Hotel of Horror- 2022 Review

Introduction

Hotel of Horror (Saylorsburg, PA) and its companion attraction Altered Nightmares are mature, sinister attractions that are designed to scare and terrorize their guests with some of the most disturbing visual imagery and quality acting you can EVER find in a haunted attraction. This season’s show is genuinely disturbing from start to finish, and not enough praise can be given to the quality performers that bring to life the “art of horror” in such a twistedly grand fashion that will disturb even the most hardened guest. While the entire “Lake House Hotel” property is aesthetically “terrifying,” and each room/corridor and hallway is submerged in an atmosphere of darkness, chaos, and brutality. A sense of permeating evil and the ominous feeling of being “stalked” permeates this mature, adult-themed haunted attraction. We LOVE the idea of aliens suddenly invading this creepy hotel and cannot appreciate enough the creative aspect to this sinister attraction.

Perhaps, reaching their pinnacle is the performance of the actors/actresses. Each room is brought to life by actors and performances. This is a haunt that is not for those who are looking for a family-friendly experience; it is for those looking to experience serious moments of fear and a constant, unnerving sense of paranoia driven by the combination of scene/theme design audio, visual stimulation, and first-class acting. Horrifying characters straight from the depths of hell are brought to startling life in each attraction. The undead satanic worshippers, psychopaths locked in padded rooms, witches, and so many other talented performers believe in what they are doing, use the scenes as a stage, engage in “character-specific” banter with guests, crawl, hang from ceilings and work tirelessly to create memorable moments.

Every single season, this attraction continues to allow its performers, creative design, and authentic atmosphere of terror to breathe life into this body of work that we feel will only continue to be one of the finest you can visit. The surreal nature of this attraction allows guests to become immersed in the design, intertwining classical haunted house tropes with disturbing, creepy acting and scenes that are real and designed to disturb. Suppose you are easily offended or looking for a family-friendly scare….. In that case, this haunt is undoubtedly not for you, as the demonic and the darkness have bathed the infamous “Lake House Hotel,” which has now been infested with the strange, sudden appearance of…aliens!?

A throwback to the 1950’s alien invasion movement, this season, the Hotel of Horror adds “aliens” to its macabre cast of ghouls and vile inhabitants. Not overly done or distracting, the classic aliens that appear in certain scenes add a level of Halloween “fun” to the dark atmosphere, typically home to demonic worship, voodoo, and murder. We can only imagine what horrors can be created in the future with “aliens” serving as new residents of the infamous hotel. From human experimentation, abduction, and violation, a darker spin on this unique sci-fi concept is strangely perfect for the sometimes weird yet always haunting visit to the iconic Hotel of Horror.

History of the Lake House Hotel

Hotel of Horror and Altered Nightmares haunted attractions are located inside the infamous abandoned Lake House Hotel in historic Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania. The legend of the Lake House Hotel spans more than two hundred years and serves as the backdrop for the sinister haunted attractions brought to life within its confines. The tales begin with the original stagecoach stop, circa the late 1700s, whose foundation only remains, sheathing the furthest basement rooms’ walls under the encapsulated Victorian mansion. The destruction of that original stagecoach stop gave birth to a tavern referred to as The Saylorsburg Hotel and Inn for Travelers, built by Charles Saylor in 1847. Over the following 53 years, it saw much expansion and construction.

The first “rebirth” of the Saylorsburg Hotel came around 1882 to 1888 with the railroad’s coming, removing the roof, building a third story, and renovating the exterior to celebrate the magnificent architecture of the Victorian Era. This remarkable mansion still exists inside the grand hotel addition constructed sometime between 1894 to 1900 and remains the same in size that you see today. The Hotel hosted the entire Monroe County Battalion of six soldiers of soldiers during the Civil War and was also used as a residence to see its share of births and deaths. The local mines and railway used the Hotel at several points in its early history to house their business operations and the infirmary and place of “pick- up” for the next of kin when tragic accidents would occur. It is recorded that many men died on its front porch waiting for a family to arrive after suffering significant injuries in those local mines and railway construction.

In October 1918, the local press reported that the Spanish Influenza had arrived in the Pocono Mountains, bringing sickness and death. The recently built county hospital was inadequate, and temporary hospitals were established in local resorts surrounding Stroudsburg.  Then in 1929, again in October- just a few days before Halloween, investors in New York City began to panic- stocks bought high started to drop, and so the Great Crash of The New York Stock Exchange devastated the economy. Guests of the Lake House, having left New York in shame and despair, not knowing how to provide for their families, checked into the Hotel, had drinks in the bar, dinner in the dining room, and saw their final night on earth in the guest rooms on the second and third floors.

At that time, Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, became known as “The Place to Hang Yourself.” In the late 1940s and 1950’s the basement area housed the Vickie Lee Blouse Company, employing ladies who worked on original textile equipment with minimum safety precautions. It can only be imagined the injuries suffered in the Lake House Hotel’s lower level during this time. After the close of this company, the lower level was used as a barbershop. Then a state liquor license permitted the serving of alcoholic beverages in this same lower level, in addition to the first-floor bar.  The basement was turned into a marine-themed bar, and in 1985 a failed robbery attempt left the owner of that time entirely incapacitated and resulted in the Hotel closing for good. It was purchased in 1990 and turned into an Antique Co-Op, and then in 1992, it saw its first haunted house attraction.

Attractions

Hotel of Horror is a genuine, realistic nightmare that has evolved and exists solely with the intent to disturb and scare. Fear, cultivated by a constant sense of paranoia, generating imagery so holistically disturbing yet engaging, creates a desire to explore this relic of time, a cross between a 1950’s stylish hotel and a celebratory labyrinth of one’s darkest fears and disturbing imagery. Far from a “family-friendly” haunted attraction, be prepared to live a horror story, cross paths with the demonic, and come dangerously close with a barrage of twisted “scare-actors” that thrive off the energy of “fear.” 

Hotel of Horror is perhaps best described as a never-ending ascension into a living horror movie that always is filled with unique surprises; just stopping for a moment creates a lasting mental image of scenes that are “real” and not created by big-budget props or special effects. Each room features diversity in thematic design but has so much “character” in terms of disturbing items, oddities, and, at times, disturbing creativity it is easy to become trapped in this entire “experience” of terror. Carefully implemented designs are augmented by slow strobe light effects, scene-specific stylistic vintage music, sound, moments of darkness, and periods of violent creativity that haunt each hallway. The culmination of years of collecting and creating disturbing items, heirlooms, and understanding how the mind processes “fear” has resulted in a most chilling, hauntingly beautiful, yet always unsettling. A genuine immersive experience, the “reality” of the “Lake House Hotel” is the perfect backdrop of pure horror, pumping adrenaline and fueling a curiosity of the unknown.

Hotel of Horror or the “first” half of the journey has received extensive improvements and additions, including a gleefully disturbing psychedelic “funhouse” and the arrival of visitors from the beyond, Aliens that feel as though they are creepily watching around every corner! The odd mix of 1950’s era sci-fi with twisted, at times demonic themes is strangely unique and perfect for this always joyfully evil haunted attraction. Hotel of Horror focuses more on the grittier, darker aspects of haunted attractions with character designs that convey a sense of violence set upon the backdrop of scenes that feature the most intricate of nightmarish details. Extensive work has been undertaken to add a new level of complexity to the Hotel of Horror’s interactive mazes. Each scene is themed almost entirely, allowing twisted scare actors to create unique personal interactions with guests, stalk, disturb and change their performance to meet the responses of each guest. Furthermore, the Hotel of Horror continues to promote dark themes, from a satanic worship scene to a children’s playroom straight from the depths of hell, be prepared to be disturbed. Scare performers are aggressive; they engage in vial acts and have no qualms about tormenting guests, they climb above, crawl, appear out of nowhere and engage in a variety of creepy/eerie scare-tactics.

Altered Nightmares embraces the sinister “magical” side of horror, with an emphasis on demonic, dark themes, and is now more or less the second half of the entire show. Featuring witches, disturbing voodoo themes, twisted carnival, dark séances, and possession, among other concepts, and evil Christmas/Santa scenes, there is a distinct sense of insanity that permeates each room. As was the case of the Hotel of Horror, the scare actors and creativity in character design, coupled with a desire to explore the unknown, make this attraction stand out. Visions of child abductions, torment were stricken across each room, and this attraction utilized sensory assault to augment fear. While most attractions feature “chainsaws” as a part, Altered Nightmares has evolved into a surreal horror experience and is the perfect finale for one’s visit to the Lake House Hotel!

Final Word

Hotel of Horror is the perfect haunt for those looking to “grow up” in the haunt industry. This is a severe and mature-themed attraction that combines classical/traditional haunting with such a dark, sinister, evil twist that we cannot praise these attractions’ approach enough. As one cautiously explores each room, sick and wicked imagery dominates the scenes and creates such an uneasy feeling that it is best described as a never-ending nightmare. Atmospheric sound, periods of complete darkness, blinding lights give way to scenes of graphic horror and characters that are all so very real in their vision and execution. With an even stronger emphasis on quality acting this season, the entire attraction was executed flawlessly. The imagery created by some of the horrific creatures brought to life in the Hotel will forever be etched in memory. We hope the attraction embraces the theme of “Aliens” to the EXTREME level, as there is so much creativity that can be spawned by this unique concept.

Horror “art” in the haunted attraction industry is a complex viewpoint and terminology used by some that appreciate the craft and design of haunted attractions. So many haunted attractions rely heavily on purchasing the latest and most fantastic props and scenes in a never-ending race to be the “best” in the respective industry. However, those unique haunted attractions genuinely embrace the spirit and the love for all things “scary” that thrive and inject energy into their respective shows. Hotel of Horror is one of the finest designed haunted house attractions from a chilling artistic and creative standpoint that has embraced and loves the concept of being tense, creeping, and genuine mature scare-focused experience. Not only is this attraction designed to the highest of standards and is as “real” as it can get, but there are some of the most spine-tingling, gruesome performances carried out by talented actors/actresses that breathe life into their horror-movie quality entities. The artistic direction of each room is meticulously planned to create a realistic feeling of fear, targeting diverse themes and horrors and pushing the boundaries of what a mature/adult theme haunt should be rather than those that take a more generic approach to the industry

Over the years, the Hotel of Horror has become one of the most terrifying and genuinely shocking haunted attractions on the East Coast. The Lake House Hotel is the perfect backdrop for a horror movie quality experience, and not enough praise can be heaped upon the talented scare performers! Hotel of Horror’s characters are so creatively disturbing and designed, they can be scripted into their own horror genres. Taking the familiar themes of child’s playrooms, to even a visit with Santa Clause and turning them into moments of evil is the norm, the flashpoints of insanity that bring to life disturbing visions that are etched in memory and need to be experienced in this unique event. The arrival of Aliens from other dimensions, and the creepy scenes that embrace the abduction concept are a breath of fresh air in the industry, which is often plagued by the “same” old concepts. We only hope that this unique take on “sci-fi” themed haunting continues at this trend setting quality haunted attraction.

Strengths

  • Character Design, Performance Art
  • Unique Ideas and Themes ALIENS!
  • Location and Atmosphere Second to None

Room for Improvement

  • We would love to see the intensity even taken to a greater, more adult level, perhaps add in some blackout or extreme nights it is the perfect location
  • Some of the scenes can use a revamp but quality is evident and first class; hard to complain!

Location: 5105 Cherry Valley Rd, Saylorsburg, PA 18353

Web Page: http://www.hotelofhorror.com

Credit: Hotel of Horror for Images and History