Another successful trip to the Midwestern Haunters Convention for 2014, though there were highs and lows, overall it was a good experience. We started out the trip on a low note with and 8 hour car ride and Anna getting a terrible migraine. As soon as we checked in to hotel, we immediately drove to the nearest hospital in Columbus to go to the ER. 4 hours later we were getting out of there and heading back to the convention center for some much needed rest. The migraine lingered for the next couple days but at least knocked it out enough that Anna was able to participate in the next day's activities
Heading into this year, there was quite a bit of trepidation with how much MHC would change after being bought out by Transworld. Would they scrap the pre-con tours? Would the home haunters be forgotten? Would all the vendors cater to the pros and price the little guys out? How much would staples like the Costume ball change? Luckily the changing of the guard went off seamlessly. With Kelly, Neena & crew still involved and Ben Armstong and Netherworld parterning up with the coordination - most things either improved or stayed the same.
The pre-con bus tour was shortened to 1 day versus an over night trip. Though we only went to 3 places, the trip went much smoother and was more enjoyable than the previous year. Maybe it was because we were on bus 1 this time and stayed ahead of the delays (pro-tip: follow the Netherworld crew and stay on their schedule and you'll be good - no delays and hit the lines for each event perfectly). On the bus ride to the first stop we played Cards Against Humanity for prizes. Anna won one round but not enough points for a prize.
First stop was the Akron Haunted School House, one of the oldest still operating haunts in the country, having first opened in 1974. With the aged building - they had a great atomsphere, dust, leaking basements, and just that smell of "old" that can only be created with time. But it was definitely old school (no pun intended) with most scenes set behind a guard rail. Not the style I care for in this day in age when sets are highly detailed and immersive. It did take a way from the experience. Also I only saw one school scene, the rest was an eclectic mix of 'halloween' (pumpkin fields, graveyard, witches), butchers/hillbillys, clowns, dungeon, etc. All over the place from scene to scene. Though the science areas, especially the one with the giant Tesla coil we walked beneath was exceptional.
Next it was onto the Factory of Terror. FoT is a 2 time Guiness Record holder for longest walkthrough haunted attraction. This is made up of 3 attractions to get this total, not one single event as I was expecting. But having been in the haunt for an hour it definitely did not feel like it was that long. Great sets, decent actors, and some twists on common scares kept everything fresh. It could've benefitted with having more actors on set as there were spots with long spaces in between scares.
Finally we hit up BloodView with the Legion of Terror acting group. They have been doing this for 30+ years all for charity. The actors are all improv and very interactive with you as you go through the haunt. The hype for BloodView on the way there was that they are very extreme shocks and in your face. This may have held true 5-10 years ago, but with so many places doing "exteme" these days and to a higher caliber (ie Haunted Hoochie, House of Shock) this didn't come off too shocking. Though of the 3 haunts, BloodView was the most memorable because of the actors and therefore my overall favorite.
In Part 2 we'll continue with Friday classes, night tour and after party.