Sunday, October 9, 2016

Klondike Hollow Haunted House Review {Countdown to Halloween Day 9}

I had the pleasure of going through The Klondike Hollow Haunted House in Stickleyville. I did not take any pictures or video, as this was not a sanctioned review and walkthrough by the owners. Before I get into the meat of this review, I wanted to say this was a very good haunt. I really enjoyed it and it had some great scares inside! The purpose of this review is to make the good, GREAT! Nothing more.

First the good points and the opportunities that presented themselves while I was there.


 First off, it is in an old abandoned school house… which is both creepy and huge real estate to work with. The haunt itself is all indoors which is good for weather…for the most part.

You received a ticket and they took your name (and I assume a description) to be used later by the actors… Loved that!

A large area for you to wait in with refreshments being sold, ample seating, and even a scary movie to watch from a projector (It was Jeepers Creepers and I think their projector bulb was about to burn out but still a cool feature). I assume there were bathrooms but I did not look.

Slow strobe was good, very disorienting. Not the usual fast strobe that is so over done in most haunts.

Group size was great keeping it to 6 or under for maximum scare ability. Most haunts try and pack 10 or more and you really lose a lot in that large of a group.

There is a funeral scene that is extremely good. You actually get put into the scene and it is very interactive! One of the highlights.

The showmanship of the actors was unreal. Not only were they heavy with people, they were SO into it. Bravo each and every one of them just going above and beyond to perform!

Photo courtesy of Klondike Hollow Haunted House

There  was a nun character at the funeral scene that was just plain scary. Loved that costume.

There were narrow hallways where hands were coming through. It was a scary good effect, for the most part.

The “Rednecks” were good. Very vocal and there was an old man sitting in a water trough that I thought was a prop till he screamed and jumped out at me.. that was an awesome costume too.

At one point there is a completely dark hallway and a pitch black room….I mean you cannot see a hand in front of your face.  That was also a highlight of the haunt…very disturbing and a great scare!
Photo courtesy of Klondike Hollow Haunted House

There were clowns… even the guide wore a clown type face makeup…all of them were very well done and demented looking.

Photo courtesy of Klondike Hollow Haunted House

In terms of man power….I have never seen a haunt with so much help! This usually not the case in local haunts and there are usually huge scenes that have nobody to man them. In some scenes I was overwhelmed by that amount of actors in a single scene! Well done!

There was a little girl sitting in the asylum floor in the dark, as you walk by she turns a flashlight on and screams…scared the heck out the whole group!


The biggest opportunity for this haunt is actually business related. Logistics were a nightmare and honestly, they do not have to be. You go into the main entrance where you pay indoors and get your ticket. You are then escorted into an auditorium with refreshments and a movie and ample seating (which is great!) After a length wait (45 minutes) we are then escorted back outside and around the back of the building where you then enter the haunt….you go through the haunt(again it seems pretty erratic with  the layout inside and then you end up BACK in the Auditorium you were waiting in. Best case scenario you should go in the front, then wait in the auditorium go through the exit door, navigate the haunt, then exit through the entrance outside. When you exit from the outside, you are there, with the cars and ready to go as opposed to having to wade through incoming crowds (like we did).

The wait time was pretty exhausting. We ended up waiting in the auditorium 45 minutes only to wait an additional 15 minutes outside to enter ( good thing it was not raining). If they had a busy night, it is a recipe for disaster. I am not sure if the wait was due to having to reset scenes, actors performing multiple tasks, or just having the one guide. If Logistics were corrected, there could easily be two groups going through at the same time and thereby more people, less wait time, more satisfaction and more money!

There was a pretty cool graveyard scene….but nothing happened. No Zombies, no ghost, no grave digger…nothing. It was a real let down to spend obvious time and effort to not have it be effective.
Photo courtesy of Klondike Hollow Haunted House

Most of the doors were hanging cardboard. They were difficult to navigate and we ended up slamming some of our group in the face with them. A good heavy burlap, cloth or even plastic drape would have been great and easily negotiated. (short of having an actual door).

Photo courtesy of Klondike Hollow Haunted House

One of my pet peeves with a pay haunt is mixing whimsical, almost comical (childish) things with really scary props. One example is the use of colored string lights or round headed ghosts with a sheet over them. 2d cardboard cut out props, etc. There were amazing scenes but because of a cheap Wal Mart Halloween item, it just drew the eye (glaringly) and diminished the overall ambiance of the otherwise awesome scene(String lights in grave yard).

Photo courtesy of Klondike Hollow Haunted House

Another pet peeve is street cloths, ill fitting costumes, generic  masks that make no sense with the scene. This is a particularly hard opportunity because they had really great actors, and some really great costumes, masks, and makeup’s…but there was a few glaring issues with dress that again just diminish the hard work of the scene and other actors who’s characters are on point.

While the actors were awesome and really wanting to be great, most of them really had no dialog or scripting that made sense. For example “Get out of here” …why do we need to get out of here? “Get out of here with your glasses and your beard” …..not even sure why that was said.  With a little work on what is going on with scene and some good lines can make it even scarier. They already take your name and description for the actors, if they could effectively use it, you are in for a real scare!

Photo courtesy of Klondike Hollow Haunted House

They had an atmosfearFX zombie projector. In my humble opinion it was not used effectively. The room we were in could have done a hanging sheet rear projection. The way it was set up you actually had to pass through the projection thereby ruining the illusion of zombies beating on a real window to try and get in. The guide even went so far as to say several times, “watch the movie!” which would dispel the illusion to even the most fearful mind. Set it up correctly and direct the group to Watch out for the zombies coming in, instead of saying it is a movie, and you would have had an awesome effect!

Loud bangs and firecrackers. They were good for a startle but many in our groups (there were 2) complained about ringing in the ears afterwards and finding it ineffective after the first couple of times.

There are 3 occasion in which you are grabbed. This is usually a nightmare for most haunts as you get into litigation zones for people to complain about being touched inappropriately or scratched or hurt. Not to mention during one of the REALLY scary scenes, small hands were reaching out and it is only a matter of time before one of them gets stomped (accidently or on purpose).  Also, when you are walking away from that scene, the hands continue to grab at your feet. We had one group member that walked with a cane and the hands grabbed and pulled the cane which almost made her fall. I myself tripped rather badly and caught myself on that same scene as a hand grabbed me while I was walking.  In one of the hallways, a hand shot out and grabbed both my crotch and my wife’s….again…it could be trouble for certain customers.

Tripping hazard! There is one room where it is absolutely pitch black! I loved every second of that room and it was extremely effective. The main problem is in both our groups, people got hung up on a rope that was above knee level. Not sure what purpose it served but that needed to be reworked. I got hung up for almost 2 minutes with no way to get loose or free. With the press of the group behind me, I nearly got pushed over.

The guide was one scary dude. His character was bold and I wanted to know more about him. I wish he could have gave us more info on the rooms as we entered, like “You are now entering the insane asylum, beware because the inmates have escaped. Just to let you know what is going on in some of the rooms and prepare you for the doom of dread that you are entering.

Sound effects were at a minimum at best. A cheap CD player or even a MP3 player in a glass mixing bowl could have added so much to some of those scenes ( like grave yard). 

So for the review....

ATMOSPHERE : 4 Creepy abandoned school house is a great place for a haunt. The only thing keeping this from a 4.5 or higher is the some of the rope lighting and whimsical decorations that ruin the foreboding  feeling of the site.

SOUND EFFECTS : 2 Not much in the way of ambient sound or scene sounds. Sound effects can put dread into a group as they wait in line, or as they get ready to enter a scene. A few small cd players can go a long way with creepy effects.

SET DESIGN : 3. While there were scenes that I just loved, overall some of the sets were poorly designed, and just plain cheesy . This is another one of those things where there are both STRONG sets and weak sets.

Photo courtesy of Klondike Hollow Haunted House
COSTUMES : 3.5 . There were some really strong costumes and make up, and there were some weak ones with ill fitting costumes, costumes that made no sense to the scene and street cloths visible.

ORIGINALITY : 4 There were some extremely original scenes like the funeral and the dark room but the majority of it was pretty standard haunted house stuff.

Photo courtesy of Klondike Hollow Haunted House
SHOWMANSHIP : 4 : The actors were truly over the top. They really wanted to scare you….badly! They just needed some dialog and lines that would enhance their scenes. Really impressed with the actors at this haunt!

FEAR FACTOR : 3.5 : I had some honest scare moments in there. This haunt has a higher scare rating than some year round commercial scare factors.
Photo courtesy of Klondike Hollow Haunted House

REVISIT RATING : 3.5 : The size of the haunt would make you want to go back so you can see things a second time. I wanted to go back through it, however, I did not want to wait over an hour to do so. The long wait time is the reason the revisit rating is not higher.

That is an overall rating of 3.25 out of 5!

This is one of those haunts that has the potential to be a local legend and a Halloween staple in the area. With smart business decisions, polish and direction, they will definitely be a contender with the bigger pay haunted attractions.  I highly recommend you plan on going at least twice just so you can see all they have to offer!

You can find them via this link here *KLONDIKE HOLLOW HAUNTED HOUSE*

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