15 years ago, Brett Oakley built a haunted trail at his home in Madison Township, Ohio. It became so popular that he had to expand; it evolved into the multi-attraction haunt that is now The Land of Illusion Haunted Scream Park in Middletown. The park is located in the middle of a wooded area. It was a stormy night when I visited the haunt, so the complete package of weather and location definitely heightened the fear factor!
The main attraction is still the Middletown Haunted Trail, and with it taking more than 30 minutes to walk through, it is also the longest. The trail has many different sections including areas featuring aliens, vampires, and a school of Hell. I understand that theming a long trail may be difficult, but having many different themes going at once in one attraction didn’t make cohesive sense. The actors rely on dialog for their scares, and they were into their roles and giving their best since they were out in the open during a storm. What impressed me the most about the trail were the sets. At one point, you walk through a junkyard with two massive school buses standing vertically out of the ground! During the “Area 49” section, you walk on a bridge over water in an aircraft carrier all while animatronic aliens lunge toward you. Unfortunately, with the event open at 8pm, the whole trail is so dark that it is very difficult to see the sets for all they’re worth.
Besides the trail, Land of Illusion also has four walk through mazes: Temple of Terror, Dr. Psycho’s Haunted Estate, Voodoo Bayou Shanty, and Killer Klowns in 3D. The use of special effects in Temple of Terror is fantastic. The first room is an Egyptian chamber that shakes violently and there is another area where the entire ceiling crashes down on you! Both of these effects completely caught me off guard, and were amazing. Dr. Psycho’s was also a highlight mostly due to the wonderful layout. The maze uses portions of the original farm home on site as well as very large outdoor graveyard scenes. Voodoo Bayou Shanty and Killer Klowns were the weakest attractions. Both are typical bayou and clown-themed mazes; the actors in both attractions embrace their roles and you can see how much they put into their performances.
Overall, Land of Illusion is a good event, especially for the value. All of the attractions are very long, and the use of special effects and animatronics are top notch. I noticed that with this event, you can see the amount of effort and love went into the creation of it. The staff had wonderful attitudes and the actors clearly love what they do. Extra kudos to them for scaring and working hard in the cold wind and rain while having loads of energy. It’s definitely worth adding Land of Illusion to your list of must visit Ohio haunts!
- Jon Yslas/TPA Team Member