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This attraction was reviewed on October 20, 2019 by Team Cleaverland.

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Final Score: 8.4

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Hauntville has been around for quite a while. In fact, it’s been going strong for more than 25 years, and more than 10 years in its current location. You might think they must be doing something right… and you’d be correct!

This longtime haunt consists of five distinct areas in a linear walkthrough, starting with The Unknown (a dark maze) and progressing through CellBlock 13 (take your turn as a prisoner in a sadistic jail with a dangerous asylum wing), The Butcher’s Barn (a little slice of redneck hell), Psycho Manor (a gothic Victorian mansion full of crazies, like The Addams Family on steroids), and Wicked Clowns in 4-D (self-explanatory, we hope).

Cast: 8.03

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The cast of nearly 40 was spread pretty well throughout each section. Some places had a bit of dead time, including a spot where we seemingly threw back three curtains in short order without much else going on, but even in the dead zones there was usually lots of eye candy to cover understaffing.

We encountered fabulous door people, all of them in costume and thoroughly in character, who greeted us at the entrance for each attraction (in the case of Psycho Manor, in a silently creepy way). They definitely contributed to the atmosphere, mood, and enjoyment.

There was a fair share of screamers and starers, but most of the cast was very interactive and pretty talkative. We were commanded to sit on a thoroughly defiled toilet, invited to squeeze a bag of popcorn, asked to belly up to an occupied coffin to give our respects to the dearly departed, and called forth to push the button that would make a death row inmate ride the lightning.

Special props to Mr. Bubbles, the clown who was greeting/stalking people after exiting Wicked Clowns. He was very personable and quite the chatter!

Final scores for each section–
The Unknown: 7.8
CellBlock 13: 8.28
Butcher’s Barn: 8.54
Psycho Manor: 8.69
Wicked Clowns: 8.69

Costuming: 8.25

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The costuming appeared rudimentary in the prison and barn. The makeup in these areas consisted mostly of bloody smears and smudges with simple applications, and some basic masks, with prisoner or redneck clothing’and a butcher’s outfit for the proprietor of Sal’s, a butcher shop selling some, shall we say, questionably sourced cuts of meat.

For denizens of Psycho Manor, the costuming and makeup became much more intricate and theatrical, starting with the door person and first room greeter, who sported detailed costuming and makeup jobs. We also reeled from a disturbing porcelain doll mask. This upward trend continued through Wicked Clowns, where each clown had a very individualized paint job or well worn mask.

And again, we must call out the engaging, brightly attired, and fang-y clown who closed out the show on the way out after an encounter with his fellow ‘Mr.’ clown, Mr. Tickles (see photos for a pic of Mr. Bubbles).

The Unknown: 7.45
CellBlock 13: 7.85
Butcher’s Barn: 8.28
Psycho Manor: 8.86
Wicked Clowns: 8.82

Customer Service: 8.92

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Hauntville is located in Elyria, a city just west of Cleveland, in a retail strip very close to a popular mall. That made for plentiful and brightly lit free parking in a real parking lot.

There were no concessions, but here’s an advantage to the retail-heavy locale: drive a block in pretty much any direction and you’ll find a handful or more of restaurants. No going hungry here!

The ticket office also was selling a nice t-shirt with the rather cool Hauntville logo, featuring a sinister green skull. The Hauntville website is a good one, and they maintain a healthy social media presence on more channels than usual.

Once we hit the ticket office, the path through the haunt was quite obvious, helped by the fact that the attractions are attended one after the other in succession. Aside from some designed floor trickery in The Unknown, footing was for the most part level and secure.

Score was 8.97 for all except The Unknown, which scored 8.73.

Atmosphere: 8.54

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Strip mall haunts usually have an uphill battle in the atmosphere department due to the banal location. Hauntville was no different. Outside there was a spotlight, banners, an inflatable ghost on the roof, and a car (Hauntville’s Haunt deVille?) in the lot with neat miniature figures from TV, movies, and comics covering the roof.

Developing a great deal of haunt-mosphere is difficult at best in such a setting… and we’re happy to report that that direction took a 180 as soon as we opened the door and went inside. The generic exterior environment melted away. Inside was a feast for the senses. A bank of coffins flanked our left, across from the ticket booth. Further in, a marvelous display of more miniatures like the ones on top of the car awaited.

The entire interior was bathed in fog and lights, and stuffed with photo ops, props, and monitors playing disturbing videos. We also have to note the fa������ade and entry queue of each attraction. They were all decked out, thematically right on point, and really led to a sense of anticipation as we entered each section.

Discounting the bland flavor on the way in from parking, Hauntville had lots of atmosphere to burn all over the inside.

Special Effects: 8.24

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Hauntville had a great handle on its effects.

There were lots of them, and even the old hat ones were spiced up with a twist. For example, ho-hum it’s a squeeze tunnel… but wait, this one was illuminated so that it gave off a ghostly glow while going through it, and it was even strobed! Laser swamps are everywhere these days, but they enhanced the experience with sound and an unexpected attack. Instead of a regular drop window, there was one where its curtain was blown up and out by compressed air, adding a dynamic flair.

Plenty of other attractions could take some lessons in fog management from Hauntville. It was impressive everywhere we saw it, which was in a lot of places, including in the entrance/lobby and in a giant room where it was not possible to see or feel the walls. It created a quite disorienting agoraphobic effect after the constricting chambers and halls that came before.

Except for The Unknown (being a dark maze), the whole place was loaded with awesome stuff to look at: props, animatronics, a few great actormatronics, and highly detailed sets… especially once we reached The Butcher’s Barn and the sections after it.

Some of our favorite sets included a mad scientist’s lab complete with a tiny head in a tank; a dining table set with all manner of disgusting dishes, such as a bowl of realistic eyeballs; and a roomful of gruesomely grinning clown figures. Those who find themselves strolling through haunts as slowly as possible to view all the details should add Hauntville to their visit list.

There were two variations on mechanical hellevators, each remarkably powered by hand. We were moved around in a spinning chamber in the clown house and pushed along in an outhouse on rails in the barn!

In The Unknown, ceiling tiles from the former retail establishment were visible in some spots, briefly breaking the belief spell, but in general the effects carried the day (er, night) as Hauntvile brought out a great variety of tricks to frighten in the darkness, such as vibrations, floors, noises, sudden light bursts, and blasts of air.

Wicked Clowns was an excellent example of the 3D sections that came into popularity some years ago, and it has retained much of what was great about the best of them. It started even before the attraction proper, with the queue area containing art on the walls and skulls on the roped posts that were treated with the paint to interact with the provided 3D specs. Keeping with the carnival atmosphere, there were some tricky-fun sections in here, including a shrinking room!

The soundtrack and audio effects throughout were of high quality and definitely enhanced the experience, especially in The Unknown. We did experience more sound bleed than in most attractions, especially one particular blast that could seemingly be heard from all over the place, but more often than not this did not adversely affect the visit.

The Unknown: 7.35
CellBlock 13: 8.13
Butcher’s Barn: 8.5
Psycho Manor: 8.65
Wicked Clowns: 8.58

Theme: 9.28

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The overall theme, mainly elucidated on their website, was that of Hauntville: a small town in the middle of nowhere, forgotten by time and the normal world, with many dark secrets to investigate. Each section represents a different part of the town.

Each of the five sections stuck solidly to their theme in the sets, cast, and costumes: an adventurous exploration of the dark, a prison, butchery in a barn, a gothic mansion, and a circus at the Hauntville fairgrounds.

From the warden’s office to the prison showers, chicken coops to a giant boar’s head, dining room to a creepy girl’s bedroom, and carnival turnstile to a clown hall of fame, everything was thematically precise in each section… except for some kind of a swampy area in Wicked Clowns? Well, it was a carnival or circus, so anything goes, we suppose.

The Unknown: 9.06
CellBlock 13: 9.19
Butcher’s Barn: 9.45
Psycho Manor: 9.37
Wicked Clowns: 9.35

Scare Factor: 8.36

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A broad spectrum of scare methods was employed with success: cast, effects, cast and effects working together, animatronics flying in from all angles, including from above. We jumped numerous times and were skeeved out in several instances.

The sets contained many icky details to heighten the mood, like the tank head mentioned in Special Effects, and an unfortunate soul whose flayed skin was tacked to the barn walls just like those of the other animals.

A creepy theme throughout was figures posed on rocking chairs, or rocking in chairs, or in wheelchairs.

Some nicely done finales caught us by surprise. There was an original one for each section. When we say original, we mean no chainsaws (that’s not to say you won’t be encountering them elsewhere inside, hahaha!).

The Unknown: 8.26
CellBlock 13: 8.09
Butcher’s Barn: 8.39
Psycho Manor: 8.47
Wicked Clowns: 8.61

Entertainment & Value: 8.39

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It took 33 minutes to move through all five attractions (5 minutes for The Unknown, 8 minutes for CellBlock 13, 6 minutes for The Butcher’s Barn, 6 minutes for Psycho Manor, 8 minutes for Wicked Clowns) in this 40,000 square foot attraction, exclusive of any time spent in the entertaining queue areas.

General admission is $25, which makes an MPD (minutes of entertainment per dollar spent) of 1.32. That’s not too bad, and pretty good for the amount of entertainment value that can be enjoyed inside.

A VIP (front of line) ticket is $35. Coupons for $5 off admission on Thursdays or Sundays are available on the website and at some area retailers. Group rates are available. Those with military ID can get in for free on Thursdays and Sundays. Sunday, October 27th is a blackout event, and Hauntville is open through Saturday, November 2.

If you’re looking for a fun, reasonably priced haunt at a location very close to Cleveland, we heartily recommend a visit to Hauntville!

The Unknown: 8.22
CellBlock 13: 8.31
Butcher’s Barn: 8.46
Psycho Manor: 8.47
Wicked Clowns: 8.49

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