Location: 70 Ridgeway Drive, Dallas, Pennsylvania
Demon’s Gate Haunted Hayride is on track to become a must-see haunted attraction in Northeast, Pennsylvania and one that has true potential to grow each season. Since this attraction is still in its infancy, it is best to address some suggestions as to how Demon’s Gate can grow and prosper in this competitive industry. Demon’s Gate Haunted Hayride is roughly thirty minutes, featuring a variety of scenes that cover a broad array of Halloween genres. Brand new scenes and talented, aggressive scare actors create an entertaining atmosphere that went above and beyond our expectations this season. Demon’s Gate Haunted Hayride is a second-year attraction, yet one that has improved drastically over the course of a year and is positioned itself as a haunt we will visit again in 2018.
Sometimes we visit haunted attractions and rather than publishing a review, kindly excuse ourselves from doing so because we feel as though the haunt is not on the level of its contemporaries. Often these attractions are in their infancy and managed by those who seem to have a passion for the industry, yet fail to provide a show worth mentioning. Last season, Demon’s Gate Haunted Hayride, despite its decent social media reviews, was a haunted attraction that ranked up with the all-time worst events ever visited by our team. The attraction had all the attributes of a haunt destined for failure, from poor set design to acting that consisted of “banging” on a hay wagon. We vowed never to return to Demon’s Gate again, figuring it would be a matter of time before it closed. However, after speaking with management, we decided to give this attraction one more shot in 2017 and left in absolute awe over the total change in direction. Over the course of one season, Demon’s Gate Haunted Hayride is by far the most improved attraction of the season and has laid the foundation for an exciting future.
Demon’s Gate Haunted Hayride’s management and creative team are focused on growth and this year’s show is an indication that they have the right operational philosophy in place, focused on providing each guest with an entertaining Halloween inspired show. While set designs are not on the level of its mainstream competitors, the foundational designs are still effective and are the perfect backdrop for rather talented scare-acting. Demon’s Gate Haunted Hayride’s scare actors do a fantastic job of bringing to life innovative, at times violent scenes that shocked us in comparison to last year’s show. There are still times when actors will just “bang” on the hayride, but overall there is a vast improvement. From a disturbing “asylum escape,” scene to one of the most gruesome “chainsaw” slaughter scenes, Demon’s Gate Haunted Hayride features a variety of impressive themes. Traditional concepts such as a “dark carnival” and visit with “Jason” at Camp Crystal Lake, have a sense of violence to them as scare actors are downright aggressive in their approach. Quality scare acting brings new life to any show, and Demon’s Gate Haunted Hayride is working tirelessly to create an entertaining event. Furthermore, it is important to mention that several scenes have been purchased from the now defunct, legendary LuLu’s House of Horrors, including a one of a kind “Freddy Kruger” scene that adds a pyrotechnic display to a visit with the infamous horror icon. LuLu’s House of Horrors operated outside of Philadelphia for over eleven years and closed last season due to property development.
While we thoroughly enjoyed our visit, several areas can be improved upon to enhance the show’s quality. Professionally, Demon’s Gate Haunted Attraction is run smoothly, with a variety of entertainment options available in the waiting area. From a show standpoint, several scenes still feature some scare actors that need further training. For example; “Freddy Krueger” is featured in a memorable scene, adopted from LuLu’s House of Horrors, yet fails to talk or taunt any of the guests. Furthermore, the attraction ends on a low note as the generic “Ring” scene, featured at almost every haunted attraction is tired and is played out (however the actress does a great job at playing Samara). A defined, extended finale can help leave customers with a positive response to the hayride and memories that last encouraging repeat visits. Finally, Demon’s Gate Haunted Hayride excels when it is “scary” and a certain “witch” scene interjected in between darker themes is just silly, and takes away from the fear aspect of the ride. With these minor improvements and continued structural growth, Demon’s Gate Haunted Hayride will continue to grow and prosper each season. With expanded marketing, perhaps a revamped social media strategy and commitment to long-term growth the sky is the limit for this attraction. As it stands, Demon’s Gate Haunted Hayride is on the right path towards development of an excellent haunted attraction, and we are excited to see what is in store for the future!