A few things to think about before reading this review: I went on a Sunday and again on a Saturday. This review is based off both of those experiences. Sometimes the house can fluctuate in quality drastically depending on when you experience them. Actors could be tired or some actors could be on break; no matter the reason, the point is that mazes can be very different from one day to the next. Remember that this review is based on going through each house twice over the span of two different weekends.  Anyway, enough stalling, lets get to the reviews.


[dropcap2]Houses[/dropcap2]

Each house will be judged on two aspects: First, the quality of the house itself. This will take into account the theming quality, atmosphere, hiding places, music, location, etc. Secondly, each house will be rated on how well staffed it feels and how well I think the actors are working their attraction. Each of those to criteria will be worth five points each resulting in a maximum total of ten points per attraction.


Club Blood:

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third]House: 4/5[/one_third]

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third]Actors: 5/5[/one_third]

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third last=”true”]Total: 9/10[/one_third] [one_half]House Positives:[list style=”2″][li]Excellent Theming[/li][li]Excellent Use of Space[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half last=”true”]Cast Positives:[list style=”2″][li]Great Hiding Spots[/li][li]Very enthusiastic[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half]House Negatives:[list style=”2″][li]The ending is dark and hard to navigate[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half last=”true”]Cast Negatives:[list style=”2″][li]None[/li][/list][/one_half]

Personally, this is one of my favorite maze at the park. It really gives the feel that you’re at a club with all the girls dancing on the stripper poles barely wearing any clothes and the monsters jumping out at you as you’re dancing your way through. The level of detail as you’re walking through is something I really enjoyed. My favorite room to walk through is the bathroom with the cracked sinks and the bloody toilets. One thing that was weird in a way was towards the end it was really difficult to see; therefore, there was lots of running into walls and other people. I would say one of the creepier or scarier parts of the was when you walk through the hall of mirrors. Sometimes the mirrors are angled so someone can hide behind them while you’re distracted by all the mirrors. Overall, the atmosphere of the maze was great and I loved it. Even though it wasn’t all that scary to me it was a fun maze to go through.


Toxic Plague:

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third]House: 3/5[/one_third]

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third]Actors: 2/5[/one_third]

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third last=”true”]Total: 5/10[/one_third] [one_half]House Positives:[list style=”2″][li]Excellent lighting[/li][li]Great theming inside & out[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half last=”true”]Cast Positives:[list style=”2″][li]Good costumes[/li][li]Very enthusiastic[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half]House Negatives:[list style=”2″][li]A lot of empty space[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half last=”true”]Cast Negatives:[list style=”2″][li]Boring[/li][li]Understaffed[/li][/list][/one_half]

There was a lot of downsides to this maze this year. A lot having to do with the changes that were made inside of the building itself. There was lots of rooms that was just a room and no actors which made it kinda lame. The actors that were there were very boring and only moved around creepily. There isn’t much to talk about for this maze. Hopefully this maze will meet the chopping block next year and we can see something new in its place.


Medieval Macabre:

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third]House: 5/5[/one_third]

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third]Actors: 5/5[/one_third]

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third last=”true”]Total: 10/10[/one_third] [one_half]House Positives:[list style=”2″][li]Easy to Navigate[/li][li]Open floor plan[/li][li]Excellent Theming[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half last=”true”]Cast Positives:[list style=”2″][li]High Energy[/li][li]Great use of props[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half]House Negatives:[list style=”2″][li]Photobooth Line Tends to Block Main Path[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half last=”true”]Cast Negatives:[list style=”2″][li]None[/li][/list][/one_half]

I’ve got to say, this maze was really something. The actors in this one put tons of effort into their scares. Even when the line got backed up, the actors were still on the move scaring people. One came up and stared at me and followed me around until he reached the end of his area. That is when I had confidence that the rest of the maze would be good. One of the best parts of the maze is that it’s not predictable. The actors carried amazing props also. One moment I’m distracted by a prop that resembles an axe stuck in a girl, then I look up and an actor is running at me with an axe. That was probably my favorite part of the maze.


Slaughterhouse:

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third]House: 5/5[/one_third]

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third]Actors: 5/5[/one_third]

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third last=”true”]Total: 10/10[/one_third] [one_half]House Positives:[list style=”2″][li]Realistic Props[/li][li]Great Layout[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half last=”true”]Cast Positives:[list style=”2″][li]Energetic[/li][li]Well-designed Costumes[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half]House Negatives:[list style=”2″][li]None[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half last=”true”]Cast Negatives:[list style=”2″][li]None[/li][/list][/one_half]

This maze has to have to the most detailed theming of any house that I have been through. I loved almost everything about this house. I’m trying to think of negatives, but nothing comes to mind. This maze was also one of the scarier ones at the park. There was a lot of energy in the actors. There isn’t much to say about this without repeating the words of amazing theming and amazing actors. So I will leave this with a ten out of ten.


The Doll Factory:

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third]House: 5/5[/one_third]

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third]Actors: 5/5[/one_third]

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third last=”true”]Total: 10/10[/one_third] [one_half]House Positives:[list style=”2″][li]Easy Navigation[/li][li]Distinctive Layout[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half last=”true”]Cast Positives:[list style=”2″][li]Well Positioned[/li][li]Fantastic Costumes[/li][li]Well-designed Costumes[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half]House Negatives:[list style=”2″][li]Lack of a Ceiling Hurts the House’s Atmosphere[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half last=”true”]Cast Negatives:[list style=”2″][li]None[/li][/list][/one_half]

The rating above is a 10/10 even with there being something under the house negatives section; however, I feel that the problem is too small to deduct a point. It isn’t notable to the average person. This maze is by far one of the creepiest, most notably when walking into the receptionist office and finding two naked barbie dolls sitting on the lady’s desk as she welcomes you in a creepy, disturbing voice. The objects and actors have reached new levels of creepiness with doll heads and the way they position their bodies and move around. This maze receives a ten out of ten for its excellence.


OutBreak: The Evolution:

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third]House: 2/5[/one_third]

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third]Actors: 4/5[/one_third]

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third last=”true”]Total: 6/10[/one_third] [one_half]House Positives:[list style=”2″][li]A Few Great Props[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half last=”true”]Cast Positives:[list style=”2″][li]Provided Some Nice Scares[/li][li]Fairly Good Costumes[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half]House Negatives:[list style=”2″][li]Short[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half last=”true”]Cast Negatives:[list style=”2″][li] Occasionally Lacking the Energy Found in Other Houses[/li][/list][/one_half]

I had high hopes for this maze, but it didn’t reach up to it’s potential. The location that this maze sits in (Flight of Fear Queue Line) has lots of alien-type props. But when entering the maze there wasn’t a lot of stuff to look at. The layout was just going through a series of switchbacks. The maze could have been made a lot better with a better layout and more props. Most of the props were just placed along the wall with a pathway in the middle to walk. I do have to say the props were very well done, but would have been better if there was a better layout for better placement instead of a straight line. The actors were making up for this with their amazing looking costumes and their energy. Some actors occasionally would start lacking energy, but not many.


Camp Killauee:

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third]House: 5/5[/one_third]

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third]Actors: 3/5[/one_third]

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third last=”true”]Total: 8/10[/one_third] [one_half]House Positives:[list style=”2″][li]Setting Fits the Theme Perfectly[/li][li]Lots of Neat Little Details[/li][li]First Aid Room is Particularly Fantastic[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half last=”true”]Cast Positives:[list style=”2″][li]Great Hiding Places[/li][li]Some Superb Actors- Especially Towards The End[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half]House Negatives:[list style=”2″][li]Some Overly Narrow Pathways[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half last=”true”]Cast Negatives:[list style=”2″][li]Lack of Spontaneity. Much of the Cast Acted Very Predictably[/li][/list][/one_half]

This maze astounded me from the beginning. Walking up to the entrance really gives the feeling that the maze is going to be good. There’s not too much that I disliked about this maze, but there’s a lot that I loved. I will start with what I disliked. First, the first section of walkways is very skinny and provides only forward and backward movement. Also, when going along the small pathway, the actors would hide behind trees next the pathway which made the scares very predictable. There was some very nice scares but the majority of them were dull throughout this stretch of the maze. Occasionally they would set up a distraction scare, but the majority of the people would just jump out from behind a tree. Now onto the positive. I will say again the theming was excellent. It was exactly like walking through a creepy camp ground. The actors in the small wooden walkway had lots of energy and would provide good scares. My favorite was the end when an actor came running out of a shed with a chainsaw chasing the group until his extension cord ran out. This maze is receiving an eight out of ten mainly because of the actors that didn’t put much effort into their scares on the small pathway.


Cornstalkers:

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third]House: 5/5[/one_third]

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third]Actors: 5/5[/one_third]

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third last=”true”]Total: 10/10[/one_third] [one_half]House Positives:[list style=”2″][li]Stunning Lighting Setup[/li][li]Great Costumes that Blend with the Environment Perfectly[/li][li]Cornfields Are Creepy as Hell[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half last=”true”]Cast Positives:[list style=”2″][li]Great Hiding Places[/li][li]Fantastic Startle-scares[/li][li]Very High-energy[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half]House Negatives:[list style=”2″][li]None at All[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half last=”true”]Cast Negatives:[list style=”2″][li]Some Additional Staff Would be Very Much Appreciated[/li][li]The Bungee Scare at the End is Very Disappointing. Not an Ounce of Cover[/li][/list][/one_half]

Because Evan didn’t get to go though Cornstalkers (it was closed due to weather) he requested that I (Zachary) write up a review for it. Well, here it is:

I’m not going to lie, coming from BGWFans, it feels a little odd to be giving a house a perfect score, but, well, Cornstalkers deserved it. Not only is the cornfield theme a fantastic concept, but it’s also pulled off remarkably well. Even though I had heard nothing but praise about Cornstalkers from others, I was a little worried when I walked up and saw how bright the area was. Coming from Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s Howl-O-Scream, bright houses are normally a very, very bad thing. Well, after stepping a few feet into the house, all my concerns were erased. Blinding lighting is used perfectly in this house. Though the area is quite bright (likely out of necessity because of its location) nearly every straight area in the house provides a perfectly placed blinding light. It may just be because I’m not used to this effect, but I actually found the lights to be more effective than the darkness that you’d find in a more traditionally lit house like Club Blood or The Doll Factory. Additionally, the costumes and hiding places are perfect. I’m normally very good at picking out where actors are hiding but between the costumes, the house layout, and the lighting, I found it to be completely impossible. This was, by far, my favorite house of the night and I’m glad I got to review this one instead of, say, Club Blood which would have probably come out to be quite the negative review. Contrary to popular belief, I actually do prefer writing positive reviews. Anyway, back to Evan with his review of the park’s only new house this year, No Vacancy.


No Vacancy:

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third]House: 5/5[/one_third]

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third]Actors: 2/5[/one_third]

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third last=”true”]Total: 7/10[/one_third] [one_half]House Positives:[list style=”2″][li]Amazing Props[/li][li]Stunning Set Design[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half last=”true”]Cast Positives:[list style=”2″][li]Active but Confined by the House’s Setup[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half]House Negatives:[list style=”2″][li]Airbag Hallway Felt Too Long[/li][li]Severe Lack of Hiding Places[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half last=”true”]Cast Negatives:[list style=”2″][li]Not Enough Actors to Make it Effective[/li][/list][/one_half]

I’m going to start with of how great they used this space (the left theater in the action theater). The left theater hasn’t been used in years and I was happy to see it being used for something useful. Now onto other things, this maze had spectacular theming. I would compare it to walking into a five star hotel, but with zombies all over. The actors were not acting up to par. The house layout was made to mirror a hotel, but the downside of that is a hotel has lots of empty hallways and that’s what it felt like. Walking down a lot of hallways and people randomly jumping out. One of the hallways is what I like to call the “airbag hallway” which is just a long hallway that has 2 very long sheets getting blown into with fans and you walk in between the two. Now it was really cool… at the beginning but it was super long and it just got a little boring and annoying. Overall the theming and props used for this maze were amazing, but the actors dropped the score down a lot leaving with a seven out of ten.


Blue Ridge Bloodbath:

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third]House: 3/5[/one_third]

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third]Actors: 2/5[/one_third]

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third last=”true”]Total: 5/10[/one_third] [one_half]House Positives:[list style=”2″][li]Creative Use of a Classic Attraction[/li][li]Quite Well Themed[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half last=”true”]Cast Positives:[list style=”2″][li]Enthusiastic[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half]House Negatives:[list style=”2″][li]Mostly Just Trees[/li][li]Very Inconsistent Theming[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half last=”true”]Cast Negatives:[list style=”2″][li]Horrifically Understaffed[/li][/list][/one_half]

This maze is unique in many ways. One of the main ways it stands out from any of the other mazes at the park or any other park is that you drive through it. But, unfortunately, there are lots of downsides to that. The staff for this maze was lacking a lot. It got slightly interesting towards the end when more actors appeared. When starting, you’re very anxious as to what’s going to happen. There are very few (if any) actors set along the sides, but when you come across them they do their job very well. To be quite honest, the only “cool” part of it all is all the scenery throughout the maze which can be seen before Haunt starts. Just go into the line and drive through like you would any other day at the park. But this Haunt shouldn’t be considered a maze next year instead just be opened like any other ride, but keep all the scenery objects for the cool effect.


[dropcap2]Scarezones[/dropcap2]

Cleaver Brother’s Carnival:

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third]Area: 5/5[/one_third]

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third]Actors: 1/5[/one_third]

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third last=”true”]Total: 6/10[/one_third] [one_half]Area Positives:[list style=”2″][li]Amazing Props[/li][li]Excellent Hiding Places [/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half last=”true”]Cast Positives:[list style=”2″][li]Nice Costumes[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half]Area Negatives:[list style=”2″][li]None; was amazing[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half last=”true”]Cast Negatives:[list style=”2″][li]Short Staffed[/li][li]Not energetic[/li][li]Most actors walked around doing nothing[/li][/list][/one_half]


Feary Tales:

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third]Area: 3/5[/one_third]

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third]Actors: 0/5[/one_third]

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third last=”true”]Total: 3/10[/one_third] [one_half]Area Positives:[list style=”2″][li]Fairly Good Props[/li][li]Creepy Clotheslines Were a Nice Touch[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half last=”true”]Cast Positives:[list style=”2″][li]None[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half]Area Negatives:[list style=”2″][li]Props Didn’t Stick to the Theme[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half last=”true”]Cast Negatives:[list style=”2″][li]Red Riding Hood Just Sat on the Ground Crying[/li][li]Majorly Understaffed[/li][/list][/one_half]


Ironworx:

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third]Area: 5/5[/one_third]

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third]Actors: 1/5[/one_third]

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third last=”true”]Total: 6/10[/one_third] [one_half]Area Positives:[list style=”2″][li]Rave-style lasers = Automatic win[/li][li]Really great props[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half last=”true”]Cast Positives:[list style=”2″][li]Elaborate costumes[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half]Area Negatives:[list style=”2″][li]None[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half last=”true”]Cast Negatives:[list style=”2″][li]None of them were really doing, well, anything.[/li][li]Very understaffed.[/li][/list][/one_half]


Necropolis:

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third]Area: 5/5[/one_third]

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third]Actors: 5/5[/one_third]

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third last=”true”]Total: 10/10[/one_third] [one_half]Area Positives:[list style=”2″][li]Amazing props[/li][li]Theme fits the location[/li][li]Lots of great hiding places[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half last=”true”]Cast Positives:[list style=”2″][li]High energy[/li][li]Used the area perfectly[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half]Area Negatives:[list style=”2″][li]None[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half last=”true”]Cast Negatives:[list style=”2″][li]None[/li][/list][/one_half]


Prime Evil: The Kuro Curse:

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third]Area: 4/5[/one_third]

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third]Actors: 2/5[/one_third]

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third last=”true”]Total: 6/10[/one_third] [one_half]Area Positives:[list style=”2″][li]Neat theming[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half last=”true”]Cast Positives:[list style=”2″][li]Good looking costumes[/li][li]Energetic at times[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half]Area Negatives:[list style=”2″][li]Spread out[/li][li]Not many props[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half last=”true”]Cast Negatives:[list style=”2″][li]Most were completely uninterested in scaring people[/li][/list][/one_half]


The Lair:

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third]Area: 5/5[/one_third]

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third]Actors: 2/5[/one_third]

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h2 style=”text-align: center”>[one_third last=”true”]Total: 7/10[/one_third] [one_half]Area Positives:[list style=”2″][li]Impressive Props[/li][li]Vampires hanging from the ceiling are pretty awesome[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half last=”true”]Cast Positives:[list style=”2″][li]Good costumes[/li][li]Enthusiastic[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half]Area Negatives:[list style=”2″][li]Coffin framing was clearly visible[/li][/list][/one_half] [one_half last=”true”]Cast Negatives:[list style=”2″][li]Horrifically understaffed[/li][/list][/one_half]


[dropcap2]Event Overview[/dropcap2]

  

The event, overall, was outstanding. There have been a lot of improvements over the last couple years with new mazes and scare zones. Even with The Asylum being dropped this year, there was still lots to do all around the park. If I had to name a particular house as my favorite at this year’s event, it would be either Club Blood or The Doll Factory. Why? Club Blood provides a nice “semi-scare” and a fun time. The Doll Factory however, is very creepy and provides a very nice scare.

Sadly, the scare-zones this year took a major drop in comparison to past years. Lots of them could be fixed just by simply staffing more cast members and placing better actors in them. The main issue Kings Dominion had with this year’s haunt was, truly,  the actors. There was lots of amazing looking props and they were all well-placed throughout each section, but it’s remarkable just how many actors I witnessed walking around talking to each other instead of trying to provide a good scare. A similar problem could be found in the houses: While most of the changes to the mazes were nice, the actors were simply not up to par. Most of the actors acted lazy and didn’t even display a desire to do the job properly. Hopefully Haunt 2013 will bring updated mazes, better shows, and, most importantly, better actors.