Friday, October 31, 2014

Ranking Blackout Haunted House 2010-2014


Happy Halloween!

2014 seems to be the year of the extreme haunted house. Mainstream media and sites are covering haunts like Blackout, McKamey Manor, Freakling Bros and others writing articles for and against (mostly against). I've given you the 5 Basic Levels of Haunted Houses. There is just a type of person that loves the extremeness of it all. But as more extreme haunts begin their initial inception, let's talk about the one that seems to have started it all.

Blackout.

Blackout is different each year but it garnered a reputation for it's walk through alone and full body contact touching. People (and you journalists who don't give me credit) have referenced Blackout in these articles but as a Survivor, I'm now ranking the haunted house that other haunted houses hate. These are only the October haunts and they all built up the reputation that this Halloween attraction should be feared. On to the list!



5.) 2014 (House)

The Jaded Viewer says: The first year you didn't go through alone. Less touching more Stanford prison experiment.  It's not as WTF and extreme as previous incarnations but it had some moments.

4.) 2013 (Elements)

The Jaded Viewer says: Blackout expands to LA but gets NYC leftovers. It's the first Blackout where you make choices and it has a theme. Dirty, grimy and full of rough play and nudity. The ending was intense. 

3.) 2010 

The Jaded Viewer says: My first ever Blackout and the first ever Halloween version. It's the one that had me shaking my head and going WTF did I sign up for. Condoms on the floor, full on nudity and complete total pitch black darkness and random touching became normal. One of the very best.

2.) 2011

The Jaded Viewer says: This was the year of the water boarding, the mouth rape, the bloody tampon. The angry naked man chasing me as I saved a girl chained to the floor. This was the year where I was the star of my own horror movie.

1.) 2012

The Jaded Viewer says: Blackout takes extreme to its limits. Punishment both physical and psychological. Naked ballerina, vagina condom, bucket full of shit, orders being yelled and naked girl dentist. This is Blackout working on all cylinders. The apex of Blackout. When people became afraid of what a haunted house could be. Darkness and senses being tested. Safeties were uttered a plenty.

Did you go to any of these haunts? Agree with the rankings? Comment below or on Twitter or The Jaded Viewer Facebook page!

Next up. Ranking the Blackout Off Season haunts!

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Reaper's Revenge Haunted House (Review)


I thought I was done with my haunted house road trips. In total, I've been to 7 already this month. But  when opportunity arises to go to 1 more, who am I to say no?

So I found myself near Scranton, PA and with family in tow I dragged them to a haunt that touts itself as America's Best Haunted Attraction. It's a bold strategy Cotton let's see if it pays off for them. And does it?  After going to Reaper's Revenge, it kinda does.

Reaper's Revenge packs a formidable punch in the 4 attractions that it offers. It's a mish mash of a solid haunted hayride, an outdoor maze fool of mischievous carnies and killer clowns, a pitch black maze that seemed to have no end and a quarantine zone that was stellarly executed. Some of the attractions were perfectly executed, others were not but not without the crew trying to make it work which I'll get to.

Overall Reaper's Revenge was a jam packed hour and half of solid haunts mixing in minimalistic creepy with high tech Hollywood special effects. You get a good snack size sampling of all of them for a $35 admission. There's a bon fire and stage as you wait or hang out and you'll be outdoors for most if it. I'll admit I was pleasantly surprised that this haunt seemingly around Scranton used the deep woods to scare the shit out people.

The Haunted Hayride

Reaper's Revenge is one of those rare haunts that forces you to go to each haunt one after the other. You don't get to choose which haunt you go to first or last. You'll pack into a haunted hayride and be with this group as you go along. The hayride was filled with horror monster cameos from a Jason Voorhees, Samara from The Ring and Michael Myers. They offer an option of either being touched or not be touched through all the attractions. If you're a big fat pussy, you can opt to wear a neon green glow in the dark necklace. This necklace seemed to complete the outfit of tween girls wearing Harry Potter scarves and Uggs.

However if you Survivor Up! you'll have the actors get really up close and personal, using chainsaws and jump scaring you as they Ninja up from their hiding places. It seems you can even get them to do your bidding as had my nephew almost get carried away by a chainsaw wielding maniac. There's some good high flying acts during the hayride which is split in 2 (you start off in the hayride and the continue it after you go through the carnival on your way to pitch black). You'll get your standard zombies and moonshine inbred rednecks (I hope they were actually actors, but fuck it's PA right?) Also a few well timed scares like a big ass spider were fuckin awesome.

Lost Carnival

This is a good outdoor maze that utilizes the woods to it's full effect. You'll go through some spooky visuals like roller coasters and a clown fun house. There's a carnival aspect with some potential games to play that come with some sarcastic carnies and some unexpected surprises. There were lots of scares and obstacles I wasn't expecting that even got a hardcore haunted house veteran like myself got me jumping. Even some twins had me singing along. Good stuff.


Pitch Black

I was hoping this would be executed with some nuance awesomeness. However, it seems getting a Saturday crowd through all these attractions, you'll sometimes sacrifice terror for efficiency. Pitch Black is an indoor maze where you'll walk through pitch black darkness. There's a few props  and some actors that will touch you getting you to shiver and scream. But as I went in, we were packed in like cattle and could barely walk through this traffic jam. The staff seemed like they were separating the groups to get people more breathing room but it just didn't work. Good idea, badly executed.

Sector 13

I'll admit. This was probably the best of the mazes at Reaper's Revenge. It's got a good theme (quarantined patrons with infected) and as an outdoor maze the sets and props were well fuckin done.  I think the Ebola jokes were already on peoples minds. Soldiers start you off and mad doctors do a quick check up (I got picked for an unneeded injection). You'll see soldiers patrolling and occupied beds of the infected who seem to have turned into mutant monsters. Good scares come out of all the rooms and from unexpected places. Oh could we be far off from Sector 13 these days?

Final Thoughts

Reaper's Revenge is a gem of a haunted attraction that seems to hit all the common fears we all have. Darkness, clowns, sickness and the horror icons we all few up watching. Packaged into 4 successive haunts, you'll definitely get all your scares and fun in less than 2 hours. I was kind of impressed by it all. is it America's best?  I guess you be the judge.


The Vitals



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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Gateway's Haunted Playhouse 2014 (Review)


You never really know what you'll expect when you go to a haunted house. The night before you go, you start dreaming up worst case scenarios, the unthinkable, the WTF. These dreams become nightmares, frightmares and terrifying dreamscapes. When you wake up, you start to realize it's all in your head. Your mind playing tricks on you.

Then you head to the haunted house. Relatively ready and prepared that none of what you dreamed up couldn't actually be true, you enter all ready to go.

That's when Gateway's Haunted Playhouse takes your nightmare and makes it into reality.

Gateway's Haunted Playhouse is one of the most inventive, creative and clever haunted houses in all of America. This year, they've incorporated a theme of dreams and nightmares and the haunt takes this theme and amplifies it into maximum terror. You'll be diagnosed by doctors and nurses, rattled by mad patients and be stalked by killer kids. This all happening in the midst of a maze spanning indoors and outdoors and have you jumping at every corner.

This is my second time going through Gateway. I have always thought their layout is what a haunt should be. Located in Bellport, NY the haunt is built on top of an actual theater/playhouse and its all done by a cast and crew full of that DIY and indie spirit. An outdoor bar supplies liquid courage as you wait for your turn to enter the haunt and food trucks supply some fast treats. They also have outside acts like fire breathers, coffin rides and will have on tap some interactive entertainment for the family to enjoy in the next few weeks. Gateway really makes it a true night of horror-ific entertainment.

But the creme de la creme is the haunted playhouse.

The entrance is a spooktacular homage to an asylum gone wrong. You'll go in and see mental patients, doctors and nurses in all states of disarray. As you walk through, the constant echo of a simple whisper of "Don't go to sleep" will be heard, a reminder that you've enter a Freddy Krueger like dreamworld where your worst fears are now coming to life. Children, tweens and teens cackle in the dark and what seems to be lifeless corpses will reanimate without notice. Each room is crafted into it's own box of nightmare artifacts and has its unique brand of creepy. The smells will fill you with revulsion, the floors will feel like jello and keep you off balance. Tight spaces, body bags and well timed gusts of pressurized air are just one of the many things to keep you on your toes.

One of the highlights that got me literally jumping up and down are the well timed, human and computer activated props. Look out for things from above and when you think your safe an innocent looking room will fall and contract. One gigantic mechanical prop monster jump scared the shit out of me. The genius in this is that all these props and monster effects are hand crafted by the team at Gateway. These aren't your bought through a haunted house Halloween factory animatronics. They are detailed, built in house and meticulously crafted instruments of terror. You'll also encounter a school bus from hell and an ending that will have you holding on for dear life.

The production team at Gateway does a good job of spacing out the haunt so that the people don't feel like cattle. It seems a groups span 6 or so people and they are spread evenly and when it does get to feel like a line at the post office, actors will make sure to "trap" you so that it evens itself out.

The overall theme can get lost if you're not paying attention. I had hoped the actors would keep reiterating the sleep theme as you go along but it wasn't that evident at times. It did also get a bit crowded during the walk through and as I played leader, I tried to do a bit of separation from the people ahead of me. Also, some well conceived scares where darkness and an actor with a flashlight didn't go as planned. Finally, you may have to wait a bit to enter if you don't have a fast pass but being in the Midway with drink and food should keep you occupied as you wait your turn. But these are all little nitpicks in an otherwise awesome haunted house.

Gateway Haunted Playhouse should be the example of what a well executed, done with passion haunted house should be. Haunt Director Michael Baker and Managing Producer Paul Allan run a haunted attraction with stellar actors, top notch special effects and a desire to make sure you walk out of the haunted playhouse exhilarated and entertained.

Whatever nightmare you've long feared will be right in front of you when you enter Gateway's Haunted Playhouse. Halloween is a time to meet them the face to face.

Why don't you face it head on and have fun doing it at one of the best haunted houses in America.

The Vitals


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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Nyctophobia 2014 (Review)


The first question in Nyctophobia's FAQ is: What is Nyctophobia? The answer they provide: Correct. Well that's just vague and odd. Some clarity would help I think.

But that's the beauty of Nyctophobia. You're not going to get a straight answer. What you experience is a mystery hidden in another mystery. It's a journey that's both visceral and immersive that its hard to even explain after you've gone through it. And you know what else it is?

It's fuckin awesome.

Nyctophobia is the equivalent of entering a living, breathing dream world that has you falling through the proverbial paranormal rabbit hole. You'll wake up in darkness, see flashes of mysterious figures, push the story driven arc by talking to some oddball characters, glimpse feint images of yourself and others and then you'll have to answer questions that border on the real or surreal. Nyctophobia 2014 is a remarkable experience that takes fringe theater into a whole new level.

Set in the middle of Nowhere, Long Island part of the charm of Nyctophobia is it still feels like an underground experience, only receiving the secret location the day of. The adventure begins as you drive out where GPS devices usually fail. The waiting is part of the fun of it (if you like waiting).

Entering in pairs but then separated, you'll think you've spent over an hour at Nyctophobia though it only lasts 20 or so minutes. Once in, you start to realize as I did last year, this is NOT a haunted house. It's not a scary or hardcore BOO! place but one that has you fully immerse yourself in a short novella filled with much weirdness and an interconnected story.

You truly transform into the central character and the actors will react accordingly. You can respond to all the dialogue and you'll get replies that are unique to you. What Eric Striffler has done this year is a sight to behold in that he takes a minimalist approach to maximize the spooky, the creepy and the WTF.

I will admit, I had to talk to my friends and Eric himself to fully comprehend the residual plot that was being echoed. Simple items, conversation are all interconnected if you watch out for them. As much as I think I'm smart to get the easter eggs, I wish they just told me what these were. A scene that plays out in the middle with some Q&A seemed out of place (I'm not sure how it fit in) though the ending will have you probably not looking your best. With any sort of interactive theater, interactivity is key and the more decisions and actions the participant can do only enhances the experience.

But it's slow, methodical approach is what separates Nyctophobia apart from any haunt. Parts of Nyctophobia are cohesive and have you filled with dread of what's to come. A simple walk without sight had me on edge. Even the simple act of sitting down gave a sense of vulnerability as characters would get up close and personal. As you move along, they'll remove senses like sight and hearing and emphasize touch and taste. It's a mental tug o war.

The performances by the actors are top notch, from the mute silents to the quirky serious. They seem to make sure you're in the moment and personalize what is a very tight knit structured walk through. Nyctophobia also uses their space to create different levels of eerie. You really don't know what could happen next.

My first encounter with Nyctophobia was last year was something I didn't expect. It was like a Last of Us scavenger hunt. This year, I really thought I'd be experiencing something along those lines but I was dead wrong.  The most simplistic analogy would be to say is it's an interactive holodeck of The Others. But really it's much more.

So what is Nyctophobia?

Correct.

Was that too vague?

The Vitals


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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Adam Green's 2014 Halloween Short!

via ArieScope
Adam Green has done 15 Halloween shorts and he continues it this year. I've featured these before and they are always fuckin awesome.

And you know what, I'll watch anything with the lovely Brea Grant.

Here's the synopis:

A quick Skype call between a husband and wife on Halloween night takes a disturbingly dark turn in Adam Green (HATCHET, FROZEN) and ArieScope Pictures' 16th annual Halloween short film starring Shawn Ashmore (X-MEN, THE FOLLOWING, FROZEN) and Brea Grant (HEROES, DEXTER). Lock up your dog and stock up on full-size candy bars for the Trick or Treaters coming to your door this year as you watch and enjoy.

Check it out below!


Check out all of ArieScope shorts!

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Blackout Haunted House: 2014 House (Review)


Let's talk horror remakes OK?

Some people love horror remakes, some don't. Some people fall somewhere in the middle. I'm one of those people who falls in the middle. I loved the Evil Dead and The Ring remake, others hated it. I hated the Friday the 13th and the Nightmare on Elm Street remake, some didn't. You're also going to get some horror remakes that were just good but not great. Maniac comes to mind. Horror remakes can divide horror audiences like no other.

This is exactly how I feel about this years version of Blackout Haunted House: Blackout: House. It falls somewhere in the middle. It's still got a bit of the old that I absolutely love and it's got a bit of the new.  Every year Blackout remakes itself and creates a new version venting brilliant scenes of the uncomfortable, the weird and the WTF. But this year, you'll notice that some things are missing from previous haunts.

Gone is the walking alone aspect; now replaced with groups.
Gone is the old abandoned storefronts and random buildings in the middle of nowhere. This is now replaced with a former dance club that seems to have been recently shut down.
Gone is the physical and elevated extreme nature of Blackout replaced with a psychological and more fringe theater feel.

Sure some previous years aspects are residually there, but any past reviews or walkthroughs you've read by me should be disregarded at this year haunt, just like last year themed Elements haunt, this is a new year, a new theme.

This is a  Blackout that you will either love, hate or feel something in between. You'll need to judge for yourself.

Blackout: house is a visceral interactive experience, where you'll encounter uncomfortable scenes set up for you to solve, the unseen horrors done to others and some role playing that tests your determination. In the midst of this is your group, now paramount to the experience. In a new twist, if two people in your group SAFETY, your entire group is escorted out (as mentioned in the creators AMA). Now you'll need to rely on friends and/or strangers to survive. This can either be good or bad but it actually had me terrified that a stranger could end my own experience.

This years haunt seems longer (could it really have been more than 30 min?, I'm not actually sure) than previous ones. The cult like figures return as Blackout employs a world where they are the guards in this Stanford experiment gone awry.  There is a bit of waiting before the haunt begins. But when it does, it throws you in ready or not.

Each scene is crafted for maximum WTF. Blackout virgins may be unprepared for the assault on their senses. Scenes play out and you'll need to get on board quickly with the subtle directed action ques you'll need to do to move on. Savvy veterans will easily work out what needs to be done and get that shit done. Each room you head into will have you interacting with the actors and the things in it. As this is a group thing, some people will get more attention than others. I think the actors were picking on the noobs to give them something a bit extra.

As you go along, the group will have to work together to move around and each member will be chosen for a special moment. Mine was an encounter with a lovely young actress who gave me something that tested my revulsion. I totally did it without any problems because I'm the motherfuckin jaded viewer.

The final scene plays out with everybody in your group in some sort of odd and crazy situation and here I found myself telling my fellow survivor not to SAFETY and to just do whatever instructions she was told. I followed my orders to a tee as did my entire group. After the experience, I sincerely apologized to that person in my group. She was a stranger after all and what I had to do to her was bizarrely not normal. Yes you will need to probably apologize to strangers.

My initial reaction after experiencing Blackout: house was one of confusion. I didn't know what to think. It took me a few days to digest the experience and as I replayed scenes in my head I thought of what Blackout was trying to accomplish. The group dynamic had me initially fearful that somebody would safety but as it went on, I knew the people I was with wouldn't SAFETY, they decided it was not an option. You're going to have to trust your group, that's something scary in itself. I've been use to having my own personal Blackout experience, you sometimes start comparing the past with the present. I disliked sharing and wanted it all about me.

After thinking about it, each haunt should be judged on its own merits. This years version is all about teamwork within a group of friends or strangers where the scenes are designed for you to work together for a common goal. It should be judged with all its nuances and ways this can be fun as well. Some will either dislike this and say Blackout has left what made it so memorable, the you versus Blackout, one on one experience. Others may say this opens up Blackout into a whole new way of experiencing their haunt.  I thought the group thing would have made me to do things in front of people I would regret or be embarrassed about but that wasn't the case.  I for one miss the alone experience, but I can see the merits of opening it up to groups. Again, this is for each person to decide.

I've been reading the other reviews and talked to other veterans who've experienced this 2014 haunt. The initial consensus seems to be it's less extreme this year and has more general scenes of David Lynch-ian weirdness. There also seemed to be less touching for a haunted house built on the fact they are suppose to touch you. What you get is more of the psychological and what your willing to do to get through it. I can't believe I'm writing these words, but Blackout: house is not as scary as you think it is this year.

I am sure for newcomers, they will get a thrill from all the weird shit that happens. For many, this is Blackout boot camp and they'll be seeing shit they've never seen or experienced before. Blackout has always amped up their performance as the season went on. I went on opening night where press and a few hardcorers were first to attend so maybe what I experienced will be different compared to somebody going on Halloween. I hope they get back to some "old school shit" and make alpha males and sorority girls SAFETY along the way.

Blackout is still the king of permanently embedding raw emotions and vivid memories in their haunts. It sparks a conversation like no other haunt in America. To try Blackout is to test your limits, to go to that Rope Swingers level I've written about before.  If there is a time to see if you can make it through, this is the year.

Blackout has been remade. Good or bad it has to be experienced to be believed. You have to give credit to creators Josh Randall and Kris Thorgeirsson for always reinventing Blackout every year, experimenting with new challenges and changing the rules to make it different. It's a testament to them they have not just done the same thing year in, year out.

As much as change is inevitable, it doesn't mean I have to like it. With Blackout: house you have some old and some new and a remake that Blackout survivors will be divided on. You will be saying WHAT THE FUCK?!?! and this year it will have two different meanings.

Which one will it be?


 The Vitals

Blackout Haunted House Reviews and Walkthroughs
Blackout Haunted House Invite Only, Off Season Winter/Spring Haunt Reviews and Walkthroughs
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Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Waldorf Estate of FEAR Haunted House (Review)


The final leg of the Pennsylvania Haunted House road trip with The Jaded Viewer and The Raven and Black Cat took us to The Waldorf Estate of Fear aka The Haunting at the Waldorf. Located at Lehighton, PA, it's hard to gauge what a haunt will be like as you first enter. Everything looks like a county fair in the middle of nowhere. The drive over to the Waldorf was filled with backroads and endless cornfields and as all our phones began to die, a real life horror movie plot was peeking its head.

But as haunt veterans, we've done this before and with an hour to spare, we got our haunt on.

The Waldorf Estate of Fear is a horror trilogy of terror with each unique experience bringing in adrenaline pumping scares with zombies, a relaxed prepackaged haunted hayride and a hotel turned haunted house that has style and substance all wrapped in one. I had mild expectations for the Waldorf and after, it literally blew my mind. The attractions are, simply put top notch for an indie haunted house production.

You can do a lot with less and Waldorf does just that. So here's a quick review of each attraction.

Terror in the Corn

There are super awesome haunted hayrides and then there is your hayrides that are nicely produced but don't pack a WOW factor. Waldorf's hayride has some nice touches (a cameo from your favorite hockey mask wearing, machete wielding maniac) and scenes with damsels getting distressed. However, actors who scream at the top of their lungs is kind of irritating. The barn stops were standard fare and overall could keep tweens happy. I just wish it was amped up with more of the crazy.


Infection

Infection is one of the reasons you HAVE to go to Waldorf. It's a outdoor maze with a twist. You're given a belt with 3 straps on them representing your viral organs and have to dodge, dip, dive, duck, and dodge all sorts of minimum waged teenage zombies. In a nutshell, its zombie flag football. Infection is an interactive Walking Dead homage that got me panicking and out of breath in the midst of this zombie gridiron. You'll be face planting into the ground and tripping over obstacles as you try to escape these Dawn of the Dead remake zombies. And they're relentless. Goddamn kids seem to what to take your flags at all costs. Lucky for me, I survived barely. With 1 flag left. Good shit. Fuckin really good shit.

The Haunting at the Waldorf

Greeted by James Cudie a British demon host whose sarcasm and one liners were a great way to start the haunt, the Haunting at the Waldorf is a minimalistic haunt that walks you through the many ghouls and ghosts and other random dead people at the Waldorf. It's pretty brilliant with what you can do with the remnants of an actual hotel, from old 70s furniture to wine racks to an actual hotel lobby. As you maneuver through the tight spaces, crawl on all fours through hidden passages and go up stairs each room gives off a sense of creepy and Shining like madness.

The actors play a mix of offbeat ghosts guiding you through a story as you check in. My favorite was going to the restaurant as the angry "ghosts" play on being welcoming then demeaning. Good times.

It's a great little maze, a haunted house that takes its time to get its jump scares and ends with some questionable content.

The Waldorf Estate of Fear is a little gem hidden in the cornfields of Pennsylvania. They go through the whole 9 yards to maximize your experience and had me talking about it hours after going through.

And i think they even offered pirogues to eat.

Now that's a DIY haunted house.

The Vitals
Check out the trailer

 
hauntcomm4 from Stephen Cognetti on Vimeo.



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Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Field of Screams Haunted House (Review)


There is nothing like going on a haunted house road trip with some haunted house veterans.  That was the case last weekend when I headed to Pennsylvania with the crew of The Raven and Black Cat to partake in a double dose of haunted house goodness. The first stop was Field of Screams in Lancaster, PA. 

Having been on many top haunted house lists, Field of Screams sits on a quaint American town where Main Streets seem to be Leave it to Beaver-esque. But in the middle of suburban homes sits a collection of haunted houses, food stands and a stage that made me tweet this:

Yes jaded viewers. They had 8 Mile like freestyle rap battles with Eminem wannabes going head to head. Now that's some quality fuckin entertainment. But I digress.

If that doesn't get you to go, the haunts were all unique in their own ways. Field of Screams is a carnival of wickedness, where each haunted house is a living horror movie and you get to flip the channel to whatever you're in the mood for. Wanna see some lunatics in an asylum or take a casual hayride to hell? Field of Screams offers diversity and some fun carnie games to boot. It's a Disneyland for the unstable, offering terrors and screams, think Mickeys armed with machetes.
Solid maze filled with all sorts of decaying death and actors looking to get in your face for those we'll timed jump scares. The sets were top notch and actors at the ready to sneak up on you with serious ninja skills. I didn't think I'd be touched but I felt my hair standing tall not from fear. Good shit.

Frightmare Asylum

Solid walkthrough of an asylum filled with hospital malaise and medical malpractice. The smells and tight spaces get you knee deep into a feeling dread and nervousness. Gotta love body bags and wrapped up dead bodies hanging. Also a nice twist of crawling through some darkness where I lost my way a few times had me nervously trying to bring up my inner GPS. Good times.

Haunted Hayride

I've been to other haunted hayrides but the one at Field of Screams is probably the best one I've been to. The barn stops seem to go from super awesome to yawn then to super awesome but overall they had a few twists that I've never seen from a hayride before. Some crashing gates and a retracting pork were nice touches. But the hayride is really for people watching and seeing little tween girls scream they are "having heart palpitations" made it way more enjoyable. I even saw1 little girl be braver than the pumpkin latte tweens and asking her mom "that's it?"

Nocturnal Wasteland

The last haunt we went to was an outdoor trail seemed to be filled with props that didn't make the cut. A few twists and turns, but nothing I'm writing Wes Craven about. Good props from ambulances and buses and actors that braved the weather to get their scares in.

The attractions are designed to be interactive and I was hoping to get some sass back from the actors but clearly the kids are running the asylum on minimum wage. You also sense a sequel (going again) might not be necessary as replaybility for these haunts is about A 3.

All in all Field of Screams is worth the trip as the kids, tweens and teens won't be disappointed to get their Halloween on with some great mazes while eating some BBQ pork sandwiches and fried oreos. Even the adults are in for a treat. It's a pre-packaged Halloween world in a normal quiet American town.

Halloween in America right off the shelf. 


The Vitals
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Friday, October 03, 2014

Nightmare New York Haunted House (Review)



I love my city. It's got almost everything you can think of. If you want to buy a pair of swimming goggles and grape drink, the corner bodega probably has it. You've got nightlife, restaurants and culture. NYC really is the greatest. But it wasn't always this way.

Back in the 70s and 80s, it was a living breathing cesspool of fucked up depravity. Millennials weren't born yet so giving them a chance to time travel to this evil version of NYC is a horror movie come to life.

That's where Nightmare New York Haunted House comes in. For the last 2 Halloweens, Nightmare has given us an array of serial killers in all different forms but this year they've given us a theme that will have you looking over your shoulder in each unique and nostalgic room.

Nightmare New York is a stroll through the pre-Disney, hobo loving, pervert molesting, roach crawling cesspool of NYC 2-3 decades ago and it's nostalgic depraved fun. It's hard to imagine this dystopian NYC was actually real but for those who lived here (including myself) have memories, some good mostly bad. A time where the ghosts of the Dakota went all Shining. A time where once you got off from Times Square, you got mugged in 2.9 seconds. A time where the subway was the most dangerous place in the entire world. A time where flashers and degenerates had you running to the other side of the street. A time of rampant serial killers including David Berkowitz and the legendary Cropsey legend. A time where killer viruses created Typhoid Mary, a person who knowingly spread this Ebola like virus. And finally a time where roaches and rats were as common as pigeons and squirrels and could make Stone Cold Steve Austin squeal.

Nightmare NY gives you a showcase showdown of the worst NYC had to offer back in the day. With the actors spinning tales of days gone by and giving you in your face performances, they leave a lasting imprint of this bizarro NYC some have tried to forget. In the midst of this, the scares will come from expected places haunted house veterans will notice but noobs and Ugg wearing tween girls will be in for some shocks and surprises. I loved the Dakota room's "special effects" and subway car room the best. The maze from room to room isn't without some in between fun and the infamous pseudo safe haven that has you going outside at Nightmare has a new twist this year.

Veterans of Nightmare may find the walk through of the 20 minute maze unscary but Nightmare is a mix of old school animatronics, actors hiding in plain sight and well designed throwback rooms that should be seen to be believed. There were some missed opportunities that could have been improved. The 1980s subway car was asking to play on old school stereotypes (maybe some stereotypical hobos and mugger types mixed in with Wall Street types and the killer is not who you'd expect). Also, Nightmare gives you the option to be touched (faux blood will be marked on your forehead) which was an ample opportunity to be exploited in different ways (especially when you go outside) and in other rooms where getting up close and personal would have made even the most alpha-est of alpha males squirm. Finally, past end rooms Nightmare has done ended in a literal BANG! though Nightmare could have had you covered in pretend critters and crawlers that would have freaked anybody out.

Nightmare New York is a relentless look back to when the city that never sleeps took a long Rip Van Winkle nap and while the city slept, the lunatics and maniacs decided it was time to party. Nightmare celebrates this and it's most amped up level and if you have nostalgic memories, have longings to relive this version of NYC or want to see what it was like way back when, Nightmare New York is waiting for you to give you a full self guided tour.


The Vitals
Check out the trailer


For a full schedule of performances visit www.hauntedhousenyc.com



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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Blood Manor 2014 (Review)


Blood Manor really wants to provoke all sorts of reactions for all who go through its doors. And that reaction can come in many ways. Being scared shitless, getting angry after a well timed quip or hainv a feeling of dread as you enter from room to room.

It's why it's the go to blockbuster haunted house in NYC.

I've been going to Blood Manor since 2009 and the rooms have always been top notch and the actors as intimidating and sarcastic as ever. What you don't realize is the level of effects that go in as makeup and costumes transform regular actors into a split personality schizo monsters. They'll get in your face, chew your ear off (literally if they had a chance) and the sheer girth of some of these actors is as intimidating as their personalities.

All of this happening while you're trying to find the exit.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Blood Manor is the Michael Bay of haunted houses. The walk through in Blood Manor is as frenetic or as easy going as you want it to be. The actors laugh hysterically and maniacally. They say they want to be your friend but they're probably going to just fuck with you in every way possible.

The ending is as its been for the last few years, highly colorized. But still seems to make Blood Manor distinctly pre-packaged scary. This year they've added a few new touches to scare and to make everything more orderly. A time ticket cuts wait times and a "Touch Me Thursday" as limited touching by the actors. After Halloween, Blackout Nights aim to amp up the dread.

If your tween girl needs to get her haunt on, Blood Manor is her pumpkin spice latte.


The Vitals

 Check out the trailer below.



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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Jaded Viewer Returns!

 

Wow that was one hell of a hiatus. Have I not really blogged since Nov 8th 2013?? Jeezus. And no explanation of my disappearance. WTF me! Well if you've just abandoned all ye hope, I don't blame you. It is what is is.

Well I don't know what to tell you. I just needed a break and honestly I was lacking in viewing any horror of late. I watched a few Marvel movies and a few comedies, I really don't know what happened. It probably has to do with a busted computer infected with all sorts of digital Ebola and my lack of access to film screeners. But these are lame excuses I know.

However with Halloween fast approaching, I think I need to get back into the horror state of mind. That means hopefully reviews of NYC haunted houses and the season crop of horror movies.

And maybe a walkthrough of an infamous haunted house that I've been promising for like fuckin forever.

Let me start off by giving you what I thought was the best in 2013.

V/H/S 2, Maniac, Evil Dead, The Battery and the best horror flick I saw last year was You're Next.

I think what's rejuvenated me are two flicks I'm super psyched for.

Kevin Smith's Tusk and Adam Wingard The Guest.

God I hope they are fuckin awesome.

Sorry for the unannounced hiatus and I hope you'll come back and read up on my random horror musings. One final thing. I want to end this blog on a good note so I'm officially letting it be known this is the final season of the jaded viewer.

I'm not sure what the exact end date is but this time, I'll let you know. No idea why I put up that Superman 2 ending. It was floating in my head when I decided to reboot.

Sorry I've been away to long. I won't let you down again,

'Murica!



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Friday, November 08, 2013

The Green Inferno (Review)


The Green Inferno
The Green Inferno (2013)
Directed by Ei Roth

"I wonder who the real cannibals are."

-Professor Harold Monroe

Its funny. Every now and then I'll check my stats and realize this post "Top 5 Cannibal Movies Of All Time" will get some traffic. It's an old post, the videos don't work anymore but it still resonates with people searching for the exploitation of old. The cannibal genre.

I've been itching to see The Green Inferno ever since I heard Eli Roth was making of it. I knew this genre was in good hands as Roth knows the people who made the genre what it is. He's well aware horror mavericks like myself will compare it to Ruggero Deodato's Cannibal Holocaust and Uberto Lenzi's Cannibal Ferox. But he preambled the NYC premiere of The Green Inferno by saying that it was a different kind of cannibal film and that we need to put what we know of those films in a vault and take The Green Inferno as it is.

And what it is, it's an Eli Roth cannibal film. And it's fuckin awesome.

The Green Inferno is a buffet of modern day exploitation and wicked satire with a heaping spoonful of blood, guts and splatter.  This is probably the best movie Roth has ever made. His other films only touched on fleeting fears, but with The Green Inferno, his scathing critique of slacktivism is smart as it is millennial.  Generation Y is in the crosshairs and Roth scalps them cleanly by using every tool in his horror arsenal. It's a fun romp seeing good-doers face ultimate terror by the people they are there to protect. The cannibals are unleashed and make no apologies for who and why they are. It's fuckin brutal and fuckin glorious. What we have here jaded viewers is a perfect game within the horror exploitation trope. This is as good as it gets.

Boring Plot-O-Matic

A group of student activists travel from New York City to the Amazon to save a dying tribe but crash in the jungle and are taken hostage by the very natives they protected.


Awesome Review-O-Matic

If only our slacktivists had read this list, they'd probably be alive.

With The Green Inferno, we see the pillars of the horror and exploitation genre mixed in. Our final girl Justine (Lorenza Izzo) a student at Columbia University in NYC learns about the modern day horrors of the world she lives in and feels obligated to do something (see white guilt). Her roommate Kaycee (Sky Ferriera) is like the rest of us. Her 'tude: That shit isn't my problem. When she meets some hippie radicals led by Alejandro (Ariel Levy) she self motivates herself to join them to stop the evil corporations from bulldozing the native tribes homes in Peru.

The set up is of course designed to ridicule this new Twitter world of hashtag slacktivism. Conversations in the film echo how real world change is a process instead of a viral video. Ignoring this practical advice, the group has their sights on live streaming the horror from the Amazon with hashtags and shaky phone cams. Roth alluded to the KONY video and how a like and retweet are now the methods Millennials show they are smart, pseudo activists and PC.  Rarely does anybody get off their ass to do something real. Such is the world we live in and as these American kids see how the 3rd world lives it's full of full frontal irony.

These are bookends of The Green Inferno. Roth forces us to chug how we think the world should be with what it really is. But in between we get chock full of the wickedest slaughter I've ever seen on film.

The gore and splatter hit high marks all around in Inferno. You can thank Make Up Effects guru Greg Nicotero of The Walking Dead fame for some of that. The spectacular plane crash with stunning  "Oh Shit!" kills to the slice and dice meals for our natives are spectacularly done. Body parts are removed, ocular and mouth trauma will make gorehounds happy and yes, we get heads on poles.  Roth homages Deodato and Lenzi and if you have a keen eye (or have watched Cannibal Holocaust 1000x) you'll see them. It's cruel deaths in it's most undiluted form. It has spectacular bloody kills, even more than all the Hostel films put together.

Within this chaotic blood-o-rams are colorful cannibals that bring another dimension to the savages. They are not evil per say, but more so uncivilized which probably is more frightening to the city dwellers. Led by a queen and an enforcer, the cannibals are happy to be munching on what they perceive as the real savages. Their meals are our worst fear and though we should detest their actions, it's more of a WTF, it's who they are type attitude. The funny part of all of this is that Roth and his crew used real natives who had never seen a real film before and were even amazed by ice cubes. Lots of indie DIY filmmaking too. The realness shows here, on the faces of the tribe playing a fictional secluded tribe and more so in the children who mock and are intrigued by our gringos. Roth puts in his own touch on real animals doing real shhit but not as fucked up as Deoadato's real life cruelty.

So you'd think a movie with sharp critiques and splatter would be a straightforward horror film. But with Roth, the gags, funnies and humor all seem to find a balance in Inferno. You'll see it play out between the students, the cannibals and in the fact that somebody is getting chopped up and fuckin eaten. In this most absurd premise, Roth makes the hashtag #cannibalsgetthemunchies take on a whole new different meaning.

The performance by Lorenza Izzo is solid. You feel obligated to root for her as compared to the other hotties, they play out as stereotypical panic girls. Levy's Alejandro is tall, dark and ambitiously mysterious. Comic relief comes in the form of Jonah (Aaron Burns), some stoners and a bearded hipster.

I will say a lot of people will be surprised by Eli Roth's latest flick (it's been 6 years since he directed Hostel II). It's as good as a Quentin Tarantino exploitation homage but without the long winded conversations and alternate histories. What The Green Inferno seems to show is that the cannibal film defies any decade when done in a way that is clever, insightful and has the most gut wrenching scenes of civilization gone awry. It's a genre being introduced to the generation that should be ashamed they don't know shit about what happens in the real world, but see it filtered through tweets and posts and goddamn Instagram coloring.

Who are the real cannibals?

Probably the current generation that consumes that shit, shits that shit and enjoys it all.

Fuckers.

Nude-ipedia 

Surprisingly none

Gore-ipedia 

Heaping mountains of it. It's all glorious. GLORIOUS!!!!

WTF moment 

Ants. Nuff said.

The Jaded Viewer's Final Prognosis

The Green Inferno will be in theaters next year. It's MUST SEE. It will probably be one of my best movies of 2014 list for sure (going to rank this when the flick gets a wide release). Oh lovely cannibals, how I love this fuckin genre.


 Rating:

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Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Jaded Viewer Halloween Super Awesomeness Adventure Guide


Happy Halloween jaded viewers.

If you're looking for super awesomeness today, you've come to the right place. Below you'll find all my reviews for all the NYC haunted houses and Halloween events as well as a few of the Long Island haunts I went to.

Whatever your poison is this Halloween, remember to check for razor blades in apples. That really happens.

New York City

Long Island
Maryland

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