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Author Topic: Lake Hickory Haunts - 2016  (Read 678 times)
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« on: October 23, 2016, 02:15:43 PM »

Lake Hickory Haunts
Date Attended:  10/23/2016
Submitted by:  Screaming_diana

Scare Factor:  5/5
Lake Hickory is a very unique haunt.  It's a mix of pop scares, animatronic driven scares, as well as set scenes where the actors interact with you and each other in frightening little skits.  The walk down to the midway offers a spectacular view of the haunt and allows you a glimpse of what is to come.  Going through in small groups increases the scare factor tremendously. Our group was three deep which allowed us to experience every scare at its utmost.  The haunt has six attractions that your group will venture through each with its own unique theme; Nightmare Factory, Shipwrecked, The Undead,  Extinction, Junkyard, and The Big Top Circus.  There's something to scare everyone in the group or if you're like me you're terrified of it all.  The Midway itself is a bit terrifying with clowns and other creatures lurking about but it's no comparison to what's waiting beyond the gates of Lake Hickory Haunts.

Actors:  5/5
There's a large mix of actor driven scares here from simple effective pop scares to stalking with extreme determination to scare you as many times as possible before you escape to the next scene.  A few times I looked back just to make sure my friend was still behind me only to discover a monster between us, inches from my face.  Scares are well timed and often the actors wait until the group has almost passed before making their move.  It takes talent to be able to hold a scare and not just jump out at the first sign of a group.  I think a Pumpkinhead creature followed me for the longest time, chasing me from the Shipwreck all the way up hill to Extinction.  I could see his creepy shadow along the path. I walked faster and faster in attempt to escape him but he increased his speed with mine. The creature guarding the entrance to extinction is one of my favorites.  He's huge, kinda ugly, and makes some very eerie noises.  I wanted to stop and stare at him but at the same time I wanted to get as far away from him as possible. The clowns are always a big hit here and this year was no different.  There are lots and lots of clowns; big clowns, really tall clowns, upside down clowns, cheerful clowns, and angry clowns so so so many clowns. These are possibly some of the best clowns around with their amusingly scary skits, comical interactions, and amazing costumes they've got it all.  Plus clowns are just creepy. 

Set Design/Props/FX:  5/5
It looks amazing.  The overview from the entrance is stunning. Looking out over the lake gave me chills seeing the bright lights, dense fog, an old shipwrecked pirate ship, a sea creature towering by the water, and watching people scurry around below trying to make their way through the attractions.  The first attraction was the scariest but also a bit of a blur.  There was so much going on and so many things coming at me that I could barely recover from one scare before another was upon me.  One of my biggest scares of the night was the sudden appearance of Freddy Krueger. I screamed and turned to run the other way and almost took out my friend as I turned to find a quick place to run but there's nowhere to run when you're trapped in a dark narrow hallway.  It was truly terrifying.  The shipwrecked area looks spectacular as you walk by a lake and life sized ship haunted by all sorts of creatures.  Extinction is where I noticed some really cool animatronics and props.  Moving tentacles blocking the doorway, a creature hanging from above, and there was a super weird looking creature meandering around in there. There were all sorts of alien type creatures and things I haven't seen at other haunts.  The junkyard is one of the scenes where the actors interact with you.  I have no idea what exactly went on here.  All I remember is being chased by a crazy person with a chainsaw through a bunch of junked tires, I looked back once and saw more monsters after me, I continued to run when suddenly Jason appeared out of nowhere with his huge knife and I collapsed to the ground hidden in the junkyard.  I'm a bit embarrassed to say I was then frightened by a pile of teddy bears.  The Big Top Circus is another unique set here.  The clowns mainly interact with each other chatting about all kinds of whimsical nonsense while they put on a scary little performance that sent me rushing toward the exit.   

Length:  5/5
The haunt is very long and consists of six attractions.  Depending on your groups speed it can take a while to get through and the actor skits will hold your group for a bit while they perform so plan to spend some time here.

Value:  5/5
Tickets are $25 on site or $23 if you purchase online.  They also offer discounts and special pricing for kids, military, police, and fire rescuers.  Check out their website for more information http://lakehickoryhaunts.com/

Other:
Parking is free.  If you arrive early they have a Killer parade with all their actors and parade vehicles.

Overall Impression:  5/5
I am amazed at the changes they've made in one years time.  It's been completely redone from last year.  This haunt is in its fifth year of operation and is operating on a twenty plus year haunt level.  They are going places for sure and I am thrilled I'm getting to see this haunt grow and develop into something amazing. The midway itself has changed drastically from last year.  There's so much going on here.  You will not be bored while waiting for your group to be called.  They've got a DJ, games, a painter, you can talk with a psychic, or just hang out by the fire and have a snack with your buddies but watch out there are clowns and other monsters lurking about. This is the perfect opportunity for a picture with the actors and perhaps a new Facebook profile picture.  There are several photo ops throughout the midway.  The actors inside the haunt are spot on and have some of the most detailed masks I've seen. I encountered actors crawling up stairways and hiding in leaves. They were behind glass walls, climbing out of stoves, and inside mirrors.  It's something incredible to see. The props and special effects are inconceivable and finely detailed.  You will not find cheaply made store bought masks and props here.  Most of their props are authentic and specially made for this haunt.  One of the coolest being a gigantic catfish hanging by the lake.  I left terrified running and screaming with urine rolling down my legs and more chainsaws than I can imagine closely behind me while my friends clapped with glee and high fived the actors for their great performance. Lake Hickory Haunts is definitely a must see haunted attraction.

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« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2016, 02:17:25 PM »

Lake Hickory Haunts
Date attended: 10-22-2016
Submitted by: krb187

Scare Factor:  5/5
Lake Hickory Haunts has completely overhauled the entire haunt this year and the results are nothing short of incredible. I canít count the number of people I witnessed running, screaming, and sporting looks of pure terror. They had one member of my group completely sprinting multiple times throughout the trail and at one point huddled in a little ball on the ground. The timing here is perfect and the actor interaction is among the very best around. Just in our group there was screaming, crying, urinating, and a rather hilarious wardrobe malfunction all from fear. In-line with the scare factor, the entertainment is off the charts and at one point I was close to vomiting from laughing so hard at screaming_diana. These guys are pros at scaring and that was on full display on our trip through. Some highlights of the night included Lilith creepily crawling on the floor behind me, Hoss running at us through a dimly lit tunnel wielding a chainsaw, and an alien prop that I donít want to give away but suffice to say it is probably the creepiest prop Iíve seen all year. These guys have always been scary but this year they certainly upped their game.

Actors:  5/5
If you know anything about LHH then you know that they have a macabre cast of characters that run wild throughout the haunt, and these guys all brought their A game during our trip through. You wonít find any simple scares or recycled one-liners here, these guys give a high level of interaction and visibly love making everyone they can squirm in their shoes. All of the main-stays like Boss, Hoss, and Dr.Death make their return and were all on top form. That doesnít short change any of the others though as they were all outstanding. You could tell these guys were having a lot of fun and could even hear them laughing and jeering at our group well after we were out of their areas. Special mentions go to the crawling zombie right after the factory who was absolutely incredible, Bubba, granny, and of course the entire troupe of clowns in the Big Top Circus.

Set Design/Props/FX:  5/5
Perhaps the most evident upgrade to LHH came in the form of their sets. The sheer amount of work that has went into the haunt this year is just dumbfounding, and believe me when I say that the entire trail has been overhauled. Simply put, the place is beautiful and I canít begin to put into words how great everything looked; you really have to see it for yourself. Starting from the all new midway, throughout the entire trail it all has this twisted horror theme park vibe that sets the mood perfectly. The Nightmare Factory was for my money the best set of the trail, and every single scene, prop, and gag worked flawlessly in there. The stove girl was completely genius and had our group cheering excitedly with its execution. The new Extinction set was also incredible and features some of the best props Iíve seen this year, with the aforementioned alien prop that needs to be seen to be believed. The costumes were also largely improved this year with a new character Kluath that is crazy to behold up close, and Cthulhu which is perhaps the best costume/prop around. The sheer size of that thing is incredible.

Length:  5/5
LHH is a pretty massive trail and though I didnít time it exactly I would estimate around 45 mins total to walk through. The length feels very satisfying and we were all sweating and worn out by the end.

Value:  5/5
Ticket prices have risen to $25 this year for adults and $18 for kids, with discounts available on their website, but with the sheer amount of things to see and do here that really doesnít feel like too much to ask.

Other:
Free parking! Also the all new midway is pretty awesome and features concessions, a DJ, an arcade, live art demonstrations, psychic readings, and much more.

Overall:  5/5
A small disclaimer: Lake Hickory is a very popular haunt and groups can get very big, so your experience can vary greatly depending on group size. My advice is to try and hit as early in the night as possible, or later on when groups will be smaller and more spaced out. That being said LHH is an all new haunt this year without a doubt and they have taken a huge leap forward in establishing themselves as one of the premier haunts of NC. The fact that theyíre only a 5th year haunt is mind-blowing and shows that there are still great things in store. The scale of the haunt is staggering and everything just seems to work in perfect unison to create an overall outstanding haunt experience. When you have one member of a grouping running and screaming, another cheering, and the last almost puking from laughter, youíre doing something right. Above anything else it really shows that the people at LHH pour their heart and soul into the haunt and that is perhaps the greatest attribute that they possess.
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NCHadmin
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« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2016, 08:14:47 AM »

Lake Hickory Haunts
Date visited: 10/22/2016
Submitted by: packbacker

Scare Factor: 5/5
Lake Hickory delivers on the scream front.  Traditional scares are present with chainsaws and startle scares deep in the woods but then you find some more unique set ups.  The stove and mirror scares aren't super high tech but are quite effective in their unexpectedness.  Moving floors, air bags, and noise diversions are utilized well and mix up the scares.  The lake this year is used as a backdrop with subtle lighting and pirate ship and sea creature facades rather than a boat ride.  While I wasn't personally scared (but I was thoroughly entertained) on our adventures I had a friend who literally ran out of one house and through an entire another set before collapsing to the ground in fright....and probably a little urine.  Watching the exit at Lake Hickory you can see a lot of terrified victims as they are expelled back onto the midway.  You have a place or two where you can catch your breath between screams but this down-time is minimal because you never know what will be lurking around the next bend.   

Actors: 5/5
We were told that 10-15 actors were missing the night we attended but this wasn't evident to us as we explored the attraction.  The Nightmare Factory is chock full of actors executing well timed pop scares with special mention needed for the stove and mirror girl(s?).  Dr. Death and Freddy are their normal excellent demented selves and Lilith puts on a freaky disjointed walk that will give you goosebumps.  The actors in the Shipwrecked section do exude a pirate vibe but at times seem to not know what to do to elicit proper scares.  There are some actors interspersed between scenes which will give you a startle (ie the "walker" on the staircase) or the giggles (ie "watch your step!" with some uneven flooring).  The further you go in the trail the more interactive things become with Bubba's shack and the Big Top.  The clowns put on a heckuva show when group sizes allow.  Across the board timing was well executed and only one actor broke character- but doing so only to insure the safety of a guest which was a noble gesture.  In retrospect I'm not even sure where you place all those missing actors as the staffing seemed more than adequate during our visit!   

Sets/Props/Fx: 5/5
I was blown away by the transformation from the trail last year to this year.  Lake Hickory Haunts has always had some incredible visuals but they've re-worked eighty percent or more of the trail as well as the midway area.  There is an overlook area near the hand stamp tent that lets you see what lies ahead and it's an awe-inspiring vision with the lake lit up as well as the various scenes scattered about in the woods.  Perennial favorite areas such as Dr. Death's medical set remain as gory as ever while entire new sections bring the props utilized to a new level.  This is most evident in the "Extinction" area with loads of new creatures.  I was particularly mesmerized by a tentacle waving at me from the corner of the ceiling.  Props run the gamut from stationary monsters to animatronics/pneumatics to simple cleverly designed scares (the oven and mirror gags).  Costumes and masks are very solid across the board with my personal favorite being a pile of stuffed animals that comes to life or the upside down clown....  Speaking of the clowns, Boss's Big Top Circus continues to be a hallucinogenic 3D playground of neon colors and scares.  I spent more than half the visit pointing out cool things to my trail mates and smiling in child-like glee at various decorations, props, and sets.  Visually it's top notch!

Length: 5/5
The various houses and trail at Lake Hickory circle the entire property including a descension to the level of the lake and the requisite climb back up to higher ground. Plan on a solid 35-45 minutes to complete the entire attraction.  You'll have worked up a good sweat from the walking as well as the possible running in fright!

Value: 5/5
Ticket prices range from $23-50 with discounts for online purchases.  The standard admission on-site is $25 and while this is top range for the area Lake Hickory's attractions meet the expectations for these ticket prices.  Various discount nights are available during the season so check out the calendar on their website for savings!

Other:
Free parking!  Lake Hickory Haunts has a large midway area that features food, merchandise, games, vendors, an arcade, a DJ, and more.  The night we attended an artist was painting horror film scenes, there was a psychic doing readings, and a paranormal society had a tent set up.  Various characters are roaming the midway and make for great photo opportunities.  There is a lot to do either before or after queuing in line to enjoy the trail.

Overall: 5/5
It's still difficult to wrap my head around all the changes I've seen at Lake Hickory Haunts.  This is their fifth year in existence and I've visited for the past four. It's transformed from a medium sized guided tour to a full blown haunted attraction featuring some of the best visuals in the state.  Every year they've had something new in store for patrons but they blew me away this year on how much things have changed.  A lot of my favorite sets are still there but have been reworked.....and then the additions are more than noticeable.  It's a testament to both the success they've had but also the dedication to not making yearly visits a stale re-hash of years past.  Crowds can be quite large so my suggestion is trying to hit this attraction early in the season or on less popular nights (Thursdays or Sundays late in the season).  This will give you a better chance to avoid long queue waits (although there is **plenty** to do in the meantime) as well as reduce the chance of lines backing up within the attractions.  Lake Hickory Haunts is one of the most innovative trails around; they're constantly re-inventing themselves without sacrificing quality or quantity.  Make sure to add Lake Hickory Haunts to your can't miss list this year! 

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