Category: Pennsylvania

2017, Halloween, Haunted Attractions, Horror, Oni Haunts, Pennsylvania, Reviews

GUEST POST: Haunted Attraction Review: Lancaster, Pennsylvania: Field of Screams

Disclosure: Oni and I were invited out to the media day event at Field of Screams and were provided VIP passes to tour their houses and events this year–Oni was in LA at the time, so I brought with me some newbies to the event to see their reaction to what has historically been one of my favorite haunted attraction locations. They had some great set ups showing the history of the event:


When you enter Field of Screams, you immediately realize it isn’t going to be a run-of-the-mill haunted attraction location.

2016, Attractions, General, Halloween, Haunted Attractions, Pennsylvania

Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania Haunted Attractions: Hotel of Horror / Altered Nightmares 2016 Review

Let’s just cut to the Real Talk. Hotel of Horror and Altered Nightmares are back this year and they are in fabulous form. They made several changes to their haunts this year and the actors are giving the great performances that these haunts are famous for. A large part of these attractions have been redone. There are completely new rooms. Pre-existing rooms have been totally re-staged. New pathways have been created. Much of what you know from the last 2 years is different.

I know that the first question I am going to get is “How does it compare to last year?” This year’s show is several levels above and beyond their show last year. If you didn’t go last year or were thinking of sitting this year out you should re think your life choices. This is the year to go. Let’s talk about what’s going on this year and why that’s the case.

Hotel of Horror’s theme this year is Judgment Day. “Be witness to medical mishaps injustices and their consequences.” For example, this guy:



Altered Nightmares theme this year is Dark Magic. “Visit a world where spells and curses rule the kingdom.”


I am not going to give away the surprises or tell you what rooms are totally new and how the pathways were redone. Both attractions are more intense and more focused than last year with a higher skill level displayed by all of their actors. And no – they didn’t really know I was coming. I swooped in quickly and paid to go this year because my schedule and mental ability to handle advance organization got eaten by Hurricane Matthew.

I loved almost everything that I saw in both attractions. Most of the actors were on their game this year. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that a very small number of new actors were relying on only pop n scare. 1 used words such that I thought his room would be a theatrical room. When we paid attention to him thinking that there was more he didn’t have more. Some of the newer folks weren’t tag-teaming with their neighbors in the other rooms so in very small places the flow seemed a bit inconsistent, but these instances are few and far between.

It should be noted that I am holding these guys to a higher scare actor bar than I would hold other attractions to because their strength has always been the diversity and improv of their actors. It’s almost kind of silly to say because the staging and layout of both haunts is also A+. The key is that their actors are what makes these guys unique on a national scale in my personal opinion. There is a lot of good work out there. These guys have the most unique scare actors who are allowed to customize their rooms and create their own story for you while they will also scare you. Most haunts don’t put much time into this. This is art. Seriously. This is a completely unique point of view that could only come from Hotel of Horror and Altered Nightmares.

Both attraction are top tier and consistent favorites of mine. All of the actors that I noticed weren’t as developed were new, so of course that is to be expected. I know that as they work at this haunt they will learn the improv. I am already hearing reports that the skill level has improved with the new folks every weekend from some of my friends who have gone on their own a couple times.

This place is a true delight. Snort Gore was wandering around the front, which is always one of my favorite sights to see.

Snort Gore

How can you resist that face?

AS USUAL I have to call out one thing that is way beyond anything else you will see on a national stage. And that is this guy in Altered Nightmares:


Not every scare actor will ACTUALLY LEARN JAPANESE over the course of 2 years in preparation for a scare actor role. Anthony HoH did. The sheer amount of preparation, accuracy, and devotion to the craft demonstrated in just this 1 Altered Nightmares room blows away everything else I have ever seen in my writing career. To make it even more impressive, I was an Asian Studies student who was conversationally fluent in Japanese. I still understand Japanese. I could easily understand him. He was so good that I was surprised. My Japanese ended up being bad and heavily accented American – because WTF I did not expect that. This is a culturally accurate kabuki character.

This is Toukatsu:

I often say that Netherworld is worth a plane trip. Eastern PA is also worth a plane trip. Here you have Hotel of Horror, Halls of Horror, Field of Screams, and The Freak and Funhouse all within close distance of each other so that you can make a weekend of it. (Use my reviews here to plan.)

This year Hotel of Horror and Altered Nightmares pulled off a tremendous triumph that brings them back to what they were most strongest in. The attractions are great and so are the scare actors in only the way that this particular group can achieve. Toukatsu is worth a plane trip on his own even if you see nothing else. I can’t guarantee you that this character will be here next year so you really should call out of work, sell your arm or kidneys or whatever if you have to and DO THIS ONE.

2016, Halloween, Haunted Attractions, Pennsylvania

HAUNTED ATTRACTION BULLSHIT: Pennhurst Asylum has been sold; we do not know if the haunted house will return

EDIT: The haunt will actually open this year and some of the original actors are returning. I don’t know anything else beyond this. Look here for details.

I just heard from Pennhurst Asylum Operations Manager Michael E Majewski Jr that Pennhurst will be sold to new management for 2016. The current management will no longer be involved. We are not sure if there will be a haunted attraction this year.

“It is with great sadness that I must inform you all that my time at Pennhurst Asylum has come to an abrupt end.

As of yesterday it was official that the property is under contract to be sold to a new owner. And the haunted house will be under new management.”

Full source:

Pennhurst was one of the best haunted attractions in the country so this is upsetting. Michael E Majewski Jr, Bates Motel Productions, and the cast are irreplaceable. I watched while they took an old building, made it safe, and put a world-class haunted attraction inside that just got better and better every year. The haunted attraction was good enough to completely get past our dislike for asylum-themed haunts, revolutionize how haunted attractions are implemented, and earn our highest recommendation every single year.

I am well aware of what goes into that and I am completely sure that not just anyone could have pulled it off. So you’ll have to excuse me if I say that if it does return it probably won’t be as good. Double that sentiment because this was a surprise today to even the cast and management. It’s super late to plan a haunt for Fall. Even if the new mangement jumped in and did it now they’d still be so behind schedule that I can only see a clusterfuck.

So that sucks.

Everyone involved with this attraction has a lot to be proud of. I hope they get work at another attraction because the world needs this.

Pennhurst WAS Bates Motel Productions (Randy Bates and Todd Beringer) partnered with Pennhurst Acquisitions (Tim Smith Sr. and Executive Assistant Deb Bosher) as Pennhurst Haunt LLC. Michael Majewski Jr (Juice) was Operations Manager along with Haunt Manager Chris Riddle, and John Brady on Tech and Sound.

Click here to read my haunted attraction reviews.

2015, Attractions, Halloween, Haunted Attractions, Pennsylvania, Reviews

Newtown, Bucks County, PA Haunted Attractions: House in the Hollow / Sleepy Hollow Hayride 2015 review

There’s something special about the House in the Hollow. Yeah, I say that a lot because I am really good at finding cool things that make each haunt different, but these guys are really over the top. They actually built an entire freaking haunted house from inside to outside. Not only does it loom as fiercely as Disney’s Haunted mansion but it has similar ingenuity and design incorporated throughout.

This is one of the few haunts that does not feel disposable. It feel like an ongoing project that started with good design and solid craftsmanship which keeps getting extrapolated each year.

There is good reason for this. I am told that Alan, the designer behind the house comes from a Disney Imagineer school of thought. You can clearly tell that it was inspired by Disney, but not derivative. This is basically what happens when a haunter that isn’t bound by Disney rules put forth best in class effort with Disney level skill.

The result is breathtaking.

They changed a lot this year and I am told that they even change from night to night. 17 rooms are open to the public plus a graveyard and crypt. No chainsaws are involved with this room, but the finale is the strongest I have ever seen. I won’t spoil it for you, but the sound design, architecture, and everything involved achieve something that no chainsaw finale could ever do with 1000x the memorability.

Each year I am blown away by this place and this year was no exception. I recommended this to some friends and they literally bought 3 more tickets to go back in multiple times. It’s that good.

Also on the premises is Sleepy Hollow Hayride and the Field of Fright corn maze. I like the approach of having the actors hang on the sides of the cart in the hayride and really liked the beginning, I feel that this is more creative than most. I also think that if they took a theatrical element and advised the actors to banter back and forth with each other it would greatly “level up” this attraction with minimal investment.

I also love how in the Field of Fright they built up mini haunted house-type areas within it. Similarly to the hayride, I feel that a theatrical element would take it up to another level. The guy screaming “Corn! CORN? CORN CORN!” cracked us up and was probably the best ever.

All in all we enjoyed everything here. The House in the Hollow is the fan favorite, but all of these attractions together make for a great family night out. They took what they had last year and made it better all around. I love the creativity and ingenuity here and truly feel that nobody does theatrical haunts better than these guys, which is why I’d love to see more of it throughout all of the attractions. Every year we look forward to coming here, and that will never change.

This place is a true gem. DO THIS ONE.

2015, Attractions, Halloween, Haunted Attractions, Oni Haunts, Pennsylvania, Reviews

Video: OniHaunts: Lancaster, Pennsylvania Haunted Attractions: Field of Screams 2015 review

Read my Field of Screams review here:

Read all of the haunted attraction reviews here:

I’m Oni Hartstein. I run the big Doctor Who Convention ( and Intervention, the kick ass artist makerspace ( – both in Maryland.

I travel a lot. is my blog of weird things that I like. One of the main things that I like are haunted attractions. Every year Harknell and I cover over 3000 miles to find, review, and spotlight the best haunted attractions, bizarre theater experiences, and offbeat travel destinations. We love our job.

These videos are a companion to the blog, so make sure you subscribe over there, too.



Video Editing: Stephen Baker

Equipment Used
in Car: Sony AS15 Action Cam w/Skeleton Frame and Suction Mount
On Foot: Sony AS15 Action Cam w/AKA LU1 lcd screen Adapter