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Author Topic: Horror Fields - Sawmills NC  (Read 471 times)
Badger
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« on: October 07, 2013, 02:31:06 PM »

Horror Fields in Sawmills NC
Attended 10/5/13

Scare Factor: 2.75/5 - Not a lot of scary stuff going on before you get into Horror Fields.  It's only 2 minutes off Hwy 321 and in the middle of an industrial park so there isn't really that rural flavor going on.  There are a couple of actors hanging out and on this night there was a hearse club with lots of their vehicles on display so that was a plus in my book.  The entrance is basically a parking lot with semi trailers blocking the view of the haunt with banner ads on the sides.

Actors: 4/5 -  I went here 2 years ago and was somewhat unimpressed with the acting.  They have put a LOT of effort into making this bigger and better than in years past and it shows.  There was lots of personal dialog with customers and the scares were expected and yet unexpected in places.  We almost spent too much time in some rooms while we interacted with the actors but it worked for us as we were the last group of the night and therefore they had time to play with us.  Despite losing one of their top actors this past spring (RIP - John) the other actors have really stepped up and covered the bases.  They had a couple of nice tributes in the haunt to their fallen comrade.  There was a good mix of humor, grossness, pop scares, and all around entertainment factor.  I think Horror Fields is one of the few haunts that really does NOT rely on pop scares as it seemed as if the majority of the characters actually interacted with the customers rather than just coming out from around a corner and yelling.  I was impressed and that says a lot.  

Sets/Props/FX: 3.5/5 - If there were an award for 'Most Improved' haunt, Horror Fields would win it hands down.  The boiler room, cafeteria, flaming fireplace, and opening scenes stood out in my mind as good scares, even though the rooms did rely more on actors than props.  If you follow the directions of the actor in the  opening scene and ask for a particular something when you get to a particular room, you are rewarded with a really nice 'accessory' that probably lives there year-round. There are a LOT of dark corridors and disorienting hallways that make you think you're doubling back on yourself but somehow you don't.  I genuinely lost me sense of direction a couple times.  Nice work.  I'd like to see their floor plan sometime to see how they did that.

Length: 3.5/5 -  Horror Fields is at least twice as long as it was 2 years ago.  Add to that the Undead Paintball area they started last season, and you can easily spend a couple of hours here.  No complaints.

Value: 3.5/5 - The prices are decent for both the haunt and paintball.  The food stand had decent food (Nathan's hot dogs are always a plus) and the prices were very reasonable.  I think this would be a nice start or end of a night of visiting multiple haunts in the Hickory area, or even as a standalone haunt.  Plan to spend a minimum of 90 minutes if you do both and the lines aren't too long.

Overall: 3.45/5 - Again, if you went to Horror Fields their first year, you will not recognize it now.  They actors have stepped up their game and so have the set designers and builders.  It's not a perfect haunt by any means, but it was a fun time run by some people that you can tell really love working there.  That alone make me recommend them to anyone in the Unifour area and beyond.  Did I mention it's very convenient to Hwy 321 and I-40 and has plenty of free parking?  If you're driving from Boone, Winston-Salem, Asheville, or Charlotte, make this a part of a multi-haunt trip.  If you live within 45 minutes of Sawmills, it's worth the trip as a destination.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2013, 12:28:17 PM by Badger » Logged

13moons
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« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2013, 09:01:55 PM »

Visited 10/5/13

Scare Factor: 3/5 – Horror Fields is in year three of operation near the Hickory, NC area. It was my first time and looks are deceiving!  Parking across the street, the first thing I see is rows of parked hearses in the main lot in front of what looks like some long, boring trailer set. Boo! That’s the façade that hides the lurking forest-maze outdoor woods adventure behind it. The 3-eyed actress tells us a strained, teary and very brief story, but I can’t really tell what she is saying or if she is acting which was a weird introduction. Three-eyes shows us the way to the string-lighted path into the elaborate haunt front – we move from concrete to deep woods in like 15 paces – you’d never, ever know from the road. It’s an outdoor maze covered with tarp stuff, then open air scenes and mixed-up passages. In places, the path is literally sideways and disorienting; the ground is uneven and the handcrafted walls are distorted. There’s no one way to go, there are many, which adds to the suspense factor and waves of disorientation. The maze is filled with different scenes of nastiness and actors doing things with the nastiness, not just nasty displays. You get to touch nastiness here, too: livers, kidneys, eyeballs, live snakes (if the snake is in the mood), brains (but that was one scene I got the hell out of), and piles of plastic. Blood, guts, body parts, surgery, and gore, gore, gore. Seriously, in two places in particular in this long mazi-cal Horror Field, I was overwhelmed by a reminder of the hot dog I chowed down in the parking lot gurgling around in my esophagus (the brain surgeon was one of them). Yeah, gross, especially from someone who checks herself into the ER if she feels nauseated. Major scares were gore, live snake petting, disorientation, getting stuck in tonz of plastic (worked like fog but I had to touch it move forward and see), vivid surgical gore, people being weird, shocks, and burning in hell.

Actors: 4.5/5 – We get the l  o  n  g  story from a very engaging, entertaining actor in the holding tank.  We had two in our group because it was late when we got in and we barely made it before closing. My scared-y cat pal and I find out we are going into a mental ward where criminally insane patients are putting on a circus. It was a (too) long story, but the actor was so awesome: gross makeup, barefoot and shirtless with his big ol belly flopping over what looked like diapers…He spoke in a strange dialect, pacing to and fro, pulling on his bushy goatee. I was scared to sit on that nasty couch or chair. We got a private show with this strange and energetic character. Even though it was closed-in and I could hear him, his spiel went way past my 15 seconds of attention, so I got all fascinated by a praying mantis that had sneaked in the door by the bug light. The actors ad-lib here, and they do it well. They love their characters, their co-creation, and each other - I could feel the tight but loose flow of sequencing between them. The boob girl flying out of the cabinet and playing guitar with the ribs of hanging infant skeletons was too much. She worked two sets (no pun intended) and flaunted her scares like no tomorrow. The costumes were great and the makeup was exceptional on the peeling-skin guy – except I didn’t see him until the parking lot when they closed – get more light on that guy, he’s nas-tay. A few places had too much light and some not enough to see the creativity and realism actors put into those costumes/makeup.

Set Design/Props/FX: 3.5/5 – Getting to interact with (actors and their) haunt props in new ways was totally wicked fun and chilling at Horror Fields. The live snake petting (yes, I friggin petted a real Gardner-type snake named Sparkles), the crematorium blast of fire and heat, the original handmade circus props (the hanged and bloody teddy bear as one of multiple examples – need more light on that one please); the impressive, elaborate attention to detail in most of the scenes was very realistic and effective. Obviously, Donald Trump doesn’t fund the place but it’s not cheap-o, either.  There were a few noticeable places (because the intruding light impacted my scare factor) where the tarp was starting to tatter, spots where ceilings in the black mazes were ripped, tree-stumps need a little more grinding-down, and some empty places that dock the score a bit. There’s not a ton of fancy-dancy FX in here which makes it even more skilled because the clever use of substitutes was fantastic and effective. However, some of the lighting needs adjustment – and of course, more of those fancy-dancy things would add to the mood. I gotta say, even without animatronics and shooting stars, this is a solid category. Please stay on top of those loose ends and adjust the lighting; I can see the tremendous upkeep required after tons of people going through interacting with it all which is awesome, but it definitely requires regular maintenance.

Length: 4.5/5 – This haunt is a great length – except for the too-long intro. If the long intro is for crowd control, maybe line em up also in between the orange string-lights and play some sounds - the space between the orange lights going into the woods towards the Crazy House façade is such an unexpected transition from the concrete parking lot holding wait line, I’d rather hang out in the woods to get in. Very cool area that was totally underutilized when I was there. It took us at least 45 or so minutes to go through -  but it was the end of the night (not at peak) so I’m not sure how it really goes. Those actor-owned and other elaborate sets take time to see for the complete freak out. In the cafeteria set, I wasn’t sure when/if I could leave – the actors ad-libbed so well and stayed in character that it took what seemed like forever to figure out I could walk through the doorway to the next scene (after playing with the “food”). Thank God I did because I got the heck out of dodge in the brain surgeon set. Am I supposed to wait for the mini-shows to fully play – how do I know they are done? That part was a little confusing. This haunt is totally self-paced, so I can’t imagine how backed-up it can get re-setting and flowing all that sequencing with hoards of groups inside at the same time.

Value: 5/5 – From the site: http://www.horrorfields.com/: Adults: $13, kids (8 and under): $6. Horror Fields haunt is not a value to youngsters. No kids under 8 should be allowed in the Haunt (with the vile and graphic blood and guts theme) unless they are blindfolded and have earplugs in with their moms/dads/trusted family member over 21 unless you want a counseling booth with the hearses. Really, this place is 14+ minimum. Some of the themes are just too traumatizing in my opinion. But, I’m not a parent.  The Undead Paintball http://www.undeadpaintball.com/, which I didn’t get a chance to experience, may be another story (never done that).  Normally, I would not venture outside my “haunt zone” for a $13 haunt. If it weren’t for my scaredy-cat friend, or a random drive-by find, I never would have considered it.  Word of mouth only goes so far. This haunt should be better known past its own city folds.

Overall: 3.5/5 –  The hot dog was real yummy (seriously, I’m glad it stayed in me) and the haunt is clever and scary. Blood and guts is definitely not my favorite scare so I can't tap dance on that part. However, the interaction with intense actors, unique sets, and creative props is truly unique here, especially if you are at least 14 years old  and you have $13, you won’t want to miss this.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2013, 01:48:20 AM by 13moons » Logged

I tried to think of a logical solution that could explain what I had just seen — a solution that excluded the assumption that I was insane.
Bella Swan, Twilight, Chapter 3, p.59
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« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2013, 04:08:14 PM »

Visited 10/12/13

Scare Factor: 3.5/5 - When you come up to the place, it's not a very scary atmosphere. You are in the middle of an industrial park, but it has a good vibe about it. There are a few wandering actors in the queue line area. We did the combo, and for only $20, its a hell of a deal. We did the Undead Paintball first. It was fun; but it wasn't really designed to be scary. You and around 10 others climb aboard a trailer and roll through the industrial park, shooting zombies with paintball guns, with heavy metal blaring. It's fun - it lasts around 15 minutes and is worth it if you buy the combo.We did the main attraction, Horror Fields, next. When you round that corner, it's a whole other world. You walk down into the asylum through the corn, and meet Colton, a big, burly man with a huge goatee. He invites you to sit on his nasty couch and tells you the story. After that, you wander through many buildings, claustrophobic, disorienting areas, many different asylum scenes, a clown section, and finally to the end where you are in a big open field and chased out by a chainsaw-wielding maniac. Very fun. The haunt itself is scary, but the location can't get the rating up any higher.

Actors: 4/5 - These actors love what they're doing. From Colton at the very beginning, all the way through you get the best actors in the area. They really interact with you, not just pop out. There aren't a lot of pop scares here, minus the clown section. All the scenes the actors get into character and talk to you and interact with you, and personalize the experience. It's very fun all the way through, and the actors clearly love what they are doing, and are devoted and love scaring people. Props to the clown on the roof; he does some, let's just say, unexpected things.

Set Design/Props/FX: 3.5/5 - The haunt has a lot of handmade and designed props. But don't get me wrong, it's not Spookywoods or Netherworld - I'm giving it the high rating because there's not a lot of advanced technology here, just old-school scares. All fun. The room with the girls, some of them real, some not was very disorienting. The big Crazy House facade at the beginning was top-of-the-line. All the sets were great! You can even interact with some of the sets; this include live snake petting! There are many claustrophobic and disorienting sets in the haunt. Floors changing directions, tight rooms, slides, collapsing walls, claustrophobic tunnels. The room's were all small and tight, and it was very claustrophobic all the way through. At some parts you need to be pretty able to move around - this includes going down slides and crouching down low. The actors got involved with the sets; the dentist office set was AWESOME! It was freaky, the dentist was really creepy and did his job well. This will make you think twice your next trip to the dentist! All the scenes were great, it was never lacking. Great time here - these guys really do a great job with all their handmade props and scenes. It really shows their dedication and how much they love what they do.

Length: 5/5 - If you do both Horror Fields and Undead Paintball, with the wait times, you can easily spend a whole night here. We were there about 2-3 hours. Undead Paintball was about 15 minutes and Horror Fields was about 30, but it was a hard hitting 30. I came, running out, of Horror Fields, gasping for breath, relieved by the light drizzle that started to fall right when we got out. I know when you get in the car and leave a haunt exhausted, it was a great length. I only wonder how they can make it better for next year - maybe a maze would top it off and it could easily become one of the best in the state. This is better lenth-wise than a lot of the featured haunts on this site. Maybe one day...

Value: 5/5 - This is the best value in NC. For just $20, you get two great haunts. This is seriously the best deal ever. And for just $2, in the queue lines, they had a hotdog called the Rocking Dawg that I didn't get a chance to try but wish I would, because I heard it was delicious. But all in all, this is the best value in the state, no joke.

Overall: 4/5 - Horror Fields has really upped their game. I see them becoming a featured haunt on the NC Haunts list. If you can make it out - go. If they could get maybe a hayride at the beginning like, per se, Midway Wicked Woods, this would EASILY become my favorite haunt. I think it's fair to say that Horror Fields has moved up to #2 on my favorite haunts list, being surpassed by Midway at #1. If I could give any advice to Horror Fields, I would say; Keep doing what you are doing, just maybe add a tiny something to the haunt and get something standout like Midway's hayride or something and you will easily be my favorite, and many other people's favorite. This small town haunt needs more publicity - this place is great. It's a really good value for your dollar. Give them a chance, it'll be worth it!
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