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News: Visit a haunt in South Carolina this season!
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Author Topic: Major Graham's Haunted Mansion- Max Meadows, Va  (Read 761 times)
Completely Haunted
Posts: 707

« on: September 28, 2014, 03:42:40 PM »

Major Graham's Haunted Mansion
Date attended:  9/26/14

Scare factor: 4.5/5
The group size we went through the haunt with was bigger than last year.  Seven people was just too much to make the mansion kick on all gears.  Those of us at the back of the group missed out here and there.  A group that size works better on the other parts of the trail, though.  That being said, the rest of MGHM delivers on all cylinders.  Scares are targeted at all parts of the group once you get out of the mansion.  There is some relentless menacing in the outdoor sections and a great mix of actor driven frights as well as prop utilization.  There is so much going on that I think it would take a half dozen trips through to see and experience all the scares and grisly details this place has to offer.   

Actors: 4.5/5
Major Graham's delivers on both numbers and skill.  There are no empty sets, barren areas, or unprofessionalism.  The mansion itself gels well with actors who exude a more gothic and almost ethereal feel....like they are specters from the Civil War era.  Despite being told there would be no touching most of us did have some fingertips through our hair or hands on the shoulder- again reminding you of a ghostly presence.  For me the actors increased in their malice / perseverance as you walked along the town / corn area.  We had one scarecrow actor pursue one of our group members for 3+ minutes...a lifetime in a haunted attraction.  We found one or two actors who couldn't really sell the scare (the busty housekeeper (?) was nice to look at but sitting on a desk kicking your legs isn't doing much!) but 95% delivered intensity with impeccable timing and pounced when they sensed fear.  A special nod needs to go out to our queue line clown entertainment with Uni and Steve the Clown.  Most of us were in tears from laughing while one of us might have been in tears of fear.

Set Design/Props/FX: 5/5
The Graham mansion itself is a sight to behold.  You meander through a civil war era mansion that is bedecked for the occasion.  It oozes an old school vibe....kind of like an old Universal monster film.  It's eerily beautiful.  The makeup on the actors is elegant and fearsome at the same time.  The "creature" with the lighted eyes in the graveyard is a awesomely, understated touch.  I kind of love the fact that he simply silently glares at groups....it will give you goose bumps.  The town facade is well done and is suited for multiple scares.  The nuclear area looks fiendish but was scareless for our group and a bit confusing.  The remaining interior sets are similarly well done with enough eye candy to keep even the most jaded patron happy.  Costumes and makeup remain excellent throughout the entire length of the trail. 

Length: 5/5
It's so much more than a haunted mansion!  The attraction features the mansion itself, a walk through a haunted town facade, a cornfield section, a nuclear silo, and two more trails through buildings- featuring hospital sets/asylum, a military/zombie vibe, and of course some evil clowns.  I left sweaty, tired, and grinning ear to ear.  I didn't time the experience but I'd venture that it took 45 minutes to complete the entire thing.  Any longer and they probably would have to have carried out a few members of our group.

Value: 5/5
Tickets are $15-20 depending on the time of the season.  Groupons were available this year for a buy one get one free.  $7.50 for this attraction is insane.  It's worth $2o without blinking....but to attend this for $7.50?  I can't think of a better value I've come across in the past couple of years. 

Other:  NOT free parking.  Parking is $3 with minimal guidance as to where to go or helping to direct traffic flow at the shared entrance/exit.  There is a full fledged gift shop and what appeared to be multiple food options.

Overall:  5/5
We attended three different haunts on this evening and Major Graham's was the runaway best.  The mansion itself is breath-taking at times but top to bottom this place delivers.  With delineated sections you get a brief respite to catch your breath but once you enter a new section it's on.  Scares are varied from props to actors and it doesn't stop with a brief pop scare.  Last year was my first year visiting and I was hoping it wasn't a fluke.  My fears easily dissipated listening to the "oooohs" and "ahhhhhs" from my trail mates as we encountered a new striking visual.  I found myself clapping in childish glee more times than I could count.  This is a professional feeling haunt without the cattle call effect.  We had some minimal bunching of groups but for the most part we had an uninterrupted jaunt through an amazing trail.  If you venture out of NC this year I highly recommend checking this place out- it's worth the drive and money. 

"You can't piss on hospitality.  I won't allow it!"
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