OHIO VALLEY HAUNTS MULTI - VENUE HAUNT OF THE YEAR!
OF ILLUSION HAUNTED SCREAM PARK
below logos for reviews of each individual haunt
Attractions and Zombie Sniper Patrol)
Ohio 45042/(513) 423-9960
for haunts ($49.99 VIP) - plus $5 parking
ONLY): $24.99 ($39.99 VIP) (Trail CLOSED)
discount online/$5 Coupons at Kroger
logo (center) to visit their website
LIVE nightly entertainment on the STAGE OF RAGE, tasty refreshments
at the CREEPY CAFE, and adult beverages at the ALL NEW VOODOO
SNIPER PARTOL: New to Land of Illusion
for 2013 is Zombie Sniper Patrol. Patrons actually participate
in this unique attraction by climbing aboard one of several customized
U.S. Army cargo trucks equipped with rows of paintball gun turrets mounted
along both sides of each vehicle. Each paying customer is seated
behind one of the weapons, and is in total control of firing off rounds
of ammunition as the rig forges into the woods encountering four separate
scenes of “targets” that include various road signs, abandoned cars, a
deserted campsite, random structures, and of course roaming, undead zombies!
Because of glow-in-the-dark lighting, individual shots can easily be followed
from the time they leave the rifle all the way up until the point of impact.
The object of the challenge, of course, is to eliminate the “walkers” via
direct headshots. Reloading is available for a $5 upcharge if you
happen to use up all of your “bullets” prior to the end of the adventure.
The event takes about 15 minutes to complete, and there
are approximately 3 zombies in each scene. It isn’t scary per se,
and there aren’t any props other than arbitrary static targets within the
various scenes, thus this attraction hasn’t been rated as an actual haunt.
It’s designed to be fun, and actually INVOLVE people in the action.
An additional $12.99 ticket must be purchased in addition to regular park
admission, which might be a bit on the steep side considering customers
have already paid around $35 to get in, but it’s definitely a one-of-a
kind experience, and one that is certain to be enjoyed when visiting Land
of Illusion Haunted Scream Park!
MIDDLETOWN HAUNTED TRAIL: In traditional
fashion, the 2013 Haunt Season officially begins across the old wooden
bridge that leads onto The Middletown Haunted Trail! An immediate
machine gun attack initiates the experience, and ushers in exposure to
some sort of military post equipped with a variety of equipment and camouflaged
gear that climaxes upon arrival at Area 49 - a polluted action zone
inhabited by albino alligators and other animated monsters, and characterized
by piercing air-raid sirens, loud gun shots, other warnings, and alarms;
and with the only option for navigation being a vibrating iron-grated bridge
that terminates into a fenced-in toxic holocaust topped with barbed wire!
Contaminants fill the air reducing visibility to next to nothing, completely
engulfing the escape across a lengthy overpass that obscures a run-in with
notorious slasher Michael Myers! Fleeing through near complete
darkness, and various snarls and growls brings a warning of danger as progression
exposes a command/trauma center supervised by irrational individuals clad
in white smocks that exits onto a Pumpkin Master scene in the midst
of a crazed cornfield. Giant spiders spin demonic webs, wicked witches
seek to add human ingredients to their bubbling brew, and chainsaw wielding
lunatics including Leatherface who is actually referred to by his
cohorts as "Bubba"(the character's name in the movie) subdue and
chop up helpless victims as severed body parts litter the ground, and a
human body is roasted over an open fire! Next up is Cherry Hill's
of Sleepy Hollow ruled by the infamous Headless Horseman, then
it's onto a nearly abandoned ghost town that comes alive with cantankerous
hillbillies confronting trespassers at gunpoint, while attempting to corral
them into a mobile hog pen! A spooky, fog-filled cemetery is on the
horizon, where undead zombies stalk from behind, slithering along the ground
in pursuit! From there, armed guards capture new prisoners and lead
them onboard a bus, then it's into a torture chamber-like "room of doom"
that delivers the course directly into the path of a maniac waving a blowtorch
in advance of a pair of school buses that have been tragically driven straight
into the ground! Howling werewolves beckon the approach to the deepest,
darkest part of the inhospitable woods - an immoral underworld known as
Nest inhabited by eternal female vampires thirsting for blood!
A new kitchen/cafeteria scene is up next serving up nasty delicacies before
a mysterious organ player introduces the School of Hell, where the
lesson being taught is "16 ways to die!" A barbaric instructor
attempts to educate pupils in "jugular cutting" before a spinning skull-lined
vortex transitions into Bloody Buddy's Butcher Shop!
"Who the Hell wants to grill out on a Saturday night when you can have
it raw" Buddy demands as his feminine accomplice tears the intestines
out of a pig! Vibrating morgue-like body vault drawers guarded by
a demented vixen attempting tooth extractions guide the way through freezers
of suspended body bags that serve as the finale to this one mile of night
terrors known as The Middletown Haunted Trail.
LENGTH - 9+, 25½ mins.
ACTORS - 9, The strongest cast at LOI staffs the
star attraction! Witch gave an enthusiastic performance, as
did chainsaw lunatics who cleverly refer to Leatherface by his real
first name! Crawling Zombies are a nice addition to the graveyard!
actor likewise gave a commendable performance, along with those specifically
mentioned in review above. Buddy the butcher remains a standout,
along with his assistant, who have meaningful things to say, and are covered
with blood! Failed attempts at humor that were present last season
have been properly done away with. Things are a bit weaker in the
opening legs of the trail with a predominance of insane giggling, laughter,
and "goofiness." Myers scare could use some strengthening,
perhaps with the addition of a victim. The second half of the trail
(from the witch on) is much better from an acting standpoint, although
cops in bus scene seem more focused on crowd control than delivering scares
- "Keep moving" could be replaced with something more sinister and intimidating.
could stand to be a bit more sultry and seductive. Total Characters
= 47 (down 6 from 2012).
SCARINESS - 9, As mentioned above, the first part of
the trail sets the stage for what lies ahead. As such, aside from
a few early startles, scares take awhile in coming. Introductory
segment portrays a few too many mentally distraught subjects, most of whom
are interchangeable with one another. Focusing more on delivering scares
than lunacy would prove beneficial. Costuming is more elaborate,
bloody and gory this year, which plays a huge role in amplifying scares!
Soundtrack is top notch throughout.
DESIGN - 9, Course continues to get off to a slow start,
as already discussed. Myers scene needs some action, and extensive
military presence would benefit from some sort of purpose as well.
Fog density on bridge reduces visibility to practically nothing, but snarls
and growls heard alongside fail to produce any sort of invasion, which
too would prove beneficial. Scenes are often random in nature and
sometimes don't flow well (military segment yielding to hillbilly cornfield,
and Nest to school to butcher for example). The Nest needs
to crank things up too, and finish should be strengthened, perhaps by having
another Butcher provide some sort of vicious chase-out.
PROPS - 9+, As is the case throughout much of LOI, plenty
of overwhelming props and animatronics are on display, and scenes are elaborately
detailed with Butcher Shop taking home top honors. Blowtorch
is awesome, and Headless Horseman is a classic that's hardly seen elsewhere!
49 likewise is a masterpiece, although it could stand some human interaction.
Scarecrows nailed to crosses have been removed from cornfield, or weren't
well lit or noticed. Props of this nature are always appreciated
because of their uniqueness from the "same old, same old" body parts and
VALUE - 10, The Trail remains the most powerful
attraction on the site, and unlimited entry makes the LOI "trump card"
quite a worthwhile bargain!
RATING: 9. The feature attraction at
up to its billing with a lengthy, action-packed adventure. If you like
haunted trails, this 5-time Ohio Valley Haunts Best Trail winner is not
to be missed!
OF TERROR: The adventure begins through
mysterious doors, covered with ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics where an
immediate, darkened entrapment delivers a mesmerizing warning of imminent
wrath that's sure to be incurred by those violating the sanctity of the
A major surprise is on the horizon before the actual exploration gets underway
through a lengthy claustrophobic passage, then into a skeleton lined corridor
that finds mummified bodies clinging to life, and bony remains rattling
imprisoning bars desperately seeking freedom. Horrific sounds escort
the torch lit path past upright caskets serving as tombs for decomposing
bodies, impressive sarcophaguses, and eventually into the clutches of a
gigantic, irate Impaler that awakens right before your eyes as the course
winds deeper into the tragic catacombs. Enormous bats hover directly
overhead, violently flapping their elongated wings while guarding a pyramid
of skulls, and venomous cobras spew forth poisonous sprays in advance of
a wooden sway bridge that traverses cascading water to the accompaniment
of a sudden, overhead surprise! Musty smells and collapsing ceilings
hamper navigation, while darkness obscures a variety of disgruntled creatures
including a huge, bloody-mouthed behemoth that unexpectedly discovers your
presence and bursts forth to attack! Continuance witnesses the tortured
remains of a forsaken victim violently being thrust upon a bed of nails,
setting the stage for a gun blasting finale for the lost souls brave enough
to invade the Temple of Terror!
LENGTH - 6½, 8 minutes.
ACTORS - 8, Cast size has unfortunately diminished significantly
over the past few years, but there's still a few engagements consisting
of intriguing dialogue. A few "live" mummies were introduced in 2012,
and it's good to see them returning. It would be nice to see their
population multiply as these signature creatures perfectly compliment the
theme, and an increased number of them to stalk and pursue would prove
beneficial and raise the score. Total Characters = 14 (down from
19 a year ago, and 24 in 2011).
SCARINESS - 9+, A frightening mood is set by mysterious
lighting and an exceptional soundtrack that ranges in nature from the unnerving
effect of dripping water to all out assault when the various monsters go
on the prowl!
DESIGN - 9+, Not much has changed from a design standpoint
over the past few years other than increased detailing, and the "bloodying
up" of monster's mouths, etc. Duration remains a bit on the short
side which is the attraction's major weakness, although the experience
is fairly action-packed for the most part while it lasts. "Bridge
over troubled water" scene, animated monsters, imprisoned skeletons, mummies,
and claustrophobic passage are among its most memorable attributes.
Darkness combines with loud, masterful audio enhancement to make your skin
crawl! Additional actors and an amplified finish are necessary to
reach the next level.
PROPS - 9+, Plenty of eye-catching animatronics, appropriate
décor, and mechanical surprises are on display. Use of fountains
and water is quite impressive, and is most suitable for the environment.
Caskets and sarcophaguses leave lasting impressions.
VALUE - 10, An unbeatable bargain on the combo ticket,
and UNLIMITED entries!
RATING: 9, Another independently themed
attraction that's arguably the best haunt at LOI!
PSYCHO'S HAUNTED ESTATE:
A CGI entrapment with a blood splattering surprise introduces the approach
to the house, where groups are confronted at gunpoint and quizzed about
being "infected" in advance of a trek past animated grave diggers, bodies
springing forth from coffins, and a scary old hearse. Bach's Toccata
and Fugue in D minor beckons the way into a funeral wake that's first
seen from a short church pew maze, and yields through a spooky looking
graveyard into an unexpected chainsaw pursuit! Thunder, lightening,
and howling wind accompany the first glimpse of the frightening old house
standing mysteriously off in the distance. Tombstones, animated corpses
propelling from their eternal tombs, a thrashing body hanged by a noose
from a nearby tree, and caged skeletons struggling to escape imprisonment
guide the way past a deranged fiend, and into a newly constructed barn
that houses a moonshiner's distillery adorned with body parts and guts
hanging from the rafters. Into the house itself, the Estate
portion of the experience begins in a botanical greenhouse growing vicious
Venus flytraps among other deadly species, then detours through a freezer
stocked with body bags, and a gory kitchen of recently severed limbs!
A dining room surprise delivers the course into a wicked laboratory, and
a face-to-face confrontation with Dr. Psycho himself engaged in
some sort of diabolical experiment! Various rooms of the spooky old
manor are explored one by one as well as a morgue of vibrating body vault
doors before ascending upstairs to an extended bathroom scene, a dead body
unexpectedly falling through a trap door in the ceiling, and a dentist-like
encounter that witnesses a patient having her flesh torn completely from
her face! A distraught child's playroom gives way through a hallway
of doors covered with blood into the open arms of another monstrous surprise!
Waiting in the wings is a casket-lined corridor of poisonous, hissing snakes
beneath overhead pipes that leak blistering toxic steam impeding the escape
Dr. Psycho's Haunted Estate.
LENGTH - 7, 12½ minutes.
ACTORS - 8½, Dr. Psycho and his Experiment
play more prominent roles in this years installment. The former delivered
several space invading, in-your-face scares while the latter followed us
throughout, actually overdoing it a bit as he was often in the way of mechanical
scares. Similarly, highly motivated, enraged characters occupy practically
the entire house, but goofiness prevails at times during the outdoor segment,
which defies the nature of the attraction. Bloodier and more elaborate
costumes help to elevate the score. "Stilt man" is conspicuous by
his absence, as is unique zombie-like female undertaker that's been replaced
with useless hillbillies that don't fit the haunt's theme. Total
Characters = 16 (consistent with last year).
SCARINESS - 9+, Lots of well-timed traditional, and technological
scares are present from beginning to end. More threatening encounters
exist inside the house as suggested in last year's review! However,
that benefit is offset by out of place rednecks that don't fit in here.
Sound enhancement is somewhat quiet at times.
DESIGN - 9, Outdoor soundtrack is fabulous, even incorporating
blowing wind in accompaniment to thunder and lightening. A new barn
has been added to the outdoor portion of the haunt this year, but it really
feels out of place, lacks impressive pneumatic scares present elsewhere
in the attraction, and is inhabited by mooonshiners which serve no purpose.
It's as though a scene has been copied from the Trail or Shanty
and inserted into a frightening environment where it simply doesn't belong.
Botanical garden, while elaborate, remains uneventful, and should be replaced
given it isn't scary, thus violating the attraction's central theme. Dr.
Psycho properly has more attention focused on him this season, and
he has a much better experiment, but we'd still like to see him somehow
involved in a more dramatic finish. (We were treated to a send-off
engagement with him our first time through, but that wasn't the case on
PROPS - 9½, This attraction is filled with overwhelming
décor complimented by an abundance of animatronics. Props
have been "bloodied up" for the second consecutive season legitimizing
their scares via the additional gore, and contributing to a more frightening
experience. Kitchen severed leg prop, for example, looked real!
VALUE - 9½, Unlimited visitation opportunity propels
the worth of each LOI attraction.
RATING: 9, The Estate continues
to fight it out against The Trail and Temple of Terror as
the dominant LOI attraction! A few tweaks here and there would
result in significant improvement. More aggressive indoor acting is definitely
a step in the right direction!
BAYOU SHANTY: Hillbilly music blares
through the old, country shack that's home to a family of incestuous, off
the wall rednecks. The dimly lit course explores various rooms of
the dilapidated old structure where groups are suddenly confronted for
disturbing some blood-stained laundry and even threatened by a country
boy pointing a crossbow as the jovial bluegrass tunes give way to
a darker, more sinister soundtrack. Total darkness suddenly gives
way to hissing snakes suddenly appearing beneath your feet, as the course
heads through a foul smelling kitchen littered with dirty dishes, and continues
through spider webs inside an undead nursery. Next up is the "Tribute
to Jimmy" room adorned with wheelchairs, a walker, and a corpse having
syringes protruding from its body! Loud horns temporarily blast trespassers
down a path over-run with weeds, where the considerate offer of the use
of a corncob emanates from a cowpoke exiting an outhouse, and another fiend
attacks with an over-sized hand! Body bags, decapitated heads, more
oppressive smells, severed limbs, and a wicked soundtrack lead back inside
where chained freezer doors shake and vibrate on their own, a half human-like
creature screeches at the top of his lungs, and animals have been skinned
alive and left to die inside their cages! Out back rests a dilapidated
old camper that's home to a scruffy character that warns of an impending
gator attack, then a brief wooden maze-like segment dumps into a voodoo
room inhabited by a deranged witch doctor, and a revisited chainsaw assault
that serves as a chase-out of Voodoo Bayou Shanty!
LENGTH - 7, 8½ mins.
ACTORS - 7, Dialogue isn't very good, and another decline
in cast size makes undersized actors more noticeable. Favorites include
confrontational crossbow character, "screecher," and the chainsaw assailant,
who gives a relentlessly aggressive performance. "Witch Doctor"
needs revamped as his insane demeanor isn't in compliance with the role.
He occupies the final room of the Shanty, thus this needs to be
an impressively memorable scene - one that witnesses him conducting some
type of eerie voodoo ceremony would be perfect, and raise the score.
"Wanna play" doesn't belong, nor does the offer to smell one's underwear
coming from an underage actor. TOTAL CHARACTERS = 14 (down from 18
SCARINESS - 7, More enriched engagements with "the family"
are needed in order to provoke more scares. Soundtrack is one of
this attraction's major strengths.
DESIGN - 8, Theme is consistent throughout, but little
has changed in comparison to last season except for illuminating snakes,
and the attraction remains a bit on the short side.
PROPS - 8, Detailing is good, but props aren't nearly
as impressive as those found in Temple of Terror or Dr. Psycho's.
Alligator remains most memorable. Last year's short circuit was absent,
or not functioning, which is a shame as it was one of the more interesting
effects. Foul smells were a noticeable addition.
VALUE - 8½, 2013's Shanty has improved
significantly since its inception, but little in comparison to last year.
The unlimited access policy raises the value of each LOI attraction.
RATING : 7½, Voodoo Bayou Shanty
serves as a differently themed, supporting attraction to "the big three"
at Land of Illusion.
KLOWNS: Coulrophobia (an extreme fear of
clowns) comes to life via fluorescent colors, disorienting strobes, distorting
mirrors, a pair of spinning vortices, a new checkered "surprise," a confusing
chain link fence maze, and some ever present Killer Klowns.
Carnival-style games that include firing a man out of a cannon compliment
the adventure past "Jojo" the gorilla, as well as an "infinite"
tunnel, then through a white claustrophobic passage that exits into a decrepit
kitchen, play room, and a jack-in-the-box surprise as the curtain comes
down on the shenanigans inside LOI's Killer Klowns!
LENGTH - 7, 9½ mins.
ACTORS - 5, Although some of the cast is armed with a
variety of weapons in an effort to solidify their reputation as "killers,"
there simply aren't enough of them, and dialogue is tremendously weak.
Maze is inhabited by only one character who served up a bit of misdirection,
but climbing/jumping antics that were appreciated a few years ago, and
served to supplement confusion are no longer present. Carnival was
empty and uninhabited, and the presence of child actors hurts the score
as well. Total Characters = 10 (down from 20 last year).
SCARINESS - 5, Attractions of this nature must rely heavily
on actors to intimidate and boost scares, and unfortunately that just isn't
DESIGN - 6½, Somewhat short, and nothing all that
unexpected. The 3-D gimmick has been done away with this year which
eliminates the main element that gave this attraction its appeal.
Soundtrack is quiet in places, but cleverly incorporates Insane Clown
Posse songs as noticeable attributes. Carnival is way too uneventful,
and last year's "mirror surprise" has been lost in favor of a quiet Wizard
of Oz scene. Cage maze is mostly dead, and finish remains weak
which is the Achilles' heel of most LOI attractions. An extended
mirror maze would compliment the theme, and likewise lengthen the duration,
raising the score in the process.
PROPS - 6½, Nowhere near as exciting in comparison
to the other attractions. Spinning vortices are appropriate for this
facility, but fiber optic chandelier that impressed with its debut a season
ago is no place to be seen. Not taking advantage of the 3-D aspect
makes no sense.
VALUE - 6, The price of admission includes unlimited
access, but there aren't an abundance of scares, and not taking advantage
of the 3-D paint job is a mistake.
RATING : 6, Because of their inherent nature,
clown houses sink or swim almost totally on the talent of the actors and
diversity of props, the latter of which aren't all that impressive.
The optical effect was the major draw, and its been eliminated.
Note: Revisiting the attraction on 10/26
found the lights darkened, scares on the increase, and the Klowns
FINALLY adopting a Killer instinct! Their more sinister demeanor
stems from the new, more foreboding environment, which is far more intimidating
than the bright lights and colorful, almost cheerful abode they formerly
occupied! This haunt will score significantly higher in 2014 and
beyond if these changes persist, and continue to be implemented.
OF ILLUSION - OVERALL EXPERIENCE: Purchasing
a ticket to Land of Illusion grants UNLIMITED entry to all 4 haunted
houses as well as the trail! That's an unheard of bargain in comparison
to the competition where you stand in line for a while, go through a 15
or 20 minute haunt, and you're done! At LOI's HAUNTED SCREAM
PARK, you're there for the entire night! All of the attractions
are equipped with elaborate technological props making LOI one of
the most highly acclaimed haunts in existence. Online ticketing simplifies
the admission process with access to a special entrance gate that's been
established so those that purchase in advance aren't required to wait in
line to enter the park. V.I.P. admission is also available for only
$10 extra, and entitles guests to front of the line access to all 5 haunted
attractions the whole time they're there. Waiting areas are sheltered
from the weather, and snacks are available from the Creepy Cafe.
Major renovations continue to modernize the facility with
large, newly constructed restrooms, and a full service bar known as The
Voodoo Lounge. Zombie Sniper Patrol debuts for 2013, and
although it requires an additional ticket, it shouldn't be missed as there's
nothing else like it anywhere!
HINT: Ohio Valley Haunts recommends arriving early,
visiting on Friday nights when crowds are a little smaller, and hitting
the Trail first as lines forms early and get longer as the night
goes on. Investing $10 in unlimited front of the line entry is likewise
the way to go.
LOI showcases a variety of frights throughout
their differently themed attractions, and the Park continues to expand
and improve every year. Although cast size has diminished practically
across the board in order to adequately staff Zombie Sniper Patrol,
many scenes and characters have been strengthened with more impressive
costuming, extravagant make-up, and additional blood and gore! However,
too many of the actors mistakenly try to act funny, goofy, insane, or crazy,
as opposed to focusing on providing more quality scares. Higher impact
finales to each attraction would also prove beneficial.
OVERALL RATING 9½, The event achieves
its score by gathering an impressive assembly of quality attractions at
the same venue. Thus, the overall LOI experience rates higher
collectively than any of its component haunts considered on an individual
basis. In today's world of price gouging,
LOI is perhaps the
best haunt bargain to be found, not only in the area, but in the world!
Take advantage of $5 discount coupons available at area Kroger stores in
order to save even more! And be sure to spend a frightful, action
packed evening this Halloween season at Land Of Illusion!
Note: Parking proceeds benefit local non-profit
charities including Somerville Volunteer Fire Department, Madison Athletic
Group, Southwestern Ohio K-9 Search and Rescue (SWOKSAR), etc..