Location: 11 East Poplar St, Nanticoke, PA 18634
Web Site: http://www.horrorhall.com
Horror Hall is a throwback to haunted attractions of years past. The “funhouse” style attraction boasts some of the most robust scene and artistic design in any haunted attraction and a fantastic backdrop which can serve as a foundation for future improvements. Horror Hall has endless potential to once again reign at the top of the haunted attraction list in Northeast Pennsylvania.
Horror Hall’s set and scene designs are beyond what many may expect in a local charity haunt. Artistically this is designed to be a dark funhouse, with long passageways and corridors that are lit efficiently to induce a variety of jump/startle scares. Artistically, scenes are on the level of primary haunted attractions and cover a wide array of horror genres. Favorite themes featured in the various scenes include a rather violent prison break, hall of movie monsters, grotesque swamp, the room of “saws,” haunting graveyard, and morgue feature impressive special effects and architectural design which rival many larger haunted attractions. While many of these scenes have not changed over the past several years, they retain their entertainment value. The classical funhouse style haunt does not have one specific storyline but does not need one to be effective.
There is no rhyme or reason beyond the scares inside Horror Hall, and perhaps one its still gravest problems stem from operational mishaps and a lack of modernization which holds the show back from reaching its highest potential. Horror Hall can greatly enhance its show if it modernizes its queue-line system. Every single season Horror Hall forces guests to sit in rows of six or more, regardless of crowd size and groups must watch Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” followed by a reading of the “rules.” While this experience has some level of entertainment value, it continues to be an outdated system which hurts the flow of each show. Horror Hall would be best served if it implemented a timed entry system, in which guests enter the attraction in small groups in defined time periods based on the crowd each night. The traditional movies and “Thriller” add to the experience but allowing guests to line up and regularly enter the attraction reduces wait time. Furthermore, improved guest flow through the haunt enhances the performance of each scare actor. Scare actors seemed bored during our visit and lacked the intensity or focus displayed by those who work in nearby haunts.
Actor placement and knowledge of how to act out in each scene can turn a lackluster set into performance art. In previous seasons we found that Horror Hall had far more “actors” in each scene and that these actors were far more interactive with guests. Furthermore, we were perplexed to see certain iconic scenes removed, including a “zombie-infested” movie theater which was traditionally one of the “scarier” scenes featured at Horror Hall. We are happy to note that those actors present did there best to try to scare or garner reactions. Some of the acting performances are best describes as being amateur, or bizarre, such as a rather odd-ball in the morgue whose only line was “Hey you guys” but there were no issues in terms of actors talking with each other, or taking off their masks which did occur in prior seasons.
Horror Hall can move to the “next” level of haunting if it begins to modernize its show as it did several years ago. Improved line management, stronger scare acting and a reminder that this is a professional entertainment show can reinvigorate Horror Hall for generations to come. Horror Hall despite its missteps is still an enjoyable show, catering to Halloween fans of all ages. We will continue to visit each season and hope that Horror Hall reaches its potential for and continues to be a must visit attraction for seasons to come.
The Final Word
Horror Hall is a Northeast, PA staple, the type of haunted attraction that for better or worse, is somewhat a relic, an attraction that harkens back to the mid 90’s yet is still entertaining and relevant in 2018. While far from the scariest or most technically advanced attractions, this classical board-walk style haunted house features several extremely interesting and detailed scenes, and multiple rooms of diverse Halloween inspired entertainment. Repurposed and upgraded several years ago, many of these classic scenes are starting to show their age and would benefit from an upgraded presentation.
Despite its aging design, Horror Hall remains an enjoyable funhouse experience, and from a scene/development standpoint shockingly holds up against similar indoor attractions on the East Coast. We hope that beyond this season the design team and volunteers look to upgrade and take advantage of an already established quality foundation, and for those “charity” haunts that claim that they cannot put on a quality show, they should visit Horror Hall and see that even a smaller group can build a quality haunted attraction