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As I approached Bennett's Curse Haunted Attraction in Baltimore Maryland, I could already hear the screams from inside. Bennett's Curse consists of 3 individual shows under one roof. The main show has always been the House of the Vampyres, their flagship show and one that carries their primary theme. Entering the queue, you are instantly transported out of this world and into a realistic and well thought out medieval courtyard. Everything from film quality rustic buildings, a castle gateway with massive sliding wood doors, and a soundtrack of epic & haunting music lends to the feel of an actual haunted medieval village. As you enter under a gigantic, animated dragon, you are whisked away into a frightening world of talented & aggressive actors and tight theming. It’s no secret that Bennett's Curse is a notoriously scary haunted house, and they live up to their reputation. The placement of the actors and their skill at disguise is one of the best examples we've seen in any haunted house. Inside most scenes, there’s no clue of an oncoming scare or notion of a concealed hiding place, until it's it too late. Then instantly, the actors are right up on you. Whether overhead, emerging from dark corners, or blending in with the scenery, their actors use the distraction of lighting, sound, and the use of animatronics to assist them with a perfectly timed scare. Their amazing costumes were elaborate & detailed with the best collection of silicone masks, many even custom made for the theme. Some actors wore real armor pieces showing their dedication to the show.
Bennett's Curse Haunted House is known for their incredible collection of amazing props and large animatronics, many custom and all very unique. From the large Necromancer monster to older classics such as the winged El Diablo creatures, they have more than a dozen of the largest and most impressive large scale animated demons, vampires and other monsters in the country, all so beautifully blended into the scenery. Many scenes have props hanging in your path such as hanging vampire bats, severed heads, even bloodied and freshly tortured bodies. There are so many custom props in Bennett’s Curse not found anywhere else. The costumes on the props blended so well with the actors it was hard to tell them apart, all part of the Bennett's diabolical scheme.
Inside the haunted castle themed haunted house is one of my favorite scenes of all time…the dungeons. An authentic looking steel dungeon room with gory victims, some dead…some not so dead, awaits you. Making our way past the cells, we enter into another part of the dungeon with an incredible 13' tall animatronic executioner complete with death axe. This massive executioner overlooks a scene reminiscent of Vlad the Impaler's famous "forest of the impaled" with a very active victim thrashing for escape in a classic Iron Maiden. Because the theme centers around an impending battle of two evil forces, the Vampyres and their Demon rivals, there are many signs that the castle has already witnessed battles prior. One of the most impressive battle-scarred scenes housed leaning pillars, collapsing Gothic arches, & cleverly done wooden patchwork in the damaged stone walls that gave a quick peek as to what might be lurking on the other side of the wall. It's the first haunted house that we've seen take on a theme so completely, and we were thoroughly impressed!
Upon surviving the House of the Vampyres, you are now cleverly led into the next phase of the Bennett's Curse experience…a 3D attraction called Zombie Kingdom in 3D. We've seen dozens of 3D attractions from all over the world, most with clown themes, but this was the first all zombie themed 3D haunt. This alternative 3D theme was a breath of fresh air. Zombie Kingdom in 3D does an amazing job of using traditional painted wooden walls, but they also incorporate the use of many vacu-form panels and seamlessly placed props. From start to finish, the painting and level of detail were beautifully done. From the moment you enterZombie Kingdom in 3D, you feel as though you've entered a post-apocalyptic city full of zombie hordes looking for their next meal. Instead of the usual paper 3D glasses, here they use the sturdy plastic glasses. After making your way through some eye-popping scenes and a swirling vortex tunnel, you enter into a toxic waste dump with barrels leaking toxin (likely the cause for all the zombie mayhem). Next, is a zombie infested mechanic shop (my favorite 3D scene of all time) complete with car parts, hanging chains, zombie actor in painted overalls and a couple cars including one that lunges towards you before a loud blast of air scares everyone. Some other memorable scenes were the skull halls, the springy bridge in the forest and the playground engulfed in flames with zombie children, an extremely obese zombie mother and a zombie father enjoying a severed leg for lunch. The actors were top-notch at blending in even with the abundance of black light. My favorite was probably the zombie girl on the playground swing instilling fear in all who pass.
The final part of Bennett's Curse is their popular Sanctuary of Insanity haunted attraction. Here they don't use many of the sophisticated large animatronics or the use of new technology. Inside this haunt, it’s back to the basics…simple old-school scares instilling fear in all who dare enter. First, The Dominion of Darkness, classic dark maze and a feature of Bennett’s Curse for years, is a guest favorite with the well-timed use of flashes of light, a chilling soundtrack, and actors emerging everywhere. The actors in the DOD capitalize on a primal fear…the fear of the dark and what lurks within. Next is a classically themed asylum area with roaming patients and detailed holding cells. The escaped mental patient actors strapped into straight jackets were so over the top it had guests questioning whether it’s just an act or real. Next inside the Sanctuary of Insanity is the prison cell area. But instead of traditional prison cells, this was a confusing labyrinth of metal cell walls, ear shattering heavy metal music and the heavy use of fog & strobe lights. The hard core sound & environment ramps up the tension for fear. Actors were literally hanging upside down and standing over top of guests as they pass. The actors disorient their prey leading them down dead end parts of the maze and directly into the claws of yet another aggressive actor waiting to strike. As one rambling guest described it to me, “It feels like you’re hopelessly lost and that you will never escape, and panic starts to set in until you finally find yourself out of the maze but instead into a foggy path with the familiar, haunting sounds of the chainsaw, and that’s when I knew it was time to RUN!”
After catching breath, guests can celebrate making it out alive of Maryland and Washington DC area's best haunted attraction, Bennett's Curse! The combination of the three shows and a nice mix of themes really helps create an overall memorable experience. Bennett's Curse is truly one of the best Haunted Attractions in the nation and deserves all the accolades it receives each year. We can't wait to see how Bennett's Curse continues to grow and evolves in the future. One thing is for certain though, it will be a treat for anyone brave enough to enter the now legendary Bennett's Curse Haunted House.