OniHaunts 2012 Haunted Attraction Awards – My Blog

OniHaunts 2012 Haunted Attraction Awards

We’ve reviewed a lot of haunted houses last season. There’s small group of haunts that went above and beyond everyone else. This is our first year honoring the best of the best.

How We Judge This Thing:

Since every Haunted Attraction differs it’s kind of silly to compare all of them against each other. It would not be fair to compare Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights to a small farm haunt. We rated the haunts based on how good they were in relation to their scale.

Not every haunt that we loved got an award. Why? Winning one of these is not easy. A haunt has to truly blow us away above and beyond to get one. They have to be a haunt that not only can we recommend to anyone looking for the absolute BEST haunt experience – they have to also do something different and or better than everyone else in their class.

We figured out why these haunts were the best of the best and tailored the award to them so that the awards are also informative for both attraction owners and haunt fans.

It goes without saying that every haunt that got an award is worth your time.

The most difficult award to get from us is The Brutality Award. This award is only given to 1 haunt each year. To get it they have to basically nearly reduce both Harknell and I to tears. Considering that we go through hundreds of these and have seen it all this is not an easy task to accomplish.

Best Theme Park Halloween Festival:

Busch Gardens Howl O Scream: Tampa, Florida

The combination of passionate scare actors, team spirit, innovation, great set construction and scares puts Tampa, Florida’s Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream above all of the rest.

Innovation Award:

Third Rail Projects: Then She Fell (Formerly The Steampunk Haunted House): New York City

Not exactly a haunted attraction but we feel that discerning haunt fans will love this. We also feel that haunts could learn a thing or 2 about narrative from the Third Rail Projects folks. Then She Fell, creepy interactive theatre from New York City easily takes the Innovation Award.

Best Farm Haunt & Best Scare Actors:

Corner of Chaos: East Windsor, NJ

East Windsor’s Corner of Chaos stole both the Best Farm Haunt (largely thanks to their phenomenal Barbaric Barnyward walk through attraction) AND Best Scare Actors award. It was obvious they spent a lot of time training their actors in improv and scare tactics.

Best Atmosphere:

Nightmare on Gravity Hill: Jackson, NJ

Jackson, New Jersey’s Nightmare on Gravity Hill is a relatively new haunt but you wouldn’t know it by looking at it. Beautiful set pieces beyond anything we have ever seen grace this large farm haunted attraction.

National Treasure Award:

The Haunted Schoolhouse and Lab: Akron, OH

The Haunted Schoolhouse and Lab in Akron, Ohio wasn’t just worth the 9 hour drive for us- it was probably worth the last 30 years I have lived on this earth to get to the point where I could experience it. There is no other haunted house like this. You’ll find a mixture of classic haunted house techniques married with the unwavering passion of the family who has been doing this since the mid-70s. We believe they should be National Treasure.

Best Indie Haunt:

Easton Haunts: Allentown, PA

Probably the most underrated haunt we went to. More people should be talking about this haunt because it is a total Must See. Allentown, Pennsylvania’s Easton Haunts is a handcrafted haunt with professional execution that blew us away. You will find things inside this haunt that you will see no where else because they probably invented it themselves.

Best Haunt Complex:

Hundred Acre Manor: Pittsburgh, PA

Hundred Acre Manor in Pittsburgh, PA had amazing set pieces that you might expect to see in Orlando. The haunt was top quality, very long, and well worth anyone’s time.

Best Theme Execution:

The Scarehouse: Pittsburgh, PA

The Scarehouse in Pittsburgh, PA managed to take themes that many other haunts have used to bore us out of the realm of the cliche and turn it into something new. The professionally handcrafted and surprisingly wonderful and engaging visual and auditory vistas in this haunt were better than the rest. (If you call being scared out of your wits “wonderful”. We do.)

The Brutality Award:

Hotel of Horror / Altered Nightmares: Saylorsburg, PA

Finally we have the Award to end all Awards. There is no higher honor than The Brutality Award. To win this you have to reduce both Harknell and myself to probably tears, which almost never happens. You have to brutalize us.

Congratulations to Hotel of Horror / Altered Nightmares in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania. We love you, you sick and twisted f—s!

Honorable Mention:

The following haunts have our wholehearted stamp of approval.

Maryland – Rockville: Hallowinc Urban Haunted House

New York City: Nightmare: Killers

Pennsylvania – Lehighton: The Haunting at the Waldorf

Pennsylvania – Sinking Spring: Shocktoberfest

New Jersey – Passaic: Night-Mares/Brighton Asylum

New Jersey – Mullica Hill: Night of Terror

Pennsylvania – Philadelphia: Fright Factory

Pennsylvania – Philadelphia: Eastern State Penitentiary Terror Behind the Walls

Pennsylvania – Philadelphia: Eastern State Penitentiary Terror Behind the Walls: REMIX (Special Event)

Pennsylvania – Glen Mills: Bates Motel

Pennsylvania – Plymouth Meeting: Lulu’s House of Horrors

Pennsylvania – Lancaster: Field of Screams

6 responses to “OniHaunts 2012 Haunted Attraction Awards”

  1. I am humbled by your review. Thank you so much, and hope to see you again for the 2013 haunt in Saylorsburg

    • Hiya!

      Well, there are 2 reasons for that:

      1. I got so many invites to review haunts last year that I unexpectedly had more invites than I could fit even when going out 4x a week. I did not expect that. (Didn’t help I got a lot of invites the 2nd week of the season when I was in Orlando and Ohio. Not that I’m complaining. Ha! 😀 )

      2. I’m sure Blackout is the best at what it does which is why I hadn’t yet. I’m a bit of a germ phobe so having things put in my mouth (as I’ve heard happens) means that I’d probably need a stunt double. 🙂

      I get about 2 emails a week specifically asking about Blackout though. Seriously.

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