ALL about… haunted houses


Credit: Jason Hall

Dave Bolger

Daily Kent Stater

At the 7 Floors of Hell in Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds, you will certainly get your money’s worth. For $22, you can walk through seven different haunted houses or you can pick any three for $20. Each haunted house has its own theme; one is a graveyard, one is a butcher shop, and another is 3-D haunted clown house.

Even those with the thickest skin will be shaken to their bones, and it’s worth every penny.

The 7 Floors started at Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds in 1993. According to manager Joseph Gefferd, 7 Floors utilizes more than 80 animatronics and 100 workers in costume.

The 7 Floors grounds are filled with all sorts of electronic monsters as well as zombies who chase you with chain saws. The company that funds 7 Floors, Night Screen Productions, runs haunted attraction shows all over the world including several at Six Flags theme parks in the United States and is also currently funding an attraction at the World’s Fair in Shanghai.

What sets 7 Floors apart from most other haunted houses and makes it worth paying the seemingly high price is the sheer size of this place. The attraction covers more than 50,000 square feet that, in addition to the haunted houses, includes several snack booths that offer carnival food, like funnel cakes and elephant ears, and a gift shop with all the 7 Floors gear you’ll ever need.

Most patrons may have trouble seeing everything there is to see at the 7 Floors in one night. With so much to do at The 7 Floors of Hell, it makes it one of the best bargains for Haunted House-goers’ time.

The 7 Floors of Hell

Where? Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds 164 Eastland Road, Berea

How Much? $20 for 3 houses, $22 for all 7

Times: Thursday & Sunday 7p.m. – 10 p.m.

Fridays & Saturdays 7p.m. – midnight

Ally Melling

Daily Kent Stater

Remove the caskets, fog and roaming movie monsters from Canton’s Factory of Terror, and it would still be utterly creepy.

This Halloween attraction takes up only a tiny fraction of the vast Hercules Engine factory, a former ice company that once temporarily housed the dead victims of a 1917 influenza before their burial. The building has supposedly been haunted ever since.

Today, The Factory of Terror features two elaborate “haunted houses” for thrill seekers to try, both for $16 or just one for $10.

The Haunted Halls of Hercules’ blackened hallways will have visitors reaching out with their hands to feel the way, but watch out for the little surprises hanging from the ceiling. Between the corridors are highly detailed and very spooky little vignettes that are varied and literally shocking to look at. These little scary scenes range from the reality-based (i.e. the blood-soaked “Support Our Troops” room) to the fantastic (a lush graveyard guarded by a vampire vixen). Patrons will also walk through an awesome fluorescent red tunnel, but finding their way on the other side of is the real trick.

On the other side is The Labyrinth of Darkness, which is slightly easier to navigate and yields more unexpected shocks for visitors.

The real attraction here is the countless, expensive props that move and surprise when least expected. The sheer attention to detail in each part of the puzzle is amazing. The Labyrinth also showcases some really nifty Egyptian-mummy motifs that give a different, exotic feel to the attraction.

Factory of Terror

Where? 1036 Market Ave. South, Canton

How Much? $10 (one house), $16 (both)

Times: Friday & Saturday 7 p.m. – midnight

Sunday 7 – 10 p.m.


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Robert Taylor

Daily Kent Stater

Imposingly situated on a hill in Akron, the Haunted Schoolhouse and Laboratory have represented a tradition of terror for generations of local families since their doors moaned open for the first time in 1974.

The set-up of the houses is classic. Fearful customers wander through several floors of seemingly abandoned old mills, castles and more while encountering creature after creature (somewhere between 85 to 100 in all), each one intent on making victims scream.

“I love Halloween,” said Fred Coladonato, a 10-year employee who plays an undertaker in the Schoolhouse. “I always have. I never wanted to be a clown or a pirate or anything like that. It had to be scary, and it’s carried on through this.”

Some of the most memorable adventures in the buildings include a walk down a wind tunnel, a mad scientist’s laboratory, a chatty skeleton on a toilet and a pickup truck that drives right at you.

Both the Schoolhouse and Laboratory go through a bit of a facelift every year in order to garner new screams.

“It’s a year-round facility for us since the sets aren’t taken down and put back up every year,” said assistant manager Aimee Dennison. “This year we have a new clown scene, and it really works on people’s nerves to put new things in.”

Another thing that separates this duo of scares from others is that it focuses on the scares instead of the gross-out factor.

“We pride ourselves on the fact that we don’t focus on gore or religion or children . the things other houses tend to focus on,” Dennison said. “We try to focus on the scare and elements of surprise.”

But make no mistake, this is no stroll through the park.

“I’ve had someone pee their pants before,” Coladonato said. “He then thanked me for scaring the piss out of him.”

Akron Haunted Schoolhouse and Laboratory

Where? 1300 Triplett Blvd., Akron

How Much? $11 per house

Times: Thursday & Sunday 7 – 10 p.m.

Friday & Saturday 7 p.m. – midnightight

Ally Melling

Daily Kent Stater

For those who grew up with coulrophobia (fear of clowns) from Stephen King’s It, the Carnival of Horrors at Blossom Music Center offers more opportunity to scare your pants off than going to the circus.

The first stop on this four-part event is The Fun House, a lengthy building with plenty of darkened hallways for clowns to hide in.

Once out of The Fun House, guests man a flashlight to navigate through The Wicked Woods, a dream for any The Texas Chainsaw Massacre fan. Be chased by a chain saw-wielding madman, get lost in the pitch black darkness and encounter plenty of creepy personalities. Just don’t forget to wear old shoes.

Next stop: The Oblivion Cage Maze, the Carnival’s newest attraction. Set aside some time here, because this large room is equipped with a seemingly unending labyrinth of chain-link fencing, wandering freaks and strobe lights. This wouldn’t be so bad if not for the suffocating amount of fog in the air. Then again, such a maze wouldn’t be the same without it.

The last building is The Freak Show in 3-D Terrorvision. The 3-D glasses are handed out, and guests navigate through rooms filled with perception-defying, black-light accented colors. The “room of doors” and the “room of words” are mesmerizing rooms where people encounter rooms full of gothic symbols. At the end, guests will find the crŠme de la crŠme of the tour: a revolving vortex tunnel.

For $16, The Carnival of Horrors promises a lot more than nervous laughs.

Carnival of Horrors

Where? Blossom Music Center

How Much? $15

Times: Friday & Saturday

7:30 p.m. – Midnight

Sunday 7:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Andrew Gaug

Daily Kent Stater

The Shawshank Redemption, Air Force One, Godsmack, and Lil’ Wayne. Normally these four things would have nothing in common, but all have been filmed at the incredibly creepy Mansfield Reformatory that once served as a jail but now is the home to Ghost Mania 2006.

Myron St. John, who runs the haunted jail house as well as his own film production company, Haunted X, said although his haunted house has received notoriety from the Travel Channel as well as the television show “Ghost Hunters,” he’s just looking to creep out anyone that dares to enter.

“A lot of hated houses will say ‘we’re the scariest’ … I let the place speak for itself.” St. John said, “I just say ‘come on out, we’re going to give you a good show’

The haunt takes you through areas such as the jail cell area, one of which is the tallest free standing cell block in the world.

Though most of the scares and monsters are planned, don’t be surprised if an actual ghost brushes by you – after all, the “Ghost Hunters” investigators did deem the place as haunted.

“We get a lot of people saying ‘I really liked that guy in the security guard costume’… we don’t have anyone dressed as a security guard.” St. John said.

Enough stunning surprises as well as a chilling, pitch-black atmosphere promise to keep Ghost Mania’s customers interested. But St. John is well aware of who he’s really trying to shock.

“I try to make this scary for 20- and 21 -year-old guys because if you can scare them, you can scare anyone.” he said.

Ghost Mania 2006 at the Ohio State Reformatory

Where? 100 Reformatory Road, Mansfield, Ohio

How Much? $14

Times: Thursdays 7 – 11 p.m.

Fridays & Saturdays 7 p.m. – midnight

Sundays 7 – 10 p.m.

Other Haunted Houses to consider

Hudson Haunted House

Where? 2250 Barlow Road, Hudson

How Much? $10 adults, $5 children 48 inches and under

Celebrating 33 years in business, the Hudson Haunted House continues to scare customers with the addition of their mysterious “Black Hole” as well as its chilling sound effects from a fully digital sound system.

Bloodview Haunted House

Where? Broadview Heights

How Much? $12

More than just a haunted, this horror improv-based experience allows audiences to interact with their journey of terror from the three attractions they will go through – The House of the Damned, the cemetery path, and the main house.

Haunted Hollow and the Maze of Terror

Where? 5100 Pearl Road, Cleveland

How Much? $10

The Haunted Hollow and Maze of Terror cover over 20,000 square feet of fright from the maze’s twisting trails to the 22 rooms of the hollow, customers can expect a lengthy trek of scares.

Nightmare in the Wilderness

Where? 7665 Lafayette Road, Lodi

How Much? $12 adults, $8 children (ages 6-10)

Take a half-mile hayride into the wilderness – then, good luck. The Nightmare in the Wilderness will have its victims walking through vortex tunnels, a cemetery and mazes scaring them at every point along the way.