Hammer Brothers Haunted Circus – Full Review
Hammer Brothers Haunted Circus is a Haunted Attraction located in Waynesfield, OH.
19407 OH-117, Waynesfield, OH 45896View All Details
Free Parking, Restrooms/Porta Potties On-Site, Food/Concessions, Gift Shop/Souvenirs, You may be touched, Original Characters, Covered Outdoor Waiting Line, Indoor/Outdoor Attraction, Family Friendly
This attraction was reviewed on October 2, 2021 by Team Mysterious Misery.
How Do We Get These Scores?
Final Score: 9.05
How Did We Get This Score?
Are you brave enough to strap on what the haunt calls a shiny and do a dance with your flight or fight response? In its seventh season in the haunt industry, Hammer Brothers has continued its success at being a must-see haunted attraction. Adding a touch option to this already action-packed haunt elevates it to a new level.
Hammer Brothers does everything you don’t expect and puts in the hustle, and we appreciate the hustle. The team has a passion and loves what they do, and it completely shows at this attraction. This is quickly becoming one of the best haunts in the state for a whole night of entertainment that covers everyone!
How Did We Get This Score?
There are four sections that make up Hammer Brother’s Haunted Circus. Three sections run every night that they are open, and one will be open for a special time. I say this because a haunt this large requires a large cast. A good haunt also needs a good cast and man oh man do they deliver. On an average night, you will find between seventy-five and eighty actors covering the grounds. When The Hunt (their fourth attraction) is in play it will be even more.
The cast is very interactive with the patrons and the level that they use will be based on their boundaries. Their energy level is infectious, and they keep the scares coming all night long. They know who their character is, and they do not deviate from it making the storytelling at this haunt great. The queue actors keep the suspense going for each line.
For many patrons, your journey will start at The Homestead. The Homestead is full of cast members who bring their A-game as they have been in the industry for a while. They have the skills to deploy and know when to use which ones at all the appropriate times to bring the scares to everyone. If you are brave enough to wear a shiny thing, it may just get more (a lot more intense) for you in the Homestead. The family is ready for dinner, and they are waiting for their main course to arrive, it kind of looks like you.
The fan-favorite Sprinkles is back in all his terrifying goodness bringing entertainment of all kinds. The scientist may get mad if you don’t let him finish the rules. The party clowns are waiting to wrap it all up in a gruesome box with a sparkly bow. Random shout out to the scientist who let me be a sassy pants and he maintained his composure and his character no matter how hard I pushed.
Moonlit fall nights create a creepiness all on its own then add The Cornfield. The Cornfield is a must for your group to stay together; if one of you gets separated (and you probably will) there will be hell to pay. Just remember the corn is not working to help you hide from evilness, it is helping all the terror reappear constantly to haunt the hell out of you. The crew in the cornfield and stops in the cornfield is one hell of a crew. With weather playing factors, adrenaline amped patrons, and of course, terror-filled swinging people they face a lot. Some have been known to take a hit once or twice but that doesn’t stop them from duct taping you and hiding you in a basement. Add a shiny, I double-dog dare ya. This cast goes full tilt. A shoutout to the cornfield worker who needed me to get into a room and use the basement to get out. I was really trying my luck with him to see if he would break character and he never did. He kept going for what seemed like an hour bantering back and forth with me to get me into that room.
The Paint Wagon Trail has one of the toughest casts. While being nailed with paintballs they are still trying to scare you. I applaud the brave souls that go out in costumes to be shot by paintballs on a cold night. All the while getting shot with paintballs, they do a great zombie impression. You can hear the low grunts and grumbles from the wagon. They hobble closer and closer letting everyone shoot at them even more. They do not give up on reaching their food they are tenacious creatures. One thing that sets them apart from the character they are playing is that desperate times call for desperate measures and they break out the ATV.
When The Hunt runs for its limited engagement, the cast does a fantastic job there as well. You will meet the staff who help get you prepared, train you, and give you your mission. You will come across those zombies who are roaming about and trying to get to you to stop you from your mission. You will meet the scientist and others who you must save, and they never break character. All the actors make you feel like you are in a real-life simulation and the body responses start taking over.
How Did We Get This Score?
Someone handed you a makeup kit and said go make something scary, how would it turn out? If I am being honest, mine would probably look like a pile of shit. However, this is not what you get here at Hammer Brothers. Eighty-plus people is a ton of people to get ready every operating night. Many of them arrive at the haunt already done so they can jump in and help others while some just focus on their own. In the off-season, many sharpen their skills by taking webinars and classes and the growth has shown over the years. It is impressive to know this haunt does it without a makeup specialist on-site and can pull off looks that are comparable to those who hire people in the field.
The Motter family caught my attention this year with their complete looks in the time they belonged in. It really made their characters come to life. Sprinkles in his attire just makes you want to laugh but he holds it all together flawlessly. The party clowns were back this year in all their creative face paint and head-to-toe costumes that worked well in the blacklight.
Outside haunts battle how fast face paint disappears and so many quickly throw their hands up and turn to masks. Hammer Brother’s is a game-changer and will rise to the challenge. You will see most of their outside haunt actors in full-face paint. With the lighting that is used in the cornfield, it makes some of the FX makeup pieces jump out and the details are great. One that caught my attention was the one who knew me by name and kept trying to get me lost, his makeup was well done.
Masks are utilized solely for the safety of the Zombies in the Paintball Wagon Trial and The Hunt. With the use of the mask, it gives the cast to add additional layers of padding on the inside to protect their face. We all know every person feeling panicked did not hear the announcement for the fifth time about not shooting the zombies in the face. These masks must be fit properly to the actors. Again, safety first as they will be running in the dark and need to be able to see to dodge paintballs to the face. This is why Hammer Brothers works hard at making sure their masks are utilized effectively.
The shiny could enhance how you experience costuming. You will get to see the details in a closer view. You can smell the paint and makeup. You will feel the fabrics of the costume while you are holding on for dear life.
Customer Service: 9.2
How Did We Get This Score?
Hammer Brothers has a great media presence. You can find the most up-to-date information (even closures due to weather) on the media outlets linked above in this review. One piece of advice that I can give for this haunt is the majority is outside, so footwear is important. There’s nothing like getting your flip flop stuck in mud while being chased, survival first!
As mentioned above, you can find lots of useful information on their media platforms, one being the address. You should not have any hiccups using a GPS to get to Hammer Brothers. There is not a lot of signage leading up to the area but once you are close you will know. Nothing screams Hammer Brothers more than lighting and a large circus tent.
Free Parking (who said running for your life couldn’t come with free stuff), woohoo! There is plenty of parking but remember it is in a grassy area and can be muddy. As you get out of your ride you will quickly notice there is a lot going. If you are looking directly at the entrance on the left is the ticket trailer where the awesome front-of-the-house staff is ready to help you weigh out all of your options.
To the right is the warm fire pit, the best smelling porta pots around (and I mean this), and the concession stand with all the haunt munchies available. If questions or concerns arise, just ask. There are many staff members roaming around to answer all your questions.
The tent is what I call the main hub. There are signs in neon paint to help you understand where you need to go. If the signs do not help or you forgot to read them, do not worry. Staff members are always close by that will quickly point you in the right direction or answer any questions.
While in the queue lines inside the tent, the entertainment keeps going. Horror movies on the screens, queue line actors, music, bubbles, and a CHARGING STATION! Yes, a charging station. They want your device to be charged as much you do because you will share the haunt on social media. Do not forget to #hammerbrothers. One thing that is an added bonus is while inline they have a place at the front to grab something to drink and to upgrade to the touch pass if you have been peer pressured into it by your group while standing in line.
The young lady at the front of the tent keeps everything working like a well-oiled machine. Helping you upgrade, selling those last-minute drinks, and keeping the timing of multiple areas of the haunt. The staff is always professional, and they want you to enjoy your time at Hammer Brothers (if you are not scared, they want you to be entertained).
Hammer Brothers passed all inspections and has safety plans in place for anything that may arise. This may be a hard haunt to go through if you have someone with mobility issues.
Seven years in the business and Matt’s (owner) excitement can rub off and his energy and passion for the haunt is easy to see. You will probably have a conversation with Matt and never realize it. He loves asking patrons questions to raise the bar for the following year. I always find Matt’s take unique about the haunt industry and enjoy his ability to be honest.
How Did We Get This Score?
The vibe check starts the moment you pull off that two-lane dark highway in the middle of Ohio. You pull into a grassy area and take the whole picture in. All the memories of all the horror movies that started this way start flooding to the front of your brain and things start to become unsettling. All the lights and sounds keep your senses amped up. The fire pit orange glow almost calls you to come to get toasty (they like their food warm) but not comfy. The smell of all the deliciousness of the concession stand fills the air.
Inside of the tent is where the lines begin forming. Inside this tent is a vibe that will make you forget you are at a haunted attraction and make you feel more like You are at Club Hammer (different kind of hammered) Bros. This is by design for two folds. One, for you to enjoy yourself. They know the wait is long and still want you to have fun. Two is just so that have fun and you will forget what the hell you are about to endure. You will be greeted with great music playing throughout the tent. There are black lights in the tent which produce a great feel to all the signage making them feel more club-like. There are also dancing lights and bubble machines. There are tvs inside the tent that play old horror shows. There are two designated queue line actors that roam around to keep you on your toes when you forget you are at a haunt.
Hammer Brother’s is a haunt that has your feelings in all kinds of ways. The moment you step out into corn so high you cannot see anything your senses get tested waiting for the next thing. Next thing you know, you are standing on the porch of a house that is draped in blue lighting and giving you hauntingly good vibes. Welcome to the Homestead. Into the Cornfield you go. All you see around is corn and more corn with glowing colors as it has been contaminated. The darkness that fills in all the void around the corn seeps into your mind and it starts to play tricks on you.
The Paintball Wagon gives you an amped feeling as you are ready for survival and to knock these creatures dead before you become one of them. The Hunt makes survival mode kick in as you start to gear up and are given your mission.
Special Effects: 9.03
How Did We Get This Score?
This haunt is a rare one in the fact that it enjoys the human factor in everything it does. This eliminates the use of animatronics. Hammer Brothers attacks all the senses while utilizing key components in every scene to create special effects for all of its patrons.
Lighting or lack of is a key component of special effects. Year after year when I return, I am reminded of how much lighting changes things and how Hammer Brothers executes this well. The lights inside the tent give you a party (hell yeah!) kinda vibe. The cornfield lighting is cut off for a purposeful reason and then hinted with a glow of something toxic. The Homestead can only be described as something horrifyingly beautiful as it is draped in the glow of soft blue lights.
Smells are utilized organically and manmade. First, you are on a real farm, so farm delicious smells like hay, corn, mud, and animals fill the air organically. As you roam around you may be held hostage where face paint is added to you, and you can smell the fresh faceprint and other containment substances that they may wipe on you. The kitchen brings up smells that make you want to vomit but you might not be able to due to your mouth being duct tape shut.
Fog, fog, everywhere some fog. There is no shortage of fog at Hammer Brothers. They utilize it to keep you on your toes where things may come from. While the fog distracts you add in the strobe light effects and your vision and sense of direction get turned around. Airhorns and a blast of lights will give someone a good startle in your group as you venture through the corn. Panel doors and spray bottles together make a new combination I have not seen before. Something else new to me is having to crawl under a giant bed to find a way out. Dark corridors were utilized to keep the scares going in places that would have quick exits. Working CT machines and the growth of toxic plants is unique. My favorite special effect is the monkey, be on the lookout for it and you can thank me later.
The use of UV lights and special paintballs make for a colorful evening on the Paint Ball Wagon. Music being played as you around each corner does a great job at keeping the energy where it needs to be for this attraction.
The Hunt is full of effects. One is the modified paintball gun that you must carry. No joke that thing is heavy, as realistic as it can get. Another is the lighting through your mission. Whether it be on your gun lighting the way, the lighting distracting you, or the light that points you to the way out. Dummies are used effectively in the hunt to keep you off guard so the real zombies can attack you.
How Did We Get This Score?
For seven years the Hammer Brothers have been evolving their theme and keeping the vision of the overall picture the same. A few years ago, you could have asked me, and I would have told you I vaguely see the connection between the four sections. With each passing year, I can clearly see their vision and concepts of expansion and how they will continue to tie the story together. The theme is about the Motter Family Farm, a traveling circus, and Toxic Trauma to Agriculture. A weird combination, right? However, it is starting to go together nicely. You can get the complete story on the website, and it is worth the read. New this year they have added the story at the haunt so you can also read it before you get in line.
Here is a sample of what is being told at the haunt:
You get to go to the childhood home of Alistar and Ezekiel. You will enter their very detailed 1940’s home. You will then travel along their family farm and see the effects of the chemicals. In the cornfield is where you will meet the traveling circus that they decided to help since the chemicals ruined the crops and the bills were mounting. Things get crazy from there and if you don’t pay attention you get to become part of the crazy.
The theming continues into the Paintball Wagon Trail. This is where you will use your survival skills to shoot the circus clowns who have eaten the poisoned food, which has made them crazy. The Hunt gives you the mission to try to save the scientist who has a cure from those same crazy-ass zombies.
Scare Factor: 9.03
How Did We Get This Score?
Back in the day, we watched Sesame Street which gave us a word of the day. Your two words for the day are Hydrate and Breathe. Fear is experienced in your mind, but it triggers a strong physical reaction in your body. As soon as you recognize fear, your amygdala goes to work. It alerts your nervous system, which sets your body’s fear response into motion. Your heart rate increases. You start breathing faster. Even your blood flow changes ‘ blood actually flows away from your heart and into your limbs, making it easier for you to run for your life. Your body is preparing for fight or flight. There were a few nights where people started to pass out at Hammer Brothers, and I quickly learned why. The sticky night on top of the warmth of the adrenaline and the breathing made for some moments to question my own judgment.
Hammer Brothers can be a touch haunt. They like to sniff you, pet you, touch your hair, and just totally creep you out. If you want to take your haunt experience to the next level upgrade and get what the actors call a shiny, I dare you.
We entered Hammer Brother’s as a group of three people. We were all offered a shiny. One quickly realized what it was and took it off and handed it to me. Another tried to put their shiny in their pocket (don’t be this guy, you will get busted). Word of advice DO NOT be the only one in your group with a shiny (ask me how I know). You take on way more of the terror than you ever imagined while the others watch in horror.
Shiny Spoiler Alert:
I braved the shiny and some of my experiences with a shiny included having a pillowcase put over my head while I pleaded for them to not break my glasses. I was lead to a completely different area away from my group. I was put on my knees and had my hands zip-tied together while something slimy was put on my face. I think it may have been hand sanitizer, but the actor claims it to be menstrual cycle juices. I was led to a basement where I could see out but couldn’t get out. They kept me under there while another group passed over top. They tried to trap me in a room while my group was escorted out. They could hear but couldn’t get to me. I reached inside a woman’s stomach to pull out items. I was chained to a chair and offered finger foods. I also got a complete makeover and almost a haircut. I then crawled under a bed to escape only to be squirted in the face.
For those that want to have a good time without being so close to death, you do not have to take on a shiny and will still be scared. Being petted or sniffed is a normal day at the office. The cast likes to be interactive so they will still engage you in conversation and ask you to participate in family dinner and CT scans. The lights, horns, and cornfield will offer up screams and scares for everyone in your group. Not to mention help you psych your own self out, is it there or not? Fog so thick it distorts your view and creates additional illusions. You never know what’s lurking or not at Hammer Brothers.
Are you ready to brave the shiny?
Entertainment & Value: 9.21
How Did We Get This Score?
On all operating nights, Hammer Brothers offers three attractions for 2021; The Homestead, Haunted Cornfield, and Zombie Paintball Wagon. On selected nights at the end of the season The Hunt will be returning (check the website for all the details and to buy your tickets before they sell out).
They do not stop at just the following offerings. There are food vendors on site with many offerings, merchandise, photo ops, and much more.
Tickets are available nightly from 8 pm-11:30 pm at the main ticket booth. You can also buy them in advance on the website. For The Hunt the only way to get tickets is to purchase them in advance online.
The Homestead is an indoor attraction that is open rain or shine. The Homestead includes the haunted home and the laboratory. If you only do The Homestead, it is $12.00 for September dates and $15.00 per person for October dates. For my group, it took us about 24 minutes to get through The Homestead. The time could be different based on if you are brave enough to get a shiny and how long they want to keep you for fun. If you only do The Homestead at $15.00 you will be getting 1.60 minutes of hell for every dollar you spend.
The Haunted Cornfield is an outdoor attraction that is open weather permitting. If you only do the Haunted Cornfield it is $12.00 for September dates and $15.00 per person for October dates. For my group, it took us about 25 minutes to get through the Haunted Cornfield. Again, your timing could be different based on if you are brave enough to get a shiny, how long they want to keep you for fun, and if you are so scared you run through the whole thing. If you only do Haunted Cornfield at $15.00 you will be getting 1.67 minutes of toxic trauma for every dollar you spend.
The Homestead and Haunted Cornfield offer an additional upgrade for those who want to take their experience to the next level. For an additional $5.00, you can ask for a shiny. Be aware that the shiny makes the actors even more playful and don’t be surprised if you get a new style or facial enhancements.
Fast Pass is also available at $25.00 per attraction. The suggestion is to be able to get through all three in one night to buy at least one Fast Pass to make this happen. This $25.00 is on top of the base admission price. If you buy your tickets online, you can skip the ticket booth and get right in line for your attractions. On busy nights this could be a great idea.
If you do not take the option of the Fast Pass or a Shiny at the ticket booth and then your friends peer pressure you later, there is a spot in the queue line where you can upgrade before going into the haunt.
Zombie Paintball Wagon Ride is an outdoor attraction that is open weather permitting as well. You will shoot live zombie actors from a moving wagon. If you only do the Zombie Paintball Wagon Ride the price is $18.00 per person for September dates $20.00 per person for October dates. There is also an option on the ride to buy additional paintballs if you run out. It is $5.00 for an additional 100 paintballs, cash only.
If you are making the night out of it you can do a combo with The Homestead, Haunted Cornfield, and Paintball Wagon Ride for $45.00. The combo may be the best deal of the night at $45.00 you are getting over an hour of entertainment. It comes out to be 1.33 minutes for every dollar you spend. These tickets are limited and available only at the ticket booth and sell out quickly.
The Hunt is at limited availability for Saturday, October 30th. You can only buy your tickets in advance online. It is $35.00 per person
The tickets listed above have a no refund or return policy. If Hammer Brothers closes for rain, your ticket is good for the duration of the season.
Guest ReviewsGuest Average: 7.58 out of 10
Tory Vander Ven – 10/10 – September 30, 2023A perfect kind of scare! Had great actors who all did a great job scaring me, I loved how unique …show more
Jelly may – 9.8/10 – September 17, 2022This is my 3rd year attending this haunt and it is one of my favorites if you are looking for a …show more
Bash-O – 9.5/10 – September 29, 2018Every Haunt has its early in the season hick ups… But The Cast and Crew really Care at this Haunt. …show more
The All In Award (Given by: Team Mysterious Misery)