|THE HAUNTED HOTEL:
Spooky music welcomes patrons into The Haunted Hotel, where a discontented
concierge orders everyone up against the wall, violates their space, then
rants and raves over a lost key. Abandoning hope of determining its
location, he ushers guests past a honking horn, and into a rickety old
elevator that violently shakes, and thrashes its way to the destination
of choice amid atrocious sounds, sparks from a short-circuiting panel,
and a repetitive encounter with an overzealous attendant. Repeated
interruptions of light finds him moving around in the dark like a cat,
and assaulting from every angle imaginable, even overhead! Arrival
constitutes a pair of CGI encounters - first, the blood-spraying zombie
assassination, followed by the asylum door. A brief exchange with
a treacherous desk clerk is sandwiched in between, alongside a hanged former
tenant, then the course departs into the clutches of a straight-jacketed
lunatic. Horrific sounds give way to wailing sirens as the darkened
progression through "firecrackers" and shock walls abdicate to a broadside
mechanical monster attack! Waiting in the wings, an S&M-crazed
ghoul detains a female group member with his chain, as continuance across
moving floor panels, and through body bags and severed limbs vaults into
an aggressive altercation with a barbaric butcher, who has his way
with everyone in the crowd, grabbing onto them, throwing them around, slamming
and banging everything in sight, and pressing the sharp blade of his deadly
meat cleaver right up against their throats! Fleeing the blood-spattered
horror through a toxic waste holocaust gives rise to a sordid conflict
with a Baphomet-masked fiend leaping into his blasphemous rape from
above in the presence of Bibles attached to the walls, and a sinless baby
nailed to a cross! Vegetation overgrows a bilateral animated skirmish
that protects the ascent upstairs where an irate, one-eyed maintenance
man blocks the duck-under path to an open bar hosted by a possessive wench.
Flashing strobes light the way into a contemptible kitchen of unstable
floors that houses a pair of impetuous Cooks, hammering pots on
counter tops, throwing a pan full of bugs on an innocent bystander, and
forcing another into an oven! From there, it's onto a lightless game
of hide-and-seek that quickly yields through more pulling and tugging to
an engagement with an irrational cretin demanding passersby to "kiss his
piggy!" Sidestepping the request provokes a bedroom assault from
the snarling, drooling Pongo, whose ferocious incursion ensues all
the way up to Haunted Hotel's signature scene of a naked girl taking
a shower! A sudden surprise, and another wicked combatant precede
an eruption of sparks inside a murderous torture chamber, where a helpless
victim is ripped in two by some sort of diabolical contraption amid a stockpile
of dismembered body parts! Transition outdoors is hindered by a metal-blaring
battle with enraged army men that climaxes with an unseen machine gun blast-out
into the restricted area of Project Alpha, where air raid sirens
blare, and a duo of fanatical chainsaw goons give chase past barrels, through
a short claustrophobic tunnel, in and out of a surveillance room, beyond
a mechanical monster in a cage, and into the trauma unit of Dr. Singe
offering free prostate exams courtesy of the glowing, green syringes he
has for fingers! Escaping the grasp of the malevolent physician renews
the gas-guzzling, quadruple onslaught through an abandoned, blue-light
flashing ambulance, and directly into the path of a near-miss hit-and-run
truck that finally exposes the hard sought out exit from Haunted Hotel!
LENGTH - 8½, 18½
ACTORS - 10, Characters have always
had the reputation of being THE most aggressively intense in the business,
and this is arguably their best performance to date! Although many
new faces are now onboard, they know what's expected of them in order to
live up to attraction's reputation, and they don't disappoint! In
customary fashion, many are armed with a multitude of deadly weapons, and
covered with blood! Dialogue is employed where possible, although
there isn't a lot of opportunity for excessive communication due to overwhelming
nature of the atmosphere. Profanity has been reduced this season,
but they make up for it by physically accosting everyone in the group,
perhaps a little too much, and Concierge's caressing is a bit too
close for comfort. Elevator is much improved this year due
to the presence of a much more imposing Attendant, although it's
still a notch below its "glory days" level. Other favorites include
fiend, Cooks, Pongo, and Chainsaw Goons, however
picking standouts isn't easy because so many of them go outrageously berserk!
Loony cleverly tells customers to feel their way along the walls so
they don't miss the shock skins. German speaking Nazi combatants are unfortunately
no longer present. Bar and hide-and-seek scenes are weak, not only
from an acting perspective, but in general. Other less effective,
non-important characters have properly been eliminated.
which didn't fit the Hotel theme are also gone, even though their
replacements raise eyebrows for similar reasons, as does military presence.
"Zipper mouthed fiend,"
Necromantic Dominatrix, and
missed. Audio accompaniment is loud, and several of the ghouls wear masks,
so they need to speak up to insure that their words are discernable.
Total Characters = 26.
SCARINESS - 10, NOBODY makes customers
fear for their lives like Haunted Hote! The attraction annually
delivers some of the most terrifying frights the industry has to offer!
This year, the legend continues, as irate acting to yields high-impact
scares! Contact is elevated here above all the rest, which authenticates
confrontations to the utmost degree, and an assaulting soundtrack compliments
each and every scene. Some of the 2012's deficient scenes have cranked
it up, as discussed below.
DESIGN - 9½, Blood and gore
profusely cover the walls, the environment is more aggressive than ever,
and the central theme is adhered to more so than in the past. Course duration
is a bit longer as well. Last season's new beginning returns
in a tamed down fashion. Cussing, and dropping "f-bombs" have been
eliminated, and there's still no rhyme or reason for the lost key that
is so desperately being searched for. The scene is far more offensive
than it is scary because the character goes overboard with his space violating
tactics, to the point we thought he was going to kiss us! A pat down
might be more efficient, or just go ahead and take it one step further,
and conduct a strip search! Elevator and Chainsaw Maze
much more intense and aggressive this year, returning to their standard
as suggested in last season's review. CGI timing has also been addressed
as recommended, and they work much better in tandem, which has been achieved
by relocating the Zombie shoot to the main level. Unholy scene
involving Bibles, an infant nailed to a cross, and the Baphomet-masked
fiend is visually impressive, and among the best of the new arrivals.
Duck-under at top of stairs also debuts, so watch your heads! Nun
childbirth, Barber's brain transplant, and green laser tunnel with
"floating" axe have all been lost. Military scene was more powerful
with the use of German speaking soldiers. Shotgun suicide was removed
a season ago, and nothing as visually appalling takes its place.
Bar scene is useless, as is hide-and-seek. Customary H2 style
"music morphs" seem less noticeable, shower scene needs spicing up, and
traditional Christmas trademark remains gone, but not forgotten.
is absent from outdoor segment, which has added enclosures with the introduction
of Project Alpha, but it doesn't make much sense from a theme standpoint.
PROPS - 9½, Things have
been relocated and moved around a bit the past few years, but not much
is new, with the exception of the ambulance. Elevator is the
best of its kind, and CGI's are now paired. Other technological advances
are also present in the form of claustrophobic air bags, shock skins, firecrackers,
etc., and all the props are in working order. Machine gun remains
a phenomenal scare as well. Vortex has been canned from the outdoors,
but isn't really scary or necessary. Broadside surprise, and
guarding the bottom of the stairs are among the few mechanical startles
on display. Additional animatronics would prove beneficial.
VALUE - 9½, Price of admission
remains unchanged this year, costing just $16 on Thursdays and Sundays
with their $2 website coupon. A Season Pass is being offered
this year for $49.99, and includes UNLIMITED haunt access, a Haunted
Hotel t-shirt, one-time VIP admission, entrance to their "lights out"
event, a picture ID card key, custom keepsake photo, 10% off all merchandise,
special e-mail offers and event notifications, and a ticket to 7th Street
Haunt! Not a bad deal considering it's arguably THE most terrifying
haunt in existence!
RATING: 9½ (9.64),
2008's HAUNT OF THE YEAR came under new ownership a season ago, but the
attraction hasn't missed a beat, and picks up right where it left off!
This year's installment reasserts its dominance with one of its best performances
ever, all but wrapping up OVH's Best of Kentucky Award, and furthering
the legacy of the one and only