Sunday, October 4, 2015

House on Horror Hill, Alpharetta, Georgia, 2015

    It was a damp and dreary Friday night when we visited House on Horror Hill.  Lucky for us we had gotten a discount through a Groupon, so we were saving some money.  When we arrived at our last haunt of the night there was nobody in line.  We were delighted to not have to stand in the rain waiting, so we entered eager to see what had changed in the seven years since our last visit (hey, we stay busy this time of year!).  Now our tale takes a truly frightful turn.
     Waiting for the rules we encountered actors still slipping through the room in order to reach their scenes deeper within the haunt.  Perhaps they were just not ready because of the rain, so we can let that slide.  It seemed to be a slow night, so we'll keep an open mind for that, but once you enter the first room all bets are off for unprofessional behaviors such as this.
     It saddens us to say that things were still set up in the same manner as it was seven years ago when we left shaking our heads and wondering what we had paid for.  The rooms are set as theatrical haunts, which are not particularly common in our area.  Theatrical haunts have the patrons enter a room and stop to view a scene, and at some point a scare should occur before the guests are moved on to the next scene.
     The sets are well thought out and generally they are very detailed on the portion of the room which they take up.  Why don't the fill the whole room?  That is because they have a wooden rail separating you from the scene.  You are safe behind your little barrier and can't enter or interact with the sets.
     The actors know their parts and are intensely interactive with one another.  They may even become extremely physical with one another at times.  When they have completed their skit the lights go out.  This is where strobes and rock music come on and the actors appear to be coming after you across the rail.  Sometimes they breach that space, however we aren't particularly scared by that and enjoy trying to see if we can get actors to break we tried something.  In one of the rooms, when the lights went out, one of us took two steps forwards so that when the strobes started we were closer than the actor was expecting.  This completely threw the actor for a loop!  She was so taken out of character that she simply said, "Have a good night," and walked away.
     As we left that space we could hear the man from that room talking to her and saying, "You really hit me."  I guess that don't mind how much that takes the paying guests out of the experience, but we mind.  The talking continued in different rooms and through different walls, to the point of distraction.  At one point the actors in a room we were about to enter actually told the guide no because they weren't ready.  I shook my head and said, "Please tell me this is opening night."  Her reply was, "No, we opened last night."  My dear, that just makes this worse.
     In conclusion, we gave them seven years to get creative and see if they could improve and they did nothing to make it better.  If anything, it may actually have been worse this time around.  We can give them credit for the creative scenes and the sets, but there are far more negatives counteracting that to make it worth the money.  We are giving them one severed head and the knowledge that we won't be back for a while again in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, they actually try to improve.  Being the longest running haunt in the state doesn't mean that you are anywhere near the best, so please consider every opinion out there when you are deciding to visit or not.
     We encourage people who have had different opinions than ours to contact us through our fan page on Facebook and give us their own reviews.  We share guest reviews that are both the same as our own and different.  Our goal is to have a unified haunting community that is striving for excellence at the level they are currently on.  Someone with a backyard haunt can't compete with a corporate entity, but they can do the best with what they have and still be considered a success in our book.  Happy haunting!