301 Devil’s Playground (Galena, MD) is a no-nonsense, “slasher” style haunted attraction that is one of the most impressive multi-themed events that we decided to visit for the first time this season. Featuring four diverse, interconnected haunted attractions, 301 Devil’s Playground features some of the most richly detailed scenes, first-class special effects, and larger-than-life monsters that are thematic “straight from hell.” Excessive blood, guts, and gore is the norm, disturbing imagery is aimed at jarring one’s senses, and by and large, each performer does a great job at adding “surprise” to each aspect of this journey into hell. Located on a tranquil farm, the atmosphere, the level of brutality and the unique massive animatronics and downright disturbing scenes often featured in each attraction makes this one of the best attractions we have ever visited, one that innovates and one that has clearly invested a great deal of financial and creative resources into breathing life into a farm of pure evil.
While scenes are filled with unique detail, such as rooms of slaughter, man-eating demons that feast on rotting corpses, werewolf-like creatures brought to life, and even demented children who want to “kill” their guests, this attraction can be brought to the next level with more unique performer-guest interactions. There is clear focus and emphasis on scene quality, sound, smell, and design of interactive massive props and animatronics at 301 Devil’s Playground. An already terrifying experience, combined with more interactive, personalized acting, can make this attraction one of the finest “intense” scare-focused perhaps in the country.
The House of Hell
“The House of Hell” is the first attraction featured at 301 Devil’s Playground and is best described as a haunted “farmhouse” theme, filled with richly detailed rooms of horror and massive animatronics that bring to life scenes inside a house that are perhaps unimaginable. Detailed rooms that feature traditional scenes in a haunted mansion/house are augmented by special effects, designed to shock and build constant, unnerving anticipation.
Entering a “school bus” driven by a demented clown, we were quickly submerged into the psychedelic horror show/nightmare that is “3D Phobia”, a black/light/ChromaDepth style attraction filled with funhouse gags, twisted clowns, surpassingly violent imagery (even a clown “shot” through his mid-section in a room of 3D guns…can’t find a better way to describe this disturbing scene), and props that distort reality. “3D-Phobia” is a perfectly structured 3D-style funhouse attraction; guests have to move objects such as large “eyes,” “bowling balls,” and a variety of bizarre objects to escape the disturbing laughter of this bizarre funhouse.
Barn of Torture
“Barn of Torture” is filled with disturbing imagery and themes that really strike at one’s innermost fears and are designed to “disturb.” The “Barn of Torture” is intended to be unnerving because of abduction, demonic sacrifice, and sadistic feeding of human flesh to farm animals. The sickening smells, a toxic waste dump, and props/animatronics that are so life-like and creative they just bring to life scenes that are akin to the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” Performers are also at their most potent in the “Barn of Torture,” some with scarred faces, others that reach and grab from the most outlandish of places; it was all too easy to get a jump scare then feel genuinely disturbed in this gruesome attraction. It cannot be stressed enough how “mature” this attraction is and how the imagery created is right out of a horror film. In one scene, a demented farmer feeds a helpless human to pigs, and in another, the entrails of the dead are consumed by a massive demonic creature; it’s a surreal look into a living nightmare and fits the theme of “torture.”
An outdoor “trail” in a lengthy corn maze, with some point where you can become “lost” in maze-like areas. Outdoor, corn-maze-inspired attractions are challenging to execute. What makes this attraction so effective is that it embraces the environment, does not try to do too much, and allows for the “theater of the mind” to take over. There are moments where you feel entirely isolated in the darkness of the Cornstalks; the corn maze itself could use a few more actors and more scenes in some areas but overall, there is an excellent balance between the “calm” and the unnerving. Loud metal music to be heard building on atmosphere, scenes are pretty alarming for a “corn maze-trail” for example, a massive Scarecrow tells guests “Size doesn’t matter” when impaling a helpless victim, what you “see” and “think you see” creates internal fear and anticipation. A sense of real “grittiness” is evident; periods of darkness, a mini-pitch black style maze, and crazy chainsaw-wielding maniacs (that run after guests and hunt!) add to a fantastic “finale” to 301 Devils Playground!
The Final Word
A hidden gem in the industry that is quickly garnering attention, a world-class attraction focused on embracing the “horror/gore” of Halloween and doing so on a “big-budget” scale and creatively intense. We have NEVER seen such an attraction feature so many unique interactive animatronic monsters, demons, human-eating creatures, and even a massive “scarecrow” that impaled a helpless victim. Filled with numerous surprises and first-class designs, this is one of the BEST attractions a fan of horror can visit. While “PG-13” in theme, this is genuinely the “Devil’s Playground” and lives up to and exceeds its namesake! Hell has staked a location at this farm…and we recommend you visit!