Take one huge old house, drop it into a secluded location and fill it with aggressive ghouls and creatures, and you’ll have Mayhem Mansion. It’s entered through a shuttered second story window and immediately plunges hauntgoers into stygian darkness. Voices, screams, inhuman laughter, taunts and ghostly whispers seemingly exude from every corner. You’ll be locked in closets and sent running into dead ends.
The actors here are generally quite young, but in the darkness that permeates much of the house you’d never know it. They’ve been well drilled, and a favorite tactic is to stalk a group from behind or slide unnoticed into a dead end room to reveal themselves at an opportune moment. They’re also likely to rush at you wailing in the dark, a very unnerving experience — and unlike most events, there’s some light contact between hauntgoers and actors. There are also effective set pieces throughout, with our favorite being the two creepy girls who want to enlist your help in finding their pets — and you’ll find them, believe me.
Groping for doors can be a spine-tingling experience — be warned. No elaborate sets, fancy costuming or extensive makeup here, just hardcore traditional haunting at its best. Lines run 10-15 minutes and the tours last 25-30 minutes. 7 p.m.-12 a.m. Friday-Saturday through Nov. 1.
13966 Decoursey Pike, Morning View, Exit 79 off I-275, www.themayhemmansion.com
What’s Unique: Travis Fessler’s nationally recognized Pickled Brothers Sideshow, with flame juggling, sword swallowing and cockroach stunts.
The Damage: $12 ($10 in advance), which includes the Mansion, Sideshow and a walk along the Terror On The Lakes Trail (no actors but some decorations and a very moody trip through the dark woods)
CityBeat Rating: PG-13