Blood Prison – Full Review

Blood Prison is a Haunted Attraction located in Mansfield, OH.

100 Reformatory Road, Mansfield, OH 44905
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Free Parking, Restrooms/Porta Potties On-Site, Food/Concessions, Gift Shop/Souvenirs, Special Events, You may be touched, Uncovered Outdoor Waiting Line

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This attraction was reviewed on October 7, 2023 by Team Teachers of Terror.

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Final Score: 9.12

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The Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, Ohio is home to one of the most recognizable building complexes in the tri-state area, maybe even the country. If you ask five random people about this place, you will probably hear words like Shawshank Redemption, ghosts, and Blood Prison. This is a place where its reputation precedes itself.

Built in 1896 in the Romanesque style, this visually impressive site was originally designed to ‘reform and rehabilitate’ inmates who had committed minor offenses. This was changed over to a maximum security facility beginning in the 1960’s and closed its doors in 1990. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983 and is now under the protection of The Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society.

We visited the seasonal haunted house back in 2015 and were excited to see the haunt again this year to see what has changed during our absence. While we still experienced that same feeling of awe in our approach to the building, once we entered, we noticed some major changes we much enjoyed! Read on for the details.

Cast Score: 9.18

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Cast Review:

Since the shutdowns of COVID-19, low numbers of actors have plagued haunts everywhere. This season, Blood Prison was not one of these haunts. We were pleased with the plentiful characters and varieties of activity we witnessed as we made our way through. If you like an interactive and plentiful cast of live characters, this haunt may be for you.

Blood Prison gives you two options: touch or no touch. If you choose the touch option, you may have your hair yanked, your arms jerked, your ankles grabbed, and many other appropriate assaults. This adds an intimidating factor to the scare. Customers who do not choose the touch option can still expect to be in close proximity to cast members.

The actions of the cast of Blood Prison were authentic and believable. The atmosphere of the prison lends itself nicely to a variety of hiding places and jump scares. We never quite knew where the next berserk character lurked. Actors approached us from all angles. Some were hidden, others were not. Some characters lurked in the shadows and followed behind, and others met us head-on. Some had props to use on us, and others only needed their bare hands.

Something we always enjoy with actors is a little banter and ad-libbing. While most interaction here was intended to be a quick assault, we did meet a convict in prison attire who actually admitted he was guilty when we asked. When we asked why he did it, he responded with a creepy “Because I was hungry.” Needless to say, we made a quick getaway after that. Many actors had a particular line they wanted to express, which was always something akin to a threat of violence of some sort or another. We were snorted at, growled at, screamed at, and told to “Get Out!” a few times.

There was not a lack of variety here. With the size of this haunt, you need a variety of characters, and they deliver. We were accosted by a multitude of characters, including prisoners, guards, mad patients, apocalypse victims, clowns, nuns and priests, horrified caged victims and their maniacal captors, a monkey character perched and ready to pounce, and many more. We were also intercepted by two sliders. Cast members were in character at all times, bringing chills to our spines.

Costuming Score: 8.94

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Costuming Review:

Upon entering the reformatory at the start of the tour, we were greeted by the Warden’s Widow corpse, whom we adore. The 6’7” towering figure had a long, flowing gown aged with time and a crown of sorts, making her appear even taller and intimidating in the way the prison itself is intimidating. Her costume included fully detailed makeup, yellow and sharp jagged teeth, and metal finger extensions that lightly scraped our skin as she grabbed at hair and limbs that crossed her path. We also met a second queue actor who appeared to be a guard with a mangled face and a fully detailed, dark costume. Keeping with the widow, many of the workers dressed in prison guard uniforms were posted along the way to keep the flow of traffic moving along.

As we entered each area of Blood Prison, character costumes seemed appropriate and complete in each scene depicted. The costumes realistically fit the scene design they were in. n the living quarters, we saw several characters with costumes and makeup that told us exactly who they were, be it family, haints, or staff. In the doll room, a small girl in aged and soiled clothing slowly emerged from the wall, appearing to portray a living doll with full face makeup and braids. Later, the Psych ward patients appeared in prison-issued inmate uniforms, full makeup, signs of cuts and damage, and detailed outfits down to the black dress and prison-issued shoes. A mourning woman in a long formal dress and corpse makeup paced around a casket, warning those who approached of doom. In the Battle Zone area, military uniforms and full-faced makeup, well-sculpted masks, and even a gas mask here and there seemed on par. The chapel priest wore full formal Sunday robes, and the nun boasted porcelain skin and glowing nightmarish eyes. Another stand-out costume was an actor wearing a devil-horned mask and a ceremonial robe. Several scenes portrayed unstable medical workers in scrubs and whitecoats stained with the blood of patients and treatments gone bad. According to their scenes, actors shook knives, chainsaws, pill bottles, chains, and butcher knives at guests.

Only once did we notice the back of the neck exposed on a character where the mask wasn’t not long enough. In the apocalypse area, prisoners had full masks that appeared to be burnt and scarred from the catastrophic event. We did get a glimpse of a retreating patient whose exposed back detailed a nicely done skeletal backbone completed with an airbrush.

Customer Service Score: 9.88

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The iconic building is easy to spot from the road, and GPS led us there without fail. Signage was ample. Multiple parking attendants were providing parking assistance. The property is gated with one way in and out. Guests quickly form a line along the main entrance to check in and make their way to the second queue area, depending on the type of ticket purchased. Customers can print out their confirmation codes on paper or simply use their smartphones to show the staff to proceed. Guests follow a path created by partitions to get to each stage of the check-in process.

We did have a slight hiccup attempting to exit the property, as there was only one way out, and we did not choose wisely. We made our own path before we discovered access was blocked with fencing. While on the property, we spotted several real police officers throughout.

Aside from a little uneven flooring (very minor) here and there, everything appeared safe.
All staff was courteous and polite. All staff we spoke to eagerly answered our questions and were a delight to spend time with.

The dedicated website for this haunt includes any information we need for this haunt, including dates, times, directions, FAQs, join the team, and buy tickets link.

Immersion Score: 9.25

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Immersion Review:

Rolling up on the property and staring up at the main building, we were instantly overwhelmed with a sense that something big was about to go down. When we entered the front gate to the prison, the blaring sound of heavy metal music playing through a quality sound system set the tone for what was about to come. Tourlentes lights were moving about, apparently in search of a “runner.” In the dark, we could see the glow of fire through the windows. Off to the side, a replica of a cell block provided a glimpse of the dimensions of the cells inside that were occupied by the residents, as well as an example of the severe lack of privacy they faced. This area could also serve as another place for photo ops. We also spotted a cut-out of the warden watching us. We spoke to a ghost hunter who has logged several hours at this prison both on and off haunt season time. He certainly added to our anticipation of a scary evening with purported real-life scary stories that he endured within those creepy walls.

The heavy metal music continued to be playing loudly as we entered the building. We were lined up against the wall and were yelled at by a massive, gruesome prison guard. He placed his huge hand on a member’s forehead and pushed her head back to pin her against the wall, where he demanded her name. She felt very intimidated at this point, so of course, she did as he demanded. She didn’t even give him a fake name!

Inside the haunt itself, we were put on a fast-paced path that kept us both entertained and anxious nearly the entire time.

Special FX Score: 9.18

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Special FX Review:

Throughout the haunt, the sound effects were very successful in setting the tone and the pace. There were different styles of music and sounds throughout, and all choices were most appropriate for the setting. For example, the living quarters had suspenseful music and lively “record player” music going. Some areas had us amped up with the sound of pounding heavy metal music or other blockbuster fast-tempo music to indicate a feeling of urgency. The low hum and chanting playing in the cultist church area was a little hair-raising. The sounds heard throughout were but not limited to: dripping water, screaming, shouting, grinding metal, popping, chainsaws, piano music, organ music, banging, begging, cackling, the thrusts of helicopter propellers, zombie moans, growling, chains, horns, warning sirens, chants, bells, and the sparks of tasers. The ambient music was effective for setting the mood and could be heard well throughout. Some areas were quieter than others, but it helped to set the tone for apprehension. Facing a long corridor in the dark, seeing a figure in the distance is alarming as it is, sprinkle in the intense sounds, and you have yourself an intense situation to endure!

The scene designs were realistic in each area, most especially in the “living quarters” of the haunt. That fireplace design was a bit unexpected, and we appreciated all the little details throughout the living quarters. We also liked the look and feel of walking between the rooms and the exposed slats of plaster and wood. Unexpectedly, there were overturned cars, plane wreckage, helicopter wreckage, and even a tank shooting at us. We even encountered a flight attendant who was very angry at us for seeing the plane wreck and not doing anything to help. (I really hated to tell her, but this all looked too far gone for me to do anything to help). Some of the details we noticed throughout include: smoke damage, variations of creepy dolls in the doll room, Frankenstein creations, blood and blood stains, chain link fencing, actual cars, army tanks, airplane and helicopter wreckage, dead bodies, neon paints, and chalk designs, hospital beds, hospital equipment, church pews, stained glass, a pulpit, coffins, and burnt bodies.

The animatronics were so realistic that, at times, we were unsure if they were human or not. We were often startled by them randomly jumping out as us. We were met with massive props, animatronics, and puppets that all seemed to have a life of their own. The possessed jumper in the doll room, Jack-in-the-Box, and the lunging dragon were stand-outs to us. Some animatronic zombies were trying to get at us through the fence, and someone (or something) was trying to escape their locked toe-pincher coffin.

Several different odors were noted throughout, including smoke, ash, wood smell, sulfur, musty, and burning, which added another dimension to our experience. Again, these additions were masterfully added to the appropriate scenes, thus holding our minds hostage.

Other sensory effects included a spinning vortex tunnel, compression tunnels, and fog. It did not take long for us to find ourselves on the other end of the laser sights being shot at. Tourlentes lights were touring the grounds to spot anyone who might try to escape. Additional lighting effects consisted of dimming and flickering effects, strobe lights, different colored lights, and laser lights.

Throughout the haunt, the combination of special effects used was outstanding in placing someone psychologically where the prison wanted them to be.

Scare Factor Score: 8.88

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Scare Factor Review:

This place put us “on guard” as soon as we approached the building. We were subjected to so many jump scares from actors and special effects like sounds, props, and animatronics that we easily lost count. This style of haunt is scary in the way it feels dark and sinister the entire way through. Animatronics were fast to pop out and return to a set position, but they did seem to react at different times, sometimes at the front of the line but also in the middle of the line. The girl in the Doll Room got us good! We were set back on our heels as she did the old distraction move on us. We aren’t sure to this day where exactly she came from. It’s like she was a part of the wallpaper or something! She was the first of many actors who laid in wait to get us even though we didn’t know they were there.

We were also approached from different angles: directly in front, from the side, from behind, and even from above and below at times. We had our senses taken from us while walking along darkened corridors, knowing someone somewhere was going to get us. We witnessed bloodied actors eating gross props and a young girl in a cage who appeared injured and begging for help. We saw many, many mangled bodies. We were subjected to startling sounds and powerful ambient music and had our senses toyed with. We traversed through 2 compression tunnels, a spinning vortex tunnel, and lots of fog. To further confuse us, some characters in the haunt repositioned us, leading us to believe we were going the wrong way. It turns out they were just messing with us.

Full disclosure: we opted for the touch pass (a $7 upcharge). When they say touch pass, they mean to mess you up. The ladies in our group were physically grabbed, pulled on, breathed on, held on to, and probably some other things our brains have chosen to block out. When we opted for the touch passes, they gave us a glow stick necklace that brazenly announced to the actors that they were allowed to touch us. We were not disappointed as they definitely were not shy! We were also advised early on to give the necklace to the actors if the show becomes too intense. No one in our group actually tapped out, but those actors were very earnest at trying to make at least one of us break. One of our team members was grabbed from behind at one point. She thought she could wiggle away by bending low into a crouch. The only problem with this plan was that the nurse/medical character who had ahold of her simply crouched down with her.

With the touch pass, all 5 of us were subjected to physical altercations throughout. Whoever ended at the back of our line was very often followed by an actor as we made our way out of their scene. Sometimes, when we thought we were safely moving on to the next setting, one of us would feel a grab on the ankle or calf. Those of us with “fluffy” hair felt a hand on our head many, many times. All of us had our necks touched with hands or even chain props. We were pushed from the back and from the front by the shoulders. Our clothes were grabbed at the shoulders and arms as well.

Entertainment & Value Score: 8.81

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E&V Review:

General admission tickets cost $35 and seemed to be comparable to similar haunts. Lightening passes are also available and are designed to cut the wait time down. These passes were on the pricy side at $75. The touch pass option can be added online once guests choose between general and lightning passes for an additional $7.

While our walk-through was under 40 minutes, we felt we had been there longer. The pace at which the actors perform is very fast, and there is quite a lot to see and experience here. Being the kind of people we are, we would try to stay in a room forever, if allowed, to try to see everything! With tickets being timed and sold online only, we noticed the crowds being hearty but not out-of-hand—a true testament to how popular this attraction is. We got a very good show and were very satisfied with our experience. We believe this haunt is definitely Bucket List worthy.

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Guest Reviews
Guest Average: 6.79 out of 10

charlena – 10/10December 10, 2023
awesome didn’t wait too long realy detailed haunt! best part it’s really haunted

Abby – 10/10October 9, 2021
I had a great time art this Haunt. First, this building is amazing. The architecture is absolutely …show more gorgeous. Warden’s Widow is an impressive sight and great start. The haunt has lots of very dark, very scary hallways and a very creepy feel. The layout is huge, or at least feels that way as you wind up and down stairs and hallways. Set design was very good, with everything from prison yard, to graveyards, and so many gruesome and creepy things to see. All of the haunt actors were very engaging, especially with the touch pass, and I had a lot of fun interacting with them.

William – 10/10November 2, 2019
Had a great time with the group of 10. We laughed and we screamed. I liked the guy in the straight …show more jacket in solitary. He was terrifying, ”86” i think he said his name was. Had a great time.

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Past Awards

2020 Awards

Most Captivating Site (Given by: Team Cleaverland)

Past Awards

2020 Awards

Most Captivating Site (Given by: Team Cleaverland)

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