I'm not much of a fan of haunted hayrides, but I do enjoy haunted houses (go figure). Tonight I went to Keyport, NJ, for a haunt called the Macabre Manor held in an old Jersey Central Power & Light building. And in case you're wondering because of the picture, there's no "Macabre Manor" sign on the outside.
Keyport apparently had just finished having a street festival and it was breaking down when I arrived for the haunt. There were quite a few kids hovering in the area and I was a little worried it was going to be overrun with their antics, but order was well maintained by the boys in blue who were on assignment.
Outside they had a fogger working up a good mist, but the cool October breeze kept blowing it away. A few actors worked the crowd, including the obligatory chainsaw guy (who did get the girls to scream a lot) and some creepy looking characters. They even had a kid zombie working the line. I liked the big-headed coachman with his razor like teeth. It provided good entertainment while waiting for the doors to open.
I was able to be right at the front of the line and got to go in first when the host looked for a party of two to fill out a group of six. The Manor is a one-level haunt (I was only slightly disappointed) but they offered good atmosphere, some excellent prop work, and even a good scare or two (not for me, but for my wife). I was pretty much engrossed looking at all of the props, trying to steal ideas.
I found the best part of the walk-thru to be the cemetary area, complete with dirt floor. They channeled you through a narrow corridor with some twists and turns, but the lighting (blue) and the scenery (some animatronics and one live actor to scare) was engaging.
The operating room was fun too. I'm sure I'm not revealing any secrets to note they had a live actor with his head and arms through a table where a torso with guts spewing out was on a table. The surgeon gave a nice little talk to the six of us, then proceeded to whack the heck out of the torso which sprayed us all with "blood." Good effect and had the three girls in the group screaming. The little kid who was carried by his father and had been a trouper throughout started bawling when that scene finished.
For just $10 it was a very reasonable price for the entertainment received. Speaking of entertainment, they gave a two-trick magic show as part of the haunt. While I wasn't sure if I should clap or not when the performance was over (I did), it was entertaining nonetheless.
In all, the Macabre Manor was a haunt worth visiting.