DATE OF VISIT
October 17, 2013
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - Every year the historic Eastern State Penitentiary transforms into a hellish nightmare that is, Terror Behind the Walls. The annual haunted attraction boasts a total of six winding and weaving mazes. Which are housed inside the real life cell blocks of a supposedly real haunted penitentiary. Over the years we have watched the event switch focus from promoting the real life hauntings seen on Travel Channel, Ghost Hunters and MTV Fear to an intense, bloodier, darker and scarier attraction. Last year after the regular haunting season... Terror Behind the Walls was "REMIXED"!
During this special night, those walking through the six attractions would be touched and shown a much more intense show. It must have been successful because at the start of the 2013 season... The creators behind Terror Behind the Walls brought this darker, bloodier and more intense show to the cellblocks every night of the regular operating season! Since we missed last years one night event, we of course had to experience it ourselves! But as you all know, Terror Behind the Walls was on our 2012 FrightTour. Therefore, we are reviewing this as an Official Side Fright!
So as we stood in line waiting to begin our long walk through the corridors and cell blocks of Eastern State... We had to contend with pushy and I mean very pushy monster squad team members. These guys were so forceful with the "touching" feature that it was quite intimidating. I wondered if it would be like this through the entire attraction... However, the forcefulness we dealt with while waiting in line, faded VERY quickly while walking through the six mazes. In fact it seemed like the actors were either not into the "reach out and touch me" theme or they were afraid to do so. Throughout the entire thing I maybe got touched three times... And anyone who has been to Terror Behind the Walls knows that it takes you a good 35 - 45 minutes to walk through. Therefore, considering I was only touched a few times in such a big place with so many actors, I considered the new touch rule a fail. If you are going to promote it then have the actors commit to following through with it. It was a major let down since the penitentiary is already a creepy place. So someone touching me out of no where would do the trick!
As for the actual attraction itself... Nothing really changed with this new approach. As you enter the line you are handed a glow stick and your cheek gets a smear of blood. I dunno what this does? Its not like it is real blood and anyone with sense knows that. So I just think it is something to interact with visitors, maybe break a little bit of the comfort zone. But I honestly found it kind of pointless and messy. As we stood in line waiting to begin the first attraction, The Gauntlet. The sticky substance unknowingly dripped down my cheek onto my neck. After scratching what I thought was an itch, my hands became sticky and I regretted saying yes to the blood.
Once inside the six attraction labyrinth I noticed that everything pretty much remained the same. There was no difference from our experience last year compared to this year. I thought I would be walking through darker corridors, more fogged out rooms and encounter more intense scenes of violence, but... It was pretty much Terror Behind the Walls as it has been for the last four years. Yes once in a while I was touched... But it wasn't anything like the new promotion stated it would be. If this is what last years "REMIX" was like then everyone who reviewed it as "The most intense experience ever!" or "It is the best haunted house ever!"... Is full of crap! There I said it! I was really upset from what I had read regarding reviews during last years single night event. Now could the event last year differed a little from what is being pushed now...? Yes that is possible, but I highly doubt it!
Overall the attraction was pretty good but I am not gonna lie here... I think the creators and designers behind Terror Behind the Walls need to go back to the drawing board here. Is the penitentiary itself creepy...? Yes it is! Are the six different mazes at least decent to great...? Yes each separate attraction delivers on a different level. Personally The Infirmary was the best experience of the night with Night Watch a very close second. But I think The Gauntlet and Lock Down need to be wiped out and totally redone. These two attractions over the last couple of years have consistently lacked. The penitentiary is an awesome canvas for a really intense and terrifying attraction. However, I feel those behind TBTW are playing it safe and can do so much more!
Is it still worth a visit during the Halloween operating schedule? Well I wouldn't personally go on a Friday or Saturday night. The lines can get pretty long and a conga line through the entire attraction usually forms. If I were you, I would go on a weekday or a Sunday. The lines are much shorter and you can usually walk through in your own group!