Thursday, October 10, 2013

Bennett's Curse Haunted House (Review)


When you're planning to go on a haunted house road trip, make sure you're with people who are on the same page as you or you're going to have a bad time. Thank the crazies I have friends who are as insane as I am. Joined by blogger "C' of The Raven and Black Cat and fellow Blackout Survivor "D" we trekked the 3 or so hours to just outside Baltimore, Maryland to hit up not 1 but 2 haunted houses on the same night.

First stop was Bennett's Curse in Jessup, MD. Just by looking at their website you can see the accolades galore of "Best Haunt" this and "Top Halloween Attractions" that. Its for those reasons it was first on our list. As this was my first road trip haunt (my out of state haunts included Goretorium in Vegas and Universal Horror Nights in LA) I expected to be in the middle of nowhere and boy is Bennett's Curse in the middle of nowhere, USA. The approach to the haunt is ominously X-Files-ish as a white gigantic hanger bellows in the distance.

Inside it's filled with a online quick pic and an ominous animatronic dragon. It's dark and our fast pass tickets scurry us into the fast lane. A creepy old guy gives instructions and off we go.

You want Vampires? We got us some Vampires

Bennett's Curse is basically every incarnation of haunted houses rolled into one though they are kind of try to mislead you early on with actors spewing speeches about a medieval war between vampires and demons. That's so you'll be mesmerized by the insane amounts of high tech monsters they have set up triggered by motion detectors (?) to scare you. The amount of props crammed into the haunt can be overwhelming and stratgically placed actors looking to jump scare you is adequate but few and far between.

You'll get some air cannons ready to give you a quick jolt and some Travel Channel approved 30 feet tall dragons, gargoyles and monsters all ready to swing into action. I'll admit these special effects were quize mesmerizing but easily got tiring at the same time. As "C" pointed out, these were bought at the haunted house warehouse on the dollar. A moving eye prop was very top notch as was a giant dragon mouth that knocked me a bit sideways. They seemed to spend top dollar on their Halloween monsters hence the continued commercial of being featured on The Travel Channel as you entered.

But as you progress, you will get different versions of haunted houses at Bennett's Curse. All are labeled with fancy gloom and doom nicknames like "House of the Vampyres" which were the prop laden animatronics maze I discussed earlier. "Zombie Kingdom 3D" which was  a 3-D colorful zombie maze complete with 3-D entrails emanating from the actors. "Sanctuary of Insanity" was an insane asylum complete with maniacs who will move the "jail bars" to keep you confused and lost.The haunt has no unifying theme but to get you spooked and hang out with every kind of boogeyman you can think of.

Flashlights: Scary Shit

However, one of the parts of Bennett's Curse was something that didn't have elaborate effects, crazy monsters set to Metal. It was a simple twist and turn maze that was in complete darkness. As you went through, various actors armed with flash lights would light up their gruesome faces at just the right moment to scare the bejesus out of you. There would be a flicker of light that would scare and indirectly help to guide your way out. Never have I walked slowly, arm outstretched hoping for that quick flashlight to get me through a maze. This was the best part of Bennett's Curse in it's utter simplicity and scare-o-meter.

The actors were mostly mute bystanders making sure to get in your face when appropriate. Some actors mocked my clumsiness as I bumped into my friends in the utter darkness. It's these brief exchanges of WTF did they just say that? that make the haunt a little more personal.

Final Thoughts

I've been to my fair share of high level haunted houses. Bennett's Curse is a smorgasboard of all your favorite monster haunts jampacked into one huge Halloween extravaganza. I'll say that all 3 haunted houses had some moments that had me jumping but not one of their 3 haunts had me going "Holy shit! That was fuckin awesome". You'll get your laughs, your screams and your share of WTFs if you go in not looking for anything more than your pre-packed monster goodies loot bag.

I think the road trip to Bennett's Curse was well worth the drive but I'm probably not going to be back in the future. Unless they have a giant hanger masked in darkness and nothing but actors with flashlights. But who would pay for that?

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