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  • Writer's pictureChandler Clouser

Distorted Dreams Haunt - 2022 Review

Haunted Attraction Reviewed: Distorted Dreams Haunt

Location of Attraction: Cascade Maryland (Fort Ritchie)

Date of Review: 9/30/2022

Total Number of Attractions Available: One

Overall Haunted Attraction Rating: 7/10

Entertainment & Food Rating: 5/10

Atmosphere Rating: 6/10

Overall Costume & Makeup Rating: 7.5/10

Overall Cast & Crew Rating: 8.5/10

Overall Set Design & Special Effects Rating: 7.5/10

Overall Scare/Thrill Factor Rating: 7/10

Overall Feedback: What better than to visit a haunted attraction on a chilly & dreary Friday evening in late September. After just having visited Hackney Haunts in Westminster Maryland, we ventured towards the infamous Fort Ritchie in Cascade Maryland, where first year haunt Distorted Dreams awaits to bring nightmares to life! Distorted Dreams Haunt is located on the old Fort Ritchie military base, a well maintained property yet incredibly eerie all at the same time! As you pull into the ominous Fort Ritchie gates, you’re funneled past dozens of beautifully crafted but vacant buildings. The dimly lit roadways & poor signage enroute to the haunt reminded us greatly of the dark & fearsome drive into Pennhurst Asylum (Spring City PA). It certainly helped to set the mood & immersed us into the creepy atmosphere.

Eventually we stumbled upon a massive building in a dark & eerie corner of the Fort Ritchie property which is home to Distorted Dreams Haunt. Ample free parking is available, so no worries there. As we exited our vehicles we could hear upbeat music booming from a nearby DJ station, sending a jolt of exuberance up our spines. A Ghostbusters vehicle was parked out front, very fitting for a supposedly haunted property! Not much to enjoy in regards to your typical midway offers, something we hope to see these folks add in years to come (food, games, merch, entertainment, roaming actors, etc). Security is VERY tight at Distorted Dreams Haunt, so leave all metal objects, lighters, vape pens, etc in your vehicle. After passing through security you’ll be directed towards the ticket booth.

Once inside the building you’re immersed into a darker & more ominous atmosphere. A visually pleasing & detailed facade helped to set the tone for the experience that lies ahead. Prior to beginning our experience we got to chat with owner Jon, who shared that he’s owned & operated Haunted Attractions for 10+ years but 2022 is his first year operating a haunt in Maryland. Jon & his small crew only had ~2 months to build Distorted Dreams Haunt from the ground up, which is an impressive feat! Distorted Dreams Haunt will be open Thursday-Sunday from now until Monday October 31st. General admission tickets run for $20, with Fast Pass upgrades available for an additional $15.

With it being their opening night for the 2022 season there was only a small crowd on hand, so a very minimal wait for our crew. We split up into small groups of 3-4. We were pleased to see them notably spacing out groups to ensure you’ll never encounter another group on your journey. Just moments inside the attraction we received our first of several spine-tingling startles. A ghostly fellow sat like a statue in front of a piano & at just the right moment turned to provide a startling engagement. Considering the Distorted Dreams team only had ~2 months to build, we were thoroughly impressed with the set design! Most scenes featured detailed set design, coupled with both static & pneumatic props. One of our favorite portions was the gory hospital, where we encountered Dr Ritchie himself, who was quite eager to perform some treatments on our unsuspecting group. A young fellow laid on a gurney while another gal paced in the corner, both screaming for us to save them from the deranged Dr Ritchie! An elegantly crafted padded room scene featured two manic characters, thrashing around providing a memorable engagement as we tried to find the nearest exit to “normalcy”. Audio & visual special effects were utilized throughout the attraction to help heighten the thrill & further immerse the audience into each scene. A swamp scene featured extremely thick fog, which certainly disoriented our crew as we stumbled through the murky water.

While the set design was decent for being a quick build, we truly have to give major kudos to the cast & crew who were the driving force behind Distorted Dreams Haunt! Each and every character encountered was fully immersed in their role & truly on-point! We were thoroughly impressed with how engaged these spooks were with it being a slow opening evening! They were relentless in their attacks, often trapping us in scenes as they performed their sinister skits. Several of the characters were extremely witty, providing comical yet chilling engagements! The costuming & makeup was well done, further helping to immerse the audience into each scene. Truly a job well done to the Distorted Dreams cast & crew!

The biggest downfall of Distorted Dreams Haunt is the short duration of the experience. Our crew ventured through in 6-7 minutes. On the bright side, the time spent in the attraction was nerve-racking & truly possessed no moments of dead space! The cast & crew helped to bring the scenes to life, while pneumatic props & animatronics sprinkled throughout helped to provide a few additional startles. We hope that with a full offseason to work with, Distorted Dreams Haunt will be able to drastically expand their offerings & lengthen the attraction(s). Prior to venturing back home for the evening we caught up with Jon again to discuss our experience. We can’t thank him & his team enough for their hospitality & for providing a spooky fun experience!

Distorted Dreams Haunt certainly has the creepy property & talent to create something truly special. Their passion, attention to detail, & knack for providing a frightfully fun experience certainly gives us hope of a bright future ahead for them. We can’t wait to return again in the near future to see what the Distorted Dreams Haunt has to offer. If you’re considering a visit to Distorted Dreams Haunt & want to lengthen your experience, consider also visiting Hackney Haunts who offer an equally frightening & unnerving experience! Job well done Distorted Dreams Haunt!

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