Camp Slaughter (Camp Daze) - Movie Review

Camp Slaughter (AKA Camp Daze) - 2005

Director: Alex Pucci

There are a lot of low budget horror films where kids at a camp get cut down in creative ways for breaking the various rules of slasher lore. Sure, the slasher sub-genre can be repetitive as hell, but isn't that really sort of the point? There's a certain comfort in the slasher formula. The films are just as much about rooting for the villain as they are about hoping that the protagonists survive. As I've mentioned before, part of the joy of these films is discovering just how these films deviate themselves from the expected story beats, whether just by creative death sequences or something more involved.

With that in mind, Camp Slaughter (AKA Camp Daze) is a pretty creative entry into the over-saturated slasher market. The screenwriter, Draven Gonzalez, clearly had the beginnings of a unique and fun plot when the project began. The story starts like any slasher flick, with a group of college-age students on a road trip. They manage to break down close to Camp Hiawatha, a standard sort of summer camp filled with your usual assortment of counselors and teenage campers. When kids start turning up dead, it quickly becomes apparent that something is amiss. Our lead characters band together and manage to survive the night of terror- only to wake up the next morning to find everyone at the camp is safe and sound.

This is where the film is at its most interesting. Our protagonists quickly learn that they are stuck in a sort of Groundhog Day time warp. Everyone at the camp is doomed to relive their final day over and over again, cut down at the hands of the slasher ad infinitum. Worse still, some of the camp residents seem to be aware of their fate, but are helpless to stop it from occurring. The main characters come from a time and place similar to our own, and are key to finally putting the spirits of these doomed teens to rest. Having main characters from the modern age is a fun idea and allows the movie to break the fourth wall without just shamelessly winking at the audience. The premise is Camp Slaughter's greatest strength.

Unfortunately, the rest of the film pales in comparison to its imaginative plot. The script itself is a mess of awkward dialogue, made worse by poor performances pretty much all around. This is a self-feeding negative loop, so its hard to know if the script writers or the actors are really to blame. Shot composition is passable, but overall quality looks like the movie was shot on video. This last really isn't a complaint, but know that low-budget means exactly that.

The make-up and general special effects are nothing special, but I did appreciate the elaborate set up to at least a couple of kills in the film. In these, the killer has left his victim strung up in some compromising position, hooked up to simple trap apparatuses that is sprung by the arriving help. These deaths really made my think about the typical slasher trope of the survivor girl stumbling upon the bodies of her deceased friends. This modification does the traditional cliche one better by ensuring the victim's final moments are witnessed by the protagonist. Although one could argue this has been played out by the Saw films for several years now, I'd like to see this idea expanded upon in other slasher films.

Ultimately, I did enjoy Camp Slaughter, but I feel like it fell victim to its own desire to be a smart slasher homage. The time travel premise is smart but needed additional thought and script-revision to be considered well-done. The intentionally cliched 80's characters are fun but one-dimensional and not particularly well played. There's little gore, there's zero female nudity, and the killer lacks a unique gimmick. Further, the reveal regarding the killer's identity is an overcomplicated twist that makes the film feel like it's trying to do too much. The story would have benefited by concluding the time-warp storyline it initially presents in a straightforward manner.

The Bottomline: There are a lot of mediocre slashers out there, but Camp Slaughter at least attempts to do something fresh and entertaining. You have to give points to the filmmakers for that. I hope they get another opportunity to do some genre work, hopefully with a larger budget and reduced scope. Worth a rent from Netflix for slasher fiends, but other genre-hounds may want to skip this one. Two Bruces.
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Haunted Overload 2010 - Haunted Attraction Review

After attending Haunted Overload the past two years and subsequently writing about my experiences both times, I wasn't sure that there would be anything left to say about this stalwart of the haunt industry. Last year saw fantastic progress for Haunted Overload, featuring a longer trail with all sorts of new set pieces and effects; it seemed like another annual review would hardly be necessary. If you've read my past reviews of the 2008 and 2009 seasons, then you know my opinion that Haunted Overload is the physical embodiment of the very essence of Halloween. I had resigned myself to the fact that there seemed to be little left to say about the fantastic and terrifying Halloween experience that is Haunted Overload. And then, the unthinkable happened.

Haunted Overload lost its home.

For the past three years haunt mastermind Eric Lowther had been staging the event at the Coppal House Farm in Lee, New Hampshire. It was around the second week of April when I heard the news- Haunted Overload would not be able to return to Coppal House for the 2010 Halloween season. I was genuinely upset at first, but good news was right around the corner. Within a matter of weeks, Haunted Overload was able to secure a new venue, that of DeMeritt Hill Farm, also located  in Lee, NH. Despite this stroke of luck, the immediate implications were staggering- Eric and crew would only have six months to build an entirely new haunted trail.

This may come as a surprise for the casual haunt fan, but professional haunted attractions are typically year-round endeavors. The moment a haunt closes following the Halloween season, work begins on next year's edition of the haunt. Six months is simply not a lot of time in this industry. Even with having secured a new location, I honestly wasn't sure that moving Haunted Overload would happen in the time-frame that remained. For Haunted Overload to return in 2010, and for it to be anything other than a ghost of its former self, it seemed like a Halloween miracle would be needed.

Despite being a holiday typically associated with the supernatural, the only miracle that occurred at Haunted Overload was good, old-fashioned hard work. It is clear that many long weekends and sleepless nights were contributed by a great many talented individuals. Collectively, they have managed to achieve the miracle that Haunted Overload needed. There is no greater testament to the skills and dedication of the Haunted Overload crew; the new haunt already looks like several years of work have been put into its creation. The elaborate sets, the detailed props, the giant monsters, the expert lighting- they're all still here. Haunted Overload is awesome as ever and, dare I say, better than ever before.

The new location is a big part of what elevates the new Haunted Overload over previous annual editions. The land set aside for the haunt takes the patron down a forty-minute trail deep into the woods. There is no manufactured substitute for the primal dread that comes from walking through the woods at night. Take away the actors and the impressive sets, and the woods are still genuinely scary in their own right. Dripping with this natural atmosphere, the woods at DeMeritt Hill Farm are the perfect place to set an outdoor haunted attraction.

The move to a new physical location practically necessitates that every major set-piece is a brand-new construct. Although I missed several of the previous large set pieces, the clown tent and vortex tunnel in particular, the new buildings definitely make up for those left behind. The new main gate through which patrons enter the haunt is especially impressive. The towering facade displays the glowing visage of a demon, its giant horns towering over the beautiful, eerie lights of pumpkin alley. Other notable set pieces include an off-kilter shack whose wildly exaggerated angles wreak havoc with your sense of balance, and a spooky old mineshaft whose downwards sloping entrance makes it seem as if you're actually headed under the ground.

The quality doesn't end with the buildings. Many of the highly detailed props and giant monsters made the move to Demeritt Hill, and they're accompanied by some brand new brothers and sisters. For those of you that have never attended, there's simply nothing else in the industry like the thirty-foot tall monstrosities that loom over Haunted Overload. Smaller siblings are also abound, with the fully-articulate, twelve foot-tall Death Stalkers returning from last year, and similarly sized scarecrow-like monsters making their debut. I really liked the dark, amorphous faces and hand-sharpened stick teeth of these latter creations. Other notable pieces include chainsaw-carved trees; artful sculptures with ghastly contorted evil faces. These tree-monsters are wildly imaginative, looking like something out of a Hollywood movie when lit up at night. The monstrous trees are definitely one of my favorite ideas on display at Haunted Overload and, to my delight, they are placed directly in the center of the walking path, allowing me to appreciate their finer details as I passed by.

Having made known my appreciation for the inanimate elements of Haunted Overload, I want to give credit to the flesh and blood that help bring the haunt alive each night. The trail itself is a spectacle to behold, but without the volunteers and actors it would feel like an empty tomb- disquieting, but not terrifying. The costumed denizens of Haunted Overload complete the experience, engaging the patron and perpetually keeping them on their toes. 

Moving beyond the superficial costumes and make-up, both of which are top-notch, I've been consistently impressed with the actors' performances. Haunted Overload is one of the few haunts where the actors are seemingly well-coached and encouraged to fully realize their characters. Some of the actors will speak to you and engage in conversation, while others remain completely silent. Depending on their character, actors may imitate animals, mumble incoherently, or simply even gasp or hiss. These performances are appreciably varied, breaking the trend of simply screaming until hoarse, an annoyance all too commonly found at other haunts. The use of low noises, breathy gasps and raspy growls almost too low to be sure I even heard them, are unsettling in ways that really add to the atmosphere of the haunt. Actors aren't afraid to work together either. More than once I witnessed an actor pass up their opportunity to scare and to serve as a misdirection of the patron's attention while their unseen comrade moved in for the kill. Teamwork like this ensures that the scares are constantly flowing and really helps elevate the overall experience. I can think of no greater praise than this: Having worked in the industry for several years and having attended half-a-dozen haunts during the 2010 season, the only place that made me scream was Haunted Overload. Special kudos to all involved!

Given the hardships that proceeded the 2010 season, I was thrilled to see Haunted Overload rise above and provide the quality Halloween experience for which they are known. The silver lining is now clear- Eric Lowther and the rest of the Haunted Overload crew have an entire year to expand and improve the new trail at DeMeritt Hill Farm. With the basics now established, it is time to see what new horrors the creative minds at Haunted Overload dream up next. I look forward to being surprised, startled and scared in 2011- and you should too!

Did you attend Haunted Overload in 2010? Feel free to add your comments below!

All images courtesy of Eric Lowther at Haunted Overload and Artifact Images.

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Vamp - Movie Review

I can remember Vamp from my childhood. No, I didn't actually see the film when I was a kid, but I do remember it being listed in the TV Guide, schedule to play during a late night time slot on one of the premium movie stations. To this day I can remember reading the listing as a teenager and being tempted to set my alarm for early in the morning, tempted to sneak downstairs to watch on the family television. In my defense, the promise of both vampires and strippers contained within a single film is almost too awesome for a thirteen year old boy to ignore. I remember the box art on the shelf at the local rental store, the cool fluorescent lights glaring off the clear plastic sleeve covering the VHS tape. I may not have known the exact content of the film, but there was something about that lipstick kiss on the VHS box that told me this film was naughty. Despite renting countless R-rated horror movies, I never could work up the nerve to bring this one to the check out counter.

So why do I mention, at great length no less, my personal history of admiring but never actually watching this film? I think it's to impress upon you the feeling of nostalgia that overcame me while watching this film. While I possess no previous knowledge, or therefore love, for the film, I still felt an incredible affinity for its content. Vamp is the sort of film that, even if you've never seen it, might still hold some value if you grew up during the right period of time.

The film is a product of its time, a combination horror film and teenage sex comedy. It vaguely reminds me of a John Hughes film but with vampires, a feeling no doubt reinforced by the presence of Gedde Watanabe from Sixteen Candles. All of the characters are incredibly rooted in late 1980's culture, from their dated costumes and hair to the slightly too old actors portraying them. Still, the movie is sharply written and ably acted. The two male leads are fun to watch as they engage in snappy, rapid fire dialogue. Robert Rusler in particular is extremely watchable here, and horror fans will recognize him as Grady from the earlier A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge. Also deserving mention is the undeniably cute Dedee Pfeiffer who gives a strong performance while wearing her tiger-striped leggings and zebra-print jacket with pride.

The plot of the film almost seems like a predecessor of sorts to the Quentin Tarantino written/acted vampire-stripper opus, From Dusk 'til Dawn. As part of their initiation, two college buddies are tasked with traveling to the Big City (which one? I don't know) and bringing a stripper back for entertainment at a fraternity party. They borrow a car from the rich kid, played by Gedde Watanabe, and make their way to the After Dark Club. The boys quickly outstay their welcome, discovering first hand that this wannabe bordello is actually staffed by bodacious vampire stripper babes! Needless to say, the protagonists go on to have a pretty bad day.

For a film focused on obtaining the services of a stripper, there's surprisingly little nudity in the film. Although, that's not to say that scantily clad vampires don't fill the frame for a good portion of the film's ninety-three minute runtime. Most times clever costuming hides the naughtiest of naughty bits, leaving the film with only a few bare breasted shots. Rest assured, there are plenty of flat 80's asses on display though. Most perplexedly, the head vampire stripper is played by the androgynous yet striking Grace Jones. I can't be sure how it played back when the movie was first released, but her main-stage strip show doesn't even begin to approach the adjective we now know as 'sexy.' It's even more odd to watch the strip club patrons within the movie applaud her act, as though they were watching a different show than we, the viewers, were privy to. Story-wise, I'll just attribute it to her otherworldly vampiric allure and move on. I also appreciated the sarcophagus and other assorted Egyptian imagery. It suggests a much deeper back-story in regards to the origins of these vampires, even if it is never directly addressed.

There's not much here in terms of gore or creative deaths, but a few people do get munched on and a few vampires do get staked or burned. There are a few action sequences, car chases and the like, and the budget is clearly being stretched in those sequences. But really, special effect aren't the driving force of this movie. The fun teen flick atmosphere and constant tease of probably nudity makes this a schlocky if somewhat hollow good time. The charisma of the lead actors will probably be the deciding factor for you, and I found their performances to be engaging right from the opening scene.

The Bottomline: My experience with Vamp was a fun, nostalgia-fueled celebration of a begotten time in cinema. My only unfulfilled wish is that I no longer have the chance to take the suggestive cover art and slap it down on the counter at the local rental store. Three Bruces.
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Alien Raiders - Movie Review

Alien Raiders (2008) is an entertaining, low-budget, alien-infestation flick owing much of its plot to John Carpenter's classic remake, The Thing. The biggest factor working against this film is its generic title, leaving the would-be rental customer with the distinct impression that this film might have been made as an Asylum or SyFy channel original. Don't get me wrong, I love Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus as much as the next guy, but its the sort of film that you watch when you're still waiting for Netflix to ship out your latest batch of celluloid goodness. With a title like Alien Raiders it would be easy to assume that this film shares a similar heritage whose results could only be described as dubious in quality. However, if you can overlook this unfortunate first impression and still happen to pick Alien Raiders up off of the rental shelf, I can assure you that you will likely be rewarded for your 85 minutes and the minimal monetary investment.

The premise is simple; a group of armed gunmen storm into a small-town grocery market and quickly announce their intentions to rob the place. Something is immediately amiss, as instead of taking the money and leaving, the gunmen take the customers hostage and chain up the exits. The situation quickly escalates when a small-town cop takes it upon himself to draw his gun and take out the gunmen, but not before notifying the local precinct. The cop is quickly subdued, but the police show up outside and we have the beginnings of a standard bad guy-cop negotiation plot-line.

Not exactly sounding like an alien-infestation movie yet, is it? It's an interesting set-up at a glance, definitely a refreshing approach to a film of this type. Story-wise, it turns out that the gunmen have no intention of robbing the market, but are instead searching for people infected with an alien parasite. Given that the alien host looks like a normal person, there is no knowing who is and who isn't infected, so the gunmen set out to test each and every customer in the store. It's a lot like The Thing, although the test is a bit more gruesome. I also appreciated the added intellectual element of the hostages versus the gunmen. In the early portions of the film, the audience identifies more closely with the hostages. We feel what they feel- maybe, just maybe, there are no aliens and  the gunmen are simply insane.

The film is competently made, but the low budget does begin to show in the special effects. Luckily, the movie is smartly scripted and the effects shots are actually rather sparse. Oddly enough for a genre film with such a campy title, Alien Raiders unfolds as more a slow-burn and is a better film for it. One choice affecting both aesthetics and story was having one of the gunmen run around with a camcorder. Some of this footage is interspersed into the movie proper, providing brief low-fidelity glimpses at the frequently chaotic proceedings. This same mechanic also serves to provide some back story. Although this does make for some interesting visuals, having a hostage taking, gun-wielding bandit running around with a camcorder is an odd choice from a story standpoint.

There aren't any stand-out performances from the main protagonists, but all of the actors are perfectly well-suited to the material they're given. Given the background of the gunmen as explained in the film, I thought the characters weren't written in a way that properly reflected their origins. This is not an issue with the acting, but rather scripting and maybe casting. I understand the desire for the gunmen to come across as some serious bad-asses, which they do, but this does not mesh well with the background they are given.

The Bottomline: Alien Raiders is an entertaining, low-budget film that offers some new twists on the standard alien-infestation storyline. Some scripting inconsistencies might rear their ugly heads, but overall it's a solid rental. If you can get past that ridiculous name. Three Bruces.

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Spirit Camp - Movie Review

It's been awhile since I sat down and watched a fun slasher flick, and I'm happy to report that Spirit Camp (2009) is a perfectly serviceable film that helped scratch the itch. The set-up is similar to countless other genre films: a group of teenage girls attending a secluded cheerleader camp are stalked and picked off one by one. There's the usual cast of characters, including the Bitch, the Slut, the Ditz, the Fatty, and the Loner. This roster is joined by a handful of  characters with the convenient purpose of doubling as red herrings.  Over the course of the hour and thirty minutes, we will watch as these unfortunate souls lose their dignity and their lives at what should have been a fun summer romping around and getting laid at Cheerleader camp.

Spirit Camp is a fairly paint by the numbers experience, but this isn't necessarily a bad thing. Let's be honest for a brief moment- the formula is one of the reasons why we fans continue to watch these films. Sure, they're predictable, but that's just part of the fun. I love watching these films to see how they deviate from the expected, to see just how they intend to carve out their own niche. Spirit Camp does this by making the loner character the main protagonist. Played ably by the attractive Roxy Vandiver, the conflicted Nikki is the only character written with any depth and is thus the only character the audience ever really cares about.

The film hinges on Nikki's likability, given that she's the only competent character that displays any use of logic. This is an interesting juxtaposition since the character's loner punk-aesthetic and criminal background seems initially intended to distance the audience from her. The beginning of the film is written in such a way as to reinforce this feeling as she is the last of the primary characters to be introduced. Further toying with the audience's expectations, Nikki is one of only two characters to appear bare-chested, and she does so twice. This subliminally helps cement her bad-girl attitude and is really trying to make you doubt whether the character will survive or not. It's both an interesting and a refreshing approach to the Final Girl concept.

The main group of girls arrive at the camp and it doesn't take long for the killings to begin. It's sort of odd when characters start disappearing and no one really questions where they've gone. This is of course mentioned in some passing dialogue, but the subject is quickly dismissed by the disinterested characters. As I've pointed out before, directly addressing a plot hole does not excuse lazy writing. Still, given the overall quality of the film and its low budget nature, I'm inclined to give them a pass on this minor nit-pick. Just be aware that some of the standard slasher tropes definitely still apply.

As long as we're on the topic of the standard slasher tropes, there are so many red herrings in this film it's laughable. There's the old, eccentric gas station attendant, the pervy local sheriff, the backwoods camp handy man, the elder mother whose own child died at the camp years ago, and so on. Red herrings are part of the slasher formula, and the screenwriter wasn't shy throwing them about. Sadly, I felt like the final reveal was telegraphed a little too early in the film, so most of these false leads rang a bit more hollow than they maybe should have.

On the technical side of things, I feel like I have to acknowledge all of the hard work that filmmaker Kerry Beyer poured into this movie. This man acted in, directed, wrote, edited and did the cinematography for this film. There's good use of lighting and composition, and some creative editing that make good use of several composite matte shots. Given how well made the film is technically, I'm very interested to see future projects from Mr. Beyer. My only request would be to work on the make-up effects. Many of the kill sequences were repetitive and I'm fairly sure I saw the exact same axe-wound appliance used on more than one actor.

The Bottomline: Spirit Camp is a predictable but solid slasher film. It is well made and competently acted. Definitely worth a rental for genre fans. Three Bruces.

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Haunted Overload 2009 - Haunted Attraction Review

The colors of fall blur by your car window as you travel down the secluded back roads of Lee, New Hampshire. The sun is just beginning to set, and you'll arrive as the shadows start to slowly blanket the land. You can almost physically feel yourself begin to slip into the twilight, the world between the physical and the fantastic. The excitement you feel in the pit of your stomach begins to grow but so does the dread in the back of your mind. What have you signed yourself up for? No time to wonder, there's a sign post up ahead- you're almost there. You turn off the main road and onto the loosely paved gravel, the final road leading to Haunted Overload.

You find a place to park in the expansive green fields and exit your vehicle. Immediately, you feel that there is a spell about this place, an almost tangible mood hangs in the air. The sun is quickly fading now, and other cars are just beginning to arrive in numbers. You turn towards the farmstead and begin to make your way towards the ticket booth. As you make your approach, your eyes cannot help but be drawn to the twenty-foot monstrosities towering over the walls of the indoor/outdoor haunt. You're not even in the haunt proper yet, but you've never seen creations like these. You're in for a wicked night.

For the uninitiated, a haunted attraction is a Halloween-themed locale where costumed actors attempt to surprise and scare fun-seeking patrons. Although this is still an apt description of what physically occurs within its walls, to call Haunted Overload a haunted attraction almost does it a disservice. Haunted Overload is not your average haunt. You will not find the same store-bought props and costumes that populate many other attractions of this type. Lead by haunt creator Eric Lowther, the entire cast and crew of Haunted Overload clearly have a deep love and respect for the season. The sheer amount of time and hard work that goes into preparing the haunt for each year is astounding. Their passion is obvious when one observes the countless hand-made horrors found within. If you have an eye for such things, you will quickly recognize the artistic merit that permeates the entire Haunted Overload experience.

The various set pieces are impressive for a multitude of reasons. As a direct example, early in the haunt there is a large structure, a wooden tower whose front has been crafted into a demonic, gaping maw. The scale and carpentry alone would suffice to impress, but the tower is also functional. A costumed actor can be seen pacing around this elevated perch, calling doom upon the mortal patrons passing below. The element that truly transforms this tower is the careful use of colored lights to add dimension and depth to the demon's face. The final product is a majestically spooky set piece, much more than the sum of its wooden planks and colored gels. No longer a mere tower, the wrathful demon, its head jutting forth from the earth, struggles to break free and unleash itself unto our world.

Beyond the artistry of the sets and props, special mention is due of the haunt's actors. The set pieces create the mood, but it is the actors that drive the tempo and give the haunt its scares. First, the costumes are incredible. It seemed to me that everything is either hand-made or modified. It is my understanding that many of the actors put together their costume and create their ghoulish persona on their own. To these people, I give my applause. Their hellish creations are both imaginative in appearance and demeanor. The actors give life to their characters in ways that compliment the artistry on display elsewhere in the haunt. I was especially impressed by the use of low moans and guttural growls. Quiet noises serve to change the tempo, mentally putting patrons off-balance, and thereby making the next big jump scare that much more effective. All of the actors seemed to understand the importance of this oscillation well. Special mention goes to the actor who portrayed the demonic crow last year. Your terrifying caws and unsettling neck movements earned you the favorite spot amongst the group with which I attended.

Being that 2009 was my second year visiting Haunted Overload, I wanted to keep an eye open towards how the haunt had changed from the previous year. I'm happy to report that the journey through Haunted Overload was substantially different. The path itself had been re-routed, with various returning set pieces being visited in a new sequence. Although I recognized some of the same buildings, the interior set pieces had been shuffled, replaced, or redesigned. Modifications in actor placement and routines were also apparent. For example, in the cornfield you encounter a tall demon with a melted face. The previous year, this demon was played by a live actor, menacingly banging his chain against his wooden shack. As I approached the demon, I kept waiting for him to lunge at me, but he never did. As I passed by, I realized the ugly brute was now a statue. A simple change, but one that worked off my own memories, misleading my anticipations. 

There were also several additions to the haunt that were completely new for 2009. The graveyard was expanded in length and several 12-foot tall grim reaper statues were added. I found these creations to be extremely impressive based on their detail alone, but that feeling was furthered by the disclosure that the statues were designed to be fully articulate and pose-able! There was also a new ghostly, skeleton-horse, affectionately known as Mr. Ded. Between the lighting and the detail work, you'd swear this deathly horse were the real thing. Another honorable mention goes to a spooky automated rocking chair, which I stared at for several minutes trying to figure out if the seated witch were real or not. Finally, amongst my group, the most impressive new feature to Haunted Overload in 2009 was voted to be the swirling green-fog vortex tunnel. My friends lost themselves in the effect of the swirling lights and I loved the way that the actor portraying the ghostly miner would fade in and out of vision depending on how deep he stood in the tunnel.

Although the Coppal House Farm was the host location for Haunted Overload in 2009, the 2010 edition of the haunt will be moving to Demeritt Hill Farm. The new location is primarily based in the woods and promises to be terrifying in whole new ways. The main event haunt typically runs during the final two weekends in October. The haunted walk itself takes approximately forty-five minutes if you pace yourself but, if you're easily startled, you may find yourself rushing ahead at an accelerated pace. Tickets are sold via the Haunted Overload website. All tickets must be ordered in advance and the showings have been known to sell-out, so be sure to get your tickets early. For $3 per person, you can visit the haunt during the day to further appreciate the finer details of the props and set pieces. These daylight outings are subject to farm hours, so be sure to call ahead. Furthermore, if you're a parent with a young child, you can choose to visit on a 'Fright Night Lite,' a special evening where you can come and see the haunt at night and meet some of the actors, but without the worry of the haunt being overly scary

More than just the movie quality sets and the high quality scares, it's the plainly apparent appreciation for the season that makes Haunted Overload the definitive Halloween destination. The love and passion combined with the home-grown atmosphere has completely won me over. Eric Lowther and his crew have succeeded in crafting an experience that captures the very essence of Halloween. Much more than the sum of its sights and sounds, Haunted Overload is a celebration of the outer boundaries of the human mind. I look extremely forward to the upcoming season and seeing the new venue in 2010.

As always, comments are welcome below. If you enjoyed this review, may I suggest checking out my review of the 2008 season at Haunted Overload.

All pictures courtesy of Artifact Images and
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