MANSFIELD — Horror fans and thrill-seekers are invited to Mansfield, Ohio, this Halloween season to experience some of the most frightful and haunted destinations in the U.S.
Taking top billing, the one-of-a-kind “Escape from Blood Prison” haunted prison experience opens Thursday, Oct. 12 at 6 p.m. and runs every Thursday-Sunday through Nov. 5 at Ohio State Reformatory, best known for its starring role in ‘The Shawshank Redemption’. Filming is also currently under way at the prison for ‘Escape Plan 3,’ starring Sylvester Stallone.
Beyond the Blood Prison, Mansfield is home to four other haunted sites worth visiting, as well as a variety of haunted houses including: ‘The Haunted Bissman Building;’ ‘Mansfield Fire Museum;’ ‘Malabar Farm State Park;’ and ‘The Renaissance Theater.’ Details are found at HauntedMansfield.com. Complete visitor information, as well as a list of area haunted houses, can be found at DestinationMansfield.com
Now under the direction of horror industry veteran Victor Amesquita, this year’s haunted prison event uses the artistry of legendary Hollywood special effects authority Robert Kurtzman. Amesquita, who worked under Kurtzman for more than a decade, has again assembled a wildly talented team of special effects experts to transform the already chilling architecture of the Ohio State Reformatory into a ghoulish lair, home to the nation’s worst criminals. Not for anyone under age 13 – or the faint of heart – Blood Prison features unsettling clown sightings, ghastly murder scenes and crazed killers on the loose.
“This year’s haunt is more thrilling and immersive than ever before,” said Amesquita. “We’ve extended the length of the route through the prison and are offering a hands-on ‘Touch Pass,’ which allows for an even more intense experience as creepy ‘inmates’ reach for guests.”
Ohio natives, Amesquita and Kurtzman and their dream-team are no strangers to the film and special-effects industry, bringing more than three decades of expertise creating fantastic creature costumes, creepy effects, prosthetics and makeup to films such as ‘Pulp Fiction,’ ‘Misery’, ‘Scream’, ‘From Dusk till Dawn’, ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ and many others.
Built in 1886, Ohio State Reformatory served for 94 years as a working prison, housing more than 154,000 prisoners and setting the scene for major motion pictures, including the No. 1 movie of all time, “The Shawshank Redemption,” “Air Force One” and others. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the prison boasts the world’s largest free-standing steel cellblock and is known as the ultimate place to ghost hunt. OSR offers self-guided tours, Ghost Hunts and Walks, the Haunted Prison Experience and other events throughout the year.
A destination unlike any other, Mansfield is home to a wealth of unusual travel adventures and experiences, such as the world-famous Shawshank Trail, visiting the working farm where Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall were married, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Kingwood Center Gardens, BibleWalk, breathtaking scenery, rural and hometown experiences. Hiking, biking, golf, cross-country and downhill skiing, bird watching and loads of other outdoor adventures attract travelers of all ages. Complete visitor information is available at DestinationMansfield.com or (800) 642-8282.