Friday, October 28, 2016

Gravesend Inn Haunted Hotel (Review)

There isn't a a lot of haunted houses in NYC. Some get infamy like Blood Manor, others are doing different things. However, there is always one every year I seem to never go to that's on various site site lists and that's Gravesend Inn Haunted Hotel. So I decided to trek out DUMBO and finally cross this haunt off my NYC haunted house bucket list because I clearly wasn't going to go to Randalls Island for a boring hayride again.

The Gravesend Inn Haunted Hotel is a very short but fun mini version of Disneyland's Haunted Mansion. It's literally like only 15 minutes if you go slower than continental drift. It's not filled with actors looking to BOO! you but is the result of the craftsmanship of New York City College of Technology students who have created animatronic set pieces and rooms that are as professional as any big amusement park.

A few actors scare you on line (the only annoyance was waiting 45 min for a 15 minute ride) and a few are in the haunt. But it's the motion detected rooms with top notch animatronics and accompanying jolting scares that are quite good.

The rooms all have clearly timed scares and the entire walkthrough is supposed to resemble a hotel, from boiler rooms, to bedrooms, to bathrooms, to a study and to concluding winding pathway leading you out. There is a mix of old school talking props to high tech HD screens. One room was upside down which was awesome.

It won't be scary to a hardened jaded viewer but tweens, teens and the occasional wussy with the rightly timed scare might be screaming.

I think the best part of the haunt is it is supposed to show off the school's entertainment department so as you finally exit you end up in a theater and on 2 big screens see the command and control center time as they scare the unsuspecting guests. One monitor shows the surveillance cameras in all the rooms and the other shows the layout of the haunt and how they guide the crowds.

This was fascinating to see and as you hear the screams from the haunt, you're also seeing the people react to the scares. It's really damn hysterical to see.

All in all, Gravesend Inn uses creativity and education to make a quaint little haunt for kids and teens who want a quick scare in Brooklyn. Because it's so short and only scary for noobs, I'll grade it on a curve and say the Gravesend Inn Haunted Hotel is 3 solid spin kicks.

The Vitals

Sunday, September 18, 2016

House 7A: A Haunted Encounter (Review)

via House 7a Facebook page
I'll admit, it's a bit odd going to a haunted house in September. It's a a bit too warm to get into the Halloween spirit but when a Twitter follower told me about House 7a at Governor's Island I figured I should check it out. It's never to early to get your haunt on.

Funded on Kickstarter House 7A, is a free "daymare" haunt (as it runs form 12pm-5pm) on the island. Groups of 8 enter the very cramped little house 7a complete it's own created mythology. Following a candy path and reading clues dictated by a green light, we find out what has happened to the Crowe family, as it seems the family has a mysterious entity living with them.

Running about 20 min or so House 7a is very atmospheric instead of actors looking to jump scare you. The rooms are carefully staged and each room is crafted with Halloween props to evoke the mystery. From darkened rooms with Satanic writing to daylight rooms with a sense of creepiness it clearly has a Shining like vibe with letters, tape recordings evolving the story.

House 7a has the spirit of an indie DIY haunt. I like it's atmosphere and they describe themselves as a "slow burn" haunt which is 100% accurate. You also get some surprises which is what the people seem to expect these days. But as a free haunt and the fact you'll get walk ons just wanting to go in, 8 people per tour was a but crowded and it seems they wanted to get as many people in so they did tours every half hour. I think if I experienced more of a non rushed walk through and they used some well timed music or simple special effects, it might have been more effective. I was expecting little "dead" kids actors scaring me and other adults and kids in the haunt. Now that would have been crazy scary.

House 7a is an appetizer haunt before we go to the Halloween season. You can sense it's artists doing an artistic haunted house. For what it is, a free immersive art haunt, it works. However if you're looking for a haunted houses that pushes boundaries, you should probably look elsewhere.

In conclusion, House 7a brought me to Governors Island, a place I've never been to oddly enough. So I enjoyed most of my day taking in the Island, eating some food truck vendy food and enjoyed my Saturday afternoon. Going to an early haunted house in Sept was just the proverbial gravy.

The Vitals