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Randy Schadel
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A Chronicle Written In Blood

Cincinnati’s haunt history is rife with fear — and innovation

1 Comments · Wednesday, October 19, 2011
The local commercial haunted house industry got its start in 1970 at a small house on St. Clair Avenue in Clifton, charging customers the princely sum of $1 to experience 16 rooms filled with classic monsters such as Dracula, the Wolf Man, Mummy and Frankenstein’s Monster. Huge crowds swamped the event, and the WSAI Haunted House was the talk of the town that October. The Sycamore-Deer Park Jaycees and radio station WSAI were at the forefront of an entertainment phenomenon that’s now a multimillion dollar industry with hundreds of events across the world.    

Sandyland Acres Haunted Hayride

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 19, 2011
A peaceful autumn hayride though a cornfield is not only shattered by creatures “stalking” the rows of corn but by no less than three flame-belching vehicles determined to run the fragile wagon off the path. Deep in the woods, there are backwoodsmen with ear-shattering shotguns and Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The dark barn at the end of the tour is an appropriate climax — new are the Hostel room and a zombie room (with an impressive wagon assault by the undead)  

The Chambers of Horror

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Always among the Tristate’s most extreme attractions, the Chambers has made substantial improvements to both its lighting and rooms. The new LED lighting makes for a more subdued and less intrusive look while at the same time bringing out the details it’s meant to highlight. The Graveyard has been completely reworked with an impressive large skull that must be entered. As always, the building itself seems to be possessed, using its walls, doors and ceilings to entrap and confound hauntgoers.  

The Dent Schoolhouse

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Ranked No. 11 nationally by Hauntworld Magazine, the Dent Schoolhouse features more than 75 animatronics and a selection of the area’s most recognizable haunt characters. Homicidal janitor “Uncle” Charlie McFree, Bludzo, Jasper & Jinx, Damien Reaper, Calliope and Fatso are a few of the twisted souls encountered. Actors are given a lot of freedom creating their characters and rotate personas on a regular basis, ensuring you’ll never see the same show twice.  

Dungeons of Delhi

1 Comments · Wednesday, October 12, 2011
The Dungeons are darker and larger this season, twice as long as five years ago. It’s the “Year of Fear,” and Demonic Derek has a body bag fitted just for you. There’s an excellent amount of grisly detail and some very unique rooms, like one featuring nurse zombies and “Pyramid Head” from Silent Hill. Room design is devious, so much so that we still had trouble finding our way through during a second tour. Slasher movie icons mix with good old-fashioned Demons from Hell and the Dark Lord himself.  

Mayhem Mansion and Haverford Hollow Trail

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Mayhem Mansion is alleged to be the site of a mass murder perpetrated by 1920s bootlegger Robert Haverford. One second-story window has come unboarded, and it’s through there you’ll enter. The Mansion is dark, deceptively large and outfitted with nothing but period props and furnishings such as a decades-old embalming machine and mortuary table. Clear Plexiglas floors, invisible walls, tilting hallways and rooms with no apparent egress make every step an adventure.   

Mount Healthy Haunted Hall

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Where else can you find a character named Bug Boy playing bingo in the Tired Bones Retirement Castle? Well, at least he was until that chandelier tried to squash him. That’s one of the quirky rooms that you’ll see at the Haunted Hall. There’s a whacked-out nursery with a deadly baby and an Ice Scream stand that lops off the hands of grabby children. If you’ve never seen a coffin double as a rotisserie oven or been forced to enter a cage full of demons, look no further.   

St. Rita’s Haunted House

1 Comments · Wednesday, October 12, 2011
At 36 years and counting, St. Rita’s is the nation’s oldest haunt east of the Mississippi River. This season is one of its best, with virtually every area being changed or revamped. A large cast insures that each room is filled with multiple characters, each with professional-level costuming and makeup. The dripping cavern in the basement and the filth encrusted restroom (almost as bad as your average gas station) will have you believing it’s the real thing.  

The USS Nightmare

1 Comments · Wednesday, October 12, 2011
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.   

The Chamber of Horrors

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 13, 2010
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.