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Author Topic: Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary - Philadelphia  (Read 32 times)
Badger
Completely Haunted
*****
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« on: November 07, 2017, 04:25:15 PM »

Date Attended: 9/23/17

Scare Factor: 5/5
TBTW at Eastern State Penitentiary is inside an actual prison that was once the most famous and expensive prison in the world.  It was in operation from 1829 until 1971.  There are daylight tours of ESP year-round where you can see things such as the cell that housed Al Capone in 1929-30.  Many many inmates died there over the years and there are photographs of many of them inside the prison.  When it was built, it was way out in the country, but it's now just outside downtown Philadelphia and looms like a giant walled monolith as you approach it.  Inside, it sounds like you can hear screaming and directions being barked out over megaphones which increases the feeling of dread. Once you get inside, there is no hope for escape as 30-foot walls literally surround everything from this point onward.  Having to sign waivers, even though you know it's "Just a haunt" is unnerving as they cannot guarantee your safety because of its age and history.  There are 6 different haunts within the walls: Lockdown, Breakout,  Infirmary, Machine Shop, Quarrntine in 4D and the new Blood Yard.  Each was unique and terrifying

Actors: 4.75/5
The actors at TBTW are off the charts. you would think that it would be all prisoners/guards and their are plenty of them roaming about, but there are so many more. Each separate haunt consists of going through separate portions of the prison and the actors respond accordingly.  Many of them have been there for years and it shows.  The queue line actors outside were more period-friendly but once inside, they quicky turn to violence guards and make sure you're where you're supposed to be. I saw very few simple pop scares as most of the actors do interact with you in some fashion.  It was a LOT of fun watching them in action.  You can get a special red glowstick necklace that allows certain actors to touch and bump you to enhance the experience and that makes it all the more scary.  I saw more than on abandoned necklace while trying to escape from behind the walls. 

Sets/Props/FX: 5/5
IT'S A 180-YEAR-OLD PRISON!!  You could simply walk through in the dark and it would be horrifying, but nope, they have to include fantastic scenes to enhance the scares.  On more than one occasion you have to walk the same corridors that the prisoners walked down past the rows of cells and only seeing glowing red necklaces in the foggy distance in front and behind you.  Most haunts use claustrophobic methods to terrify you but some areas of TBTW are open and huge.  Fill it with fog and add minimal lighting and you have a truly horrific sight.

Length: 5/5
It took me and my companion over 2 hours to get through everything, including lines and it was very early in the season.  However it was completely worth it given everything that was happening around me.  No complaints.

Value: 4.75/5
Tickets range form $25 - over $100 depending on what you want to experience.  There are VIP lines and something called the HEX Challenge that I didn't attempt .  After the haunt and for a small fee, you could take in what they call the Speakeasy Club where you can relax, have a drink, and even rent out a cell for your friends.  They had 20s-30s music and singers and it was a cool thing to do after going through the haunt.  It was a lot of fun and cool to see Al Capone's cell which was a part of the Speakeasy Club.

Overall: 4.9/5
No idea about parking as we were lucky to find on-street parking one block from the entrance.  There is a shuttle take brings you in from somewhere but I don't know the costs.  They have an extensive  gift shop and decent concessions as well as teh amazing history of the prison.  Terror Behind the Walls is a fantastic haunt to go through and one day I'll take the daytime tour.  Put this one on your bucket list  ASAP.
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