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Ohio Valley Haunts
The Northland Asylum
at The ScareAtorium
Category:  Homemade Venue
Reviewed 10/17/15
RATING:
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LENGTH: - Duration 15 Minutes 7
ACTORS: - # 28 (down from 38) 8
- Costuming
- Dialogue
- Interaction
- Intensity/Delivery
SCARINESS: - Ambience
- Fearfulness 8
DESIGN: - Concept 9
- Flow 9
- Lighting 9
- Soundtrack 8
- Changes 4
PROPS: - Quality
- Quantity/Density 9
VALUE: - Cost $20
ANALYSIS:   Enticing music welcomes guests into The Northland Asylum, where an orderly named Byron offers some final instructions before being attacked by one of the residents, as exploration begins through a darkened maze.  Several mentally challenged patients are encountered early on including a playful, but enraged girl that threatens to, "Hang your intestines on the wall," and "Slit your throat and bathe in it," as well as a frenzied, disfigured culprit going absolutely berserk and warning about an impending run-in with a bloody, axe-carrying butcher and his insane helper wearing a bunny mask, and carrying around a pig's head.  A metal service door is used to access their freezer of body bags and splayed carcasses, as progression soon discovers another crazed loony scampering across the ground, and another contorted crawler slithering around with her elbows pointed outward, and her hands turned inward.  A strobe-lit fence maze eventually stumbles into a rubber room, then into the clutches of a demented dentist removing her patient's tongue, and a crazed doctor physically abusing his patient while shouting at her to, "Shut up!"  A creepy rendition of Ring around the Rosie witnesses its singer seemingly becoming possessed as her voice deepens, and the lyrics change to, "We all burn down" as the path makes its way into a crematorium, and eventually through a hallway of protruding skeletons and bones to a spooky cemetery that's home to an elaborately attired voodoo priest in advance of a space-invading, narrowing corridor of inverted vampire bats protecting the exit from Northland Asylum.

Acting carries the show with the majority of the cast delivering enthusiastic performances, and interacting with groups via meaningful dialogue.  Costuming is top-notch, with the debuting voodoo priest's being best, although his character should be more assertive by adopting a more energized demeanor similar to the remainder of the cast.  The attraction as a whole is significantly less populated this season, which results in one character in particular being encountered on five or six different occasions, and several rooms found to be unoccupied.  Receptionist, pharmacy, embalming room, morgue, and patient cages were all actor-less, which hurts the score.  The course is basically unchanged, and props are mostly of the static variety, although one mechanical monster is present.  Authentic service doors are utilized to access three separate scenes, and are appreciated, as is the hidden escape from the rubber room.  Lighting is excellent throughout, as is the accompanying soundtrack, although it isn't scene specific.  Cost of admission is consistent with today's standards, and provides access to two separate attractions.  More annual changes and visually stimulating props are needed to score higher.

Ohio Valley Haunts
Rip Stinker's Funhouse
at The ScareAtorium
Category:  Professional Venue
Reviewed 10/17/15
RATING: 7
.
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LENGTH: - Duration 8½ Minutes
ACTORS: - # 14 (down from 18)
- Costuming
- Dialogue 7
- Interaction
- Intensity/Delivery 7
SCARINESS: - Ambience 8
- Fearfulness 5
DESIGN: - Concept 6
- Flow 9
- Lighting 9
- Soundtrack 8
- Changes 3
PROPS: - Quality 7
- Quantity/Density
VALUE: - Cost $20 7
ANALYSIS: The colorful adventure begins along drop panel startles, and The Dead Clown Hall of Fame, which consists of a series of three upright caskets, the third of which gives rise to a sledgehammer surprise.  3-D glasses are worn to enhance visual effects as the course visits an imprisoned clown trapped within a "cage on wheels," in advance of a room highlighted by laser dispersion, then making its way across a wooden bridge and a rocking ramp way.  Navigation is further compromised by an arm protruding through a wall, and several jovial jokesters serving up a variety of distractions.  A second laser draws designs and spells words on a rear wall in advance of a skull-lined hallway, and a deceptive bar maze that sets up a brief entrapment down an infinite hallway that's terrorized by a light shining clown blasting an ooga horn before a secret door enables escape from Rip Stinker's Funhouse.

Attractions of this nature are seldom scary, and are best enjoyed for their colorful surroundings brought to life by special 3-D glasses.  Duration is rather short, the course is basically unchanged from a design perspective, and areas exist where walls could stand additional adornment.  Bridges; ramps; chained, vibrating crate; cage on wheels, casket surprise, lasers, and the ooga horn leave lasting impressions, along with the variety of artistic décor.  Cast is playful in nature, and not nearly as interactive in comparison to their sister attraction, thus no one really stands out, try as they may.  Costuming is consistent with the theme, but customers aren't engaged in conversations attempting to get them involved in playing games, picking colors, etc. like they were a season ago, which helped prolong the event, thus raising the score.  Lighting and sounds are appropriate.  Infinite hallway looks amazingly real, and hidden escape route is appreciated.  Knife-wielding clown is AWOL, and chainsaw finale has likewise been abandoned.  Ooga horn entrapment serves as an effective finisher, and is an admirable substitute for the more expected chainsaw, so the latter isn't really missed except for its contribution to the attraction's scariness. 

Tougher grading standards instituted this year cracks down on short, non-changing attractions, and unfortunately that's the case here.  The event is not sold separately, so value can be found via its association with Northland Asylum, and as a second on-site attraction to be enjoyed along with ScareAtorium's new Escape Rooms discussed below.

ESCAPE ROOMS: Escape rooms are new to The ScareAtorium for 20015. RIP's Boxcar and Cut-Throat Cabin sell for an additional $5 each, and actively involve patrons in the action by giving them a challenging task to complete within a 3-minute time limit.  Success results in winning a prize, perhaps a free game of bowling, or some food from White Castle, but win, lose, or draw, they're fun and exciting!  Make sure to try out these added attractions on your next visit to The ScareAtorium!  They're different and unique, and bring added value to the site. 
THE SCAREATORIUM - OVERALL EXPERIENCEThe ScareAtorium built its reputation on theatrical performances.  Costuming and the quality of acting can always be counted on not to disappoint. Escape Rooms debut for 2015, and are among the first of their kind anywhere in the country!  This is a very professionally run and operated attraction that offers timed, online ticketing for those that don't want to wait in line, and "Lights on" events every Sunday in October (except 10/4) for the enjoyment of younger patrons, and those not wishing to be scares.  Attractions and waiting areas are indoors, thus not subject to adverse weather conditions.  Roaming monsters perform throughout the queue line areas, which are interestingly decorated, and even feature a carnival "freak show."  ScareAtorium strives to provide quality seasonal entertainment that's suitable for the entire family, a promise upon which they deliver.
The ScareAtorium
LOCATION & ADMISSION INFO:
2605 Northland Plaza Dr., Columbus, OH  43231 (in Shopping Center)
(614) 761-FEAR (3327)
Sept 25 - Oct 31; Fri & Sat 7:30-11:30 PM &
Sundays in October and Thurs 10/15, 10/22, & 10/29 7:30 - 9:30 PM
$20/Timed Ticketing $23/$30 VIP/$5 Escape Room/$10 Lights on (7 PM Sun Oct. 11,18,25)
click logo at left to visit their website
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