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The Chambers of Horror (Middletown, OH)
"May It Be Your Last Ride"
By Noah Wullkotte: Jollypumpkin@aol.com

The Chambers of Horror is one of the best examples of an old school haunt in the state of Ohio. They don't rely on big budget props or huge expensive sets. Their main focus is to take you out of your comfort zone with intense scenes of horror and in your face actors.

Every year I look forward to this Middletown haunt because it offers something different than other haunts in Ohio. The Chambers of Horror is dark, twisted and you never know what to really expect. We arrived at 8 PM sharp and unfortunately the haunt opened around 8:30. Considering this is their second night of operation, it can be understandable.

Things happen with haunts that are unexpected and sometimes this affects the time they are scheduled to open. The crowd was small, but it would increase a lot as the night progressed. The Chambers of Horror was worth our wait because there are many unique effects and scenes you'll see at The Chambers of Horror that you won't see anywhere else.

Before entering the haunt, you walk into a small room where a video plays that features Jigsaw from the movie Saw. He proceeds to explain what you're about to experience and tells you the rules of the haunt. Suddenly the door opens and you're greeted by a crazy hunchback holding a glowing candle. This actor is very dedicated to his character and obviously loves his job. His voice and mannerisms are spot on and you would swear that he was straight out of an old black and white horror flick or a classic horror movie novel.

The Chambers of Horror focuses on many popular horror classics such as Halloween, Friday The 13th, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Dracula and much more. Some scenes are just loosely based on the movie.This year's boiler room is much improved with better acting by Freddy Krueger and is more intense than in recent years. This can be a quite intense haunt in the way it incorporates hidden doors, dark hallways and some very startling effects.

The Chambers of Horror is one of the first haunts in Ohio that pioneered the falling ceiling effect (aka The Crusher) and walls that closed in on you. The Chambers is also one of the first haunts to use the now infamous Hellevator. This year's version is much improved with realistic sound effects and movements. You'll feel like you're in a malfunctioning elevator that's going straight to hell.

But The Chambers of Horror doesn't just rely on Horror movies or unique effects. There are also many hidden doors and passageways throughout the haunt and it's your goal to figure out how to escape in one piece. I only wish that you weren't locked in rooms for so long. It's fun at first, but after a while it can become a little monotonous. There should only be one scene with hidden doors because it starts to lose its originality after you've experienced essentially the same hidden door room again and again.

Some horror movie scenes could also use some improvement. Freddy's boiler room is close to pitch black, Michael Myers Victim's room is just a small bedroom and the Friday The 13th scene leaves a lot to desired. Jason does little except for pointing his machete at you. I enjoy classic horror movies, but for them to be really effective, they need to be as detailed and authentic as possible.

Unfortunately most young teens won't remember some of the older classics since they weren't even born when they were released. Unless a remake of a horror classic is released, the horror movie reenactment isn't going to have as big of an effect on them as it would on an older adult who grew up with these movies. But as I said before, The Chambers of Horror doesn't just focus on horror movies. There's a variety of rooms that will put a chill down your spine. This includes a new and improved graveyard, a shrinking hall, a butcher shop, hall of mirrors and much more.

After you've escaped The Chambers of Horror, make sure to check out their large concessions area. It's one of the best I've ever seen with some of the best deals you'll find at any haunt. Where else can you purchase a hot dog for only $1 or choose from a variety of Halloween masks at a 666 Graveyard Sale? The concessions area also offers cold refreshements, a variety of food and Chambers of Horror T Shirts that come in many sizes. Before exiting the haunt, please don't forget to check out the haunt's detailed Halloween Viillage featuring scary figurines, detailed buildings and more. Many of these small pieces of art have been collected over the years by the owner Ed Short. There's a lot of thought that went into building this.

But your experience at The Chambers of Horror isn't over just yet. New this year is their interactive coffin ride, also known as The Last Ride. This new attraction is unique to say the least. If you've ever wanted to know how it feels to be transported in a hearse while inside a coffin and then buried alive, then this is the attraction for you. For $6 or a $15 combo ticket, you can be buried alive and meet the coffin's owner Beetle Juice.  For only $10 you can purchase a ticket for the haunt. Bring one non perishable canned good and get a dollar off on Friday nights. The actor who plays Beetle Juice is a great salesman and does a great job making the character his own. You'll swear it's Michael Keaton himself.

Overall The Chambers of Horror has made some improvements in certain areas and needs to improve in others. Make sure to visit The Chambers of Horror this Halloween season because it's a great classic haunt you can bring your family and friends to. New things are being added weekly; so you never know what to expect at this haunt. It's a perfect example of what Halloween is all about.

Length-9  Design-8  Props/Animatronics-7  Acting-8  Scare Effect-7 

Final Stab: 7.8 

http://www.thechambers.org