Location: 460 Green Grove Rd, Olyphant, PA 18447
Celebrating its tenth anniversary, Reaper’s Revenge Haunted Attraction (RR), has evolved from a small haunted-hayride/dark-maze to a Halloween inspired amusement park that is quite possibly the very best in the country. After visiting countless attractions, few if any have reached a pinnacle of excellence and near show-perfection so quickly. Every single aspect of the attraction from the moment you enter the ominous gates is carefully planned and executed to give each guest the very best customer experience. Also, from a business standpoint, operational aspects such as merchandise, branding, and marketing all work in sync to create an experience that is best described as one of the few “destination” haunts in the country. If you only get the chance to visit one or a few attractions per year, RR is a must visit, and for those who have attended in prior seasons, you will be left in awe as RR has defined itself as a must-see attraction for generations to come.
Before an attraction specific breakdown, what cannot be stressed enough is the level of professionalism and “operational excellence” experienced on each visit to Reaper’s Revenge. Without giving away too many “secrets” every single aspect of the attraction is carefully planned and executed. Off-season and continuous training programs ensure scare-actors are trained properly and that there is an organic evolution regarding management development. Scare-actors from year past often “graduate” to higher level positions, building brand loyalty and long-term support.
Furthermore, existing management staff and creative team members are some of the best in the industry, each mastering specific components of attractions overall show, creating a seamless, first-class experience for every guest. “Haunting” never ends at RR, as creative and management teams converge each night to review with fellow staff members, scare-actors, etc. ways to improve and enhance every single show. Even the smallest of details in each of the four attractions, as well as time spent in the que-line, are never considered trivial, and the off-season is dedicated to continuous business growth and expansion. Reaper’s Revenge utilizes its greatest asset, its people to raise the bar in the haunt operations, creating must-see a show that while not the “scariest” is indeed a spectacle to see and well worthy of the moniker “America’s Best Haunted Attraction.”
Reaper’s Revenge is a full-scale Halloween entertainment destination, encouraging guests to spend an entire evening enjoying the season. Finally, for those concerned about large crowds, RR offers an easy to understand calendar highlighting which nights are anticipated to be the busiest. We recommend you arrive early, and if needed purchase a VIP upgrade on those nights expected to be most popular. Reaper’s Revenge once again features four core attractions; “Haunted Hayride,” “Lost Carnival,” “Pitch Black” and “Sector 13”, each which has received massive upgrades for the 2018 season. The entire show is over ninety minutes long and is well worth the $45.00 price (a variety of coupons are also available, as well as VIP upgrade option). Due to the haunt’s popularity crowds do get large, yet RR uses effective timing strategies to ensure each guest gets to experience a quality show. An extensive midway boasts a variety of food options, “Zombie Paintball,” and a large merchandise stand where guests can buy everything from RR “hoodies” to “socks.”
“Haunted Hayride” has reached perhaps its apex from a structural and presentation standpoint. One would be hard-pressed ever to find such a hauntingly beautiful, immersive outdoor experience. “Haunted Hayride” is as close to an amusement park quality, interactive show that transforms an entire mountain into a spectacle, featuring a mix of themes all targeting diverse “Halloween” interests of each guest. Every single scene is infused with special effects and augmented by first-class sound and lighting that must be witnessed to appreciate. It is hard to classify the hayride as “scary” per say as every scene is awe-inspiring (and guests around us seemed to have the same reaction). There is a certain sense of wonderment and a “wow factor” that transcends traditional hayride attractions. “Haunted Hayride” blows up any preconceived notions on what haunted hayrides can be and perhaps defines what hayrides should be regarding structural development, acting and overall atmosphere.
“Haunted Hayride” features a mix of familiar scenes with brand new sets that merge together in a fresh experience filled with constant surprises. Older scenes have been completely revamped to highlight a variety of horror-movie icons such as “Jason Voorhees,” “Michael Myers” and “Freddy Krueger” that bring new energy to the mountain and massive new scenes that are best described as spectacles. A brand new “Alice in Wonderland” inspired demented fairy tale scene is awe-inspiring, featuring a variety of brand new video and special effects, coupled with a psychedelic laser light show that must be seen to believe truly. “Haunted Hayride” has always focused on total immersion in scene development, using atmospheric sound effects, and structural scale to create miniature “worlds” within the context of the journey. The new twisted “Alice in Wonderland” scene takes this design philosophy to a new level, bending the senses and cultivating a sense of playful-violence told through a story featuring a bloodthirsty “Tweedledum” and psychotic “Mad Hatter.” “Haunted Hayride” reigns supreme in creating surreal environments and we still cannot express striking, yet the horrific beauty of this freakish fairytale brought to life to torment one’s childhood memories.
As mentioned previously, several older scenes have been given new life, featuring a variety of horror icons. What cannot be stressed enough is how well scare-actors are trained at RR to “play” their respective roles to the tee. Each movie character does not do anything that is not representative of their respective roles, from “Freddy’s” crude humor, to “Michael Myer’s” ominous “head tilt” characters are spot on representations. “Jason Voorhees” is very much alive this year, and his stalking presence is another highlight to a hayride full of surprises. Also, some of the most intense acting on the attraction is featured in a tribute to Rob Zombie’s “House of 1000 Corpses” and the more “silly” characters such as the “Spider lady” and “Toxic Waste Worker” have been eliminated. “Haunted Hayride” has reached a new level in excellence and with a few more actors perhaps in each scene, and slight changes to the finale it can be a perfect experience. For those who have visited each season, the final encounter with the infamous “Reaper” feels largely unchanged, but what can be changed is the performance of the “minions” inside the “Reaper’s” castle. We found that these characters (who are terrifying to look at) gave away their positions in the dark, reducing the “surprise” factor, and failed to interact with guests. Loud “banging” can be used as an excellent misdirection tool, instead of pre-announcing the presence of such demonic monsters. Despite minor gripes, from a design standpoint again the finale is fantastic.
“Lost Carnival” has been revamped to create an enhanced interactive experience that leaves each small group at the mercy of the creepy clowns, and circus freaks that roam the grounds of Reapers Revenge. In so many cases “clown” themed haunts are generic, but RR creates such an atmosphere it is as if you woke up in abandoned, ghoulish amusement park where every single character is focused on making guests feel uncomfortable and in fear. Massive improvements were made to this core attraction including a brand new 3D Vortex Tunnel, and several fluorescent-3D hallways to the already creepy “funhouse,” and numerous clowns of various sizes (props and alive) that create a feeling of constant dread. Little details may go unnoticed such as a “faster” moving Ferris wheel, and new soundtrack as one enters the maniacal “tunnel of love” under the “roller coaster,” and the entire experience is overwhelming. On our visit we found the terroristic clowns and cast of freaks to be the most “intense” of all scare actors at RR, each playing clearly defined “roles” that fit each step of the journey. New break-points which are seamlessly implemented into the attraction prevent line-backup and create the feeling that you are truly alone, and need to escape or become one of the “lost souls” of the infamous carnival.
Pitch Black Incorporated
“Pitch Black Incorporated (Pitch Black),” is a no-nonsense fear factory, a true assault on the senses that even without actors is designed to break people down to their core fears, stripping away any notion of protection, forcing guests to become terrorized by their failing senses. While many haunts have so-called “dark” or lights out mazes, nothing approaches the level of insanity created inside this ominous structure. Theatrical elements including a basic storyline focusing on an evil factory owner, give way to endless twists and turns that attack every single sense. Live rodents and insects are shocking to see, and once inside it is almost impossible to escape without becoming filled with genuine fear and panic. The addition of scare actors that pop almost of nowhere and hallways of psychos slamming chainsaws into fences create an experience that is designed to create legitimate fear. “Pitch Black” is relentless in design, with disorientating sound, effects that make you “feel” the unknown, and blinding lights it is its beast and that leaves guests with a sense of accomplishment when completed. Carefully planned to build towards points of excitement and terror, “Pitch Black” reigns supreme as the “scariest” attraction at Reaper’s Revenge.
“Sector 13” is a post-apocalyptic contamination facility set upon a dystopian world in which nuclear horrors have given rise to horrific consequences. The custom built fortress is where psychotic doctors, nurses and militant thugs carry out an all-out assault on every single guest in the most “interactive” attraction at Reaper’s Revenge. “Sector 13” is violent, is mature in its imagery and it is designed to separate, isolate and torment each guest. “Sector 13” start’s at “high energy” regarding its execution with numerous doctors probing and assaulting each guest. Several new areas of separation are incorporated into the attraction’s sinister design such as a “morgue” scene and new “containment” cages, allowing for a “personal” scare. Traditionally the scariest attraction of the evening, after an intense initial experience oddly enough we found our encounters with the “infected” mutants to be rather tame. Last season, the intensity never dropped yet there appears to be a familiarity or at least a come-down effect regarding energy after the initial encounter with the medical staff that inhabits “Sector 13.” While this can be attributed to opening night jitters, overall “Sector 13” maintains itself as still one of the most sinister, violent and interactive attractions you will see this year.
Character design, costume development, and special FX is a highlight at all attractions at RR, and “Sector 13” features a variety of creative monsters. One of the highlights of “Sector 13” is the emphasis on bringing to life mutant horrors, created by toxic warfare and experiments went array. The strange monsters you will encounter at “Sector 13” are genuinely disturbing to look at, which is a tribute to the talented make-up and design team at Reaper’s Revenge. The sounds some of these creatures make is utterly disturbing and again adds to the immersive aspect of the show. While we felt that last year “Sector 13” was more intense, it is entirely possible the enhancements made to the other core attractions overshadowed its quality. As a whole, “Sector 13” is still a disturbing, at times frightening post-apocalyptic, custom built dungeon of biological and psychological horrors unleashed on each unsuspecting victim.
The Final Word
Reapers Revenge is the standard bearer for haunt excellence, and that is due to the level of focus management and staff place who are focused on creating a first-class show every single night. Extensive year-long planning is undertaken to improve actor quality, operations and continuously build attractions that prevent the overall package from becoming complacent. Fans of established, iconic haunts compare their shows to RR and this season’s improvements go beyond minor changes and are awe-inspiring. Reaper’s Revenge is masterful in how it creates an environment catering to diversity in entertainment, producing a first-class show that never fails to surprise us or impress us with a show that is completely immersive, interactive and unique. People are comparing there haunts to RR, and this demonstrates that the massive 90-minute haunt has indeed “arrived” as one of, if not the premier haunted attraction on the East Coast. The first ten years have given rise to an incredible show, and we are excited to see what the future holds at “America’s Best Haunted Attraction,” Reapers Revenge.