Hells Dungeon – Full Review
Hells Dungeon is a Haunted Attraction located in Dayton, OH.
3866 Linden Ave, Dayton, OH 45432View All Details
Free Parking, Restrooms/Porta Potties On-Site, Food/Concessions, Gift Shop/Souvenirs, You will NOT be touched, Original Characters, Indoor Waiting Line, All-Indoor Attraction, Family Friendly
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This attraction was reviewed on September 16, 2023 by Team Zombillies.
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Final Score: 7.63
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Well, everyone, it was nice knowing ya! Rufus and his Rejects were calling us; it was time for our judgment! So we hopped in the car, punched in Hell’s Dungeon in Dayton, Ohio, and away we went to face this ol’ Rufus guy. Who was he, anyway?
Some may call him Satan or Lucifer, others call him the Devil, but here at Hell’s Dungeon, the red-faced, horned, and growling soul eternally trapped in Hell is known as Lord Rufus. He doesn’t take any shit, either, so we recommend heeding his warning.
But he’s not the only one in this demented dungeon. Many more dark citizens have been lured to this domain.
Although this wouldn’t be our first visit through this hell, this would be the first time our team reviewed this attraction. Excitedly ready to take on the challenge, we instantly noticed some improvements upon arrival! After stepping through the front door, we hardly recognized the place!
Remember, ‘Everything’s real in Hell.’
Cast Score: 7.72
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Despite our visiting close to the haunt’s closing time, the heathens of hell were energetic and eager to torment us! There were also many of them, making our determination to escape even stronger. They filled the torturous corridors well.
Rufus beckoned us as we approached and spoke through a microphone with his gruffled and growling voice. Not only did the microphone allow us to hear him well, but it made him seem more powerful. He was brief but blunt in his delivery, welcoming us to his domain. This sent chills down our spines before embarking upon our journey into the bowels of hell.
A confrontation with Mambo Marie left us tip-toeing to the next scene. This was not the day we wanted to mess with her! A lady in a cemetery eerily followed behind us, ringing a bell and humming. It was just the right amount of creepy to leave us questioning what she was doing. The Firewood clan knew their scenes very well. They threatened to turn us into stew, warned that we couldn’t have their spirits, and ad-libbed back and forth when we responded to them.
A few characters in the asylum were off-the-chain, repeatedly hitting a filing cabinet, straddling their dead patient, or flailing about on the floor screaming, “I don’t want to be turned into an animal!” Even though the loud screeching and screaming could be intimidating at times, the actresses in the asylum were incoherent in their dialogue. There was so much screaming we couldn’t tell what they were saying. The elevator attendant was calmer yet creepy, and we couldn’t get out of that elevator fast enough!
The Jugular Brothers Freakshow section gave way to a demented carnival invaded by, you guessed it, creepy clowns! All of the clowns interacted with us in some way. Whether it be stalking us with weapons, sliding on the ground on our toes, showing us their sparks, or telling us the names of things around them, they were delightfully deranged and entertaining.
Although there was a good variety of characters, it seemed like they were doing the same things at times. We also came across a few that just pointed the way to go, didn’t seem to interact at all, or only screamed at us.
Costuming Score: 7.5
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The costuming at Hell’s Dungeon was mostly consistent with the areas we found them in. A mixture of masks and makeup was utilized. Makeup ranged from fully covered faces to little to no makeup at all. The masks we encountered were effective, but we could see bare skin underneath some. The costumes themselves ranged from layered and intricate designs to the bare essentials.
Rufus and the intro minion both featured detailed masks. The clawed gloves and colored contacts the minion wore gave them a more aggressive look. Shortly after, Mambo Marie featured one of the most complete costumes, with very good voodoo-styled face paint.
We noticed an overlying theme of charred red and black face paint on the Firewood family. They had even burned one-half of a chained victim’s face! They went for the hillbilly look with overalls, plaid tops, cut-off shorts, and pigtails. One of them had what appeared to be shards of broken glass embedded across their mouth!
Patient gowns and medical attire with blood splattered on them were the norm in the asylum. The elevator attendant had blood-soaked bandages covering his head, which stood out from the others. There was one spooky mask in this area that creeped us out! One of the nurses in the maternity ward appeared to have her eyeball plucked out of the socket behind a pair of vintage red glasses! It was quite the look!
The clowns were the best dressed, showcasing jokester-appropriate masks and neon-colored attire. One of the creepiest masks had eyeballs hanging down from the sockets. A modified morph suit and mask with 100s of googly eyes on it caught our attention! We couldn’t quite figure out which of us they were looking at.
The standout costume was worn by Haywire. The robotic costume has glowing circuits and red eyes, unlike anything we’ve ever seen! Now, if they can get that buzzsaw to spin, that would be even better! We did notice some bare skin on the arms.
The queue actors had varying appearances. Bonkers and the hazmat suit were the best-dressed. If you see Bonkers wearing a diaper, don’t worry. Those aren’t poop stains; he just fell.
Customer Service Score: 9.06
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Customer Service Review:
Hell’s Dungeon is located behind the Eastown Shopping Center. This year, they had more apparent signs and banners that directed us where to park; they even had a flashing arrow sign! The entrance had an open sign and a flailing inflatable out front. There was also a white sign off to the side. Parking is free in a large, paved lot behind the strip mall near the haunt’s entrance.
Navigating the building was relatively easy. Upon walking in the front door, staff guided us to the ticket booth. For those who need to use the restroom everywhere they go, like us, they have permanent restrooms near the ticket counter.
Friendly staff and security were easy to find. Anyone we came across greeted us, thanked us for coming, and seemed to love what they were doing. They were able to answer any questions we had.
Inside the haunt were a few trip points and some narrow/unwarned stairs after the spinning vortex.
Their website provided sufficient information about dates and hours, ticketing information, the storyline, and directions. However, we would like to see an FAQ section highlighting the haunt’s features and common questions.
Immersion Score: 7.55
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Although the entrance to the back of the building still didn’t scream that we were at a haunted house, the environment inside did! As soon as we opened that glass door, the spooky vibes started to seep in. We were facing an eerily-lit cabin, seemingly floating before us, and we had to go UNDER it! How cool?! The so-called “cabin in the sky” is fully decorated; once you get beneath it, be sure to look up!
What was once a bright, mostly undecorated hallway has been transformed into a darker, dungeon-esque walk that gives off the illusion of still being underground (although the plain white rocks in some spots detracted from this a bit). More dungeon-like and devilish decor added to the immersion. Although the actual waiting area is brighter and still more “untouched” than the rest of the entrance paths, this was a great improvement! It helped create a creepy vibe and increased our anticipation to enter.
Although we will also touch on it below, some transition areas still seemed incomplete. We also noticed a few things that took us out of the immersion of the haunt, such as unpainted plywood, a fan, and a water bottle sitting out in the middle of a scene on a ledge.
Before entering, one of Rufus’ cohorts gave us a spiel of what to inspect inside. He also pointed at an outline of themed sections on a wall, and we did find each one inside. Rufus also made note of this. The zones are Buford’s Bayou, Maniacal Asylum, and Dark Visions 3D. The entire story of the underworld can be found on their website. We highly recommend giving it a read. Although the areas of the haunt were heavily noted, additional nods to Rufus and the areas’ mutual underworldly location throughout the show may help further strengthen this storyline.
Upon exiting the haunt, we had to walk past the photo pickup table and gift shop, which is a great place for both of these and hopefully serves as a reminder for folks to purchase their photos.
Special FX Score: 7.03
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Special FX Review:
Overall, the dungeon was more fleshed out than in previous years. There are less awkward transitions, the scenes are more finished, and the regular parts of the building it resides within are becoming less apparent. A bit of randomness lingers within the decor and props here and there, such as the werewolf animation.
During this visit, the sounds were all over the place. At times, we could hear them well, and they added an extra layer to the scenes we heard them in. While at other times, it was awkwardly quiet.
As we made our way through the streets, we passed through various buildings, including an office, a funeral home, past a dungeon, an airbase firing at us (we think), and a large cemetery, to name a few. At one point, papers went flying through the air! We landed at the spinning portal to Hell’s Dungeon and took a spin through a green laser sanitation wall. There were so many different things all around us that we couldn’t possibly see it all in one trip!
As we lunged from the Firefly family, a giant saw blade got very close to us, and we questioned whether we’d end up in a giant, human-sized meat grinder! Hell’s Kitchen pizza boxes littered an unkept house (don’t tell em’ we said that) with stained, bug-littered walls (ew!). Ain’t no way in HELL we were eating a bite of that pizza or anything else they offered us!
As we progressed by tons and tons of decor (we mean tons), we came across a projection on a wall, a very poopy room (if that would have smelled, we would have been gagging), freshly plucked teeth plopped on the wall (yuk!) realistic dead bodies, a baby birth, a feisty monkey, and a rickety freight elevator that was much more complete this go-around.
But the fun didn’t stop there. The freakshow had more tricks up their sleeves, and additional decor, bright-colored passages, and paintings on the wall were in store. We even noticed a few designs that appeared to be done by Stuartizm. Boy, things really stood out after putting on those 3D glasses!
In the latter sections of the haunt, an assortment of freaks were displayed along the path, including a sword-swallowing fellow, a sock-headed manikin, and many trippy rooms. The colorful room we dubbed the “silly string room” was a trip with those glasses on! Be on the lookout for Gabby!
Scare Factor Score: 7.33
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Scare Factor Review:
As mentioned above, a lot has changed in the dungeon, and we believe it received an increased dose of scariness. We let out multiple screams, several curse words, and we jumped numerous times.
Not as many of the characters were as focused on entertaining us versus scaring us, as we’ve seen them do before. Several of them were well-hidden before we approached their scenes, and we mean WELL. Good luck picking a few of these out! Always watch out for those bushmen.
A maniacal mixture of scare tactics were thrown at various members of our group, including stalkers, a few distractions, well-blended costumes (in addition to the actors), and disorientation. They also targeted a variety of fears by utilizing clowns, spiders, rats, snakes, teeth, dolls, and even cannibals.
Several scares were less predictable, making them more effective, such as a few from above, a few from below, the giant man-eating pumpkin, a charging hangry zombie, and an exploding aircraft fuselage. Perhaps the scariest duo of the night were the sliding clowns that we did not expect to move as fast as they did!
Hacksaw bringing up the rear as we made our way to the exit was a welcomed finale different from most. Although we love a good chainsaw finale (emphasis on good), it’s nice to get something even more unexpected every once in a while.
Oh yeah, make sure you push the button!
Entertainment & Value Score: 7.72
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It took us approximately 27 minutes to escape the Rejects. This brings the entertainment provided per dollar spent (MPD) to 1.04 at the $26 general admission price. Although we feel this is a bit shorter compared to our other visits (and other haunts we’ve visited this season), this jaunt felt action-packed! Discounted Military and First Responders tickets can be found on their ticketing page. We did not notice any Fast Pass or VIP ticket options.
Don’t forget to check out the gifts, swag, and other items they have for purchase before you leave. You can also purchase your group’s photo near the exit. Also, Dave’s Dog House food truck was on-site during our visit, and their lemon shake-ups were very good!
When it comes to additional entertainment provided with the ticket price, there were three interactive queue actors during our visit that kept us entertained. There was also a lot of spooky decor in the waiting area to take pictures of and hits to dance and sing along to.
We felt like this was the best version of Hell’s Dungeon we’ve seen yet! We know they’re only going to continue to get better each year. Despite this attraction being hell-themed, it’s evident that a lot of heart is put into this attraction. The Rejects love the thrill of the scare!
“Repent yourself for the Rejects, for they will be amongst you.”
Pics We Took From Our Visit:
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Guest ReviewsGuest Average: 8.6 out of 10
Haint jampson – 10/10 – October 22, 2022This haunt good. I like clown actor scarey! There bendy contortion girl! Wow! Just cant say how …show more
kara – 10/10 – September 24, 2022i love it here all the actors are amazing and kind. the effects are so awesome too. I got scared so …show more
Emmq – 10/10 – October 1, 2021Love this haunt I’ve seen it grown to amazing haunt it is and it keeps climbing
Assault Robot (Given by: Team Enchanted Seance)
Bubblez (Given by: Team Enchanted Seance)
Assault Robot (Given by: Team Enchanted Seance)
Bubblez (Given by: Team Enchanted Seance)
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