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Live Active Cultures

Seth concludes his whirlwind tour of haunted attractions with a visit to Busch Gardens' Howl-O-Scream

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The remaining three haunts are holdovers from last year, and all are a little lacking compared to their younger brethren. Also returning is Alone, the appointment-only maze you experience on your own (or with up to three friends). The highly theatrical haunt, filled with interactive actors and the park’s most impressive effects, hasn’t changed significantly since last year, aside from a brief tacked-on tunnel finale that may give portly visitors pause. So my verdict is the same as last year – it’s the best haunt in any area theme park, and arguably worth the extra $40 for hard-core fans.

Howl-O-Scream doesn’t have Universal’s artistry or technology, but they’ve got what counts – old-fashioned scares. Walking the park’s foliage-choked paths, you’re guaranteed to be startled when a band of zombies (in surprisingly effective makeup) stagger out of the fog. It’s like the difference between an A-list studio feature and a 16-millimeter exploitation flick shot in someone’s backyard. I know which one is more likely to make me jump.

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