Thursday, October 25, 2012

Guest Review: Trail of Terror in Suwannee, GA 2012

As a member of the Haunt Industry it’s very difficult to scare me. I tend to go through haunts with a jaundiced eye. That being said, overall I was pleased with the experience we had at Trail of Terror in Suwanee Georgia.

This haunt is a two attraction event on the grounds of an historic Schoolhouse. I haven’t been able to find much info on the school but it’s an old (early 1900’s) building that makes a wonderful visual set piece. Unfortunately, due to damage the owners of the Haunt are unable to utilize the space for guests but it’s a great back drop and a spooky “character” to the Haunt proper.

The Haunt is divided into two attractions: Asylum and Zombie Outbreak.

Zombie Outbreak is an interactive attraction. We went through this haunt alone (just the two of us) so I didn’t get a chance to watch other guests reactions, which would have been a nice litmus test. We stepped into the outdoor maze and were outfitted with authentic looking SWAT gear with a “zombie virus” scope…that only affects the zombies.
J We were given the standard haunt rules and then set loose to bag some infected creatures.

The Actors at Trail of Terror are primarily volunteers and the energy these young people exhibited was evident and “infectious”. They were fast and on us constantly. We got a lot of good target practice and on several occasions I had to leap over a fallen “walker”. The maze was not ornate…black walls, industrial type oil barrel, simple hiding spots…but the actors made it a fun experience. The simplicity of set was made up for by the exuberant zombies. I only wish I could have kept a head or two for over my fireplace. This is a maze that could take as long as you were willing to shoot, but we moved through it in about 10 minutes.

We then moved on to Asylum. We were lucky because we went through with a group of three, two men and a woman. We let them go ahead so that I could gauge their reactions. This is also an outdoor trail that utilized some of the ambient buildings on the property as well as sets built out of found items. It gave the impression of a broken down compound of battered buildings and nicely done. “Old Sparky” made an appearance as well as some very convincing mental patients. Within the barn setting there was a scene that displayed the victim/attacker scenario quite well and I found out later that the female actor was very new to the Haunt world. Kudos!

Again, these mostly volunteer actors displayed an amazing amount of energy and excitement. Some of them truly seemed on the unstable side…and I loved that. The actors would show up, disappear, and then reappear further down the trail. My hat is off to them as working an outdoor haunt is sometimes very difficult. The other woman in our group was startled quite a few times and laughed and squealed quite a lot. Clearly, the group had a good time. This attraction is a guided tour and took about 15 minutes to traverse.

The drawbacks to Trail of Terror are few:
During the Asylum portion I had one actor do something that I believe was a mistake due to lack of experience. He walked up behind me and screamed directly into my ear. I know that when a fellow haunter comes through actors are inclined to amp it up to try and scare us (which is practically impossible) and it’s frustrating for them not to get a reaction, so I give him the benefit of the doubt on that.
The street presence is very minimal. We actually drove past the entrance the first time and had to make a U-turn. We were unsure exactly where to go once we parked, but finally found that there were torches further up the dirt road that let us know we were headed in the right direction. It would be nice to have an actor or a plain clothes employee there just to let you know you’re headed the right way.
Finally, I would love it if the Asylum portion could be actor driven rather than guided. There is something about walking through the woods towards the mystery of the haunt that can be quite scary. Having the Creatures propel you from behind and to the side rather than the guide leading you would be creepy.

The price was reasonable for a Date Night– $13 for Asylum, $10 for Zombie Outbreak or a Combo Ticket for $20.

I’m basing my score on the average of 5 criteria with a maximum of 5 points each: Actors, Sets, Scares, Value & Ease in Finding the Haunt. Therefore, I’m giving Trail of Terror 4 severed heads out of 5.