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HAUNTED HOUSE REVIEWS
HAUNTED ATTRACTION
THE DENT SCHOOLHOUSE
Ohio Valley Haunts
SCHOOLHOUSE RATING:
Category:  Professional Venue
Reviewed 9/13/14
view pictures taken at The Dent Schoolhouse:
2013 photos - 2012 photos - older photos
The Dent Schoolhouse
Queen City Slaughter Yard
click logo to visit their website
LOCATION & ADMISSION INFO:
5963 Harrison Ave.
Dent, Ohio  45248
(513) 598-4600
Fri - Sun beginning Sept 12 (except Sept 14)
and Thurs in October
Fri/Sat 7:30 PM - Midnight (7:30-10 PM Sun/Thurs)
$20 ($30 Fast Pass Option) 
Includes admission to Queen City Slaughter Yard
REVIEW
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 The Dent Schoolhouse!

Analysis: 
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 zombie 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!

QUEEN 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!

Analysis: 
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 elongated 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?

The Dent Schoolhouse
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