It's October! You know what that means. HAUNTED HOUSE REVIEWS!
The first haunted house Ted and I went to this year was Mad House in Lebanon, TN. It's located in an old warehouse in a creepy area near the hospital. Driving up to it in a creepy area was a very nice start.
For your information, they only take cash; so don't arrive with only plastic to use, because you'll have to drive a bit to get to a cash machine. Admission is reasonable; $15 per person, but you can print a $2 coupon from their website and get an easy discount.
As Ted and I approached the entrance, we heard the typical loud noises and screams of teenage girls from inside the attraction. This actually tells me nothing about how the attraction will be, because I've found that teenage girls will scream at pretty much anything. So the worthiness of the venue remained to be seen.
The greeter was a fun guy. Very amusing and kept in character. He didn't try to do any preliminary scares, or be particularly creepy; he was mainly trying to set a jovial mood for the frights to follow. He responded well to our banter, which was the first sign to me that this was going to be a fun trip.
The attraction itself was populated with the usual costumed actors hiding in the dark, jumping out to get a scare. The sets were fun. There was some nicely crafted gore and well-used strobe lighting to prevent the customers from having time to acclimate themselves to night vision.
Aside from the cheap startle effects, there were some really fun audience participation scenes. The "inmates" interact with those on the tour, talk, involve you in the scenes, and banter with you to the point that you feel like you are a part of the attraction. They are not merely reciting lines, but rather are playing a character, and they have fun exchanges and are able to respond well to unexpected quips while remaining in character. They aren't at all derailed by someone who doesn't respond with a typical scream or flight response. They take the opportunity to create a fun and funny macabre scene, and they seem to enjoy the weirdos like Ted and me who prod extreme audience interaction.
I rate Mad House with a thumbs up. I got a few good startles, it was lots of fun, and the actors are great at adapting to what their audience wants. Good value: highly recommended!