Friday, October 21, 2011

Creepers Twisted Horrors - Plague of Darkness, Canton, GA

A backyard haunt with 10 years of experience!  That's amazing!  Creepers Twisted Horrors is a combination attraction that includes a hayright, walking trail, and haunted house.  With a donation of canned goods you can even get a discount on admission to become one of their victims...I mean visitors.

My favorite part was the hayride.  There were many times during it that I jumped or laughed.  After we had our adventure behind the tractor it was time for a little walk in the woods.  That was one steep walk!  I'm not even sure if my sneakers helped with some of that.  I know I'm not in shape, but I wasn't expecting that!  It was still enjoyable, especially when we reached the corn.  You'll like the corn!  There's not much of it, but what's there really has in impact on you.

The biggest challenge that they face is the timing of their actors.  We had several times when actors jumped out to scare those ahead of us and actually ended up cutting us off from the group. That makes it hard to keep up and hard to get a scare.  At least that's something easy to improve upon!

After our walk we entered the actual haunted house portion of the event.  Some of the rooms were too small for our group of people, which always frustrates us, but it was a backyard haunt so that makes it easier to overlook.  There were decent costumes and make-up effects throughout the experience, which helps to keep you in the moment.  We felt that it was a good haunt, but that there weren't many things that stuck in our minds after it was all over.  Every haunt should have that moment, actor, or scene that you just can't forget afterwards.  Unfortunately, it felt largely forgettable. 

One thing that was a surprise to us was that it had certain "Hell House" characteristics.  For those of you that aren't familiar, Hell Houses are attempts to show people what happens when they don't follow Christ.  It's religious propoganda for those who like haunted houses, basically.  A lot of them do it wrong, but the aspects that Creepers Twisted Horrors chose to implement were done well.  At first I thought to myself that they were going to try to preach to me, lecture me, or push me to share their specific beliefs.  I was very relieved when they didn't approach it in that manner.  Not everyone shares identical beliefs, and I feel strongly that we are all entitled to our own beliefs without others trying to force us to accept their beliefs as our own.  I won't push my beliefs on you, so please don't push your beliefs on me...that's my philosophy.  The minor amount of religious references that were included at this haunt didn't feel pushy at all.  It was well planned and fit nicely into the overall attraction.

The primary reason for the rating that we are giving to Creepers Twisted Horrors is that there were a lot of strobes used to hide where sets and make-up might be lacking and there were a lot of actors who simply screamed.  To us, you need to be more versatile than just screaming.  Once an actor screams towards me I begin to expect it, and when I get a few in a row who only seem to know screaming as a scare tactic I get bored.  We rated this event at two and a half severed heads out of a possible five.  They aren't near professional level, but they are a good backyard haunted attraction.  Check them out, and be sure to bring your tennis shoes, canned goods, and some money for the concession stand (they have hot chocolate!).

Not a Haunt, but a Great Time!

Yeah, I know we are "Haunt" Review.  So, what?  That's not all we like!  We love a good ghost tour, or a creepy story telling experience.  Maybe it's a Halloween parade, or a zombie walk.  We aren't going to exclude it just because it isn't a haunted house.  We also aren't going to give it a rating since it isn't a haunted house, but that doesn't mean we don't want to share it with all of you.

Terror on the Trail is located in Suwanee, Georgia.  This is an event run by the great people of The Aurora Theater.  It is a 1.1 mile loop walk through a local park where costumed, story-telling, actors will entertain you at various stops along the way.  To make it even are escorted through your event by the most fabulous zombies!  Each zombie has it's own personality and the actors really stick to it.  I asked a zombie in the parking lot where the bathroom was and his grunts and motions guided me in the right direction.  He never spoke a word! 

This is a unique and fun activity that the entire family can enjoy.  It's a bit strenuous if you aren't ready for it, but a pair of tennis shoes and the knowledge that the trail is fairly level, paved, and has stops made it easy for me to relax and enjoy the stories.  You really get invested in the stories and the characters that you get to know.  You will experience the park in a whole new way, especially when you suddenly realize that the lantern you just accidently glanced at has now made the dark surrounding you appear even deeper than it was moments ago. 

A couple of years ago we went to the storytelling event that Stone Mountain has at their Plantation during haunt season.  We can honestly say that Terror on the Trail is substantially better than the experience at Stone Mountain.  It was worth the cost, both financially and time investment (the trail can take up to 75 minutes to complete).  The environment is perfect for this type of event! 

This may not be a "haunted house," but it is completely worth it.  We highly recommend that you make reservations to attend this event.  Check out this event and the Lawrenceville Ghost Walk that is also offered by the Aurora Theater.  They have talented actors who will help you to engage yourself.  You'll be right where they want you...which could mean that you end up as a midnight snack, rather than having one!  Enjoy!

If I Can't Find You... Are You Really There?

We have had several experiences this year where we were grateful to own multiple navigation systems and be smart enough to carry it all with us.  When we go searching our haunts we carry printed directions from Google Maps, a Garmin, a TomTom, and our cell phones with internet access.  You would think that with all of that going for us we would be able to find every single haunt.  Wrong!  I don't know how it's possible, but there are actually haunts we can't find when we combine all of those resources together.  This year we went to some haunts where TomTom got us there and Garmin couldn't.  There were other times where Garmin was the winner and TomTom had us on a road with no haunt in sight.  Then there were trips such as the one we made looking for 13 Acres of Hell, which is supposed to be located in Conyers, Georgia.  We used every single resource at our disposal INCLUDING following a spotlight!  We never did find them.  We finally gave up and went to find a different haunt to enjoy.  How is that possible that we used so many things and couldn't find them?  Oh, and don't ask me, "Did you trying calling them on your cell?"  That question will be met by the fact that some areas just don't have cell phone signal, and for us that was one of them.  Better luck next year!  We can't review you if we can't find you!!

Backyard Haunt...Gone Great!

Our last post was a warning regarding a professional haunt that had felt like a backyard haunt gone wrong, so here we have an example of a backyard haunt gone right.  As a matter of fact, it went SO right that it is better than that professional haunt that we were talking about!

Scream on the Trail is a backyard haunt that is located in Snellville, Georgia.  They have been doing this for five years and are prepared to offer you your choice of scare levels.  If you are a complete chicken then just tell them and they will calm it down for you.  Daredevil?  Tell them you want the full effect and they will go for it.  Tell them nothing?  Be prepared to get their full force haunt since you chose not to express your own wishes.  Of course, we went for full force!  I got touched!  Though I'm pretty sure it was an accident, I am always happy when a haunt leaves out that old saying about "and the monsters won't touch you."  Touch me!  Bring it on!  I'm paying for an adrenaline rush, so give me one (within the realm of a safe experience, of course).  They want to scare you so badly that they offer a private, late night event.  With a five person minimum attendance, charging $20 each, with reservations made, they will stay really late and scare you so much that your legs shake on the way to your car.

They definitely have the haunt basics covered, though we can see where they are prepared to do more as they are able to.  There were scares from every angel and they had more animatronics in place than we have ever seen in a non-professional level haunt.  The only thing missing for us were the scares involving the elements (water, air, etc.).  I know that it might sound silly to be impressed by it, but we never saw a light or an extension cord anywhere.  They had to be there.  We're sure they were there since we could see and things that needed power had power.  The good thing was that we didn't even notice them.  In a good haunt you shouldn't notice the things that are meant to be behind the scenes, and we certainly missed them all at Scream on the Trail. 

We highly recommend this attraction and can't wait to see what they can do as they grow.  We assign ratings to haunts on a scale that goes up to five severed heads.  For Scream on the Trail we feel that they are a solid three severed heads and have the potential to continue to evolve until, maybe someday, they reach professional level.  Remember, if the customer is entertained they are getting what they paid for.  We screamed, jumped, and laughed.  Definitely an entertaining evening.

** Tennis shoes needed, as the ground is uneven.  Remember that when you are walking back to your car after the haunt.  I stopped paying attention to the ground once I thought we were done and a dip in the ground almost got me.  **

Backyard Haunt...Gone Bad

We try to keep a positive outlook when visiting haunts, especially when it is their first year as a professional business haunted attraction.  Sometimes there is just nothing that a positive outlook can do to save the review of a haunt.  Sherwood Forest, a new putt-putt and game facility, has a haunted attraction this year called Haunted Forest.  The location is in Conyers, Georgia and is relatively easy to find (though that's probably where the happy/positive thoughts from me end).  We regret to say that we feel we wasted our money going there...and the group of teenagers that went through with us felt the same way.  Teenagers!  They were very serious about how they felt that it had gone and it wasn't a good thing for the haunt.  These teenagers were well-spoken young adults who stood and spoke with the site manager, Darrell, when we stop to drop off our business card after the haunt.  We allowed them to state their thoughts before we did, and it was amazing how similar our thoughts were!  The manager tried to tell them that they were, "catering to little kids" at this haunt.  That's unfortunate since their website says, "not recommended for patrons under the age of 13."  Huh?  Seriously?  Do they even know who their audience is?

Oh, there's more.  Let's start from the beginning and I'll try not to be cruel.  We waited in line for the haunt to open.  The line was outside of the curtain for the costuming and make-up area.  That meant we saw everything before we even went into the haunt.  Not smart.  The make-up we saw needed serious improvements, but once we were on the trail we figured out that they weren't too concerned since it was hard to see outside.  The trail winds through a putt-putt course that they have taken over for the haunt.  We had to hold a rope that was too short, so we could all barely shuffle our feet in order to walk without stepping on each other.  The leader had a flashlight, but it didn't do any good beyond the first person.  You know how putt-putt greens are lined with those little red edging bricks?  Well, since it was hard to see them it was easy to almost fall over them or step off of concrete onto uneven ground.  I had to reach out to balance the guy ahead of me more than one time.  That's a big no-no when it comes to safety. 

I actually spoke to one of the staff members during the tour and he was raving about Netherworld!  Why are you talking about another haunt when you should be in character and trying to do your job at the haunt you do work for?  There were several times where actors came out of character to say hello to a friend in the group.  It made things just that much worse.

The regular admission for the haunt is $18, however we spent only $10 and still felt ripped off.  It's sad when the best thing about the haunt was the pet guinea pig named Wally that belongs to the game facility.  We give Haunted Forest and Sherwood Forest only one half of a severed head, and that's only because they might be okay for trick-or-treaters to go through.  Our scale goes all of the way to five severed heads, so be wary that we wouldn't even give this location one full severed head.  If you have a better experience there than we did we would love to hear about it.  If you had a similar experience we would love to hear that it wasn't just us.  To us it felt like a backyard haunt that had somehow gone terribly wrong.

Frightmore, Morrow, Georgia

Frightmore Haunted House is located in a shopping center in Morrow, Georgia.  If you are familiar with the area it is near Old Navy and across the street from David's Bridal.  This is their first year and they have some fabulous ideas in the works for their future.  Customers should be aware that one dollar from each ticket goes to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.  It's always nice to see haunters giving back to the community.

Morrow, Georgia isn't exactly a hot spot when it comes to haunted houses.  There are some in nearby counties, but we having seen any others in Clayton County lately.  We've begun to suspect that we know why, and we hope that more haunts will move into the area over the next few years.

Frightmore is run by some wonderful people who had no problem talking to us for quite a while after we had gone through their haunt.  They expanded on how they want to reinvest the money that they make this year into the haunt to do things that will be drastic and impress customers next year.  We love their ideas and were definitely pleased with some of the ones that they were already able to put into effect for their first year.  Keep in mind that buildings as large as the one they are in don't come cheap, and it is rented so they are limited in what can be done.  With what they have to work with they are doing a spectacular job.  There are scares from multiple levels, including a few times where we honestly wondered how we were supposed to continue on.  While we were talking to the manager after our trip through the haunt we saw a group come running and screaming from the haunt.  That's exactly what we want to see! 

There are definitely some quality scares, good timing, confusing spaces, and talented make-up effects within the haunt.  We feel that they could continue to make improvements and implement their ideas for years to come and end up as one of the top haunts in the Atlanta area.  The potential is there, however we all know that ideas alone aren't what keep haunts improving has to be coming in so they those ideas can be implemented.  If you attend Frightmore we want to hear about your visit.  We want to help theme publicize their business and continue to grow.  If they can get even a fraction of what they want to have done for next year then we can hardly wait to see it.  We are currently rating them at three severed heads, though we considered bumping them to three and a half.  The scale that we rank with tops out at fived severed heads, so we are hoping to see them rise to that level or the next few years.  Congratulations to Frightmore for a great start to their first year in business.

Atlanta Zombie Apocolypse, Conley, GA (The Sequel)

Last year we raved about our trip to Atlanta Zombie Apocolypse and we were desperately looking forward to our visit this year.  Unfortunately, the sequel didn't live up to the original.  We sincerely feel that if our group size had been smaller we would have had a better experience.  Before we enter the attraction I commented to one of the staff regarding the number of people in the group we were assigned to.  I said, "You aren't actually going to send a group this big in, are you?"  There were nine people in all, though it was actually several smaller groups put together.  His comment to me was, "I think we can handle it, miss."  I regret to say that they couldn't handle it.  We were near the back of the line and missed almost every single scare.  There were even rooms that they couldn't fit all nine of us into at the same time, so we didn't get to see what happened.  There were at least two instances where the staff didn't realize the group wasn't all together, which meant we missed even more of the experience.  Had they seperated our group down to no more than six people I feel that it would have been just as amazing as it was last year.

In 2010 we felt as if we were pursued by a hoard of zombies during parts of the event.  This year we felt as though we were herded through things, rather than experiences hoards.  Having felt as if this were like being a part of a movie in 2010 it was a huge disappointment to never be able to sink into the storyline for 2011.  We received excuses from the management regarding it being opening weekend when we attended, however we stand by our opinion that if we are paying full price we want a full price experience. 

It is our sincere hope that the management at Atlanta Zombie Apocolypse took our constructive criticism into account and made a few minor adjustments so that everyone paying for the full haunt experience can feel that they got the full haunt experience.  Smaller groups would have made all of the difference.  Of course, if you want to miss the scares and just float along behind the group that's really your choice when you go in a group that it larger than the rooms will physically hold.  There are still scenes at AZA that I can't figure out what I missed in.  I hope it will be better next year.  Maybe the third part of the trilogy will live up to our high expectations. 

This year we are ranking Atlanta Zombie Apocolypse at three severed heads, though we seriously considered giving it only two and a half.  The scale runs up to five severed heads, and we are confident that this attraction could earn higher ratings if we could have experienced it with everyone else in our group instead of barely making it into the spaces and missing the scares.  Better luck next year.

Our Review of Haunted Hill House of Horror, Griffin, GA

    You've already seen what a fellow haunter felt about this haunt, but now it's our turn. 
    Let's start by saying just how thrilled we are to have more haunted houses opening up in our hometown!  We were both born and raised in Griffin, which creates a certain desire to be biased in their favor and we strive to be careful, accurate, and unbiased with our review.
    This haunt is a former backyard haunt attempting to go professional, which will require the support of their fans and customers.  It takes a lot for a backyard haunt to become a successful and stable professional haunt, including money, time, and support.  If all three don't come together for them then they often end up returning to the own backyards, if they continue at all.  Haunted Hill House of Horror has a lot of potential, great ideas, and simply needs the time to explore things for themselves. 
    This experience is best in small groups.  Though we did not notice scares from different levels, we did notice that they use a variety of techniques through the experience that are meant to keep you off balance and ready for the next surprise.  They are currently relying heavily on horror movie icons as their theme, which we would like to see them take and use for a while as they develop their own iconic characters and unique ideas.  Their costuming and make-up are good quality work that needs to be on good quality actors.  They have several cast members who are ready to take this to the next level, but there are others who need more experience in order to figure out their own timing.  One experience that we loved was when I got grabbed on the arm.  It startled me, because most haunts don't do that, and I love it.  I'm fine with "don't touch the monsters," but I feel that "and they won't touch you" is really not necessary. 
    We know that the cast was still working on timing when we went through, so after the haunt we gave them our business card and ended up disguising their coach to go through with us in a group so that she could see what the actors were doing.  She then thanked us and regrouped the staff to ensure that they all knew what they needed to improve upon.  The haunt business requires continual improvements that are made as they are needed, and we are happy to say that this is exactly what they are doing. 
    Overall we felt that there were some great ideas and scares, but the sets and actor timing could be adjusted to maximize the experience.  We were given two tickets to check back in on them later in the season (since we went in September) and will be sneaking up on them sometime to see what has changed.  Currently we give them a ranking of two and a half severed heads out of a possible five.  Wonder if they'll change our minds?  We can't wait to find out!

*Update* Paranoia Haunted House, Alpharetta, Georgia

   We recently got to use our surprise tickets to evaluate Paranoia Haunted House later in the haunt season.  We are very excited to announce that they are continually working on improvements and blew us away.  This time we are both in agreement that this attraction rates a solid four severed heads and is going to become a force to be reconned with.  Their darkness is pitch black right where it needs to be and their acting staff had amazing timing.  It was incredible to hear Bryan say that he actually got chills during one of the scenes!  Good luck dealing with your own paranoia as you attempt to deal with Paranoia.


    Haunt Review went to Paranoia Haunted House on their opening weekend, which is always a challenge for the haunt.  Many smaller haunts are still working things out with props and haven't had customers on which their actors can practice their timing yet.  This was an experience that left us with two very different opinions, which is a first time ever occurance.  We attribute some of the difference in opinion to having been the first people through, on the first night of their very first year being open.  Due to the differences in opinion we did accept two complimentary tickets to return and visit the haunt, unannounced, during the height of the season.  They won't know we are coming, and won't recognize us when we do, so we will be able to see if they have improved upon certain things since we last saw them.  Please look for that review to be added after we attend.
   Paranoia is a new haunt, as we said, and they have a connection to another haunt that we have loved in the past.  Creepers was one of our favorite haunts.  When they didn't reopen some of their staff dispersed to other haunts.  One of them went to work at Folklore and another has opened Paranoia. 
   The thing that we noticed the most about Paranoia was their actors.  The timing of the majority of the cast was sensational.  Talented acting staff roaming around in near pitch black conditions is certainly enough to cause a scare.  However, we felt that some places were pitch black spaces because they have only just open for their first year and the funding to finish fully theming the sets is probably not where they would like it to be just yet.  If we all keep attending and getting our scares in the dark then we may start to see a few more well themed areas that have a little more light and cause your pupils to dilate so that their darker sections become even more intense.  We certainly believe that if you have a fear of the dark you have to check out Paranoia.
   Because our opinions varied so greatly it is hard to say where they should really be ranked.  It's also hard to fault a haunt for things that they are still learning and still earning the money to later improve upon.  One of us ranked them at two severed heads, while the other ranked them at three and a half severed heads, out of a possible five.  We'll let you know when we have returned to check in our their progress, but in the mean time you should definitely go check them out and let us know what you think.  We love user reviews!

Plantation Blood, Augusta, GA

  Plantation Blood in Augusta, Georgia is a marvelous experience.  The exterior is well themed, and the interior theming goes so far as to exceed your expectations.  They have only been at their current location for two years, though you couldn't tell it from appearances.  The staff is very friendly and spent substantial time with us on the day after we attended their haunt.  It was amazing to take a personal lights on tour to see all of the things that you don't notice when you are walking through the dark. 
   There are a variety of floor surfaces and wall textures within the haunt that add to the experience.  The timing of the well trained volunteer actors combines with the appearance of the surroundings to create an emersive experience.  There are definitely times within the attraction that you forget where you are and are transported into the world that they want you to believe that you are in.  Your senses are assaulted from a variety of angles as you tour the town's church, homes, caves, and cemetary (among other places). 
   Your safety is a high priority at Plantation Blood.  Section leaders within the haunt are in constant radio contact and are quickly able to converge on any situation that might pop up before you can even notice it.  When you consider this along with the fact that the staff is continually making adjustments that are designed to make your experience better, you end up with a scary experience that changes every time you attend.
   Attending Plantation Blood was a long drive for us, especially through the ever-present road work on I-20.  We are happy to say that the trip was worth it.  Plantation Blood earned four severed heads out of a possible five.  If you are in the Augusta area you should definitely check them out, just don't expect your nav system to get you there correctly on the first try (use the haunt's direction from the website, call for directions, or make your nav reroute when needed).  Maybe we'll see you there next year, we're already making plans!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Nightmare Plantation, Grovetown, GA

Nightmare Plantation is located near Augusta in Grovetown, Georgia.  It is a little challenging to find, due to dirt road and neighborhood subdivision construction.  The site does have a beautiful plantation home with great history, however the home is not a part of the haunted attraction.  The attraction includes one barn, one other building, and some outside portions.  The staff are very friendly and helpful, which is a huge plus.  We were early arriving at the haunt, so we had the opportunity to sit in the car and observe.  The actors appeared to have primarily blood as their make-up and we could hear the directives that were being given to the actors from where we were.  There is a platform stage in the parking field, which hosts live music to entertain the guests while they wait. 

The haunt is fully staffed by volunteers, which is a challenge that many haunts experience.  Granted, we did attend in late September, but there is really not an excuse for opening a haunt that isn't fully prepared.  Their spinning tunnel wasn't even fully assembled, so that definitely harmed the experience.  The deadspaces within the haunt concerned us some.  Without going into a detailed list of our concerns let us state that you definitely must remember to wear shoes that are going to be safe for uneven ground made of a variety of materials. 

This haunt has a great deal of potential and is only in its second year.  We have given this haunt a rating of one and a half severed heads out of a possible five severed heads.  This haunt does offer a "chicken" tour for children and those that are easily frightened, which is a plus if you need it.

Nightmare's Gate, Douglasville, GA

Nightmare's Gate is located in a rural area of Douglasville, Georgia that is off of I-20.  The location was formerly known as Psycho Shack.  The outside structure is highly appealing and well themed.  When we arrived we were blown away by the fascade and noticed a small group of people socializing outside.  After getting out tickets and standing around confused for a while we realized the group wasn't customers and nobody was going to direct us as to where to go.  The entire haunt was relatively short and the inside themes were far less detailed than the outside appearance led us to believe it would be.  There were a few good jump scares within the haunt, however the actors were below standard.  When we enter a room and actors are standing around talking and we scare them it definitely supports our opinion that this haunt needs approvements.  There was no obvious end to the haunt, and the staff that we asked about if we came out the right way told us we needed to make a different turn.  After we tried and tried to figure it out we went to the ticket counter and were told that we came out the right way.  Even the staff have unclear opinions of what is going on at this haunt.  It is sad to say that we rate this haunt at only one severed head out of a possible five, and we were hessitant to give it that high of a rating. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Folklore Haunted House in Dallas, GA 2011

Our return to Folklore on September 23, 2011 was at the very beginning of the season (obviously).  There were some improved sets and the actors were solid this year.  I ran into some characters in some very unexpected locations!  There was one who kept popping up in location after location very suddenly.  He actually made me scream, which is rare. 

One challenge that we feel was encountered for us was that we were recognized from our visit last year.  Since they knew who we were and why we were there before we went in that has the potential to influence what occured within the haunt.  We don't think that it did, since they weren't in constant radio contact with all of their actors, but we felt that we should include that information within our review.

The building that is used by Folklore is a lease, which we have discovered creates some unique challenges for haunters.  There are several haunt owners and managers that we have had the pleasure of speaking with this year who have expressed frustrations related to the limitations that are forced upon them when they do not own the building that they occupy.  For instance, Folklore is unable to acheive complete darkness within the attraction because they are not able to modify the panels on the drop ceiling.  There is another haunt in Georgia that is also having a problem with this because they would have to drop the sprinkler heads in their leased building (which would cost somewhere around $20,000) before the fire marshall would allow them to put ceilings on their maze walls.  Most people probably don't notice that these haunts aren't as dark as they could be, but imagine what else they could do if they were able to acheive a pitch black environment!

Navigating Folklore took us under twenty minutes total time, but it was an enjoyable time none the less.  Our opening night adventure has us wanting to know what it's like at the peak of haunt season.  I guess that means we will be back next year.

Folklore is currently being rated at three severed heads out of a possible five.  In order to increase their ranking we hope that they will introduce various stimulations for the senses and scares that come out from even more angles.  Happy haunting!

Netherworld, Norcross, GA

As usual, Netherworld astounds!  This year I screamed as I experiences loads of changes while traversing their haunts.  I got touched several times, which is a huge plus for me.  Everything started out with their amazingly detailed lot characters and three projections, which were all showing the DragonCon parade the night that we were there.  Upon entering the haunt we experienced many close encounters with actors and props.  It took over one and a half hours to complete everything from the lines to both walking through both attractions. 

One noteworthy warning is to be aware of is that there are spots of the floor that have slippery surfaces.  Be careful to wear shoes that have safe traction on irregular surfaces and wet floors.  Another consideration is that it gets rather warm inside of the haunts. 

We love the stimulation of multiple senses that you experience in the attractions at Netherworld.  Smells will assault you in some very interesting places.  This just increases the experience!  Especially when you add in the impact of all of the creapy crawly critters that you might encounter on your visit.

Scares will ensnare you from every angle in the adventure you undertake when you visit Netherworld.
On a scale of five possible severed heads, Netherworld ranks at the top of our list with five severed heads.  When you enter their world, you will completely forget that there is another world outside that you have left behind.

Monday, October 10, 2011

13 Stories Haunted House, Kennesaw, Georgia

On September 17, 2011 we went to one of the trial run nights for 13 Stories Haunted House in Kennesaw, Georgia.  Thirteen Stories is located behind Town Center Mall.  There was a special rate for the trial run night, which we knew could have disadvantages.  They were still working out the bugs in the haunt, however it was still enjoyable.

Upon arrival we were greated by some highly qualified line actors who had quality make-up and stayed in character well.  Once in line for the first haunt we had to sign a pretty standard liability waiver, which we are not sure is a nightly thing or was just because it was a trial run.  We were then sent into the haunt in small groups, which is a fabulous thing.  The haunt is not impressive looking from the outside, and some of the scenes within the first haunt are set with black tarps that lack creativity.  The second haunt has better scenery, and consistant actors.  Both attractions included good jump scares and plenty of misdirection cues. 

The trial run had one incident while we were there, but it was taken care of by staff that were amazing.  The customer service was exceptional, which is rare and appreciated.

We scored 13 Stories Haunted House at a range from 2 1/2 to 3 severed heads on our scale that goes up to five.  We had differing opinions about aspects of the haunts, so we had a difficult time settling on one score.

Camp Blood, Carrollton, GA

On September 16, 2011 we visited Camp Blood in Carrollton, Georgia.

Let's start by saying that this was a primary example of how every haunt should be given more than one chance.  We were the last people to go through Camp Blood in 2009 and we didn't have the most positive experience, however this year we had a really good time.  The actors had great timing and stayed in character very well.  The friendly staff talked to us after we went through the attractions. 

Remember to not wear flip-flops or sandals when planning to attend a haunted house.  This is no exception with Camp Blood.  The terrain is rough/uneven in spots, so be prepared for that.  Also, be prepared for air and water to come your way at some point.  We LOVE the use of various elements throughout haunted attractions, and encourage it. 

Two of the improvements to Camp Blood this year was that they improved the sets and have roughly 75% new actors.  Both of these were major improvements. 

The greatest challenge for people going to Camp Blood is the location.  It is in the middle of nowhere, essentially.  If you use TomTom to get there it takes you on backroads that are gravel, so beware of where your directions are taking you.

Haunt Review uses a rating scale with a high end at five severed heads.  We give the 2011 Camp Blood haunt a rating of 3 1/2 severed heads.  Scary for the average person who enjoys haunts, but light and enjoyable for the person who goes to haunts frequently. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Haunted Hill House of Horror, Griffin, GA

User Review sent to us from a person who works in a different haunted house:

Haunted Hill House of Horror Review

Note: Just wanted to note that ... while we are officially competion, I'm a huge fan of haunted houses, from small to large, so I love the fact that I only have to drive 10 minutes to visit. So this is a completely unbiased review.
Just got back from visiting Griffin's newest haunted house, the Haunted Hill House of Horror. This is their second year in operation, as they were in McDonough last year. From what I've been told, this is in a much bigger building than they were in last year, so it allowed them more room to spread out and grow.
Tracy, the owner of the haunt, was nice enough to give me a behind the scenes tour of it a few weeks ago. The people that I met were very nice and enthusiastic, and I liked the ideas they were presenting. At the time, they still had a lot of work to put into it, so I was excited to see the finished product.
The night was very chilly, and we had to wait about 20 minutes to be let in. Not sure if the crew was on break or fixing a technical issue, but we had to listen to a very loud group of drunks who were at the front of the line. They were fairly vulgar. About halfway into our stay in line, half of them walked off, not sure why, and when we were finally let in, the other two went in briefly, but then either turned around, or were turned around. I was very, very happy we did not have to be in the haunt when we were in there, as I truly believe they would have provided a very unsafe environment for both the workers and anyone in there at the same time.  [Haunt Review visited on the same evening and is aware of exactly what the delay was.  This delay was highly beneficial to the haunt as it allowed them to make a few adjustments that they noticed needed to be made.  We also are grateful that the obviously intoxicated group left or was required to leave.  Haunted attractions must keep the safety of their patrons in the forefront of their thoughts and actions.]
The haunt itself was very enjoyable. They relied mainly on movie monsters, which I don't normally enjoy, but they did a good job with it. The cast was extremely enthusiastic, and there was not one dud in the entire cast. They really showed how much they enjoyed what they were doing, and were almost relentless with trying to get a scare from anyone and everyone. There was one incident that is usually considered a no no in a haunted house in the "doctor's scene" where the victim reached out and grabbed my wife's arm and held on, trying to pull her back to be saved. My wife literally had to pull her arm away before she let go. [Haunt Review finds that many haunts state that they won't touch you, however we were told when we entered that we might be touched.  This is actually something we like, when it is done correctly.  Both of us were grabbed in the same scene and as long as we kept walking the actor released her grip rather easily.  It definitely added to the experience.]
I personally was gotten by a [spoiler removed]. I also think they had a great scare toward the end with the [spoiler removed]. It was timed perfectly, and was very well done. It was by far my favorite scare of the entire haunt, although as far as costumes goes, [spoiler removed] was very imposing and very well done.
There were some negatives though. There were some scenes that were pretty dark and it was hard to navigate through the haunt. I also think price might be an issue from here on. The $10 we paid for opening weekend was fine, but I'm not sure if they were get the turnout they are hoping for for their official price of $15. The biggest turn-off for me though, had nothing to do with what was going on inside the house, but what happened after we left the house. We were asked by one of the people that worked there what we thought about it. We told them we enjoyed it a lot, but then he started bad mouthing another haunted house. I won't give the name of the other haunt (it wasn't a local one), but he went on for a few minutes on how much better their haunted house was than the other one. First thing, they aren't better than the other one, but then again, they shouldn't be. You're talking night and day as far as budget and what they are capable of. Second, why should they care. The cast is good at what they do, they should concentrate on that, rather than bad mouthing someone else.  [Haunt Review did not have this experience, and each of the staff that we spoke to when we visited praised other haunted attractions and wished them all well.  Please do not let the actions of one person impact your opinion of an entire group.  We are certain that the management would never approve of someone representing them in this way to their patrons.]
It left a bad taste in my mouth on the whole experience, but I won't let it ruin the whole thing. The haunt is very enjoyable. We had a lot of fun through it, and hope they have a very successful year, because I would love for them to build and grow. Their cast was great, some of their sets were very good as well, so I do recommend a trip to the Haunted Hill House of Horror. I look forward to adding them to my yearly haunt trips.

[Thank you to the user who emailed us this review.  Please feel free to send us your comments about this haunted attraction or others.  We are happy to share thoughts and opinions from a variety of sources.  We certainly don't claim to be the only sources of good ideas related to haunts, and we think that everyone has a valuable set of thoughts worth sharing so that the attractions can improve, maintain their businesses, and continue to entertain many others in the future.]