Friday, October 5, 2007

Hundred Acres Manor, South Park (Pittsburgh), PA

Hundred Acres Manor is located within South Park, a massive park in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. The park setting itself is beautiful and dramatic; particularly at night, when you drive into the hills, the setting is spooky and eerie enough to be its own haunted attraction.

So when you round a curve and see Hundred Acres Manor itself, a tacky commercial building with a neon sign above it, there is at first a sense of let-down, a sense that you've been conned.  Where is the manor?  

The line is long and winds all over the entry area, with noting to look at but a lone banner advertising one of their affiliates.  You can buy a VIP pass for $20 to bump yourself to the front and in this case it's probably well worth the money.  

Hundred Acres Manor is a fairly simple walkthrough style haunt. You enter into a world of darkness, which soon combines the usual themes you see everywhere - the insane asylum, the electric chair and the decaying mansion. The crowd rushes you through the whole thing and so your memory of it becomes a tired muddle; you might even confuse it with other, long forgotten haunts you went through before. At the same time, the haunt is almost too long; time seems to drag as you push yourself through an infinity of dark corridors, dimly lit. Generally, the haunt is way too dark to see much of the very real amount of effort that was put into creating the props and the overall experience.

Actors pop in and out of the usual holes in the walls, and the loyal chainsaw reigns supreme; but the haunt generally relies on the tried and true, refusing to take any risks that might raise this above the average haunted experience. You get a feeling that despite new scares coming all the time, the house really has little new to offer each year and is coasting on the old glories associated with its predecessor, Phantoms in the Park.

The ending climax of Hundred Acres is the giant maze, which seems to have been there since time immemorial. The black walls dull your sense of direction, disorienting you in a way that winds up being more boring than scary. The desultory performance of the actors, who look as tired of the whole thing as you are, doesn't increase your interest. After a few minutes of trudging through the maze, you just wish it was all over.

This year, a new optional section was added to Hundred Acres Manor: The claustrophobia room. Since I am a touch clastrophobic, and was sick of the haunt after the maze, I chose to exit. A friend who did go through it noted that it's just like having balloons rubbed against you on both sides. His conclusion overall was that Hundred Acres Manor has been resting on its laurels for many years, and is "overrated", perhaps because for a long time it was the region's only large haunted house.

Hundred Acres Manor
Admission: $13


lesley said...

i have to agree it is boring, at one point i screamed to just get out of the maze. ok for first timer, but repeat trips are definitely a waste of time (waitin in line)and money.

Mary Lou said...

These posts are old ... it's 2011 and the Hundred Acres Manor is tremendous!!!! Give it a try everyone ~ you won't be disappointed. And, if you don't like long lines, there's also a VIP line that get's you right in for a little extra money. Well worth it.