A few weeks ago, I was one of those lucky enough to attend a series of classes and make n takes held at Castle Blood Haunted Adventure in Monessen, PA, as part of a halfway-to-Halloween event. It was a fantastic event, with classes on makeup, lighting, cemetery statues, magic, lighting, haunt acting, and so much more. Included with the event was dinner, a lights on, daylight tour of the Castle, and of course, a full on performance in the evening.
For those not familiar with Castle Blood, allow me to give you a little background: it began in the early 1990s as a home haunt, but quickly rose to become one of the top haunts in America. Breaking from the traditional haunt format of "jump-out-and-go-boo", the Castle takes a highly theatrical approach, having patrons actually interact with the characters and solve puzzles in order to progress through the Castle; it's a lot like playing a game of Dungeons and Dragons in Disney's Haunted Mansion. There was even one interactive moment where I was actually separated from the group for a one on one experience - let me tell you, if you think a regular haunt is scary, try going through that same haunt ALONE. There's nothing to get the blood pumping like ascending a dark staircase with Midnight Syndicate playing softly in the background, uncertain of what lies ahead of you.
It's been referred to as "the thinking man's haunted house", and I agree wholeheartedly. It was a truly fantastic show, the performances were spot on (the Transylvanian doorman and Vapor the zombie bride stood out as particularly memorable), the scares will timed, and the fact that they only let in small groups really gave the whole event a truly intimate, creepy feeling. And the sets - just incredible! First off, the crew of Castle Blood really know to set dress a haunt - I really felt like I was walking through some long abandoned haunted manor inhabited by the undead. The building alone is incredible - a 100 year old former former funeral home housed in a three story Gothic Victorian house high on hill - in other words, the perfect location for a haunt!
All in all I had an absolute blast at Castle Blood - and you can bet your fangs I'll be back in October for their full Halloween show!