Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What's Next?

The haunt season has barely begun and we are planning like crazy as more and more attractions open for business.  This weekend we will be attending Fright Fest at Six Flags and hope to attend Atlanta Zombie Apocolypse.  Next weekend is all about Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida.  We would love to find out if there are any local haunts in Tampa that we could also visit while we are there next weekend, but we haven't had much luck searching on the internet.  After that weekend we are planning trips to haunted attractions near Columbus, Georgia and Birmingham, Alabama.  I think we may even have found a backyard haunt that will be open on Halloween night to attend.  It's a great time of the year and we love that we will stay that busy.  If you have any suggestions for haunts to visit that are in any of the areas mentioned above please let us know.  Our readers are a far better resource than an internet search engine (where you find sites and then learn that the place hasn't been open for a few years...after you get excited to go).

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Searching for "Backyard Haunts"

Our background in haunts started with having a background haunt that the neighborhood loved, so we want to "pay it forward."  If you know of anyone who is in Georgia, Tampa (FL), or Birmingham (AL) that has a backyard haunt we want to know about it.  We can't promise to attend them all, but we want the chance to try.  We've been searching the internet to see what we can find, but we recognize that personal haunts aren't always able to publicize as they would like to.  Post a comment on our blog with the info to let us and our readers know what's out there.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Number 1!

Ranked as the number one haunted attraction in the US by USA Today and Haunt World magazine and ranked number seven by Haunted Attraction magazine...who could that be?  That's Georgia's own Netherworld located in Norcross.  Every year Netherworld rethinks their two haunts and comes back with creative changes that can manage to scare even the most seasoned of visitors.  Some of their new scenes this year were completely unexpected and amazing!  We always highly recommend Netherworld to anyone and refuse to give away the secrets to their haunting success.  They continue to maintain a solid ranking of 5 severed heads.  We may even go back again this season for a second visit.

Unethical Haunt

It was bound to happen eventually, but we didn't expect it to be like this.  We have found a haunt that we both want to tell you about and don't want to acknowledge their existence even with negative publicity.  It's such a difficult situation to find ourselves in.

What we are willing to say is what it is that makes them unethical and immoral asses.  They used plants.  We don't mean the green leafy kind!  Plants are people who work with the haunt, but come through with groups as if they are other customers.  That's not a bad thing by itself, and it is a fairly common practice for haunted attractions.  They may hire actors to walk through as customers and have them scream as if scared at certain points in order to add to the scare level of other visitors.  This is perfectly fine.  What wasn't okay was that they used their plants in a very horrible way.  We were sent in with a "mother and two sons," or at least that's how they portrayed themselves.  During one scene a false wall slides away and a character jumps out and abducts one of the young boys before shutting the wall and locking it.  The "mother" freaks out and is banging on the false door.  She's screaming about how this isn't part of it and how wrong this is.  She's asking for help.  We were basically stuck in this one room waiting for some sign to move on for 3 to 5 minutes.  You can't help but wonder what in the hell is going on.  There were no actors encouraging us to move on and nobody who was giving the "mother" any encouragement of any kind.  It got to the point where I decided that we would just keep walking until we could run into another actor in order to find out what was going on.  When we did he just started talking as if we were the only ones in our group.  I basically told him to shut up and listen to me when I was describing what we had just been witness to.  Now, keep in mind, this isn't exactly scary since you know that there is no legal way they can touch you in a something is automatically "up" when this happened.  While we were talking to the guy the manager appeared in the rafters yelling down at us that this was all a part of the experience and that they were actors and to keep moving.  What?!  Did he just take us even further out of the haunt experience that we already were?  Really?  How stupid can you get?  We basically ignored the rest of the haunt and just walked straight through and all of the way out.  When we were outside we stated how horrible the haunt was for trying to use a child abduction scenario that they use plants for to scare people and the response we got was the most unprofessional crap ever:  we were told to get off their property!  Really?  Yes!  Rather than try to hear us out and discuss their rationale, they would rather yell at us to leave.  Well, aren't they a bit defensive?!  People don't get defensive like that unless they know they are doing something wrong.  The scenario might have worked out if they had thought it out and planned something a little differently (we have ideas of how this could work, but since they wouldn't listen we won't share it for them to find now).  Too bad for them.

We felt that we wasted our time and money on this haunt and we sincerely hope that if you accidentally find yourself in a place like what we have described you will tell them your thoughts on how they are treating you and what kind of example they are setting.  Imagine the logic of a naive teen going through here and hearing that if you don't touch the monsters they won't touch you and then seeing a monster touch someone to the point of abduction.  I hope they get a protective father in one of their groups when they try to pull this crap and someone either gets decked or their fake wall doorway gets busted through because a protective father tries to save the child.  Oh, how I REALLY hope that happens to these horrible people.

They wouldn't listen and they wouldn't respond with respect.  We hope that this haunt doesn't survive their first year to subject others to their misguided attempts at creating fear.

Folklore Haunted House in Dallas, GA

Let the fun begin!  The 2010 haunt season has begun and we are off and running as well.  On 9/24 we attended Folklore Haunted House in Dallas, GA.  Less than 30 minutes from Six Flags this haunt is in it's first year.  There has to be some leniency given to those that are just getting started, but even with that being said they have done a spectacular job.

We begin by pointed out some of the things you may need to know when going to Folklore.  The ticket window requires you to walk around the side of the building to an old pharmacy drive-thru window and then all of the way back to the front to the entrance.  There are scare actors in the parking lot, but don't let that stop you from getting out of your car!  That's actually a really good thing.  You'll also want to be careful if you are using a GPS system to locate the site.  Our Tom Tom told us we still had over a mile to go when we noticed it sitting off on a hill partially obscured by other buildings.  You don't want to miss it, so keep and eye out.

Now for the good and the bad of it all.

Folklore Haunted House has three managers and two acting managers.  We had the opportunity to speak to one of each while we were there.  This group is very interested in telling you their stories and finding out your opinions of their attraction.  The hospitality there was a huge plus.  When we went to pick up our tickets we were given a rubber bracelet as a keepsake.  We hope that they will find a way to do something with this in the future (such as a different colored band each year and a discounted admission if you wear the one from the previous year - a loyalty reward!).

The theming through the haunt is very well planned out and sticks to the storyline much better than expected for a haunt of this size.  There are large animatronics as well as larger than average set pieces that capture your attention.  The management admits that there are things they want to continue to expand on and work on over time, but that's reasonable since you would have to be very wealthy to put together a haunt in one year that didn't need some continued improvement.

The actors are still being groomed toward being the best that they can be.  There are plenty of talented screamers among the group, but the manager assures us that they will be discovering that there is more to the scare than the scream as they work through the season.  Among the actors are many different age ranges, including several highly talented child actors.  These children were, on occasion, actually better actors than the adults.  This was quite impressive.

Some of the actors and other staff at Folklore have prior experience working at Creepers Haunted House, which was a favorite of ours several years ago.  The staff were able to tell us that Creepers closed for a season due to the owners expanding family (congratulations!), but hasn't been able to be in exactly the right place to reopen again just yet.  We wish them much luck with getting back into the haunt world and know that the staff that went over to Folklore is doing them proud.

We highly recommend Folklore to anyone looking for a fun and frightful evening.  On our scale of 1-5 severed heads we give them a solid 4 severed heads.  Congratulations on a job well done and keep up the progress.