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460 Green Grove Road, Scranton PA, 18447
Reviewed by:Team Scary Potter and the Hauntwarts Express on October 25, 2015
Restrooms On-Site, Food/Concessions, Gift Shop/Souvenirs, Optional Games/Midway, Special Events, This haunt may touch you, Paid Parking, Movie Characters On-Location, “Hi-Tech” Haunt, Outdoor Waiting Line, Indoor/Outdoor Haunt
Come on baby, don’t fear the Reaper. Scratch that: fear him; fear him very much. Reaper’s Revenge, Scranton’s premier, extreme haunted attraction takes aim at Blue Oyster Cult’s classic adage, puffs up its chest, and scares the little guy into rethinking his lyrics. Featuring 4 attractions – a haunted hayride, Lost Carnival, Sector 13, and one of the scariest dark attractions in the world, Pitch Black, Reaper offers 90 minutes of intense haunted goodness this season. The terrifying residents of the Reaper’s estate wait to horrify, harass and, yes, HANDLE you this Halloween Season, should you be brave enough to accept the invitation. So come on out to Scranton, Pennsylvania to see if Reaper’s Revenge will make you change your tune as well.
You cover a lot of ground as you make your way through the four attractions that comprise Reaper’s Revenge, and in doing so, encounter a broad range of different characters. There are plenty of “boo” monsters, but also an abundance of interactive actors, and in whole, the quality of these performances was very good. The Lost Carnival definitely outshone the other attractions in this regard. Between “Mr. Button”, the jolly fellow who offered us his namesake riddle, to the off-color midway barkers, and our hands-down favorites, the three demented she-clowns inhabiting the brief, but well-conceived fun house, our time spent along this big top-inspired trail was spent in near-constant interaction with unique personalities. In fairness, quality acting was spread out across the attractions, though, with the hillbillies of the hayride and the soldiers at the beginning of Sector 13 also conveying very believable and entertaining performances. Something that we noted and appreciated, particularly on the hayride, was that actors maintained character even after we had passed, continuing their dialogue or glowering until we were out of sight.
Costumes and make-up amongst the four attractions was appropriate and above-average. The bug-monster near the end of Sector 13 was assembled very well, with a convincing and horrifying costume. The colors and textures of the various “boo” monsters costumes certainly contributed to their successful startles. The armaments provided to the Sector 13 soldiers greatly enhanced that experience, making them believable and imposing. Overall, costumes at Reaper’s Revenge were pretty good.
Important – you must sign a waiver to experience the attraction. They have forms available on-site and they take all of 3 seconds to fill out. If this precaution begins to unsettle you at all, don’t worry. Nothing dangerous occurred during the trip. We’ve experienced other attractions of a similar nature that didn’t require waivers – Reaper’s was no worse. At no point during the night did we feel in danger to even the slightest degree.
You need to pay to park, which always ruffles my feathers a bit, but it was only $3, so it’s not terribly excessive. This charge is mentioned on the FAQ page at least.
We spoke with many of the employees through our travels and they were all very kind and courteous. A film was playing to entertain patrons in line. There were restrooms after each attraction as well as many concession stands, games, and an entire building full of merchandise. Pro tip: the hot chocolate available across from the dunking booth after the last attraction was AWESOME.
The initial jaunt up the driveway and through the main gates set a perfect mood for the forthcoming chaos. “Don’t Fear the Reaper” echoed along behind us as we approached the main concourse – only mildly fitting considering the chilling path we would soon find ourselves venturing upon. While Sector 13 was far-and-away the weakest of the attractions, the exterior was fantastic. The facade of the research building, complete with armed, patrolling soldiers on the roof, barbed wire, and spotlights really generated a giddy anticipation for what was to come. The majority of the attractions find you exploring dark, foreboding forested areas and establishes an appropriately creepy ambiance. Reaper did an excellent job of establishing and maintaining a sinister atmosphere.
Most of the effects utilized by Reaper seemed to be constructed in-house, with many of the sets seeming to be repurposed, pre-existing structures (the dilapidated carousel in the Carnival was fantastic). The brief fun house segment of the Lost Carnival was simple, but incredibly effective. The combination of hidden doors, actor interactions, simple-but-effective optical illusions, and twisted hallways made that experience really stand out. There were too many great scenes from the hayride to even list them all, but the spider segment, with its seemingly all-encompassing web canvas was daunting, and the creatures occupying it, even more so. The castle that marked the end of our hayride’s journey was great as well. Our favorite, though, was a section of the hayride without any actors. Instead, golem-like creations loomed over the wagon from both sides of the trail, massive and menacing, in many different forms of figures. We craned, bent, swiveled, awing at this incredible canvass until it, sadly, was gone from sight.
For animatronics and props, Reaper didn’t rely too heavily on the former. There was a really interesting bat-monster animatronic on the hayride, and a certain convincing hissing-heathen in the Carnival that stood out, as well as the Reaper, himself, who you encounter very early on your trip. We really liked the unstable bridge that we crossed – being over actual water increased the effect incredibly.
Light and sound were handled and applied very well throughout the attractions with Pitch Black being a great representation of their superb ability to manipulate each. More of that in Fright Effect below.
Of course, the single greatest “special effect” of the night involved a group of zombies in an early part of the hayride. Huge credit to the actors involved in that scene; it certainly established a maxim that would repeat many times throughout our Reaper’s Revenge adventure – be ready for anything.
The themes of each attraction is fairly general (excluding Sector 13), and there is no over-arching storyline linking the 4 haunts (the hayride doesn’t really utilize a theme at all). Independently, though, each attraction held to its theme well. Were they the most unique choices for theme and setting? No, but it seemed that each attraction brought a new spin to its adopted theme. Excluding a random, inexplicable chainsaw at the end of Sector 13, all of the actors and props seemed to blend into the thematic environment well and make sense within the parameters of the scenes they inhabited.
There is one very important consideration that I need to address immediately : Pitch Black. If you have been in any substantial number of haunted house dark mazes/attractions, you should understand where I’m coming from here : dark mazes are usually pretty lame. They’re often used as bloated padding to increase the duration of an attraction (and, more so, the admittance fee), and are haphazardly assembled, with little to no actors, and largely become an exercise in blandness of the “is this over yet?” ilk. Not so here, friends; not so at all.
Pitch Black is not a maze, per say, but it is certainly not difficult to get lost within (full disclosure – we got turned around ourselves). Excluding the obvious impediment, it is a journey through complete sensory overload – no downtime, no aimless staggering along empty corridors. I don’t want to give anything way, but, if you have ever been to a “phobia”-style attraction, Pitch Black is akin to one of those, done correctly. A member of our team who is almost completely unflappable in haunted attractions even admitted to being scared during Pitch Black. It really is that well designed – it just WORKS. It is fairly brief in length (if you are able to actually maintain your course), but it will feel like a lifetime while you are inside. If Reaper’s Revenge consisted of only the Pitch Black attraction, it would still be worth a visit (and maybe a name change of course).
The hayride had a few really unique moments – when you see a well appear, just be sure to steel yourself. The entire wagon queased in unison with that one – very impressive. Also, the end of the first section of the hayride – really clever and unique. For a few moments in there, I’m pretty sure we all were just a little bit uncertain of ourselves and terrified in a manner we had not expected to be. The hayride is also the most physical of the attractions – if you are one of the “lucky” ones, as I was…be ready for a different type of ride.
The Lost Carnival had the greatest “boo” scares by far, and they were in abundance; great placement of actors to maximize fright-opportunities, and a couple of animatronic-generated startles that were executed very well.
Frankly, there were a lot of great moments – the scares at Reaper are varied, frequent, and often very interactive, but divulging more would cheapen the experience for newcomers to the haunt. One word to encapsulate its Fright Effect – satisfying.
A ticket to Reaper’s Revenge is $35, and includes access to all four attractions. While that is on the high side for haunted attractions, the experience requires all of the 90 minutes that it claims to, making the SCA-LUE 2.57 of entertainment for every dollar spent. Despite the cost, this indicates that it is actually a very good deal. We really enjoyed the first three attractions VERY much; the fourth a good bit less. Most of your time is spent on the hayride, and the set pieces, scene designs and constant flow of terrors ensure that you’re never bored. We really did love the wildly bizarre interactions that we experienced in the Carnival. Yes, sir, I AM touching a strange man’s balls in the woods, and I am not ashamed! And Pitch Black… as stated above, was worth the cost of admission alone. Sector 13 wasn’t terrible; I believe that our expectations were just so high after the first three attractions that it couldn’t possibly live up to them. It could have been better, certainly, but it definitely had its moments.
So, is Reaper’s Revenge worth a trip and your hard-earned cash? Absolutely. Something that we love about Reaper is that the attractions are vastly different from one another – it isn’t the same scares repeated over and over for an hour and a half. Clever and creepy scene design, capable acting, and a wide variety of unique frights combine to make Reaper’s Revenge a must-see haunted experience that we highly recommend!
Highest Rated – Scariest Haunt in Pennsylvania (Given by: Team Scary Potter and the Hauntwarts Express)