DATE OF VISIT
October 24, 2014
JACKSON, NEW JERSEY - As we made our way from our car to the front entrance of the domain, our minds began to make assumptions that the event would be more geared towards families and children. The singing pumpkin head, painted facade and light up skeletons just came across as very family friendly. Which surprised us because usually haunted attractions cater to a more mature crowd displaying gore, blood, guts and graphic images of death and torture. In fact there were a large amount of kids present which honestly just enhanced our feelings that what we were about to experience would be executed on the safe side or rather a PG rating. After grabbing our tickets and making a quick potty stop we were ready for the two attractions Dracula's Domain has to offer!
First on the menu was the outdoor trail, Psychopath! From the outside we couldn’t make out what it was, so we were kind of walking into this completely blind. Once on the opposite side of the main facade our eyes took a little to adjust to the almost pitch black setting. Considering the darkness, we were both very scared! The trail was lined with a thick black tarp acting as the walls of the haunt. At first we thought the tarp was cheesy, but now that we have had a chance to sit and reflect... We can understand why the tarp is used. Considering it was an outdoor house, there really is no need for an elaborate corridor of walls. Therefore, what would be your most inexpensive and minimal time consuming method of walls...? Tarp! It was a perfect fit for this outdoor attraction! When the wind would blow the tarp would move! This was a nature made “distracta-scare”! It provided the perfect opportunities for actors to scare you from a different angle!
While on the subject of actors I felt they needed a little diversity in the delivery of their scares. Too many of them used the old time, “roar method”! It got a little repetitive and personally my ears got used to hearing it ultimately keeping from jumping. It was a shame because the rest of the attraction was pretty much spot on! There were some nice material inside including the tight hallways, the crawling tunnel, the custom made animatronic figures and the exquisite touch of subtle lighting. We do feel that a bit of fog would have made the haunt so much more effective! The attraction honestly had no general theme, but that was ok... It worked! Overall it was a pretty decent and scary trail. It was dark, scary, long and done effectively! You might want to save this for last!
Leaving Psychopath and hopping right onto the Haunted Hayride, we sat down and braced ourselves... Braced ourselves for the unknown, would this hayride fall short or would it deliver more then some of the hayrides we have visited this year. Of course this can’t be the first review you have read from us. Therefore, you know we know and take all of the elements surrounding a hayrides outcome into consideration.There are so many things that can affect our review of a hayride; the moon, the wind, precipitation and of course aesthetic elements like the mode of transportation. Making a mental note of all of the above we don’t expect too much out of these attractions. Well this hayride was a HUGE surprise! The trail was very dark, much like Psychopath! It allowed the actors to sneak up on the wagon and scare us half to death... We didn’t see where they were coming from! Even though their approach was again very repetitive the very long journey was enjoyable and sometimes creepy! However, where there is the good, there is some bad. Because of the length there was a good amount of dead space and it could have been due to the setup. This hayride was good, so downsize the length and the dead spaces will decrease big time in connection with the amount of actors roaming the trail.
Unfortunately length and dead spaces aren’t the only critiques we have for this dark hayride... In addition some of the scenes were too far from the wagon itself, especially the clown section. I feel like if this was closer, it would have delivered a more effective scare. Because the scenes were too far away, the audio was barely audible... Or maybe it was the system cranking it out... Speaking of audio, I never understand why haunted attractions insist on using heavy metal, rock or grunge music when putting a soundtrack to their attractions. To us it just doesn’t fit, use something that has a connection to the genre of what you are doing, you know horror! We wish that was the end of it, but there are some more things we would considering altering. Aside from the length, soundtrack and scene spacing... We would get rid of the witch scene all together, it had no effect and our wagon just sat there as she roamed while sniffing. Speaking of roaming the wagon, all the actors were very repetitive coming up on the wagon and getting very close to our faces. We think every single actor did it, there was no diversity at all and after a few times it got rather boring. Overall Dracula’s Domain Haunted Hayride was a decent hayride for a small venue. It was surprisingly very enjoyable. In fact it was much better then certain locations that have deemed themselves the scariest hayride in the country. It was dark and very creepy! Definitely a hayride to watch out for! It just proves you don’t need big money props or sets to pull off an attraction. Very good indeed!
Exiting the hayride and making our way back on the outside of the castle facade, we had finished the night. Overall Dracula’s Domain is worth the $25 required to enter. In fact if you are venturing to Six Flags Great Adventure for Fright Fest and paying the separate fees to enter their horrible attractions... Why not leave the park at dusk and head two seconds up the road to Dracula’s Domain?! Trust me, the two attractions there are ten times, no wait one hundred times more worth your money and time. Once everyone leaves the park, and the traffic dies down, the domain is closed. Dracula’s Domain has loads of potential to be a terrifying attraction. It’s dark and Nick and his family have some nice authentic touches never seen elsewhere! With a little creative juice and risks we definitely see Dracula’s Domain becoming a top spot for Halloween. Again trust us when we suggest leaving Great Adventure’s Lame Fest for Dracula’s Domain! You will surely thank us! We we terrified? No we were pleasantly startled and creeped out... More than we can ever say about our experience at neighboring haunts including again... LAME FEST! So get your buns in gear and head on down to Dracula’s Domain now!