Monday, October 8, 2012

Blood Manor

As I've recently said, this year I wanted to make The Holidaze more than just a review site for candy, treats, and movies.  This year, I wanted to get out and take part in as many Haunted Attractions as I can in 31 days.  I absolutely love Haunted Houses and have since I was a young kid.  I used to be scared beyond belief, especially the first time my parents took me and my cousin, but I still craved the excitement each and every year.  In particular, I remember my Dad traveling in the rain to take us to "The Greenhouse of Fear."  I had to be about 10 or 11, but to this day, I don't remember where it was or how far away it was, all I know is that it was awesome, solidified my love for Haunted Houses, and vanished into the night as all good ghost stories do.

Now, for various reasons, I haven't been to a Haunted House in over two years.  2010 and 2011 came and went without a single attraction and that, my friends, is uncalled for.  I grew up on these things, from Haunted Hayrides to Haunted Mazes, these are can't miss traditions!  But, sadly, I did miss out on great times and I was determined to make sure that this didn't happen again.  So, on October 5th, my Girlfriend and I hopped a train to NYC to attend the Opening Night of Blood Manor!

This was a spur of the moment decision, so we didn't get to NY until about 11pm.  Luckily, Blood Manor stayed open until 2am so we had plenty of time.  Before I knew it, I saw the logos, the banners, the line and, out of nowhere, an Axe Wielding Maniac who jumped out from behind a mailbox.  I was not expecting to be startled so soon but, to the crowd's delight, he got me and my girlfriend good!  But no complaints here, that's what I was looking for.  I'm not the type to get scared of somebody in my face.  My gf will freak out for days with a mask in her face and a growl in her ear, but that doesn't affect me anymore.  When I was 10, I would have cried my eyes out, but now, I need to be startled.  I need you to pop out when I least expect it and, when you do, you'll get me and, in my mind, I'll give you credit.  That's what the Axe Wielder did and I was caught completely off guard.  Already this was shaping up to be memorable.

This photo is a bit deceiving.  The line appears to be stretched out to the corner, but the door is actually somewhere in the middle.  There were two options we had presented to us.  We could pay $40 each and hop on the "R.I.P. Line" and cut everybody else in no time.  Or, pay $35, and wait about 40 minutes before heading in.  We decided to pay less and wait.  

The reasoning had nothing to do with money because, really, what's the extra 5 bucks?  In fact, it was more about the entertainment.  We were looking for an experience and for this attraction to last a while.  So, by waiting on line, you're given the opportunity to interact with three "monsters," including the Axe Wielder, watch a special "Circus Freak" act, and enjoy random people being scared by these guys!  That might have been the best part.  There was a bar across the street so the sidewalk was congested with ladies and gents looking to get drunk, not be scared.  Well, too bad, little did they know Blood Manor had something else in mind.  Talk about the unexpected, they literally had no idea.  Moments like that made waiting worth while.

This isn't the best shot, but still one of the Axe Wiledling Maniac.  I don't know what his official name is, but that's what he did and that's what he was, so it fits.  This actor did a great job playing his part.  For as fun as it may be scaring people, you're always going to get the trouble makers and those who think they're part of the show and want to be funny.  In this guy's case, somebody said to AWM "Hey, did you just touch my ass?"  A few people laughed, but most grinned and thought it was a stupid thing to say.  But, this actor looked at him, hissed, and said "Ahhhh, even I wouldn't do that! Gross!" and ran off.  I appreciate the quick response because, honestly, it shows your in good hands.  You're obviously surrounded by actors who want to give you the best experience possible and, little things like that, prove they won't crack any under type of pressure.  Good job, Axe Wielding Maniac, whoever you may be!

Now, even though I don't get "scared" of people in costumes and in my face, that doesn't mean I can't appreciate the freakiness of this clown.  He's terrifying!  His mask was some type of doll head/clown face and, at times, he would just hunch over and laugh for a good two minutes.  Sometimes, he did it without any laughter at all.  That was even creepier.  But, the cool part about this guy, is he was there to interact.  For example, I was wearing this shirt..

..and the evil clown came over and spoke to me.  First of all, it was freaky because his mouth would move when he spoke or did some type of chomping motion.  Very nice touch.  But anyway, he comes over and says "Your shirt, who are these guys?"  I reply and he says "Oh yes yes, I used to enjoy a big bowl of Count Dracula cereal and honey when I was a child.  Oh yes, very good very good."  Then he laughed and walked off.  To be honest, I have no idea if he was in character or broke the 4th wall just to comment on my shirt, but it was nice to see the Monster Cereals get attention either way.

As he walked away, my gf got brave all of a sudden.  She snuk up behind him and made a face for the camera.  But one, notice how much space she left between the clown and herself and, two, take a look into her eyes and understand that there is still a great deal of fear in them.  Had this clown known what was going on and turned around, she would have flipped!  Part of me wishes he did because the reaction would have been priceless.  She likes the think that I'm there to protect her in these attractions, but believe me, I'm not.  These Haunted Houses are controlled spooks and the only time I'll let grown men get that close to her without any problems.  If you think I'm not enjoying her being scared, you'd better guess again.  It's hilarious!

The three Monsters surrounding and walking through the line seemed to vary in character.  One was supposed to be a maniac whose sole purpose was to kill you.  The second was supposed to be funny, but way too freaky to spend too much time with.  And the third, this guy, was some type of scary wolf guy.  I actually have no clue as to what he is, but he was very friendly.  When we took this picture, the guy taking it for us said "Get closer, he won't bite."  The actor responded "Yes I will haha."  He was funny, playful, and the least terrifying of the three.  He kinda looks like The Boogeyman, the old WWE superstar, but his teeth make him much better than that!  Pretty cool costume, whatever he's supposed to be.

As we moved closer to the door, the show started and it featured so-called "Circus Freaks."  This guy, dressed in a dress, is known for his stretchy skin, doubt jointed bones and, as pictured, the ability to bring his fingers all the way back to touch the top of his hand.  He was good, but his speaking skills were, in my opinion, far superior to his contortion.  He was able to handle a large crowd, keep them interested, entertained, and help pass the time.

Right before we went into Blood Manor, he asked for an assistant to come help him on stage.  What this girl had to do was stand on another man as he laid down on a bed of nails.  It's something I'm sure we've all seen before and, even if I don't know how it's done, it's impressive.  It certainly received a good crowd reaction and, at the end of the day, that's what it's all about.

In addition to contortion and nails, there was also fire being thrown around like it was nothing.  I'm always more scared for me in that instance than I am for the performers.  If you drop it and set yourself on fire, that's one thing, just don't lose your grip and fling it into the crowd.  That's more fear than I'm looking for.

Oh, and if you wanted to tip these Circus Freaks, you could!  If you had a $5 bill or more, you could staple it into the skin of any one of these guys or a female that they had as well.  The catch with the girl was that you could staple it into her breasts.  Two guys actually did.  I wonder why they chose to staple the girl over the guys?  Hm.. Well, sorry guys, no pictures!  It was time to go inside!

When you got inside and waited on a smaller line, there was 3D art all over the walls.  The one photo above will have to suffice for any pervs I have reading The Holidaze and missed out on the stapled boob.

Obviously, once I was inside, I couldn't take many pictures.  But I snapped that one above and it doesn't really do the room justice.  As you're waiting, the black lights really illuminate everything around you that you feel like you're in a different world.  Its vibrant, colorful, and spooky.  For a queued line, that's just about all you can ask for.  And it wasn't all naked witches feasting on the blood of their victims, it was a little bit of everything!

We went in with about 5 or 6 other people and I was at the front of the line.  At this point, I had to put my phone away and enjoy the ride.  I wanted to soak up as much as possible because, from what I read, there were so many little details on each set and, if you traveled too fast, you'd miss out.  That definitely wasn't going to happen here.  I wanted to look at everything!

After you're given directions, they send you on your way.  Now, I'm not looking to spoil anything for anybody here, but I'll give you a few of the highlights for me.  First of all, the actors were great.  There were a few that really served no purpose, but for the most part, they did a great job throughout Blood Manor.  There is one stop where you're asked to look at a TV screen and, low and behold, it's you.  Only, it's not the person you remember.  It's who you're going to become as your journey continues.  That was probably my favorite part of the night and I encourage you to see what I'm talking about!

There's one part where it's completely pitch black and you have to find your way through on your own.  When you're at the front of the line, that's easier said than done!  It wasn't just a straight walk through, you have to use your hands and feel your way through.  It's scary because you're literally lost.  But that's the great thing about it!  It's so much fun.. unless you're afraid of the dark!  In that case, good luck! Bwahaha!

Some scenes involved more talking than others and, at one point, I didn't know if I should wait and listen or keep going.  I guess I was supposed to keep walking because the actor, a deranged boyfriend, said "Keep it moving Homebody whatchu looking at?"  That was great!  He was obviously torturing his "lady" and he was letting you know, if you don't keep it moving, you'll be next!  Greatness!

Throughout the rest of Blood Manor, you'll find people begging you to help them.  Actors in your face demanding you stay with them.  Countless jumps and startles.  3D paint that pop better than I've ever seen with the glasses they give you.  And, of course, the detail.  The attention to detail was so amazing that I didn't even have enough time to soak it all in.  I tried!  I held back, let people go in front of me, but the next group caught up and we had to keep it moving for the sake of our own experience.  But from what I saw, damn, it's great.  Everything from TV screens in transition rooms to lights everywhere.  I absolutely loved it.  They created an atmosphere crucial to the Halloween spirit.  Combined with the music, you're looking at one hell of a trip.

There's so much more that I don't want to spoil, but I implore you to go check this out if you have an opportunity.  Blood Manor is definitely one of, if not the, best Haunted Attractions I've ever been to and, if I can, I'll make another trip before this season comes to an end.  If you're interested, check them out at

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