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News: Do something scary... go to a Haunted House!
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Author Topic: Spookywoods Friday the 13th Opener  (Read 1335 times)
Completely Haunted
Posts: 218

« on: September 17, 2013, 04:45:47 PM »

Let me preface by saying I'm not sure they were prepared for the sheer number of people who bought tickets online, and with two venues for buying tickets...anyway, let's just say the crowd was unbelievable, even for Spookywoods!

Scare Factor - 3.5/5: I would expect this number to improve as the actual season kicks in, but there were a few dead spots that brought it down for me quite a bit.  Oh, and let me say that I would've never thought I'd be one to say that there was a definite lack of chainsaws.  Normally I'm complaining there are too many, but while walking through I was noticing how noticeably missing they were. 

Actors - 4/5: Having spoken about the dead spots already, I will say that the vast majority of the actors were on point, especially with the crowds!  There were two vampires in the cemetary who were outstanding in their ominous behavior, and props to Freddy for maintaining his cool while a customer threatened him for scaring her daughter...um, it's a HAUNTED house.  This rating would have been much higher, had we not come across a couple of characters just chatting it up in the middle of the castle.

Set Design/Props/FX - 4.5/5: While the big sections are structurally the same, they made some changes to the inside of the castle that were very cool.  At one point I told my daughter, I recognize this section, but I'm impressed with how well they've reworked it to be something entirely different.  I still love the big moving props...you expect it, and it still catches you off guard.  The venus flytrap was a little sad looking and droopy...almost comical rather than scary.

Length - 4.5/5: We got to the haunt at 9:15 and didn't get out until after midnight, but I will not hold the crowds against them because the length of the haunt was great.  The haunt itself took about 45 minutes to an hour, and surprisingly there were very few backed up areas inside the haunt considering the number of people. 

Value - We got our tickets from Groupon and paid $15 each, which is considerably cheaper than their normal $25 entry fee.  Even with the crowds and lack of organization outside, this was a great value for the show we got once inside.  I always think that Spookywoods is overpriced, especially when you have to pay $5 for parking, but $15 is so well worth it!

Other - I'm only going to talk about the line for a second in case they plan an event such as this again because it was unorganized and rather ridiculous.  First was the traffic getting to the haunt once we got to the street.  It took nearly 15 minutes to get from the corner to in front of the haunt.  I was so grateful they had started parking in a small lot across the street, else I might have turned around and gone home because the line to the main parking lot, from the back road and through the farm, was backed up to the main road.  Once we got onto the grounds, there was a line from the entry gate to the street and starting to form down the street.  I was truly surprised at how quickly this line moved, and we were to the main gate in maybe 30-40 minutes.  At the main gate is where they do the metal detector scan for "safety." Well, I'm not sure how safe it was when we were all then made to go BACK out the entry gate to get onto the main line to the opening house.  This line wound back and into the main parking lot.  They had "security", but no one was really paying attention to who got in the line, or where they were coming from, so newcomers were getting in that line straight from the parking lot.  Neither of the two outside lines were roped off or well managed, so I'm not sure how safe things were according to the metal detectors.  My suggestion, if this happens again, is to just use rope to create a line corral and keep everyone outside before being scanned until they could actually join into the main line inside.

Overall Impression - 4/5: I will admit that had I not gotten a parking spot across the street and had to stay in that parking line before even getting to the mess that was the entry queue line, I would be much less forgiving with my overall impression.  I did, however, like many of the changes that were made this year, and while the theme for the walk through the woods seemed hokey, I'm glad they brought the woods back, as it does add to the haunt overall.

Posts: 79

« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2013, 02:02:51 PM »

Scare Factor - 3/5:  I have gone to Spookywoods now for the last several years every year.  The scare factor remains about average, in my opinion it used to be better when I first started to go maybe 5-6 years ago.   However, there are enough scares to give it a passable score, I just feel they are to inconsistent and don't last long enough.  Maybe they have decided to cater to a more family friendly crowd.  Still not bad though.

Actors - 4/5:   This is an area of strength for Spookywoods, always has been I believe.  Even though it's not the scariest of places, the actors do their job well and stay in character.  Perhaps the characters just aren't scary enough, but that is no fault of the actors themselves.

Set Design/Props/FX - 4/5:  This place has money, bottom line.  So the props and sets aren't cheap, you can tell that they put money back into the attraction.  Once again they have always had some of the better sets and props, they even added a couple of really cool ones this year.

Length - 4.5/5: It took us about a hour to go through the entire thing, which is excellent.  Granted, you have waits several times throughout the haunts that add to that time, but it never felt like those lines were too long.   

Value - Opening night special $13+$2(online fee).   A excellent price for one of the most expensive haunts in the area.  Well worth it.

Other -  The line was longer than I ever experienced anywhere.  It took us a solid 3 hours to get inside.  However, even though the wait was long, they had actors going up and down the line for entertainment.  Also, they didn't try and rush people through, which is great.  I can't stand places that push 25 people though at a time...

Overall Impression - 4/5-  What this place lacks in true scare value, it makes up with other entertainment aspects.  At this point for myself it has become a tradition to go every year, and it's obviously good enough for me to go back every year.  The only thing I will add is that I think from now on I will try to go opening night, despite the wait, if it's going to be cheaper.  Their standard prices are a little high.
Completely Haunted
Posts: 431

« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2013, 02:00:15 PM »

Date attended: 10/12/13

Scare Factor: 3.5/5 - The area is creepy as you approach though the dark forest.  If they had a couple characters here, I just know they would cause a car going off the road and into a tree.  The outside areas are noticeably dark until you get inside.  We could hear screams and strange sounds coming from inside as always. They have (mercifully) gotten rid of Clown Town and replaced it with a VERY dark trail with a questionable flashlight that does little to make it less unnerving.  The rest of the mazes were similar to last year, but that didn't make it any less disturbing.

Actors: 3.75/5 - We happened to be the last group that went through but the actors did not appear tired or any less in character than at the beginning.  We were also fortunate to go through with the owner and a couple of their managers.  I was impressed at the effort they put forth to scare their bosses and I do believe in one or two places they got him. 

Sets/Props/FX 4/5 -  Spookywoods puts a LOT into their main set and the results are stellar.  I am always in awe at the amount of detail they put into their product.  I have never seen another haunt that has a plane in their show.   However, there is  not a huge amount of detail in the first three mazes.  You obviously don't need them in the woods or corn maze (giant pyrotechnic notwithstanding) but the last attraction makes it all worthwhile.  The Gore-Galore snake prop in the cave is awesome as always

Length: 4/5 - It can take over an hour to go through all the areas so no complaints.

Value: 3.5/5 - It's expensive, but worth it and you will get your money's worth.  Again no complaints but you can find lots of discounts if you know where to look.  Pack up the car, grab your coat, (and a clean pair of shorts) and prepare to enjoy a night of spooky fun at Spookywoods.

Overall: 3.75/5 - Not free parking!  The food is good and reasonably priced.  There are plenty of areas to hang out and watch the characters move about so you can easily spend an entire evening enjoying all things that Spookywoods has to offer.  I would not bring young kids here as it can be a bit intense.  Overall, this is one of the better haunts in the country and if you've never been, you should.

Kersey Valley Dark Circus
Attended 10/25/13

Scare factor: 2.75/5 - Kersey Valley's Dark Circus is not really a haunted attraction, but rather a series of circus sideshows and events that you can experience after the regular park closes for the night.  It's down below the corn maze and fairly well-distanced away from everything else.  Last year the Dark Circus was spaced out between two areas so it appeared to be larger.  Everything was condensed this time so no complaints.

Actors: 4/5 - I'm not actually sure how to rate them as most of the performers were not 'actors' but actual professional sideshow performers (Hellzapoppin' Traveling Side Show).  The aerialist was obviously a professional and so were the fire performers.  To top it off, many of the attendees were in costume and therefore sometimes difficulty to tell apart from the 'actors'.

Set designs/Props/FX: 2/5 - It's a series of circus tents and slapped together temporary structures meant to last two nights.  No real details unless they were provided by the performers.  This did not affect the quality of the show.

Length: 3.5/5 - You can come and stay 4 hours if you want but it really only takes and hour or so to see all the performances.  You can dance in a couple of places as long as you wish and there are other things to check out like the creature displays and spanking booth.

Value: 2.5/5 - It's an additional charge and could run you a bit of money if you don't have a coupon.  Have a coupon before you get there.

Overall: 2.95/5 - Still not free parking! The Dark Circus is only it its second year and they still have a few bugs to work out.  Overall its a nice compliment to Spookywoods but it is tailored to a younger audience with the rave and dance tents, spanking booths, and burlesque.  If you're under age 35, you may not 'get it' but I think that it will continue to build and get better each year.

Posts: 54

« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2013, 02:26:22 PM »

That was the best part, seeing Tony W., Spookywoods owner, go airborne, yelp and hiss more times than I can count in his own haunt! I could tell he wasn't faking it either because he grumbled that post-shock grumble.  TEE HEE HEE!

5/5 for that in every way.

Superb!  Grin
« Last Edit: October 29, 2013, 02:28:09 PM 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
Kersey Valley
Posts: 4

« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2013, 01:47:55 PM »

We were so far ahead in the building of the show this year that I decided we should open September Friday the 13th.  I can't say enough about how organized our team was this year starting in December of 2012 in planning this years event.  The art department had full control of the design and actor training.  The goal was to go through every set and redecorate it or at least change what we could to make it fresh.  We started training actors on July 8th and we meet every Monday night until we opened.  The efforts paid off as I don't think we have ever had such a strong staff of actors as we had this year.  We had a fully trained staff before most other haunts even hired theirs, I know this for a fact as I'm friends with them all.

The marketing for Friday the 13th was pushed hard through our media vendors and Red Cross charity.  In the 28 years of producing Spookywoods I never expected the massive crowd that showed up.  I don't agree with the statement above that we were unorganized, it was our organization that got this record breaking crowd through the haunt and gave a great show being the first night open.  I willing to bet we were the only haunt that could have pulled that off so early in the season in NC.   

If we had no lines to deal with we would not make the revenue we need to continue to produce the haunt at this level.  It's like biting the hand that feeds you, thank god we have massive lines or we would be out of business!  As mentioned we moved the lines pretty quickly, in fact we strive hard to pace the groups apart with the design of the show and other systems that monitor the haunt pathway.  We don't want to just cram 25 people per group, if every group would stay walking you would never see the group in front of you.  We focus on the logistics constantly to keep the flow moving without cramming you up.  It does happen, but when it does we adjust quickly.  These are just some of the things you never see are going on back stage. 

Yes, I got spooked this year going through.  Kudos to the corn field actors!  We tell actors to never stop scaring no matter who it is coming through.  We added so much fog to the farm there was a fog alert for Kersey Valley!  This fog was so thick our actors were scaring each other and not even trying to.

I owe a huge credit to the amazing team of over 300 talented people that make up the Kersey Valley family.

I encourage any of you to give input by signing up for one of our focus groups to share your ideas coming Nov 7th.  Sign up by sending your contact info to info@kerseyvalley.com  with the subject line Spookywoods Focus Group.


Tony Wohlgemuth
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