|THE DENT SCHOOLHOUSE:
A variety of discontented creatures terrorize the queue line as customers
anxiously wait their turn to enter OVH's' back to back Haunt of
the Year winner! The 2014 adventure into the old boarded up building
that houses the notorious Dent Schoolhouse begins customarily through
an old wooden gate into an overgrown playground where the spirits of undead
children mysteriously rock back and forth on seesaws, playfully climb on
monkey bars, cascade down sliding boards, ride on a slowly moving merry-go-round,
and eerily sway back and forth on spooky looking swings. A few words
of caution from a girl clutching a doll finishes setting the mood as the
journey departs the recess area, and progresses alongside a run-down school
bus, then into the School itself, where the indoor portion of the
experience gets underway in the presence of a disgruntled nurse emerging
from behind a privacy curtain barking out, "Welcome back to school, kiddies"
while noisily bashing a metal bedpan up against the wall. Following
her encouraging directions, exploration finds paint peeling from condemned
walls, and the course past a series of lockers partially blocked by falling
debris. Dust covered desks shadow a tandem of skeletons engaging
in a desperate game of tug-of-war with a helpless girl's head, as an innocent
teacher dangles from a noose around her neck that's strangled the life
right out of her! Corpses comprise décor as continuance into
a wicked looking lab-like science turned autopsy room that's overflowing
with blood unearths a distempered student embalmer frantically exclaiming
"I'm going to get an A in this class" as she recklessly digs into the exposed
guts of a barely alive cadaver struggling for freedom from his confinement
atop an ungodly gurney. Frightening music fills the air as advancement
maneuvers through living mannequins before yielding to an infinite hallway
of lockers in advance of a projection screen supernaturally displaying
"REDRUM" (murder spelled backwards) and "All will Die" being written in
blood as you stare on in disbelief while the treachery culminates with
a monstrous surprise! A hanged nun suspended over a stairwell where
a ghost-like apparition guards her tortured soul points the way into the
basement, where seeking refuge only discovers blood-drenched casualties
having their hands bound behind their backs while being strung up and left
to die! Fuses blow, breakers are tripped, and electrical panels malfunction
along the way into a decrepit boiler room where an overgrown brute toting
some sort of improvised buzz saw is rousted out of hiding, and stalks from
behind prior to being distracted by a helpless victim that diverts his
aggression into viciously forcing her into a blazing incinerator despite
her begging for mercy! Another irate antagonist blasts sparks from
the confines of a steel cage as furtherance exploits more hanged carcasses
encased in ghastly detentions dripping blood and guts! Up next, he
first of several confrontations with Charlie The Janitor finds the
evil villain hard at work tearing into the intestines of a screaming schoolgirl,
then turning his attention on passersby! Decapitated heads and upside
down human remains ooze more plasma as lights flicker off and on above
an area where the floor's been excavated away revealing a makeshift graveyard!
Caskets shake and vibrate on their own, and even spring sudden surprises
where a cast iron door protects the entrance into Charlie's sleeping
quarters. There, a protesting delinquent is forced into a closet
against her will, and more unstable wiring short-circuits into overhead
eruptions similar to exploding firecrackers sending groups fleeing through
bursting pipes and spewing water that creates a cesspool beneath the legs
of an enormous creature that comes crashing through a brick wall carrying
a giant saw in one hand, and clutching a death-grip on yet another martyr
in the other! Atrocities continue to mount as undead zombies invade
from every direction imaginable including overhead as a horde of the hungry
walkers burst through previously barricaded double doors! Body bags
obscure an unseen assault from an agitated instigator boasting, "I smell
your fear" as forging onward elicits a response from a lunging guard dog
keeping a watchful eye over auto mechanics class highlighted by a near-miss
hit-and-run, and a promiscuous invitation to join a kiss-blowing floozy
covered in makeup in the backseat of one of the cars! From there,
shop class witnesses another undefiled victim suffering the fate of having
her torso ripped in two by the persecuting blades of a murderous table-saw
as dismembered limbs and gore litter her surroundings giving rise to a
psychotic ogre attacking with a circular power saw! Avoidance unveils
a newly remodeled kitchen that displays bodies stripped of their dignity
as well as their clothing in the presence of a meat cleaving butcher preparing
to barbecue his fresh human remains, then onto a rotten cafeteria featuring
trays of severed pig heads. Still to come is an on-stage performance
in a revamped haunted auditorium stalked by a hovering phantom amid flashbacks
of dancing couples from Prom gone bad. Then it's onto locker rooms,
showers with running water, and eventually into a wrecked library setting
that showcases a ghost-like curator entity before digressing through a
bug infested bathroom, where a CGI surprise materializes from within a
mirror. A space-invading sideswipe from a gigantic, discontented
rat ejects the course outdoors into an intimidating maze of running school
buses that witnesses cries for help from their lightless interiors, an
additional startle courtesy of another hostile rodent, and a final deadly
pursuit by Charlie that ushers in a wicked chainsaw chase-out of
LENGTH - 8½, 16½ mins.
ACTORS - 9½, Costuming and makeup are always outstanding.
Characters are irate practically throughout, which makes the entire experience
even better than it's been in the past! Their aggression as a whole
is higher than ever. Performances are enthusiastic and dialogue is
vastly improved yet again, and confrontations are significantly more threatening.
They've really stepped things up practically across the board, and some
of the aggressors are enormous in size, thus lending added credibility
to their brutality. But there's a bit of a trade-off as cast population
has declined by 10, and multiple encounters with Charlie, while
appreciated, are a bit less violent in comparison to a season ago, which
shouldn't be the case since he's the attraction's main villain and responsible
for all these ungodly atrocities. Playground opener is likewise weak
from an acting perspective. Total Characters = 34 (down 10 from a
season ago, but those present are more distempered and intense than ever!)
SCARINESS - 10, It's an absolutely perfect environment
from start to finish! Superb animatronics, eerie lighting, and a
fantastic, louder than ever soundtrack compliment every single room.
Detailing is unsurpassed, and dominant cast adds to the frightfulness.
Brutal scenes create memorable scares that leave customers talking!
Playground sets an appropriate mood for what's about to be encountered,
and finish is powerful featuring Charlie introducing the finishing
chase out. A variety of villainous attacks return along with blood
and gore that's been on the rise for the past few seasons. The
Dent Schoolhouse makes significant changes each and every year that
seem to annually surpass their prior achievements. 2014's rendition
is their scariest ever!
DESIGN - 10, It's tough to improve upon near perfection,
but as mentioned above, the haunt is bloodier, gorier, and scarier than
ever before! No stone is left unturned from the playground to the
chase-out, as scenes and rooms exhibit unequaled detail and definition.
Connecting corridors along the progression of rooms are short, and equally
as decorated offering a higher density of scares per square foot than any
other attraction. Several captivating, new scenes are introduced
annually to replace less impressive predecessors. In addition, some existing
rooms have received makeovers rendering their contributions to the overall
show more memorable. Duration has been expanded slightly as well,
and the theme is adhered to rigidly, unlike the randomness of scenes commonly
experienced elsewhere. Queue line features a video screen that entertains
customers waiting their turn to enter, and is stalked by interacting roaming
characters. About the only questionable flow of events occurs where
the wrecked library separates the new shower scene from the pre-existing
bathroom. Other than that brief interruption, it doesn't get any
better than this from a design perspective.
PROPS - 10, Every room is decorated from top to bottom
with believable, visually impressive scares. Plenty of mechanical
surprises are on display including
zombie doors and several animatronic
monsters. The presence of real buses legitimizes and authenticates
the venue that continues to push the envelope of atrocities to the maximum
degree permissible in the Cincinnati market! Aforementioned
doors were last season's best and most impressive new prop, and out
of nearly 100 attractions visited by OVH, the ONLY place we saw
them outside of Transworld was at Dent!
VALUE - 10, No price increase has been implemented for
the third consecutive year. Single admission ticket was eliminated
several seasons ago in favor of a combo admission that includes one of
Cincinnati's newest attraction, Queen City Slaughter Yard.
If you happen to think the price is somewhat steep, look around at what
many homemade haunts are charging these days and keep in mind this is one
of the best PROFESSIONAL attractions not only in the State of Ohio, but
in the world!
RATING: 9½ (9.77), What more can
be said? Coming off back to back recognition as OVH's HAUNT OF THE
YEAR, the attraction is even better than it was before! "The Champ"
is back with a renewed vengeance, and is going to be next to impossible
to dethrone as it seeks to defend this incredible distinction by capturing
an unpreceDENTed third consecutive title reign! Wednesday night Ghost
Tours are new for 2014 and take place weekly during the month of October.
"Zombie Night" returns on Sunday, Oct. 5th, "Lights ON tour is scheduled
for Sunday, Oct 26th from 5-7 PM only, and "Lights OUT" tours are being
offered on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 1st and 2nd. Don't miss your
opportunity to see Charlie and the gang at one of the best Haunted
Houses the world has ever known - The Dent Schoolhouse!
CITY SLAUGHTER YARD: Prior to entering,
patrons are shown several video clips that set the stage for the tragic
trek through a wooden, stockade-like maze that hides a variety of blood
covered, pig-faced fiends, many armed with murderous chainsaws! The
sound of squealing, snorting hogs fills the air, as aggressors chase potential
fatalities up and down the winding paths, terrorizing them with vicious
verbal threats. Dense fog and flickering lights compliment the environment
that also sports ribbed metal panels as part of the traditional barnyard
décor. Butchered sows and boars hang suspended from the rafters
above, accompanied by an ominous omen that "you're gonna be next, piggy!"
Access to the interior of the facility observes dismembered human appendages
suspended above the route, and gutted Homo sapiens' cadavers mounted to
the walls! "Let's cut him up; we can eat on him for days" threatens
a contemptible villainess as the route makes its way past a detained subject
about to meet his demise courtesy of a some sort of spinning, elongated
saw-like blade type of contraption! Imprisoned damsels in distress
await victimization at the hands of these apron-wearing assailants in advance
of one final skirmish through a smokehouse stocked full of chained, restrained,
and freshly slain swine and humans alike preceding a bloody butcher chase-out
of Queen City Slaughter Yard!
LENGTH - 5, 5 mins.
ACTORS - 8½, Excellent costumes comply with the
theme, and legitimize each character's persona. Attraction continues
to showcases an energetic cast mixed with confrontational dialogue.
Victimizing Brute is absent this season, as is his body painted
captive whom he proudly referenced when announcing, "She belongs to
me too!" Also m.i.a. is the dominatrix-like female antagonist seen
tormenting a restrained member of the opposite sex. Adding to the
population and returning, or creating similar memorable characters would
elevate the score. Total Characters = 11 (down from 14 in 2013).
SCARINESS - 8, Vicious and sometimes armed assailants
are responsible for providing scares, but their opportunities to do so
are limited by the event's short duration. Soundtrack is simple,
yet appropriate and effective. A few of the more memorable scenes
have been inexplicably abandoned this year.
DESIGN - 8, Course is constructed to resemble corralling
one would expect to see within a typical slaughterhouse. It's design
isn't complex, thus direction of travel is never in doubt. While
it's name and concept depart from the schoolhouse theme for which the site
is notoriously infamous, its environment is frenzied and intense.
Several hiding spots have been incorporated along the route for actors
to initiate previously unseen assaults. Fog and sounds complement
the adventure, and a few rooms have been detailed as well. New impressive
saw/blade scene is the best change. Loss of brute's double
victimizations is unfortunate, as are the other character departures discussed
above. Duration remains the primary limiting factor, and walls should
be splattered with blood.
PROPS - 7½, Most attractions of this nature aren't
scored for props, but this one is an exception to the rule because it's
more than just a maze. In addition to blood and gore, animal and
human cadavers decorate a variety of rooms, along with prison cells for
restraining captives. Bloodying up the walls in the stockade maze
section would prove beneficial as mentioned in the design category above.
Unique spinning contraption is best, memorably eye-catching, and
one of a kind.
VALUE - n/a, This haunt cannot be purchased as a stand-alone
attraction, but is included as a bonus free of charge with your ticket
to the main event.
RATING: 7½, Queen City Slaughter
Yard meets its purpose as a supporting secondary on--site attraction.
It isn't intended to be a drawing card on its own, but even so it's a rather
unique quality attraction. Admission is included free of charge when
purchasing tickets to The Dent Schoolhouse, so how can you go wrong?