Every now and then being part of DMM has its perks. Thursday night was one of them. The Land of Illusion in Middletown hosted a bunch of media folks for a pre-opening night of fright. We were to arrive at 7pm and as I was driving out to the middle of nowhere, I was really hoping google maps was going to get me there, because as I drove through residential neighborhoods, I was really doubting my decision to attend. Finally I saw a Land of Illusion sign and sighed with relief. And then I drove right past the entrance and entered at the exit. Though I’m told that the traffic on nights they are open will be a good sign you’re heading to the right place, and you are probably more likely to find the entrance than I was.
Upon arrival we were warmly greeted, given a goodie bag and got a little history of the park. Darren, our guide is the son on the owner, and he was quick to point out that he’s only a volunteer, his real job includes building roller coasters for amusement parks (he showed us some construction shots of the new Banshee being built at Kings Island). The LOI started 16 years ago in the backyard of Brett Oakley. Originally called The Middlwtown Haunted Trail, Brett just thought it would be cool to do an event in the woods behind his house and hang out with his friends. Which they did for six years before adding the Temple of Terror. Then they moved to their current location, adopted the the Land of Illusion moniker and started adding attractions. Dr. Pyscho’s Haunted Estate was created from the original house on the land, and is truly haunted.
Then there’s the Temple of Terror with pitch-dark passageways and a host of rabid bats, spectral skeletons, and monstrous madmen. Scream through a nightmarish labyrinth as hideous horrors claw behind you…next to you…above you…beneath you…all sharing one twisted, bone-sharp wish: that you will remain their ghoulish guest for all eternity.
Killer Klowns came along next, and lets just say these aren’t the kind of clowns that juggle or hand out happy meals! This 3D adventure is full of murderous klowns lurking around every corner with laughing leering faces that will make you rethink your next visit to the circus.
The Voodoo Bayou Shanty was our next stop and while I know I have some creepy relatives, they are nothing like Jim Dubois, great-grandson of Bloody Bill. Dubois tipped his hat, showed us a mouthful of bloody teeth, and pushed open the door to welcome us inside. And what we saw… well you’ll just have to experience it for yourself.
The most know attraction at LOI, The Middletown Haunted Trail, has continued to evolve from it’s 1997 debut. This walk through the woods is filled with eery screams, whining chainsaws, ghouls and ghosts looking for their souls, and zombies wanting to eat you. Twisting and turning through the mile and a quarter of foggy, with blowtorch-wielding madmen in hot pursuit will make you think twice before you take your next walk.
Also new this year, The Vodoo Lounge, which was still getting finishing touches and hadn’t been stocked yet for our visit, looked like a great place to chill between attractions. But by far the addition that will be most appreciated are the brand new bathrooms. A huge upgrade from the wall of port-o-potty’s of years past, the ladies room had 24 stalls and I was assured the men’s room was equally elegantly finished.
You just spent the evening running from the worst monsters and demons
of your wildest imagination. Now, it’s time to fight back!
The new Land of Illusion Zombie Sniper Patrol ride gives you the power to actually hunt down and shoot Zombies before they can escape the woods and run wild in the village.
Climb aboard our retrofitted US Army Cargo Truck, settle in behind one of the paintball
gun turrets and take aim and fire at the Zombie invasion as your unit navigates the treacherous woods. Turn back the Zombie Apocalypse! Protect the town from the undead! And pick off these freakish mutants before they pick on you.
The Zombie Sniper Patrol is a separate ride from the cost of your admission ($12.99). While your standard admission ticket gets you unlimited access to four haunted houses and one haunted trail, you’ll need a separate ticket to join this elite hit squad.
I’m not a video gamer, not a huge fan of paintball, but this was a total blast and I can see where it could be addicting! Overall, I have to say I was totally impressed with the entire expereince at Land of Illusion. The “talent” are totally into their characters, the exhibits are elaborate and creative and I have to admit, my heartbeat was on high alert most of the night, and not just from the 3 miles we walked during the tour.
We didnt have time to stop by the Stage of Rage, which will be programmed with entertaiment nightly- bands, escape artists, magincians and more. You can also grab a bite at the Creepy Cafe Concessions.
Admission Rates for LOI:
$34.99 – Friday and Saturday night 8pm -2am
$24.99 – Sunday night (October only) 8pm – 11:30pm – Middletown Haunted Trail closed on Sunday.
Fast Pass (optional)
$15.00 – Allows access to shorter, faster lines on all features including Zombie Sniper Patrol.
Parking is $5 per carload in the gravel lot. Parking proceeds donated to the following non-profit organizations: Somerville Volunteer Fire Department, Madison Athletic Gro LOI may even have some openings for local nonprofit groups to work the parking lot as a fundraiser. If you’ve got a group of 20 or more, you may want to contact them at (513) 423-9960 to schedule your group. Directions to the land of evilness can be found here.
Special thanks to Nate, who held my hand through the scariest parts, Bryan, who screamed louder than anyone and Jodi who squealed and jumped her way through the night with me!