When we visit haunted attractions, sometimes we attend just to enjoy the season, and usually, these attractions are “charity” haunts that are fun but really don’t classify as reviewable. We decided to attend a highly popular local attraction Haunted Hallways of West Scranton High School an immediately were in shock at the number of people that had lined up to wait to get into this attraction, which is entirely staffed by high-school students. Again, keeping our expectations low, we entered an attraction that completely floored us in terms of showmanship, passion for performance and shockingly mature themes for a “high school” haunted attraction. The show itself is a traditional style haunt, with a tour guide who has a backstory that is based in local (Northeast, PA) lore, and guests are ushered into a variety of different scenes and themes. From scenes inspired by the legendary now-defunct amusement park “Rocky Glenn” to a rather violent take on the hauntings at the infamous “Pennhurst State School,” each performance left us with our jaws dropped at the level of creativity and unique scenes presented in this attraction that genuinely embraces the “spirit” of the season.
Haunted Hallways of West Scranton High School each year feature new themes and scenes, and this season we enjoyed several scenes that played tribute to local lore, as well as others that were inspired by the 80’s slasher movies and the insane. Campers were slaughtered at “Rocky Glenn Park”, homicidal “Coal Miners” roamed the tunnels of an abandoned stretch of mines, arrogant cheerleaders met their fate by the hands of psychotic clowns, a curse was imposed on the infamous “Smurl House,” a chainsaw-wielding maniac chased our group in an auditorium showing “Night of the Living Dead”, patients were slammed into boxes and forced to take medication, a cheating lover was butchered by an ax, and twisted doctors tormented patients in just a few of the insane scenes featured along this lengthy journey. The high-school students performing in these roles gave it their all to generate scares, some slapped each other in scenes, threw their bodies to the ground, and had no qualms at interacting with scared guests and perform their scenes to the tee. The passion and quality of “acting” in general were above and beyond our expectations, and we really were shocked at the level of maturity displayed in a “high school show.”
Unique props, custom-built sets and for the most part expertly decorated scenes are filled with blood and gore, and mature scenes feature violent medical experimentation, an actual “hanging scene” a violent take on father’s disagreement with his daughter’s choice of a lover, and as mentioned previously a unique scene which featured cocky “cheerleaders” bullying a girl in the girls bathroom only to be “punished” by demented clowns (scene played out like a 1980’s horror movie) really stood out in terms of themes that major haunted attractions would benefit from embracing. We also were impressed by the overall creative thought and planning put into this attraction. Some of the scenes/rooms were not as effective as others but provided balance, and during some periods of time, the attraction dived into an atmosphere of pure chaos. We also appreciated the variety of tributes to local and regional haunted locations. So many haunted attractions fail to create a grand finale. Haunted Hallways create a scene of medical horror, excitement, and intensity that left many in our group running for safety and left us exhilarated at the quality of show presented by these students who truly embraced a love for performance and a desire to scare.