Saturday, October 1, 2011

Halloween Haunt Third Weekend Review

Halloween Haunt kicked off once again just two weeks ago, for its full time, Friday/Saturday schedule. Jeff and I took some time to visit these last 2 weeks, and finally last Friday night we were able to complete a full circuit of all the different attractions. Its a nice opportunity as we don't have to worry about working those incredibly busy Saturday nights... Instead I get to sit at home, in a warm, non-moving, non-screaming environment and write this little blog.

Our first evening, 1 week ago we got there right in time for The Overlords Awakening. It wasn't to busy so we were able to grab a pretty good view. Sorry no photos. I have a new point and shoot Sony camera, and "thought" I had video recorded it. Obviously not... learning curve I guess.

Personally I have always been pretty impressed with this mini-show. Atleast within the constraints of the show. Obviously we would all love a larger location for monsters/guests to gather, however within the space available it works pretty well. I do think the tape line/painted line to control crowds is a good idea too.

I had read the new Overlord was experiencing a learning curve, but I didn't notice much issue, and thought the actor did quite well.

Only complaint, is an ongoing one. Originally, prior to the parade idea, makeup was done at each haunt location. Asylum monsters had their makeup done at Coco Palms Pavilion, etc etc. The End product, aka the makeup was MUCH MUCH better. Now it seems half-hearted. Most may not notice, but having been a screamster under the old way and new way, I can definitely attest that the old way was better. Why can't the park keep the one makeup trailer, and also use the old Creature Crypt, aka basement of All Stars? It would work wouldn't it? After all they could simply come up the stairs for the Overlords awakening? Do half in the current spot and half in the Creature Crypt. Just a thought.

After Overlord's Awakening, began the brief, but unique Monster Parade.

Before starting out your journey into the various mazes, guests can purchase a "Fright Lane" front of the line pass. Probably worth it for a busy Saturday... not so much for the Fridays... as of yet. This is just one of the locations to purchase a Fright Lane pass. Located in front of the Grand Carrousel.

So on with the reviews... In no particular order.

Lore of the Vampire
Overall I was fairly impressed with the step up in theming/character interaction over previous years. I actually had a few good startles, however for me watching the guests around me ended up providing the most entertainment. The Graveyard, appeared to receive the most treatment. It finally seems to work as a graveyard instead of being simply an outside walkway/mishmash between one segment of Lore to another. I was really impressed with the combination acting, such as the monster that appeared to be climbing out of the ground, zombie-style, and the scaring. Many monsters appeared to be using the well placed hiding spots, and numerous distractions to their overwhelming advantage.

Love the characters here. (Even though my photography stinks). The actors REALLY get their teeth sunk into their parts...

Definitely worth the wait for me. I still don't care for the "Club Blood" in the basement. I understand the concept.. but it doesn't seem even slightly scary/morbid etc, more odd and out of place. I guess everyone is entitled to their opinion but dancing poles and jello shots (or whatever it is) just doesn't jive with a medieval vampire theme... AT ALL.

Overall Grade... 6/10

I have never seen this attraction with a line, so it was a quick walk in/walk out attraction. Unlike the past though, I didn't feel like the 5-10 minutes I felt walking around inside a complete waste of time. The monsters here really seemed to be in on the action, as opposed to standing around that we have seen in years past. I saw several great startles. I saw several great opportunities being utilized. The deranged rabbit was staked out in such a way that you couldn't tell if it was another stuffed prize or not.

This kangaroo looks familiar....

Carnevil seems to also be the dumping ground for past attractions. The Bounce-A-Roo's have reappeared as well as the old cars and motorcycles from Micro Moto Bahn. Atleast this means I am not ending up with a giant fiberglass Kangaroo for my backyard...

This one looks familiar too...
Overall on Carnevil, if it doesn't have a line, or much of one definitely worth the time.

Overall Grade... 6/10

Oh Great Demoted One.... One of the street characters. This was originally the character that lead the monster parade before the introduction of the overlord.

Outlaw's Revenge
I spent some time staking out this attraction, for me the best part of Outlaws is people watching. Personally, I REALLY REALLY REALLLLYYYY dislike the fact that the old paddy wagon was moved to London Terror. It was such a great place for the cowboys to hide.

Soapbox alert!
Why is it that with every new haunt, all the outside decorations are borrowed and never returned? For example the dog house, and fencing at Asylum, or Chicken coops, and barnyard area from Bloodshed? Now the paddywagon from Outlaws....

Off my soapbox

Maybe I'm just hard on them, (Jeff seems to think so), but I saw a LOT of standing around. It seems like in the past the issues with Outlaws was lack of cowboys. Now it seems like there are just enough, but only a few were really getting into the fun of it. Now it is a physically demanding job, I get that. But please, try to scare me. Thanks

One last comment, I do really like the props that the sliders are using. For example the metal trash can lids. Makes a great grating noise, and I really see an opening for more metal props... putty knives, etc.

A "saloon girl" hanging out... Nice costume... but where is the make-up? Is there any there at all?

Overall Grade... 4/10

London Terror
New for this year is London Terror, replacing Dominion of Doom on the Heart of America Blvd/Forum Rd. The entrance has been moved FROM the Mamba side, TO the Americana side. The entrance is near Detonator.

London Terror was basically what I expected it to be. A tribute to London at the dawn of the industrial revolution, complete with various shady characters, jack the ripper, werewolves etc. I missed the whole steampunk theme, if it was there it just wasn't really obvious. Overall though I really enjoyed the theming, with cramped alleyways, fog, snow (thankfully fake for the time being...). Even the 2nd half, which was composed of mainly old Dominion of Doom tombstones worked better. With the monoliths compacted, and arranged haphazardly, it created a environment more conducive to scaring. What I didn't see was a lot of was actual scaring. It looks like London Terror has fallen prey to the WOF Halloween Haunt tradition where new attractions feature more acting then scaring. Seriously walking around right in front of me, speaking to me in a lovely British accent is somewhat cool, but not in the least bit scary. And that's what everyone is there for. There is a lot of London here, but not a whole lot of Terror.

Overall Grade... 5/10

Both Bloodshed and Dollhouse have always seemed to struggle since the years that they opened. Thankfully Bloodshed has always improved before the end of the season. It seems like the monsters (like London Terror) focus more on acting then they do scaring. With that being said there were one or two good startles. The monster manning the "monster pig", seemed to really know how to work it well. I was surprised and startled a bit as I wasn't expecting it... atleast not where it was at. I think the cramming it into a narrow walkway/corner, works better, as you have to swerve out of the pigs way! I also noticed a significant decrease in fog, yes even fog INSIDE of houses really adds a lot to the thrill. See my Asylum review.

I have always thought Bloodshed has had a great story line, but has always struggled with the actual portrayal, and development of said storyline. Hopefully, like past years it will pick up in quality of startles/scaring before the end of the season.

Overall Grade... 5/10

Asylum Island
There is no other way to say this... Asylum kicked all the other houses BUTTS. Seriously. If you are considering with house to wait in line for... pick this one. It did start out a bit slow I have to say, but it really picked up especially at the Green Mile (hallway with various entrances and exits for monsters). I seriously didn't even know I had hit the Green Mile until I was halfway through it, it was fogged up so much. And boy where the monsters using it to their benefit. Once we got to The Yard, I just wanted to get out of the place, in a good way! Of course after exiting we stood around and watched. After all the best part of any of these attractions for us, is watching others expressions. There were a lot of scared guests running out of the house that night! Great job.

We also noticed the well designed queue line, and prepped 1, 2, and 3 hour wait signs. It seems like the park is prepping for crowds a good sign to see.

Overall Grade... 8/10

A few of the 1hr, 2hr and 3hr (YIKES!) waiting signs. Not being used this friday night though... thank goodness.

Master McCarthy's Dollhouse
You know what I really miss about this attraction? The first time we ever experienced it it had "It's a Small World" playing as part of its sound track. To this day I stand behind my comment that that was one of the scariest things I have ever heard. I never thought I would say this but bring the Small World back! :)

With that being said, Dollhouse has always had some glaring weaknesses. Number #1 for me, dolls are just not the scary. Weird? Yes. Creepy? Definitely YES! Scary...errr not really. I'm not really sure what can be done about that fact. I did miss the character Master McCarthy as well. Maybe he just wasn't there that night. For those trying out Halloween Haunt McCarthy's is a good starter attraction, as its design is similar to the other haunts, but lacks that truly terrifying element, or should I say ABILITY to be truly terrifying.

Overall Grade... 3/10

I was rather surprised that Cornstalkers was such a disappointment. It really has so much potential to be truly terrifying. Last year I had some pretty good trips through this attraction. Not so much this time. I am wondering if that was due to our visit being on a Friday night. Unfortunately Friday lacks pure numbers when it comes to monsters and talent. I was especially surprised with the several corn/grass covered characters simply hanging around, or walking up and down the corn mazes... It seems to lose the point of being able to blend in when you are doing just the opposite. Blend in and hide is the point, and it seems lost of some of the monsters here.

Not to beat a dead horse but it depresses me so much that Cornstalkers has so much POTENTIAL. Seriously walking through a dark, twisting cornfield, confined by browned branches, the breeze ruffling the dried expect a deranged man to come running out with a chain saw. Maybe that's what was missing?

Nice bunny...

I really did like the queue line character, is it still Pig Man? He had a pet rabbit while there... the pet rabbit wasn't exactly quite tame.

Overall, I would still recommend people visit Cornstalkers. I have seen several good reviews this year, so I am simply assuming we hit it at a bad time.

Overall Grade... 5/10

Jennifer's Worlds of Fun Critique Rest Stop... We noticed that a few of the queue rails (okay ALL of them) have been removed from the Nile Queue line. Whats' going on here?

Fright Zone
Seriously with the short period of time we spent in the fright zone I was impressed by the qualify of some of the characters. One character stood out specifically, I really loved the character on the roller blade (ONE roller blade... I never could skate in both of them!) very sneaky, and after all that's what we all want in this type of attraction. Saw lots of great startles, lots of characters taking advantage of the fog banks... Sorry for such a short review.

Overall Grade...6/10

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