I have a few friends who are staffed at E. State Penn for the holiday season. We got in the night before it opened and I must say, this is the craziest it’s EVER been. Glad I only live a few miles from this place because it’s definitely a great haunt!
I live a few miles away too! best Halloween event I have seen so far. It’s great all year round doing the audio tours also
It’s been a few years since my last visit to a haunted house. I have been to a few though, some good, some bad, and one that was amazing. And I do love a good scary movie. Terror Behind The Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary was a disappointment.
The costumes and makeup were well done. Some actors and actresses roam around while you wait in line to get into the main event, sneaking up behind people and scaring them. It makes the wait easier because you are constantly anticipating being startled or watching it happen to others. But the actual event was a let-down.
Before going into detail I must first tell of an insightful observation that my girlfriend made. There was one actor going through the crowd messing with people as they arrived. He was particularly good at his character (definitely one of the best there) He came up to us several times while online and said in his creepy voice “you wanna be first?(snickering) you’ll figure it out”. A cliched line that I thought he was posing as a question. But it was indeed an ominous warning of things to come. As my girlfriend astutely noted at the end of our experience, that zombie prison guard was actually making a statement, not asking a question. It was advice from a friend that we dismissed as a haunted-house banter from a guy in character. In reality he was giving us instructions. “you wanna be first” or else it completely sucks. And he was right, we did “figure it out.”
So, back to my review. Overall, It just wasn’t frightening.
The key to a good scare is not knowing it’s going to happen. But they have so many people to get in there that it is a bit rushed. They let you in with at least 10 or 12 other people in a single-file line. 9 out of 10 times you know something is coming a few seconds before it happens to you because you hear and/or see it happen to the guy a few paces ahead. And that’s the best case scenario-that’s if you get lucky enough for it to happen to you!
Half of the tour is done through a maze of make-shift plywood partitions in the courtyard, which disappointed me because I imagined the creators would have used the amazing setting of the interior of the prison much more than they did. There was nothing frightening in this part at all.
After you get through the courtyard and into part of the prison there are only a small handful of rooms designed well for scaring (almost all of those however are spoiled though if you yourself, are not the very first person in your line) other rooms are just like stations that you walk by where you very briefly watch an actor perform some kind of action like pretending to operate on a body or they repeat some one-liner. There was an overall lack of blood and guts but this ingredient was especially lacking in the infirmary portion.
I live about an hour from the place so it wasn’t a terrible distance to travel. But it just wasn’t worth it. To put it in perspective I wouldn’t go back if it were right down the road from me and only $5-$10 for admission.
By the way, the terror behind the walls trip did leave us wanting To tour prison during the daytime even more than before. You don’t really see too much at night for the Halloween event
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