DATE OF VISIT
October 26, 2013
WHARTON, NEW JERSEY - During our tour this year, we have visited quite a few establishments that are currently in their first, second or third season... Sometimes these places can either blow your mind or cause a headache. But so far this year we have had pretty good luck with the "new"! Therefore, we couldn't wait to see what Haunted ScareHouse had to offer! Located in Wharton, New Jersey... The two attraction based haunt is currently in their second year of operation. Deeming itself "NJ's Scariest Haunted House" it promises to deliver real fear within the menacing walls of The House of Nightmares and The Attic! What did we think of Haunted ScareHouse...? Well you're just going to have to read on, aren't you?
As we walked up to the two story office building where Haunted ScareHouse is, we realized that due to the nature of the building there was no VIP line. Therefore, the line on this Saturday night before Halloween was around the corner and towards the back of the building. It was easily a two hour wait from the back of the line. So if you are heading to Haunted ScareHouse be prepared to wait in a lengthy line, especially the closer it gets to Halloween! For those of you feeling discouraged regarding the long lines... Don't worry! It is totally worth it in the end!
After about an hour and a half wait through a maze of queue, we were inside the first attraction of the night... The House of Nightmares! To me this was your typical haunted house, however, it had an expert touch! Detailed cobwebs, strategically placed animatronics and elaborate sets painted the perfect picture for a good haunted house. As we made our way through the different rooms and hallways I couldn't help but pay close attention to the level of detail. A lot of time, effort, blood and money was involved in making it as elaborate as it was. I was thoroughly impressed and wanted to take pictures, but knowing how long the line was... I decided to pass!
While the sets were detailed and perfect, I couldn't help but notice the actors were a tad bit behind. It seemed like the majority of actors would pop out of their hiding place or noticeable "boo-door" behind us. So the scare was very ineffective. It didn't just occur once, it happened quite a few times. I think it could have been the size of our group which was only Joe and I. But still if your "peek-holes" are placed correctly, you should be able to tell how many are in each group... Allowing you to deliver each scare effectively and perfectly. Whether or not the person reacts is a different story. There were a few actors who were dead on with delivering their attack. Most notable was inside the kitchen where a "distracta-scare" animatronic prop grabbed your attention. As you focus on the moving body, a door within a close proximity slams open with a live actor creeping out. This was very effective! It was nice to see someone actually use animatronics the way they should be used. Remember there are only one of two things you can do with an animatronic... Either scare or distract. And at Haunted ScareHouse there were no animatronic placement problems!
While The House of Nightmares was late regarding the scare delivery... It was still a solid haunted house! Again just the level of detailing and theming was outstanding! There weren't any completely pitch black hallways, claustrophobia walls or fogged out rooms which seem to be over used now a days... Plus these types of features weren't needed and frankly, didn't belong. It was very simple but it worked. It gave us what we were looking for and we left the attraction smiling and yes screaming! There are two scares at the very end that made our night. Of course I don't want to give them away. So you have to go and see them for yourself!
Once you leave The House of Nightmares you climb a set of stairs to The Attic of the house. From here you could look over the railing and see the layout of the attraction you just completed. This was awesome because we have never seen a maze from the top! We stood there for quite a bit of time watching scares take place! I thought this was a great way to connect the two attractions within one building while fitting to the overall name. The first level was the house itself which contained rooms and hallways... The second level was The Attic, a maze of junk, collectibles and antiques. Anyone who has cleaned out an attic before knows that people can keep the most unique and strangest items packed away. Therefore, the theme was a perfect fit!
Again the attention to detail was astounding. I have never seen a haunted attraction so new, look so good. If I didn't know, I would say Haunted ScareHouse had been open for five to seven years. However, just like the first house, The Attic still lacked in the delivery department. The actors again seemed late and were often screaming or popping out behind us. We had to turn around to see what was going on, the whole time thinking there was a group behind us. The most notable sections of the attraction were the falling doors, the wolf and the clown section. These to me were the scariest parts... In fact the wolf was so realistic and scary. I would compare it to the handmade wolf puppeteer inside American Werewolf in London at Halloween Horror Nights. It made me jump at least ten feet as the claw grazed my arm!
The rest of the attraction fell a little short for me and I felt like it was a little actor lacking. There were certain spots where I thought there were a little too many actors. Like the part when we had two girls screaming at the top of their lungs over and over again. It was like they were competing and to be honest with you, it was rather annoying. We had heard about four girls prior to that scream like they had been murdered. It doesn't do anything, so please stop the madness! In connection with the overall actor critique there was one part of The Attic I thought should be omitted completely. As we rounded a corner, we came in contact with a notorious villain... Michael Myers! Ok honestly, what the heck is he doing in the attic? Throughout the entire attraction there had been no other tributes to any other movie villains, so why him? He stuck out like a sore thumb and instead of screaming I went, "HUH?!" He doesn't fit anywhere in either of the attractions... Take him out!
So considering the lack of actors and late delivery. The Attic was our least favorite of the night. It had a decent length and had elaborate sets but just didn't do it. I personally love the concept. But think that in this attraction there needs to be sections of complete darkness or tight spaces. I mean we are in an attic! But regardless, still an awesome time!
Overall Haunted ScareHouse was an impressive and refreshing adventure! It's nice to see a haunted attraction keeping the nostalgic aspect alive while mingling with detailed sets and advanced animatronics. I would highly recommend this attraction as the best in Northern New Jersey at the current moment... Definitely a place to keep your eyes on! Definitely a place for a good scream! Definitely worth the wait and drive! Haunted ScareHouse is hidden gem! Make sure to check it out!