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Author Topic: Lake Hickory Haunts - 2015  (Read 1483 times)
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« on: September 27, 2015, 10:17:43 AM »

Lake Hickory Haunts
submitted by: packbacker
date visited: 09/25/2015

Scare Factor: 4/5
Lake Hickory Haunts delivers their scares through both set scenes and a variety of pop/startle scares.  Several times throughout the trail you enter a building to watch a little gory vignette...gold star for the decapitation!  Don't think your downtime hiking through the woods is a respite, though.  It seems every which way we turned an actor was jumping out at our group.  The final walkthrough is literally non-stop in the screams department be it tilting floors, Freddy in a laser filled room, a demented granny, Dr. Death, and such.  A few of the scenes inside the huts felt a slight bit stilted but the mayhem of the rest of the trail fully made up for any portions that faltered a bit.  It should also be noted that we visited on opening night in the rain so some hiccups are to be expected.   


Actors: 4/5
It might be my imagination but it feels like there are more actors at Lake Hickory this year.  There seemed to be many more actors in the woods than in years past.  It's hard to remember going more than 30 feet without someone startling a group member.  The clowns, as usual, stand out with their witty banter and stalking skills.  A few of the set scenes
had some actors stumbling with their lines but it was early in the season and I expect they will hit their groove soon.  The queue line actors also are good at eliciting that scream from patrons with a sneak attack scare and are plentiful in numbers. 

Sets/Props/Fx: 5/5
Multiple times while walking through the trail I'd exclaim to a friend "Wow!  Look at that!".  Things at Lake Hickory Haunts look fantastic with a decidedly gory/grimy feel to a lot of the sets/costumes.  Masks and makeup are top notch.  The headless horseman costume as well as a 10-12 foot Cthulu costume kept a perpetual grin on my face.  The clowns, as usual, were fully decked out in demented makeup and clothing.  The sets themselves ranged from rustic dirty cabins to the claustrophobic, beautifully rendered 3D madness of a complete big top circus/clown area. The Freddy Krueger set/effect continues to be one of my favorite ones around with knee high to waist high inflatable bags restricting your movement while the knife glove plays in laser beams around your face.  Bravo!  The boat ride has some more action this year with an incredibly eerie lit lake as a backdrop for the entire haunt.  Props are also done well with various animatronics, a tilting floor, 3D vortex, and more.  It's evident how much thought and love go into things with the little touches.  I couldn't stop giggling when I saw a small sign in one room that read "Amputations $50".  The fifty was marked out with blood and the word "Free!" was scribbled in.  Demented minds and avid haunt-goers appreciate the little things in life.   


Length: 5/5
I didn't time how long it took us to complete the trail but I'd estimate about 45 minutes.  By the end we were all sweating from the thrill of it.  Your time may vary as there are options with and without the boat ride. 

Value: 4/5
There are multiple ticket options at Lake Hickory Haunts.  Short tour tickets without the boat ride (and I **think** 1 set and a junkyard walkthrough) are $15.  Full tour tickets are $22 with fast passes available for $30.  If you've done the boat ride before I'm not sure it's worth the extra $7 if you are strapped for cash but if it's your first visit I would wholeheartedly opt for the larger ticket to experience what is to my knowledge the only trail in NC with an actual boat ride.  For $15 the place is a steal. 


Other:
Free parking!  Concessions are available on site.  There are carnival games and a DJ in the midway area and the pre-show features a character parade.  We missed the parade this year but staff members were gracious enough to show us a new addition....a golf cart with a flamethrower attached on the back.  Take a minute to picture this: A clown driving a golf cart with another one in the back spewing flames out into the dark autumn evening.  Are you sold yet?  There are plenty of benches in the queue area (nice touch!) and the staff members across the board genuinely care about how your experience was.   


Overall: 5/5
It's quite hard to believe this is just a third year haunt.  It has the feel of a place that's been around for ages but also has the innovation to keep things fresh and keep its patrons guessing as to whats around the next corner.  The entire operation makes me smile- friendly staff, the midway that still makes you feel like you are in a homey operation, the DJ kind heartedly heckling customers, unique sets, a frickin' boat ride, more clowns than you can shake a stick at, a frickin' clown driven golf cart with a flamethrower, amazing costumes, and most importantly the desire to scare in intense/unique manners while having tons of fun with it.  They also make sure you don't have the conga line experience by sending through small to moderately sized groups and the set scenes prevent bunching....it's done right.  Lake Hickory Haunts is perpetually raising their bar and is a pure delight for both avid haunt goers as well as newbies.  I've done a lot of trails and seen a lot of things and these folks each year manage to come up with something I've never seen before.  I went to bed last night with a smile thinking of a 12 foot tall Cthulu stalking the midway and a golf cart with a flamethrower.  Trust me this place is worth a visit!  Just remember to go early!  Boat rides and properly controlled group sizes leads to LONG waits!
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« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2015, 11:18:19 AM »

Lake Hickory Haunts
Submitted by: Screaming_Diana
Date Attended: 09/25/2015
 
Scare Factor:  4/5
My goal this Halloween season was to scream much less than I have in previous years at haunts.  Lake Hickory Haunts did not help me get off to a good start.  The terrorizing began in line before the haunt even started.  The headless horseman and several other terrifying creatures were taunting victims as they waited to enter.  The haunt is designed with set scenes each seeming a bit scarier than the last.  There were pop scares galore as you make your way through an old tire maze.  If the scenes alone arenít scary enough the music is surly enough to send the bravest of souls running for silence.   Clowns, clowns, and more clowns!  I think I met about 20 of them in all different shapes and sizes.  Some huge, some small, one that looked swollen and walking on his head, and one on stilts.  How awesome is that? Itís not every day you see a clown on stilts in the woods.  It was terrifying yet kinda awesome.
 
Actors:  5/5
Lake Hickory is well staffed with actors and each actor played their part well.  We were there opening night and found out after the haunt that a few of their actors had never acted before nor had much time to practice.  You couldnít tell.  Pop scares and speaking lines were right on cue.  Rain or shine I think these guys are ready to show you a scary good time.  The famous TV villains, most notably Freddy, are in very detailed and realistic costumes.  What was most impressive, besides the fact that I was brave enough to actually look up and see the actors, was the originality of some of the characters.
 
Set Design/Props/FX:  5/5
This is where Lake Hickory shines.  They have some amazing sets.  Where else are you going take a haunted boat ride?  Last year the boat ride was more somber and creepy while this year they added pirates which were more interactive with the victims and each other.  Both worked perfectly but itís always nice to change things up a bit.  The masks and costumes are always top notch.  You wonít find dollar store type masks here.  The masks and makeup are extremely detailed and many I have never seen before at a haunt.    As we were leaving we spotted a HUGE creature, folks in my group knew what it was but I had never seen anything like it, lurking around in the crowd.  It was amazingly gigantic and made some super eerie growling sounds.  The sets are well planned and executed with great skill.  At one point I think I saw a leprechaun in the woods.  I have no idea why he was there or perhaps I was so scared I was hallucinating.  The clown circus was so bright and colorful that it almost made me want to smile until I looked up and saw this oddly shaped clown that appeared to be walking upside down.  It was a bit disturbing.  The clowns were doing an experiment on each other but I was so freaked out by the weird clowns I never looked to see what they were doing.  By the sounds coming from our group it was impressive.  Things tend to blend into walls and pop outta nowhere so youíve gotta be prepared for anything.   One of my favorite sets is Freddy.  Iím not gonna say much more but itís worth the trip just to see Freddy.     
 
Length:  5/5
Itís a longer haunt consisting of a haunted boat ride, a trail through the woods, several shacks, a clown circus, Dr. Deaths Hospital and more.  You can choose to skip the boat adventure and a few other scenes for a shorter haunt but I would recommend getting the whole experience.     
 
Value:  5/5
For 22 bucks you get the full tour including the boat ride.  If youíve never been Iíd suggest the full tour however they do offer a shorter tour without the boat ride for only $15.   Fast passes are available for $30.  They offer discounts on a couple nights for ladies and people with a badge. Check out their website for more details http://lakehickoryhaunts.com/.   With all thatís included in this haunt $22 is a good deal.
 
Other:
As the season progresses I imagine these lines can get extremely long and wait times could be hours.  I would arrive early in the season and early in the night if you do not want to wait so long.  They have a live DJ to entertain you while you wait, several games to play in the midway, and of course plenty of creepy monsters to keep you on edge while waiting.
 
Overall Impression:  5/5
It was a raining dreary night which set the prefect atmosphere for a haunt.   I continue to be impressed with this place.   Itís a unique haunt that adds something new each year.  They keep some of their best sets from the year before but always change things up a bit so youíre getting new scares and thrills with every visit.  I also give them props for being the only outdoor haunt in our area that stayed open on a sloppy wet night.  A little rain didnít stop these guys from putting on a great show and scaring the pee outta me.  That shows dedication.  Iíd highly recommend this haunt to anyone.  Make plans to arrive early so you donít miss their parade of characters.  I missed it this year but got a glimpse of it with a clown cart and flame throwing clown.  Trust me you donít wanna miss it.
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« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2015, 08:50:06 PM »

Lake Hickory Haunts
Date attended: 9-25-2015
Submitted by: krb187

Scare Factor: 4/5
If there is one thing that Lake Hickory has down to a tee, itís timing. They seem to always know how to distract your attention and then hit you with a scare at the perfect time. There were numerous times that I found myself looking at an actor performing, or some cool prop or set piece only to turn around to find someone in my face. These guys know how to deliver a scare flawlessly. Multiple times there were members of our group screaming, trying to hide, and when all else failed, shoving their way through the group to run away from the monsters chasing them. If you attend Lake Hickory then itís a sure thing that youíre going to be scared at least once.

Actors:  5/5
First off I have to mention that I attended not only on opening night, but on a night where it was raining pretty steadily. Let me tell you, the actors here could not have cared less. These guys were on point from start to finish, and their passion and energy for what they were doing really shined and it got me even more pumped up for the trail. As I mentioned before, their timing is impeccable and you got the feeling that they really knew who their characters were and that they were completely comfortable in that role. They interact really well with each other and with the customers, giving a very complete and varied show.  The ones that performed the skits performed them well, and most of the actors were very good at ad-libbing and bantering back and forth with us. I have to give a special shout out to the clowns who were so much fun, and to the granny who Ďjust wanted to go to sleep.í She was insanely creepy and walking up to her room while she quietly sings a very sinister lullaby is something Iíll remember for quite a while.

Set Design/Props/FX: 5/5
The sets here have a certain homemade charm about them that I absolutely love. That being said, there is absolutely nothing amateur about them and the sheer scale and level of detail of everything is very impressive. Lake Hickory Haunts knows how to create an atmosphere and they are masters at it. The old shacks feel grimy and dirty and smell the part, the clown house is full of neon madness, and all of the other sets feel perfectly detailed and do a great job of immersing you into the room. The Freddy room was perfect once again, as well as the clown house, doctor room, and the old grannieís room. Also there was a costume that completely blew me away, and without giving much away I will say to keep an eye out for Cthulhu. I do have to be honest though in saying that the haunted boat ride lost a bit of its charm for me this year. That being said it was still opening night, and it could just be a matter of them working out a few kinks and really getting it into its flow.

Length: 4/5
The trail is a very good length, and by the end of it we were all tired, sweaty, and very satisfied. They pack every single inch of the place with scares and entertainment from the moment you get in line, until youíre back in your car. Like last year, I was left wanting more, but that is a testament to how great the haunt is!

Value: 4/5
Although ticket prices did go up quite a bit this year, I still think that $22 is a good price for Lake Hickory Haunts. They also do have the option of a $15 Ďshort tourí ticket that skips the boat ride, which honestly wasnít that important of a part of the haunt for me, and $15 is an absolute steal for this haunt. Either way they make absolutely sure that no matter what you pay you get your moneyís worth and more the entire time that youíre there.

Other:
One of, if not the most hospitable haunt I have ever been too. As we came out literally every single person who worked there, from the actors to the DJ and even the parking lot attendants made sure to ask if we enjoyed ourselves. You can really tell that everyone here loves what they do and are passionate about making Lake Hickory Haunts the best that it can possibly be. Also parking is free and well organized, and the line (which can get VERY long later in the season) has plenty of concessions, games, music, and actors to keep you entertained while you wait.

Overall: 4/5
Lake Hickory Haunts fired on all cylinders in my opinion, and considering that my trip was on a pretty miserable night AND on their opening night, that is a pretty impressive accomplishment. From the perfectly detailed sets, to larger than life props, and of course the inexhaustible actors, Lake Hickory Haunts has found their groove in the past years and they do what they do incredibly well. While there may be a few kinks to work out, it was still just opening night, and Lake Hickory Haunts is without a doubt a canít-miss haunt, and a must see for any true haunt goer.
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