Thursday, September 25, 2014

[Haunt Review] Hundred Acres Manor - Turning the Nightmare Fuel Dial to 11

Like last year, we're always curious to see what the creative minds behind Hundred Acres Manor have up their sleeves every year. This time around? Oh boy, they definitely went off the deep end a little and I mean that in the best way possible. What Ethan, Hundred Acres Manor's Creative Director, has come up with as this year's new addition is delightfully twisted on so many levels.

This year's Hundred Acre Manor features six differently themed areas as always, many of them with new touches here and there, but there's a couple of bigger surprises waiting.

Mostly in the case of the all new Torture Tank section (replacing the South Valley Hospital area),an all new maze layout to drive you crazy and the 100% new Zombie Paintball experience that's definitely one of the coolest takes on the idea I've seen to date. There's a reason why they're our defending champs for Best Overall Haunt and this year looks like they aren't slowing down at all.

Also, was really awesome to finally get to visit during a night where the full cast was in place and the bugs were worked out. Not that it would impact things too much, last year our visit was with a half cast, but it was great to see the insanity going full speed to Nightmare Land.
  • Date Visited: 9/19/14
  • Review Team: +Carrie H.C. and +Kitsune Hazard 
  • Rating: Excellent+1
  • Recommendation: If you're even remotely close, go. 110% worth making the trip out!
  • Likes: The attention to detail is everywhere, the actors are simply amazing and coming out of every nook and cranny possible and their willingness to push the boundaries.
  • Dislikes: None, nope, not a single thing.Well, maybe would like a bit more from Zombie Paintball, but that's coming in the future.
  • Pro-Tip: If you do Zombie Paintball, hit it up first and then go through the house, or just go VIP. Getting there earlier isn't such a bad idea either. Crowds have been crazy this year so far.
Disclaimer: We were invited to visit Hundred Acre Manor and were comped admission to all of their attractions this year, including Zombie Paintball. We also receive special access to areas of the haunt for pictures and other things. This in no way has influenced our opinion and never will! 

Enough of that, let's get this party started!

To kick off your journey, you enter a funeral scene, and it's fresh as always. From here you'll wander into another room for some rules and a bit of banter from one of our favorite characters that we've labeled "the chicken man" (though no chicken this time...weird that!).

A few moments later, and the dire warning given, you find yourself up against Dead Lift.  This is one of the more unique and interesting transitions I've ever seen in a haunted attraction anywhere, it's a great way to get the blood pumping.

Seriously, I still love the effect here and as you "travel downwards" into the depths of the Acres Estate and into the bowels of the manor itself, you have to deal with the elevator operator that's definitely been having bad week, or year...or decade. With the descent into hell complete, it's apparent that you'll never be safe as the intensity kicks up right off the bat. What's even better than that is that you're now left to face off with Damnation and all manner of twisted horror that lay within. It's a psychotically fueled word of darkness and shadow and everywhere you look, there's something new to spot or look at.

All sorts of dreaded creature and their victims are just lurking, waiting in the corners and places you'll never even think to look. The denizens are everywhere and you're not going to be safe for a single second and that's just how we like it! The energy and focus on each group was laser targeted and right on the money. This crew is definitely something special to say the least, even more so when you realize that nearly all of them are volunteers.

Ms Serial Killer Lady, awesome job!
Again, one of my favorite areas is the Doll Room. Just so much detail in here that I could spend a week looking at everything, but this year another section of Damnation has to be brought up, the Serial Killer room. It's a twisted little place that had something happen to me that hasn't in ages.

Here, for the first time in a very very long time, someone finally got me to jump. Not just a little startle, but a good solid jump. It's rare folks, so kudos to you Ms Insane Killer Lady, job well done!

Another place within Damnation which just shows the insane level of care and attention to detail that Ethan and his team puts into the place is the library There's over 1500 hand carved books in here...yeah, they're dead serious about doing this right. Anyway, before I go too off the rails, let's get things going and onto the newest section, Torture Tank.

I really don't even know where to begin on this thing, it's beautifully twisted and demented. I'm not sure what dark place they went to dig this shit up, but holy crap, can we vacation there with ya in the future? Torture is king here and as the sign says, "live out your sickest fantasies". Yeah, it's that kinda thing and so unique that ya might not fully understand what's going on until you've made it through...if you do. But, if you're not terrified out of your wits, make sure to look around and be amazed at the level of detail that's yet again present within these twisted walls.

Seriously, this thing is so screwed up they had Facebook calling them to take the images down that they put up advertising it, that's how far they went with things. I may be a bit messed up in the head for saying this, but it was a joy to see the boundaries being pushed so far and I loved every disturbing nightmare fueled detail that was put into it. Now, where do I sign up for a membership?

Once beyond the insane world of torture and madness we found ourselves going back "underground" and into the cave.

You'll find yourself ducking, weaving and jumping out of the way of the monsters, crazies and other things that lurk in this dank and mystifying little world that they inhabit. There's a ton of things just waiting, huge demons and a couple of awesome water effects just waiting for you to fall victim to their trappings. Just a word of warning, watch your head in here!

This of course leads us into the weird world of The Family, psychotic as ever and hellbent on blood as always, these folks don't pay kindly to trespassers in their doomsday bunker and as luck would have're doin' just that.

From here you find yourself headed into one of the more interesting and disorienting experiences that Hundred Acres has to offer, The Maze. This thing is 7,500sqft of confusion filled with all manner of chainsaw wielding maniacs and other disturbing creatures that seem to delight in confusing, terrifying and chasing you in every direction but the one you need to get out. It's huge, and while some can get through in as little as 15minutes or less...some,'ll take them a lot longer than that.

You think you're safe, that there can't be anymore, but you'd be dead wrong. Next up is the Brine Meat Slaughterhouse. One last kick to the gut and in here you'll have to look out for where the next scare will be coming from. Not much has changed in here since last year, but there really doesn't need to be anything, it's mental as always and the cast of insanity lurking in this formerly upstanding slaughter house and meat shop is going to come from everywhere you can imagine. I'm just waiting for a floor scare in'll happen eventually I'm sure as they haven't left any corner untouched here.

Once again, the detail, it's everywhere and for those luck enough to catch it, you'll appreciate it that much more. That is of course if you're screaming and hiding as you try and get through the madness of it all. Oh and don't forget to pay close attention to the chickens, they're...interesting to say the least.

Typically this is where I'd say something about how somehow we'd managed to make it back to nearly where we started and that the night was over and wrap things up. However, for wasn't and I won't be, there was more in store and in the form of something really different.

Up next was Hundred Acres Manor's take on zombie paintball. Now, talk about unexpected things.

This, was definitely not what we had envisioned at all. This isn't some mounted gun on a rail or side of a hayride experience and you're not shooting at some static prop...these are live targets folks.

Once inside the bunker we were given our instructions, masks, weapons (in the form of paintball shotguns) and then released with our guide right into the melee.

It was a blast and the adrenaline can get really going if you let yourself get into things, and our tour guide for the experience was awesome. Thankfully we managed to make it to the checkpoint and get a fresh set of ammo to continue our journey before finally making it out alive...just barely. It really was a blast and again, one of the most interesting takes on this kind of thing we've ever run across. The only downside is that it was a bit too short for our liking, but we've been reassured that they will be expanding on this in the future and we are looking forward to seeing just what they have in store for us then!

And there ya have it, this year's Hundred Acre Manor in a couple thousand words. It's really not enough though. This haunt continues to amaze us on every level every year; from the dedication of the actors that call it home to the insane levels of detail and the care that's put into it. It's a shrine of psychotic indulgence that few make the attempt towards, or accomplish. Hundred Acres Manor does this in spades and has been doing such for the past 11 years. You'll never look at charity haunts the same way again, that's for sure.

If you're still wondering if you should go at this point, the answer to that is, hell yes! Once again they've set the bar extremely high for this season and we'll see how the rest of the competition stacks up. Gonna be tough, I pulled out the "+1" on the excellent rating this time around...that's never happened before but time will tell.

Oh, and when you do find your way to this twisted wonderland, don't forget to say hello to Alexander McWiggins or Jalapeno for us!

Hundred Acres Manor is open, well, a lot. Seriously, it's mental how many nights their open so to check out the full schedule, special event and discount nights, buy tickets and other things, head over to the official Hundred Acres Manor website for all that and more!

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