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Author Topic: Lake Hickory Haunts - 2017  (Read 680 times)
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« on: October 02, 2017, 08:31:04 AM »

Lake Hickory Haunts
Date Attended: 09/29/2017
Submitted by: Screaming_Diana

Scare Factor:  5/5
Lake Hickory Haunts takes you on a self guided journey through a wide variety of sets.  There is something here to frighten even the toughest of souls.  The view over the cliff as you walk down to the midway and haunt entrance is amazing and shows you a birds eye view of what awaits you. I screamed so much I had no voice by the end.  While you will find some of your beloved horror movie villains here, like Freddy, you will also witness some of the most bazaar characters you've ever seen. I had to really pay attention to what was going on (which is really hard for me because I'm terrified and have my eyes closed a lot) because there were scares coming from so many places I didn't know to run, scream, or hide.  I think I did all three.  There were scares coming from above my head, at my feet, through the walls, in front of me, and sneaking up behind me.  Never let your guard down because the second you do something or someone will get you.  You could easily spend hours just hanging out in the midway.  They have a live DJ, lots of photo ops, concessions, merchandise for sale, games, and a small escape room.  We tried the escape room and even though we failed it was a lot of fun.  There was some sort of huge flame that would shoot off every once in a while and light up the whole midway.  It looked amazing but Boss the clown and a robotic transformer guy were hanging out near it so I didn't check it out too close. I had already encountered the transformer guy earlier and knew to stay clear of him and his giant robotic claw.     

Actors: 5/5
You know what's scary? Clowns!  You know what's even scarier? A clown on stilts! That's right I met a clown in the middle of the woods on stilts.  He was just roaming around like he'd been walking around 12 feet high his whole life.  That has to be challenging but this clown seemed to have it all figured out.  I was told they were a little short staffed the night we were there if so I sure couldn't tell.  They had actors all over the place.  The scares were exceptionally well timed and often the actors wouldn't settle for a simple pop scare but would taunt us until we were out of their section.  Make-up and costumes were exceptional and just like many of their props many of their costumes and characters are originals too.  Actors with speaking parts knew their lines and were very entertaining.  The nurse guarding the entrance to see Doctor Death was awesome.  She could easily carry on a conversation without ever breaking character.  I'd love to see all of their characters up close just to enjoy the detail and hard work put into each costume but I'd be too scared to open my eyes and look at them.  They had several actors hanging out in the midway scaring folks and posing for pictures. 

Set Design/Props/FX: 5/5
The sets and props are astounding and a lot of their stuff I haven't seen at a haunt anywhere else. Their use of projections is top notch and are so realistic especially the zombies.  There's so much going on here and so much to see I think you could go through again and again and see something new each time.  I could go through a thousand times and see something new every time because they terrify me and I can't look up through a portion of the trail. The scene with Freddy is one where you'll need to slow down to get the full effect. I wont give it away but it's always one of my favorites.  You'll go through many buildings such as Doctor Deaths hospital full of tortured souls and zombies, a shipwrecked area by the lake, a laboratory full of some of the oddest alien creatures I've ever seen, through a bus and into a junk yard, into a slaughter house, and finally arrive an evil circus. Those are the bigger sets but there's more, so much more.  I saw people climbing out of stoves, jumping though walls, we walked through an unsettling doll room, and met all kinds of things hiding out along the path waiting to frighten me as I journeyed through the haunt.  Nothing is done small here.  It's done right or you wont find it here.  They've got some amazing animatronics, including one that crawls above your head. They use special effects and moving floors.  There's never a dull moment. The circus is always a hit and the perfect way to end the haunt because after the clowns tried to turn me into a clown I was done.  I shot out of that circus and ran for the midway leaving my friends to fend for themselves.  Not only do the sets look amazing the smells really test your senses.  The slaughter house will make you want to gag while the circus smells of delightful cotton candy which is deceiving because that circus is anything but delightful.       

Value: 5/5
It's definitely worth the cost of admission.  General admission is $23 and fast pass is $35 which will allow you to bypass the wait in line.  If you purchase the VIP tickets ($50) you will get the real VIP treatment.  You will receive a personal escort to the haunt entrance, bypass all lines, get two free game tickets, and receive a free t-shirt of your choice. Now that's haunting in style! They also have other ticket packages available on their website.

Length: 5/5
You could spend hours here enjoying all there is to see and do.  The haunt itself is long and with the added midway entertainment you'll have a full evening of fun.

Other:
Parking is $2 cash only. 

Overall Impression: 5/5
I've loved watching Lake Hickory Haunts grow from a small guided haunt to the amazing haunt it is today.  I've always enjoyed my trips to Lake Hickory but it's mind blowing the changes they've made in only a few years. It's scary, fun, and a great place to spend a Friday or Saturday night. I was nearly crying in fear by the end but at least I didn't pee myself.....much. Lake Hickory Haunts is a destination haunt for sure and one you will not regret visiting. 
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« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2017, 09:58:56 PM »

Lake Hickory Haunts
Date attended: 9/29/2017
Submitted by: packbacker

Scare Factor: 5/5
You can hear the screams from the parking lot.   They get louder as you descend into the midway and finally into Lake Hickory Haunts proper. A lot of trails will start you off slow building up to a big bang.  Lake Hickory chucks that thought out the window starting you off with some of the most constant scares with the nightmare factory.  Actors are everywhere as are crazy floors, moving props, and more.  Things never slow down.  There is always something to look at, something popping out of the night towards you, and all your senses are activated.  Every part of the group gets attention paid to them and no one gets off easy.  If you're not one of those people who get scared easily fret not- you will be thoroughly entertained by the visual cornucopia of sets and props.  No set pieces are simple and they inspire a lot of oooohs and ahhhhhs. The trail ends with a bang that sent one of our group members out into the middle of the midway.  I love the second "hidden ending" that sells the scare all over again.  Simple, yet awesome. 

Actors:  5/5
Bountiful and talented, the group of actors at Lake Hickory Haunts know how to get you screaming.  The nurse manning the queue line is absolutely fantastic with her witty introductions and scares.  Very few actors here are relegated to just pop scare although those that are have impeccable timing.  Most actors here have witty lines or full on speaking roles.  Dr. Death, the mad professor, and all the clowns get special shout-outs for their roles but truthfully everyone here shines.  There's also no deficit of actors here....rarely do you go more than twenty feet before encountering someone trying to scare you.   


Sets/Props/Fx: 5/5
Wow.  That word kept being uttered by our group leader as we made our way from set to set.  "Look at that!", he'd exclaim.  "Oh my gosh! Wow!"  The words just kept slipping from his lip as he pointed mouth slightly agape at the next wondrous sight.  Sets are lavishly decorated with a ton of detail.  Your eyes are drawn to the big scare in the room but there's a loving touch to the surroundings in which they are kept. Every single set is easily discernible to what it is supposed to be.  Props are amazing from waving tentacles to alien babies to Freddy's face coming through the wall at you.  Lasers are used quite effectively in multiple locations and scents are wafted into several sets to heighten the reality of them.  I personally loved two areas using projections- a flying spirit as well as what appears to be zombies clawing at a sheet.  The 3D in the big top circus is top notch and the costumes top to bottom scream high class attraction.  This even includes a clown on stilts (walking backwards no less!)  Multiple animatronics dot the attraction with larger set props here or there as well.  The monstrous fish in the net as well as the monster in the water were highlights for me.  Just when you think you've seen it all your group rounds another corner and someone is going to exclaim: "Wow!  Look at that!"  It's truly a visual treat....and nasal treat at times! 

Length: 5/5
Patrons make a large looping circle around the water that makes every use of the land available.   You wind back and forth through several buildings, down towards the banks of the pond, back up, around, to and fro, and then through the wacky world of the big top.  We took a slower pace to be able to try and drink it all in and we spent a solid 45 minutes at least on the trail.  I'm not sure one of us could have lasted much longer so it seemed the perfect length.  Allow more time, however, if you partake in the other offerings of the midway.

Value: 5/5
There are a variety of ticket price options at Lake Hickory Haunts.  Tickets range from $23 online to $25 at the door with fast pass and VIP upgrade options available.  Various other discounts are available on certain evenings- be sure to check the website for details.  Regardless whichever ticket level you choose you will get a gigantic bang for your buck.  There's enough going on here that you can easily make an evening out of the visit.   

Other:
Parking is now $2.  Lake Hickory Haunts offers a lot more than the primary trail attraction.  There is a parade nightly before the trail opens to let you get a look at the characters before you start screaming.  Instead of a continuous queue line there is a midway where patrons can hang out until their "group" is called.  Offerings on the midway include various games, a three minute escape room, a concession stand, a full gift shop, multiple photo opportunities, a stage for character performances, and a DJ among other things.  Trust me you will not get bored before, after or during the haunt!  I'd be content just watching people run screaming from the end of the trail but there's plenty to do here to occupy everyone!  Roaming creatures are also seen along the midway making patrons scream and mugging for photos. 

Overall: 5/5
Whenever I give a haunt straight fives in a review I take a minute to go back and see if I'm over exaggerating anything.  I can very honestly say that Lake Hickory Haunts easily earned a perfect score the night we visited.  The midway is tremendous fun with always something going on from the DJ to actor performances.  The trail itself is breath-taking in portions.  Again there is always something to see, smell, hear, or feel as you make your way around the lake.  Constant scares keep you on your toes and your eyes have trouble believing what you are seeing at times- a clown on stilts, octopus tentacles swinging at your head, a pile of dolls come to life, and more.  I left with a giant grin on my face casting one glance down off an overlook at a trail filled with screams and delights that even the most hardcore haunt enthusiast has to admit are special.  Lake Hickory Haunts needs to be on your list to visit this season!
« Last Edit: October 03, 2017, 10:19:19 AM by NCHadmin » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2017, 07:54:31 AM »

Lake Hickory Haunts
Date Attended: 9/29/17
Submitted by: jonesm

Scare Factor: 5/5
Really felt like we were swept right into the heat of things, and the scares start right off the bat!  To be honest, I think I may have ooo'd and aaaah'd my way through some of the scares, but that's only because there was so many cool things to look at!  Good, well thought out scares throughout this trail, totally pleased on that front.

Actors: 5/5
Terrific across the board!  I was extremely impressed with our initial guide, a Betty Boop-like nurse whose name I didn't catch like I should've.  She did a great job setting us up, and then it was steady the whole time.  I like how this trail has created some iconic characters of its own, like Dr. Death, that can be repositioned and evolve from year to year.  Also, excellent work in balancing instructors with monsters, it never felt overbearing or confusing.  And that one clown walked up that whole hill backwards on stilts! Terrific work all around!

Set Design/Props/FX: 5/5
Absolutely first class top notch from start to finish.  I was goggled in scene after scene.  And not just clutter for the sake of filling a space, but interesting and eye catching sets that felt tasteful, and that's not always something you get to say about haunts.  The sets weren't showy, but they required more time than the monsters were prepared to give, and it left you wanting to see more constantly.  This area has become a real star of this trail.

Value: 5/5
Couldn't be better!  There's things to do, things to take cool pictures of, and a trail that goes on forever.  It'd be worth whatever they charged, but they're actually really reasonable about everything.  Parking is $2.

Length: 5/5
With everything there is to see and do, this feels like a really long haunt.  The trail itself winds back on itself so often that it feels like every inch of the grounds gets used.  Feels longer than it actually is, and it's actually pretty long anyway.

Overall: 5/5
The last time I went to Lake Hickory was a few years ago, and it was a really exciting up and comer of a haunt.  It had really invested and enthusiastic owners, and we remarked that it was going to be really fun to watch them grow and develop.  Well let me just say that having finally gotten to come back this year that they are now fully formed and frankly, bad ass.  I was blown away!  There's so much going on everywhere all the time, but nothing feels overly cluttered.  It's more than you can absorb but in a way that makes you wanna go through again, not just disconnect from the racket.  The midway is actually fun instead of just another money suck, and there's things to see and photo ops to be had even if you don't spend any money at all.  We failed miserably at the escape room game, I'm sad to say.  Still, very intriguing and I still wish we'd tried it again.  My only real criticism is that the clown house felt a bit anticlimactic, although that might be just that it was so much more central to things in the past.  Still cool, but a bit rushed, I thought.  But the lighted smoke at the entrance, and the DJ who wasn't a dick, to the haunted pirates, to the tasteful projections, to the layers and layers of scenes, I really can't say enough.  It's really become a haunted wonderland over there, and it makes me proud to say I saw it when!  If it isn't my best of the year, it's going to have to be a whopper to top it!
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« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2017, 12:49:20 PM »

Lake Hickory Haunts
Date attended: 10/06/2017
Submitted by: k2quiere

Scare Factor: 4.5
Rather than scare factor, I'd say fun factor. We had a lot of fun! There were a few startle scares, but they were mostly directed at the mid-back area of our group, so while it was funny to watch them run, we didn't really get the scares.

Actors: 5/5
It felt like there were actors in every nook and cranny; you really couldn't get away from one because there was another as you turned the corner (or maybe it was the same one). The mad scientist was awesome, as was the creepy floor crawler we came across upon exiting a building and entering what seemed to be a maze. I have never seen anyone crawl that close to the ground and hold his position that long; he was absolutely phenomenal.  I'd also like to give a shout-out to the clown whose space we invaded inside the body bag room. He was so taken aback when our whole group climbed up into his hiding spot because we couldn't see another door. It was as hilarious as it was awkward.

Set Design: 4.75/5
From the entrance where smoke was billowing around the archway, to the long hill downward where you can look out over the entire haunt, anticipation is built. The space between sets is very dark, which continues that anticipation making you wonder if you are still on the trail. There is a lot of detail in sets. The Mad Scientist's lair and the Fun House were awesome! We could tell that a lot of time was put into these sets. I was super impressed with the hallway floor inside the Fun House. The 3-D effect of the double-layer floor was great! I will also say that Lake Hickory made the best use of the mattress floors. They made sense in their location and were not overpowering, just enough startle and repetition to make you cautious and distract you from the monsters. My only criticism is that here were many areas where the direction to go was unclear, almost forcing the actors to forego their fear factor in order to show us the way.

Value: 4.75/5
While I do not deny that the amount of work put into the haunt, as well as the size, layout, and actors are well-worth $25.

Length: 5/5
We were pleasantly surprised at the length because it initially seemed people were going in and exiting rather quickly. That wasn't the case when we actually went through, and it didn't feel rushed, even with the chainsaws chasing a couple of our group members.

Other:
VIP pass holders can enter the queue at any time without waiting for their handstamp to match the horror icon called, but be sure to collect your free items/games before getting in line, as they take your pass.

Overall Impression: 4.75/5
As I saw above, we had a lot of fun here. The wait seemed like it took forever, but it balanced out well with the length of the haunt, and everything inside made it worth the wait.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2017, 09:24:08 PM by NCHadmin » Logged
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