From there on out it’s a cascade of well-crafted characters hellbent on driving you to your doom. The pig-faced chainsaw murderer, the bloodthirsty Santa Claus and a clown from hell are all there to greet you. More fun are the ones who engage you along the way with wacky dialogue: An amorous hillbilly sidles up to the menfolk, inviting them to play Ned Beatty’s role in Deliverance; an evil doctor drags patients into her lab in a 28 Days Later send-up; and a graveyard ghoul menaces with a flaming shovel.
Though it’s out in the middle of nowhere, it’s worth the drive, especially if you’re already visiting the Chambers of Horror or another Middletown attraction.
The dialogue and character interactions were some of the best we’ve heard, and the cast does a good job at pacing the tour groups so that you feel like you’re all alone. It’s great freaky fun that's frightening enough to get you moving but not so crazy that you’ll cry.
THE WAIT: The lines can be 30 minutes at peak times but moved quickly during our visit. It takes 20 minutes to explore the trail.
DETAILS: Open dusk-midnight Fridays-Saturdays through Oct. 30. 7039 Preble County Line Road, Germantown (Exit 32 off I-275), www.darkpumpkin.com
THE DAMAGE: $10 plus $2 per car for parking. $1 off coupon on the Web site.
CITYBEAT RATING: PG-13