaker, buses that have the tops and sides cut away, provide the transportation into The Hollow.  The bus speeds wrecklessly around a curve, and down a hill, passing some bloody, insane characters, and the first of many chainsaws.  Ghosts aimlessly roam through a spooky cemetery, as you encounter Dr. Satan, witches, scarecrows, Michael Myers, and more of those relentless chainsaws, wildly attacking the bus from both sides and even overhead!  Some board the vehicle momentarily to provide even more intense scares.  Sparks fly from the power tools of maniacal laborers feverishly working on the top half of one of the buses suspended 10' in the air, as you drive underneath!  Flame throwers, burning bulldozers, and powerfully revving semis, belching fire from their exhausts, aggressively pursue the ride, bumping into you, and attempting to run you off the road while chasing you past a large animated dragon and out of the Wilmington Haunted Hollow.

Analysis:
LENGTH - 7, Only about 10 minutes.
ACTORS - 8½, Not a lot of dialogue, but an incredible number of highly energetic, chainsaw wielding crazies!
SCARINESS - 9, Many frightening run-ins with various motorized vehicles induce plenty of fear throughout.
DESIGN - 8½, One of the most unique haunts around.  There are some dead spots between scenes, but most of them are covered nicely by the bus increasing its speed, or one of the chainsaw lunatics persistantly chasing after you.  Could stand to be a bit longer.
PROPS - 8½, Trucks, bulldozer, and flame thrower are standouts.  Ghosts in the trees are good too.  Scenes could stand a litttle more detailing.
VALUE - 8½, $10 for a very thrilling experience.  Just wish it lasted a bit longer.
Final Score:  8½, This is the most unique haunt around.  Lots to like at the Wilmington Haunted Hollow.  Pay them a visit and experience these fire breathing monsters for yourselves!
reviewed 10/13/06

NIGHTMARE ON VALLEY STREET
4355 Valley Street (near Harshman Rd.)
Dayton, Ohio  45424
(937) 39-SCARE 
$10 - ($1 off coupon on web site)
Nightmare on Valley Street
click photo to visit their web site
NIGHTMARE ON VALLEY STREET:  An upgraded Valley Street awaits this year, sporting a new entrance, exit, and polished scenes and acting.  Strobe lights and excellent scary music unnerve you as you begin the trail.  Relentless chainsaw madmen immediately initiate you into their Nightmare.  Ghosts inhabit the trees, and intense ghouls are everywhere, coming out of the darkness, behind trees, under wrecked cars, and one in particular who provides a scare of the year contender that we're not going to tell, but you simply will NOT believe!  Cemeteries, bats, clowns, more chainsaws, and a car launched up into a tree as a result of a horrific crash are all part of the new and improved Valley Street experience.  Pinhead and Michael Myers take up residence here, as well as various other creatures who do everything from scream and shout, to emitting sparks, all leading up to a double surprise chase-out!

Analysis:
LENGTH - 8, Nearly 20 minutes.
ACTORS - 8½, Highly unstable bunch here, offering a lot of interaction and dialogue, but some kiddie actors hurt the overall score.  Huge reliance on masks as well.
SCARINESS - 9, Intimidating chainsaws, and plenty of surprises coming from unexpected places, including the aforementioned scare of the year!  Sound effects are tremendous, including the high-pitched shrieks of bats!
DESIGN - 8½, Intensity is way up in comparison to a year ago, but the bodiless head was a static prop this year as opposed to a live person, and the giant grim reaper was conspicuous by his absence.
PROPS - 8, Not a lot of high-tech props, but some imaginative ideas yield some great scares. 
VALUE - 8½, No price hike for an extreme haunt ($9 with coupon).
Final Score:  8½,  The intensity is back as Nightmare on Valley Street lives up to it's name!  This one is NOT for the weak of heart, and as previously stated, boasts the "scare of the year!"  You won't find it anyplace else, so stop by and get the yell scared out of you!
reviewed 10/7/06

MIDDLETOWN'S LAND OF ILLUSION
featuring
MIDDLETOWN HAUNTED TRAIL
Land of Illusion
(4 haunts in 1)
8762 Thomas Rd
Middletown, Ohio
(513) 423-9960
$30 for all 4 - plus $2 parking
$2 off the $30 combo ticket at Scary Ohio
click logo above to view their web site
Middletown Haunted TrailTHE MIDDLETOWN HAUNTED TRAIL:  The trail's nearly a mile long. Scary background music sets the perfect mood as you begin your dark journey into the woods to a confrontation with a witch, who leaves her bubbling cauldron long enough to investigate and torment we who have invaded her territory.  Continuing on, a mist of creek water sprays up as you cross a bridge, a car suddenly appears out of the shadows blasting it's horn, and irate hillbillies leave their shack, threatening the trespassers on their property.  Scenes include Jack in the Box which is home to caged ghouls and clowns, and Slaughterhouse where a giant table saw is employed to dismember bodies, and a chainsaw packing maniac picks up where it leaves off!  The forrest is inhabited by various monsters including an albino gorilla, and a giant spider that descends from webs he's spun encompassing the trail.  Following the arachnid attack is an unbelievable encounter with THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN, followed by a fork in the road leading into a cornfield.  Beware of innocent scarecrows and demonic children of the corn!  Other sights along the trail include a spinning vortex, a cemetery where undead souls leave their graves, and school buses inhabited by Freddie Kuregger, and perhaps another familiar face!  Don't miss the blowtorch wielding madman, the lunatic shooting off sparks close to his next victim, or the diabolical fiend perched high atop the bales of hay, carelessly waving his pitchfork around, and ready to use it!  All these, an infinite number of chainsaws, and a crazed patient in an insane asylum all must be conquered in order to survive The Middletown Haunted Trail.

Analysis:
LENGTH - 9½, About 25 mins.
ACTORS - 8, Kudos to the scarecrows, and the brute with the blowtorch!
SCARINESS - 8½,  The natural darkness of the outdoors along the foggy trail adds to the spookiness.
DESIGN - 8, Improvements are evident with the elimination of several dead zones from a year ago.
PROPS - 7, The buildings are well done, and the Headless Horseman is classic!
VALUE - 10, Kinda steep on it's own ($14), but $7.50 on the combo ticket? - can't beat it!
Final Score:  8½. The trail shows much improvement from the 2005 installment, and is the feature attraction at LOI.
reviewed  9/16/06

Dr. Psycho's Haunted EstateDR. PSYCHO'S HAUNTED ESTATE:  The estate is magnificent!  As my friend The Cool Ghoul would've said, "It will blow your mind!!!"  For the second consecutive year, everyone in our group agreed that this is the best Haunt at The Land of Illusion!  Beginning with a walk through a cemetery, a ghoul suddenly pops out of a hearse, somewhat obscured by the foggy surroundings!  Bodies escape their graves, while a chained casket shakes and vibrates vigorously on it's own!  Animated corpses spring to life, and the rope suspended body of a recently hanged man thrashes about in the trees.  Loads of surprises already, and we've yet to enter the Haunted Estate!  On the inside, meticulously decorated rooms are just jammed with more surprises and scares, including a perfectly timed one we're not giving away!  Rooms include a dining room, laboratory, and bedroom complete with a moving bed and a skeleton levitating from a wheelchair!  That might not be all, so keep a watchful eye!  There's a light vortex, stairs to climb, a cellar door, where some poor soul has been locked away, and a variety of monsters who call Dr. Psycho their friend!

Analysis:
LENGTH - 7½, A little under15 mins.
ACTORS - 7,  Acting is overshadowed by the animatronics - would like to see some bloodthursty vampires, etc.
SCARINESS - 9, Tons and tons of well-timed traditional, and technological scares!
DESIGN - 9, AWESOME!  Just wish it was a little longer!  Graveyard beginning is perfect!
PROPS - 9,  Jam packed with excellent props and loads of animatronics!
VALUE -10, For $7.50 on the combo ticket, this haunt is a steal.
Final Score:  8½ . This is a fantastic Haunt!  Go see it for yourselves  reviewed  9/16/06

Temple of TerrorTEMPLE OF TERROR:  A mysterious  door, covered with ancient Egyptian drawings slides open inviting you to step inside the Temple of Terror, where a couple of surprises lurk in the darkness!  Various monsters call the temple home, including a creature whizzing by overhead, and a huge impaler clutching a victim in one hand, and a spear in his other!  A vortex, wooden sway bridge, mummified bodies, the skeletal remains of a victim thrashing violently on a bed of nails, a wicked creature popping up through a trap door, and several more animatronics are encountered inside the tomb.  Skeletons, chained behind their bars come to life attempting to escape, and deadly snakes protect the temple, spraying their venom as passersby attempt to maneuver their way through the sepulchre.  Another unexpected surprise lies near the exit, and must be survived in order to escape the Temple of Terror.

Analysis:
LENGTH - 7½,  Not quite 15 mins.
ACTORS - 6, Crying out for more
SCARINESS - 8, Many startles and unexpected things happening inside the catacombs, but some dead zones as well.  great sound effects, with dripping water being the most unnerving and noticeable.
PROPS - 8½, Plenty of great animatronics inside - keep an out out overhead!
DESIGN - 6½, A few too many unadorned walls, with not much to see other than the darkness.
VALUE - 9, Only $7.50 on a combo ticket - well worth it.
FINAL SCORE:  7½, props overshadow the acting in this one.  reviewed  9/16/06

Killer KlownsKILLER KLOWNS:  The name says it all.  If a fear of clowns is among your phobias, this isn't a very safe place.  Sights include disorienting strobes, a spinning vortex, a "killer klown" rising up out of a trap door in the floor, and a chain link fence maze containing deceptive dead ends, where it's not unusual to find lost souls wondering about aimlessly, often retracing some of their same footsteps seeking the way out. If that's not confusing enough, chainsaw wielding clowns create even more distractions, harassing those unable to escape the labyrinth.  Beyond the maze lies a "play room" filled with plastic balls where walking is difficult if not downright impossible,  and that's followed by a SURPRISE, and a shrinking hallway which leads to the exit.

Analysis:
LENGTH - 6, Under 10 mins. unless more time is spent lost in the maze.
ACTORS - 6, Nobody really stood out, and there didn't seem to be as many compared to a year ago.
SCARINESS - 6, If you find clowns intimidating, add a point or 2 to this rating.
PROPS - 7, Favorites are maze, spinning vortex, and the surprise we're not giving away!
DESIGN -7 - Somewhat short, and nothing all that unexpected, other than the surprise.
VALUE - 8,  If you're going to skip one, this is it.  still just $7.50 on the combo ticket, so why not?
FINAL SCORE : 6½. Acting dragged this one down - no one left a lasting impression compared to last year.
reviewed  9/16/06

8 OVERALL LAND OF ILLUSION EXPERIENCE:  The LAND OF ILLUSION is a great night of entertainment!  $30 gets you all four haunts - only $7.50 each!!!  There's a bonfire to keep you warm while you wait, snacks, refreshments, and a gift shop.  In addition to the 4 venue haunt, they've created a really "cool" atmosphere for people to come and have fun, or just hang out with friends!  Many of the profits from past years have been returned to the haunt, and it shows!  The Trail and Haunted Estate are a notch or two above the others (especially Killer Klowns), which compromises the overall rating, but this is the "in" place to be. Join the crowd at Middletown's Land of Illusion!  HINT:  Ohio Valley Haunts suggests hitting the trail first as the line forms early and gets longer as the night goes on.
Overall Final Score:  8  reviewed  9/16/06
FEARFEST AT KINGS ISLAND
Exit 25 off  I-71
Mason, Ohio
$29.99
$19.99 limited time Friday admission
Fearfest
click logo above to visit their web site
Undertaker
view photos from Fearfest
8 The AsylumTHE ASYLUM:  A bizarre, hunchback doctor rants and raves, and wickedly laughs as you wait to enter. Blinding strobes and deafening warning sirens set the stage for the journey into The Asylum.  This maze of chain-link fence and mirrors is home to wacked-out patients, and even more insane doctors who block your path, and guide you in the wrong direction, as that disorienting alarm wails away.  A deranged nurse offers an injection of blood from an enormous syringe, and the heads of recent victims hang from the ceilings as you attempt to find your way out.  Don't miss the martyr whose upper torso has had it's flesh ripped away, exposing his spine, yet his head is still alive and crying for help! 

Analysis:
LENGTH - 7, Just under 10 minutes.
ACTORS - 8, A tremendous number of discontented patients and blood-soaked doctors inhabit The Asylum, and it's tough at times to tell them apart!  All make-up again in this one, and the confrontations offer a lot of intensity.  Hunchback Greeter with the wicked laugh is our personal favorite.
SCARINESS - 9, The strobes, siren, mirrors, and characters unnerve you to the point that you're ready for the exit.
PROPS - 6, Fence and mirrors for the most part.  Due to the theme itself, there's just not much room for anything else. 
DESIGN - 8, Can't really fault the length here.  While the maze isn't particularly difficult, it CAN'T be by design, considering the number of people who go through on crowded Friday and Saturday nights, and the long lines they wait in to enter.  The experience evokes your emotions to such a level that you're ready to leave!  We overheard at least two visitors saying, "How do we get out of here?"  Well done!
VALUE - 9½, Outstanding attraction in comparison to cost.  Again, roughly $3 on discount Fridays.
Final Score:  8, When I hear people desperate to locate the exit in order to escape the intensity of an attraction, that's enough for me.  Billy Currington says it best, "Must be doing something right!"
reviewed  9/28/06

Massacre ManorMASSACRE MANOR:  Set in Coney Maul this year, this traditionally gothic haunted house is up for sale courtesy of See No Evil Estates.  Ms. Liar (pronounced Leer), their representative awaits in the first room, warning that the house is possessed by its current owner, Emily and her demented family.  Room by room, various relatives are encountered, each equipped with his own brand of terror. A narrow, clothes filled corridor boasts skeletons that close in on you from both sides as you make your way through the kitchen, bedroom, etc.  Residents appear from drop down panels in the walls, behind pictures, and out of closets.  Victims are torn in two by a table saw, and put to death in an electric chair as you finally encounter the heathen witch responsible for all the killings - Emily, who offers up a surprise of her own as you attempt to escape the wrath that curses Massacre Manor.

Analysis:
LENGTH - 6, Extremely short, around 6 minutes which hurts it's overall rating.
ACTORS - 8, Lots of intensity and creative characters.  100% make-up.
SCARINESS - 8, Very intimidating.  Many scares are startling in nature from a realistic atmoshpere.
PROPS - 7½, Stands outs are the secret panels, man being sawed in half, and Emily's "surprise."  Timing is off a little, as the first person in the group gets the majority of the surprises.
DESIGN.-7, Suspense builds throughout, and they save the best for last.  It's just too short.
VALUE - 9, Considering it averages out to around $3 with the Friday discount how can you go wrong?
Final Score:  7½,  From a haunt perspective, this is the best one, and could score higher if it lasted longer.  Lots to like.
reviewed  9/28/06

Circus of HorrorsCIRCUS OF HORRORS:  This 3-D experience begins with a brief meeting with a fanatical laughing clown, Psychedelic Sally.  She detains you momentarily, then sends you into the house of mirrors, where one becomes easily disoriented, and lost.  Special glasses bring the 3-D effect to life, instilling a perception of depth (and death) to  innate objects.  Clowns spring up out of building blocks, and appear from secret drop-down panels in the walls.  A polka dot room offers up a startling surprise, and a corridor of inanimate clowns closes in on you from both sides!  This leads to a spinning vortex, and a room with multiple dressing room doors, identified as Madam Olga, The Bearded Lady, The Puppet Master, Freddie C (K?), Jason, and Frankenstein.  Some offer surprises.  One just might allow you to escape the evil Big Top, also known as The Circus of Horrors

Analysis:
LENGTH - 7, A little under 10 minutes.
ACTORS - 8, A legion of energetic clowns offering up confrontations, and scares throughout.
SCARINESS - 7, The mirror maze does it's job of perturbing one's emotions, allowing the clowns to take command.  Those with "clown phobias" will find it terrifying!
PROPS - 8, The claustrophobic corridor of clowns, drop-down wall panels, life-size building blocks, and vortex are favorites. 
DESIGN - 8, Lots of changes for 2006.  3-D effect is an asset, but like most of the haunts at PKI, it could stand additional props, and a lengthening of the course.
VALUE - 8½, A downright steal considering the bargain price.
Final Score:  7½, Giving this one the benefit of the doubt.  Although we don't personally find clowns scary or intimidating, that seems to leave us in the minority these days, as a multitude of others find them simply horrifying!  This is the most improved haunted attraction at Fearfest.
reviewed  9/28/06

7 Headless HollowHEADLESS HOLLOW:  A ride through Rivertown aboard the PKI/Miami Valley Railroad turns wicked when the engine develops some sort of mechanical failure, and passengers are forced to disembark the train, and walk back to the station through the haunted woods known as Headless Hollow.  Blinding fog obscures the path, as numerous, well-hidden characters plead with you to turn back, and warn of the danger lurking ahead from the Headless Horseman.  The heads of some of his recent victims dangle from the roof of a covered bridge.  Beware!  The Headless Horseman wants to add yours to his collection!

Analysis:
LENGTH - 8, About 20 minutes from the time the train departs the station, until you make it through Headless Hollow.
ACTORS - 7½, Not a lot of diversity, as many perform the same task, warning of the horseman, and imploring you to go back.  Aboard the train, the tour guide's weak attempts at humor fell flat.  It would be much better if he took his role more seriously.  The Headless Horsman is conspicuous by his absence.
SCARINESS - 8, The spooky train ride into the dark, foggy woods is AWESOME!  Seeing the old Steam Engine's headlight piercing the fog is a sight unto itself.
PROPS - 5, There's just not enough decor along the trail.
DESIGN - 5, Love the idea of incorporating the train ride into a haunt, but it dumps a large number of people into the same area at one time making for oversized groups, and spoiling some of the scares.  And there's no payoff without an appearance by the Horseman.
VALUE - 8, A bargain price for a unique haunt.
Final Score:  7, Potential to rate higher with additional, and more diverse scenes through the Hollow, as well as the return of the Headless Horseman.
reviewed  9/28/06

Psycho PathPSYCHO PATH:  A tremendous amount of fog sets a spooky mood along the downhill walk leading to the entrance of Psycho Path.  The dark trail into the overgrown woods leads to gruesome encounters with hillbillies, scarecrows, bodybags, and a frightening cemetery, where hideous looking zombies, in advanced stages of decay, leave their earthen graves to torment all who dare to enter.  A distraught girl desperately searching for her mommy, and a menacing fiend who suddingly springs into your midst by means of a bungee cord, then just as quickly disappears back into the shadows are among the downright crazy creatures that occupy the scream filled woods in Coney Maul known as Psycho Path.

Analysis:
LENGTH - 7½, One of the longer Fearfest haunts, stopping the clock in a little under 15 minutes.
ACTORS - 7, Intense screaming, and good make-up, but not quite as impressive in comparison to Massacre Manor, or The Asylum.  The hillbillies just aren't that scary, and nobody really stands out.
SCARINESS - 7, The dark woods is the primary scare factor.
PROPS - 5, Plenty of room to increase the number of scenes and scares.
DESIGN - 6, Different from last year, but not necessarily improved.  Several dead spots remain, and elimination of Bravery/Chicken fork in the road is an unfortunate loss.  Zombie/graveyard scene is best.  Much unattained potential.
VALUE - 8, When considered as a single part of a six-pack of haunts, the price is dirt cheap.
Final Score:  6½, The quality of acting is improved, but the trail leaves us wanting more.
reviewed  9/28/06

6 Cowboy CarnageCOWBOY CARNAGE:  New to the Fearfest scene this year, this abandoned, old west style saloon serves up scares ranging from partying piano players to cowboys ready to draw their guns if you're willing to face these daredevils in a duel.  While navigating the beer bottles and barroom brawls, encounter a southern belle who's not above cheating if you accept her challenge of a friendly game of poker, and a sultry lady of the night offering her services in the world's oldest profession!  Drink a few shots, while kickin' and gougin' your way through the mud, and the blood, and the beer, better known as Cowboy Carnage.

Analysis:
LENGTH - 5, Barely 5 minutes.
ACTORS -  7½, Believable accents and characters.  The cowboys are imposingly large.
SCARINESS - 4, Entertaining, but not that scary, except for the surprise at the end.
PROPS - 7, Realistic recreation of an old saloon on a street of mud.  Marshall Dillon, and Miss Kitty would be envious, as the Longbranch has nothing on this place!
DESIGN - 6½, Good idea, and well themed, but doesn't really work as a "haunt."  A bit on the short side as well.
VALUE - 7, Considering the cheap price, it's a hootin', hollerin', good ole time!
Final Score:  6, As previously stated, it's entertaining, but not frightening, and really seems out of place at Fearfest.
reviewed  9/28/06

NR
Hauntcert Heckle & Howl Monster Bash Superstition
(These entertainment attractions expand on the event theme, but were unavailable for review on media night.)
Hauntcert features live bands performing every Saturday night on the International Street bandstand.  Heckle & Howl, also on International Street, is an interactive improv act.  Monster Bash is a song and dance show with a Halloween twist emanating from Paramount Theatre, and everybody's favorite Mistress of the Dark, Elvira, is back with her 3-D presentation of broken mirrors, black cats, and a slew of other Superstitions in Coney Maul's Action/FX Theater.
NR
CornStlakers Holiday Horror The Worksite Described as "Fear Zones"
these specially themed areas
are a nice compliment to
Fearfest.
Cornstalkers, near the Floral Clock, is all that's left of the once prosperous Van Tassel farm.  Now overgrown and in ruins, this Rivertown suburb is inhabited by scarecrows, some of whom don't take kindly to trespassers! Holiday Horrors in Coney Maul is a demented take on Christmas, complete with an evil Santa Claus and his gremlin-like elves, while The Worksite, also in Coney Maul, depicts a job site, where a toxic spill turned construction workers into destruction workers!  These scenes have not been rated since they are not complete "haunts" per se.
reviewed  9/28/06
8 FearfestOVERALL FEARFEST EXPERIENCE:  An outstanding beginning has been added this year, with scares commencing as soon as you pass through the admission gate.  An enormously tall Frankenstein, humongous Dracula, and imposing bat are among the creatures that stalk you from the moment you first set foot inside. Tremendous amounts of fog obscure your view down International Street toward the Eiffel Tower, and sets a ghastly envrionment for The Undertaker (pictured at left), seen standing between two hearses, his voice booming through the speaker system welcoming visitors to Fearfest.  Leatherface confronts unsuspecting souls with his violent chainsaw, while victims beg patrons not to enter the park at all!  In addition, the walks between the various mazes are chillingly decorated, and inhabited by demons like zombies, and trademark "sliders" - brutes who charge out of the darkness, and slide by noisily on protective kneepads for some too close for comfort encounters.  Add ten "thrill rides" to that mix, and the result is a combined Halloween experience Kings Island calls Fearfest. The length of the haunts, and level of difficulty in The Asylum can't really be weighed strongly against them, as they're intentionally designed that way, considering the enormous volume of people they have to accomodate on a given night.  As a result, the event scores higher overall than most of its individual haunts could as stand alone attractions.  The one negative being the lengthy lines one must endure just to gain entrance to a given attraction limits the opportunity to experience all of them in a single night.
Overall Final Score:  8
reviewed  9/28/06
GATES OF TERROR
7133 Tent Church Rd.
Lancaster, Ohio 43130
(740) 536-9148
$14.95 ($2 off coupon on their web site)
Gates of Terror
click logo above to visit their web site
Graveyard - Gates of Terror
8 GATES OF TERROR:  The outer perimeter is protected by decorated wrought iron gates, and passing through delievers you to the ticketing area, as well as the haunted courtyard outside The Gates of Terror.  This multiple attraction facility offers a fun corn maze, stocked with a generous supply of monsters, that winds deep into the field, through rows and rows of fairly tall corn.  Just keep going, and searching!  The exit's got to be back there somewhere! Finding your way out, returns you to the grassy festival area, adorned with a hearse, caskets and Fright Stage, another added attraction that compliments the venue,  featuring various forms of seasonal entertainment.
       The main haunt itself begins with an intimidating stroll through a fog-filled cemetery, roamed by a gravedigger, bloody bride, and other various entities of the undead!  Making your way inside finds you eye to eye with a large, poisonous snake that springs to life following your disturbance, spraying a deadly mist of venom at you in order to drive you away.  Werewolves are heard howling off in the distance as you make your way through the jungle-like atmoshere, and onto a bottomless well.  A witches abode, and catacombs containing ancient skeletal remains lie ahead.  The upstairs has been commandeered by spiders.  Their webs are everywhere, and have entrapped one pour soul in a cocoon.  A room of doors, some of which hide surprises and monsters is up next.  One leads to a darkened maze, and a huge surprise!  Bats, and falling panels lead to a little girl's bedroom, where her evil mother has something in store for you!  Back downstairs, coffins, more skeletons, glowing masks, and a beheading guillotine lead into a maze, and the eventual escape from The Gates of Terror.

Analysis:
LENGTH - 7½, A little under 15 minutes. 
ACTORS - 7½, Intensity isn't great, but they offer several surprises.  Favorites are guillotine monster searching for "toys," and stalking, smiling, giggling insane lunatic.  Would benefit from additional personnel.  Some kiddy actors, but most are utilized in appropriate rolls. 
SCARINESS - 8, Not overwhelmingly scary, but plenty of startles along the way.
DESIGN - 8½, Course has been expanded since our last visit, and utilizes the upstairs portion of the structure in addition to the main level.  Room of doors with surprise is most memorable.  No dead spots.
PROPS - 8½, Rooms are attentively detailed and decorated to the max, with an occasional mechanical surprise.
VALUE - 9, With coupon, only $12.95 per person for the entire Halloween Festival.
Final Score:  8, For the haunt alone, but rates higher as an overall entertainment facility.  Fantastic atmosphere for an evening of seasonal fun.  Main haunt is complimented by a second indoor attraction (discussed below), a corn maze, entertainment at both Fright Stage, and open air theater running various horror flicks, good food at the concessions, and a non-scary Halloween Land for little ones. Enjoy an evening at Gates of Terror, the featured haunt at next summer's Midwest Haunters Convention!
reviewed 10/21/06

7 CARNIVAL OF MACABRE:  The second indoor attraction at The Gates of Terror entertainment complex is offered as an added attraction to the main haunt.  A scary, bloody clown waits outside the structure.  Once inside, an immediate, tightly packed entrapment delays your progression momentarily until you discover the secret to getting out.  Very nice beginning!  Doors open on their own, while reflective drapes, mirrors, and a polka dot room add to the disorienting effect. Intense clowns stalk your progression that climaxes with a spinning vortex finish.

Analysis:
LENGTH - 5, Under 10 minutes.
ACTORS - 8, Noticeably more intense than in the main haunt, and some great make-up too!  A lengthier opportunity to engage visitors, and more of these highly energetic jokesters would result in a higher rating.
SCARINESS - 7½, A different kind of scare, with fear being instilled through confusion, disorientation, and the energetic characters. 
DESIGN - 6, Great while it lasts, just too short to score higher.
PROPS - 7½, Entrapment beginning is best, with standard fun house style decor consisting of polka dot room, mirror maze, vortex, etc.
VALUE - 9, It's included free of charge with paid Gates of Terror admission.
Final Score:  7, Intended as an added attraction to the festive atmosphere, it's not really fair to rate this haunt as a stand alone event since it isn't designed as such.  But it is a second haunt on the site, completely separate from the main event, so it has been treated as such.
reviewed 10/21/06

THE HOUSE OF NIGHTMARES
479 S. Ludlow St.
Columbus, OH  43215
$15 ($5 discount coupon available on their
web site good on specific days ONLY)
$20 VIP Pass
$3 Parking fee
House of Nightmares
8 THE HOUSE OF NIGHTMARES: Now serving up scares from it's new Columbus, Ohio location, The House of Nightmares continues its tradition as one of the finest haunted houses around.  Suspenseful music greets your arrival, and accompanies you through the house.  A vampiress awaits at the entrance..  A succession of frightening scenes are visited as you make your way from room to room, the most impressive of which is The Happy Hill Insane Asylum, a holdover from the original Mt. Vernon House.  A crazy doctor leads you through the asylum, limping along with the aid of a forearm crutch.  Lithium deprived patients scream madly, and stalk visitors as well as each other.  One uses a walker to maneuver herself from her bed over to her roommate, all the while imploring her to "shut up!"  Creepy!  The theme of death runs throughout with an abundance of coffins, cemeteries, and other frightening sites.  Monsters often follow you out of the various rooms, and into the corridors that lead into the next scene.  Other sights include a library housed with dusty old bookcases, and a hanged man dangling from the gallows.  A huge surprise awaits the crossing of a wooden footbridge, followed by a clown chainsaw chase-out into a spinning vortex finish.

Analysis:
LENGTH - 8, About 15 minutes, but much shorter than the previous House.
ACTORS - 8, The asylum doctor/patients are best, and their intensity level is high, but most others don't do much other than get in your face and growl.  Librarian demanding your library card doesn't work, and possibly the least intimidating Freddie we've ever encountered.
SCARINESS - 8½, The scares are good, but somehow it just isn't the same.
PROPS - 8½, Lots of decor to be seen considering they whipped it together in just a few short months.
DESIGN - 8, Although the scenes are well constructed, the connecting corridors are fabricated mostly from plywood or particle board painted black, and have exposed ceilings which allow light to enter and destroy the concept of a dark maze.  Much different than the authentic rooms and hallways from the previous house, and the ending includes a walk past some empty display cabinets.  To their credit, it's a huge effort in such a short amount of time.
VALUE - 6, $15 and $3 for parking is just too much.  Visit on days that the coupon is valid and save yourself 5 bucks.
FINAL SCORE:  8, Annual "haunt of the year" contender slips a little this year, allbeit from circumstances beyond their control.  The unfortunate, yet necessitated relocation from their genuinely intimidating Mt. Vernon structure is possibly the biggest disappointment of this haunt season.  It's still a good haunt, but worth $15 plus a parking surcharge in such a competitive market?  Your call.
reviewed  9/23/06

NIGHT FRIGHT HAUNTED TRAIL
at SILVER LAKE BEACH
4720 Scarff Rd.
New Carlisle, OH  45344
(937) 845-8311
$10
($1 off coupon on their web site)
Night Fright Haunted Trail
click logo above to visit their web site
8 NIGHT FRIGHT HAUNTED TRAIL AT SILVER LAKE BEACH:  A walk down a long, spooky hill begins the Night Fright Haunted Trail experience.  Thunder clasps and lightning flashes as you make your way past skeletal remains and encounter an electric chair, marked with a sign that reads, "Sit in this chair, or is fear the factor?"  Accepting the challenge renders an immediate surprise, but you'll have to try it for yourself to discover the outcome.  Wickedly laughing witches, a mysterious looking old stagecoach, and chainsaw wielding villains hiding in the cornfield are just some of the obstacles that stand in your path at Silver Lake Beach.  An intimidating voice is heard whispering through the darkness, "I can see you!"  Quite chilling!  Up ahead, a dilapidated school bus is infested with evil clowns, one with the perfect hiding place, just waiting to surprise you.  A guillotine scene contains a fantastic interactive feature I don't want to spoil, and another room offers secret panels that allow monsters to suddenly startle all who pass.  A giant grim reaper allows access to the gas chamber, while a convict's sentence is carried out as he's put to death in a sparking electric chair. Other sights include flying ghosts in a cemetery haunted by Freddie Krueger, a choice between three doors, only one of which leads to escape, while the others hide various surprises, and a dark maze just prior to exiting the Haunted Trail.

Analysis:
LENGTH - 8½, About like last year, nearly 20 min.
ACTORS - 8, Some pretty intense characters here that do their best to scare you.  Modest use of make-up, but predominantly masks.  Convict is best, threatening to "light you up!"
SCARINESS - 8, The actors provide plenty of startles.  Could benefit from additional mood-setting background music. 
DESIGN - 8½, Several differences in the trail this year, including attention to the entrance down the hill (thunder and lightning), the doors, and places along the way where you're forced to duck down, or step over various obstacles.  Seem to be slightly fewer scenes this year.
PROPS - 8, Good balance of animated and static props, but they seem fewer in number in comparison to a year ago.
VALUE - 8½, A lengthy trail offering up lots of scares for a reasonable price. 
Final Score:  8, This is one of the best trails around.  They addressed areas in the haunt that called for attention, and the improvements are noticeable.  Less time to prepare this year resulted in fewer scenes, but the length is unchanged with the introduction of a few interactive features, like the doors and guillotine - some novel ideas which are surely to be expanded upon in years to come.  Unlike most trails, the distance between scenes is kept to a minimum, resulting in fewer dead spots.  Get out and see the Night Fright Haunted Trail at Silver Lake Beach.
reviewed 10/7/06

BULL RUN FARMS
HAUNTED HAYRIDE & BLACK BOG
6070 Springboro Rd.
Lebanon , Ohio
(937) 748-2272
$10 Hay Ride / $8 Black Bog
$15 for Combo Ticket
($1 off coupon at Scary Ohio)
Bull Run Farms Haunted Hayride and Black Bog
click logo to visit their web site
8 Bull Run Farms Haunted HayrideBULL RUN FARMS HAUNTED HAYRIDE:  This is a classic hayride begins with the tractor pulling out and stopping inside an old barn. The doors slam shut behind you, and the scares begin. Crazy ghouls jump into the wagon threatening those on board. They eventually allow the tractor to proceed into the woods, where you encounter The Headless Horseman, a "hot-rod" hearse, a mad "monster" truck, and a old, broken combine, all of which attempt to run you off the road!  Leatherface revs up his chainsaw, and boards the wagon, and ghosts haunt a spooky graveyard. A visit to the Psycho Circus includes a surprise from a crazed clown flying through the air alongside the wagon, leading to a chainsaw chase-out.

Analysis:
LENGTH - 9, About 20 minutes
ACTORS - 6, Headless Horseman is awesome!  Most others were disappointing in that the majority of them simply stared at the wagon as they approached, and said nothing, or climbed  aboard and just growled.  Need to pick up the intensity level, and hopefully that will happen as they become more acquainted with their characters in the weeks to come.
SCARINESS - 8, Better acting will increase the scares.
PROPS - 9, Mostly attributable to the motorized vehicles that terrorize the hay wagon.
DESIGN - 8½, only a few dead spots.
VALUE - 9, only $10.00 for the best hayride around or $15 on the Bog combo ticket
FINAL SCORE: 8,  Simply the best hayride around!
reviewed  9/29/06

7 The Black Bog at Bull Run FarmsBULL RUN FARMS BLACK BOGThe Black Bog begins inside an old barn constructed in the 1850's. Down a flight of stairs and into the cellar where a bloody, young girl carries a baby with nails in its head!  The Ring girl's up next, crawling around on all fours, then it's into an elevator that shakes violently, while its operator laughs wickedly!  Once it stops and  the doors open, you're welcomed to hell!  Bloody butchers vault out of a meat freezer, then it's outside into the foggy bog. where you board an old school bus with crazed ghouls, walk a wooden foggy path into an eerie junkyard, and meet up with crazed hillbillies, a gravedigger, Michael Myers, and Freddy Krueger before exiting through a vortex and maze, into the barn where concessions are located.

Analysis:
LENGTH - 7½, About 15 minutes
ACTORS - 6, The Ring Girl and Junkyard worker who threatens to "tear you to shreds" are standouts, but others didn't make much of an effort to frighten us.   The gravedigger just stood there with his shovel.  Banging it loudly on the wooden path, or threatening to bury you alive would improve the graveyard scene.  The hillbillies aren't very scary.
SCARINESS - 7½, You've really got to experience the foggy valley to appreciate just how spooky it looks.  Crying out for more intense acting.
PROPS - 7, The elevator is best.
DESIGN - 7, Absence of Michael Myers in the room playing the Halloween theme only to have a confrontation with him later on is noticeable.
VALUE -7½, $8.00 by itself might be a bit steep.  $15.00 with the hayride is the way to go.
FINAL SCORE:  7,  Elimination of Freddie's room, and the sewer pipe tunnel are steps in the wrong direction.  The Bog's still a mystifying walk with all that fog rolling through the field, and serves as a nice compliment to their fantastic HayRide.
reviewed  9/29/06

XENIA DUNGEON OF DOOM
Corner of So.Detroit and 3rd St
Xenia, Ohio
(937) 689-3029
$10
8 DUNGEON OF DOOM:  The setting is the first floor of an abandoned old warehouse.  The legitimacy of the haunt is never in doubt.  Various areas of the spooky building are explored, including a gruesome looking bedroom.  Bloodstained sheets on a bed covered with bloody dolls lets you know right away that something's just not right here.  An evil clown suddenly emerges to claim responsibility.  Onto a bodybag room, where a distressed girl in a wheelchair begs for help, as a bloody killer materializes out of the darkness and comes at you with a crowbar!  Next up is an encounter with a frightened little girl who somehow managed to get separated from her group.  Understandably, she's too scared to proceed alone, so she asks to continue on with us, until...  Coffins, a giant rabid dog, and a surprising near miss with a car are yet to be encountered inside The Dungeon.  Additional scenes include a polka dot room, cemetery, and a funeral parlor, where a bereaving widow mourns her loss, and the wooden casket of her dearly departed shakes and rattles of its own volition!  Death row introduces you to several condemned prisoners before serves up a demented execution in an electric chair, leading up to their signature door maze, and eventual escape from The Dungeon of Doom.

Analysis:
LENGTH - 7½, A little longer this year with the execution scene.  Difficult to determine a precise length due to the unpredictability of the amount of time spent in that fantastic door maze. 
ACTORS - 7½, Well hidden bunch provide several scares with the suddeness of their appearance.  More interacting actors are needed to raise this score.  Lost girl is the most memorable.  Need to raise the energy level of most others, and offer more dialogue, as opposed to growls.  More make-up and fewer masks wouldn't hurt either.
SCARINESS - 8½, Unnerving background music accompanies much of the experience.  The authenticity of the structure itself is a definite asset.  Crying out for more actors.
DESIGN -8½, Their trademark scenes (lost girl and door maze) are standouts!  The spookiness is there, but would really benefit from lengthening the course with additional scary scenes filled with extended confrontations with intense actors.
PROPS - 8, Traditionally scary in nature, and of course the doors are simply classic!  They'll drive you crazy until you finally figure them out!
VALUE - 8, No price increase from a year ago. 
Final Score: 8 , This haunt delivers some of the most unique scares around.  They play with your emotions, and capitalize on their ability to make you uncomfortable, especially when you're trapped in the gimmicked door maze.  It's worth the price of admission just for that experience alone, and they offer so much more! Conveniently located in Xenia, OH, be sure to include The Dungeon of Doom on your list this Halloween season, and visit their Dominos pizza booth for a reasonably priced snack.
reviewed 10/13/06

CHAMBER OF HORRORS
Corner of Pearl & Market St.
New Albany, IN
   (812) 949-2991
$13
($10 on Fridays with $3 discount coupon)
Chamber of Horrors
click logo for printable coupon
8 CHAMBER OF HORRORS (New Albany, IN):  Ghouls torment guests outside while waiting in line to enter The Chamber.  Down a spooky staircase and into a very foggy sanctuary, you hear the history of the building - how a consuming fire tragically burned down a church that previously existed on the site many years ago.  During the excavation, rescuers found much more than they expected - the burnt remains of victims that perished in the blaze. Subsequently, the workers themselves mysteriously disappeared and were never seen again!  Do you dare enter The Chamber?  Restless entities and the souls of yesterday are part of The Horrors discovered inside.  A body roasts over open flames, and flesh eating ghouls devour what's left of a dead corpse.  Skeletal remains fill holes in the floor, and move along walls as if they're still alive - flesh still burning from their fiery demise.  Sights include a funeral parlor with a corpse containing coffin, hanging bodies in chains, and even a hooker walking in one of the corridors trying to turn a trick!  Further along, a lost soul from another group joins us, but is almost immediately snatched up by an evil warden as we walk past what's left of an old jail cell.  A young mother with blood splattered on her face offers a peek at her baby.  Look closely!  Moving on, a guide escorts you into the darkest rooms of The Chamber including a grusomely bloody kitchen, where a mad butcher slits the guide's throat with his murderous meat cleaver!  Guess who's next?   Other surprises include moving walls that close in on you from both sides, and a "naked" girl in a bloody bathtub, but beware!  Don't look at her, or you'll live to regret it! 

Analysis:
LENGTH - 7, Only about ten minutes.
ACTORS - 8, Most were really into their roles, making sure we received the best posssible scares.
SCARINESS - 8½, The mood is set for plenty of traditional scares inside the chamber.  The creepy music sends shivers down your spine. 
DESIGN - 8, Great detailing, just wish it were longer
PROPS - 8, Walls closing in are best, could benefit from a few more of that type, and additional animatronics.
VALUE - 7½, $13.00 is a bit high for a ten minute haunt. Taking advantage of the coupon gets you in for $10.00, a much better value.
Final Score:  8, Tremendous potential at this first year haunt.  It's traditionally spooky, and does a good job intimidating all who enter.  An expansion of the course would have a huge impact, as it left us wanting more!  Look for bigger and better things to come in the next few years. Ohio Valley Haunts recommends visiting The Chamber of Horrors for some great Halloween entertainment!

HAUNTED TOWN HALL
101 E. High Street
Lafayette, OH
$7 - ($1 off coupon at Scary Ohio)
Haunted Town Hall
click photo to visit their web site
8 HAUNTED TOWN HALL:  With paint peeling off the front doors of the old, run-down building, the spooky old Town Hall really looks like it's haunted!  Groups are momentarily seated in a barren room, given instructions, then sent into the former government headquarters, that at one time housed the mayor's office, fire department, jail, etc.  A creepy, old office gives rise to a voice that shouts through the walls demanding to know our names, and issuing a warning that death is among us all!  Simultaneously, a ghoul pops up from behind the broken down desk, angrily informing us that our presence disturbed the souls that roam the halls, and subsequently, we will suffer their wrath!  A secret panel slides open exposing the hidden exit from the old office, into a narrow, foggy hallway that transforms into a dark maze.  Loud, intimidating characters, pounding, and other sounds begin their assault on your nerves, as sparks fly out of the darkness, and screams ring out in the distance.  Apparent dead ends are briefly encountered, until obscure passages are discovered that force you to duck down under various panels in order to continue.  The maze is tight, and constructed of preformed metal, as well as wood, adding to the effect, and eventually emerging at the foot of a spooky, old wooden staircase covered in spiderwebs.  Skulls line the window sills, and one of the spiders rests on the banister.  Upstairs, demons adorn the walls, bats hang upside down, and a skeletal corpse hangs from a noose inside a genuine jail cell.  A hallway showcases three monsters encased in one of the walls.  One is still alive, and delivers a shocking surprise!  A brief entrapment offers an unexpected escape, when a bookcase slides open on its own revealing the way out!  Ghouls rush out of closets , and spring forth from hidden panels and portraits along the walls, leading to another maze featuring more extremely tight passageways and uneven, slanted floors.  This awkwardness flows into a  morgue room, where a corpse rises up off a table, and another from underneath a cloth covering, as a monster comes flying out of one of the body drawers!  Body bags line the exit, one of which contains an alarming surprise, followed by  a tremendously foggy room that yields to a coffin chamber highlighted by undead souls rising from caskets.  Then it's into a fun house of demented games like head toss, kissing booth, and wheel of doom, and a wicked clown chase-out!

Analysis:
LENGTH - 7, Only 10 minutes.
ACTORS - 8, Some child actors, and mostly masks, but all do a superb job delivering scares.  Good dialogue during interactions, and unnerving bonuses from shouts like, "Don't let them leave!" and "We'll Find you!!" off in the distance.  Could stand to add a few more.
SCARINESS - 8, Authentic structure creates the perfect setting for a haunted house.  Sounds and characters are loud and intimidating.  Rooms are unsettling, inducing, then exploiting various emotions, especially fear!
DESIGN - 8, Fantastic tilted maze, and unique surprises, such as concealed entrance, moving bookcase, etc.  Tension builds throughout, although the ending is a bit anticlimactic, and it's a little on the short side.  A few scenes - door room, and hit and run driver, have been eliminated, and not replaced by anything as memorable.  Some of the "haunted" effects have also been unfortunately lost.  Legitimacy of the building itself is a huge plus.
PROPS - 7½, Rooms could stand a little more detailing, and an animatronic or two wouldn't hurt.
VALUE - 9½, No price increase from last year.  Still only $6 with coupon available from Scary Ohio.
Final Score:  8, One of our annual favorites features a lot of unique ideas.  Their clever ingenuity takes every advantage of the vintage 1899 structure, connecting upstairs and downstairs scenes with an original old, scary-looking staircase.  For a great night of affordable Halloween scares and fun, visit the Haunted Town Hall in Lafayette.
reviewed 10/27/06

DUNGEONS OF DELHI
326 Anderson Ferry Rd.
Cincinnati, Ohio
(513) 451 - 7549
$10 ($2 discount with a canned good)
Dungeons of Delhi
click logo to vsit them on the web
Dungeons of Delhi
8 DUNGEONS OF DELHI:  One of our annual Cincinnati favorites, The Dungeons have been delivering scares for eleven years.  An evil desk clerk waits inside, and orders a bloody bell hop to lead you to the next room, Damien's liar, the abode of the Lord of Darkness himself, Damien Reaper.  Spooky music plays in the background while he and his demonic disciples instill their patented brand of fear into all who enter!  A creepy sitting room is up next, where a corpse dangles from a noose inside an upright casket, while another moves nervously back and forth in a creepy, old rocking chair.  Freddy resides in the boiler room, and a hallway of realistic bodybags is occupied by a crazy ghoul intent on adding you to his collection!  A wicked garage reveals a horrific accident, as a mechanic searches for new legs to serve as replacements for those severed from his driver and head mechanic in a repair facility better nown as the Scare Shop.  The driver lies on a work bench, his upper torso writhing in pain, but his legs are missing!  Chained convicts, shackled around their ankles, attempt to escape by sawing their own foot off, and evil clowns have the worst of intentions in store for you while visiting their twisted fun house.  A rocking hallway emerges into a laboratory that gives rise to Frankenstein and a surprise!  Cemeteries, a jailed electrocution, Jason, Michael Myers, and insane lunatics demanding brains are all part of the Dungeons of Delhi experience, leading to a crazed doctor pursuing you in dire need of additional bodyparts, serving as a demented chase-out.

Analysis:
LENGTH - 6, Only 10 minutes.
ACTORS - 8, A fairly large cast this year features a lot more make-up and interracting dialogue than in years past.  The entire crew is a bit more aggressive, thereby provoking more fear, and scares.  Better utilization of kid actors, find them chanting, "One, two, Freddy's gonna get you!," etc.  Bodybag and garage ghouls and outstanding. 
SCARINESS - 8, Great mood setting music and lighting throughout.  Scenes are traditionally scary and unnerving.  More energetic acting has positively impacted this rating.
DESIGN - 7½, Well done as always, just a little on the short side.
PROPS - 8½, Good detailing, especially in laboratory, cemetery, and repair shop, combined with an occasional mechanical surprise along the way.  Rocking hallway really moves around this year!
VALUE - 9, Only $8 with canned good donation.
Final Score:  8, The Dungeons of Delhi have been an important part of the local haunted house scene in Cincinnati for over ten years, and never fails to deliver quality scares.  An entirely new Dungeon is on the horizon for 2007, so be sure to take a good final look at one of our personal all-time favorites!  They've got plenty of seasonal scares saved up just for you at The Dungeons of Delhi.  Don't miss out!
reviewed 10/22/06

THE TERROR WITHIN
ZOMBIE ISLAND &
TOO DARK PARK
320  N. Garver Rd
Monroe, Ohio
$10 Zombie/$8 Too Dark Park/$15 combo
Zombie Island
click logo to visit their web site
8 TERROR WITHIN ZOMBIE ISLAND:  Dead corpses having their torsos pierced by stakes occupy the lake area alongside the entrance to Zombie Island.  An intimidating butler-like zombie greets your arrival, then welcomes you across a wooden bridge and into his tomb where he delivers an unnerving speach warning that the land ahead is dark and damned.  His voice deepens and becomes more sinister as demonic spirits momentarily possess his body, as he recounts the story of Sarah, and her daughter, the "little monster bitch" Abigail.  Ascending to a pulpit-like structure, he speaks of Father Burnswick, who we are sure to encounter in the woods, then sends us onto the "Path to Hell!"  Tremendously believable acting!  Dead bodies lie beside the trail, as we meet up with an insane character ranting about Abigail.  Suddenly, he pulls out an enormous chainsaw and comes after us!  A ghoul with glowing red eyes demands our souls, informing us that we've past the point of no return.  Passing the gallows, we next encounter a cemetery, featuring an empty earthen grave, an undead fiend spitting blood, and finally Father Burnswick himself, who immediately summons the demented Abigail.  She comes crawling at us on all fours, hissing, and trying to decide which one of us she wants to devour!  Eventually ordering us onward, we proceed to encounter a monster armed with a real ax, and another with large metal knives he repeatedly clangs together.  A blood spattered structure follows, housing a screaming girl, and a maniacal madman,  then a hillbilly skit consisting of a country boy and his mama.  Huh?  A chainsaw chase-out completes the Zombie Island experience and leads to Too Dark Park.

Analysis:
LENGTH - 8, Between 15 and 20 minutes.
ACTORS - 9½, Fantastic make-up, original costumes, and amazingly intense, dialogue filled theatrics.  Some of the most impressive acting of the season.
SCARINESS - 8, Characters are responsible for the majority of the scares, with the dark woods serving as their intimidating backdrop.
DESIGN - 8, Beginning is unique and memorable, with Abigail's performance being the best thereafter.  Actors are the stars of the show.  Hillbillies don't belong, and ending is somewhat anticlimactic.
PROPS - 6, Could stand some attention in the decor department throughout the trail.
VALUE - 8, The talent and quality of the acting alone is worth the price of admission.
Final Score:  8, Can't stress enough how good the acting is here, and the nature of the improvements over the last few years.  Evil lurks at Zombie Island, possibly the most diabolical, demented, bloodthirsty haunt in the region.  Pay them a visit and experience their brand of horror, known as The Terror Within for yourselves.
reviewed 10/20/06

TOO DARK PARK:  Offered as an added attraction at Zombie Ialand, the entrance is located along the exit path of the main haunt.  Groups are sequestered in a darkened room, and view a short video explaining the Too Dark Park attraction.  Arming you with only a flashlight, they release you into the woods containing various sights and numerous death row escapees.  A grace period of ten minutes is established - the amount of time you have to succesfully navigate the trail before the condemned prisoners unleash their wrath upon you.  Obstacles standing in your way include a miniacal chainsaw wielding lunatic, bursting forth from the rear doors of a fog-filled ambulance, and "Hell House," a room of doors, most leading into mazes of deadends, or loops back to the main lobby.  However, one allows the progression onward.  Those that have knowledge, count the number of his name!  See if you can locate it, and make your way to safety before your time expires!

Analysis:
LENGTH - 6, Less than ten minutes by design.
ACTORS - 7, Not as many, nor as inpressive as their Zombie Island counterparts, but the ones there did try to scare us.
SCARINESS - 6, More fun than scary.  Definitely not nearly as intense as the main attraction.
DESIGN - 7, Well done, with "Hell House" doors being the most memorable.
PROPS - 6, Not a lot of visuals, but not a huge need for them..  The phantom time limit tends to rush you along, so you wouldn't waste much time looking at them anyway.
VALUE - 6, Fairly steep on its own at $8.  Combo ticket is the way to go.
Final Score:  6½,  Enjoyable as a compliment to Zombie Island, but would be wiser to incorporate the scenes and scares into the main attraction, thereby lengthening it, and bettering its score.
reviewed 10/20/06

HAUNTED TRAIL OF HORROR
5126 State Route 67
Kenton, OH  43326
(419) 675-2330
$9 - ($1 off coupon at Scary Ohio)
Haunted Trail of Horror
click logo to visit their web site
8 HAUNTED TRAIL OF HORROR:  A series of 21 scenes from everybody's favorite scary movies come to life in a dark, spooky field at The Haunted Trail of Horror.  The journey begins in an eerie setting where a monster with a distorted, amplified voice warns of what lies ahead, and sends you off into the Tunnel of Doom. One by one, you encounter the various characters searching for souls along the trail.  The villians include Leatherface with his trusty chainsaw, Dr. Satan, Jeepers Creepers, and The Ring Girl emerging from a well.  While visiting Camp Crystal Lake, you're tormented by Jason Voorhees, one of the most notorious murderers of all time, and when you see the street sign identifying Elm Street, well..., that can only mean one thing!  You're about to cross paths with Freddie Krueger!  Warning sirens blare, and the wind whips the tall, wispy grass around that outlines the blindingly dark trail making for a most unnerving experience.  A variety of fiends with evil intentions offer surprises from out of the shadows and behind trees as you progress from scene to scene.  A pig faced ghoul attempts to mow you down with a lawn mower, and a convict fries to his death in an electric chair, that suddenly appears from total darkness right before your very eyes!   Werewolves and giant spiders are among the inhabitants of the landscape surrounding the trail.  Zombies roam frightening  cemeteries, a Troll offers up a huge surprise while crossing a wooden bridge, and a multitude of distraught clowns have taken over The Twisted Circus at The Haunted Trail of Horror.

Analysis:
LENGTH - 9, A mile long - over 20 minutes.
ACTORS - 7½, The most realistic Freddie Krueger around!  He has Freddie's mannerisms, and even sounds like the original!  Other standouts include the Tunnel of Doom ghoul, and The Bridge Troll who yells ahead "fresh meat" and "dinner time!" to the monsters yet to be encountered.  In addition, the actors are more aggressive, and they've added many more between scenes, which helps in the transition zones, although there's a huge reliance on masks, as opposed to the creativeness of original make-up.
SCARINESS - 8, The recreations are well done, characters well-hidden, and the environment itself intimidating.
PROPS- 7, Just average.  Best is half-buried coffin on hillside cemetery.  They could benefit from a few more, and additional animatronics wouldn't hurt either.  The field itself is depended upon for much of the background and setting.
DESIGN - 8, Much improvement from just one year ago.  Distance between scenes has been decreased, and are now occupied by scares coming from various creatures.  However, the ending is abrupt, and it would be nice to see the trailer (that sits quietly along the exit path) incorporated into the haunt in some capacity.
VALUE - 8, lots of improvements, but a $2 price increase as well which hurts this rating.  Still, just $8 with coupon.
FINAL SCORE:  8, A memorable beginning leading to a much improved trail.  Combines uniqueness with traditionalism,  and shows noticable improvement from the '05 installment.  Pay to get in, and pray to get out of Kenton, Ohio's Haunted Trail of Horror!
reviewed  9/23/06

FEAR FACTORY
260 Pine Ave.
Findlay, OH  45840
$8 Friday & Saturday / $6 Thurs. & Sunday
Fear Factory
click logo above to visit their web site
FEAR FACTORY (Findlay, OH):  Groups are sequestered in a waiting room and seated on pews prior to entering Fear Factory.  A horror movie plays on tv, a skeleton and a scarecrow occupy some of the back row pews, and surprises begin almost immediately.  Once inside the Factory, a deafening siren sounds as your visit gets underway.  Blindingly dark, tightly cramped corridors induce fear in the fearless!  Pitch black mazes contain startles in the form of unexpected banging, and sparks suddenly shooting forth from out of nowhere.  Disorienting strobes and various monsters hinder your ability to navigate chain-link fence entanglements, and a seemingly innocent corpse in an open casket offers up a surprise of his own as you pass through a funeral parlor.  One of the mazes lands you in a room with several doors to choose from, but only one way out!  Other sights include a fast spinning vortex, a hallway with a narrowing ceiling, a life altering encounter with a semi truck, and a neurotic doctor who employs an electric saw to dismember bodies.  Three brave girls, Morgan, Marsi, and Hanna helped us escape the devilish fiends who inhabit Fear Factory

Analysis:
LENGTH - 7, Around 12 minutes.
ACTORS - 7½, Intense actors guarantee a frightful experience, but they could use more of them.  Outstanding make-up on the corpse in the casket!  Would like to see a more equal ratio of  make-up to masks.
SCARINESS - 8, Your own emotions are your worst enemy, as Fear Factory creates feelings of helplessness and aloneness in a petrifying environment.
PROPS - 7½, Some good props, interesting rooms, and even some animatronics, but a huge reliance on darkness.
DESIGN - 7½, A little on the short side.  Particularly like the closeness of the narrow passageways through the lightless maze, which are almost claustrophobic!  Could benefit from expanding on what they have.  Lots more potential here.
VALUE - 9, Only $6 on Thursdays and Sundays!  Can't beat it!
Final Score almost 8, Quite impressed with the intimidating acting at Fear Fctory.  Lots of good scares to be had, and some clever ingenuity as well.  Ohio Valley Haunts highly recommends your support of Fear Factory where proceeds benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Northwest Ohio.
reviewed  9/23/06

NIGHTMARE ON MAIN STREET
79 W. Main St.
Logan, OH  43138
$10 / $17 Fast Pass
$1 off coupon on their web site or Scary Ohio
Nightmare on Main Street
click logo to visit their web site
NIGHTMARE ON MAIN STREET:  A hospital gurney blocks the path entering the first of thirteen rooms at Nightmare on Main Street.  A mad medic does more harm than good as far as his patient is concerned, his internal organs exploding onto the operating table as the journey begins.  Cage mazes, scary music, and hidden passages, like passing through a fireplace connect the various rooms.  An encounter with a restrained convict, desperate for his freedom, finds him painfully attempting to saw his own leg off in order to escape the shackles of his chains in a detailed recreation mimicking the movie "Saw."  A bed moves toward you on its own, as you walk through a guillotine and pass Spot the dog, who offers up a surprise as you make your way onward!  Clowns, a spooky cemetery, another realistic movie re-enactment - this one celebrating scares found in the horror flick "Hostel," and an awesome encounter with The Devil himself, who places a veil on the head of one member of our group, trying to make her his bride, are all a part of this Nightmare.  Continuing on, a jailed prisoner sitting in an electric chair delivers a startling surprise, leading to a toxic waste area, and a Leatherface chainsaw chase-out!

Analysis:
LENGTH - 7, Just over 12 minutes.
ACTORS - 8, Nice costumes, and some good scares.  Devil, "Saw" prisoner, and electric chair convict are the most memorable.  Could benefit from additional characters, and increased dialogue and make-up.
SCARINESS - 7, Great mood setting music, and some startles along the way, but not excessively scary.
DESIGN - 8, Good flow between scenes and rooms, and the tension builds as you progress along the course, just a little on the short side.  Detailing, especially in the "Saw" recreation is meticulous - right down to the clock on the wall, pipes, and heart on the toiler, etc.
PROPS - 8, Pretty good detailing, and an occasional animatronic like Spot the dog.
VALUE - 8, Fairly reasonable by today's standards, $9 with the discount coupon.
Final Score: 7½ , Great effort from a first year haunt!  Movie reenactments are fabulous!  Expecting a lot more in the years to come with this solid foundation they've established to build upon.
reviewed 10/21/06

RIVERSIDE JAYCEES HAUNTED HOUSE
1213 Harshman Rd.
Dayton, OH  45431
(937) 254-2576
$8 - $1 discount with canned good
$2 discount coupon available at local businesses
Riverside Jaycees Haunted House
click logo to visit their web site
RIVERSIDE JAYCEES HAUNTED HOUSE:  A dark maze initiates you into the Haunted House and leads into a foyer where spooky music emanates from an old pipe organ.  Thunder clasps, lightning strikes, and an intimidating ghoul suddenly springs to life!  Ghosts fly about, and a mysterious, hooded executioner laughs wickedly, as a man fries to his death in an electric chair!  A mad dentist practices his insane brand of health care from inside the walls at Riverside, as a portal gives way to expose a hidden vortex a la the movie Stargate.  The undead leave their graves in an eerie cemetery, while an innocent looking bed provides a startling scare of its own near the exit of the Riverside Jaycees Haunted House.

Analysis:
LENGTH - 6½, Fairly short, 10 min. at most.
ACTORS - 8, Good interaction with our group, lots of energy, and determined to provide the best scares possible.
SCARINESS - 8, Great background music, plenty of darkness and surprises.
DESIGN - 7, Good and scary while it lasts, but length hurts the score.  Leaves you wanting more.
PROPS - 7½, Like what they have, but once again limited by the short duration of the experience. 
VALUE - 9, Only $6 with coupon for a traditionally scary haunted house. 
Final Score:  7½, Celebrating their 20th anniversary, the proceeds serve as the annual community fundraiser.  Could easily rate higher if the endurance could somehow be extended.  It's affordable, and a fantastic seasonal attraction.  Definitely don't pass on this one.
reviewed 10/7/06

MT. HEALTHY HAUNTED HALL
7700 Seward Rd.
Mt. Healthy, Ohio
(513) 729-1974
$8 - ($2 discount with canned good)
Mt. Healthy Haunted Hall Devil
Mount Healthy Haunted Hall
click logo for additional info
MOUNT HEALTHY HAUNTED HALL:  Outside the haunt, a frightening cemetery hosts the queue line.  A skeletal watchman, with illuminated eyes, mysteriously waving his lantern is readily noticed guarding the premises from an upstairs window.  A witch greets you at the door, a tarot reader interprets cards, and a hovering ghost floats alongside the staircase as you first enter The Hall.  Ghouls spring forth from dark corners, and behind secret wall panels that loudly come crashing down, enabling the concealed villains immediate access to all who pass by!  The heads of recent victims rest on pedestals, and one of them is launched up into the air as you make your way past!  A dilapidated old elevator shakes and vibrates its way to the 13th floor, or down to the depths of Hades, I'm not sure which, delivering you to a hideously decorated room staffed with an abundance of wicked clowns that leads to an encounter with a mad doctor seeking a subject for his next deranged experiment.  Fleeing the mentally compromised physician lands you in Dracula's chamber, with a walk through an upright coffin serving as the only escape!  Back outside, a spooky path leads to the first of several structures, featuring a surprise from Frankenstein and his bride!  A face to face encounter with The Devil himself finds the fallen archangel on his throne, forcing you to bow down at his feet and crawl your way out!  Norman has evil intentions as you visit the bloody Bates Motel, while an empty cage gives rise to a search for a lost monster.  BEWARE!  It doesn't take long to find him, or for him to find you!  A spinning vortex, fog, spinning floors and a few other surprises add to the disorientation, preparing you for one of the best constructed mazes around that eventually leads to the exit of The Mount Healthy Haunted Hall!

Analysis:
LENGTH - 7, A little longer this year with an additional outdoor setting, but still a little on the short side.  Unable to  quote a precise length due to the uncertainty of the amount of time it takes to successfully navigate the maze.
ACTORS - 7½, Devil and Dracula are annual favorites.  Harold and Hank work well together at the elevator, and are new for '06.  More masks than make-up, but lots of dialogue too, not just growling monsters.  Noticeable underage actors, but that's to be expected since it's sponsored by Boy Scout Troops. 
SCARINESS - 7½, Bowing and crawling beneath Satan the Devil is most terrifying.  Appropriate scary music adds to the frights.
DESIGN - 8, Appreciate the way a vortex, fog, and the spinning floor are used to initiate your state of confusion prior to entering the blackened maze.  Scenes inside The Hall are close together, not stretched out with dead spots.  If there was any way to increase the number of indoor scenes thereby extending the experience, that would raise the score here tremendously.
PROPS - 7, Good and scary decor.  Drop down wall panels provide lots of scares. A few more animatronics would be beneficial. 
VALUE - 9, A $2 price hike, but still only $6 with a canned good! 
Final Score:  7½, As always, one of our local favorites!  Never disappointing, and the maze is always fun!  Totally engulfed in darkness, it never fails to capture someone from your group with its well hidden passages, confusing turns, and dead ends.  Those that make it out first can enjoy watching and laughing at the others!  Unique in the sense that it's quite nerve wrecking while stuck inside, but loads of fun at the same time.  You just have to experience it for yourselves to understand the concept.  With all the fancy, high-tech haunted houses around these days, we still look forward to this one more than any other!  It's affordable, so no excuses!  Be sure to visit The Mount Healthy Haunted Hall!
reviewed 10/15/06

ST  RITA HAUNTED HOUSE
1720 Glendale-Milford Rd
Cincinnati, Ohio
(513) 771-1060
$8 per skeleton!
($2 discount coupon on web site)
St. Rita Haunted House
click logo to visit their web site
St. Rita Haunted HouseST. RITA HAUNTED HOUSE:  A new course and design is in place this year at the spooky looking old building consturcted in the late 1800's.  The original St. Rita School for the Deaf was converted into the boys' dorm in the early 1900's, and has evolved into one of our areas biggest Halloween traditions, now hosting their annual haunted house.  Entering the side door this year leads downstairs to an encounter with some crazed pirates guarding their treasure chest.  Skeletons and other scary scenes lead back upstairs and out of the house for a meeting with Jason, and a walk past a screaming, bodiless girl, down a path, and across a rickety old wooden bridge.  Back inside offers a huge surprise, as you continue to explore various rooms and floors of the old Haunted House.  Mummies, suits of armor, and another big  surprise bring you to a confrontation with a vampiress.  Air blasts in your face, and strobes of light inhibit your vision, as scary music accompanies your journey past a half cremated body, still smoking from its infreno.  On upstairs where secret sliding panels hide hideous creatures, and a demented kitchen serves up a smorgasborg of body parts!  A glass floor lights up another surprise, then a convict fries in an electric chair!  A scientific laboratory, guillotine, an executioner, and Count Dracula himself must be avoided in order to proceed back downstairs to a spinning vortex finish.

Analysis:
LENGTH - 7, Between 10 and 15 minutes.
ACTORS - 7½, Noticeable improvement this year, not only in the shear number of characters, but in their intensity as well.  More dialogue too, as well as increased use of make-up.
SCARINESS - 7½, The house itself is as scary as ever with its dimly lit rooms, creaking floors, spooky staircases, and meticulous detailing.  Would benefit tremendously by better utilizing the underage actors.
DESIGN - 7½, A re-worked course in '06, but it bypasses that intimidating main front entrance of the old haunted looking building.  Exiting the house in favor of the outdoor path, then re-entering is both unexpected and refreshing.
PROPS -  8, Traditionally adorned with scary skeletons, coffins, gothic candelabras, flickering chandeliers, eand a few animatronics for good measure.
VALUE - 9, Only $6 per skeleton when taking advantage of the coupon available on their web site. 
Final Score:  7½, The old house has been treating visitors to scares for over 30 years!  Produced by the Greater Springdale Jaycees, St. Rita's also offers lights-on children's matinees on October 28th and 29th for just $2 per admission!  Don't forget to include this Cincinnati haunt icon on your list again this year for some scary Halloween spookiness.  It's nice to live in an area with so many quality haunted houses to visit, and this is one you never grow tired of!  We'll be back on Halloween night, just after Trick or Treat!  Won't you join us?
reviewed 10/15/06

TERROR PARK
1155 West Mound Street (Cooper Stadium)
Columbus, Ohio
(614) 462 - 5250
$13 ($20 VIP Speedpass) + $3 parking
$50 Celebrity Pass
 (backstage tour & 20 min..scare opportunity)
$2 discount coupon available on their web site
(cannot be used with VIP Ticket)
Terror Park
click logo to visit their web site
TERROR PARK: The music of ghoul dj DR. "O" serenades the queue line as you wait to enter Terror ParkThe Hall of Screams, or Gates of Fear provide access to a new and longer course on tap for '06.  The experience gets underway with a patented crawl through the interior of an actual hearse, that offers up an immediate surprise!  Soon thereafter, a demented nurse is on the prowl for her next organ donor!  She's armed with a saw, and anxious to claim another body part!  Worse yet, she's got her eye on you!  Escaping her evil intentions, it's onto this year's Fun House, staged in a stadium bathroom.  These clowns are anything but fun, as you'll soon discover in the form of another startling surprise!  Sparks and reflective drapes add to the disorientation provided by blinding strobe lights as you continue on your journey.  A sanatorium hosts Texas Jimmy's Bar-B-Q and Chainsaw Repair!  Don't ask what's on the menu, and don't stick around to find out!  A confusing maze, and yet another bathroom scene, this one spattered with blood on the sinks and mirrors, and containing a caged ghoul, blocking the path ahead!  He, and a nasty surprise must be transversed in order to continue on. Pirates attack from their ship, Terror's Pearl, while a witch stirring her brew in a boiling cauldron, threatens to turn everyone into rats.  Walking over a glass contained "Rat Boy" leads to the foggy enclosure of Nightmare Manor, then a near miss from a hit and run driver!  An encounter with an ax wielding Executioner gives way to a fork in the road, where you have the opportunity to choose your fate by taking a shortcut to the exit, or continuing through a cemetery, where you're hounded by a gravedigger dragging his shovel noisily on the path behind you, leading to a chainsaw and Horrificus chase-out, and a few additional surprises once you think you're in the clear!

Analysis:
LENGTH - 9½, Over 25 minutes.
ACTORS - 8½, Nice costuming and great make-up as always from the Feature Creature crew, but too few in number.  Intensity and dialogue was lacking in many.  Horrificus, Executioner, and fiend with the enormous chainsaw are best.
SCARINESS - 7, Just too many dead zones.  Crawl through the hearse is scariest, and it's at the beginning.  Much else is anticlimactic thereafter, with surprises beyond the apparent exit being equally as memorable as some of the scenes.
DESIGN - 7½, Added length is impressive, but results in scenes being far too spread out, and include repetitive trips through various restrooms, blatantly labeled as such.  Reflective drapes are unique and disorienting, but black plastic is somewhat overused, and it's just too uneventful in too many places, most noticeably the cemetery.
PROPS - 7, Predominately static props - could use quite a few more to compliment the extended length. 
VALUE - 7, No price increase this year, and an extended course, but not enough eye candy to justify the length, and a $3 parking fee.
Final Score: 7½ , Expected a lot more from the advertised course encompassing more of Cooper Stadium than ever before, and left wanting much more.  The Fun House beginning was eliminated this year, as well as visits to the dugout, tunnel, and field level seats.  Also conspicuous by its absence was the Psycho Playland entrapment from a year ago.  They're replaced by an organ donor scene, and others not nearly as memorable by comparison.  Still with covered waiting areas, and clean bathroom facilities, you might want to check out Terror Park's Gateway to Fear.  If you can afford it, the behind the scenes tour, and opportunity to try your hand at delivering scares yourself sounds most intriguing!
reviewed 10/19/06

SCARE UNIVERSITY
182 Fayette St.
Nelsonville, OH  45764
5 Haunts at one location
$15
Scare University
click logo to visit their web site
Scare UniversitySCARE UNIVERSITY:  Staged in an old schoolhouse, Scare U. consists of 5 degrees of fright (Vampire Lore 101, The Darkroom, Phobias 215, Art Depreciation, and Class Runion).  The various subdivisions at the bloody good institution can be visited in any order. Vampire Lore 101 is a gothic exploration of the school's basement, featuring foggy cemeteries, grave diggers, coffins, bats, and of course vampires.  Scary music, and wicked monsters accompany your journey through the iron gates and cobwebs that comprise the intriguingly lit area.  Spooky white drapes mystically blow out into one of the corridors, apparently caused by the wind.  Class Reunion is a reuniting of dead faculty and students returning to the school following their untimely deaths in a tragic fire that struck the facility 50 years ago.  An apparition introduction is followed by an actual encounter with the same dead graduate!  Her teachers and classmates occupy other areas of the school, returning as zombies and other manifestations of the undead.  The Darkroom takes you through hanging filmstrips, and lightless mazes, while Art Depreciation is a gallery-like display of various ghoul portraits, like The Da Vinci Code Blue,  that metamorphasize from ordinary portraits to monster prints right before your eyes!  Some of your greatest fears are exploited in Phobias 215.  Beginning with a short video presentation, followed by a huge surprise courtesy of Dr. Williard Phobias, you pass through a tilted room en route to a laboratory, where the professor demonstrates his latest experiment.  An evil dentist, clowns, and hall of mirrors are among the phobias brought to life in this course that goes off-course, ending with a spinning vortex finish.

Overall Analysis:
LENGTH - 9, Each phase takes between 5 and 10 minutes to complete.
ACTORS - 8, Variety of characters from teachers and undead students, to monsters and vampires.
SCARINESS - 7, Great sound effects, music and lighting throughout. Vampire Lore and Class Reunion are most frightening, while Art Depreciation isn't scary at all.
DESIGN - 6, Five slow moving queue lines at one venue is not a great experience.  Would benefit from taking advantage of the authenticity of the structure by combining many of the scenes into one, or possibly two lengthened attractions.
PROPS - 7½, Vampire Lore is meticulously detailed, and would score higher on its own.  Not much to look at in Darkroom.  Pretty good decor overall, with an occasional animatronic complimenting the experience.
VALUE - 7½, $15 is a bit steep, but gets you five different attractions, allbeit with five separate lines.
Final Score:  7½, Great effort from a first year haunt, but tough to rate since it's actually divided into five separate catagories.  Vampire Lore 101 is best, followed a close second by Class Reunion, then Phobias 215, The Darkroom, and  Art Depreciation.  Would really like to see the "5 degrees of fright" combined into a longer, scarier haunt, utilizing more of the legitimately spooky structure, but limited with what they can do, as a result of the one way in, one way out nature of the classrooms.  School will be out for recess soon, so don't be absent!  Or, they'll have to send the truant officer to hunt you down, and place you in detention.  Ohio Valley Haunts recommends paying your tuition, and visiting Scare University!
reviewed 10/21/06

SCREAM ON SHORTRIDGE
801 South Shortridge
Indianapolis, IN  46239
(317) 359-3979
$10
$1 discount coupon on their web site
Scream on Shortridge
click logo to visit their web site
Scream on ShortridgeSCREAM ON SHORTRIDGE:  Glowing hands reach out from the ticket booth to greet your arrival at Scream on Shortridge.  Fluffy the dog guards the queue line entrance, and an arm reaches out of a cabinet labeled "do not open" that begins thrashing about on its own volition, as if someone's attempting to break free.  Boarding the haywagon, the ride into the isolated woods begins.  Numerous masked monsters, one with illuminated eyes, and some armed with chainsaws, attack from both sides.  Blinding fog, propelling skeletons, steel barrels clashing together, an overhead flying devil, and a wrecked haywagon are among the sights and sounds along the path.  An electrocution scene appears to send its high voltage current throughout the wagon, followed by dropping spiders, a clown entrapment, and a gruesome beheading, courtesy of a murderous guillotine, that delivers a bloody surprise!  The undead escape their graves in a fog-filled cemetery, and Freddy Krueger catapults off a platform, wildly swinging back and forth above the wagon, and grabbing at those on board!  Other scenes include a demented operation that includes an unexpected surprise, an outhouse accident, and a crazed, irate pig madly oinking his way onto the wagon, all building up to a horn blasting, semi-truck chase-out!

Analysis:
LENGTH - 8½, A little over 15 minutes.
ACTORS - 7, Chainsaw lunatics and catapulting Freddy are most intense, but offer little or no dialogue.  Mad, oinking pig rates a 10!  Just too many masks and underage actors to score higher.
SCARINESS - 7½, The semi chase-out is in a league by itself.  Otherwise,  not overwhelmingly scary, but still lots of startles and surprises along the way.  A fun ride for the whole family!
DESIGN - 8,  Not a lot to look at in the transition zones, but scenes are kept fairly close together reducing the number of dead spots, most of which are covered by various monsters attacking and  interacting with the ride.  Tractor comes to a complete stop at several of the scenes, insuring that no one misses any of the choice scares.  The best is saved for last , as it should be, providing a memorable climax to an enjoyable attraction.
PROPS - 7½,  Platform, guillotine, electrocution, outhouse, propelling skeletons, and of course the truck are standouts.   Adding more similar items, albeit tough to do on an outdoor haunt, would raise the rating.
VALUE - 8½, Just $10 per person, and a $1 discount coupon available on their web site.
Final Score: 7½, Only in their third year of operation, this hayride is a lot of fun!  The truck chase is one of the scariest things around, especially if you happen to be seated towards the rear of the haywagon!  Expect even bigger and better things in the years to come, as they continue to grow.  Proceeds benefit the Lowell Little League, and they'd appreciate you lending your support!
reviewed 10/29/06

PSYCHO PATH
520 South Srtingtown Rd.
Xenia, OH  45385
$10 Path/$5 Freak Show/$3 Execution Chamber
$15 Package of Death (3 event combo)
$20 VIP (front of line)
Psycho Path
click logo above to visit their web site
7 PSYCHO PATH (The Psycho Hollow):  Entering double doors adorned with skulls, the Psycho Path experience gets underway.  Spooky music and disorienting strobes welcome you inside where a hysterically laughing girl warns, "He's gonna get you!," referring to a grotesque ghoul, having blood covering his face and hands, that lurks in the hallway.  Heads of recently beheaded victims hang from the ceiling of a room that's decorated with a portrait having an ax smashed into the forehead of its subject.  A headless fiend, a la the headless horseman, stands guard over the room and is responsible for a huge surprise before you leave.  Bloody clowns, a hissing girl in a straightjacket, and Michael Myers threaten your safety as you pass through a polka dot room and out onto the trail itself.  An innocent looking pumpkin headed creature suddenly springs to life, as do scarecrows, and a giant grim reaper, all leading up to an encounter with the Devil himself and several madmen armed with chainsaws who are more than happy to assist you out of Psycho Path.

Analysis:
LENGTH - 7, Quite short, a little over 10 minutes.
ACTORS - 8, Great acting and tremendous use of make-up throughout.  Could benefit from additional characters, especially along the trail. 
SCARINESS - 7, Mood setting soundtrack is good, but losing the hanging scene, and not utilizing the arched hallway this year lessens the effectiveness.  The beheading room delivers the best scare, but it's early on, and leaves you wanting more.  Evil clowns are responsible for a good percentage of the remaining scares.  Devil encounter in the cemetery is a great idea, but lacks intensity.
DESIGN - 7, Different this year, but way too short, and some memorable scenes from a year ago have been eliminated.
PROPS - 7, Well done rooms, but not many animatronics at work here.  The quality of acting makes up a good deal of what's missing in the prop department.
VALUE - 7, No price increase from a year ago, but not quite the scares either.  Scores higher in this catagory in combination with Freak Show and Execution Chamber.
Final Score: 7,  Not as impressive as in years past, but serves as the annual fundraiser for the non-profit  Blue Jacket organization, and as such is worthy of support.  When you visit, pay close attention to the theatrical talent displayed at  Psycho Path, stop number 3 on the Miami Valley Tour of Terror.
reviewed  10/13/06

NR EXECUTION CHAMBER:  Highlight here is an announcement refusing clemency for a death row prisoner, followed immediately by his punishment of death in a smoking electric chair.  NR as an added feature of Psycho PathFreak Show was not reviewed.
JAMESTOWN HAUNTED WOODS
6261 Old U.S. Route 35
Jamestown, Ohio
$10
Castle of Doom at Jamestown Haunted Woods
7 JAMESTOWN HAUNTED WOODS:  A blindingly dark maze containing bodybags, and some totally obscured monsters like werewolves that suddenly and unexpectedly become illuminated in the lightlessness highlight of The Castle of Doom that grants access to the isolated Jamestown Haunted Woods.  Passing the gallows, where a recent victim has been hanged, brings about a surprise from his executioner.  A structure off in the distance broadcasts the Halloween theme, where Michael Myers rises from beneath the sheets of a cot and stalks you from behind.  Encounters with Freddie Krueger and Scream are followed by a toxic waste area, containing a mutant emerging from a cylinder, and a barrel that comes flying at you from behind.  A large metal panel delivers an impromptu surprise as you continue along the trail and into a cornfield.  Back into The Woods, the ground mysteriously gives way beneath your feet as you proceed to a caged entrapment with three madmen wielding the loudest chainsaws around!  Escaping that predicament leads to surprises from a giant spider, a near miss from a hit and run driver, and a foggy encounter with some evil clowns that playfully mislead you before allowing you to proceed to more uncertain footing, and the eventual escape from the Jamestown Haunted Woods..

Analysis:
LENGTH - 8½, Around 20 min, but the scenes are stretched out.
ACTORS - 6½, Too few in number, all masks, and a pint-sized Michael Myers.  Chainsaw entrapment lunatics are most intense.  Need many more like them, who informed us as we escaped, "Next time you won't be so lucky!," as opposed to simply growling at us which characterized most of the others.
SCARINESS - 7, The wind rustling the corn around is the spookiest part of the dark trail, but that too was mostly uneventful, with only a few quick encounters with the same farmer, who simply raced out of the corn and on down the path on a couple of occasions.  Absence of scary background music is all too common, while the dance tunes from the dj in the queue line area can be heard throughout most of the trail.
DESIGN - 7, The path is long, but so is the distance between scenes resulting in numerous dead spots.  The cornfield is crying out for attention in the form of both actors and props.
PROPS - 7½, The falling panel delivers the greatest surprise, and the yielding ground is not only best, but the trademark feature at Jamestown as well.
VALUE - 7½, No price increase this year.  $10 still gets you a lengthy haunted trail.
Final Score:  7, Unfortunately not as good as in past years.  They're down on the volume of actors, and up on child actors.  Evenso, the trail still has a lot to offer, especially that helpless feeling that accompanies the chainsaw entrapment, and the spongy ground.  Pay them a visit to experience these unique scares for yourselves.
reviewed 10/13/06

SANDYLAND ACRES
HAUNTED HAYRIDE
4172 Belleview Road
Petersburg, KY 41080
859-689-4283 or 859-322-0516
Sanydland Acres
$10 / $15 VIP
click logo to visit their web site
7 SANDYLAND ACRES HAUNTED HAYRIDE:  The ghouls that inhabit Sandyland Acres begin their terrorizing antics before the hay wagon even departs for the ride.  The Grudge Girl has a few tricks up her sleeve while explaining the dos and don'ts of the attraction. The farmland itself is home to a crazed farmer who's none too happy that you're tresspassing on his property.  Werewolves break free from their apparent entrapment inside old silos and pursue the wagon as a large, illuminated pumpkin-headed creature (prop) appears to block the path ahead.  Gunshots ring out in the distance, an Executioner boards the wagon for an intimidating confrontation, a cornfield gives rise to Jeepers Creepers, and a circus of evil clowns has a few surprises to offer.  The Headless Horseman casts his own brand of fear on the hayride en route to realistic recreations of popular horror movies, like Jason and his mom in a skit from Friday the 13th, Michael Myers appearing amongst haunting dialogue from Halloween, and Leatherface methodically preparing for his next attack in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  A visit to The Sandy Cemetary ends with a warning against going the wrong way, and an encounter with the insane Beetlejuice and his trusty John Deere prior to escaping the haunted hayride at Sandyland Acres.

Analysis:
LENGTH - 9, 20 minutes, or a little more.
ACTORS - 7, Executioner is memorable, and Leatherface, orderly tending to his tasks one by one is a must see, but many others simply approached, or hopped aboard, growled, and departed.  Headless Horseman, is classic.  A few kiddie actors, and all masks except for Grudge Girl.
SCARINESS - 7, Woods are dark, but sometimes uneventful. 
DESIGN - 7, Horror movie skits are stand-outs.  Horseman and tractor cover two of the dead spots,  but several others cry out for the attention of additional props, or interaction with other characters.  Gunshots are left unexplained, and Jason fails to carry out his mother's orders to kill.  Perhaps a "plant" on each wagon for Jason to drag off and "kill" as the ride pulls away might be a nice addition.
PROPS - 6, Incorporating the silos is a plus.  Could use some high tech props to help fill in the voids.
VALUE - 8, $10 for a lengthy hayride. 
Final Score:  7, Lots of potential from a first year haunt.  Love the Horseman, and the tractor chase, but they're mirrored from the Bull Run hayride, and not as intense.  Expecting big things in the coming years as Sandyland forges to the lead as the best hayride in Kentucky!
reviewed 10/6/06

BONNYBROOK FARM
HAUNTED HAYRIDE
& CRAZED CORN MAZE
9400 Cylo Rd 
Centerville, Ohio
(937) 433-6393
$8 hayride/$5 maze/$12 Combo Ticket
Bonnybrook Farm Haunted Hayride
click logo to view their web site
7 BONNYBROOK FARM HAUNTED HAYRIDE:  This hayride has really improved since we last visited a couple of years ago. Beginning with a stop by an old barn, the spirits of Angus and Edna Moses warn you to stay off their haunted land. The journey takes you through Bluebeard's Hideaway, O'Weary's Burial Services, Circus City, and a Ghoul School with attacks by pirates, clowns, and even a prehistoric pterodactyl flying down out of the trees intending to gobble you up.  One of a kind surprises await near the end of Circus City, and from an innocent looking billboard, but you'll have to visit for yourselves to find out exactly what they have in store for you at  Bonnybrook Farm's Haunted Hayride.

Analysis:
LENGTH - 8½, Over 15 minutes.
ACTORS - 7½,  Moseses, and aggressive chainsaw madmen deserve more, but others are just average. 
SCARINESS - 7, Chainsaws provide the greatest scares.
PROPS - 7, Surprises we didn't reveal are our favorites.
DESIGN - 6, Well done with some unique startles, but it was too dark to appreciate many of the props during the second half of the hayride. 
VALUE - 8, only $8.00 for the hayride.  $12.00 gets you a combo ticket that includes admission to the unreviewed  Crazed Corn Maze too!
Final score:  7, Scary scenes and even chainsaws are present at this family oriented "haunt," but no blood and gore BY DESIGN!  Would've scored higher if the props had been illuminated throughout.  The hayride's enjoyable for all ages, and they offer a fun corn maze, and an old country store where you can buy pumpkins as well.  Bonnybrook Farm invites you out for an evening of Fall entertainment!
reviewed  9/23/06

THE COFFINS
9728 N. County Rd. 500
East Seymour, IN  47274
     (812) 522-7620
$10 / $1 Coupon on their web site
The Coffins
click logo to visit their web site
7 THE COFFINS:  Intense pounding, spiderwebs and deadly arachnids welcome you to The Coffins.  Jason, and a variety of other fiends have taken up residence here, including Freddie Krueger, lurking of course in the boiler room.  Tremendously loud screams accompany encounters with caskets, clowns, a bed that shakes of its own volition, and a deformed ghoul intent on playing a game.  A variety of rooms are explored including a toxic waste area that offers up a surprise from a barrel.  Another startle comes your way courtesy of the shower in a horrid bathroom, where blood flows freely from the faucet instead of water!  Out the doors, and through a creepy cemetery, you're chased by a madman and his deadly chainsaw, en route to encounters with a gorilla, then innocent looking scarecrows suspended from wooden crosses, one of whom is ALIVE, and leaps down from his perch initiating a massive chase-out involving more chainsaws, and ALL of the villianous creatures that make their home at The Coffins!

Analysis:
LENGTH - 7, A little under 15 minutes.
ACTORS - 7½, Good energy and intensity throughout.  Mostly masks, and a few too many kiddy actors.  Must've encountered the same "game playing" gremlin on at least 3 different occasions.
SCARINESS - 7, Aggressive actors are responsible for majority of the scares.  Could benefit from some frightening, mood setting background music inside the haunt, like theme from Nightmare on Elm Street associated with the Freddy attack scene.
DESIGN - 7, Rooms show good detailing.  Well thought out course, nicely incorporates the outdoor part of the haunt with that surprising "bench-clearing," free for all attack finish!  Lengthening the indoor section, and adding a soundtrack would raise the score.
PROPS - 7, Blood running from bathroom faucet is most memorable.  A few additional animatronics wouldn't hurt.
VALUE - 8, $9 with the coupon on their web site isn't bad these days.
Final Score:  7, The agonizing chase-out involving the entire cast is most memorable!  Multiple encounters with the same monsters prior to the ending is a negative, especially when it involves recurring dialogue, but as previously stated, the actors go out of their way to insure some good startles and scares.  Ohio Valley Haunts recommends visiting The Coffins to for some traditional Halloween fun and frights!
reviewed 10/14/06

THE HAUNTED SWAMP
Knapke Lane - Behind the Park
(Just East of Route503)
Lewisburg, Ohio
$7 / $5 with coupon
The Haunted Swamp
7 Chainsaw ClownTHE HAUNTED SWAMP:  Stepping into The Swamp you immediately realize that this desolate area was once thriving with life.  The remnants of poisonous, hazardous, toxic waste line the path.  Various monsters and mutants inhabit the surrounding woods, jumping out of the darkness to frighten you.  Skeletons hang from trees, dead bodies are scattered about, and spiders have taken over one entire area of The Swamp.  Coffins, shackles, an electric chair, and a guillotine make it apparent that something is amiss in this vast wasteland.  An agitated, caged gorilla makes his presence known as you enter into a dark maze offering a surprise ending!  Gravesites with flames spouting from the earth are part of the landscape outside The Church of the Damned, where a terrorizing werewolf instills his own brand of fear into all who dare to pass through.  Don't push your luck as you enter Smiley's Place, home to numerous evil clowns, one armed with a sparking chainsaw, who along with some of his more traditional friends, chase you out of The Haunted Swamp!

Analysis:
LENGTH - 7½, Addition of the maze and new scenes have made the haunt a little longer this year.
ACTORS - 5, Chainsaw Clown and "Wolfie" are standouts.  Too many kiddie actors to rate higher.  Would love to see some sort of Swamp creature (actor in a wet suit, etc.) thrashing about in the adjoining creek area. 
SCARINESS - 7 Spooky music and sounds accompany your expedition through the dark, intimidating Swamp.  Concealed ghouls spring forth at just the right time.  More adult actors would help this rating. 
DESIGN - 7, Many additions make for noticeable improvements.
PROPS - 7, Augmentations have filled in many of the dead spots.  Flames and spiders offer the best surprises.  Arcing chainsaw is the best you'll see anywhere!
VALUE - 10, Only $5 with coupon!  Be sure to ask for one if you don't bring one with you!
Final Score:  7, Perhaps a little optimistic, but giving them the benefit of the doubt as one of the most improved attractions of the '06 season.  The trail has been expanded with the development of new scenes, and more props. It's the most uniquely named haunt around, but crying out for a signature creature.  At only $5 a head, pay them a visit if for nothing more than to see their one of a kind, spark throwing chainsaw for yourself!
reviewed 10/7/06

POASTTOWN INSANE ASYLUM
6900 Trenton-Franklin Road
Middletown, Ohio
$10 - $2 discount with flyer
Poasttown Insane Asylum
click logo above for additional info/map/discount
7 POASTTOWN INSANE ASYLUMNOTICE:  CLOSED FOR THE SEASON DUE TO LEGALITIES!  The Poasttown Insane Asylum is a spooky looking structure where surprises commence before you even enter!  A maniacle desk clerk welcomes you inside, and spends a few minutes stirring up patrons fears before ordering you to proceed.  Up a rickety old staircase, the exploration through The Asylum begins.  Bloody handprints on the floor are all that's left from crwaling victims that preceded you expending their last breaths still trying to escape.  A vortex lies ahead, as does an autopsy room, where a doctor is seen realistically chopping up intestines!  You visit some of the patients' rooms, some of whom have to be restricted to their confinements by iron bars.  One insane girl screams desperately for help, then becomes quite upset that people are looking at her!  Great job!  Several more scenes ahead, including a classroom with a few surprises, Michael Myers, and girls skipping rope leading to an actual boiler room, home to Freddie Krueger, and a shocking surprise waiting on the other side of the door all must be survived in order to escape the Poasttown Insane Asylum!

Analysis:
LENGTH - 6½, Around10 mins.
ACTORS - 6½, Desk clerk is outstanding, as is the screaming inmate.  Freddie's pretty good too!  Lots of make-up is another plus (as opposed to masks), but a few too many kiddie actors who failed to be hiding or in character until they saw us approaching, then resumed their conversations and "play" before we were out of range hurts the rating.
SCARINESS - 8, great music and spooky environment, combined with reports of actual ghost sightings in the basement!
PROPS - 7, They make the most of what they have here, including a home-made vortex!
DESIGN - 7 - They've done a really good job both inside and out!  Using the upstairs and basement (boiler room) in addition to the main level is also in their favor. Would really benefit from utilizing more rooms to lengthen the experience. VALUE - 8,  Only $8 with the discount voucher.
FINAL SCORE:  7.  An "old school" Haunt located in a building that's just perfect for a haunted house, and only in it's first year!  An outstanding effort considering their limited budget.  Lots of potential here to build on.
reviewed  9/16/06

HAMILTON HAUNTED HAYRIDE 
450 Beisinger Rd off B-Street 
Hamilton, Ohio
$8
HAMILTON HAUNTED HAYRIDE:  A warm bonfire burns alongside the queue line, keeping visitors warm while they wait, and setting a mystifying mood as flames lighten the environment.  Boarding the hay wagon, the ride begins as the tractor leads you into the dark, secluded Hamilton woods.  Illuminated crosses warn you to "Beware!" or "Turn Back!"  Soon, it's too late, and you find yourselves entering the area encompassing "Lake Eerie."  Spooky muic sets the tone, as a cauldren begins to emit flames that shoot up into the air, then the lake itself begins to burn!  The fire on the water seems to follow the wagon as it progresses further along the path.  Nice Effect!  Zombies wander out of a foggy cemetery, and approach the ride.  Jason, and numerous other monsters hop aboard to torment you periodically throughout the exploration.  A large combine, "Head Hunter," emerges from its hiding place and follows closely behind the wagon for awhile, blinding you with its bright, intimidating headlights.  Later on, a "hot rod" pick-up truck with red headlights, noisily charges up from behind, its engine revving loudly, and its fiery exhaust blasting skyward from the powerful engine!   A masked lunatic is behind the wheel, and another masked monster lunges out of the passenger window grabbing at the ride.  Great scares!  Various other scenes are encountered including graveyards and an evil circus show known as "Carn evil" featuring "death in a box" (not Jack), along with an awesome surprise from overhead before exiting the woods to safety.

Analysis:
LENGTH - 10, 30 minutes!
ACTORS - 6, Quite a few characters, and much better hidden than last year, but still not much dialogue from them aboard the ride.  Most simply positioned themselves close to someone's face and stared.  Pretty frightening for younger visitors, but not enough to satisfy older patrons.
SCARINESS - 6, Lake, "Head Hunter," and pick-up are the primary scares.  Too many dead spots to rate higher, and the lack of intensity from the characters doesn't cover them.
DESIGN - 7, Length is impressive, and tractor proceeds slowly enough to give you time to appreciate the experience, which isn't always the case at other hayrides, but some of the scenes were unoccupied, and quite a few dead spots exist.  The burning lake is outstanding, and the overhead surprise unexpected, and startling, but the ending is uneventful, lacking even a chainsaw chase-out.
PROPS - 6, Would benefit from a lot more decor.
VALUE - 7½, Reasonably priced, and affordable for families with no price increase from last year.  Filling in the dead zones with additional scenery, and offering better quality from the actors would raise the score.
Final Score:  6½, One of our all-time favorite hay rides has been a little off the past few years.  The length makes it enjoyable, and the burning lake, combine pursuit, pick-up chase, and SURPRISE make it worth the price of admission. but, there's just so much more unrecognized potential. Wrecked ambulance and crucifixion scenes were eliminated this year, as was a most memorable lemonade stand that sold blood, and sprayed you with a mist as you rode by.  Unfortunately, they weren't replaced by anything nearly as memorable.
reviewed 10/20/06

FRIGHT NIGHT
31 WAYS TO TERROR
Highway 31 North
Henryville, IN
near exit 19 off I-65
$20
($17 on Fridays with $3 discount coupon)
Fright Night 31 Ways to Terror
click logo for printable coupon
FRIGHT NIGHT 31 WAYS TO TERROR:  The 5 Intense Experiences, get underway with The Haunted Forest - a walk through some isolated woods inhabited by an animated bat that drops down out of the trees, and various other creatures, including a chainsaw wielding madman who chases you out of the trail, and across a wooden bridge to the ticket area. Terror Maze is up next, with a spinning vortex entrance to a dark maze.  Various monsters have taken up residence in the lightlessness, including one armed with a chainsaw that suddenly comes to life out of the shadows!  Exiting the maze, it's onto The House That Hell Built.  Entering through Hell's door, spooky music welcomes and accompanies you as make your way past flickering lights, an old piano that begins playing on its own, and a surprise containing mirror. Irate characters cry for help, and order you out, while a little girl with a doll invites you upstairs to play.  But the game suddenly turns deadly, and you're lucky to make it out alive!  Clowns, an electric chair, biohazard, bloody kitchen, and evil doctors all must be avoided, but you're still not safe yet.  Zombies and other undead monsters roam a foggy cemetery known as the Graveyard of Lost Souls en route to Terror Crypt, guarded by a shadowy figure holding a black rose!  Tight corridors and uneven floors highlight this fifth subdivision of Fright Night.  Ghouls scream, growl, and continuously pound on the walls before you exit to a chainsaw chase-out of 31 Ways to Terror

Analysis:
LENGTH - 9, Around 20 min to complete the entire haunt.
ACTORS - 8, Good intensity from the crew.  This is the best part of 31 Terrors.  Graveyard is crying out for more, and The Haunted Forest could use additions as well.
SCARINESS - 7, The house is well detailed, but the maze was staffed with flashlight carrying monsters who were all too eager to assist you onward, in addition to the hidden route being readily exposed.  Too few actors in other locations.
DESIGN - 6, Not nearly as good as last year.  House is best, but secret door was left open ruining the maze, and  making it far too easy.  Gone are the warnings about grandpa at the beginning of the trail, the "sneak peek" view of the exit to the maze, the story at the entrance of the house about a girl killing her sister over the family fortune, and the eerie, white dress wearing girl, aimlessly wandering the cemetery prior to being abducted, thrown to the ground, and killed by Jason.  None have been memorably replaced.  The remainder of the haunt is similar to last year, except Terror Crypt went from total darkness one year ago, to being inexplicably illuminated for the '06 installment.
PROPS - 6, House and cemetery are standouts, but others require more attention to score higher. 
VALUE - 4, Significant price increase is unjustifiable!  $20 is simply too much to pay.
Final Score: 6½ ,  Unfortunately, a step in the wrong direction this year.  Really disappointing considering how good it was a year ago.  It's still scary, but there's so much unrecognized potential.  As previously stated, the actors are full of energy, and do a good job providing scares, but it could be so much better.  Your call with that enormous cover charge.
reviewed 10/14/06

FEDERAL VALLEY FRIGHT NIGHTS
100 School Rd.
Stewart, OH  45778
(740) 662-5605
$6
Federal Valley Fright Nights
click logo to visit their web site
Federal Valley Fright NightsFEDERAL VALLEY FRIGHT NIGHTS (Sleepy Hollow Horror):  A nervously high-strung Ichabad Crane serves as a tour guide for the Sleepy Hollow Horror experience at Federal Valley Fright Nights.  Various distressed characters are visited early on, each warning of the impending fate in store for us at the hands of the Headless Horseman.  Ichabad leads the group to a succession of rooms, corridors, and mazes, then abandons us, only to be found waiting on the other side, wandering where we've been!  Shutters bang loudly, and screams ring out as we transverse the darkened hallways, visiting the Horseman's trophy room, filled with his victims heads, and a cleverly constructed corn maze.  A school classroom of demons impedes our progression as efforts to elude the Headless villian continue.  A mad butcher removes a victim's leg, and you know who's next!  Fireplaces burst into flames on their own, and the beheading theme persists with an encounter with a live head on a table!  Bats descend from the trees, and a witch stirs the brew boiling in her cauldren, as intimidating music builds the tension for the inevetible confrontation with The Headless Horseman Himself, before exiting the Sleepy Holow Horror.

Analysis:
LENGTH - 6, Around 10 minutes. 
ACTORS - 6, Ichabad was best, nervously leading us through the event in a fumbling, Barney Fife manner.  All did an admirable job trying to scare us, but a lot of school age children.
SCARINESS - 6, Nice effort re-enacting the traditionally scary Legend of Sleepy Hollow story, but just too many small monsters to rate any higher.  Much scarier for little ones.
DESIGN - 7, Like the set up, and the indoor corn maze is unique, just a little on the short side.
PROPS - 7, Good scenery, with bat, fireplace, and head on table being most memorable. 
VALUE - 9, Only $6 for a fun seasonal attraction.
Final Score:  6½,  An inexpensive, enjoyable night of Halloween entertainment.  Bring the family!
reviewed 10/21/06

HANNA HAUNTED ACRES
7383 E. Hanna Ave.
Indianapolis, IN  46239
(317) 357 - 0881
Haunted Hayride $12
Entanglement (Corn Field Maze)  $10
Phantazmagoria (Haunted House) $10
Hell's Half Acre (Haunted House) $10
Acres Manor (Haunted House) $8
- 5 Event Combo Ticket  $27 -
Hanna Haunted Acres
click logo to visit their web site
7 HANNA ACRES HAUNTED HAYRIDE:  A tractor pulls your wagon into the dark woods where a madman armed with a chainsaw hops aboard to torment the hayride. Frights include an ambulance, blaring siren, guillotine, an old skeleton driven hearse, with a strobe light flashing inside, and a 13-foot tall impaler!  A mechanical skeleton provides cover for a hidden villian to startle the unsuspecting passengers from the opposite side, while yet another animatronic surprise is delivered from a cemetery.  Many of the ghouls that inhabit the woods briefly climb aboard the hayride, terrorizing those on board.  An overhead sign, a body hanging in the trees,  and a deadly spider all come crashing down at the wagon as the journey continues into a brief clown house entrapment, before climaxing with an intense, fast-paced combine chase-out!

Analysis:
LENGTH - 7½, Barely 15 minites.
ACTORS - 7½, Would benefit from additional characters, and some dialogue containing interactions.
SCARINESS - 7, Scares materialize quickly out of the dark woods, and the mechanical props do their fair share, but a lot of areas are simply uneventful.
DESIGN - 6½, Scenes are too spread out resulting in dead spots.  Some are covered by actors boarding the haywagon, but others are just too noticeable to rate higher.
PROPS - 7½, An ample amount of nice animatronics, and the most intense combine chase around!  The best we've seen at hayrides, but the remainder of the woods is barren, and demands much more attention.
VALUE - 7,  $2 price increase for basically the same hayride.  Best when considered as part of the 5 event combo.
Final Score:  7, Considering it's the main event, Hayride needs to be stronger, with additional scenes along the lines of the combine chase and impaler.  Shortening the distance between scenes would also be beneficial to help eliminate dead spots.
reviewed 10/25/06

PHANTAZMAGORIA:  Entering the darkness of Phantazmagoria, you're met by uneven and vibrating floors. Pounding and screams add to the intimidation factor.  Scenes, like an electrocution, first encased in darkness, illuminate as you pass by.  Leatherface, his trusty chainsaw, and some of his crazed friends attack as you leave one structure in favor of another, where a huge surprise is just waiting for you!  Gotcha!  Convulsing corpses, an animated Chucky Doll, and a psycho ward inhabited by a loony in a straight jacket lead to another trek through the outdoors, and into another building where Freddy's theme (Nightmare on Elm Street) plays.  Numerous televesions occupy the next room, most with "snowy" pictures, but some broadcasting horror scenes, then another big surprise, just before a chainsaw chase-out.

Analysis:
LENGTH - 4, Only 5 minutes long.
ACTORS - 8, More characters here and in Hell's ½ Acre than the others.  Leatherface and his friends wildly waving their chainsaw about while relentlessly pursuing us, and straight jacket lunatic are best.
SCARINESS - 6, Not enough time to develop necessary tension
DESIGN - 6, Appreciate the effect created by allowing you to unknowingly approach various scares by leaving them unlit until you're right on top of them, but too short, and climax (Devil entrapment) has been relocated to Hell's ½ Acre.  It's replacement is adequate, but losing one of the best scenes at the entire venue is NOT a positive.
PROPS - 8, Some good mechanical surprises.
VALUE - 6, Simply unjust to expect $10 for such a short event. Better as part of the 5 pack. 
Final Score:  6½, Our favorite Hanna haunt a year ago slips a little this season, sacrificing some of its effectiveness in order to spawn an additional attraction.  They've got to get this combined with Hell's ½ Acre in order to produce one good scoring compliment to the hayride, as opposed to two separate mediocre efforts.
reviewed 10/25/06

7 HELL'S ½ ACRE:  Strobes and skeletons guard the queue line leading up to the entrance of Hells ½ Acre.  Loud music greets your arrival into the first room, where skeletons piled one upon the other move about and rise up on their own.  Creepy old wooden fences line the route connecting one structure to another.  Bats hang from ceilings, and well hidden monsters arise from their hiding places to scare you along the way.  Crosses and their crucified victims close in on you from both sides down a darkened hallway, leading to a mysterious room having pentagrams on the floor, and an encounter with the Prince of Darkness himself!  The Devil's booming, amplified voice reverbates throughout the room as he first welcomes you into his inferno, and threatens you with eternal torment, before one of his demons orders you to depart to a chainsaw chase-out of Hell's ½ Acre.

Analysis:
LENGTH - 4, Only 5 minutes.
ACTORS - 7, Mostly just immediate startles from hidden characters that briefly cross your path.  Devil is most impressive, and best.
SCARINESS - 8, Tension mounts throughout, culminating with the devil climax, which is one of the two most intense scares at Hanna Haunted Acres.  Could rate higher in this catagory with increased duration.
DESIGN - 7, Some really unnerving scenes building to a fantastick encounter with old Beelzebub!  Lots of potential, and good while it lasts, but far  too short to score any higher. 
PROPS - 7, Some good detaling.  Bats and crucifixions are memorable and a few animatronics here and there.
VALUE - 7, Too short to recommend on it's own.  Combo ticket is the way to go.
Final Score:  6½, Contains one of the venue's best scenes.  Would score higher with additional rooms and length, or if combined with Phantazmagoria.
reviewed 10/25/06

5 ENTANGLEMENT:   Typical walk through a maze cut in a cornfield.  Tall corn impedes navagation, while winding loops add to the disorientation and confusion.  Various monsters, Scream, clowns, etc. sporadically leap forth from the darkness, some armed with chainsaws, knives, and other weapons of choice along the path of Entanglement.

Analysis:
LENGTH - 8, Not as difficult as last year.  15 - 20 min. average, possibly more.
ACTORS - 7½, Lots more than a year ago, and they tried hard to scare us, although we encountered several of the same ones on multiple occasions.
SCARINESS - 6, Increased characters provide more scares, but level of difficulty holds down this rating.
DESIGN - 5, Cornstalks are tall, but no dead ends, and only a few circular loops were encountered.  Diverging forks in the road, most of which eventually reunited with the escape route anyway, are also scarse.  Just too easy this year.
PROPS - 0, Nothing much, other than a lone Michael Myers head.
VALUE - 6½, Too pricey as a stand alone event considering decreased difficulty and $2 price hike.  Best as part of the combo pack.
Final Score:  5, Was expecting more with the increased density of actors, but maze is disappointingly easy this year.
reviewed 10/25/06

ACRES MANOR:  The Addams Family theme welcomes you inside this low-startle, family friendly haunted house.  Spiderwebs cover the decor, skeletons occupy chairs and couches, and a corpse thrashes about on a bed, as you explore various rooms of the Manor including the laundry room, bedroom, kitchen, etc.  Loud pounding on the walls engages you while transversing a hallway with a very low ceiling, that forces you to duck down underneath a panel in order to continue on.  Ghouls deliver surprises from behind furniture and shutters as you proceed through the dining room and bathroom en route to exiting Acres Manor.

Analysis:
LENGTH - 4, Only 5 minutes.
ACTORS - 5, Not nearly enough for a stand alone haunt, OR too aggressive for a kiddy attraction.
SCARINESS - 5, Too few actors to rate higher.
DESIGN - 6, Enjoyable while it lasts, but limited by it's length.
PROPS - 7, Anticipated decor, flickering chandelier, ghoul portraits, etc., and an animatronic or two.
VALUE - 5, Unable to recommend on its own, but a nice compliment to the overall Hanna experience as part of the combo ticket, or for smaller children and chickens!
Final Score: 5½, Lots of unutilized potential in this one.  Could score higher with doubled length and additional characters.  A bit confusing considering it's advertised as a low-startle, family oriented alternative, yet equipped with a few actors who manifest scares.  Could be transformed into a quality mainstream haunt with little effort.  All the makings are already in place.
reviewed 10/25/06

6 OVERALL HANNA ACRES EXPERIENCE:  The attraction here is multiple haunts at a single location.  Purchasing the combo ticket makes the most sense when visiting Hanna Acres.  If Acres Manor is indeed intended as a low-startle attraction aimed at families and kids, then what few actors are staffed in this particular haunt need to be toned down, or removed altogether.  On the other hand, since scares are the attraction at Hanna, doubling the duration, adding to the decor and cast, and focusing on a stand alone house seems a better utilization of The Manor, especially since  Phantazmagoria and Hells ½ Acre are crying out to be combined!  Their short lengths do irreparable damage to their overall scores, that would be avoided by uniting the two into a single attraction.  This makes sense considering they're themes are similar, and Hell's ½ Acre sprang forth from Phantazmagoria, and contains scenes that originated in the latter.  The Hayride offers a cozy bonfire alongside the queue line to keep you warm while you wait, and a place to hang out with friends, making the venue more inviting.  Constructing the haunts so that they occupy multiple structures, connected by outdoor paths weakens their effectiveness.  Design needs to be improved upon in order to better showcase the good scares and props at Hanna Haunted Acres.  Gtreat potential that's somewhat unrecognized due to certain flaws.  Wouldn't require a great deal of effort to transform what's already in place into a higher scoring experience.
Overall Rating:  6, $27 is rather expensive given the duration of everything outside the hayride.  $20 would be more than reasonable.  Still, a nice gathering place for an evening of seasonal Halloween fun.
reviewed 10/25/06
BLOODY MARY'S
MASSACRE MEADOWS
2675 Dayton Rd.
Springfield, OH  45506
(866) 496-6243
$8 / $2 discount coupon on their web site
(valid with canned good donatiion)
Massacre Meadows
click logo to view their web site
4 BLOODY MARY'S MASSACRE MEADOWS:  The dark Maze of Horror, containing several dead ends begins the Bloody Mary's experience.  Once out of the darkness, the maze continues with the addition of a few chainsaw madmen for good measure.  Survivors of the maze enter The Trail of Doom, a walk through the dark, isolated woods.  A fog-filled clown room is encountered, as is a bodypart tent, housing a monster grabbing at you from underneath a table   Freddie Krueger, an overhead ghoul thrashing about in a net, and numerous meetings with chainsaw packing lunatics highlight Massacre Meadows.

Analysis:
LENGTH - 7, Under 15 minutes, perhaps a little longer if you have difficulty with the maze.
ACTORS - 4, No dialogue.  Freddie just stood there, not even bothering to "clang" his metal fingers together.  Another "monster" passed us along the trail and couldn't even muster up a "boo!"  Net ghoul, and monster grabbing at you from beneath the table are standouts.  A fairly unique looking clown character allowed us to quietly pass without interacting with us at all.  Chainsaw villians at least try to scare you.
SCARINESS - 5, The dark woods and lots of chainsaws, but little more.
DESIGN - 3, Maze is interesting, but trail itself is lackluster.
PROPS - 2, Very few throughout.  One in particular, a high voltage warning scene, wasn't illuminated, and could've easily gone unnoticed without making the effort to investigate it on our own.
VALUE - 6, Affordable, but unfortunately very little to look at other than darkness.
Final Score:  4, Endless encounters with chainsaws in the dark, undecorated woods pretty much sums it up.  If that's enough to satisfy your hunger for scares, print the coupon and give it a go. 
reviewed 10/20/06

LINKS...
UNREVIEWED HAUNTS OF INTEREST
Mother Nature wasn't very kind to our outdoor friends this year.  Frequent rain-outs resulted in numerous closures that prevented
 us from visiting these attractions.  Please follow provided links to their web sites for additional information.  While not an outdoor
venue, Terror Maze's close proximity to the other two weather dependent events didn't warrant a trip to their particular area of it's
 own accord.  Loveland Castle only opened for six dates, and unfortunately, their location conflicted with our scheduled itinerary.
Everyone associated with Ohio Valley Haunts regrets not visiting,.  We hope to return in 2007.
Loveland Castle Spinetinglers Panic Box Spookhouse and Kruger's Corn Maze Terror Maze
LOVELAND CASTLE TOURS SPINETINGLERS PANIC BOX SPOOKHOUSE TERROR MAZE
FAMILY FRIENDLY EVENTS:
Halloween Nights at Parky's Farm Hallzooween Shocktober Pumpkin Patch Express Ghosts of Pirate Cove
Halloween Nights at Parky's Farm Hallzooween Shocktober at Cincinnati Museum Center Pumpkin Patch Express Ghosts of Pirate Cove
look back at our 2005 Reviews
Ohio Valley Haunts
look back at our 2004 Reviews
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