On October 1st, 2016, I introduced my friend to what was one of my favorite haunted attractions of 2015: Halls of Horror (more specifically, the Blood Experience).
Arriving at around 9 p.m., we parked, traveled across the street, and redeemed our $7.50 vouchers, upgrading to the Blood Experience for an additional $10.00 shortly thereafter.
Supplied with a pair of white T-shirts for the 2016 season and familiar goggles to protect our eyes, we entered the line.
The following is a review based on my experience, including how it compared to the attraction’s 2015 season.
Halls of Horror 2016 Review
Upon entering the line, which was fairly short, we were entertained by a combination of actors and additions to the environment.
An actor took a photo with me; red fog was released that greatly reduced visibility; a loud jump scare occurred at seemingly random intervals; a small TV played promotional videos; and an actor poked his head through a hole in the black wall, making it known that he was going to target me.
With the aforementioned details considered, the entertainment provided on the line was of a high quality, and there isn’t much to be improved.
After our reasonable wait concluded, the two of us were admitted entry, only one of us knowing some of what was to come.
That being said, my experience for the 2016 season — although familiar in terms of many of the environments — was noticeably different than it was in 2015.
The two main differences (one pro and one con) include the increased level of aggressiveness that was associated with the actors, and the focus on off-color humor.
In regard to what I liked, interaction between guests and actors noticeably improved this year.
For example, a clown abruptly grabbed me, pushing me into a make-shift ball pit that encompassed the entire area.
Moreover, the actor from the hole in the wall made it known that he recognized me from the line, rolling me at high speeds down a hallway as I sat in a wheelchair that he previously occupied.
Those interactions were a few of my favorite moments of the night, and I hope to encounter those actors again during a future season in an equally memorable light.
In terms of what I didn’t like, there was a new focus this season on off-color humor during a few of the scenes that didn’t seem like it belonged.
Before continuing, I’d like for it to be known that I’m not suggesting for off-color humor to be eliminated from Halls of Horror; there are just some changes that I feel would be beneficial to the overall experience.
The first of these two scenes that I’m referencing is the encounter with a man who speaks in a high pitch and requests to be “milked.”
Although I usually advocate for increased interaction with the actors, this particular instance was rather uncomfortable and personally crossed my own line for the type of debatably sexual content that is appropriate to include.
On a different note, the mental institution scene — my favorite scene from the 2015 season — was extremely lacking this year.
The entire scene was centered around feces — something that had been used in a comedic and effective manner in the past — and felt rushed.
One moment we were having it rubbed all over our faces, and the next, we were leaving.
I hope that the scene will either be replaced or significantly improved for the next season, focusing more on unique interactions with the actors.
Aside from the aforementioned aspects that I liked or didn’t like about the 2016 season, there were some other pros and cons that I’d like to discuss.
The additional pros include a particular scare tactic that was used during a pitch black section — involving three of the five senses — and the continued enforcement of small groups and effective line pacing.
Additional cons include fake blood getting in my ear after an actor intentionally attempted (and succeeded) to do so, and the lack of fake blood that I was covered in when comparing 2016 with the previous year.
Though still worth including, these pros and cons were of a lesser significance in the overall comparison between my two experiences at the attraction.
Pumpkin Rating & Conclusion
4 / 5 Pumpkins
Halls of Horror increased the level of aggression that is expected from its largely enthusiastic actors but unfortunately included some new changes that had a negative impact on the overall quality of the event.
If more of an emphasis is placed on scare tactics rather than off-color humor, the scare factor would ultimately increase.
Additional changes that are worth considering for future seasons include an extended experience, more variety in terms of scenes, and the inclusion of a completely original cast of characters.