'America's Best Haunts Names Top Thrill Attractions for 2009'

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12 haunts honored as eerie elite for best scare tactics in U.S.

The haunt business is a boon to the economy as Halloween bridges the gap between back-to-school and holiday season sales

The fear facts are in. America's Best Haunts, the nation's eminent authority on thrill attractions, has released the official list of top haunts for 2009.
As professionals of the scare, America's Best Haunt (http://www.americasbesthaunts.com) evaluated haunted attractions from coast to coast to select 12 of the best of the best to wear its coveted seal. Utilizing a panel of thrill park industry experts, top haunts from across the U.S. were thoroughly analyzed before being honored as one of this year's eerie elite. Each attraction was judged on creepy criteria including special effects, marketing, consumer value, design, actor ability, fear factor and safety.

In 2008, more than 26 million Americans flocked to haunted attractions, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). Haunts have ratcheted up the fright factor with animatronics and digital sound mixed with the traditional "fear in your face" scare tactics. With Halloween consumer spending growing to nearly $6 billion last year (NRF), thrill-seekers continue to want more and are willing to pay for it. Thrill attraction ticket prices across America reportedly now range from $15 to $65. "The haunt business is a boon to the economy as Halloween bridges the gap between back-to-school and holiday season sales," said Steve Kopelman of America's Best Haunts. "Our team of haunt experts takes their jobs seriously when it comes to naming America's best. Haunted attractions that wear our stamp of approval provide sophisticated fright fans with Hollywood-style design, acting, production and more."

The America's Best Haunts 2009 top thrill attractions include:

Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary (Philadelphia, PA)
Billed as a haunted house inside a state prison, this lost world of crumbling cellblocks and empty guard towers stands behind the Eastern State Penitentiary's massive 30-foot high walls. This is home to Terror Behind the Walls, ranked the "Number 1 Haunted House in the U.S." by AOL City Guide, and labeled "perfect for Halloween" by the New York Times. http://www.TerrorBehindTheWalls.com

Bennett's Curse (Baltimore, MD)
Featuring the Legendary House of the Vampyres, Bennett's Curse is the only medieval vampire knight themed haunted house in the world. Original scenes, enthusiastic actors, and state of the art special effects combine to create an unforgettable experience that will keep you screaming for more. http://www.bennettscurse.com

Screampark (Lexington, KY) New Comer of the Year
Kentucky's largest fear factory features three terrifying attractions, live events and more maniacal monsters than you care to meet under one roof. Screampark brings detailed sets, nightmarish monsters and high-tech scares to the "Heart of the Bluegrass". http://www.scarylexington.com

The Terror Test (Lumberton, MS)
Mississippi's largest haunted attraction includes Hollywood movie quality props, realistic sets, state of the art special effects and authentic costumes. Horror hounds will experience three eerie attractions under one roof that will frighten even the bravest of souls. http://www.terrortest.com

The 13th Door (Denver, CO)
What begins as an informative tour of a local historical site soon turns into terror as you are swept through time to relive the horrors of the famed Barrington Hotel Massacre. As events unfold, you soon learn that your only path of escape is through a mysterious 13th Door. Chased from one gruesome scene to the next, you quickly discover that your life is in very real jeopardy. http://www.13Door.com

ScreamWorld (Houston, TX)
Since 1989, ScreamWorld has been the premier home for horror in Houston with three haunted houses, an outdoor maze, a cemetery, and roaming creepy characters. Continually named Houston's No. 1 Haunted Attraction by both the Houston Chronicle and the Houston Press, ScreamWorld provides the most mayhem for the money to its 30,000 annual guests. http://www.ScreamWorld.com

Nightmare New England (Litchfield, NH)
This year, New England's legendary Spookyworld joins Nightmare New England to forge one of the largest and most terrifying Halloween Scream Parks in the country. The scale and variety of this mega-park offers something to thrill even the boldest of Halloween fanatics. Nightmare New England and Spookyworld feature seven terrifying haunted attractions and a "Monster Midway" where dozens of freakish characters freely roam the grounds and lurk around every corner. http://www.nightmarenewengland.com

Woods of Terror (Greensboro, NC)
What began as a mere haunted trail 18 years ago, is now one of the leading and top ranked haunted attractions in the U.S. Today, a staggering 20,000 visitors a year - young and old, from near and far - pay to roam 20 acres of pure terror while seeking the thrill of the ultimate adrenaline rush: fear. http://www.woodsofterror.com

Thrillvania (Terrell, TX)                                    
Located 20 miles east of Dallas, Thrillvania is one of the most decorated haunted attractions in the world. With 50 acres encompassing eight attractions, a midway and a haunted store, Thrillvania frightens more than 20,000 "victims" each year. The cornerstone of this fear farm is Verdun Manor, a two-story haunted house originally designed by Disney Imagineers and said to boast more props per square foot than any other haunt in the country. http://www.Thrillvania.com

The Terrorfest (Columbus, OH)
Formerly the critically-acclaimed "House of Nightmares" haunted house, The Terrorfest has had fear facelift. With a new, more terrorizing theme, diabolically-detailed sets, state of the art effects and a core of more than 60 dedicated actors, The Terrorfest is destined to bring a new level of haunting excellence to the Columbus brewery district. http://www.TheTerrorFest.com

The House of Horrors and Haunted Catacombs (Buffalo, NY)
Known for scaring the yell out of you, The House of Horrors has zombies, demons, vampires, psycho killers, and the living dead creeping around every corner. Celebrating its 17th season, the Haunted Catacombs guarantees fear-in-your-face special effects, amazing animations, and Hollywood-style sets that will have make your jaw drop and your heart race. http://www.thehouseofhorrors.com

Terror on the Fox (Greenbay, WI)
The terror continues at Wisconsin's premier thrill attraction as it celebrates its 13th season. With four haunts from an asylum to the pitch-dark void, the torment is pure torture. Terror on the Fox is sure to put you on the edge when you discover you are virtually trapped inside yourself. http://www.terroronthefox.com

About America's Best Haunts:
Established in 2006, Americas Best Haunts is the only expert resource of its kind, identifying the most superior haunted attractions in the country for today's discerning fright lovers.


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