This year our attempt to keep it fresh lead us straight to a mental hospital… inside one of the city’s newest attractions: Ocean City Screams. Now. don’t worry. I’m not going to ruin the fun for you by going into detail on the horrors that await for you inside this multi-level haunted house. You’ll have to muster up the courage and go explore this spooky lair without any spoilers from me, and I’d suggest you not to search the web for any either. After all, the element of surprise is critical when getting the most out this kind of experience. This is one of those cases where the less you know the better.
Like a lot of you out there reading this article right now, I’ve been vacationing in Ocean City since my childhood, and it’s fair to say that tradition with a side of nostalgia is what keeps me returning year after year. But one of the things I like most about this resort is that we always find something different to do while we’re visiting our little beach town. We have our favorite places to go and things to do, but I believe it always is important to try and incorporate new things into the itinerary to avoid having your trip end up with that “been there done that” kinda feel. As my wife often says to me, “Every year is a different vacation”.
You need to know this is not a ride, this is a walk through house with multiple stairs, moving floors, and of course some very dark rooms. Like most haunted houses that typically make the scene around Halloween time. it is geared toward the younger generation. My son was more than eager to go, while I on the other hand played the quintessential dad role and just went along almost grudgingly. But meanwhile there was a small part of me that secretly was anticipating it just as much as he, perhaps even more. When I was a kid my father would go on the Haunted House ride at Trimpers with me every year without fail, but he flat out refused to take me into Morbid Manor. The original Morbid Manor was a walk through haunted house. That’s all I can tell you because I never have seen the inside of it. I assume my father thought it was simply too scary for me, so in a way this trip through Ocean City Screams was around 40 years in the making for me.
We did take our 12-year-old through it and he absolutely loved it, but it’s not recommended for children under 12. I can tell you as we were walking up toward the entrance we witnessed two girls about 14 years old walking down the sidewalk in tears as they exited the attraction.
Now, I personally didn’t see anything scary enough to cause this type of reaction, but the good news is if you do find yourself too scared to press forward you can always exit the house simply by walking through any number of the bright red curtains, located through out the house. I highly recommend walking through the black curtains, which is the path for those brave souls who wish to see the house from start to finish, but make sure you take your time upon entering each room, as there are motion activated and time sensitive features that will lose some of their effectiveness if you rush through.
The props and effects are amazingly realistic, the actors take their roles very seriously, and I can only imagine how much work goes into some of their make up. While the ghoulish characters inside do their best to drive fear into the hearts of those who choose to enter, outside the management is welcoming and professional. This should come as no surprise considering Ocean City Screams is part of Steelhead Events and Productions. The company has been recognized as being the Best Haunt Designer and Builder in the United States by A&E Network and have 2 other haunted houses in MD & DC. There really is no substitute for experience, and is the reason why their roll out went so smoothly. They have systems in place, and they already know what works. They take the time to explain the procedures to each group before they enter, and survey them as they exit.
If this place has one draw back it has to be the location. It sits on Worcester Street, but you can’t see it from the boardwalk. This might be a pretty big problem for them to circumvent, because unless you read about it online, you could walk right past this street from the boards ’till the crack of doom and never know it even is there. We were looking for it and couldn’t see it until we were practically right on top of it… I asked the manger about it, and as of this writing, he was keeping his fingers crossed for the town to allow him to advertise by putting a sign on the boards. If the sign is still not up by the time you’re ready to give this place a try, just remember to step off the boards between Marty’s Playland, and Sportsland and follow the walk up to the corner.