The Haunted Graveyard at Lake Compounce
186 Enterprise Drive, Bristol, CT 06010View All Details
Paid Parking, Restrooms On-Site, “Old-School” (Low Tech), You will NOT be touched, Uncovered Outdoor Waiting Line, Indoor/Outdoor Attraction, Family Friendly
Team Old Crow Hollow reviewed this attraction on October 7, 2017.
Final Score: 8.6
The best way to describe The Haunted Graveyard was something that was said to me by a makeup artist there when I went on a backstage tour two years ago; that this place embraces a traditional Spirit of Halloween. Quite simply, if there is a Halloween theme you can think of then they bring it to life here.
Witches? Vampires? Werewolves? Zombies? Spiders? Cannibal Hillbillies? Demons? Etc… Yup they got em all, except for clowns. I don’t remember clowns, but they would have seemed out of place here strangely enough. But literally every dark and creepy thing you would think of around Halloween they have a place for.
I would say it’s the most family friendly of all the Haunted attractions I’ve been too, as it is not gory or adult themed. But don’t let that fool you into thinking you won’t be scared or startled as their cast and designers are masters of knowing how to use timing, distraction and location to pop out where you don’t expect it, and the scare actors have been well trained to use strange vocalizations and sounds to be more creepy and menacing as they come up behind you. As someone who is not often scared or surprised, and can spot a startle scare coming, I have to say they got me multiple times throughout all the areas on the property. The costumes always match their themed area, and they rely mostly on believable makeup instead of masks, except in the first area of the Catacombs, but that is to hide the actors from the dummy skeleton monks in there.
Their ending piece is probably the longest pitch dark tunnel there could possibly be, it felt like it went on forever, and the mansion seemed to be invested with Vampires this year and was kicked up a notch in the total number of actors as well as intensity. The same goes for the opening area called the Catacombs with its majestic church-like façade. Their customer service was amazing as one of my team was having trouble making it through the long walk, and just needed to rest a number of times before we continued, and being a larger fellow it probably looked like it might be a more serious issue than it was, but every time we had to stop a member of the crew would seemingly pop outta nowhere to make sure we were ok, and very quickly as well. General admission is only $27.99 per person or you can get a combo ticket to go on the rides at the attached Lake Compounce amusement park, and you will spend at least 45 minutes or more just walking through as this is one long connected series of themed scare areas and houses. I believe there was over 20 different themed sections here, so you will certainly get your money’s worth. The only thing that would be better is if you could trick or treat along the way.
The cast, as usual, is very energetic and into their roles. There is very little if any of the actors standing there just staring at you, or lazily going through the motions. They will startle you and pop out sometimes where you don’t expect it, but they can also interact with you, and not just with repetitive or cliché dialogue.
Their tone and words match the theme of their area, so a witch will put a curse on you, or chant some spell, while a vampire will try to lure you in a Victorian type of way, and sometimes they are just really thirsty and show it. Cannibal Rednecks have the most time to talk to you and they use it to describe the ways they would cook and eat your flesh as you trudge up a slope to the next area.
The scare actors are well trained, high energy and authentic to their theme.
While most of the costuming is nothing that will blow you away with detail, the goal here seems more to be to match the environment they are in, and almost blending into it. Everything in regards to costuming and makeup was spot on to the character and location. They used masks very sparingly, but effectively as tools for scaring and distraction. Just very solid overall and the best thing I could say was that as you transitioned from one theme to the next, you could immediately tell what this new area was about by the décor, costumes and characters.
Customer Service: 8.75
The general mood from the folks I saw interacting with the crowd was enthusiastic and welcoming, as though they wanted to let you know that they were proud of this haunt, and wanted their guests to really have a good time.
It was easy to find The Haunted Graveyard by it being attached to the amusement park, so it really stands out. The downside is that they need to funnel the crowd through the main ticket gate area of Lake Compounce, so it’s a bit of a walk from the parking lot where you have to pay to park all the way through the bottom part of the park to get to the haunt’s entrance.
I didn’t see any queue entertainment, but it seemed like they were moving people through the lines pretty fast on this night as there was a large crowd built up and it was only 7 o’clock.
There is nothing dangerous here at all, their walkways and scenes are well planned out and clear, and nothing is designed to where contact could occur. About the only slight possible area is the graveyard where the mixture of darkness, bright spotlights, and fog could contribute to an issue, but didn’t experience anything this time, and it seemed even less of an issue than two years ago.
Again, the staff was awesome with noticing a potential health problem and quickly approaching us. It was just reassuring to know that if there was really an issue while you were in the attraction that someone would notice quickly and be there to help.
There were all kinds of different sounds or music used to help sell the theme of the area, and you definitely knew you were at a haunt by the giant facades and fog, and music. I think it was a good choice setting the catacombs as the entry point of the walkthrough as it towers over you in a dark gothic way.
The only drawback is the noise and lights from the roller coasters and rides nearby as you get ready to enter, but once inside it’s blocked from your vision and you don’t really notice.
They have also expanded the creepiness factor to the front gate and entrance tunnel to the park, in fact they have taken over the whole front area of the park and filled it with creepy music, lights, and tons and tons of fog. Coming through the tunnel to get to the ticket booths is really well done and sets a good tone so that you know what lies ahead is creepy stuff and not roller coasters and whack a mole.
Special Effects: 8.43
Again everything is spot on to the theme and environment and done in a way to enhance rather than distract from what that area is supposed to be and look like. Their strong suit is the massive facades for the Catacombs, the Mansion, The Keep which is a huge castle structure and The Mayan pyramid, which is all very impressive and effective to instantly setting the tone and telling the story of that area. They also have probably the best Vortex tunnel and lazer fog mist areas I’ve seen.
If you couldn’t tell by now this haunt is all about theming, and they do a great job of executing it, keeping it authentic, and not including things like characters from movies or even clowns that are too bright and cheery for this dark, gothic world of mythological creatures.
While they nail all the different types of characters they use, they lose a little in not really having unique characters. That is probably by design as they want you to know this creature is a vampire or a zombie, and they will look like the classic version of those characters.
The convenience of having the amusement park’s infrastructure is the only real thing that hurts this haunt. There are screams coming from the roller coaster that looms overhead, but it’s amusement park screams. So the location doesn’t necessarily hit you as a real creepy place, so it loses a little for that.
Fright Effect: 8.33
When we visited this haunt and two others in the same time period, each of the three places had strong suits that were exceptional, but then also lacked one part. So despite being three completely different types of haunt,s they all scored almost the same overall.
The lowest score for The Haunted Graveyard by a little was how scary it is. Now there are points where you will be startled or scared, and maybe it’s by design, but it’s not meant to be horrifying fear for your life type of stuff. It’s really more of the fun getting scared kind of thing.
They do make up for the lack of sheer terror by utilizing every trick in the book to startle you, or scare you, or make you feel a little uneasy, and the real finale of the dark tunnel is a great way to end it, almost as if you are emerging back out of the darkness of this Haunted World back into the safety of the lights and civilization.
One thing for sure is that you will get your money’s worth here as it ranks at 1.61 ration in minutes per dollar (minutes of entertainment received per dollar spent, MPD) and that doesn’t include queue line time.
This is not a quick walk through so make sure you have comfortable shoes for the distance and terrain. I believe they advertise the entire path being a mile long as it weaves it’s way back and forth around the property. They definitely use every bit of space available, and in such a way that you don’t know where you are within the attraction. I’ve been there twice and outside of the areas at the far edges of the haunt’s land, I couldn’t tell you where everything is located as you twist and wind your way along.
If you are looking to have a good time, and have some fun while being scared without spending a fortune then this would be the haunted attraction to do it. I would even recommend a trip to the Haunted Graveyard to be a yearly tradition along with pumpkin carving and trick or treating to get you in the Halloween spirit.
General Admission: $27.99
Length: 45 Minutes
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Guest ReviewsGuest Average: 2 out of 10
Larry L. – 2/10Not sure who paid for your review, but I disagree with much of your assessment. Yes, they are …show more