• Haunts

    Terror Behind the Walls 2018 Haunt Review

    Haunt:  Terror Behind the Walls

    Location: Philadelphia, PA

    Date: October, 2018

    Price: $45 GA / $65 VIP

    terror behind walls lockchix

    Attractions:

    In the heart of the city of Brotherly Love, Eastern State Penitentiary has become a staple in the North East haunt scene. Having one of the most unique and creepy settings of all the haunts we’ve ever attended, this decommissioned prison transforms into an amusement park of horror. Once inside the prison walls, guests are led through a series of six haunted walkthroughs.

    The haunted attractions include:

      • Lockdown
      • Machine Shop
      • Infirmary
      • Blood Yard
      • Quarantine 4d
      • Breakout

    Spookiness:

    terror lockchixIn the roughly 60 minutes we spent walking through Terror Behind the Walls, we rarely were startled by what the walkthrough had up its sleeve. As a pillar in the haunt community, this attraction suffers from the sheer amount of guests. As a result, our group was constantly stumbling upon the group ahead of us. Normally we’d slow down our pace and let them move ahead, but with how busy Eastern State Penn is, there was always another group right on our tail. Each of the six attractions had a line to enter which helped this slightly, but each time we entered, the problem would arise again within five to ten minutes inside the haunt.

    On a positive note, their detail to set design and actor interaction was top notch. Each of their six walkthroughs felt unique & had portions where the set left our group astonished. Another aspect that’s worth noting is there touch policy. Wearing the glow-stick around your neck not only allows for the actors to touch you, but they have the ability to pull you from your group for something more intimately scarey. This happened to us several times and certainly added to our experience.

    Verdict:

    terror behind the walls

    Spooky season can be a busy and expensive time of the year. Is Terror Behind the Walls worth the price of admission? We aren’t so sure about that. Behind it’s venue’s ambiance & sheer size, this haunted attraction did not live up to its reputation. If anything, attend this haunt on a weekday night or early in the season where the crowds don’t overwhelm the attractions themselves.

  • Escape Rooms,  New Jersey Escape Rooms

    East Coast Escape Room ‘Vampire’s Lair’ Review

    Game: Vampire’s Lair
    Location: Toms River, NJ
    Date Played: September, 2018
    Team Size: 2 – 8 players.
    Duration: 60 minutes
    Price: $28 per ticket
    Story

    A team of vampire hunters have gone missing. Knowing their last location, your team must discover what happened to them as you enter the Vampire’s Lair.

    Puzzles

    Exploring this lair led our team to a wide variety of puzzles & tasks to complete. East Coast Escape Room incorporated puzzles that felt true to the setting. They also required us to work together to uncover the pieces in our journey to find out what happened to our predecessors.

    Vampire’s Lair crafted an excellent juxtaposition as it was filled with “ah-ha” moments that kept our team engaged, while the creepy setting kept us on edge.

    Production Value/Immersion

    True to the narrative, we felt as if our team was recounting the steps of the missing vampire hunters as we progressed through this escape room. Everything from the set design to the innovative clue system felt like our team was inside Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

    Highlights

    Through the duration of our creepy adventure searching through the Vampire’s Lair, our team was on edge. This room was uncomfortable for all the right reasons. We really appreciated how they incorporated a live actor into the game space & how hints were given without breaking immersion.

    We hope most teams make it to the grand finale of this room, because its climax was one we won’t soon forget.

    Shortcomings

    One late game puzzle left us confused until the debrief. The dark atmosphere hindered our team in deciphering what it meant.

    This Room is a Good Match for

    Vampire’s Lair is a stand out room along the Jersey Shore. The level of immersion provided by the set & live actor in the room made this a truly memorable escape. It’s accessible for newer players, while offering a competitive mode with an active leaderboard for enthusiasts looking for a challenge.

    east coast escape room
    Book your Vampire experience here!
  • Escape Rooms,  New York Escape Rooms

    Mission Escape Games ‘Escape the Hydeout’ Review

    Game: Escape the Hydeout
    Location: Manhattan, NY
    Date Played: August, 2017
    Team Size: 1 – 8 players.
    Duration: 60 minutes
    Price: $28 per ticket
    Story

    Dr. Jekyll has disappeared, leaving clues behind hinting his whereabouts. You must uncover the mystery of where he is before evil doctor Hyde appears. 

    Puzzles

    Puzzles were spread across a good variety and ranged between task-based objectives to more detail-oriented logic activities. Many integrated cool features that were tricky to locate at first, but resulted in several wow-moments.

    Highlights

    While lacking one large remarkable moment, all puzzles to work through contributed to an overall solid experience. Everything made sense and operated well from a tech perspective.

    Shortcomings

    Despite being billed as a Jekyll and Hyde room, the theme and story never seemed to surface. With such a strong, familiar theme, it seemed like a missed opportunity artistically. Furthermore, it felt like we were in an escape room, rather than the office of a twisted doctor.

    This Room is a Good Match for

    This is a solid room for beginners and families. There are no elements that are too scary or challenging. It’s a great way to get your feet wet.

    Book your Hydeout experience here!
  • Haunts

    13th Hour 2018 Haunt Review

     

    Haunt: 13th Hour

    Location: Wharton, NJ

    Date: October, 2018

    Price: $35 GA / $50 VIP

    13th hour lockchix

    Attractions:

    Tucked away in an unsuspecting industrial complex in North Jersey lies 13th Hour. Boasting five 60-minute escape rooms that run year-round as well as a seasonal haunt, this location has crafted a world around the infamous Hayden Family to provide hours worth of scares. Special to October, their escape rooms even have sinister actors within them to heighten their scare factor!

    The haunted attractions include:

    • Two Floors of Fear – Journey back to the Hayden family residence and discover why they were not to be messed with
    • Dark Side Maze – Travel through the pitch black maze. But be warned – you are not alone

    Spookiness:

    13th Hour’s narrative is based around a murderous family who disappeared after a hurricane ravaged New Jersey. Two Floors of Fear has interwoven this story into the attraction which escalated quite nicely as guests traveled further inside the Hayden Compound. Each actor interaction furthered the narrative & provided a bevy of jump scares. For such a long haunt, 13th Hour did a great job of breaking it up into sections to prevent groups from clumping together in the walkthrough. We appreciate this greatly & feel like this can make or break most haunted houses.

    New for 2018, 13th Hour has added a dark maze. We’ve experienced dark mazes previously that felt like touch tunnels without much rhyme or reason. This was not the case. From the get go, each guest was given a glow stick necklace as a light source. However, after what we experienced, this wasn’t for guest use at all. This twenty minute blind walkthrough was disorienting, frantic, and creepy. By far one of our favorite attractions of the 2018 season.

    Verdict:

    The trip we took to 13th Hour last Sunday was absolutely worth it. We took on their “Dungeon” escape room, (review coming soon!) and braved both of their haunted attractions. We simply cannot wait to go back to take on their four other escapes.

    Additionally, they do a great job bringing the carnival atmosphere to an industrial complex parking lot. From monster selfie stations to boardwalk games to vendors selling themed treats – there’s enough to do even for the scaredy cats.

     

  • Haunts

    Field of Terror 2018 Haunt Review

     

    Haunt: Field of Terror

    Location: East Windsor, NJ

    Date: October, 2018

    Price: $40 GA / $65 VIP

     

    field of terror lockchix

     

    Attractions:

    Field of Terror provides a setting ideal for a night a spooky activities. Based in a rural neighborhood of New Jersey, even the car ride to the haunts was creepy. After parking the car in a dark field, our group began to approach the bellowing screams. Instead of giving out tickets, the Field of Terror staff handed us colored tokens for each of their four attractions.

    The haunted attractions include:

    • Killer Kornfield – A lengthy trip through a spooky corn maze
    • Hayride to Terror Town – A journey on the back of a tractor to places you’ll never forget
    • House of Insanity – A disorientingly loud and bright walkthrough with full actor contact
    • The Unknown Barn – A dark & eerie experience through a haunted barn

    Spookiness:

    Between the four haunted attractions, some definitely felt spookier than others. While we felt that the hayride was more suitable for families and young children, the two haunted houses better achieved the a disorienting mess that we had hoped for. The Unknown Barn and House of Insanity felt very similar outside of the fact that the latter was full contact. Each had excellent use of lighting and smoke to disorient guests as they braced for their next jumpscare. Both ranged between 15-20 minutes of constant scares.

    That being said, Killer Kornfield was the true star of our evening at Field of Terror. This corn maze felt like it went on and on. Each scare uniquely varied from the next one. Traveling through a dilapidated boat to school buses full of zombies – scares were thrown at us from all angles. The only downside to this attraction was that we frequently caught up to the group ahead of us which is understandable for a walkthrough as lengthy as this one is.

    Verdict:

    While the overall experience at Field of Terror felt uneven, we greatly enjoyed our time at their establishment. If anything, the Killer Kornfield is a must do for the 2018 Halloween season. It’s vast layout and range of scares was one of the most memorable corn mazes we’ve experienced to date.

  • Immersive Experiences

    NYCC18: Round Up

    New York Comic Con 2018 Round Up
    Location: Manhattan, NY
    Date: October 4th-7th, 2018

     

    Thursday:

    Cursed Child Panel

    cursed child nycc

    To kick off our weekend, we rushed to get in line for the Cursed Child panel which featured a Q & A with the original cast members of the play. The spoiler-free talk worked to #KeepTheSecrets while giving the audience some insight on some of the ways the actors found inspiration with this classic story.

    A Pensieve Experience by Audible

    harry potter nycc

    In order to promote the audio books for the Harry Potter series, Audible staged a larger than life pensieve to travel into. Upon entrance, we were prompted to choose a character from the books and select a vial containing their memories. Once inside the vast basin, we found ourselves in a foggy and ethereal room. We were then instructed to place the vial on a pedestal which would trigger the memories to play into headphones for us. Unfortunately, we had only JUST missed the Cursed Child cast as we walked through. The exhibit wrapped up with a a second interactive component where we were able to record a looping downloadable video of us casting spells with one of the characters wands.

    The Bob’s Burgers Cookoff

    bob's burgers

    Just outside of the Javits Center, two brightly colored food trucks were tucked away down a construction laden street. Sitting side by side, these adjacent ‘Team Bob’ and ‘Team Louise’ food carts provided a real life Belcher experience. Curated by chef Alvin Cailan, fans of the show had the opportunity to choose between the “Carrot on My Wayward Bun” burger and a “Natural Born Dillers Burger”. Not only was this experience delicious, but it also gave us a real sense of the Belcher’s seaside hospitality.

     


     

    Friday:

    Resident Evil 2 Remake Demo

    re2 nycc

    In anticipation of the long awaited remake of this classic game, Capcom brought a real life Racoon City police station with them to NYCC. After a several hour wait, we were escorted inside the facility and sat in bloody desks to play fifteen minute demos of RE2. Not only was this game super creepy, but the added ambiance of this decrepit building added to the vibe. The RE2 remake is out January 5th, 2019.

    Netflix & Chills Panel

    One of the real highlights of 2018 for us was the Netflix block panel that capped off Friday night. Netflix highlighted four upcoming properties coming soon to the streaming service. These included a first look at Gerard Way’s Umbrella Academy, a quick look into the next iteration of The Dark Crystal & several clips of the upcoming horror series, The Haunting of Hill House. While we are thoroughly excited for each of the previous entries, we are beyond excited for what came next. The cast and creators of the upcoming remake, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina presented an exclusive screening of the first episode of the series. Without getting into spoiler territory, we can confirm that this is something we plan on binging when it comes out October 26th.

    The Heather’s Photo-Op

    heathers nycc

    To promote the 5-night binge that will be released on Paramount Network on October 25th, some Heathers stole a school bus and drove it into the Javits Center. The vehicle was covered in graffiti quotes from the original cult classic and we were escorted on board by rude high school students donning the classic block colored uniforms. They promised we’d get something cool out of sharing out photos, if they liked us. The experience was short, but we took a photo on the bus in front of a neon sign and were gifted an awesome quality slushie pin on the way out. We are certainly ready to binge it up, baby.


    Verdict:

    Initially, it felt like New York Comic Con lacked the home run immersive activations of previous years – ie HBO’s Westworld Experience. However, we had a blast at this year’s convention. The show floor was full of bite sized experiences. Between dressing up as our favorite Overwatch characters for a 360 degree video to being inserted as extras into the Mortal Engines trailer, 2018 New York Comic Con was an overwhelming success. We look forward to what 2019 has in store!

     

  • Escape Rooms,  Immersive Experiences

    NYCC18: Cartman’s Escape Room

    Game: Cartman’s Escape Room
    Location: Manhattan, NY
    Date Played: October, 2018
    Team Size: 10 players
    Duration: 10 minutes
    Price: Free with NYCC18 badge

     

    Comedy Central’s installation at this year’s Comic Con features a fully built-out escape room. Designed for 10 players, it runs at 10 minutes in length.

    The exhibit is free but prompts guests to come early in the day to secure their time slots. If you fail to snag your ticket before they fill up, you still have the opportunity to wait on the stand-by line to make it in.  

    Caught in yet another one of Cartman’s schemes, we found ourselves stuck in one of the most impossible places to escape: Schooooool.

    We were funneled into a prep area with lockers and a television that provided us with a brief run-down of our situation. The staff also chatted with our group as to whether or not any of us had done rooms before and continued to stress the importance of our communication and collaboration skills.

    At go time, we were lead into the classroom where each of us sat at our own classic desk. The room was built out to look exactly like we had stepped foot into the show. The colors, props, and décor all matched the geometric design of South Park. Our Game Master was an in-game “teacher” who gave us the final instructions and waited within the room to help guide the group throughout the experience.

    Most puzzles were standard escape room tasks that led to numerical or alphabetical locks. All of the puzzles made sense as they were ways to interact with the classroom objects. With a few nods to other characters in the show throughout and some funny and on-brand integrations, the experience was super enjoyable. We were able to track our time through sassy announcements that Cartman made as the game progressed, telling us things like, “uh you only have like five minutes left here”.

    The space was definitely big enough for 10 of us. We all sort of broke out into two or three groups but everything was near and simple enough to shout a suggestion to the rest of the team at any time.

    Overall, Comedy Central nailed it. Conventions present a few difficult tasks in terms of design. Not only does the room have to be approachable enough for any and all convention-goers to enjoy but it also has to be able to hold and captivate a larger party so you can maximize the number of guests who can participate. Logistically, everything was streamlined even down to what the reset would be. We were in and out but never felt like they sacrificed any quality or the basic structure of what an escape room is.

    Kudos to this exhibit. If you’ve got passes to New York Comic Con this weekend, definitely take the time to stop by!

     

  • Haunts

    Brighton Asylum 2018 Haunt Review

     

    Haunt: Brighton Asylum

    Location: Passiac, NJ

    Date: September, 2018

    Price: $35.99 GA / $65.99 VIP

    brighton asylum

    Attractions:

    Brighton Asylum offers a wide variety of activities that go well beyond their haunted walkthroughs. In addition to the haunts, the venue boasts two 60-minute escape adventures as well as two quicker 5-minute escape experiences.

    The full scope of haunted attractions include:

    • The Tunnel – Travel through elevator shafts formerly used to move the worst inmates
    • The Brighton Asylum – Explore the halls of the old asylum
    • The Bleeding Grounds – Visit the staff quarters of this decommissioned asylum.
    Spookiness:

    For a couple years now, Brighton Asylum has been one of our group’s go-to haunted attractions in New Jersey. Brighton has maintained a level of hauntedness achieved by very few attractions in this area. Their use of narrative, driven by set pieces and actor interaction, is more evident than most haunted houses we’ve visited. Every year they do a great job re-configuring guests travels through the asylum, while adding more scares with each annual visit. This keeps things varied and dynamic enough to keep us going back.

    Additionally, glow-stick necklaces are given out to guests that don’t mind a little contact during their stay. We appreciate the ability to have this as an option.

    New for 2018:

    For those who make it through the asylum, “The Bleeding Grounds” provide even more of a scare for 2018. Located on the 2nd floor, travel through the staff quarters of this spooky establishment & find out why this area finally allows for visitors.

     

    Verdict:

    While Brighton might not be the scariest attraction we’ve experienced, it is certainly worth its weight in screams. Between the three haunted walkthroughs, Brighton Asylum provides roughly an hour of terror for guests making it absolutely worth the admission price.

    For more 2018 Haunt Reviews, click here!

  • Escape Rooms,  New York Escape Rooms

    Exit Escape Room ‘High Speed’ Review

    Game: High Speed
    Company: Exit Escape Room  
    Location: Manhattan, NY
    Date Played: August, 2018
    Team Size: 2 – 7 players.
    Duration: 60 minutes
    Price: $28 per ticket
    Story

    The conductor of the NYC Subway 1 Train has kicked the cars into full speed and cut the brakes. We had to save ourselves as well as our fellow passengers.

    Puzzles

    Each puzzle over the course of the game was expertly interwoven into the environment. Subtle clues were given to us through the décor in our surroundings. Our interactions with the puzzles matched actions that we would take on a real-life subway car.

    Production Value/Immersion

    It’s always so exciting to have the Game Master prep us for the room while we have already stepped into the world of the game – the main entrance to it all was a subway platform and an impressive rendering of the outside of a subway car itself. During the game, the set was a replica of a 1 Train with puzzles cleverly hidden throughout.

    As far as immersion is concerned, each puzzle was focused around an action that you would take while riding the subway or a prompt to interact with train controls. This made sense within the story, as we were tasked to regain control of the runaway train.

    Highlights

    The impressive set and the interesting ways in which we were prompted to interact with it was definitely the biggest takeaway. We were told that a couple constructed the entire set from their home which is awesome! The theme itself was also unique and different from your typical storyline.

    Shortcomings

    While the room was very immersive, other than the knowledge that the conductor had gone rogue, there was no imminent sense of danger throughout the game. Some of the mechanical portions of the game took several attempts to register our answer.

    This Room is a Good Match for

    Players with a bit more experience who are looking for something a bit different from your standard room. For all the escape rooms we’ve taken on in New York City, High Speed felt the truest to its location.

    high speed escape room
    Book your High Speed experience here!