Jump to Haunt Manor, Niagara Falls, Ontario
Photo © Haunt Manor
Oct 29, 2014 - Damn my brother. He was supposed to write this review and get the beejeebers scared out of him. In the end, he couldn't go and I had to. Don't get me wrong, I love horror movies but I am the type of person to close my eyes during the parts I think will startle me. I knew closing my eyes at Haunt Manor where you have to walk through the haunted attractions would not be an option. I could not count on my husband to lead me through the attractions with my eyes closed because he gets his thrills from seeing me terrified. The last time we attended a haunted attraction, he ran in and left me to navigate through the maze of dark hallways myself so I knew he wouldn't be much help at Haunt Manor. Ah well, it does not matter now because I survived and can honestly say Haunt Manor is worth the chills and the thrills.
Haunt Manor is the pet project of Phil Van Kleef who turns his campground yearly into a haunted attraction for horror buffs to enjoy just in time for Halloween. Boasting over five themed attractions, Haunt Manor takes several months to set up, and the result is an attraction complete with superbly detailed sets, impressive lighting, and believable entertaining actors. Upon my arrival at Haunt Manor and as I waited in line for my turn at each of the haunted attractions, I was accosted by zombies, clowns and what appeared to be a tree creature known as the cornstalker who I must say was wearing a phenomenal costume. A renowned illusionist also dons the stage nightly with a show designed to bring in more thrills from the crowd. Usually, I am not that impressed with illusionists but admittedly, Edward Stone's show had me on the edge of my seat. I was actually nervous and afraid for one of our friends who stood the risk of having his head chopped off onstage. Needless to say, everything turned out fine but his girlfriend could not bear to watch (I do not blame her!). At every twist and turn, inside the attractions and while waiting in line, Haunt Manor does not fail to entertain its visitors.
Randy and I, together with friends, first went into the Chambers of Terror haunted house. This attraction only allowed four visitors at a time and I felt that limiting the amount of visitors greatly added to the thrill factor. With only four people, you could not hide in the middle of a large crowd in hopes that the ghouls and monsters would focus all of their efforts on the people in front and at the end of your group (you know who you are, yes, the chickens who huddle right in the middle of their friends). This attraction in particular contained narrow pathways throughout it which meant you had to walk in a line - there was no room to huddle or hug each other in fear. Since there were only four of us, I told my husband Randy I did not want to be the last person walking in the group and when I did, I heard a few snickers from the crowd waiting in line. Ya, ya, it did not make a difference in the end because Randy always ended up leaving enough room between me and him so that the ghouls and monsters of the attraction could sneak up on me at any time...and they did...more than a few times actually.
The haunted house was hugely impressive. It contained narrow hallways which incited feelings of claustrophobia and tension, several startling moments, and well thought-out detailed sets. Navigating through the maze of the Chambers of Terror built the right amount of tension and anticipation, and monsters would come rushing out during key moments. I screamed even though I tried not to. Yes, I was startled more than a few times. At the end of it all, I left laughing at myself for being such a 'wuss-puss'.
Photo © Haunt Manor
The other attractions were grouped together as part of one big walk-through. My friends and I were confused at first since it appeared from our tickets that there were still six more themed attractions apart from the haunted hay ride. The line-up to the rest of the attractions turned out to be one in the same line. We went through all of the attractions as part of one walk-through and like the Chambers of Terror haunted house, the sets did not fail to impress. Some of the scenes were incredibly detailed that the braver members of our group stopped to analyze them. I do not want to give much away for those of you folks intending to visit soon or in the future. I will say, however, that the bloody bathroom scene, the butcher scene with the pig-headed actor (pig-headed actor, I have a bone to pick with you!), and the 3D clown area were impressive and worth a second look. I write second look because honestly, I was too tense about getting startled yet again that I was not able to take the time to truly admire the intricate sets. The only issue I had with these attractions was that more people were allowed through at a time. As a result, it did not warrant the same foreboding fear when only four visitors were allowed at one time like in the Chambers of Terror. During our walk-through, another group who were moving at a faster pace than us ended up catching up to us and unfortunately, it did take away from some of our experience.
Photo © Haunt Manor
Haunt Manor also offers a haunted hay ride which we were not able to partake in. By the time we had finished watching the illusionist's show, the line-up to the haunted hay ride was astronomically long. It would have taken hours and frankly, we needed to get home to alleviate our sitter from our crazy kids (she was experiencing a frightful attraction of her own, ha!). Nevertheless, we are aiming to experience the hay ride before the attraction closes for the season time-permitting and when we do, I will include an excerpt of our experience here. I have read great reviews surrounding the hay ride mostly referencing the full blown effects involved so I cannot wait to experience it.
As for tips on how to enjoy the attractions to their fullest, is is best to arrive early. Haunt Manor opens at 7 PM and I highly advise that you arrive at this time. By 8 PM, Phil mentioned the line-ups do get long and trust me, they did! Also, make sure to dress for the weather. Most of it happens outdoors and the last thing you need is the chilly weather taking away from your experience.
So, if you are in the Niagara area or from Niagara, make sure to check out Haunt Manor. They will be open again this week from Thursday to Saturday, 7 to 10 PM. Visit on Friday for the 'Lights Out' experience. During this time, each group is allowed one flashlight...you will be experiencing some of the attractions in total darkness, haha. They will again be open for one final night on Saturday so make sure to get on down early and let me know how it turns out for you!
Our special thanks to Haunt Manor for extending us passes. Despite our experience being hosted, my thoughts are always my own. Hey, I always tell it like it is!