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HAUNTED HOUSE REVIEWS
HAUNTED ATTRACTION
HALLOWEEN HAUNT AT KINGS ISLAND
Ohio Valley Haunts
RATING: 9
Reviewed 9/20/13
Halloween Haunt at Kings Island
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Halloween Haunt and Fearfest photos
LOCATION & ADMISSION INFO:
Exit 25 off  I-71
Mason, Ohio
Fri $26.99 Online ($39.99 at Gate) 6 PM - 1 AM
Sat $32.99 Online ($56.99 at Gate) 11 AM - 1 AM
(Park opens at 11 AM. Saturdays/Haunts at 5)
- Fright Lane (front of line) passes available -
Fright Feast only $9.99 (6- 7:30 PM)
(in the Picnic Grove)
Mazes Fear Zones Attractions
Board to Death Slaughter House Club Blood Madame Fatale's Cavern of Terror Urgent Scare Ed Alonzo's Psycho Circus of Magic and Mahem Hot Blooded
Cornstalkers Wolf Pack Delta Delta Die Tombstone Terror-TORY CarnEvil Graveyard Shift Blood Drums
MAZE REVIEWS
DELTA DELTA DIE: Debuting for 2013, this attraction is themed around a wild Halloween night party hosted at the DDDie sorority house!  Accepting their invitation to attend, groups are greeted at the door by a sexy "sister" dressed as a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, and escorted inside where house rules are explained by the girls' "stepmother," who's disguised as a witch.  Empty beer bottles comprise décor, one of which is utilized as a weapon for an immediate assault, as exploration commences in a fancy bathroom, where one of the chicks has passed out in the tub, and a set of shelves hides a sudden surprise.  Laundered clothes, having been hung to dry serve as a brief maze, and conceal an encounter with a sailor gal, as the path bends through a corridor of doors that access the kids' living quarters, one of which shakes and vibrates on its own, and illuminates to reveal a monster peeking out from within!  The party's been crashed by a frat guy seated on a couch in a TV room dressed in an risqué breathalyzer suit, where another unexpected startle originates out of the screen.  Provocative dancing takes place beneath a glimmering disco ball, as the course passes a recently completed game of poker, a mechanical scare popping out of a desk, and a CGI Asylum Door surprise.  Entering the kitchen unveils a conflict with feminine fiend armed with a rolling pin, then departure through a refrigerator stocked with body bags and liquor brings curfew upon Halloween Haunt's newest attraction, Delta Delta Die.  7 min. 25 Total Characters.
BOARD TO DEATH: Another new 2013 attraction explores a world where popular board games come to life, beginning with everyone's favroite Monopoly, where Park Place and Boardwalk have been replaced with a collage consisting of Perfection, Parcheesi, Boggle, Othello, Mastermind, Connect 4, etc., Prisoners have "gone to jail," and iconic game pieces are alive and well including the thimble and a wheelbarrow, the latter of which carries its very own money monster!  Other games are visited one by one, including Scrabble that delivers an overhead surprise, courtesy of the letter K tile; Checkers and Chess accompanied with living game pieces; Battleship, stalked by sailors; and Rat Trap.  Decks of Cards personify Kings and Queens, then onto Chutes and Ladders, Candyland, and through blasts of air, honking horns, and flashing lights into Dominoes.  Twister is up next, and gives way to enlarged plastic bubbles enclosing severed heads in Trouble.  The course concludes with "the wacky doctors game" Operation, featuring live patients that spring to life off their surgical tables!  "There goes his funny bone," ending the tribute that would make Hasbro and Milton Bradley proud, known as Board To Death.  5 min. 28 Total Characters.
MADAME FATALE'S CAVERN OF TERROR:  Last season's debut maze showcases a wax museum of oddities hidden deep inside a Rivertown "cave."  The queue line is elaborately themed and decorated, as is the Madame's dining room, which sets the stage for entrance into an Egyption tomb-like catacomb that serves as a storage area stockpiling sheet covered human figures having ropes clutching at their throats, one of which struggles for freedom.  Crates containing dismembered arms and legs are likewise part of the inventory.  Soon, a trophy room of severed heads is discovered, some of which are still alive and begging for assistance!  Mirrors and impressive red curtains give way to the sudden illumination and appearance of previously concealed screaming girl, as navigation continues to a variety of displays including headhunters, Sherlock Holmes, Billy the Kid, P.T. Barnum, Garbonzo, and the tomb of King Tut from which an ancient mummy unexpectedly emerges!  Still to come are run-ins with a hooded Executioner proudly exhibiting a decapitated cranium, as well as the despicable Lizzie Borden wildly swinging an axe, and even Jack the Ripper!  Persistence leads through an electrician's nightmare of dangling wires and sparking fuse boxes!  "Living" walls lead the way into a wax-coated zone, where erupting flames accompany the sight of human subjects being dipped and transformed into was statues, as the hot, melting substance devours their living flesh inside Madame Fatale's Cavern of Terror!  5½ min. 24 Total Characters (down from 34 in 2013).
HOLIDAY HORROR:  This third year attraction revisits an expansion of Fearfest's 2006 "Fear Zone" by the same name.  Exploration begins in a room of calendar covered walls, where Auld Lang Syne rings in a New Year.  From there, the course parades through a variety of festive celebrations, including Valentine's Day, Inauguration Day, St. Patrick's Day stalked by a pair of contemptible Leprechauns, and April Fools Day highlighted by bending walls, a jovial jester, and drop down panels that conceal unexpected surprises.  April Showers bring May flowers is up next showcasing signs of Spring; then it's onto the Fourth of July; Happy Birthday that's celebrated with balloons and blood; Halloween, honored by skeletons and jack-o-lanterns; and a non-traditional Thanksgiving of gobbling turkeys that's interrupted by a sudden startle that originates from within a bed.  Last but not least, not so Jolly ole St. Nick and his wicked elves terrorize Christmas concluding Kings Island's darkened tribute to special occasions, known as Holiday Horror.  4 min. 17 Total Characters (down from 26 in 2012).
WOLF PACK: This fourth-year attraction consists of a darkened journey through foggy, werewolf-infested terrain where a mechanical surprise manifests itself from within an old well, and a  multitude of fanged attacks from creatures of the night stalk a haunted cornfield.  A full moon illuminates a spooky cemetery that houses the grave of a still living soul that's been buried alive in advance of a wooded area that hides a dilapidated shack decorated with tires, hubcaps, and license plates, and highlighted by one of the rabid canines savagely ingesting the intestines of his most recent kill.  A few more animated surprises accompany additional attacks as baying howls fill the air courtes ov the big, bad wolves!  There's nowhere to run or hide at Wolf Pack. 4½ min. 19 Total Characters.
SLAUGHTER HOUSE:  The exploration of this butcher shop begins in the presence of severed limbs and body parts being refrigerated in glass enclosed display cases. 
Dimly lit rooms and blood spattered walls categorize this "chop shop" that immediately discovers a madly thrashing, inverted skeleton along the entry route into an early conflict with a pair of carnivore carvers, one armed with a deadly meat hook!  Bodies occupy gurneys along progression into a plasma soaked kitchen where human organs, recently removed from a cadaver that rests on a counter top with knives protruding from its midsection, bake in cannibalistic ovens.  Refrigerator freezers preserve the choice cuts as loud pounding, and dense fog, distract continuance through a boiler room and onto a horn-honking, near-miss hit-and-run.  An innocent victim's midsection is bisected by a murderous table saw as squealing, snorting pigs and mooing cows escort the path past a rotting bovine carcass, then by animal head trophies mounted to walls, and into the clutches of another madman that forcefully tears the arms off another guiltless subject!  The live upper torso of a man that's had his flesh and skin removed exposing his spine guards a claustrophobic passage, and air blasting finish to Slaughter House.  6½ min.  26 Total Characters.
URGENT SCARE:  This attraction explores a blood-spattered hospital thatís been tainted by the spread of some lethal, airborne virus. The adventure begins in a waiting area hosted by a distraught receptionist, and proceeds into a brief service elevator entrapment, then onto the exploration proper that witnesses infected admissions seated in wheelchairs and bound to gurneys as plasma-covered nurses and evil doctors attempt to administer care to the discontented victims that have contracted the deadly disease.  IV saline drips and clinical sounds point the way to encounters with coughing patients struggling to breathe, and zombified health care providers en route to a disorganized X-ray room, and an abandoned center of security monitors.  A wicked surgical surprise introduces desperate blood transfusions, body vaults, and run-ins with more diabolical medical malpractitioners in advance of a bloody sheet maze that concludes the epidemic that's spreading like the plague.  If the virus doesn't kill you, fear just might at Urgent Scare! 6½ min. (up from 5½ a season ago) and 26 Total Characters.
TOMBSTONE TERROR-TORY:  (Event was closed due to heavy rain on the night of our visit. The following recap is the 2012 installment) While enjoying a relaxing midnight train ride, a unexpected ambush brings the old iron horse to a sudden stop in the middle of nowhere!  Passengers are forced to disembark, and hike back to civilization through the spooky woods on foot.  Darkness and spooky music set the stage for encounters with a plethora of undead villains along the foggy terrain, wooden crates, covered bridges, wine barrels, and severed heads that eventually leads back to the safety of RIVERTOWN, in this wild-west style train ride adventure called Tombstone Terror-tory. 12½ min (including 5 min. train ride). 41 Total Characters.
CLUB BLOOD: Back for its seventh season, the promiscuous Club Blood finds seductively clad, fanged girls offering rides on motorcycles, and exotic performers getting their dance on while propositioning males and couples alike all to the music of a live DJ!  Shirtless dudes, and seductive babes rule this roost exposing electrocutions, a transsexual with "her" back to observers standing to urinate, and an aggressive surprise originating from behind a previously darkened glass panel.  A corridor of body bags gives way to a vampire vixen savagely eating the guts from her fallen human prey, as mirrors deliver the course through bloody sheets to a sadomasochist encounter that fades past a bungee surprise into a bar serving blood types instead of beer on tap.  Everyone's just dying to meet you!  So bring your i.d., come in for a bite, and paint the town red at Halloween Haunt's Club Blood!  5 min. 19 Total Characters (down from 31 a season ago).
CARNEVIL:  A brief mirror maze initiates the exploration of this house of fun and games that utilizes special 3-D glasses to enhance the view, and bring to life vibrant, three-dimensional special effects that add a degree of depth perception to the overall experience.  Appropriate carnival music and sounds compliment a variety of encounters including a cotton candy surprise, drop-down building block startles, and a heavy concentration of bubbles.  A mechanical monster with a slinky-like neck invades the route as it continues onto conflicts with several menacing Clowns en route to a "Freak Show" that's highlighted by a fortune teller housed in a colorful carriage. A polka dot room is still to come, as is a hallway containing inanimate clown figures that suddenly close in from both sides, propelling the masked masters of mayhem directly into the path, then a spinning vortex  wraps up this dangerous, fright-fest under the big top better known as CarnEVIL.  5 min. 15 Total Characters (down from 22 in 2012).
CORNSTALKERS: (This event wasn't open due to weather conditions.  Last year's recap follows.)  Another  former Fear Zone now considered an attraction unto its own features a foggy escapade through a dimly-lit "cornfield" that's inhabited by evil Scarecrows and other hidden creatures.  Wooden crates and skeletal remains hanging from crosses add to the décor giving rise to occasional startles from out of the darkened crevices of Cornstalkers. 4 min. 19 Total Characters.
OUTDOOR "FEAR ZONE" REVIEWS
These events were unable to open due to inclement weather.  Last year, Fear Zones consisted solely of various foggy connecting corridors occupied by roaming ghouls and gremlins.  2011's originator, Nightmare Alley retains last season's relocation just off International Street along the entrance to Action Zone by Kings Island Theater.  It's joined by the 2012's debut of Freak Street that took over the aforementioned's original location between Holiday Horror and CarnEVIL. Cemetery Dr. returns near the Eiffel Tower, and Backwoods Bayou is new for 2013, and also close to that same central landmark towards the entrance of Rivertown, between Diamondback and Backlot Stunt Coaster. Grimm Blvd no longer exists in Action Zone
LIVE SHOW REVIEWS
Four live shows are on tap for this season, each lasting for approximately 20 minutes.  New for 2013 is Ed Alonso's Psycho Circus of Magic and Mayhem, where clever magic tricks are performed, and enhanced with a bit of sarcastic humor.  A few card tricks, assistants that seemingly materialize out of thin air, and a rabbit that has the ability to vanish from one place and reappear in another are included in the presentation.  You might remember Ed from TV's Saved by the Bell fame.  His enticing demonstration joins Hot Blooded that returns with its adult-oriented song and dance at the SHOWPLACE THEATRE, featuring a zip line entrance, waterfall, pyrotechnics, provocative vampires and blood that explode onto the stage for some seductive after--life Rock-n-Roll, and a killing or two! Blood Drums earns an encore performance, but shifts its location from Action Zone to a more centralized spot near the Eiffel Tower and  International Street fountain, and the punk rock percussion exhibition promises to mesmerize and energize!  Graveyard Shift is also back for its second season at Festhaus, where the likes of Medusa, Scare, Johnny Be Dead, and Dr. Funkenstein entertain with musical spoofs of such classics as Abracadaver (Abracadabra), and Chumbawamba (He gets knocked down, I DIG him up again)!  Each activity is conveniently re-enacted at several times each night, and gives visitors a chance to sit down and relax for a bit while enjoying the productions. 
HALLOWEEN HAUNT EXPERIENCE
HALLOWEEN HAUNT - OVERALL EXPERIENCE: Halloween Haunt is an unmatched seasonal EVENT.  Just as the doors are ready to open, monsters charge out to greet and "attack" customers waiting in line.  From that point on, scares continue through 11 haunts, 4 Fear Zones, 4 live shows, 20 thrill rides, and persists until the park is ready to close hours later, and an intimidating voice orders everyone to "Get out!"  Walks and paths between attractions are elaborately decorated with chilling sights of cemeteries, skeletons and death, while fog and impressive lighting amplify the mystique of the overall experience.  Hidden, undead creatures haunt the midway, and come crawling, sliding, and roaming from all directions at the most unexpected moments!  Attractions are short, but designed to accommodate enormous crowds, thus the courses can't be too lengthy or complex.  Rides don't influence the actual "haunted" aspect of the event, but their contribution to the overall experience can't be ignored.  When considering the event offers 7 hours of seasonal entertainment, it scores much higher as a whole, than any of the individual attractions otherwise would if considered individually.  One could easily spend $25 to $40 at just a couple of haunted houses and they'd be over in less than 20 minutes each.  For the same investment, the fun at Halloween Haunt lasts all night long!

Overall Event Analysis: 
LENGTH - 10, Everyone's DYING to get in, and the fun lasts the entire night!  The event is unmatched from an entertainment perspective. 
ACTORS - 8, Character intensity and dialogue has improved in comparison to past years.  Delivery is still often abrupt, but they're heading in the right direction, and costuming is strong. Tombstone Terror-tory features the largest cast size, and rightfully so as it is the lengthiest attraction, while CarnEVIL has the fewest.  A dominance of professional theatrical make-up creates legitimate looking monsters - overpoweringly bloody and gory in appearance, and not easily forgotten.  Wolf Pack earns honors for having the most improved acting, as the werewolves are now savagely eating people, etc.
SCARINESS - 8, Excellent soundtracks and lighting enhance and personalize every haunt..  Tombstone Terror-tory boasts the spookiest music.  CarnEVIL remains weak and cries out for more threatening clowns.  Scares are often limited across the board by the short durations of the attractions.
DESIGN - 8½, The transformation from fun-filled amusement park, to demented Halloween Haunt is masterful., and each haunt, has its own unique theme.  Transition zones between scenes are appropriately of minimal length, while the mazes themselves are intentionally short by design in order to accommodate enormous crowds.  The net result nestles scenes closely together, thus delivering a high ratio of scares per square foot.  Soundtracks, and quality of lighting are major assets. Madame Fatale's Cavern of Terror remains most impressive from a decoration standpoint.  Delta Delta Die and Board to Death freshen the event with their debuts, as do Backwoods Bayou and Ed Alonzo's Psycho Circus of Magic & Mayhem.  Elevator makes a triumphant return to Urgent Scare, "living grave" is an impressive addition to Wolf Pack, and the use of fire is an outstanding feature at Madame Fatale's.  Other noticeable achievements include the CGI at Delta Delta Die and the crashing letter K in Board Games. Massacre Manor, Mysteria, and Cut Throat Cove are now memories, but their replacements create a livelier atmosphere.  On the down side, mystifying spray of blood has been lost from Slaughter House, and "hit and run" auto continues to be misplaced in that attraction as well.  Club Blood shouldn't have electrocutions, and the series of dressing room doors belonging to some well known circus performers have been lost from CarnEVIL, and 3-D glasses continue to cost extra.  Finishes are way too weak and unimpressive in every single attraction.  The event's popularity challenges its ability to score much higher because of huge crowds, and even longer lines.
PROPS - 8, Most of the haunts are especially detailed, but lack impressive animatronics. The debut of the Delta house brings CGI technology to the event, but the overall lack of jaw-dropping, mechanical scares hurts the score.
VALUE - 10, For the second consecutive year, pricing is up a dollar or two depending on which night you choose to visit, and the method of purchasing tickets.  Buying online offers the greatest savings.  By all means consider the "Fright Lane" front of the line option in order to fully appreciate everything Halloween Haunt has to offer.
OVERALL RATING:  9, Other haunted attractions just can't compete with Kings Island from an EVENT perspective.  The inclusion of 20 "thrill rides" can't be ignored when looking at the overall picture.  The haunts continue to improve every year, with more elaborate and realistic décor, and the quality of costuming and acting gets better as well.  Halloween Haunt's atmosphere in a class all to itself, and can't be duplicated elsewhere.  Madame Fatale's Cavern of Terror, Club Blood, and improvements at Wolf Pack, Urgent Scare, and Slaughter House make them all strong attractions.  The new Delta Delta Die and  Board Games are both uniquely themed, and nicely compliment the overall experience. While visiting KINGS ISLAND, don't miss the opportunity to enjoy Fright Feast in the picnic grove - an all you can eat meal consisting of fried chicken, pulled pork, hamburgers, potato salad, baked beans, ice cream treats and unlimited soft drinks all for just $9.99!  Purchase includes a one-time, front of the line admission pass to the all new Board to Death attraction!  Darkness falls, evil rises at Halloween Haunt!
WARNING:  Not recommended for young children! Halloween Haunt includes graphic scenes, suggestive themes and intense imagery that is intended for mature audiences.  Parents are encouraged to choose Trick of Treat with the Dinosaurs, or Soak City's all new Howl-O-Palooza for a more family friendly atmosphere (11 AM - 6 PM Saturdays and Sundays).

Halloween Haunt at Kings Island
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