Insanitarium's basic premise: a doctor gone mad has created a corral of zombie creatures and is now in the process of turning them into 2.0 versions...stronger, faster, crazier. The attraction began with our greeter giving us a brief synopsis of the theme and then sending us on our way. Utilizing the old Palmerdale School House which was built in the 1930's and which is purported to actually be haunted, the attraction makes use of the existing school walls and rooms as well custom designed panels and sets.
The stage is set at the beginning with a bevy of shady looking nurses and it's off to the zombie races. We were lucky enough to go through with another couple. Normally I would say "lucky" because I like to watch the reactions of other guests, but during our stroll through Insanitarium there was a point where I got a true case of the heebie-jeebies and I was glad to have some non-zombie humans in front and behind me. I won't go into any detail about what got me, but I will say that I have NEVER seen it before in any other haunt and it was one of those scares that kept building and building. I actually caught myself hoping that it would end soon because I was starting to get a little freaked.
It was Awesome!!!
My fellow reviewer also had a great scare moment thanks to a lovely female zombie that made him laugh out loud and utter a short profanity in surprise. To quote him, "That hasn't happened to me in 15 years". There is also an outdoor element to the trail and the actors out there went after us in classic zombie fashion.
As far as I could tell, there were no "Boos" in Insanitarium, no verbal cues or commands...the zombies grunted, groaned and growled as they goaded us along. What we noticed again and again as we walked the halls was the energy and activity of the actors. They seemed to be everywhere and there seemed to be a lot of them. In an interview with the owners after our tour we discovered that the army of raving, slathering zombies was actually only 19 strong, yet it felt more like 40.
Underscoring the attraction was a soundtrack created specifically for the haunt by one of the owners under their company name Catacomb Productions. It was a nice touch to have original music to go along with this great attraction.
You won't find flashy animated props or over the top elements in Insanitarium. What you will find is a quality haunt that has taken a limited budget and with artistry, dedication and skill created one of our favorite haunted attractions, ever. The all volunteer staff prove that the heart and soul of a haunt is often found in the rotting dead body of a zombie crawling down the dark hallway of an old haunted school.
We were told on Sunday nights they turn all the lights out and send you through with just a glow stick. I can only imagine how nerve wracking that could be after having seen it under show lights. I hope they will offer this next year when we come back for round 2.
Thank you for a great night, Insanitarium!
5 out of 5 bats, indeed!!