Brokenharts Asylum 2016 Haunt Review - Dread Central
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Brokenharts Asylum 2016 Haunt Review




Location: Luzerne County Fair Grounds -Route 118 in Dallas Pa

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More often than not defunct haunted attractions become the source of legends, places that were once terrifying haunts are lost to history and rarely make a comeback. For years’ local radio stations in Northeast Pennsylvania played an iconic commercial featuring “Victor” a demented boy who was the resident maniac at the Brokenharts Asylum. This attraction was the premiere show for those looking to experience an intense, technology impressive and genuinely scary haunted attraction. Brokenharts Asylum lead the way in haunt innovation using twisted themes, detailed special effects and technology to create an experience ahead of its time.  Brokenharts Asylum closed its doors after the 2012 haunt season and left a void in the local haunt industry. Almost without warning, last year the Brokenharts Asylum returned, and put on a short but high quality old-school haunted attraction. The return of the attraction built the foundation for its expansion this season as Brokenharts Asylum is once again located at the Luzerne County Fairgrounds, in Dallas, Pennsylvania.

Brokenharts Asylum has expanded its show for the 2016 haunt season, focused on creating a classical haunted attraction with a mature, dark edge. The attraction is open every weekend in October, and is currently in the process of planning an even larger scale, interactive show for 2017 and beyond. Brokenharts Asylum is thoroughly entertaining from start to finish, utilizing a classical approach to creating a funhouse themed haunt that features gritty, realistic set designs, one-of-a-kind animatronics and custom-built props to create fear. From a structural standpoint, the attraction focuses on disorientating guests as they move from scene to scene, using sound effects, lighting, atmospheric fog and periods of darkness to attack the senses.14502914_1171507849573464_6002125122608003873_n

Brokenharts Asylum respects haunts of the past, incorporating several vintage props and set designs obtained from the infamous Lehman Haunted Barn and the remnants of Dracula’s Forest defunct “Shockwalk Attraction.” In an era, which features countless haunts that purchase entire attractions from large vendors, the custom built design and lack of “commercialization” is a refreshing take on haunted attraction design. Brokenharts Asylum is scary, it is entertaining and creates an atmosphere of twisted fun that entertains haunt fans of diverse backgrounds. We absolutely love visiting this classic, yet modern haunted attraction that is focused on continuous improvement. As the attraction continues to expand, future plans are impressive and we look forward to sharing this information with you over the off-season. Brokenharts Asylum continues to strive to avoid the commercialized nature of so many haunted attractions using core elements of surprise, misdirection and paranoia to create fear. Brokenharts Asylum is a must visit this Halloween season.

The Attraction:

14572926_1178679705522945_7510019262694241394_nBrokenharts Asylum is located in an outdoor structure composed of multiple tents, a new extended outdoor trail each featuring custom built scenes that are aimed at creating a constant sense of paranoia. Sensory triggers such as a custom soundtrack, effective use of lighting and special effects are used to constantly disorientate and hide scare actors/and unique animatronics in each room. Each scene features diverse themes, such as a vintage gritty clown room to a trip through a rather dark Christmas room (featuring a rather violent incarnation of “Frosty the Snowman”), you can feel the passion and dedication towards creating a funhouse-like atmosphere geared towards creating visceral reactions. Every set features disturbing imagery, from impaled heads to surgical torture scenes the attraction creates fear in a twisted, yet fun atmosphere.

Each design decision is made with the idea that guests should be constantly surprised, and unable to anticipate what to expect along each corridor of the attraction. Tight spaces, periods of complete darkness and blaring sounds create a constant claustrophobic feeling of paranoia that builds throughout the indoor structure. Custom built animatronic and props adorn each scene and are unlike any you will see in other haunted attractions. Furthermore, while inside the tent structures of the asylum, various scare actors do a phenomenal job of “stalking” guests. For example, on our visit we seemed to encounter “Freddy Kruger” at the most inopportune of times, keeping us constantly looking over our shoulder. The indoor areas of the attraction are absolutely phenomenal at creating a constant action packed environment that at times creates laughter, builds a sense of anticipation and generates legitimate fear. The management team’s expertise in lighting, special effects and sound adds to the production and proves that classical haunted attractions can still thrive in an ever standardized-over produced haunt industry. This is haunt ripped right out of a horror movie, a place you feel uncomfortable about yet feel the need to explore. Creation of tension in a gritty/realistic environment generates fear and this is cultivated by the design of the Brokenharts Asylum.

Brokenharts Asylum features a new outdoor trail/maze portion to its attraction for the 2016 haunt season. An outdoor funhouse mirror and pitch black maze is effective at disorientating guests and a relaxing diversion from the indoor tent structures.  While it may be easy to get lost in these structures, addition of a few more scare actors and possibly additional sensory diversions such as fog or blinding lights can help make the dark maze match the impact/aggression of the indoor portions. Once the maze is completed, a brief trail featuring clowns, and chainsaw yielding hillbilly is enjoyable but not at the same level of energy felt throughout the rest of the attraction. It is very difficult to create a large outdoor trail that is truly scary due to logistical and spatial issues. However, additions to this portion of the attraction will add to the experience as the season progresses. The trail portion of Brokenharts Asylum is a solid diversion from the central portion of the attraction and diversifies the high-impact scare approach utilized throughout the attraction. frosty

Scare actors do a wonderful job at stalking and terrorizing guests as they move throughout the asylum. These are aggressive scare actors yet they do not cross the line of certain personal boundaries as they do not touch guests. A few more well-hidden scare actors within the areas of darkness, and some who are able to develop “characters” will add greatly to the attraction. We would also like to see more interaction between actors and guests, possibly using a light touching/grabbing strategy used by haunts such as Reaper’s Revenge. Minor implementation of “extreme” elements can create an uncomfortable experience to the attractions already phenomenal use of sensory attack to create fear.

Brokenharts Asylum as one of the few attractions this year that still continues to generate fear and a sense of paranoia that is created by the custom built design of this attraction. The attraction is a longer, features enhanced effects and diverse set designs from last years show and one of the more mature/edgier haunted attractions. While this attraction may be suitable for teens, there is a considerable focus placed on maintaining a terrifying environment coupled with the twisted sense that this a “funhouse”. Not many haunted attractions can pull this vintage, gritty feel off successfully utilizing modern technology, talented scare actors and constant aggression to create a memorable experience. Brokenharts Asylum has successfully returned to its rightful home and we cannot wait to share information regarding large-scale expansions for the 2017 season.

The Final Word:

Brokenharts Asylum continues to be an innovative, yet classical in its approach to providing a modern haunted attraction that is an experience unlike any other. The customization of the attraction and an ever evolving/changing show makes multiple visits a necessity to experience every single surprise implemented throughout the year. Traditional scares such as clowns, and chainsaw-yielding maniacs are utilized to create fear, are not corny and augment the old-school fun-house nature of this gem of a haunted attraction. The design of the attraction is the perfect fusion of modern/edgy mature themes with classical scare tactics unlike any attraction visited in recent memory. Look forward to an even larger show for the 2017 season with major, innovative plans that are bound to make an impact on the haunt scene. Brokenharts Asylum is designed to generate constant paranoia, in a rather aggressive, yet fun environment, with a high-impact/high-startle approach aimed at creating fear.



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