A banner façade welcomes patrons into a lengthy, strobe-lit corridor
inhabited by a handful of cretins serving up some immediate scares in advance
of entering the remodeled Manor itself. The prolonged stroll
eventually introduces a fog-filled room of glowing worms highlighted by
a pirate-like creature in a coffin, then exits back into more maze-like
darkened hallways as sirens sound, and initiate a few more run-ins with
dark-figured beings, and eventually into a monster-laden encounter where
growls and snarls fill the air, and an animated corpse suddenly shoots
out of a nearby casket. Severed heads hang from the ceiling, and
maggots rain down from overhead chasing disgusted patrons into a claustrophobic
tunnel, then through numerous body bags, and into a crypt-like dungeon
harnessing numerous corpses, mummies, out-of-casket surprises, etc. before
escaping through the mouth of an enlarged skull. Skeletal remains
escort the path past more caskets, then another claustrophobic enclosure
guides the course to the attraction's original entrance guarded by Fluffy,
the dog, and into a spiritually active living room where zombified inhabitants
spring to life, and a legless corpse moves about by means of a walker!
Shutters bang loudly; doors open and close on their own, and are covered
with bloody hand prints; and drop-down portrait windows charter unexpected
ghoul attacks all of which persists into a restless bedroom that finds
a chest of drawers rattling about of its own volition, and some poor soul
that's suffered the fate of being gutted, and having his intestines hung
from the ceiling above! Exploding air cannons bring about a filthy,
unkempt bathroom offering up an immediate startle, then its on through
a sheet maze, and into the clutches of enraged clowns accompanied by a
high-pitched, eardrum-piercing siren; a baby bed surprise; and a clown
meeting his demise in an electric chair. A spooky chandelier mysteriously
swings above a wretched looking dinner table, as vibrating floors and various
undead family members pound from within glass enclosed panels along the
way into a murderous kitchen where pots and pans come crashing down in
the presence of bloody carcasses, dismembered body parts, and monsters
leaping out of cupboards and freezers! From there it's onto a library
that provides an escape route of sorts, mired by a quick vampire encounter,
then along a cornstalk covered fence concluding the Ghostly Manor experience.
LENGTH - 7½, 14 min.
ACTORS - 8, Characters are well hidden throughout, but
few have any interesting to say. First three actors simply stood
in the dark corridor as we passed by without out interacting with us at
all. Best costuming is exhibited in dining room and kitchen areas
where majority of the dialogue took place. Others were mostly attired
in dark garments and robes. Make-up seems uninspired as well.
Total Characters = 31.
SCARINESS - 8½, This is a tough call. Remnants
of the original manor deliver the best scares, but background music is
practically non-existant until scary themes are finally heard beyond the
library. Only other noises originate from the various monsters and
surprises, and a couple of sirens. Soundtrack requires major attention!
New beginning and end are uneventful, and unfortunately lack many scares.
DESIGN - 7½, The Manor itself is good while
it lasts, and as always, showcases numerous mechanical startles, exquisite
décor and detailing, and provides a number of quality scares.
But most unfortunately, the integrity of the house and the flow of events
have been lost. It's now inserted between lengthy, dull corridors.
Original front door entrance has been abandoned, and is sorely missed.
Beginning is far too uneventful, and finish is way too weak. Both
are merely darkened, strobe-lit walkways, not mazes. And there are
two other stand-alone attractions now on the site offering that same theme.
Concluding leg is nothing like what exists inside the house, thus anticlimactic.
Clown siren is uncomfortably too high pitched, and therefore offensive
as opposed to scary. Best new feature is claustrophobic hallway that
inflates while you're making your way through, but not sure that's better
than having it remain fully active at all times. Several of the animatronics
were not in working order, and clowns don't belong in Ghostly Manor.
Covering the fence along the exit route with cornstalks is clever and appreciated,
but needs to enclose some action. Overall duration somehow slipped
by 3 minutes in comparison to our last visit in 2010, when expansion was
the goal. The add-on sections sadly do more harm than good.
PROPS - 9, Another difficult decision due to the way
things have changed. Inside the house, immaculate detailing and numerous
animatronics exist that could easily retain their previous perfect score
in this category, providing everything worked. But the beginning
and end are practically devoid of props, and the overall score suffers
by consequence. Voice enhancement/distortion is no longer seen...
VALUE - 9, Price of admission presented a huge bargain
just a few short years ago costing only $11 - way below the industry standard
for one of the best haunted houses around! That's now increased to
$15 so try to grab their coupon at a local Wendy's location when visiting.
Value applies to what's left of the original Ghostly Manor.
New beginning and ends are worthless. Attraction would score higher
without them being there, even if it only lasted 10 minutes.
RATING: 8, This is one of the most complicated
ratings Ohio Valley Haunts has ever had to do. It's like combining
two different attractions into one by inserting an impressive haunted house
into the middle of a mediocre "maze" that really isn't a maze at all.
The 5-haunt facility is new for 2012, and one can only hope that the event
grows and improves over the years. The best bargain lies in the combo
ticket which equates to only $5 per attraction.
|LAKE EERIE FEARFEST - OVERALL
EXPERIENCE: This facility has been recently
remodeled to better compete not only with neighboring Cedar Point,
but many other locations that now offer a collection of short, little haunts.
At Lake Eerie Fearfest, Ghostly Manor is the anchoring leg
of the attraction, and the "mini-haunts" are only designed to entertain
customers by supporting the main event. They're far too brief to
rank on their own - that isn't their intention. Their purpose is
to create an atmosphere, and prolong the Ghostly Manor
thus they have not been scored on an individual basis.
A lot of similarity exists among the varying attractions.
are both lightless maze-like in nature. They should be combined into
one, or given separate personalities. Intermittent flashlights once
used in an extension of Ghostly Manor are no longer present on the
site, but are rarely seen elsewhere, and might be a good way to give Darkmare
its own identity. Eerie Chateau simply picks up where Ghostly
Manor left off, and is basically a annexed remnant edited away from
its predecessor, which doesn't do either one of them any good. Fence
mazes are present inside both
is of the chain-link variety, while the one in Caged is of
the wire-like type). Quarantine also inexplicably houses a spinning
vortex which violates its central theme, and one of it's actors wears a
Myers mask, but is attired in a white lab coat which isn't movie accurate,
in addition to raising the question as to the purpose of
in an "infected"/hospital themed attraction. GREAT scary music is
present in Caged
Eerie Chateau, but needs more of a presence
in Ghostly Manor which is where most of the efforts need to be concentrated.
Glow-in-the-dark arrows plainly identify the correct path through Caged
which defeats the purpose, but is an unfortunate necessity mandated by
the fire marshal and local building codes, thus out of their control.
Strobes can be seen overhead in the latter bleeding over from other attractions,
therefore compromising the darkness it's designed to portray. "Stay
and play" has no business in Chateau. Acting as a whole is
poor throughout, consisting mostly of crazed laughter, and an occasional
"wooooooo!" which is certainly out of place in a frightening attraction
OVERALL RATING: 8, Considering the overall
picture, the "mini-haunts" are included for only an additional $10 ($2.50
each) on top of the main draw, which costs $15. Are they worth it?
Probably as a way of lengthening a night of seasonal entertainment.
Even so, a lot doesn't make sense from a design standpoint. Things
are all over the place. Developing the site into a multi-attraction
venue is understandable, but Ghostly Manor should not be compromised
in the process, and sadly that's what's happened, at least temporarily.
In all fairness, we visited on opening night, so hopefully these
issues can be resolved in time, and restore the legacy of Ghostly Manor.