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News: The Screaming Season is Here!  Visit a Featured Haunt and Enjoy!
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Author Topic: Darkness Pines - Anderson, SC  (Read 1175 times)
Posts: 54

« on: October 12, 2014, 01:07:48 PM »

Visited Saturday, October 11, 2014
Scare factor: 4/5 - Darkness Pines is a fantastic theatrical-style haunt. They do a great job delivering a fast-paced interactive guided show jammed with laughs,  sights, and scares, with extremely tight seamless delivery...Once the stage is set. Setting the stage is a two part feat: a narrative hayride and an interactive video presentation. Seriously, during the Storytelling hayride led by a cannibal character, we circle the perimeter and find out we are in Purgatory and  there's a war going on inside.  Although the story part is a necessary evil for these types of shows,  I enjoyed that it was delivered on a ride rather than around a fire or inside a structure. The video part was entertaining in its delivery but it felt like forever before our utterly fantastic guide, Jebadiah, rained down on us.

Actors: 5/5 - Jebadiah rocked. His jibes well cast;  his vibe well crafted;  his style highly unique with pet names and insults evenly distributed over all guests. We laughed at him and each other. Internal cueing was near impeccable where his well-played call outs followed with scare pop dominos coming out of the woodwork in nearly all directions while we daringly experienced the Purgatory we just learned about. Purgatory actors pummeled us in droves. The extremely narrow outdoor maze design allowed for actors to nab us in multiple scenes and react with noticeable agility. Costumes and makeup were so weird, some actors didn't look human. Wow.

Set design/props/FX: 4.5/5 - It's not a huge property, but that makes it work.  Literally, we must have winded around nothing larger than a basketball court.  The semi-permeable materials hanging from high wooden frames boxed us up in a single track mouse maze. The noise, action and pace inside Purgatory was completely covered with...stuff.  Yeah, stuff because the show is on crack and set design is key to having this kind of in-your-face fun. It's all a blurry trip knitted together real tight. The only drawback was during the two-part set up design. On the hayride, I was distracted by the noise coming from inside the show and busy chicken-heading over the edge looking for lurkers and props. And, it's hard to hear from the back of the tractor and pay attention to catch it all. Crowd control is tantamount to righteous delivery, but the waiting is the hardest part even with cool lights and a video.   

Length: 4/5 - The set-up parts seemed too long and like overkill after waiting an hour (average wait time this night) to hop on the tractor. Given this intimate kind of theatrical experience,  I've seen other haunts manage crowds in under an hour at peak season where the queue line is part of the show and others, a three hour wait is a given. Purgatory itself was about 20 minutes.
Value: 5/5 -  Anderson, SC is a haul from NC. But, gas is nearly a buck cheaper there, too. For $12, why are you still reading this? Go now. Plus, there's an Extreme version starting at 11pm for $25. I dare someone to do this.  Betcha it's worth every nickel.

Overall: 5/5 - Darkness Pines is awesome if you like deep and personalized haunt engagement. If you've never experienced this kind of specialized haunt or you want more to check out, don't miss it. There's only a few haunts of this type in the Carolinas that I know of and would classify similarly. Also, we managed to sock in three haunts including this gem in one evening since the Upstate is carving out a real haunter's playground. See for yourself:  http://www.darknesspines.com.

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
Posts: 79

« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2014, 01:31:47 PM »

Extreme tour? Sounds awesome...didn't know we had any close to here.

Whatever you do, don't fall asleep.
Completely Haunted
Posts: 431

« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2014, 03:58:12 PM »

Attended: 10/11/14

Scare factor: 4/5 - Darkness Pines is in the middle of absolutely nothing.  A long, dark rural highway coming off I-85 that has no streetlights, is straight as an arrow, and gives a creepiness factor as the car's headlights barely penetrated the gloom.  The directions on their website are just vague enough to make you uncomfortable after a few minutes wondering if you're going the right way.  Suddenly there it was, a bright spot in the darkness.  Pulling into the attraction, we saw a fire pit, lots of people, and everything bathed in red and white lights.  It was rather surreal but cool.  There is a hayride that circles the perimeter of the haunt and there are limited lights.  When you get about 3/4 of the way along the hayride, look behind you.  There is NOTHING.  You can't see 10 feet into the darkness.  It was extremely unnerving.

Actors: 4.5/5 - The actors knew their stuff and it showed.  There's only one other haunt in the Carolinas that may have a more entertaining group of guides but this one comes in a very close second.  Most of the tour was guided by one  cool and creepy guy who played our group like a deck of cards.  He knew where we were at all times and knew how to utilize the other actors into getting maximum scares in the shortest amount of time.  There was almost a non-stop assault on our senses from the very beginning.  The haunt does not use a lot of high-tech stuff so they rely heavily on actors to provide the screams and they delivered.  Not a lot of familiar looking masks and makeup jobs either.  Most of the actors had an extremely...unique look which only added to the low-tech creep factor.

Set Design/Props/FX: 4.25/5 - Don't come here expecting a high polished, fancy haunt where the owners looked as if they bought half their things from the big animatronic and prop companies.  It looks like 99% of Darkness Pines' things are homemade.  I don't think I've seen more creative uses of foam in all my years of going to haunts.  The owners should definitely buy stock in Dow.  I love all the creativity and frankly, disturbing uses of ordinary everyday items to instill such terror.  After the initial holding room and laser effects, I can't really recall too much other things that I've seen in other haunts.  They definitely take the concept of 'hillbilly purgatory' to the next level, both with realistic props and set designs.

Length: 3.75/5 - In high season, it will take you a couple hours to do everything due to lines.  The hayride is about 15 minutes and is very entertaining.  The trail takes about 20.  No complaints

Value: 4/5 - It's $12 for the hayride and trail.  DP also offers a late-night 'extreme' haunt that is 18+ only for an additional fee of $25.  You WILL have to sign waivers and be in the correct frame of mind.  NOT for the faint of heart.  There are reasonably priced concessions as well for those late night munchies.  A great value for everything.

Overall: 4.1/5 - I first heard of Darkness Pines at MonsterCon over the summer and made it a point to go visit.  I was not disappointed.  With FREE parking, a hayride, trail, concessions, a small monster museum, and a dirty, nasty, low-tech haunt filled with enthusiastic actors, This is absolutely worth the drive down to Anderson SC to make an evening at Darkness Pines.  Hit some other local haunts in the Upstate and finish with this one to really cap off a fun night of haunting.


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