So I went to Howl-O-Scream this past weekend and I wanted to give my happy review for TPR.
Since I didn't take any pictures I will not start a new thread because I feel it would be pointless!
I will talk about the zones first then houses in order from least liked to most liked! I should also note that I am NOT a jumpy person and rarely get scared, my entertatinment at halloween events comes from good atmosphere and getting to see other people screaming, this year it was the expense of my GF who is not an easy scare so when she did scream, it was because a good job was being done!
I DO NOT really like any of the scare zones because, well they kind of suck. This is not in anyway the fault of the actors but really it is management. The zones are just not set up to allow the actors any ability to get good scares! With this being said here is how I felt about each one. Ranked based on atmosphere and how much they made my GF scream or be scared.
Moors - 4 guys dressed as scotsman standing on a pathway attempting to scare people in a well lit area with no fog...I feel so bad for them! (1/10)
Werewolves - There were three people on an open bridge with nowhere to hide, Im sorry getting scares by sneaking up behind someone is good but it gets old after a while! (3/10)
Watchers - One nice surprise but again it is such a small area with three people only. (3/10)
Strangers Beware - Some great scares on unsuspecting people on their way into and out of the houses behind Festhaus, but not enough of them. (5/10)
Witches - Bedsheets on trees! But a decent area that at least is set up to help the actors surprise people with more then sneaking up behind them. (5/10)
Harvest Hollow - Scarecrows are creepy but not when you walk from the exit of Hunted in the back all the way out of the zone and only see three or four actors, two of which didn't even try to scare anybody but rather just stood there. (5/10)
Mischief and Mayhem - My favorite this year and in the same spot as my favorite last year..why? Because the area is set up to create spots where you CANT SEE THE ACTORS. Dear Busch Gardens, not knowing where scary things are coming from make them a lot scarier! (7/10)
Ok now here is where my great pleasure can really happen. I freaking LOVE the haunted mazes/houses at this park. It makes me feel like they put so much effort into making these 100 out of 10's that they forget to make good scare zones lol. Again the ranking is based on atmosphere and how much my GF screamed
Pompeii (SP?) - Same house as last year, good story and some better scares this year then last but still my least favorite. (7/10)
Cavern of Darkness - This house was REALLY good, until there is a large well lit dead spot near the end. It killed the mood a little bit but still some good scares in here. (7.5/10)
Cursed - The scenery was similar to Wicked Woods last year but the atmosphere was brand new! There was too many actors doing the standing jerk with their props but it worked overall. There was also a long corridor that had no one in it but it didn't take too much away from the experience as a whole. (8/10)
Hunted - This one scared me the most only because I was so afraid of werewolves as a kid. It was a great set up with lots of really good scares, my GF actually needed a break afterwards to settle her heart lol. So overall this maze was fantastic just a little short! (9/10)
Catacombs - This was actually my favorite maze of the night but I don't give it my highest rating because Bitten was easily the best overall from a non-biased viewpoint. This maze had a lot of great scares and prompted the funniest thing that happened all weekend when my GF shouted balls after being scared. The actor started repeating balls over and over and it was freaking hilarious! This was also the maze that came the closest to making me jump, had the actor waited another 2-3 seconds he would have had me, but no spoilers here! (9.5/10)
Bitten - If ever I was to say a maze was set up perfectly it would be this one. It was long, EXTREMELY creepy, had a GREAT story, the actors were fantastic, the scares were never the same twice. It was just amazing. If I had time only in my life to see one more thing I would probably go through this house again even though I mark Catacombs as my favorite lol. (10/10)
So overall I had a great experience this past weekend. The event has, IMO, improved 10 fold from what it was last year. If they keep doing the same thing or better for the mazes and actually set up some good outdoor scare zones it will be even better next year! If you read this whole thing thanks and kudos to you!