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Author Topic: Hillside Horror - 2017  (Read 234 times)
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« on: October 01, 2017, 04:20:50 PM »

Hillside Horror
Date Attended: 09/29/2017
Submitted by:  Screaming_Diana

Scare Factor: 5/5
Hillside has continuously improved each year and this year is no exception.  The trail begins on a hayride that carries you from the parking lot to the start of the trail.  If I didn't know better I would swear the cows in the neighboring pasture were hired to help with the scares because I was completely distracted and caught off guard, by the onlooking cows, that I almost peed myself when a creature came out of nowhere and approached the hayride.  The scares were fairly consistent throughout the trail.  While most of the scares are actor driven part of what's so scary comes from the unknown and from your own imagination.  You don't know what lies ahead as you wander through the steep hillside knowing there is something out there but where?  When will it appear? and what will it do once it reaches you?  Huge animatronics are not found here and are certainly not needed. They use nature and what's available to them to make this haunt work and it works beautifully.  The initial house and barn section is dark, tight, and full of twists and turns. I missed seeing a lot in there because I was terrified.  A piggish creature snorted in my ear and my eyes went closed, I covered by ears, and had to be lead out to safety by my friends. As you descend down the steep faintly lit trail into the woods you can hear the sharpening of knife blades and see the flicker of tiki torches in the distance.  You are left, unguided, to roam this trail.  You must find your way through the house and old barn, survive a corn maze that extends as high as the heavens, somehow manage to stay on your feet through the massive squishy tunnels, and hopefully eventually you'll make it back to the hayride that will carry you to the parking lot. 

Actors:  5/5
This is where I noticed the biggest improvements.  The actors where more aggressive and eager to make a scare this year.  It's also very early in the season so I can only imagine they are going to get even more pumped up and energized as the season continues.  It felt like there were a lot more actors this year.  A lot of their scares are pop scares but they are well timed.  The actors were focused and able to hold their scares so that everyone in the group got hit.  Make-up and masks were well done and I didn't notice anyone out of character.  The actors with chainsaws (oh how I hate chainsaws) didn't give up easily and could change gears on the saw at a moments notice giving you the illusion that they were turning the chainsaw off and moving on.  Wrong they'd rev those saws up again and again.  I think they'd terrorize you for an eternity if they didn't have to stop to set up for their next victim.  The actors quickly pick up on group members names and happily chant them as you pass through and even spread your name to their other monster friends.  Screaming will get you nowhere except more terrorized. I think making you scream in fear gives them a high and they just get more and more relentless the louder you get.

Set Design/Props/FX: 5/5
The haunt's setting is down in a valley in the Carolina foothills.  Mother Nature provides them with an eerie location that's perfect for a haunted trail.  As I mentioned earlier huge animatronics are not used nor needed here.  They have the tallest corn in the Eastern states.  It's massive, tightly planted, with narrow trails that create a maze that seems to go on forever.  I'm not sure what was being used by the actors throughout the corn but it was very loud and scared me at least a dozen times.  There was also a vine growing around the corn that was hanging down making travel though the corn a bit more challenging and a lot spookier.  The fog was so thick walking through one area in the house you couldn't see an inch in front of you.  I just held on to the person in front of me and hoped they'd figure it out.  No way I was gonna feel my way through and risk touching who knows what that might be lurking around.  As you make your way out of the valley and back up the hill you come to some very large tunnels.  These things are awesome.  From the moment I stepped inside I thought I was going to fall over.  It's very hard to keep your balance when walking on extremely squishy floors through a pitch black tunnel that of course is inhabited with creatures.  There's a new addition to the tunnels this year but you'll have to go yourself to find out about that.  I will warn you I think there are clowns waiting to get you at the end of the tunnels but I ran out of there so fast I couldn't really tell.  I heard giggles echoing through the tunnel as I exited and I was gone and never looked back.

Value:  5/5
Tickets were $15 the night we went.  You can't beat that price for the scares you get.  General admission is $15-$20 depending on the night you visit.  If you prefer to skip the wait in line you can upgrade to fast pass tickets for $10 more. 

Length: 5/5
You're going to get a workout.  I was sweating and out of breath by the end due to the trails long length, rough hilly terrain, and from being chased by all those crazy corn critters. You're gonna need your running shoes for this one.

Other:
They have free parking and a haunted hayride to get you to the head of the trail.  Concessions and glow sticks are available for purchase.  You can take your LAST RIDE and be buried alive in a real casket for only $10. The first weekend in November they will have a blackout trail for $12 where you and your friends can experience the Hillside Horror in total darkness guided only by the subtle glow of a glow stick.

Overall Impression:  5/5
I've always enjoyed my visits to Hillside Horror and I love that it continues to get better and better each year.  The owners have put a lot of heart and soul into the haunt and genuinely want you to have a good time. I had a blast here being chased by corn critters, wild hogs, clowns, and all sorts of other strange and startling creatures.  The squishy tunnels were frightfully fun and a highlight for me.  At least one person in your group is likely to fall down trying to maneuver through these tunnels so be ready to laugh unless it's you that falls then be ready to be laughed at.  They are so much fun and don't worry they are heavily padded so even if you do fall you wont get hurt.....unless a monster gets you.  I look forward to Hillside every year and I swear one year I'll leave there with dry pants however this is not that year.
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« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2017, 12:15:52 PM »

Hillside Horror
Date visited: 9/29/17
Submitted by: packbacker

Scare Factor: 4.5/5
Hillside Horror is the epitome of a professional old fashioned "spook trail".  Using the best atmosphere that the North Carolina foothills can provide you get a mainly outdoor experience that will satisfy anyone who gets creeped out by things that go bump in the night.  The trail starts with a hayride that takes you away from civilization into a isolated area out in the country.  While the hayride is mainly a conveyance to the ticket booth a scare or two may show up.  Queue line actors easily pick out the weak ones to elicit some early screams.  The trail is self-guided in small and well spread out groups.  Trust me it's worth the wait to not have anyone piled on top of you.  It starts out with some satisfactory dark, dark, dark mazes with some actors there to catch you off guard.  Escaping the first few buildings you descend down towards a clown area and then the star of the show: the cornfield.  The corn is gigantic, claustrophobic, and cave-like in appearance at times due to vines offering a natural canopy.  The corn itself is a goosebump causing natural set but add in a giant handful of "critters" and you'll be running to try and find the end.  When you think you're free, something will rattle in your ear or rustle up ahead and your imagination will run wild.  If you manage to make it out of the corn you'll encounter a few more scenes as well as section of giant piping with "different" flooring.  You'll either laugh, scream, or cry as you try and navigate your way to safety. 

Actors: 4/5
Hillside Horror doesn't leave you many bare spots to catch your breath due to well spaced actor placement.  They'll let you walk just far enough to think you may be in the clear before another critter in the corn makes themselves known or you find a hand that's not yours while navigating the maze.  Actors have a good sense of timing generally aiming for the soft middle of a group but all sections get some attention.  The majority of actors here are pop scare only but especially early on in the corn the critters will chase you for quite awhile.  The same goes for Mr. Myers early on in the trail.  Few actors have speaking roles but those that do nail their lines (like Belladonna - the keeper of the corn). 

Sets/Props/Fx: 4/5
Don't attend this trail expecting to see giant animatronics, finely detailed sets, or other big prop scares.  Those are not present at Hillside Horror nor should they be.  This trail is old-school.  Dark.  Ramshackle buildings.  Dark.  Towering cornfield.  Dark.  Giant pipe segments with "squishy flooring".  Dark.  Hillside Horror excels at using mother nature's bounty.  As you descend towards the bottom you'll see what I mean as peripheral light begins to fade and you notice a foggy haze hanging over ten plus foot tall corn stalks.  They do have a vortex early on, a nice sparking knife from Michael Myers, and a few other gadgets up their sleeves.  My favorite "prop" has to be the giant pipes that have mattress flooring, echo with screams, and this year have the added fun of movement.  Costumes run the gamut from fantastic to lacking as some children of the corn (pun intended) seem to have just dark clothing and shaker bottles rather than actual outfits.  The queue line actors up the action with their costumes.

Length: 5/5
This haunt winds you through a few mazes and buildings (including a vortex) before descending towards the immense corn.  You spend a delightful eternity in the corn and then get to work your legs in ascending the same hill for more screams.  Allow yourself at least a half hour for the trail itself- this doesn't include the time of the hayride to the ticket area.  You'll leave tired, sweaty, and happy.

Value:  5/5
Tickets range from $15 to $20 depending on the date on which you attend.  Earlier dates mean cheaper admission and shorter lines which is a double score!  $2 off coupons were readily available at the security screening checkpoint so keep your eyes peeled for those!  Hillside gives you a good return on your money and throws in a free work-out as you traverse up and down the hill from scene to scene.

Other:
Free parking that is adjacent to an actual cemetery.  The ticket booth also offers both concessions as well as Hillside logo merchandise.  A last ride side attraction is also offered.  While we did not check it out my understanding is that instead of a simulator like you find at many haunts this is an actual ride in a coffin, inside a hearse the aforementioned cemetery.  A bit more realistic!

Overall: 4.5/5
Hillside Horror delivers a top notch spook trail experience.  Parking near the cemetery starts your uneasiness and the hayride leaving any traces of civilization behind does nothing to assuage your fears.  A scream, a chainsaw, a gunshot...all can be heard as you wonder what you've gotten yourself into.  Darkness, the claustrophobia of the never-ending steroid sized corn, and a bunch of well placed pop scares will get most people to jump a wee bit or even run for their lives.  Hillside does a great job of incorporating sound into their scares as well as giving patrons uneven footing so even the most resolute trail goer gets a surprise or two while trying to survive until the end.  It's a fun attraction that's worth seeing just for their corn but it delivers so much more.  Your muscles may ache from the exertion of making it up and down the hill, you may be breathing a bit fast after screaming too much, and you'll have a smile on your face as you ride the hayride back to safety.  Hillside Horror is definitely worth checking out this season!
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« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2017, 07:53:52 AM »

Hillside Horror
Date Attended: 9/29/17
Submitted by: jonesm

Scare Factor: 4/5
All the best stuff at Hillside is grown and not built.  In talking with the owner after we went through the thing he was most excited about was a new strain of vine that was growing through the corn this season, making it even MORE claustrophobic like a cave than ever!  The setting of a steep hillside trail followed by the best corn maze around really packs a wallop!  This haunt uses the natural surroundings better than anybody, and it makes for something totally unique, and spooky in a down home, old fashioned kind of way.  Good scares throughout, with atmosphere to spare!

Actors: 4/5
This year's crop of critters is improved over past years, popping up in places they hadn't been before.  The actors also drive that awesome corn maze, and I thought the struck a great balance between nailing you and letting you take a bit of that amazing valley setting.  Also, bonus points for a nearly constant sound of sharpening tools just kinda off in the distance. It was really well placed, and set a great tone to the whole thing, so really good job there, well planned!

Set Design/Props/FX: 5/5
This score isn't necessarily reflective of the astounding construction or over the top props because that's not really the point of this trail.  But even with the natural resources available there still needs to be a balance and taste involved, and I think they've struck a really good balance.  Also, I thought the moving tunnels and increased monster pressure to get through them was really cool!  It was extreme enough that some in our group didn't even want to go through it!  Well conceived, well executed.

Length: 5/5
Good sized trail, plus buildings, and it takes a while to dig your way through that jungle of a corn maze.  Above average length, plus inclines (that make it feel even longer than it is!).

Value: 5/5
$15-20 range depending on when you go, and I think that's a steal, to be honest.  It's really long and no small hike up and down those hills, and I definitely felt like I'd accomplished something by the end.  Definitely worth the money!

Overall: 4.5/5
This was my first trail of the season, and I was very pleased to start here with this one!  Please take it as a compliment that I love Hillside like I love old Scooby Doo cartoons.  I find myself grinning like an idiot every time I walk down that hill, with the moon shining down on you and tools are being sharpened vaguely in the distance somewhere.  It feels like Fall and campfires and I love it.  Quality scares, amazing environment…old school spook trail at its best!  Great job!
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« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2017, 12:51:06 PM »

Hillside Horror
Date attended: 9/27/2017
Submitted by: k2quiere

Scare Factor: 4.5/5
Some places on the trail were very dark, and the corn maze was extra long with actors along the way. Corn is creepy, so that upped the factor for me.

Actors: 4.5/5
Even thought it didn't seem like there were lots of actors, they were very strategically placed, and the haunt was created with lots of ways for the same actor to get you multiple times. The guy at the entrance in black and white was great, lots of fun and distractions while waiting; he was really enjoying his job! The clowns were also awesome.

Set Design: 4.5/5
The sets were well-placed, so there was enough space between them. As I said earlier, the corn maze was so long, it really did feel like we would never get out of there. The only part that I didn't like was the mattresses. while it is scary to occasionally find the ground uneven as you walk, it was overkill and not a good scary to me.

Value: 5/5
Hillside is definitely worth the cost of admission

Length: 5/5 The length felt perfect. During the corn, if felt like the trail would never end, and when we got to the end, it felt just right.

Overall Imp
ression: 4.5/5 This was my first time at Hillside, and I really enjoyed myself.

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