Reaper’s Revenge Haunted Hayride and Attractions (Scranton, PA) is critically acclaimed each season as one of the top haunted attractions in the country and was gearing up for a monumental season, unleashing a BRAND-NEW attraction for the 2020 season. Flashback to January 2020…Rumors were swirling regarding a brand NEW attraction…The excitement and major plans continued to build, with social media buzz reaching an almost fever pitch until the world was struck with the COVID-19 pandemic. At a standstill, Reaper’s Revenge felt the impact of this plague, and ownership/management was faced with a new decision; to open for 2020 and give guests a great show or to close and wait until next year. Never afraid of a challenge, Reaper’s Revenge, like many larger haunted attractions, decided to develop an extensive “Operational Safety Plan” coupled with a modified show to open safely this season. The goal of the team at Reaper’s Revenge has been to provide a safe show, which is responsible to guests, staff, and community while minimalizing any “impact” on performance/entertainment quality.
A commitment to excellence in operations and performance has fueled the growth and expansion of Reaper’s Revenge, and the decision to open was not easily made. Reaper’s Revenge, despite having some of the most impressive set and scene designs imaginable, is still at its core an “actor or performance” driven show, where the scenes are brought to “life” by talented actors and a makeup/costuming crew that is perhaps the best in the industry. To accomplish a show that features so many performers and staff within the context of safety guidelines associated with the COVID-19 pandemic is a monumental task. The team at Reaper’s Revenge has embraced this challenge, fueled by a passion to “save Halloween” and exceed customer expectations.
While not the same show as previous seasons (two attractions, “Pitch Black” and “Sector 13” are closed for the year and safety modifications were made to each of the open attractions), there is a sincere commitment and razor-sharp focus on presenting an “experience” that helps guests become immersed in this attraction which has grown into a horror infused journey. While long-time visitors may notice some of the changes associated with the season’s unique challenges, one can feel the love for the performance aspect of “scaring.” Design changes have, in some cases, altered the “sensory” part of fear, allowing one’s imagination to run wild, utilizing sound and visual techniques to augment terror displayed in each attraction. Safety is paramount.
Every single aspect of the show has been analyzed, revamped, and redeployed in a manner that respects the guests and staff of the attraction yet maintains a non-stop, action-packed show that once again asserts its industry-leading presence in operational excellence and show quality. Reaper’s Revenge is a night of Halloween adventure, a spectacle that continues even during the most challenging times to grow and evolve. One can only imagine the level of intensity and all-out chaos that will be unleashed on the mountain when society returns to “normal,” and Reaper’s Revenge is more than prepared to lead the way for generations to come!
Reaper’s Revenge Haunted Hayride and Attractions feature three unique attractions completed sequentially “Haunted Hayride,” “Lost Carnival” and NEW for 2020 “Delirium!” Closed this season due to the coronavirus pandemic, but still very much “alive” are “Sector 13” and “Pitch Black” attractions. Reaper’s Revenge also features a variety of games and food options as well as a bonfire to round out the ultimate Halloween adventure!
The heart of Reaper’s Revenge and the starting point of an over sixty-minute journey into the dark forest and picturesque home to the undead, twisted fairytales, cannibals, horror icons, and the infamous “Reaper” himself is the legendary “Haunted Hayride” attraction. “Haunted Hayride” has felt the least “impact” of COVID-19 mitigation efforts, featuring a spectacle of iconic scenes that scare, bring laughter, and continuously capture the attention of each guest. Featuring some of the most impressive, large-scale special effects and scene-specific soundtrack (built into each attraction), the “Haunted Hayride” is perhaps a perfect representation of the diversity associated with the Halloween season. For veteran fans of Reaper’s Revenge and new visitors alike, the scope and size of each scene are unfathomable and architecturally a work of art. A spectacular presentation of complex environmental immersion fueled by audiovisual excellence, pyrotechnics and theatrical performances.
From the iconic opening sequence, featuring a large castle, followed by hauntingly beautiful “floating” candles, which caustically illuminate the sky, careful attention is placed into how each guest views each scene. Visualization and creating a mental as well as an auditory sense of immersion has always been a strong point of this attraction’s design. Each set has depth and surrounds the entire “wagon” itself, creating the perfect stage for actors to engage guests with various scare-tactics. Effective use of lighting and industry-leading sound effects transform the forest into scenes that are realistic and continuously capture attention. “Haunted Hayride” embraces a philosophy of diversity in thematic design, featuring scenes that make guests laugh, even cheer in applause, as well as disturb. One cannot express the awe-inspiring feeling associated with just gazing into the eyes of the massive pumpkins, which illuminate a stretch of the trail, and not be impressed by the genuinely transformative sense created by such massive scenes.
Hallmark scenes/sets include several tributes to horror icons, including a disturbing encounter with Samara (The Ring), movie quality-representations of “Michael Myers,” “Jason Voorhees” and a show-stealing performance by “Freddy Krueger.” From a performance, scenic and design standpoint, one would be hard-pressed to find any faults to this attraction; the undead come to life in an always fan-favorite “Thriller Dance” and the nightmarish twisted version of “Alice in Wonderland” is a technical marvel, a hellacious hallucination brought to life and a testament of the creativity embraced by the team at Reaper’s Revenge. A visit with cannibalistic freaks of nature set to the tune of “Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses,” followed by a violent chainsaw assault cap off the always memorable journey to face the “Reaper” in the iconic “Haunted Hayride” at Reaper’s Revenge.
While almost perfect, there is still room for improvement, and one scene has always struggled to find its footing despite a fantastic premise and disturbing imagery. Reaper’s Revenge always strives to improve its show and makes noticeable changes upon each visit. For example, within one day significant yet small improvements were made to several scenes in the hayride, from stronger pacing in the “Alice/Wonderland” scene to better mixing of sound in a “sacrifice” scene termed slaughter, coupled with changes in actor performances it makes the show always unique and also demonstrates a passion for constant excellence.
The Lost Carnival
The “Lost Carnival” is not about jokes and fun; it is not designed to bring smiles to one’s face, it has a mission, and that mission is to make guests feel disturbed, sickened, and want to at times crawl begging for help. Torment, psychological fear, and total immersion into a horrific sideshow of terror is infused with a new sense of isolation and hopelessness, in what is by far the most intense attraction at Reaper’s Revenge. Just when one feels alone, they are hit with a bottomless pit of insanity and ghoulish surprises by the undead carnies, clowns, and other macabre monstrosities that take pleasure in making guests squirm.
After an always welcome “visit” to the security shed with “Employee” of the Month “Officer Zed,” the journey continues into another staple attraction that melds authenticity with nightmarish surreal horror, “The Lost Carnival.” If any attraction actually “benefited” from the modifications implemented due to the challenges associated with this season, it is “The Lost Carnival.” A new sense of isolation and almost desperation is augmented by the sights, sounds, or gleeful fear, which serve as the backdrop for effectively hidden actors and set pieces. “The Lost Carnival” is an authentic trip through an “abandoned” carnival that features actual rides that one operated, a variety of twisted takes on midway games, funhouse inspired scenes, a freak show, and of course, a barrage of blood-thirsty clowns. Authenticity and bringing reality to an abandoned amusement park/carnival theme is quite the challenge, especially when considering this is a mountain/forest environment. Still, it really must be witnessed to genuinely appreciate it. Chilling soundtracks featuring the laughter of those “happy patrons” fill the air, twisted yet joyous music booms, and the sounds of rides, which are shells of their past glory, add to the immersion create a transformative experience that has always been one of the finest outdoor attractions in the industry.
“The Lost Carnival” feels even more isolated and desolate than in previous years, and the talented actors have an even creepier way of utilizing body language and their freakish costumes to scare from a “safer” distance without touching. In many ways, we found this attraction more disturbing than ever, with a “less is more” approach to scare acting, without the constant barrage of characters blocking each way and an emphasis on the “strange” and demented atmosphere created by the entire creative package presented in this one of a kind attraction. Being “lost” in the carnival felt genuinely creepy, almost as if we were helpless, and it amplified the performances of those clowns, freaks of nature, and monsters that roamed the grounds of the “Lost Carnival.” A genuinely “scary” attraction, dark humor has always been used effectively to round out the entertainment package, and once again, Reaper’s Revenge nails this “scare” strategy, with engaging “barkers” and a “lady of the night” that will make anyone’s skin crawl. Authenticity, coupled with an enhanced sensory feeling of being “lost,” masterfully creates a sense of being at the mercy of the psychotic carnival performers and marooned souls in this carefully crafted, disturbing experience.
The BRAND- new attraction for 2020 is the highly anticipated first completely indoor haunted attraction featured at Reaper’s Revenge, “Delirium!” Best described as a 3D-chromadepth style attraction, “Delirium” adds a new “dimension” or style of haunting not featured at Reaper’s Revenge. As one approaches the absolutely breathtaking, “funhouse” style facade, anticipation is hard to control, and the feeling of madness is conveyed almost immediately before the attraction begins. 3D, immersive attractions are not easy to pull off in terms of “scares.” Still, once again, Reaper’s Revenge relies heavily on its most vital asset, it’s “performers” to bring the “true” next dimension to this artistically engaging attraction. The 3D effect, coupled with circus themes and chilling soundtrack, creates the ultimate funhouse, in which walls do appear to move and the artistic designs “jump” off walls, animals appear to move, and actors mix in with props and utilize the 3D effects to generate a variety of startle scares.
The artwork inside of “Delirium” is far darker in tone than the general “3D haunt” with a sinister take on circus freaks, mutated animals, and endless evil clowns that float in balloons, breathe fire and taunt around every corner. Actors and characters understand how to use the special effects and 3D imagery to slink around every corner, surprise multiple times, and props mix in masterfully with the living inside this heavily detailed, big-budget attraction. We witnessed guests become mesmerized as walls appeared to crawl, move and the level of sinister design at first glance is perhaps understated. The hanging heads of decapitated clowns torment guests and provide the perfect distraction for traditional jump scares and fast-paced action. Impressive CGI effects incorporate interactive elements such as loud noises, air guns, etc. The artistic design stands out amongst haunts of similar style. Reaper’s Revenge has always strived to create the “ultimate” Halloween adventure, promoting diversity in design, and “Delirium” adds a missing piece to the attraction’s entertainment package.
While many of the more elaborate interactive elements will be unveiled in future seasons due to safety restrictions (and the BEST is yet to come…),” Delirium” is a high-action, fast-paced, chaotic experience that thrives on “energy” and is positioned for endless growth, numerous crazy tricks, and unheard-of interactive elements that will make this attraction one of the most innovative “3D” dimension-defying attractions you will ever encounter.
The Final Word
Reaper’s Revenge Haunted Hayride andAttractions has solidified itself as a leader and innovator in the haunted attraction industry and has accomplished an almost unfathomable achievement in presenting a first-class show in the most challenging of times. The talented team at Reaper’s Revenge has implemented a stringent “Operational Safety Plan” that protects and respects both customers and staff while not impacting the overall show’s quality.
It is a testament to the high level of preparation and planning placed into the operations of this show while maintaining an actor-driven, performance-orientated performance. What makes Reaper’s Revenge special is not the scenes nor the themes but the quality of those talented individuals who create nightmares year-round, those who are committed to innovation, and those that refuse to present a show that is less than first class. Once again, this pure passion for haunting can be felt when one arrives at the “Reaper’s mountain. Reapers Revenge continues to be the type of haunted attraction that improves with every show. What makes this attraction special is a constant commitment to improvement. In just one show “Delirium” has already added new tricks and action, the “Lost Carnival” continues to shine in terms of the psychological and visual creation of horror, and it is perhaps the intense attention to detail that makes this show the standard-bearer of haunt excellence. The tiniest of details make all the difference from sound to the way actors are staged no detail is overlooked. Reaper’s Revenge continues to stand out as a premier must-see show, one that will make you laugh, disturb you, and above all, give you a night of incredible action, adventure, and pure entertainment at “America’s Best Haunted attraction!”