Review of The Haunt Haunted Attraction
Review of The Haunt Haunted Attraction
Review of The Haunt Haunted Attraction
The Haunt is a Haunted Attraction located in Wyoming, MI.
1256 28th Street SW, Wyoming, MI 49509View All Details
Free Parking, Restrooms/Porta Potties On-Site, Food/Concessions, “Hi-Tech” Attraction, You will NOT be touched, Original Characters, Indoor/Outdoor Waiting Line, All-Indoor Attraction, Family Friendly
Team Scary Potter and the Hauntwarts Express reviewed this Haunted Attraction on October 25, 2018.
Final Score: 8.98
We’re buddies, right? You still wear the right half of our “Friends Forever” pendant, don’t you? Great. Then I’ll speak plainly. If a haunted attraction is going to call itself “THE Haunt”, it had better have the goods, ESPECIALLY being in its first season with new ownership and a new creative staff. I mean, that’s essentially an entirely new attraction. That takes some impressive juevos to pull off, you know?
Well, wouldn’t you know it, Paula, the ol’ so-and-so’s pulled it off. Color me impressed; I owe you a Coke.
Wyoming, Michigan’s The Haunt is back and better than ever with four all-new attractions :
Exhumed: “Enter the decaying halls of the Hemlock family estate and discover if the rumors are true. Is it really haunted?”
Deranged: “Fill your prescription for fear. You’re in the Vox Sanitarium… where the patients run the madhouse!”
Immortuos: “Uncover the sinister secrets that drive the cogs and gears of this once landmark factory of the Midwest.”
Lougaru Bayou: “In the depths of the Louisiana swampland, there are whispers of a secret voodoo cult.”
Not enough for you? How about one over-arching meta-theme that ties all of those concepts together? Interested in learning more? Read below, then head out to Wyoming, Michigan to experience this attraction’s incredible rebirth for yourself.
Did I mention that the new attractions have been designed by a former employee of the only haunt to ever get a Special Effects perfect-10 from Team Scary Potter?
Wha…yes, yes, I know I JUST said… Shut up, Paula. Just read the review. It’s time for my pills.
*Two Zombillies graciously assisted in the creation of this review. As we were both incredibly excited to visit The Haunt, we agreed to undertake a multi-team review. The scores below represent our combined appraisal of the attractions, though the only Team Scary Potter should be blamed for the literary content of this review. Blame away.*
The Haunt’s massive cast (well into the triple digits) was quite a vocal lot. Split pretty distinctly between pop-scarers and extended frighteners, we encountered a wide variety of dialogue. Though ad-libbing wasn’t this cast’s particular strong-suit, there were still a lot of memorable, sustained interactions. The most interactive, chance encounter with a benevolent mystic near the beginning of our journey, quickly devolved into a significantly creepier exchange after our host was overtaken by an unwelcome spirit. Was it something we said??
Interestingly, the rest of the cast of Exhumed was strongly female-dominated and they put forth the best-combined performance of the four attractions. Along with Deranged, they offered the greatest amount of significant verbal exchanges, albeit with more sinister offerings than the latter. Excellent at transfixing themselves in preparation of perfect scare-timing, and equipped with a broad array of diaphragm hot-stepping, we were drawn in by their haunting countenances.
There was a collection of enjoyable performances within Deranged, but those were of a different color than its predecessor. Tommy Telephone was the exemplary performance, squawking effervescent psycho-babble about an ill-fated assistant until we were out of sight. The line-splitter at the beginning and a pseudo-receptionist just after her also offered us wonderfully-energetic nonsense.
A trend began within Deranged of actors occasionally shuffling by us without paying much attention to our passing, as well as an odd proclivity toward mumbling their lines with no further interaction thereafter. It wasn’t terrible, but happened a few too many times.
Immortuous didn’t fare as well. Excluding a few brief sections of Deranged, it contained our first considerations of “maybe this area could use a few more actors”, and the quality and interactivity of the cast dropped from the previous attractions as well. An actor near the end with a unique, prolonged, nasally emanation stuck out as its strongest performance.
The Haunt, overall, was well-equipped with intentionally absurd or humorous “scares.” We were forbade from consuming laundry detergent, reprimanded for peeping in on a personal cleansing, warned about a future, furry bed-mate, and even managed to stumble into a poor monster’s alone time atop the porcelain throne. Each of these actors delivered their punchlines well.
The Bayou’s residents were significantly less talkative than the other attractions but did make up for it with some emphatic growling and a few instances of forebodingly-anticipatory dialogue concerning the theme of the haunt.
We did also note that, though the characterizations did vary greatly between attractions, inner-attraction variety could have been better. The gals of Exhumed all played very similar roles, as did the occupants of Deranged, etc. We would have liked to have seen a broader selection of roles across all four attractions.
The pop scarers were mostly good, hitting their marks (usually from behind some form of panel) and then disappearing back into the set displays.
We were very impressed by the quality of makeup artistry on display. It was definitely among the best examples that we’ve experienced this season. Exhumed easily outshone the other attractions here, with each of its residents intricately visaged with multi-layered facial amendments. Combined with many of the elaborate costumes in use therein (including one fantastic, sweeping dress that seemed to engulf the floor of one room like a fibrous shadow), the Exhumed actors looked incredible.
Deranged’s inmates, understandably, were a lot more subdued, lightly made up with occasional blood and vein accessories and reasonable outfitting considering the theme. Immortuous followed a similar pattern : adequate but not excessive.
Bayou had the most elaborate collection of full-body costumes and masks, including several horned ne’er-do-wells who looked intimidating in their tribal ensembles. A familiar, but welcome fake-animatronic character’s costume blended in perfectly with its static frame to enhance the intended scare. Also, the titular Lougaru was menacing in a well-detailed, extensive costume and mask.
Speaking of masks, we didn’t see any issues with their usage throughout any of the attractions, though there weren’t an overwhelming number of them.
As mentioned in the Cast category, there could have been a bit of a broader assortment of character-types, but the costuming aspect of that criticism is certainly less intensive.
Most importantly… the bear. We loved Mr. Bear’s costume. That is all.
Customer Service: 9.61
Most of the information that one would be seeking concerning The Haunt can be easily found on their website. Tickets ARE cheaper when purchased online than when acquired directly from the onsite ticket booth. Also, and this deserves special recognition, THERE IS NO ADDITIONAL FEE WHEN PURCHASING TICKETS ONLINE. Anyone who has attempted to purchase tickets for a haunted attraction online will understand the unique beauty of that revelation.
It would be nice to see some mention on the website about the security metal detectors/wands that are in use as we were instructed that nearly anything we were carrying could set them off. As amusing/embarrassing as it was to accidentally fling an MP3 player at the unfortunate security guard as I frantically fumbled to empty overflowing pockets, I would have preferred to have prepared in advance.
Hear that kids? Leave every non-essential personal item in the car!
Also, there doesn’t appear to be any mention of the meta-theme/over-arching storyline on the website. Only the videos playing in the lobby seem to indicate this information.
Though GPS did successfully deliver us unto the attraction’s doorstep, we didn’t feel terribly confident about its accuracy until we were parked directly in front of its building. Located BEHIND a strip mall, just off the main road, we would have liked to have seen some form of additional signage en route to our destination. When we did pull into the parking lot, though, a sign affixed to the building’s marquee indicated that we were at the correct location.
The ticket booth was obvious, as was the queue system and portable restrooms. There was security on-duty, but fortunately, I was not tazed for my accidental, audiophilic assault.
An inner-line concession booth is open on Fridays and Saturdays in addition to all of the extra options provided by purchasing a VIP ticket (see Entertainment/Value).
One very welcome surprise for us occurred WITHIN the haunt. Between each attraction, clumping groups were re-spaced to avoid so-called “conga-lining.” Even with a very swift-moving trailing group (and we reviewers are renowned for our snail’s pace), we were able to avoid cramping for most of the experience. Anyone who has found themselves wedged between other groups of customers during a visit to a haunted attraction can surely appreciate this design decision.
Every staff member, actor, security fellow, and gyrating zombie that we met was friendly, courteous, and incredibly helpful. The Haunt have an excellent crew and we enjoyed and appreciated every minute that we got to spend with them. Thank you very much from both teams!
There’s no sugar-coating it : aesthetically-speaking, The Haunt is located in a rough area. Strip malls bring in big crowds, I’m sure, but they can be pretty difficult to adjust to proper haunt facades. Being tucked behind the primary business portion of plaza does help – The Haunt ‘s corner of the realm is darker, more shadowy than if it was situated next to TJ Max or the like, but considering the “Mr. Duds” marquee next door, and the catty-corner post office, there’s still a lot to be desired.
The exterior of the building is fairly threadbare. A sign for the attraction, roping for the queue line, and a bit of thematic literal window dressing help a bit, as does the single (albeit impressive) animatronic guardian of the parking lot. Unfortunately, because of his solitary placement and the lack of any really meaty in-theme set design around him, he comes across more as the wallflower at his school dance, alone, leaning against the bricks with his head down because no one will dance with him. I’ll dance with you, Mr. Monster; you are not alone!
A single, parking lot-roving line scarer was present during our visit as well.
INSIDE the building was a different scenario. Green faux-foilage dangled from every inch of the ceiling (which would become a constituent part of the haunt-proper as well), televisions at various intervals looped the back-story of the attraction, and the lines were separated by metal cages. This was a better representation of the experience that awaited us by leaps and bounds. The large, sliding doors that parted to allow our passage into the beginning of the attraction were a nice touch as well.
Special Effects: 9.24
We cheated a bit.
See, in addition to new ownership, The Haunt has a new creative staff as well, the leader of whom was most recently featured at an attraction from our home turf. Having reviewed his previous works a few times, we had a sort of precognitive conception of what to expect…
And then we reached this attraction, the set design still blew us away. Well played, Ethan, you scoundrel.
There is certainly a variety of styles at play within the four thematic environments. Exhumed is a spectral hoarder’s dream – layer upon layer of grime and cobwebs overlaying deteriorating books, decrepit organs, portraits, lanterns, and peeling wallpaper. This was their traditional-style spookhouse and every conceivable component was accounted for. We nearly developed stiff necks after our passage, attempting to gawk at every detailed corner and cranny of the environment. With the exception of some of the ceilings, which featured necessary, but unfortunate views of the exterior roof (and non-haunty behind-the-scenes fixtures) before the building became a haunt, every conceivable inch of Exhumed was inlaid with artistically-ramshackled nuance. I believe we passed through a demented version of every conceivable room that may exist within a dwelling. Heck, a REAL haunted house may look less like a haunted house than Exhumed.
The Bayou was constructed in a similar vein. Cobwebs were joined by more of the dangling verdure introduced in the interior queue line and ancestral tomes became skeletons and voodoo relics, but the attention to detail was similar. The deer prop that hung in our path was incredibly realistic and equally as unsettling.
The entrance facades into each of them were equally as impressive, as spectacularly-maintained and complete as the haunts that they represented.
The other two attractions weren’t quite as overwhelming with their depictions, but were still impressive in their own rights. In fact, the primary hallway that we continuously navigated through in Deranged was one of The Haunts most immersive sets. Staring down that seemingly-endless passage at all of the chaos that awaited us was certainly unnerving.
There was a great deal of other stand-out areas as well. The theater room from Exhumed was really well done, though its old-timey film seemed just a bit too life-like… The “syringe hallway” was certainly nightmare material for anyone with a fear of needles, and the sudden “unsettling” nature of the post-freak-out mystic’s dwelling really shook us up.
Honestly, some of the more straightforward animatronic scares were largely ineffective (and there were a few identical, curiously-designed automated drop panels), but when The Haunt became creative with their electronic wizardry, things got very interesting. A giant block took issue with our interloping. A gratuitous meat-grinder caught our attention… though less-so than the poor gentleman in its direct path. Heck, even a clothes-rack barked at us when we got too close. And the bed… never, ever look under the bed!
Lighting in the attractions was understated and effective, favoring smaller “pin lights” that easily blended into the background to not distract from the impressive ambiance created by the set design and the creepy soundtracks (each attraction had its own, though several members of our group didn’t really notice their presence until near the end – perhaps they could be louder?).
For some people, a haunted attraction may be a difficult thing to consider “art,” but any connoisseur of haunt design would be hard-pressed to find a better collection of detailed set work. Kudos to all of the design team.
As I mentioned above, the main theme of the overall attraction doesn’t seem to be readily available online, and because the videos in the lobby can be hard to hear, allow me to present a short summation :
The Haunt is a facade for a government experiment that intends to test an average person’s fear response to four different types of intense stimuli. Thus, there are four differently-themed attractions inside The Haunt to correspond with those stimuli.
It’s difficult to argue that the strip-mall location is an incredibly logical area for this to all be taking place. Maybe the government went for a “hiding in plain sight” mantra?
I will certainly admit that, on their own, each disparate motif is not terribly innovative and represent fairly standard themes within the haunt world. However, when presented within that meta-umbrella, that “standardness” of content actually makes a lot of sense. Without that overarching theme, though, the collection of attractions wouldn’t be quite as exciting, thematically.
Immortous’ theme was a bit difficult to discern before we looked it up (the random actor in clownish face paint near the end and a single zombie encounter didn’t seem to help things), but the other attractions made sense and we didn’t see any major thematic clashes.
We would have liked to have seen a stronger transition between the second and third haunts, as they ended up largely just blending together (not helped by the somewhat-undifferentiable thematic elements of the third). The wonderful facades of Bayou and Exhumed, though, set up their attractions very well, as did the brief interaction at the beginning of Deranged.
We also enjoyed the build-up toward our Lougarou encounter in the Bayou with multiple actors referencing his eventual arrival.
Scare Factor: 8.59
The best scare that we encountered involved a raised-platform, a chainsaw, and a really nimble assailant. Set up by a good distraction, we were completely taken off-guard when this ruffian was suddenly streaking forward to within inches of my face.
Such was the formula for the best frights that The Haunt offered : a distraction followed by a sudden scare. There was a degree of variety amongst the initiators of both elements, but the end result was usually similar. Some involved animatronic or environmental elements (I’m looking at you, jerking pot rack), and some were completely actor-based. Excluding the above, there weren’t many intense scares, but certainly plenty of startles.
Primarily occurring in the first attraction, there was also a healthy amount of “I’m not really a prop” (for lack of a better expression) scares, that required the (usually female) actor to remain inanimate for an extended period until she was able to administer a proper startle. Many of these were quite effective, particularly the one administered by a certain clawed-gentleman who impersonated his mark expertly.
There were a few times that we found ourselves pincered between simultaneous scares from different actors. This was an interesting development that I haven’t seen at many attractions. I invented a term for this particular phenomenon, but it is not all-ages appropriate.
Unfortunately, there were also a great deal of pop scares, primarily using different forms of drop panels. These quick in-and-out startle attempts can be very effective when properly hidden into the set design and, admittedly, The Haunt did a pretty good job of submerging them believably into the environment. However, there were so many of them that we found ourselves becoming desensitized to them, and their locations became a bit too obvious by the end. A couple of their hiding spots were very cleverly inserted into seemingly-harmless locations (theater room), but it was just far too much overall.
We would have liked to have seen a broader variety of types of scares with less dependence on drop panels. They have a big cast, but tend to repeat similar scares too many times. A strong variety of fright-attempts keeps a customer constantly guessing (/fearing) what could possibly lie ahead, but we found ourselves adapting to the familiar styles of scares within The Haunt relatively early, causing them to begin relinquishing their effectiveness.
The Haunt was excellent at administering their scares to our full group. Very few times did any of our group ask “What happened? What did I miss?” For most startles, we were all equally involved.
We’ve begun to specifically identify and evaluate the strength of individual attractions’ finales this season, as they are an important send-off – the most important scare or scares of the night (if there are multiple attractions, like at The Haunt). The Haunt is close, we believe, to having some really good finales – in fact, they kind of already do – they’re just not AT the finale. Like that friend who says goodbye… but then awkwardly sticks around for a bit longer, they negated the effect of a few of their strongest scares by tacking on a little extra, weaker content behind it. The Lougarou would have been the most logical and impactful send-off from the Bayou, for instance, and the jarring chainsaw startle could have finished out its zone.
Entertainment & Value: 8.86
Our journey through all four elements of The Haunt lasted just under 29 minutes. A general admission ticket costs $30 at the door or $25 online. This places the minutes of entertainment per dollar spent (MPD) at either just under 1 at the door or 1.16 for online orders. Additionally, fast passes are $35/$40, and VIP passes are $55/50.
While a fast pass is familiar to most haunt go’ers, the VIP admission here is a whole new animal. The benefits of purchasing a VIP pass include a fast pass, VIP parking and entrance to the VIP lounge. Inside the VIP lounge, refreshments (including a small buffet on Fridays and Saturdays) are available as well as a very unique performance specific to the lounge. I will simply say that it is incredibly entertaining and features a very talented cast of its own.
We visited the attraction on a Thursday, so there wasn’t a ton of additional, general admission entertainment available – only the single line-scarer in the parking lot. On busier nights, we’re told that there are more actors lingering indoors, and there is one really impressive faux-prop in the queue area that we’ll love to see come to life in the future.
We had a great first visit to The Haunt. The sets were amazing, the actors were good, and the price tag wasn’t exorbitant (particularly for a Michigan attraction). Despite many of the scare attempts feeling a bit too formulaic, there were still plenty of excellent frights leaking out of every corner of the expertly-decrepit woodwork. We can’t wait to see how the new ownership and new direction for this attraction will improve this already-excellent haunted experience in the future.
We enthusiastically recommend a visit to The Haunt!
Photos from Review Trip:
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Guest ReviewsGuest Average: 10 out of 10
Amber – 10/10It was a lot more fun this time around than last year honestly, bigger, scarier and overall creepy …show more
Jeff Sullivan – 10/10The new Haunt is amazing. Love the new look and scares
Brad Thomas – 10/10The wait was about a hour long even though we had fast pass, but it was worth it. The sets were …show more
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" - Best Set Design (Given by: Team Scary Potter and the Hauntwarts Express)