Bennett’s Curse is a haunted house located in Jessup, Maryland which is just a quick 15 minute jaunt from my house. It is located at Blob’s Park (aka the place where the zombie 5k got cancelled—but I am not bitter).
I admittedly like a good scare/laugh, so my compatriot and I decided we would sign up and give it a shot. After surviving Blackout in NYC, I assumed this would be a piece of cake. It turned out to be a totally different experience and you cannot even compare the two.
We signed up online. We both signed up for the Speed Pass which was $15 more than the usual $30 general admission fee. When you sign up, you don’t need to pick any special day or time. Just go and bring your ticket. We went on the last night (Saturday) and arrived at 7:45. I was home by 9:00.
Approaching the huge white building I didn’t see any lines outside and I was regretting the Speed Pass. That changed once we got inside and saw the lengthy line that snaked back and forth through the place. By the time we left, there was a line outside and inside so go early if you can. We walked straight to the front of the line with our Speed Pass. I felt like a cheater but I loved it. I would suggest the Speed Pass if you don’t have patience or time. I HIGHLY suggest it.
They said it was blackout night so there were no lights allowed except one small flashlight our group leader held. I believe they have different theme nights so check the website for any variations. There is no touching the performers and they cannot touch you. If you are there on a blackout night I suggest you take the flashlight for your party.
Why take flashlight? The first few folks get the best scares. We had a group of 10 or so people. Whenever someone jumped out or something creepy happened I got to hear/see the reaction from the 4 people in front of me. When I walk up 10 seconds later, I know longer have that anticipation or dread of knowing something is going to happen but not knowing how or when. In this case I always knew. “Yep there is the girl in the dark who just jumped out and screamed 5 seconds ago. I hope they don’t bang on that metal drum again and startle me”. It was like having someone sit next to you in the theater warning you of a scary moment right around the bend. Since it was also blackout night we couldn’t really see much of the elaborate sets. That being said, what I could see looked pretty cool.
I enjoyed the glow in the dark paint with the 3D glasses. It was used to create some really cool and slightly disorienting effects. When the performer tells you to get the glasses, go get them. We thought she was joking. That was followed by an area of almost total darkness which was fun (I believe the man behind me groped me once or twice – at least I think it was the man behind me). The sanitarium at the end was well done too.
For the most part it was much more laughs than scares and I am OK with that. I enjoyed my 30 or so minutes inside the attraction.There were a few wandering scares (especially in the pitch black area) that were pretty good.
I believe my favorite scare took place outside the building when my coworker screamed behind a bunch of teenage girls. Scared the crap out of them. I think they got annoyed once they realized it wasn’t part of the show. She also randomly screamed back at some of the performers inside.
My only suggestion would be (and maybe they do this already) would be to have a VIP night (aka charge more) where you could have smaller groups go. Maybe limit the number to 4 or 5 people and set them off at a set interval so they aren’t on top of each other (by the end of our journey we were in a different group somehow). A small group, in the dark would be really awesome. The key is the anticipation of the scares. That is the really exciting part that gets the pulse racing. The fear of the unknown. When I watch it happen to the people in front of me, that anticipation gets lost. I know that would cut into the profits but if you just set aside one special night by appointment and charged extra, people will come.
All in all I had some great laughs, and a few scares. I would recommend going with a group of friends and just enjoying it for what it is: a series of scenes with performers interspersed to jump out at you. Unless you are in the front you will know they are coming. I would probably go back next year. Give me my VIP time and I will definitely be back.