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HAUNTED HOUSE REVIEWS
2008 HAUNT OF THE YEAR!
THE HAUNTED HOTEL
Ohio Valley Haunts
RATING:
Category:  Professional Venue
Reviewed 9/20/14
Haunted Hotel
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LOCATION & ADMISSION INFO:
3000 S. 4th St.
Louisville, KY  40208
(502) 634-4478
Sept. 12 - Nov 1 Fri/Sat 8 PM - 2AM
Thurs/Sun in Oct. & 10/29 8 PM - Midnight
$20 ($29 VIP) - $2 Thurs/Sun coupon on website
 "Lights off" Zombie Outbreak events Nov. 15
REVIEW
THE HAUNTED HOTEL:  As the main door that protects the entrance to one of the most hostile environments the industry has ever known slides open, spooky music leaks out from within welcoming patrons into the dimly lit, smoke-filled foyer of The Haunted Hotel where an all too friendly undead concierge touches, caresses, and violates the space of new arrivals, then ushers guests into a rickety old elevator that immediately begins to violently thrash and shake amid some of the most atrocious sounds you've ever heard, "sparks" from a short-circuiting control panel, and repetitive encounters with a maniacal attendant that find him climbing on the rails, and providing a number of face to face confrontations!  Successive interruptions of light result in his appearance in the most unimaginable places undermining everyone's sense of security with his relentless threats!  Eventual arrival at some unknown destination exposes a pair of CGI presentations - first in the form of a blood-spraying zombie assassination, followed by a distempered girl with an axe smashing the glass of an unbreakable asylum door!  Sandwiched in between is a brief, but affectionate desk clerk exchange that promotes a special drink on sale at the soon to be visited upstairs bar, then another enraged fiend grabs a group member and drags him off into complete darkness!  More horrific sounds give way to wailing sirens as lightless progression through "firecrackers" and shock walls abdicates to a broadside mechanical monster surprise that emerges from an oversized drop panel!  Continuance across moving floor panels, then through body bags and severed limbs vaults into an aggressive altercation with a barbaric butcher, OVH's 2013 Actor of the Year!  The psychopathic madman goes into a complete rage, grabbing onto everyone in the crowd, throwing them around, slamming and banging everything in sight, producing sparks by viciously rubbing his murderous knives together while promising, "I'm going to cut you into f*cking pieces," and holding his deadly blades to our throats!  Fleeing the blood-spattered horror through a toxic waste holocaust gives rise to a sordid room decorated with Bibles attached to walls, and a sinless baby nailed to a treacherous cross in the presence of an unholy minister preaching about "the dark angel!"  Desperate reminders are heard from an innocent girl, "I told you not to come!  It's not safe!  IT'S NOT SAFE," as she encourages escape that dumps into a bilateral animated skirmish protecting the ascent upstairs that's guarded by another short-tempered goon blocking the duck-under path to a the aforementioned saloon, where some poor soul has been hanged, and the bartender whispers, "You could be next!"  Flashing strobes light the way into a contemptible kitchen of unstable floors that houses a pair of impetuous Cooks hammering pots on counter tops, then through a green laser tunnel, into a dispute with a maid spraying everyone with her cleaning solution.  From there, it's onto a candle-lit surgical strife with a malpracticing physician in need of male body parts requesting permission to "decapitate your d*ck," in advance of a new bathroom scene that discovers Daphne the plumber eating out of her plunger, as the clogged sink pipes explode blasting water everywhere! More wretched encroachments are still to come including a visit to a diabolical torture chamber where a hapless victim is ripped in two by some sort of diabolical contraption in an area stockpiled with dismembered human appendages, and another assailant blasts sparks skyward.  Transition outdoors is hindered by an impromptu battle with enraged army men that climaxes with an unseen machine gun blast-out into the clutches of a squad of chainsaw henchmen that give relentless pursuit through unsure corridors, another laser vortex, a white claustrophobic passage, a video surveillance room, trauma unit, and even into the back of an ambulance!  Nothing slows them down, not even a near miss-hit-and-run auto that finally discloses the hard sought exit from Haunted Hotel!

Analysis:
LENGTH - 8½, 15 minutes. 
ACTORS - 10, Characters here have always had the reputation of being THE most aggressively intense in the business, and once again they don't disappoint.  Some new faces are present once again, but the entire cast knows what's expected of them in order to live up to attraction's reputation.  In customary fashion, many come equipped with a variety of deadly weapons, and are covered with blood!  Threatening dialogue is employed where possible, although the frenzied atmosphere and violent acts that exist within overshadow just about anything they could possibly say!  Use of profanity has been reduced again this season, which only makes the situations where it still exists that much more meaningful.  Costuming is legit, and masks that are used are unique and memorable.  Amount of time spent with the concierge has been reduced, thus rendering his caressing more appropriate and tolerable.  Elevator attendant is outstanding, and approaches the level seen at the attraction during its "glory days." Butcher delivers another Actor of the Year performance.  Chainsaw henchmen are relentless, but toss a coin when it comes to naming other standouts because so many of them go outrageously berserk, and physically accost everyone that enters!  Doctor is memorable for coming out of the closet with his phallus fetish, as is Daphne the Plumber for dominating the new "exploding" bathroom scene and eating off her plunger.  S & M encounter has unfortunately been lost, as has the laser-fingered Dr. Singe, straightjacketed loony that cleverly instructed customers to feel their way along in the dark (so shock skins aren't missed), and Baphomet-masked fiend that was perfectly suited to his scene.  Replacement characters aren't as high impact, and Desk clerk is a bit too calm for this place. Total Characters = 27.
SCARINESS - 10, If there was a 10+, they'd get it!  Contact is elevated here above all the rest, which authenticates confrontations to the utmost degree, and an assaulting soundtrack compliments each and every scene.  NOBODY makes customers fear for their lives like Haunted Hotel!  The attraction annually delivers some of the most terrifying frights the industry has to offer!  Other haunts may touch you, but this place does it to the point that you often couldn't tell if it was real or not if you didn't know it was a staged performance.  If you go to haunted houses to get scared, then buy a ticket to Haunted Hotel.  If you don't want to be scared, go someplace else!!  It's as simple as that.
DESIGN - 9½, Blood and gore profusely cover the walls, the environment is aggressive practically throughout, and the central theme is adhered to with the exception of the military presence. "Lost key" opening has been abandoned since it really served no purpose, which renders concierge much more effective, but comes with the consequence of cutting back on overall course endurance.  Cussing and dropping "f-bombs" has all but been eliminated.  Elevator and Chainsaw Maze are as intense and aggressive as ever.  CGI timing is perfect, although the front desk segment could use a bit of action on it's own.  Bar has been strengthened with the added site of a hanged body, but actually witnessing the event taking place would be even more powerful.  Unholy scene involving Bibles, an infant nailed to a cross, and unrighteous minister remains effective, but was a bit more so last season with the involvement of the Baphomet-masked fiend supplementing the scare.  Trademark shower scene has been revamped, but not improved.  Hide and seek is gone (thank The Lord), and a new bathroom segment debuts containing an exploding surprise.  Maze has received a great deal of attention as well. Shotgun suicide, nun childbirth, German speaking soldiers, laser fingered Dr. Singe, etc. have all been lost over the past few seasons, and nothing as visually impressive or memorable has come along to take their places.  H2 style "music morphs" aren't as prevalent as they once were.  Additional entrapments, segments like the aforementioned suicide, pick-a-door that was present in the maze a few seasons back, and interactive scares that get customers involved in the happenings need to be incorporated into the course in order to extend duration.
PROPS - 9½, Lots of technologically advanced props are on display including a pair of CGI's, claustrophobic air bags, firecrackers, shock skins, lasers, machine gun, etc., and they're all in working order!  Hellevator has and always will be the best of its kind!  Broadside surprise, and Beasts guarding the bottom of the stairs are among the few mechanical startles on display.  Additional animatronics would prove beneficial, and maybe even a monster or two if they could find room to put them.
VALUE - 9½, A $2 price hike goes into effect for 2014, which makes the cost of admission an even $20.  While that makes things a lot easier at the ticket office, that's really expecting a lot even though you're paying for what's arguably THE most terrifying haunt in existence!  Take advantage of their $2 coupon (valid Thursdays and Sundays ONLY) that's available on their website if you can.
RATING:  9½ (9.64), 2008's HAUNT OF THE YEAR, and last season's BEST OF KENTUCKY winner came under new ownership a few seasons ago, but the attraction hasn't missed a beat!  This year's installment presents another very powerful effort, furthering the attraction's legacy!  Once again, if you go to haunted houses to get scared, then buy a ticket to Haunted Hotel.  If you DON'T want to be scared, then go someplace else! 

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