Now entering its 20th season, the Nightmare is celebrating
by opening up new areas of the 288-foot-long former river dredge
William S. Mitchell. This season a crushed section of the first deck was
reclaimed and features the Machinist and his biomechanical crew,
punching up the event’s “ending scare.” Also new is the Laundry Room,
featuring the macabre sight of a crew member dancing with a half-corpse —
those spilling entrails can make the old box step a bit treacherous.
Bud Stross, one of the three owners of The Dent Schoolhouse, plays many roles at his haunt: Killjoy, VIP the Crazed Hillbilly, Jasper the Clown and the title villain, Charlie the Janitor. Charlie lurks in the basement; he’s the one who murdered all the students and faculty. He’s the reason The Dent Schoolhouse is haunted.
The Halloween season fills the imagination with ghostly images of spooks and specters. But what if Cincinnati’s dead can’t be confined to decrepit mansions and overgrown cemeteries? From former first ladies to bootleggers’ wives, the Queen City’s ghostliest legends are as colorful and varied as the historical landscape of the city itself.
Halloween can be a mixed bag (pun intended) for parents and kids. It’s the one time of the year we not only allow but suggest that our kids knock on random doors and take candy from strangers. At the same time, we’re asking them to be afraid of goblins, monsters and ghosts but not so scared that they won’t sleep on Halloween night.
The Dark Pumpkin begins in the Director’s Studio, an aging shack in which a sinister French-accented filmmaker advises that you're his newest star. He’s making a horror movie, of course, and a table covered with bloody drills, hooks, chains and knives hints at what's in store when the cameras start rolling.
It’s a real, decommissioned mine with a real, rickety bridge that crosses a real underground lake. There are even guys in wetsuits hiding in the lake, grabbing you when the lights go out. It’ll scare you even though you know it’s coming. The Cave is huge and includes many blackout sequences, laser and strobe trickery and a ton of surprises.
The winding drive through the dark woods only intensifies the mood for this haunted venue that is supposed to really be haunted. The scare starts via a video with the house’s history of carnage by owner Robert Haverford who, legend says, slew a houseful of guests. After entering through the upstairs window, you wind your way though a series of dark tunnels and rooms.
The Chambers of Horror comes to you this year in 3-D ... Demons, Darkness and Doors, that is. Boasting 33 scenes and 100 doors, they offer hauntgoers ample opportunity to land in hot water. Or inside the walk-in freezer of a family of psychos whose scion warns that “anyone touchin’ muh wives is gonna be hung up next to ’em!” Not to mention near the tendrils of a bizarre creature in a hallway wallpapered with cocooned victims.
The Schoolhouse is one hell of a haunt. Josh, Bud and Chuck (owner operators/Board of Deaducation) have assembled a slick horror-movie-style production. Period antiques, authentic materials such as a lunch counter and overhead projector and fine attention to detail make the experience immersive. It’s a real schoolhouse, and it really feels like a trip to the Twilight Zone.
The 2010 Dungeons are celebrating “The Year of the Crazy,” and they’re taking it to heart. From the Klowns to the body bags to the frenzied sorties The Keeper mounts on the crowd, you’ll be treated to a high energy haunt that has no dead spots. Using a large crew (up to 50) of youthful actors, The Dungeons are as energetic and twitchy as it gets.
As the all-you-can-eat buffet of Halloween experiences, there are both advantages and drawbacks to the Halloween Haunt. In terms of overall value, especially for season pass holders (buy a 2011 season pass and you get one free admission to the Haunt), you can’t beat it. It has a dozen haunted attractions, free midget wrestling, and even a sexy vampire burlesque show.
So you've been to a couple haunted houses and you're looking for an event to make the year's Halloween special. We've got bar events, masquerade balls, family events and other special one-night only happenings. If you want to set this year apart from the others, check this list out for more hot Halloween action than you can handle.
This haunted theme park combines five individual, full-sized haunts with a large courtyard complete with a bonfire, snack bar and the Club Zombie dance party. Club Zombie — the new teen-focused rave among the cornfields — is mostly a spectacle if you’re over 25 but looked to be great fun for the high school kids.
The Hall is my favorite charity haunt, combining old-school DIY haunted house design with an awesome volunteer cast. The actors have a lot of heart and inspire plenty of screams. Unique features include an extra-long backwards-spinning vortex tunnel and a turntable floor that almost knocks you off your feet.
The old farmhouse on the hill behind St. Rita’s continues to terrorize Greater Cincinnati hauntgoers. This season the path through the 20-plus scene attraction has been completely changed with many refurbished rooms, including a well-done expanded Klown area.