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Ohio Valley Haunts
Reviewed 10/4/13
Wilmington Haunted Hollow Ride
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1261 W. Dalton Rd.
Wilmington, OH  45177
(937) 382-6147
Sept 20 - Nov 2
$13 Hollow / $10 Hotel & Pen.
$20 Combo Ticket includes all 3/$35 VIP
The RideWILMINGTON HAUNTED HOLLOW RIDE:   Every Autumn, the fields of Clinton County come alive with fire-breathing terror!  Open-air buses, having their tops cut away serve as transportation into Wilmingtonís Haunted Hollow.  These man-made convertibles speed off into the spook infested woods where a variety of ghouls including clowns; Michael Myers; witches; werewolves; a dejected, mechanical pig butchering humans; other animated atrocities, and the patented flame-throwing, horn blasting semis take dead aim on their next victims!  Repeated assaults arise out of the isolated woods as the vehicles maneuver their way through an assortment of scares, and a series of shacks and structures, one of which finds The Devil himself standing an elevated guard over the entrance!  Bi-lateral scares and scenes occur within each building, some of which are complimented by low hanging ceilings and resident pneumatic monsters.  Ghost towns, a haunted house, cemeteries, and colorful 3-D enhancements illuminate the darkness throughout the adventure that hides a pair of treacherous sideswipes, first from a deadly combine, then the first semi encounter that culminates with a spraying surprise!  A few customary chainsaw attacks periodically join the relentless assault, where everyone makes it in, but will Undertaker, Gravedigger, Widowmaker, and the rest of the family allow survival of Dead Man's Curve, and the eventual escape from the Wilmington Haunted Hollow

LENGTH - 8½, 17 minutes. 
ACTORS - 8, There's no shortage of actors, and several make their way onboard the buses in customary fashion.  Dialogue has improved over the past few years, and now witnesses many assailants actually conversing with customers as opposed to just standing there and staring at them.  Some take advantage of cramped spacing within the various buildings to climb on and terrorize passengers, which is a bit more intimidating due to the claustrophobic nature of the attacks, but it hinders the view of several indoor scenes.  Myers is realistic, and another attacker comes out on stilts, but costuming as a whole could stand to be more elaborate.  Total Characters = 39.
SCARINESS - 8½, Characters boarding the bus provide intimidating scares.  Low ceilings and narrow walls provide a similar effect within the garage-like structures.  The event was far more threatening when it incorporated additional motorized chases that included a bulldozer and a light flashing, siren wailing ambulance.  Supplementing the adventure with more vehicular pursuits and mechanical surprises would elevate the score.
DESIGN - 8½, The Hollow boasts arguably the most unique scare around!  Combine and spraying truck surprise are new for 2013, but police car and red, snorting bull have been lost.  More structures populate the landscape in comparison to a few years back, some of which are supplemented with 3-D paint, which doesn't necessarily make them any scarier, but it really makes them stand out in the darkness, which is a much more appreciated effect than is the case in typical clown houses where it's most often used.  The course has been expanded by a few minutes, but fire is no longer utilized other than on truck exhaust, which is a shame as it always provides a memorable scare, and soundtrack remains absent from the majority of the adventure as well.  In addition, only one truck chased the bus on the night of our visit, which negatively impacts the pursuit.  Hopefully, this isn't how the chase is now conducted on a weekly basis.  If so, it's a major design flaw, as the Fire Breathing Semis (plural) are the main reason people flock to the attraction, and having only one truck giving chase potentially lessens the crowd once word gets out. 
PROPS - 8, Scenes are adequately detailed, and enhanced on occasion with 3-D effects.  Additional shacks have now found their way onto the site, and some mechanical monsters inhabit The Hollow as well.  Increasing their density would help the attraction deliver more scares.  Pig devouring humans is among the favorites, as is laser tunnel which creates the spectacle of fog completely engulfing the entire bus!  Use of fire has all but been eliminated, which is a step in the wrong direction.  An impressive addition would be utilizing giant claustrophobic air bags to "swallow up" the buses as they enter into one of the buildings, if this could be done.
VALUE - 9, Hollow admission goes up $1, but the general admission combo ticket remains unchanged.  VIP combo deal has experienced a $5 price hike. 
RATING:  8½, This is an enormously popular event that conceivably delivers the most impressive scare the industry has to offer!  More buses are being run this year in order to attempt to reduce wait time, but count on it being crowded, and arrive early for the best experience!

Slaughter HotelSLAUGHTER HOTEL:  Suits of armor and impressive shields accompany a voice enhanced entrance into the once glamorous Hotel, that presents an Asylum Door CGI, then explores a number of rooms including a dusty library.  Various entrapments are induced by previously barricaded or springed doors, as the course progresses along skull lined corridors, beneath impressive chandeliers, and through a fog-filled mirror maze to a funeral wake, then into complete darkness.  Several fiends, and even bloody brides compromise progression through cramped passages, low ceilings, and hidden escapes encountering mummified corpses and rapidly spinning vortex along the way.  Persistence through a devious maintenance room and cobweb covered dwelling quarters is eventually rewarded by check out time at Slaughter Hotel.

LENGTH - 6, 7½ minutes.
ACTORS - Total Characters = 7.
SCARINESS/DESIGN/PROPS - Scenes exhibit adequate décor.  Sounds are creepy in places, but unfortunately absent from others.  Monsters are well hidden, and cleverly encourage customers to explore various maze passages.  Route leading away from CGI needs to be shut off at first so the surprise isn't missed.  Elevator is absent this year, which was one of the attraction's best scares. 
VALUE - $10 is a bit steep as a stand alone event.  The 3-attraction combo ticket presents the best value.
Rating: 5

Nightmare PenNIGHTMARE PENITENTIARYA hidden door provides entrance into the prison-like environment of cramped passageways, and numerous blocks of jail cells.  Loud, atrocious sounds and music welcome the dimly lit adventure that provokes a number of confrontations including one that first witnesses bloody handprints on a Plexiglas window, followed by the sudden appearance of an irate fiend on the opposite side viciously pounding in a desperate attempt to secure his freedom. Escape through a spinning vortex is compromised by a defiant inmate bound by a straightjacket, as continuance through more tight, darkened corridors exposes intimidating whispers warning "you better run!"   Navigation progresses across a multi-colored, surprise-containing bridge, then into a boiler room that hides a surprising alligator attack, and onto a medical mishap that finds sheet covered corpses lying on gurneys.  CGI's, secret doors, and body bags, hinder the journey that climaxes with a machine gun blast out of the fence enclosed, barbed wire protected Nightmare Pen.

LENGTH - 5½, 6½ minutes.
ACTORS - Total Characters = 12. 
SCARINESS/DESIGN/PROPS - Soundtrack is loud in places, but nearly inaudible in others. Disorienting sirens, buzzers, and alarms, which would seem appropriate for the environment are absent for whatever reason.  Electrocutions are missing this season, and a CGI surprise wasn't working for the second consecutive year, nor was machine gun.  Bridge surprise is memorable, but 3-d is out of place, and timing was off on its startle.  Presence of spooky chandeliers, alligator and medical personell wearing lab coats conflict with the theme, thus don't make sense.  Additional orange prison suits would be much more complimentary. 
VALUE - Charging $10 for a 6½ minute attraction is just too much. The 3-haunt combo ticket is the only sensible option.
Rating:  6

Haunted HollowDR. BAC -  T' - LIFE AND THE UNGRATEFUL DEAD:   Entertaining the queue line outside the hollow is the animated musical experience of a lifetime.  You gotta see it to believe it!  Check it out!
NOTE: The Wilmington Haunted Hollow is reviewed with limited details at the request of the owner who asks that we not disclose very many specifics of the attractions' designs and scares.  The real value lies in the 3-haunt discount ticket, as the uniquely themed, complimentary haunts wouldn't score high on their own due mostly to their short duration, but nicely support the venue's main event, and give customers something else to do on site when visiting.