Castle Blood – Full Review

Castle Blood is a Haunted Attraction located in Monessen, PA.

100 Schoonmaker Ave, Monessen, PA 15062
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Haunt Type(s):

Haunted House


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Free Parking, Restrooms/Porta Potties On-Site, Gift Shop/Souvenirs, “Old-School” (Low Tech), You will NOT be touched, Original Characters, Covered Outdoor Waiting Line, Indoor/Outdoor Attraction, Family Friendly

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This attraction was reviewed on October 4, 2020 by Team Houdini.

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Final Score: 9

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Castle Blood considers itself the most unique haunted attraction in PA and after our experience, we found this to be true. First, the location is quite unique, as it is located in a one-hundred-year-old funeral home in Monessen, Pennsylvania. The house was also used as a home for wayward women as well as a hospital. Local residents also believe the original owner of the house, who founded the town, did not keep his money in a bank. Instead, he hid his riches throughout the house. Along with the shows’ ghosts, there have been reports of real paranormal activity in the house and they also host paranormal investigations at the location. Finally, it has been designated as a historical landmark by the historical society.

The owners of Castle Blood have over twenty-five years of haunting experience, however, to call Castle Blood a haunt would be misleading. Castle Blood, continuing with their uniqueness, is not your conventional haunt. They forgo the more common jump scares, gore, and in-your-face actors found in most average haunts. Instead, they have created a recipe that focuses on intimate interactions with guests and spooky fun. A perfect storm of; highly trained thespians, a deeply written script, adventure game, and convincing horror d������cor. Resulting in one of the most immersive experiences we have ever had filled with mystery and magic.

Cast: 9.68

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As we were in line, we had a pleasant conversation with the lady who took our tickets. She provided us some interesting tidbits about the property which we shared above. During our conversation, we heard an individual talking to the other attendees that evening. His thick East European accent seemed to increase his disdain for mortals. Last time we were at Castle Blood, for St. Batrick’s day, this gentleman was inside the haunt playing a similar role. He provided quick-witted insults about those around him and was one of our favorite characters. Unfortunately, this time we did not get to spend any time with him.

The next of the undead fellows we spoke with, Professor Ezra, provided us the rules of the castle with quirky puns. He even offered us ‘Mortal Cutie Goo’ as mortals are very disgusting creatures. After our ‘blood oath’ he explained this year’s theme and plot. Last season they sent mortals through to test out the many different ways humans can die. Therefore hundreds of people perished each night but did not cross over. The powerful, unforgiving, forces noticed this and were not pleased. As these forces are not open-minded they want to divide and conquer all of the inhabitants of the mansion. So now the living and the dead must form and ‘Alliance’ and ban together to show them what real strength is.

Once the bell tolled we were sent inside the manor. I kind of felt the ‘Alliance’ theme had a political undertone. Proving that our differences should not separate us and if we stand united, we can accomplish anything and that is a threat to the powers that be. Just a hunch.

The castle is brimming with remarkable entities. Castle Blood has the most engaging actors that we have seen this season. These characters are not hiding in the shadows, they are not yelling in your face, and they are not making strange noises. They are telling you a story that continues through the entire property progressing with each protagonist. Instead of watching the movie unfold, you are in the movie conversing with each character. You are the deciding factor in how the story plays out.

We met fourteen main cast members. These are the individuals who we were directly entertained by. We also estimated three ‘Boo’ actors and two costumed characters that helped us progress through the residence but did not add to the story. A total cast of twenty-two. The actor’s appearance follows a strict theme of gothic horror ghosts. Although they may not look very different their personalities set them apart.

To appreciate this style of haunt it needs to be experienced firsthand. I will try to withdraw from providing too much detail as I do not want to spoil the experience. Like a good movie, you want to experience spoiler-free. Well, I may have some minor spoilers.

Wisp was the first apparition we met. She set the tone of the story and the mission. She is dry and sarcastic. If you play along correctly you could earn a useful reward. She does come off as a real witch even though she is a ghost.
Wither was quite bubbly with a strong English accent. She provides a fun game and a magic trick. Another female, expands the plotline further, she also offers a fun game and some nice sleight of hand, or fingers, and speaking of fingers she gave us the finger. This is a reoccurring joke of the evening and my immaturity showed as I laughed each time it was mentioned.

Anatole continued the magical theme and provided us a useful clue for later. He was pleasant enough for a dead guy.
Stormy was a psychic who was excellent at reading fortune cards. She may have had the best accent of the evening pulling off a thick Romani (gypsy) accent. If you happened to have a tarot card from St. Batrick’s day, take it with you, I forgot mine. I had this card sitting on my desk for over 6 months and I forgot it. SMH.

The librarian was soft-spoken, as we were in a library. She found us mortals very peculiar especially our choice of literature. Her interaction was the shortest encounter we had with the performers.

Next, we met with our favorite performer of the night; Professor Belfry. He had a Doc Brown vibe, your typical mad scientist. He was very funny with subtle but quick jokes. It fit well with his frantic speech and excitement as he made new discoveries. He made jokes about current situations regarding politics and COVID. He had the best overall performance of the evening.

The first of Deidre’s sisters was found in the crypt. She was so excited to see us as she was so lonely. She provided more depth to the story and offered another riddle that could provide an important item if you guess correctly. She seemed friendlier than the other immortals, unlike the funeral director who was not a fan of mortals although we worked together to solve another puzzle that involved magic. We also came across Professor Skry, the curator of “Crypto Spookology” and Deidre’s second sister who sat in the garden of 1000 sighs. Another riddle led us to a useful item we would need to complete the game. She seemed more discreet and mysterious in her tone.

Further outside in crow haven, we came across a goblin woman named, Hootenanny. She too had a pair of mind benders for us to decipher. She was more energetic and impulsive than the others.

Finally, we reached the last character, who will remain nameless for certain reasons. They told us of our fate. It was not good as we expected because we are, frankly, morons. We did not complete the main game. They gave us a few questions which earned us our pity fangs. However, we were the first group of the night to answer one correctly, but we were only the third group of the night so it didn’t boost our spirits.

Castle Blood has some of, if not, the best actors we have seen in a haunted attraction, hands down. Not just this season but ever. We do have a good deal of more haunts to explore this year but they set the acting bar extremely high. They were repeating detailed scripts with emotion and enthusiasm and providing adlibbing and off-the-cuff responses to patrons with ease. They have mastered their craft.

Another observation we had was when we were in one room with an actor, the previous or next actor, although alone, continued to stay in character. They proceeded to act according to the scene they were in. It was very impressive and made the house feel all the more alive. Castle Blood also has a rotating cast that can change the game and experience each time you return!

Costuming: 9.05

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To help characters get into character they need a good costume. Castle Blood has very elegantly-designed costumes for each character. As mentioned above, they follow a firm, gothic theme throughout the attraction. So the clothing worn by each actor is an elegantly designed suit or dress that fits the period.

If I am not mistaken, they make custom costumes for their actors. These are not just an average Halloween costume, these are detailed ensembles, made out of high-quality material. Mostly dark in color, blacks, reds, purples, and blues seemed to make up the majority of the palette used.

An added touch was designer masks that matched each costume providing function and fashion. This made the masks feel like they were part of the costume and not just something that was being worn.

Makeup appeared to have a more professional application such as airbrushing. It provided a natural effect that looked more realistic than just the average ghostly makeup.

Customer Service: 9.68

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Castle Blood was easy to find using GPS. There is a small sign out front but depending on which way you come down the road, it may be difficult to see. Parking is located in the rear of the building. The staff we encountered were professional and helpful both inside the haunt and in the gift shop.

The house is not ADA accessible as there are two sets of stairs you will need to go up and down. One area has a deep step down but the Doc was nice enough to point it out for us. Other than that, we did not see any major safety concerns. Castle Blood is not even that dark inside which we discuss in a moment.

Regarding COVID, all actors, staff, and customers must wear masks. The actors’ masks fit their costumes well and they have also tied them into the story. There are several hand sanitizer stations or ‘Mortal Cootie Goo’ stations to sanitize your hands. Also, the games have been altered for no touching, so don’t touch anything! Unless you’re told too, of course.

Atmosphere: 9.2

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The appearance of this one-hundred-year-old house is breathtaking for haunters like us. The decrepit appearance, antique architecture, and purple lights give it a motion picture, quality feel. There is no doubt that this is a haunted house. It has the classic haunted house charm that you would see in classic horror films. It feels almost out of place in this area. It seems like it should be up on top of a hill with a lightning bolt shooting across the sky behind it.

The imagery accompanied by the authentic horror soundtrack gives a great feeling of what is to come.

Special Effects: 9.47

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Wow, where to begin. I hate to say perfect because I personally feel nothing can be perfect but, it’s hard to point out what else they could do to improve. This place is a love letter to the classic horror movies of the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s. No gore, no blood, and no guts. Castle Blood is strictly spooky. An assortment of The Addam’s Family, The Munster’s, Chiller Theater, and even some Scooby-Doo sets can be found inside.

The house has an old, old-school vibe. These sets were not just pulled from the silver screen but reimagined into an actual house. We were surrounded by a classic horror environment. This house is the epitome of Halloween! My biggest complaint is that, while I was trying to pay attention to the incredible actors and follow the clues and story, I couldn’t look around and take in all the sites. Every room is overflowing with Halloween trinkets and oddities including skulls, animals, old clocks, creepy portraits, weapons, and more that are strewn about. The living room had a large chandelier with flame lights flickering. The walls were red and black striped wallpaper. A large casket in the office is a hidden door to the next area. The upstairs den was wood-paneled. The most noticeable piece was the living portrait on the wall of a ship at sea that would come to life. The lab was cold and metal with pipes running along the walls. Beakers and chemicals were on the shelves glowing in various colors. The stone walls of the crypt felt cold and damp as we traversed through. Large stone statues line the walls giving an eerie feeling of being watched. The collector’s room had many oddities that we could have admired for hours. The outside cemetery was top-notch and felt realistic. The tombs looked like real stone. If you have seen it in a classic horror film it is probably in this house.

Castle Blood does apply some basic animatronics throughout for distraction and spooky effects, but not much for scares. Along with a changing soundtrack from room to room, the whole experience feels like you are in a real movie.

There is so much to see I would love to go back just to look at everything again. In fact, they should sell tickets just to come to look at all d������cor they have displayed. The aesthetics create a deeply immersive quest.

Theme: 9.76

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The theme is classic, gothic, old-school, spooky, fun. The theme stays true throughout the whole haunt. With everything flowing extremely well from room to room. Nothing feels out of place. Even the design of going downstairs to the crypt feels natural.

The d������cor fits the rooms appropriately and the details are spot on. I’m sure there is so much more hidden in plain sight that we missed. Castle Blood has one of the most organic and authentic designs we have seen.

Scare Factor: 6.93

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There is no denying that Castle Blood excels at nearly every aspect of a haunted attraction, however, they fall short on scares. If this was a beer it would be Haunt-lite. It feels that Castle Blood should be on a whole different platform, not a haunted house but yet it has the best-haunted house theme and design around.

They offer something completely different than other haunts in the area and they are fine with that. They are not out to be the scariest haunt or the most intense haunt. They want everyone to have a good time.

Some may consider this a family haunt but I think it is something else. I definitely feel this could be a good introductory haunt for younger kids although there are a few jump scares. Heck, it’s not even that dark, which is intentional. They want you to see the actors and the d������cor and all the subtle touches and unlimited detail in each room.

Entertainment & Value: 9.03

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It took us approximately 50 minutes to complete our game! At $20 for general admission, that is 2.5 minutes per dollar of entertainment which is very impressive. Online timed tickets are $25.

There are no concessions but there is a gift shop at the end of the haunt with some interesting gifts. The setup of the house allows Castle Blood to utilize their space well without feeling too cramped.

Castle Blood is a masterpiece. Offering spooky fun with an engrossing interactive narrative. A homage to classic horror films, Castle Blood shows that Halloween can be fun and spine-chilling without having to be horrific.

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Guest Reviews
Guest Average: 10 out of 10

MJ – 10/10October 3, 2020
So entertaining. A little bit of spook a lot of excitement..much interaction…I’m going back…

Frank – 10/10October 31, 2017
(no comments from this visitor)

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Past Awards

2022 Awards

Best Actors (Given by: Team Houdini)

Best Halloween Spirit (Given by: Team Houdini)

Highest Rated Cast (Given by: Team Houdini)

Highest Rated Customer Service (Given by: Team Houdini)

Hexibart - Dawn McKechnie (Given by: Team Houdini)

Josette - Lynn Dougherty (Given by: Team Houdini)

2020 Awards

Highest Rated Haunt in PA (Given by: Team Houdini)

Longest Haunt Time (Given by: Team Houdini)

2018 Awards

"Put on your Sunday Best, kids, it's time to go to Sears!" - Best Costumes (Humanish) (Given by: Team Scary Potter and the Hauntwarts Express)

"Game over man; game over!" - Best Game Elements (Given by: Team Scary Potter and the Hauntwarts Express)

"We're all in this together" - Most Interactive Cast (Given by: Team Scary Potter and the Hauntwarts Express)

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