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Team Zombillies reviewed this attraction on October 11, 2013.

Final Score: 8.38

Summary:

Scream Acres Ct. has transformed from a 9-year home haunt into a first year pro haunt for 2013! This 20,000 square foot attraction is located just South of Cincinnati and offers four diverse themes, including Buried Alive, the Castle Hill Funeral Home, The Funhouse in 3D, and Blackout. Buried Alive, as it’s name implies, tests your ability to withstand being put in a life-sized coffin and being buried 6 feet under in a realistic coffin simulator. The Castle Hill Funeral Home lets you live the story of Dr. Boron, the deranged and torturous doctor who acquired this rustic establishment back in 1940, while the Funhouse envelops you in a 3D environment complete with clowns and other mind-bending effects and Blackout weeds out the brave from the backward in this very ‘dark’ attraction! Be sure to check out one of the newest pro haunts in the area this season by checking out Scream Acres Ct., where ‘the fear returns to greater Cincinnati!’


Cast: 8.25

On average, there are 30 volunteer actors who provide entertainment at Scream Acres Ct. Walk-throughs are conducted on a nightly basis to verify that the actors are in their correct spots and aware of their expected performances. Some of the characters were verbally interactive with our group, while a few others, such as the one that asked if we wanted to play, had no reply when we asked what we were going to play. However, we did find a diverse selection of dialogue throughout the haunt, from seemingly-playful interactions to hair-raising pleas, begging ‘I don’t want to die!’ The majority of these characters were believable but a few of them didn’t match their scenery as well as others such as the guy in a dress, although he was still very enthusiastic towards our group, and the rabbit. Some of these characters were also very energetic. One was flipped upside down against a wall, one of the clowns had us playing his unique version of ‘Twister’, and Dr. Boron was all over the place torturing his victims, which helped enhance their believability. Other memorable characters to our group were Pa and the Greeter.


Costuming: 8.25

Costumes are purchased at thrift stores and later modified to better fit each characters needs. Makeup is applied by the haunt’s owner and several others who assist him. Though the makeup used was realistic and helped to intensify the haunt’s theme in areas (smiles carved into faces), it seemed as though some characters had very little if none on at all. Adding more realistic features to them (especially Dr. Boron’s patients) would help increase this score. We only noticed two masks used throughout the attraction and they both aided in completing the characters wearing them. For the most part, the costumes matched their surroundings and the theme as well. One of them even matched so well we couldn’t see the character until they were standing right in front of us! Some of the more impressive costumes were the rabbit with blood oozing out of its mouth, the Greeter, and the clowns since they were more convincing than the rest.


Customer Service: 9.45

The haunt is located in a large, red building that is hard to miss due to the massive painting on the front that can be seen from down the road! A sign was in the road during our visit that pointed us to their free, lit parking. Several portable restrooms were located near the entrance of the building for convenience. Once inside the building, we immediately noticed several roaming characters entertaining the crowd as well as a wall of arcade games and ghastly spirits that could be watched within one of the haunt’s windows from the queue area. T-shirts are available for purchase at the ticket booth and a gift shop/photo booth is located behind the ticket booth where you can get a group photo taken and purchase souvenirs. A decorated prop was also available on the way to the queue area where you can take your own photos. Inside and outside the attraction had plenty of lighting where needed, we didn’t notice any obvious dangers, and there were tons of emergency exit signs throughout the entire attraction. Friendly staff can be found inside the ticket booth or the gift/photo area in case any questions or concerns were to arise. Concessions are currently unavailable, but they are trying to work something out where they can offer them in the future.


Atmosphere: 8.72

Other than the two inflatable Halloween decorations and the large mural on the front of the building, there wasn’t anything else outside to let us know we had arrived at a haunted attraction. On the other hand, the inside was totally opposite. There was loud, eerie music playing, rising fog, several roaming actors, a jerking victim dangling by a noose from the ceiling, a ghastly window, a large, very well detailed Castle Hill Funeral Home facade, a well-decorated waiting area for Buried Alive, and other various d


Special Effects: 8.2

The majority of special effects you will see at Scream Acres were built in-house. We were impressed with many of the things we saw, especially since they only had two months to put everything together! An ample amount of original effects exist throughout the attraction including their unique usage of drop panels, the hallways in the first portion of the attraction, decor in the 3D area, funeral parlor scare, and a torturous incinerator! Most of the scenes were detailed well, especially around the waiting area of each attraction, but we are sure they will all improve as the haunt continues to gain more professional experience. We noticed some effects were much more predictable than others, making them less effective. Additional characters or other effects in some of these areas may help in making more of them less predictable. Other effects you will come across are the window ghosts, disorienting fog, claustrophobic passageway, and one super-perplexing strobe light!


Theme: 8.35

The haunt is divided up into 4 different themes. Buried alive is considered a separate attraction and will give you an idea of what it’s like to climb inside a real coffin and be buried ALIVE! In 1940, Dr. Boron opened the Castle Hill Funeral Home, which is now a permanent residence to the 42 victims that the Dr. was accused of murdering! The Funhouse in 3D take place in the backwoods of Latonia, Kentucky and clowns aren’t the only thing you’ll need to be worried about here! Last is Blackout, where your mind will wander as you try to find your way out of its pitch black halls. We could tell which theme we were in as we navigated the attraction, but as mentioned above, there were a few characters that didn’t make sense to us. All of the scenes seemed to fit, but just as soon as you’d start getting used to one, it would transition into something totally different.


Fright Effect: 8

Scares are delivered on a variety of levels from creepy music and scenery to good hiding spots, multiple startles, witnessed acts of murder and an unexpected chase out of the attraction! A few effective distractions were used, but using them more often would result in an increase in score for this category given that they help in providing more startles. They also did a great job at trying to direct the scares towards everyone in our group instead of just the front or the back.


Value: 7.8

General admission tickets for the walk-through attraction alone are $16.00 and $6.00 for Buried Alive per person. A combo ticket can be purchased for $20.00, and VIP admission tickets are available for $30.00 in case the lines are extremely long. It took our group 14 minutes to navigate the haunted attraction, and 3-5 minutes per person in the Buried Alive portion. When looking at the attractions separate prices, this gives you less than one minute of entertainment per dollar spent, which is a little steep for a new attraction this length. We were assured that an expansion is in the plans for next season, and we can’t wait to see what they have up their sleeves! So if you are in the Cincinnati area and enjoy an attraction with a little bit of something for everyone, then stop in and check out Scream Acres Ct!


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