LEWISBURG HAUNTED CAVE
Imagine walking along a bridge over water inside a cave in darkness and feeling something grab your ankle. I don’t have to imagine it, it happened tonight at Lewisburg Haunted Cave. That was the beginning of a very exciting adventure through this one of a kind, truly scary haunted attraction in Lewisburg Ohio.
I have experienced many amazing haunts around the nation from Hollywood style makeup and sets to immersive storytelling to extreme individual experiences, but it’s rare I am actually scared in a haunted attraction. Lewisburg Haunted Cave is genuinely scary and thrilling in a way I’ve rarely experienced. It’s a perfect balance of “fun fear” meets “real fear”. There were moments I legitimately screamed. The unusual underground setting with it’s uneven wet ground, bridges and, claustrophobic nature play a big role. The unexpected moments with perfectly placed pyrotechnics are stunning. The full sized vehicles were impressive. I think the standout scene with Satan giving you actual choices is one of the very special ways this haunted attraction shines above the rest. I mean how unnerving is it to know you have to choose correctly or you could get lost wandering around inside for who knows how long? Honestly though the truck was the moment that made me hit the ground with tears in my eyes. I don’t want to spoil the moment here, but if you’ve been there, then you know the moment I’m talking about. It was such a well done scare that it took a moment for my reality to catch back up to me and remind me that it was a haunted house and I was safe. (They got me good.)
This was about an hour experience because we didn’t get lost. It can take longer. It is dark and the ground is uneven. Please wear sturdy shoes that you won’t care about getting dirty. I wouldn’t recommend this for young children or anyone with health issues that could be aggravated by stress.
It is an impressive combination of genuinely creepy atmosphere, effective actors, awe inspiring animatronics, top notch sound and lighting design, physical and mental stimulation that attacks all of your senses and even pyrotechnics inside one of the most unique venues I’ve encountered. Basically what I’m saying is…it’s amazing!!! Don’t be mislead by the inexpensive ticket price, it’s worth much more for this experience. *They also have a historical tour type hayride that is more family friendly as well as entertinament and concessions. I highly recommend Lewisburg Haunted Cave.
*Due to time constraints we were unable to ride through the family friendly attraction.
INTO THE BLACK
Have you ever wondered how you would react if you were the character walking through the spooky house alone in a horror flick? Now you have the chance feel what that is like. Into the Black at the Los Angeles Fairgrounds in Pomona California is a new Halloween event for 2017. It is a three part adventure in that there is a short movie, VR experience and walk through haunted house that all work together to tell the story. You can watch the movie on YouTube before attending the event. The VR experience is a fun short adventure into the past to meet the characters of the home and find out a little more of the history of the house and it’s former residents. The haunted house is an individual experience inside the house which we have now gotten quite familiar with. Overall, it’s a creative, fun and unique event.
The haunted house is beautifully designed and truly feels like it’s own character. One of my favorite things about the design is the use of space. I enjoyed the large room scenes in combination with the claustrophobic hallways. I also love that there are choices to make within the path. The make-up is amazing, of course. Afterall, Larry Bones (Boneyard Effects) is an incredible make-up creator. The hardworking actors are perfectly placed to build tension and then pounce. The sound design is also wonderfully done. I loved the moment when I was following the sound, but could barely see anything. Everything works together so well to create a fresh style of psychologically thrilling experience.
You can more of my thoughts in the YouTube video below along with my husband and short interview with Larry Bones.
This escape room game is not for the weak. Escapade Games Zoe is both a haunted house and an escape room game. The story is interesting. The set and props are well done. The puzzles are good and the flow works. There is also a good amount of high-tech puzzles in this game. Basically it encompasses the escape room that so many future escape room players picture in their heads when they ask,”Is it scary?” and the answer is yes.
Be prepared for an immersive experience that includes strong creep factor as well as jump scares. There are spirits in this game (in the form of live actors) that will attempt to distract you in the most haunting ways. This is a perfect event for those looking for a more immersive haunted experience any time of year, not just October when the general public is looking for a fright.
Below is a list of the Escape Rooms I’ve played roughly in order of MY favorite to least favorite. Note: I prefer strong storytelling and immersion, especially in horror, paranormal & magic themed escape rooms, so my preferences may be different than yours. Feel free to write to me Twitter @christinebarger or Instagram @TheHauntGirl
ESCAPE THE NETHERWORLD – SASQUATCH
ULTIMATE ESCAPE GAME ATLANTA – SUBMERGED
ESCAPE THE NETHERWORLD – HAUNTED
MISSION ESCAPE ATLANTA – THE HOTEL
TIME TO ESCAPE ATLANTA – AL CAPONE’S SPEAKEASY 1929
MASTERMIND ESCAPE GAMES – SUPERHERO TRAINING FACILITY
ESCAPE THE NETHERWORLD – NOSFERATU
MISSION ESCAPE ATLANTA – THE STUDY
ESCAPE THE NETHERWORLD
I have never been so impressed with storytelling from beginning to end as I was in Sasquatch. This escape game is one of the best examples of storytelling through immersion that I have seen nationwide. I felt a true sense of urgency throughout the game. The effects through use of set design, lighting, sound and other special effects was exactly what you could expect from the company that brings you one of the most impressive haunts in the nation. The puzzles were fairly first generation, but were tied in enough throughout the story that it worked well. The payoff at the end of the game is one of the most impressive things I’ve ever seen in an escape room. Overall I was incredibly impressed with this game. I highly recommend making the trip to play it if you love immersive games.
Ghost themes are always a favorite with me. I thought the story of the captured ghost and paranormal entities was a very fun setting. The room looked great. The props and effects were unique and fun. I adored the hint system in this game. I also loved our amazing gamemaster. The puzzles in this game are designed for a large group in a way that feels a little like busy work. Several of them are tedious physical puzzles. Again they are fairly first generation puzzles, however the props are beyond what I’ve seen in most other escape games. The finale of the game is incredible IF you win. Unfortunately you will not experience it if you lose. Overall this is a fun and unique escape game.
Vampires are another favorite theme of mine, unfortunately I’ve yet to find a vampire themed room that really knocks my socks off. Nosferatu had a clever hint system and fun theme, but the game left a lot to be desired. I should mention that we were partnered up with a rather large group that didn’t really seem to want my husband and I to play (even though they joined our booking knowing we had already signed up). Also the gamemaster for this experience was a bit of a jerk, which also may skew my opinion of the game. We were given envelopes with information about our individual characters, a task and information to memorize. In order for a player to win the group must stab the vampire’s heart and escape PLUS each person must complete their task. It’s a lot of instructions and things to remember for something that doesn’t really add to the game in my personal opinion. It just made the game start off feeling complicated. The room itself wasn’t impressive in set design. There were A LOT of locks and keys in the game. The puzzles were tedious and uninteresting including very time consuming physical puzzles, deciphering and reading. It was definitely not my style of game, even though I was incredibly excited for the theme. My husband and I both accomplished our personal goals, but somehow a decision was made on the final puzzle that did not include us and it was incorrect. If you choose incorrectly at the final puzzle, you lose. The answer is simple if you look at all of the puzzles in the game you will clearly see it. Nothing in the game is too complicated, it’s just all time consuming and there is a lot to do. I imagine this could be a fun game for a large group of beginners, but it was certainly not my kind of game.
Escape the Netherworld is an incredible escape room company with impressive games. They are perfect for large groups of all levels. Experienced players should also enjoy these games whether they have a team of two or group. (I would caution players from doing all three games back to back like we did though. The puzzles started to blend into each other because the puzzle styles are quite similar in all of the games.) My main frustration is that they have created the most outstanding payoffs for winning the games and you only get three hints during gameplay. I strongly feel that the experience of winning these games is as fun as the gameplay and everyone should really be encouraged to complete it within the allotted time. Therefore I wish they allowed for unlimited hints and would try to encourage everyone to get through. I know there will still be people that do not take the hints, but at least they’d have the option. If not then maybe consider making an equally impressive losing payoff.
Picture if you will an episode of Hoarders taking place in the warehouse of a Halloween prop and animatronic collector and that’s a good start for imagining Netherworld. It was beyond anything I could’ve expected. This sensory overload walk through haunt had me so stunned by the halfway point that I’m sure my eyes glazed over. I’ve never seen so much stuff in a haunt. It was incredible. I can see why it makes so many “Best Haunt” lists. It’s just incredible. The amount of stuff was so overwhelming that it would be impossible to really see everything in just one pass through. I would expect that even after the 10th or 12th time through, a guest could still find things they’d missed. There are also actors flying around and puppeteers and sound/lighting effects throughout the journey. There’s a room at the end that is full of soap suds called a Foam Room that you can choose to walk through. I did not go through it because as I walked up to the entrance a boy ran out of the entrance into me knocking the wind out of me. I decided that as long as the group of boys was horsing around in it I would pass on the experience. I didn’t actually find the haunt scary thematically and honestly the jump scares were a little far and few in between, but it’s still an impressive haunt worthy of a special trip.