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Malice Manor (2022 Review)

Updated: Nov 27, 2022


Date of Visit: 10/15/22 Reviewer: Lindsay


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Dark as it is, the little parlor is inviting. A fire burns softly before me, and the plush couch I'm sitting on is comfortable. It would almost be cozy - if not for the eccentric host who's joined me in the room. Despite his initial welcome and jovial tone, his behavior is growing increasingly erratic; his body jerks unnaturally, the pitch in his voice changes at random, and for whatever reason, he keeps touching my head. Without warning, he suddenly turns on me, voice beginning to twist into a snarl. "Now be on your way, my dear... before I get hungry!" As if in response, the eerie painting of a little girl above the mantle comes to life, her jaws stretching into an unholy roar... and the "fire" gradually fades out, revealing a secret passage. He doesn't need to tell me again - I'm off the couch and through that fireplace as quickly as I can move.


Needless to say, this isn't quite the greeting one would imagine when visiting someone else's home. But it's definitely the one you can expect when you visit the Rancor residence - known in other circles as "Malice Manor", a haunted house lurking just off Providence Way in Clarksville.


Now celebrating their fourth season, Malice Manor officially joined the Southern Indiana haunt community in 2019. Built around the story of the mysterious "Lord Rancor", a new chapter has been written for 2022's show, weaving a tale about the lord of the house's love for traveling and collecting artifacts around the world. Of course, it's all too easy to wind up with the wrong one(s) in your hands, and that seems to have happened to this poor fellow. Upon bringing whatever it was home, a curse befell his mansion, resulting in dark forces consuming not only his house, but his family and servants to boot. Everyone who resides there has now either been transformed into a twisted, maniacal version of themselves, or complete monsters... and it's said that any curious souls who happen to enter may find themselves claimed by it, too.


If you've read everything above and are still interested in seeing the Rancor home, admission to the Manor starts at $25. On nights where the house is receiving a lot of visitors (read: it's packed), you may wish to speed up your entry with a Fast Pass ($40). All parking is free; you can either grab one of the spots out front, or park in one of the lots next door and walk over.


This haunt is a bit limited by the location in how much extra entertainment it can offer customers. However, the owners work on it throughout the year, and continue to add what they can to provide an immersive show as soon as you enter the building. Movies are projected on the far wall of the lobby for groups to watch as they hang out or wait in line to purchase tickets. Gargoyles are a big thing here and they are all over the place, watching you with baleful, glowing eyes - how many can you find? Once you've got your tickets, proceed around the moss covered, gargoyle-guarded gate and weave your way through the intricate white fences to reach the house entrance. The way they've themed up this queue is one of my favorite parts of Malice Manor - yeah, you can tell it's in a warehouse if you look up, and they've usually got upbeat music playing to hype the crowd. But picking your way along the fences, with vines creeping all over them and "lightning" flashing above, feels pretty close to actually exploring the grounds of a haunted estate.


When it's your turn to enter, you'll be offered the chance to grab a photo with a variety of fun props before you're given the house rules. Fog billows ominously from the gargoyle heads on either side of the door, which- without warning- will slowly creak open... seemingly of its own accord. Lord Rancor and his family are now ready to welcome you into their home.


For a good while, Malice Manor more or less sticks to its mansion theme. You'll start out in the parlor, proceed through a library of disheveled books, explore a dining room and kitchen left in disarray, visit a little girl's room stuffed with creepy dolls and misfit toys, and other appropriate scenes. But let's not forget the story you'll be told before you go in... that of the woes the lord of the house has brought upon this place! Things only grow more random and unhinged as you continue on, finding yourself trapped in a sticky nest of animatronic arachnids, the chamber of a voodoo priestess, and even the actual shipyard where Lord Rancor's former vessel is docked - and you might risk becoming shark bait! There's a good level of detail in many of the rooms; some are decked out a bit more than others, but all contribute to the haunt's immersion. Many scenes have some sort of hidden trick, too: air cannons, shock pads (ouch!), horns, and water sprays are cleverly deployed to provide additional scares. For 2022, I also noticed changes to some areas - a completely new and interactive scene has replaced the former arcade, and the garage towards the end has been extended.


But as immersive as the manor feels, and as fun as it is to walk through, the real stars of this show are its cast. Your visit to the Rancor home will have you meeting a number of his family members and servants, along with some of the, um... uninvited guests who showed up when the darkness took over! The delightfully deplorable Ambrose was not only a gracious host (well, for a while), but also did a fantastic job of explaining the haunt's storyline and setting the tone for my adventure. I was ambushed by a monster shortly upon entering the house, bellowing complaints of "I'm hungry!" Similar comments followed from the girl working the kitchen, who hoped that I would stay for dinner... after all, frozen flesh is only good for so long. Proceeding into a vanity room, I ran into the manor's tailor, and was treated to a thorough description of how he'd be stripping my skin away and using it to fashion some new clothes. (Shout out here: this actor was so clever! Loved his joke about the last group being 'assholes' and that I might see them 'hanging out' in the next hallway... with walls covered in severed butts!) One of my best scares came from a colorful demon in the electric room, striking from a well placed vantage point with their taser stick. Descending into the subterranean voodoo lair soon brought me face to face with its priestess, who I swore was from another realm. She chanted at me in a language only she understood, then anointed my face in blood. And the chainsaw-swinging mechanic at the end was just wild. I almost made it out of the garage when he burst out of nowhere, irate and demanding to know "where's my F**KING 18mm socket?!" Or whatever size it was. I honestly don't remember, because he was insistent on slicing me to pieces and I was too busy running away.


(Ah, one more thing. You'll be notified before you enter, but this is a light contact haunted house. No one will grab you, pick you up, or anything too wild, but you may have your hair or face caressed, or limbs and clothing gently tugged on. As I hinted earlier, there's also the possibility of getting shocked/wet, so be prepared for that too.)


The crazies coming after you will no doubt make it difficult to remember, but if you escape from this malicious manor with your whole group, don't forget to go back inside and check out your souvenir photo! You can purchase it at the merch counter to your right when you walk in. They've also got a wide selection of wristbands, shirts, hats, and other goodies if you're interested in bringing home a souvenir.


Malice Manor has grown significantly since their first season, taking into account the feedback received over the years and using it to become a strong contender among this area's roster of haunted houses. Existing scenes have been added to and new ones created, characters adapt to suit the storyline, and the haunt's lore changes periodically to keep the experience fresh for returning customers. For an experience you won't forget anytime soon, pay a visit to this malevolent mansion and discover what Lord Rancor has found on his travels - just make sure you don't become a permanent part of his collection!


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ENVIRONMENT: 9/10 - Customers are dropped into the Manor's world as soon as they enter the building! Scenes in the house are also true to its storyline.


ACTING: 9/10 - One of the strongest casts I've seen in all the years I've been coming here. Dialogue was particularly good, ranging from creepy to hilarious.


SCARE FACTOR: 7/10 - Pretty good - they got some nice jumps/shrieks out of me as I was going through.


OVERALL: 8/10 - Another great visit to Malice Manor! It's a pleasure to stop by and watch how this place grows each season, and I'm glad to have them as part of our community.



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