Review: Gravestone Manor’s theatrical haunted house is a nightmare you won’t want to end

There’s no place like Gravestone Manor in Plains Township. - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
A guest at Gravestone Manor relaxes with an old friend - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Artwork graces the wall at the Gravestone Manor front desk. - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Freddy Krueger makes an appearance from Elm Street. - - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Regan MacNeil from the Exorcist sits on her bed at Gravestone Manor in Plains Township. - - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Norman Bates lunges from behind a shower curtain at Gravestone Manor. - - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Skeletons remain for an extended stay at Gravestone Manor in Plains Township. - - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Freddy Krueger makes an appearance at Gravestone Manor in Plains Township. - - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
A clown checks out the luxury accomodations at Gravestone Manor in Plains Township. - - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
A guest relaxes in the lobby of Gravestone Manor in Plains Township. - - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

In its 17th season, Gravestone Manor is the very definition of a refined haunted house.

You get that feeling the second you walk in. The haunt may be inside a warehouse, but you don’t really get a sense of that at all. Even the ticket booth is tastefully decorated.

Gravestone Manor sets itself apart from the other haunts because it considers itself to be more theatrical presentation than shock-and-awe attraction. It’s more like a play than an actual haunted house.

Terrified of chainsaws? No worries. There’s not a single one used in this attraction.

Can’t stand loud noises? No air horns here.

Instead, they pride themselves on the quality of acting instead of the quantity of scares.

You start off in a seated area where they’re playing a movie while your group waits to go through. And it’s not a slasher flick, either. It’s more like an indie film where the scares are more mental than gory. It does a nice job setting the tone of what you’re about to experience. Before long, it’s your turn and you’re greeted by an actor who runs down the rules and regulations. Then you’re on your merry way.

This attraction follows a seemless storyline, narrated by actors who have obviously practiced their lines and delivery. Here, you’re inside your host’s dream and you follow her along for every weird twist and turn.

You start off outside a house and she eventually invites you in. Hanging on the middle of the wall is a photo of a very innocent-looking child. She explains that the child is rumored to be responsible for the deaths of quite a few people. But that’s just rumors, right? You begin to think not when the lights start to flicker and the photo of the child turns into something demonic.

The dream shifts and you end up in a bathroom where you meet the host’s alter ego, a movie director who’s actually aspired to become what the host wanted to be when she was a child. She mocked her for not growing up and starts directing a movie right in front of you. You’re concentrating so hard on the alter-ego taunting the host that you never see Norman Bates flying out of the shower until it’s too late. “A boy’s best friend is his mother!” Totally. Amazing.

The best part of this attraction is when you enter the REM sleep part of the dream where the dream gets very vivid. You’re locked inside a box that starts to violently shake and an insane clown appears and starts rolling all over the floor, then bounces up in your face. If you’re claustrophobic and deathly afraid of clowns, then you’ll beg you host to wake up very, very quickly from a nightmare. Though if you’re scared of spiders, you might want to hang back and stay with the clown

Because it’s all so well done, Gravestone Manor ends sooner than you’d like, but the 15 minutes are definitely worth the $10 ticket price. And profits from this attraction benefit United Way of Wyoming Valley.

Rating: 4 Coffins out of 5

There’s no place like Gravestone Manor in Plains Township.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/web1_GravestoneManor_12.jpgThere’s no place like Gravestone Manor in Plains Township. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

A guest at Gravestone Manor relaxes with an old friend
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/web1_GravestoneManor_22.jpgA guest at Gravestone Manor relaxes with an old friend Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Artwork graces the wall at the Gravestone Manor front desk.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/web1_GravestoneManor_32.jpgArtwork graces the wall at the Gravestone Manor front desk. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Freddy Krueger makes an appearance from Elm Street.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/web1_GravestoneManor_42.jpgFreddy Krueger makes an appearance from Elm Street. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Regan MacNeil from the Exorcist sits on her bed at Gravestone Manor in Plains Township.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/web1_GravestoneManor_52.jpgRegan MacNeil from the Exorcist sits on her bed at Gravestone Manor in Plains Township. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Norman Bates lunges from behind a shower curtain at Gravestone Manor.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/web1_GravestoneManor_62.jpgNorman Bates lunges from behind a shower curtain at Gravestone Manor. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Skeletons remain for an extended stay at Gravestone Manor in Plains Township.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/web1_GravestoneManor_72.jpgSkeletons remain for an extended stay at Gravestone Manor in Plains Township. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Freddy Krueger makes an appearance at Gravestone Manor in Plains Township.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/web1_GravestoneManor_82.jpgFreddy Krueger makes an appearance at Gravestone Manor in Plains Township. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

A clown checks out the luxury accomodations at Gravestone Manor in Plains Township.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/web1_GravestoneManor_92.jpgA clown checks out the luxury accomodations at Gravestone Manor in Plains Township. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

A guest relaxes in the lobby of Gravestone Manor in Plains Township.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/web1_GravestoneManor_102.jpgA guest relaxes in the lobby of Gravestone Manor in Plains Township. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Gravestone Manor

Address: 1095 Highway 315, Plains Township

Details: gravestonemanor.com or 570-821-6500

Attractions: Haunted House

Review date: October 2, 2015 (opening day)

Reviewers: Sandy Tomcho, George Spohr, Jeric Foulds