Rotten Manor – Full Review

Rotten Manor is a Haunted Attraction located in Holly, MI.

13245 Dixie Hwy, Holly, MI 48442
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Haunt Type(s):

Multiple HauntsHaunted HayrideHaunted HouseHaunted Trail


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Free Parking, Restrooms/Porta Potties On-Site, Food/Concessions, Gift Shop/Souvenirs, Optional Games/Midway, “Hi-Tech” Attraction, You will NOT be touched, Original Characters, Uncovered Outdoor Waiting Line, Covered Outdoor Waiting Line, Indoor/Outdoor Attraction, Family Friendly

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This attraction was reviewed on October 15, 2021 by Team Cleaverland.

How Do We Get These Scores?

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Final Score: 8.67

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Rotten Manor is home to the Rotten family, a clan that could put the Firefly’s to shame!

Returning from past seasons are Rotten Manor, the signature haunted house experience, and Rotten Asylum/Forest, a trail that visits the titular asylum and several other impressive structures along the way. These attractions are well known as being long walkthroughs and that’s exactly what we experienced.

Brand new this year is the Rotten Hayride. It seems those dirty Rottens own a lot of acreage and they’re going to keep developing it!

Hayride: 8.29
Trail: 8.97
House: 8.74

Cast: 8.28

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Hats off to the folks acting on the hayride and trail, who tried to put their best foot forward in a pretty steady rain. That’s dedication and we appreciated it.

The self-described ‘schizo’ fellow who took a ride back to the start with us stayed in character for several minutes as he sat between riders, alternating between his high character voice and rather rumbly normal (presumably, his normal) voice.

Also, the hayride characters seemed to do a pretty good job of staying off everyone’s toes in one of the narrower wagons we’ve ever been on. It was quite intimate in there and playing footsie with neighbors was kind of inevitable, so good on ya cast members for not stomping on anyone’s little piggies, at least as far as we could tell!

The character types here were a bit generic, with killers holding various weapons including a couple enthusiastic chainsaw chaps and a blacksmith pounding on our wagon with his hammer, plus a full-throated victim (or maybe it was a witch) tied to a tree and bellowing at the wagon.

But the true stars of the hayride turned out to be some porcine fairy tale characters who were messily dispensing with their legendary enemy. No names please, but he was howling in pain!

The trail threw a whole mess of memorable cast members at us, like a tall ‘n’ beefy dude greedily gulping blood from a heart, a razor-toothed clown in a terrible toy house, the witch who had nothing but bad things to say about her caged dinner guests/subjects, lunatics in the asylum who went on about conspiracy theories and our bad choices, the ‘human pig’ who snuffled and rooted around in the mud after us, and the coven of vampiresses hissing and clawing at us in their dank den.

Compared to the trail, the house went back to a plainer variety of ghouls and goofs. Most memorable were the slickly sinister butler, or whomever the welcome wagon consisted of, that introduced us to the opening scene, a demon barber who offered a very close shave of the entire facial area and then got nasty about it, a mad mama who insisted we stop waking her babies, and the killer clowns in the carnival near the end.

Throughout all attractions, interactions remained relatively brief and dialogue fairly perfunctory except where noted. We counted 60 actors in all, but even that seemed a bit thin in spots. That might be an inevitable byproduct of having such long walkthroughs for the trail and house, and the rainy weather, probably made even worse by the actor shortage many haunts are reporting this year.

Be that as it may, the house definitely seemed short in spots (especially the long, pretty empty tunnel walks) as well as some extended stretches of the trail.

Hayride: 8.11
Trail: 8.52
House: 8.21

Costuming: 8.15

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With a large cast spread across three very different attractions, costuming at Rotten Manor ran the gamut from basic to exceptional.

On the hayride, many of the characters wore plain outfits, even street clothes.

On the trail, the vampire girls, the toy clown, and the blood guzzler all sported great looks, while others were not quite so detailed and visually pleasing, but the overall level was greater than the other two attractions.

The house denizens also proved a somewhat mixed bag. Some creeps went with more basic undead-ish bad looks, but the front hall guy combined ghoulish makeup with snazzy formal attire for a sensational opening appearance. The barber had a complete and bloody-good costume. The carnival clowns looked appropriately skeezy and sinister.

Hayride: 7.46
Trail: 8.73
House: 8.27

Customer Service: 9.4

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GPS took us right to the Rotten homestead in Holly, MI (off the Dixie Highway, about an hour northwest of Detroit). Free parking was on a grassy field.

The Rotten website is a good one, offering all the details you need to plan a visit. The Rottens also maintain a solid social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.

The trail did not offer too many natural obstacles. Instead, we found a gym class’s worth of man-made obstructions! The impediments included stairs and ramps, crawl spaces, duck-downs, traipsing through rooms full of spongy cubes and/or large rubber balls, and even hoisting ourselves up ropes to reach ladder rungs. Older haunt fans, be aware this might be one of the more athletically rigorous attractions you will ever come across unless the Olympics comes up with Haunted Steeplechase. By the end of it all, we felt a little sore. Work off those extra pounds at Planet Haunt Fitness!

Rotten Manor does maintains that the hayride and house attractions are wheelchair accessible, however.

The Rotten staff were not rotten at all, they were nice people. When we inquired whether the hayride was still open, based on a seemingly deserted entrance, a worker walked us all the way around the queue structure to where the line began, which was not visible from where we had tried to find it. Toward the end of the evening, we were asked several times if we had found everything all right. Thanks for all the help!

All three attractions share the same score.

Atmosphere: 9.68

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Past a skeleton stagecoach, a pair of pillars at the entryway framed a truly stunning sight. The Manor’s stupendous fa������ade is one of the best we’ve seen anywhere. Seriously, go find some photos or video. This knocked our socks off.

Fog, ambient lighting, and metal music filled the midway. The sizable midway featured a concession stand with light snacks and beverages, merch shop, carnival games, a spinning black light 3d tunnel, mirror maze, and wooden maze.

Outstanding atmosphere here at Rotten Manor! All three attractions share the same score.

Special Effects: 8.78

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The hayride had some cool props like crucified skeletons, zombies, sacrificial altars, a winged reaper animatronic with wicked sounds, an old west general store and saloon, and some awesomely lit-up trees.

Not sure how they got so many lights on so many trees and so high up, looked like 60+ feet in some cases. All we can say is, we find it hard to hang lights on a six-foot Christmas tree, so here’s to the Rotten crew for seemingly Herculean efforts that paid off. The green glowing trees looked superb.

There were also some nice scene set-ups. All in all, well done for a first-year offering that reportedly did not have much build time.

On the trail, jack o’ lanterns marked the beginning pathway. We strolled past animatronics and freaky faces on the trees. Structures on the trail looked impeccable. The best were the toy house and without a doubt, the gingerbread house.

Jaw-dropping from the outside, the interior looked almost as wonderful, with a highly detailed witch’s abode that even came with a poor little Gretel stand-in caged up by her lonesome.

We also found on the trail the infamous ‘fan room,’ which we will cover in more detail in the Scare Factor section. The trail pretty much knocked it out of the park in the effects department.

The house had some very aggressively, fully detailed sets in the manor rooms early on that were really nicely done. The middle section relied on a lot of walking through giant metal pipe tunnels without a whole lot of payoff, and the carnival parts near the end got a big flash of effects through music, lighting, and unusual environments like slanted floors and ball-filled rooms.
Considering all the attractions together, Rotten Manor flexed considerable effects muscle.

Hayride: 8.19
Trail: 9.23
House: 8.91

Theme: N/A

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There exists a bit of narrative about the Rotten couple and their horrible children that have spread their nastiness throughout the property.

It’s nice to have a little story to tie things together, but we wouldn’t consider it essential here for understanding or enjoyment, and so we are going to score it as not applicable.

Scare Factor: 8.24

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The hayride was on par with most of the other hayrides we’ve been on this year, which is to say, not all that scary. We think it’s hard to make a truly scary hayride. But in any case, the attraction is being advertised as family friendly, so all that is as it should be.

The trail presented us with a collection of nasty scares, including the toy clown and vampire ladies. And the trail had an absolutely terrifying room, which we will call the fan room.

This one thing probably delivered a whole one point of scare factor just in itself. We’re not going to say too much about it except that it’s a very dark walk down into what seems to be a huge industrial fan. Seriously, whomever came up with and implemented that deserves a spot in the heart-stopping hall of fame.

The house delivered some good jump scares, but we got mixed up with a whole bunch of other groups toward the end, which made it a lot less scary. But we also felt like the later portions, at the tunnels and carnival, were probably naturally less scary anyway.

Not to say devoid of scares — there was a creepy clown positioned right inside the entrance to a tunnel who got us pretty good, for instance — just less scary than the earlier mansion parts, where features like hidden doors and dark corners came into spooky play.

Hayride: 7.29
Trail: 8.88
House: 8.56

Entertainment & Value: 8.71

How Did We Get This Score?

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We spent a long time here, as we’ve heard nearly everyone does. — a total of 73 minutes between the hayride at 24 minutes, the trail at 26 minutes, and the manor at 23 minutes.

Just looking at the ticket prices alone, you might get some sticker shock. There’s no denying they’re on the higher side of what we regularly see in the industry, but they still equate to an appropriate value equation. Let’s take a look at the numbers.

The night we were there, general admission was $75 — $50 combo for the house/trail and $25 for the hayride (there is no combo for all 3). With 73 minutes of attraction time, that makes for an MPD of 0.97, right below the 1.0 benchmark we look for. When we spend that much time somewhere, it could just as well have been 1 because we easily could have spent another minute or two between the attractions interacting with monsters or studying scenery.

Plus there’s good entertainment on offer, especially at the trail, and the variable pricing throughout the season means you can easily get a lot more bang for your buck. Go on a Thursday or Sunday when the combo ticket is $35 and hayride is $20, and the MPD would go up to 1.36.

In September, combo tix cost $40. Meanwhile the house and trail can be experienced separately for anywhere from $20 to $30 each, depending on when you attend. As you can tell there are lots of permutations, so check the Rotten site for full pricing info.

Please note all tickets are purchasable on-site only and cash only (ATM available). Group rates are available for 20 and over, contact the attraction for details.

Getting back to the value question, an hour and a quarter’s worth of attractions is good time spent at pretty much any haunt. Being the new kid in town this year, the hayride could use a little polishing, but it’s not too bad for what it’s being billed as, a family-friendly attraction. The trail definitely gets our nod over the house for overall entertainment value, but you probably should just get the combo ticket as long as you’re here and see it all.

So we’re saying it’s good value for money, keep in mind you’re paying for a lot of entertainment time, long walkthroughs and some excellent effects and sets, especially on the trail (are you getting the sense that we liked the trail a lot??). The midway attractions (mazes, vortex, etc.) cost an extra $2 – $5 each and taking all of these things together, that means you could spend all night here.

Halloween is almost upon us, with the winter holidays in its wake…so December haunts are on their way!! If you want to have a Rotten Christmas, go to ‘Rotten Manor Presents: A Bloody Christmas.’ The show takes place on the first three weekends (Fri-Sat) in December.

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Guest Reviews
Guest Average: 10 out of 10

Leanette – 10/10October 3, 2019
This was my first visit though my 2nd year as a Haunter. I was hugely impressed with the overall …show more atmosphere. So perfectly ghoulish and creepy as expected. Darkened tunnels and secret doors galore.

Carrie Baugher – 10/10September 21, 2019
This is not my first visit to Rotten Manor, been here several times before but never disappointed. …show more This attraction brings excitement and uniqueness of being set in the woods off a dark main road in the country. Front the moment you walk up every detail has been thought of; from old caskets, an old hearse, the main haunted house that almost resembles an old wooden saloon in the west, this attractions does not disappoint. The actors and scary decor and mechanical zmobies clowns and other scary monsters get you around every corner. The staff and owners take the scaring of patrons seriously, they love their job. The haunted forest with insane asylum is very unique and scary. It also has several small houses that are themed in the woods that you go through that are very fun as well. They have carnival games (even a casket ride), glass house maze, and a regular maze with characters chasing you through every corner. Very exciting. I have been to many haunted attractions in my life and by far this is the best I have encountered and enjoyed thoroughly. I definitely recommend everyone checking out Rotten Manor, you will not be disappointed.

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Past Awards

2019 Awards

Best Facade - The Gingerbread House (Given by: Team Michigan Macabre)

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