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Ohio Valley Haunts
Haunted Hotel
Category:  Professional Venue
Reviewed 9/12/15
LENGTH: - Duration 15 Minutes 7
ACTORS: - # 26 8
- Costuming
- Dialogue
- Interaction 9+
- Intensity/Delivery
SCARINESS: - Ambience 9+
- Fearfulness
DESIGN: - Concept
- Flow 10
- Lighting 9
- Soundtrack 9
- Changes
PROPS: - Quality 9
- Quantity/Density 9+
VALUE: - Cost $20 9
ANALYSIS: This year's experience begins in customary fashion with a brief introduction courtesy of the Hotel's resident Concierge, followed by an eventful elevator ride, and concludes as expected with one of the most brutal "chainsaw rapes" in the history of the business.  What happens in between is the stuff nightmares are made of!  Shock walls, shooting sparks, CGI's, deafening music, moving floors, exploding "firecrackers," wailing sirens, laser hallways, claustrophobic passages, smoke erupting from ceilings and floors, and even bubbles and a spraying washing machine are all on display inside this legendary Kentucky haunted house.  In addition, some of the most terrorizing characters in the industry have called this place home through the years, as evidenced by a snorting butcher placing his knife to visitors' throats, another distempered brute physically forcing our faces onto a table emitting sparks, and of course, the chainsaw horde finale that make your life a living Hell before eventually permitting escape!  Other characters that give memorable performances include bathroom girl eating soiled toilet paper out of a filthy commode, gas-masked gal drinking water spewing from burst pipes, barfly seductress, enraged captive trapped inside a glass enclosure near the beginning of the outdoor segment, and orange prison attire-like assailant stalking our every move from atop one of the pods alongside the maze.  Frights have been rearranged somewhat for 2015, with a hit-and-run truck making an action-packed impact in a long-time weak area near the top of the staircase; a pair of vegetative monsters finding new homes in much more powerful positions, where one of them now unleashes a path invading assault; and the return of the machine gun to its original location blasting customers out of the maze.  The hotel theme is adhered to throughout, but a lot of this year's other changes are subtle in nature, and/or focus on routing and building maintenance, as opposed to introducing new jaw-dropping scares we've grown accustomed to.  Costuming remains bloody although not elaborate, showcases some of the most unique masks in the industry, and delivery is always intense, but dialogue falters on occasion exemplified by "How are you doin' tonight?" which certainly doesn't belong in The Haunted Hotel. 

A few other setbacks include the loss of animatronic Mongo, which has only been replaced by an ordinary scare, and some character demeanor has shifted from "kick ass" to insane giggling and laughter, at least for the time being.  Soundtrack is loud throughout as previously mentioned, but no longer consistantly morphs as peace and quiet gives way to all Hell breaking loose like it did in the attraction's glory days.  The beginning isn't as strong, profanity has mostly been eliminated, and violence as a whole seems to have taken a step back this season, but properly so in most cases because the physicality of pushing and shoving was beginning to breach on the edge of going overboard.  Visual atrocities have also subdued over the past several years as well, and that trend unfortunately continues with the elimination of the darkened ceremony exploiting religion (baby nailed to cross), and nothing nearly as impressive coming along to take its place.  And while positioning of the aforementioned hit-and-run truck makes sense if you think of the elevator dropping into the basement, then the stairs returning the course to street level, anyone familiar with the structure itself knows they're on the 2nd floor, and the route departs down another flight of stairs to the outdoors.  Nevertheless, that's still THE BEST scare that location has ever seen by far!  Elevator continues to outperform those seen elsewhere by leaps and bounds, but concierge needs to stay in his own scene - there isn't room for him inside, and new attendant needs all the space he can get to perfect his aerial assaults that annually contribute to making this entrapment better than the rest.  Chainsaw maze finisher is as relentless as always, and presence of the pod-walking stalker is a major positive.  Introducing a few high-impact, or mechanical surprises would restore this attraction to dominance for years to come. 

Haunted Hotel always contends for Haunt of the Year Honors, and captured 2014's Best of Kentucky Award for the second season in a row!  The attraction's unprecedented viciousness has always been its claim to fame.  In all fairness, we visited on opening weekend, so expect shortcomings to be addressed in the weeks ahead.  Some tweaks here and there, a little seasoning of newbies, and additional pneumatic/animatronic/actortronic upgrades are needed to put them back on top where they belong.

Haunted Hotel
3000 S. 4th St., Louisville, KY  40208
(502) 634-4478
Sept. 11 - Oct 31 Fri/Sat 8 PM - 2AM
Thurs/Sun in Oct. & 10/28 8 PM - Midnight
$20 ($29 VIP) - $2 Thurs/Sun coupon on website
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