Blind Date From Hell @ Malice Manor - Southern Indiana's Scariest Haunted House 640 Providence Way Clarksville, IN 47129 http://www.malicemanorhauntedhouse.com
Date of Visit: 2/10/23 Reviewer: Lindsay
Oh, Valentine's Day. Such a sweet holiday, isn't it? Truly a special moment in the year, where store shelves are lined with candy and stuffed animals, the colors red and pink seem to be everywhere you look, and many people's thoughts turn to those they hold dear - whether they be their partners, their friends, or their own families.
But some people really aren't feeling the love this time of year... like the cloaked, eccentric host of the mansion I visited last Friday night. As I politely sat on the couch in the living room, I was treated to his snarling tirade about how much he just HATED Valentine's Day - and love, for that matter. I was about to ask who on earth hurt this guy when he suddenly whirled, grasped my shoulder, and inquired in a dangerously soft tone, "I need you to kill Cupid. Can you do that for me...?"
"... I'll try?" was my squeaked response. (Thankfully, he was satisfied with that. Nobody there reacts well to the word "no".)
February is here, and haunted attractions all over the country are reopening on select nights for special Valentine themed events - with a scary twist. Malice Manor- of Clarksville, Indiana- is among those happy to celebrate the season of love... well, in their own dark little way. 2023 marks the third year for Blind Date From Hell, the Manor's unique blackout show where the lights are dimmed, the house is decorated, and each group gets a single LED rose (nice!) to navigate the frightful home of the mysterious Lord Rancor and his family. In addition to that, the haunt also offers wedding packages, allowing brave couples to tie the knot before they experience the show. (I actually got to see a Manor wedding last year and it was awesome! Hope that couple lives happily ever after... if they survived, that is.)
Ticket prices for Blind Date From Hell matched those of the regular haunt season: $25 for General Admission, $40 for Fast Pass if you're in a hurry. Parking is free; they've got a few spots right out front, or you can easily park nearby and walk over. Something IMPORTANT you need to know before entering is that Malice Manor is a light contact haunted house - nothing too wild will happen to you here, but don't be surprised if your arm gets grabbed or someone messes with your hair. There's also the possibility of getting wet or even shocked, so be ready!
Because this was a blackout show, most of the Valentine decor was saved for the exterior portions of the haunt instead of the house itself - it would've been hard for patrons to appreciate it in the dark. The haunt industry's largest trade show was also held a week prior to this year's event, so the owners had limited time to get everything set up. Despite these setbacks, I felt they did a great job sprucing the place up for the holiday. Shiny hearts and red garland adorned the ticket booth. More hearts were hung up here and there between the queue entrance and the queue itself, which was awash in red light. No other guests were present when I arrived, but they did have a movie projected on the wall for line entertainment. When it's your group's turn to enter, you'll have a chance to take a souvenir photo with some fun props. Then a lovely glowing rose will be placed in one member of your party's hands... and the door will slowly swing open to welcome you into the Rancor home.
Malice comes up with a new story for every show they put on, and Blind Date From Hell definitely follows suit. For 2023, you're sent on a mission to get rid of that pesky little winged cherub, who seems to have failed his duty to lighten the hearts of the souls trapped in the manor. Sounds easy enough, right? ... except, as you'll quickly find out, it's hard enough just keeping yourselves alive!
I won't elaborate too much on the walkthrough itself, as it was more or less the same as this past haunt season. Like I said, with the lights dimmed inside, it would've been hard to appreciate much of the Valentine stuff. What *really* makes events like these are the people who come out to work them. I was warned in advance they were operating with far less actors than they would've liked, a common issue with these off season shows - sometimes they can get loads of people to come out, and other times not as many. But everyone was spread out so well that the lighter cast wasn't really that noticeable, and despite the chilly atmosphere of the house, they were pretty energetic in there! Most of the characters wore Purge-esque masks and cloaks, but they had some Valentine characters and other monsters lurking about, too. The wickedly welcoming Ambrose made a return in the mansion's opening scene - such a great actor! One female Purger really went after me early on, startling me more than once, then catching my wrists and hauling me away with an evil giggle! Oh no! Another Purger seemed amused by the fluffy pink wolf hat I had on and thoroughly combed her hands through its fur. I got some strong scares from the guys working the butcher shop and garage, too... the more HANDsome of the pair came at me very hard, trapping me between him and another actor, then chasing me out at the end! Yikes! But my favorite character had to be their cigar-puffing lady Cupid in the kitchen, who had her bow and arrow in my face the moment I walked in, and some witty lines to boot. Excellent actor and character design!
(With all the chaos this house hits you with towards the end, it can be hard to remember, but don't forget to swing back inside the lobby on your way out! The counter to the right is where you can purchase your souvenir photo, along with a large selection of wristbands, apparel, and other Manor merch.)
I've done several Valentine events at haunts over the years, but I gotta say, I've never seen any do V-Day quite like Malice Manor does. They're the only haunt I've found that uses the LED roses in lieu of glow sticks or necklaces for a blackout show, there's a new story for it every year, and you can even get married before you go through! If you live local to Clarksville or plan to be in the area near Valentine's Day, I highly recommend stopping by Lord Rancor's place and going on a blind date you certainly won't forget anytime soon. (Miss out on this event? Fear not - Malice Manor will return in June or July for Summer SLAYcation, their annual summertime show.)