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News: Visit a North Carolina haunt this weekend!
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Author Topic: Darkside Haunted Estates- Middlesex, NC  (Read 668 times)
Completely Haunted
Posts: 707

« on: October 29, 2013, 10:32:23 PM »

Darkside Haunted Estates
Visit Date:  10/26/13
Scare Factor: 3/5
Uneven is the best way to describe the scares at Darkside.  Several parts of the haunt are tight with actor and prop scares.  At times it feels like you have
people all around you.  The asylum area is of special note....this was the strongest set by far.  Other areas of the trail fell slightly flat with a large
number of children staffing certain areas.  The clown area, while looking great, was under-staffed and left you wanting more.  The initial house is a solid
introduction to the trail with some cleverly hidden scares.  If the trail had ended after the asylum this number would be a 4+ however the second half fails
The night we went the hayride part of the trail was discontinued for undisclosed reasons.  The solution to the problem was to have patrons walk that part of the
trail which was fine.  The problem, however, was that there was a skeleton crew (no pun intended) working the entire second half of the attraction.  We walked
past empty set after empty set as well as 2-3 people brandishing chainsaws who simply stood there.  I'm a firm believer that a haunt needs to end with a bang-
send the customers screaming into the parking lot as the best advertising you can ever do.  After a security guard jumping out of the shadows to say "I scared
you and I'm just a security guard!", our evening ended with a chubby kid in a robe and no make-up yelling "Boo."  Sigh.  That's a let-down.  As always, your
mileage may vary.
Actors: 3/5
The first half of the trail features adequate numbers sans the clown house.  Actor talent is across the board with still way too many small, small children
working the trail.  The asylum actors are top notch- they fully make you believe that they're looney tunes.  Way too often the actors here settle for just a pop
scare and don't follow through with things.  Again it needs to be noted that the second half of the trail was close to devoid of actors and those that were
stationed here seemed bored.  We also had an actor cuss at someone in our group that we were paired with.  It leaves a distasteful stain to hear that with no
Props/Sets/Fx: 4/5
I consistently found myself admiring sets/props and pointing things out to my cowering trail-mate.  The trail and various sets look great.  There are lots of small touches that are so amusing to catch here and there.  Excellent elevator prop.   
Length: 3/5
Longer isn't better when something isn't working.  If the hayride isn't functional you need to drop that part of the trail (and the price) OR just staff
it better.  I would have been content after the asylum but then became bored walking to the parking lot past empty sets/props.
Value: 4/5
The trail was $16.  Apparently there are often coupons, groupons, etc out there to reduce the price.  The length of the trail and fun sets/props are worth the
Free parking!  Concessions, t-shirts, and gifts are for sale and there is a designed photo op area on site.   
Overall: 3.5/5
It looks great and the first half is solid.  The problem on my visit was the letdown at the end.  The walking trail where the hayride was wasn't even staffed when we go there.  Then to walk through empty set after empty set and occasionally find an uncostumed bored actor killed any vibe the first half had built up.  As cool as parts were, my lasting memory is the chubby kid in the black robe as my trail finale. 

"You can't piss on hospitality.  I won't allow it!"
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