DATE OF VISIT
September 23, 2016
ABINGTON, MASSACHUSETTS - After parking the car we immediately found ourselves in a sea of children and teens. I know you are saying, "Come on Lou, really kids!?" Yes I know, hard to believe right!? But it was like every parent in Abington had date night and said, "Ok Ashley and Johnny, even though you're only twelve years old we are going to drop you off at a haunted house for the night." There were at minimal at least a dozen adults roaming the grounds. We actually started counting and obviously didn't get very far. Of course we all came to the conclusion the attraction would be ruined thanks to a bunch of wild and crazy kids. Now before you go and judge us, we love children but when left unsupervised, they tend to run a muck at attractions like this. Look us up on Snapchat, we actually have a video of what we're talking about.
Moving on, now that you hate us... We made our way to the front entrance which was a large devils head with a gaping mouth that you walked through. Now I thought this was the ticket booth but instead it was a mini little attraction in itself. There were actors, at least four inside and it was something we have never seen before.
Making our way from the ticket booth to the queue line of the Haunted Mansion we still haven't seen many adults and that positive vibe slowly dwindled. While waiting in line a variety of actors were making their way around the attraction and I have to say the make up was unbelievable. I mean for such a small attraction it was amazing to see some of the prosthetic work walking around. Hikers with their brains showing, mouths stretched open it was Halloween Horror Night quality! So then again my hopes rose a little more!
Our tickets were ripped and we were let through to the front of mansion where a sinister maniacal clown stood waiting.
Again not gathering any info regarding the attractions we entered the threshold of the mansion with a complete vacant mind. After the official rules have been read to you, you are ushered into a foyer where a woman stands waiting, hovering over a Ouija board. She summons you to gather around the circular table and things begin happening around the room. But quickly as you arrive at the table you are then shoved through a door into the hallways of the mansion. The mansion itself was an elaborate labyrinth of odd assortments. Lets see we came across aliens, clowns, dolls, natives, dead cats, butchers and monsters. And then the usual internal struggle began... I began to wonder what the general theme of the mansion was. Of course it could be just as simple as a wide assortment of terrifying things. And maybe I was reading into it a little too much.
Regardless the haunted mansion, started off strong. It was effective in its purpose. It was scary and had some very decent memorable moments. Of course since it is only the first weekend Barrett's is open, we feel providing these juicy details would be unfair and of course we don't want to ruin anything for anyone. But if any of the subjects above creep you out, get ready for a wild ride. It had decent length and the actors were intense and hungry for your screams. I personally jumped a few times with one special moment where I wanted out. There were no overused typical items like chainsaws, dead pitch black halls or blinding fogged out rooms. The use of stagnant objects including human like figures was spot on allowing actual beings to come to life while your eyes were fixated on the non-living. That was one general theme played throughout. I will say though, while the beginning started off strong, the end was sort of let down. This area should the final moment, that moment where the strongest scare comes, something to get the blood pumping. Especially since the exit feeds out next to the queue line of the attraction. But all in all the attraction was promising, a definitely good start to the tour and the night.
Wasting no time, we made our way over to the second attraction, The Compound. It had begun to drizzle as we made our way through the themed queue line which of course made my inner devil delighted. Something again we have never seen. From the looks of it, The Compound was either themed along the lines of Area 51 containing extra terrestrial beings and the military. Again not knowing anything we were pushed in through the main entrance to the haunt and found ourselves in an elaborate well themed out attraction. The set design was spot on, you really felt like you were walking through a military compound. Unfortunately this was the only thing the attraction had going right. It could have been the fact it was opening night, the fact that it was raining. But the actors inside felt a little fizzled out, some were talking to each other, some just stood there looking at you while walking by and any of you following us for a long time know this is one of my biggest pet peeves. It doesn't work people! Standing in the center of a hall and waiting for me to pass does nothing! Absolutely nothing! But I guess for the general public, you know those who do one to two of these a year not fifteen hundred it might work. After about five minutes we came out the other end and it was over.
While the theming was perfect, the rest of the attraction just fell short. The actors need a boost me up or better placement. Some of the were bunched up in threes again all standing there or having a conversation as we came around the corner. So in all honesty, I would do The Compound first and save The Mansion for last. The Mansion was definitely the better out of the two. It had the intensity we were looking for, the actors were dedicated and the scares were on point. While the theme was a little lost, it was definitely the highlight of the night.
All in all, Barrett's Haunted Mansion was a solid attraction. Celebrating their 25th year in operation the venue opened for the first time last night so I am sure as time goes on and the Halloween holiday rolls closer the attraction will become more intense and ironed out. If you live in the area or are visiting Salem, Massachusetts on a trip, you should definitely make the hour trip south to experience Barrett's. Definitely a must if in the area. Not the most terrifying but still a good haunt.