Web Page: http://www.hotelofhorror.com
Location: Cherry Valley Rd, Saylorsburg, PA 18353
Prior to our start as a review team, the Hotel of Horror was a terrifying, scary, and mature haunted attraction that inspired us to seek more intense immersive horror experiences. As we returned to this attraction over subsequent seasons, we found Hotel of Horror to lose its “edge” in an ever growing competitive haunted industry. We felt that due to a perceived lack of scare-actors and themes that fell flat, that while still scary, the attraction was no longer at its peak. Over the past two seasons, Hotel of Horror has made drastic strides towards once again creating a horror movie-like experience that uses classical haunting tactics coupled with dark/adult themes to once again take its place as one of the truly scary haunted attractions in the tristate area. We are happy to report, that the 2016 show is genuinely creepy, disturbing at times, and a nightmarish experience that has returned to horrific glory.
Hotel of Horror successfully created two attractions that incorporate a series of scenes/set designs that function as mini-horror movies. Despite the intricate set designs, and incredible environment of the infamous “Lakehouse Hotel”, what drives this attraction’s success is the quality of scare-acting. Unlike many haunts which have a random cast of actors in masks/makeup, Hotel of Horror uses custom created characters that fit within the context of each scene and room. These characters such as the hulking “Snort Gore”, a “Japanese Kabuki” monster create memorable interpersonal reactions set upon the backdrop of a real abandoned, purportedly haunted hotel. One demented character is so disturbing that it is almost impossible to try to describe their “character”. There is a character in the Hotel of Horror who is bound to a wheelchair, has what appears to be a hanging fetus/umbilical cord coming from her body, and makes noises that are borderline inhuman. Our interaction with this character was genuinely creepy as they wheeled closer and closer prior to exiting the room.
Another insane character was a rather funny, off-color “EMT worker”, who specialized in taking an “axe” to helpless victims. A blind cook “smelled” us as we tried to escape, demented clowns roamed the basement area and we encountered demented Voodoo priests and a group of witches along our journey. Scare actors stalk, they breathe down guest’s neck and we only hope they continue to implement more “extreme” elements such as possible light touching/grabbing to make each experience even more terrifying. These scare actors “believe” in their characters, which feature exquisite make-up and costume designs that are clearly not purchased from local Halloween stores. The attention to detail (even the most minor) needs to be witnessed to appreciate, as each room features set pieces that are unlike any other found in most major haunted attractions.
Exploration of each set design is used as a misdirection tool, and we often admired the disturbing details of the attraction only to be confronted by an insane scare actor. You will see scenes of Satanic worship, demented clown rooms, a witches “dinner”, blood covered walls/bathrooms, and many sets that embrace violent, horror movie inspired imagery. In between each room/set design, sensory triggers such as periodic darkness, blood stained walls, strobe lights, fog, visual effects and incredible soundtrack built a constant sense of paranoia that increases from scene to scene. Hotel of Horror is not for those easily offended by scenes of gore, crude humor, and disturbing themes are hallmarks of this terrifying attraction. We have been highly critical of this attraction’s lack of intensity over the past few seasons but have found the 2016 show to be its strongest yet. The character driven emphasis of this attraction adds a personal touch to the experience as you will not see these characters at any other haunt. While the attraction is improved greatly from previous seasons, we would still like to see a few more character actors hidden within each room/corridor of the infamous hotel, that could emphasize startle scares in between scenes. A stronger, unique climax to each attraction would cap off a memorable experience. Despite these minor issues, a visit to the creepy abandoned “Lakehouse Hotel” alone is scary enough to make the trip a required visit for any haunt fan this season.
Hotel of Horror features two attractions; “Hotel of Horror’s Judgement Day” and “Altered Nightmares Dark Magic”, each which features diverse story-lines and set designs set within the confines of the infamous “Lakehouse Hotel”. The attraction also embraces new technologies in a manner that is unique to major and smaller scale haunted attractions. While guests are waiting in line, they can trigger environmental scares using the “iPas” system and what reactions. The popular “Coffin Coach” mini-dark ride has returned for the 2016 haunt season. Guests can also visit the “Exhibition Macabre” a display of unusual experiments in practicing medicine, preparing the dead and memorializing life. These additional experiences cost $5.00 and are quality diversions that add to the overall experience at the “Lakehouse Hotel”.
Hotel of Horror has also embraced virtual reality platforms to incorporate technology into its attraction. Hotel of Horror has joined forces with Recall Studios A division of Carolco Pictures. Together we have created a virtual reality short film called 360° of Hell. This unique Virtual Reality (VR) short stars Amanda Wyss of Nightmare on Elm Street with actress Lauren Compton of Interrogation and some of the original characters from the cast of the attraction. Based on the storyline of the full-length feature film shot at in 2012–6° of Hell, it will keep your imagination wondering what might be next. Visitors can download this short VR movie from Google Play/ITunes or watch on YouTube. This experience allows guests to explore the Hotel of Horror in virtual reality. Integration of technology into the horrific experience created by the designers of the attraction, adds a level of innovation to the gritty experience of the haunt, atypical within the industry.
Hotel of Horror is a realistic, gritty experience that creates fear throughout each of its two almost flawlessly designed haunted attractions. The “Lakehouse Hotel” is the perfect backdrop for a horror movie quality experience and the quality of acting and inter-scene experiences have once again brought this attraction back to the point of being a horrific mature Halloween experience. As you visit the Hotel of Horror, please be advised that they let only small groups into each attraction to experience the full effect of each “show”. This will cause a line backup and you are best advised to upgrade to a VIP pass if you do not plan on waiting. Furthermore, it is important to note that each attraction is rather lengthy, roughly 20 minutes each or longer, so this is one attraction that definitely provides value for its prices.
Hotel of Horror has found ways to create fear without touching or grabbing, uses psychological triggers and character driven scenes to induce a feeling of paranoia that must be experienced to understand. This is an attraction that is not for those who are easily offended and embraces disturbing themes that challenge the norms found in typical haunted attractions. The talented actors and staff of this attraction are committed to creating an intense haunted attraction that uses the imposing “Lakehouse Hotel” as the perfect backdrop. This is one of the best, disturbing and mature haunted attractions from a design standpoint visited so far this year, and we cannot wait to see what their demented creative team has in store for the future! Hotel of Horror creates nightmares and continues its journey back to the top of the mature themed haunted attraction