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Brokenharts Asylum 2016 Haunt Review

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

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

Introduction:

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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Inside (Remake) Review – Is It as Brutal as the Original?

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Starring Rachel Nichols Laura Harring

Directed by Miguel Ángel Vivas


While the directing duo of the cringe-inducing and original 2007 French grand guignol thriller Inside have gone on to refurbishments of their own—Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo recently helmed a retread of Leatherface’s origin story—their flick now has an American stamp on it with the release of the remake, also titled Inside.

A cheerless Christmas eve sets the stage for heavily-pregnant widow Sarah’s (Rachel Nichols) oncoming ordeal. It’s a frigid and snowy night. She’s got a huge house to herself, following the accidental and violent death of her husband. She wants to sell the home that was meant to hold a family, to forget the nascent memories it once held. But she’s got to ride it out until the baby is born. While Sarah is lonesome, she won’t be alone. She’s got her genial gay neighbor nearby, and her mum is going to come and stay with her for a few days. Oh, and there will be an unexpected visitor too.

When a shadowy, seemingly stranded stranger (Laura Harring) knocks on the door pleading to be let inside, Sarah instinctively balks. She even calls the cops. But the woman leaves and all seems well. Crisis averted. Sarah puts the housekeys in the mailbox outside for Mom, and goes to bed. Big mistake.

Mystery Lady shows up at Sarah’s bedside armed with chloroform, an IV bag, and a case full of sharp-and-pointies (sorry, ’07 fans… those implements do not include a pair of scissors). The horror unfolds and the expected yet lively game of gory cat-and-mouse ensues. Then the tete-a-tete becomes a body-count chiller featuring one shocking moment after another.

Nichols is fantastic in the role, giving it her all. When the original Inside came out eleven years ago, she was starring in another French-helmed horror, P2—also set on Christmas eve—and she stole the show. She does the same here but with a less-intense adversary. Harring’s killer character, unlike her European counterpart, has a lot to say—which takes away from her initially mysterious manner as the minutes tick off. Still, the girl-on-girl action is a welcome change from the usual gender dynamic one sees in these things. Both deserve kudos for their performances.

While Inside isn’t a died-in-the-wool “Hollywood” remake (Miguel Ángel Vivas directs, while [REC] co-creator Jaume Balagueró wrote it) it feels like one. For those who’ve seen the original, there will be mild disappointment (which turns to major letdown at the very end). However, Inside is still a serviceable thriller that’s well-acted, beautifully shot, and effectively scored. Folks coming in fresh, and casual horror fans, will more than likely enjoy it.

  • Inside (Remake)
3.0

Summary

Inside is a serviceable thriller that’s well-acted, beautifully shot, and effectively scored. Folks coming in fresh, and casual horror fans, will more than likely enjoy it. For those who’ve seen the original, there will be mild disappointment (which turns to major letdown at the very end).

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What If Tina Fey Wrote Jennifer’s Body? My Friend’s Exorcism Book Review

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“Rummaging in one of his duffel bags, [the exorcist] pulled out and athletic cup and slid it down the front of his pants. ‘First place they go for,’ he explained. He then adjusted himself and picked up a well-worn Bible. ‘Let’s do the Lord’s work.'”

It was about a year ago now (it seems) that I first saw the cover of “My Best Friend’s Exorcism.” If you haven’t seen it for yourself in all of its glory, make sure to click the image over to the right for a more in-depth look. Awesome, right? Got to love all the VHS details such as the “Horror” and “Be Kind Rewind” stickers. Classic. Utter classic.

Now I’m fully aware that one should not judge a book by its cover. Literally. But still the moment I saw this work of delicious art crop up in the inbox I had to read the book asap. Well, it turns out asap was about a year later, but all the same, I’ve now had a peek at the inside of the book as well as the outside. Does the content inside match the content outside?

Let’s find out…

For those who might not know, “My Best Friend’s Exorcism” (henceforth referred to as MBFE) tells the tale of two best friends named Abby and Grethen. One night the two, and a few of there other friends, drop a bit of acid for the first time. While the drug never kicks in (no worries, there’s no lame twist-ending to be had here) poor Gretchen still wanders off into the woods and gets possessed like a motherf*cker in some creepy abandoned building. From there, things go from bad to worse until an unlikely exorcist is called in and things go off the wicked walls in all the best ways possible.

Now, to review. First of all, let it be know that MBFE is more of a teen romance (between two friends) than a straight tale of terror. Think of it as “What if Tina Fey wrote Jennifer’s Body?” and that will give you a good hint at what the book holds in store for you. Not that that’s a bad thing. Still, you should be aware that the first 2/3 of the book is almost exclusively teenagers not getting along, bitch about losing touch, who is sleeping with who, and yada, yada, yada for pages on end. Dramarama for days. Mostly.

That said, not only is the teen drama bearable (and truthfully quite sweet in spots), Hendrix keeps the horror in the spotlight just enough that I never lost faith the book was heading somewhere truly balls to the wall. And it does. Oh, boy does it. From the time the unholy shite hits the fan in the last third, to the time the last word is read, the book is filled with horror moments that will make even the most jaded fright-fiction fan gag, grimace, or stand up and cheer!

You just have to get through all the angst first…

But speaking of angst, let me get a bit of extremely personal business out of the way real quick. Can I trust you with this info? Sure I can. MBFE made is cry like a baby. Not kidding. There have been very few times in my life that I have literally burst out crying. I’ve had some sad shite happen in my days, and I have seen some sad-ass movies, but nothing has made me cry out of the f*cking blue like MBFE. I’m not going to go into details about the final 10 pages of the book, but it tore my poor horror-heart a new one. It was bad. Like snot and hyperventilating type shite. Again, not kidding. Thank the lord I wasn’t in public is all I can say. I would have arrested and thrown in the booby-hatch.

MBFE goes along like a slightly horror-centric version of Mean Girls and Heathers for most of its page count. If you’re a straight horror fan, you’ll be at odds with whether you should bother finishing it or not. You will. Trust me. But listen to me now and know that once our heroine goes into the dark, dank bedroom of the school’s resident bitch to find out why she hasn’t been in school the past few days/weeks, the horror hits like holy hell. And it only gets worse (RE: better) from there.

In the end, MBFE is a book ever horror fan should own – if only for the cover. I dug the hell out of the book (eventually) and I’m sure the majority of you guys will too. But even for those hard-hearts out there that just can’t stand to read about things like uncompromising love, and hellfire-forged friendship, you still need to own the book. You still owe it to yourself to give it a try. If you don’t care for it, that’s cool, just display in on your bookshelf in all it’s VHS glory. It will make you look cool.

  • My Best Friend's Exorcism - Book Review
3.5

Summary

Grady Hendrix’s “My Best Friend’s Exorcism” is a killer mixture of Mean Girls, Heathers, and The Exorcist. Just think of it as “What if Tina Fey wrote Jennifer’s Body” and you’ll have a good indication of what lies in store for you within the amazing VHS-inspired cover art.

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Knock Knock Review – This Throwback To The VHS Era Packs A Fun Punch

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Starring Kerry Tartack, Sisi Berry, Chuk Hell

Directed by Toby Canto


I remember the glory days of my youth back in the early to mid-80’s, renting every friggin horror flick on VHS and keeping the cassettes well past the return dates, eventually blacklisting my name from damn near all of the movie shops in my hometown. For the sole reason of wanting to hop back in the time-machine, I’ll never turn down the opportunity to check out a film that promises to ship you back to the days of all of that cheesy-neon attire and overblown hairdos.

Director Toby Canto was generous enough to offer his latest film up onto the sacrificial stone, and it’s called Knock Knock – about a WAY past his prime pugilist named Sam (Tartack) who is unwillingly thrust into a throwdown with a bloodsucker who happens to reside in the same apartment – damn noisy neighbors! His only birthday wish is to spend his 60th go-round safely hold up in his domicile, away from pesky residents alike. Well, that plan goes to shit when his kooky neighbor (Berry) comes by and pitches the idea of throwing hands with the newest tenant: a real creature of the night (Lucas Ayoub).

Sam initially nixes the idea wholeheartedly, but when more of his quirky neighbors show up to his place to substantiate the vampiric-claims, Sam finds himself lacing up the leather for one more round…or two, depending on if he can still take a beating. Filled with more than a handful of goofy instances, this near-hour presentation won’t blow the doors off of the horror/com vehicle, but should more than suffice in the short-term until the next spooky-laugher comes slithering out of its hole.

  • Film
3.0

Summary

Historians alike, this movie’s for those who want a reminder of how loopy those VHS days were, and the best part is you don’t have to rewind a freakin’ thing.

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