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« on: October 15, 2017, 02:05:11 PM »

Hacker House
Date Attended: 10/14/2017
Submitted By: Screaming_Diana

Scare Factor:  5/5
This place is terrifying!  I got chills as we drove down into the valley where Hacker House dwells.  There's a thick fog covering the haunt.  All I could see were faint lights through the heavy fog and hear screams from beyond the haunt entrance.  Once in line I could see a large angry pumpkin creature, occasionally it would groan and grumble, and I could see the door to the entrance of the house but that's it.  Everything beyond that door is fully hidden you donít even get a glimpse of what fate awaits you once you walk through that door.  My group started out as three but with a blink of an eye they left me and I was all alone but only for a moment.  Soon I was surrounded by the monsters that inhabit this terrifying place.  They showed no mercy toward me and they didn't care that I was all alone, my group had abandoned me, and I was beyond terrified.  As I was fearfully lead to the next room I could here whispers and eerie laughter behind the walls but I had no idea where I was or where I was going.  I didn't look up but I could see the feet of monsters all around. Where were my friends? Had they forgotten about me?  Would they ever come back?  The more time that passed the more I felt I would never see them again.  I began to wonder if this is how Hacker House got its monsters to begin with.  What if those that get separated never leave.  The thought was horrifying so I pushed through.  I was blacking out by this point. Occasionally I thought I saw my group coming but I didn't recognize anyone.  Perhaps these were just other victims, maybe a trap, or perhaps I was just hallucinating and there was never anyone else there.  All I could think about was I need to find a way out and where are my friends.  Had they really left me?  Did they get out?  Or maybe they were there the whole time and I was just confused and scared.  A huge portion of the night is a blur.  I felt like I was living a nightmare that I couldn't awake from.  I would find my way out of a room only to end up right back where I started moments later.  It was nerve racking to say the least.  I was left alone with only the gazing eyes of the haunts inhabitants upon me or at least I felt all alone but my friends wouldn't leave me.  Would they?  I continued on looking at only the ground in front of me I had to get out and soon.  Suddenly I could here human laughter, I was close, this nightmare was almost over.  I turned what I thought was the final corner and before me was a chainsaw.  I never saw what was holding that chainsaw but I quickly turned around and there I was all alone down a long dark hallway.  I could here people talking ahead of me but I couldn't get to them because there was a chainsaw blocking me and I could here the monsters quickly approaching me the other way.  I was trapped. My only chance of survival was to hide.  I got on the ground and covered myself with leaves.  The monsters passed by again and again they walked passed obviously looking for me. If I could remain unseen until daylight perhaps I could find my way out but suddenly I was face to face in the darkness with a monster.  He was on the ground with me. I jumped up and ran.  I could here a familiar voice in front of me.  It was my friend who I started this terrifying journey with.  Did he come back for me or was he with me all along? I donít know but somehow we walked out of that place together and I never looked back.   

Actors:  5/5
Very unique and completely insane is the best way I can describe this bunch.  You wonít find a bunch of repeat characters or movie villains here.  They are original and terrifying.  With traditional characters you kinda have a feel for how they will react and what they will do but with original characters who the hell knows what they will do.  These folks were intense and completely insane.  I mostly saw their feet due to my inability to look up from fear. The occasional character I did get a glimpse of looked terrifying.  Their faces were fully covered in make up, blood, and maybe dirt. They looked like they'd been through the same hell I was going through at their haunt.  They're a tough crowd to beat.  They were very interactive and never settle for a pop scare.  The actors are the highlight of the haunt.  The line actors are on their toes and constantly moving from person to person keeping everyone entertained.  At one point one of them was standing on a bench giving a sermon to the awaiting crowd but this was no ordinary sermon.  I remember hearing him chant something about the Wizard of Oz and at that point I covered my ears and looked away.  I was afraid he was casting a spell on us all.  A portion of the crowd laughed so perhaps his sermon was funny but you'll just have to go and listen for yourself because I thought it was terrifying and refused to listen to it. Another line character was a magician.  This guy is no joke a real magician and turned a card from a king to a 2 of hearts right before my eyes and I was even holding the card so I know he didn't change it.  I'm still perplexed about how he did that.  Creepy, Creepy, Creepy!  Once inside I was at the complete mercy of the actors.  They will lead you astray in a heartbeat. They are pros at picking up on your fears and will do whatever it takes to make sure your fears are surfaced. One of the thousand terrifying moments I experienced was walking into a room and seeing someone in a creepy doll mask holding a baby doll.  I'm still not sure if it was a prop or an actor but I'm pretty sure I saw it move.  That thing was legit terrifying and I got out of there in a hurry.  I had things coming at me from all over the place.  They even slithered across the ground.  No place was safe.  Actor numbers are plenty.  The actors are what make this haunt so great and also what makes me so nervous about visiting this place each year.  I don't think it matters if you visit on opening night or the last night of the season I think these guys are so attuned to their character they don't even need warming up.  It's like they've been doing this a thousand years or maybe they aren't acting at all and are just completely insane.         

Set Design/Props/FX:  5/5
The location is scary as hell and you'll know you've arrived at some place terrifying the second you make that final left turn into the parking lot.  The big pumpkin creature out front is phenomenal standing tall reaching high above the crowd. The sets beyond the entrance are a bit of a blur to me.  Once inside I was too terrified to look beyond my feet for the most part. There were several long narrow hallways or maybe I just repeated the same one several times but I found these long quiet hallways exceptionally terrifying.  I was too afraid to look up and I was certainly too afraid to look back. I had an eerie feeling there was something or someone following just a step behind me and I was almost certain there would be something waiting for me at the end.  The rooms were dimly light and foggy.  I got myself trapped in a medical room for the longest time.  I think I was being held hostage.  No matter which way I went there didn't seem to be an exit. I found myself alone in a dark corner I could see movement in the room but I couldn't tell how people were getting out.  Obviously there was an exit because people were leaving but where was it?  It was too dark and foggy to tell for sure and I was afraid to follow the movement I saw because what if it wasn't another groups movement but a monster instead?  No way I was taking that risk.  Each time I thought I had escaped I would end up right back where I started.  I still have no idea how or when I got out of there.  I think I was lead out by neon syringes. Iím not exactly sure but somehow I got out. The smells were intense.  A couple times I felt myself starting to gag.  With my eyes mostly covered my other senses were heightened.  The sounds of old music, distant chainsaws, and the evil chuckle of a creature close by gave me goosebumps.Once the those sounds faded there would be silence.  The quietness was almost unbearable at times, I would long to hear the sounds of another group.  I ended up in a green swamp and somehow made it through a graveyard.  I'm still not sure how I got from set to set as it was so terrifying I could barely look up but somehow I managed to move forward. I was almost eaten by an evil clam and I'm pretty sure at some point I ran passed a gigantic stuffed bunny collapsed on the ground. I battled falling barrels, dodged a huge moving truck, and survived a scary dark maze.  I swear I also wandered through a greenhouse that was growing some evil looking plants but it's possible I was hallucinating by this point. There must be a hundred secret passageways through this haunt because I would continuously return to the same place over and over again but would experience a different scare each time.  They can easily split your group up using these secret passages so stay very close to your friends and hold on to the person in front of you.   

Value:  5/5
Tickets are $20 and worth every bit of that. You'll get a lot of entertainment in line, a super scary haunt experience, and a fun photo op at the end.

Length:  5/5
Well this all depends on how long they want to keep you.  Maybe you'll walk right though in 20 minutes, maybe they'll keep you an hour or two, or perhaps you'll never leave.  This is entirely up the the creatures haunting this horrifying place.

Other:
Parking is free.

Overall Impression:  5/5
Hacker House is not for the faint of heart. It's dark and unnerving with scares around every corner.  The actors are very in your face and will likely invade your personal space.  There were moments when I questioned if this was real or just a nightmare that I could not awake from.  It's a different place with experiences you won't get anywhere else.  If you're looking for a one of a kind terrifying experience this is your place.  Take my word of warning though do not get separated from your group.  If you do things have the potential to get much much worse for you. I screamed, cried, prayed, and peed my way all the way through.  My voice was gone and my nerves were shot but I did it, I made it to the end.  The end wasn't really the end though because now they haunt my dreams. Hacker House is where nightmares are made.
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« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2017, 02:06:10 PM »

Hacker House
Date visited:  10/14/2017
Submitted by:  packbacker

Scare Factor: 5/5
Don't tell the folks at Hacker House you're not scared of them.  They take that personally and will make it their goal in life to prove you wrong.  If you are that rare person who will not be scared I assure you that you will be highly entertained.  As your car descends towards the parking area you're going to notice a fog drenched area and then you'll hear the screams.  They echo throughout with maybe a chainsaw revving or an unidentifiable, terrifying noise mixed in with them.  The disorientation starts as soon as you enter the house as you scuttle through a room with the feeling that you were just here (and maybe you were).  Scares are mainly actor driven and man they don't skimp on their attention to their patrons. There are no "easy" scares here.  The scare is extended as long as possible in a scene and sometimes beyond it!  The prop scares here are not subtle; they are big and in your face.  I loved the man eating plant addition as well as long time favorites such as Cuddles the Rabbit and Clamzilla.  If you're not scared I dare you not to laugh at those that are or with your interactions with the Hacker Housians as they throw out one liners, ask if they can lick your beard, or otherwise inspire pure blissful chaos. 

Actors: 5/5
This category is where Hacker House separates itself from the other haunts.  They're not the longest haunt, they don't have million dollar props, and you're not going to find your favorite horror characters here.  Hacker House is full, and i mean FULL, of actors who have honed their craft to a fine art.  Not a single one settles for a scream or single pop scare.  No, these folks will startle you, run off, re-startle you and then interact with you until you manage to escape their scene if you're lucky.  If you're unlucky they may follow you through multiple scenes.  These folks don't use throwaway lines like "Wanna play a game?", "Get out!", or the ubiquitous "Boo!".  You'll find one liners that if used in a comedy show would be hilarious but when you're trapped in a set they become creepy, chilling, freakish, and yes at times still a bit comical in a way that perfectly blends into what Hacker House is all about.  The sense of timing they utilize combined with the set design to allow the same actor to come at you from multiple spots is superb.  A special mention has to be also given to the queue line actors.  We got legit mind-blowing card tricks, a preacher singing Toto (seriously it was amazing), monster selfies, and more.  Often times I give a virtual high five to a particular actor on a trail who is fantastic but as I said earlier I truly believe that every person here is top notch.  No one goes half-way, no one just screams or uses throw away catch phrases, and none of these people are ones that are going to let you off easily if you show a bit of fear.  Kudos!

Props/Sets/Fx: 5/5
Hacker House has multiple new additions this year. The tremendous fog belching statue remains out front to lord over the queue line.  The sets are incredibly well decorated with things everywhere to admire.  There are multiple unique props here from a man eating plant to Cuddles then ten plus foot tall mechanized killer rabbit.  The crypt area continues to be the best of its kind with eerie natural darkness punctured by subtle flickering votive candles.  Actors are generally in high quality makeup but a few fantastic masks/costumes are utilized with a life size baby doll being the notable standout for our group.  Creepy!  There's much more to mention with a laser swamp area, a mechanized mayhem factory, a man eating clam, and more fog than I've seen all year long.   

Length: 5/5
Hacker House is more than just a house.  Escape the house and you have a graveyard/crypt area, the factory, a maze, and more sets to traverse. It may just be me but it felt even longer this year.  You'll leave thoroughly fulfilled and probably a bit tired and sweaty!

Value: 5/5
Base tickets are $20 with $15 tickets available early in the season.  At either price point this is an excellent return for your money.

Other:
Free parking!  A photo op area is available at the end of the trail and the same area makes for some good people watching while you catch your breath from surviving the house!

Overall: 5/5
Hacker House is different.  There's no Freddy or Jason here.  There are no "kiddie scares".  Hacker House is their own brand of scares and insanity....and I wouldn't have it any other way!  It looks amazing with the way it blends the right amount of dark, fog, and devilish details.  I notice something new each visit that I later find out has been here for years.  If you make it past the amazing looks and sinister smells, the actors here are world class scare technicians.  No one is going to break character and they know every centimeter of their scenes in order to maximize the screams they elicit from guests.  While Jason has his place during this season, he's no match for a bunny rabbit stuffing easter grass down your shirt while claiming to possess your soul for the next 700,000 years.  It's truly hard to put into words how different this experience is than the average haunted house.  Listen to the screams, listen to the laughter, admire the rolling fog, and you can slightly grasp the allure of this demented place.  The Hacker House experience is one you will want to savor this October and find out for yourself exactly how awesomely crazy and scary this place truly is!
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« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2017, 08:21:48 AM »

Hacker House
Date Attended: 10/14/17
Submitted by: mjones
 
Scare Factor: 5/5
Hacker House will scare you at some point.  I have no qualms about starting with that whatsoever.  If the traditional methods donít work, theyíll do it through sheer force of will if need be, but theyíll get you at some point!  A lot of reviews I write for haunts focuses on the heart of a place.  Do they ďget it,Ē and will you get the experience youíre looking for when you attend the haunt.  Well, there simply is no place with more heart than Hacker House.  There are places with more money and slicker designs and things like that, but no spook trail cares more about the scares you receive than them.  Itís a great blend of old and new school sets and terrific actors, but more than anything itís the dedication to doing things the right way that will bring you back year after year.
 
Actors: 5/5
Maybe Iím missing some, but I donít believe thereís one single stock character at Hacker House.  Each actor has their own, totally unique persona thatís tailored to the strengths of the actor.  That means you never know what to expect from any of them, and also that they are often much more memorable than simply the 800th hockey mask youíve seen that year.  They pursue, theyíre well trained, and theyíre really relentless (Iíve never made it back to the car unmolested once! A monster always ends up in the back seat before you can finally get out of there.).  But I think my favorite thing about the Hacker House actors is that because their individualized designs, they can ad lib and banter with you in character for days!  It makes things SO much more fun when the monsters arenít just reciting rote passages they were forced to memorize.  These guys, almost to a monster, can crack jokes and exchange insults for days.  Itís my favorite thing in haunts, and nobody does it better than Hacker House.
 
Set Design/Props/FX: 5/5
This year I was really struck by the lighting.  Many of the sets themselves are really impressive on their own, but in almost every room this year I was struck by the way shafts of light were spread across a set or some monster appeared out of a silhouette or something like that.  Like any haunt worth its salt, Hacker House makes changes and redesigns every year, and this felt a lot more moody and atmospheric than in years past, and I loved it!  They also employ plenty of expensive sets throughout the trail, but everything has a great low tech feel to it.  The more showy sets are offset by so much simple-yet-effective work that the whole thing feels like they just found it that way.  Thatís a feel thatís easy to take for granted, but itís definitely not easy.  Hacker House just makes it look that way!
 
Length: 5/5
Really great use of space here.  It looks like itís going to be really compact, but it goes on forever.  They also do a great job of not letting you see whatís coming, so that makes it feel even longer.
 
Value: 5/5
Hacker House is prototypical in so many ways that it feel indispensable to me, so it wouldnít take much for me to say this is a good value.  The fact that it checks every single box for what I want in a trail means I can heartily say that it is absolutely worth the price of admission.
 
Overall: 5/5
What else can I say?  Itís central to most of the bigger towns in NC, itís reasonably priced, and it does everything you want it to do.  If you love haunted houses, this is where I think you should start.  There are lots of things to love about a lot of trails, but this is one haunt that absolutely should not be missed!
 
« Last Edit: October 18, 2017, 09:57:44 AM by NCHadmin » Logged
NCHadmin
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« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2017, 10:09:18 AM »

Hacker House
Date attended: 10/14/2017
Submitted by: k2quiere

Scare Factor: 4.5/5
As always, Hacker House is one of the most entertaining haunts in the area. While there were others in our group who felt the startles and the fear, it wasn't there for me, and that may be because of how jam-packed we ended up ever from early on. Clamzilla got me, more than once, so that was a positive, and the characters and sets are phenomenal.

Actors: 5/5
Hacker House's actors are the best, hands down! They never break character and stay true to whoever they decided to be that night. It's amazing. Some of them were old friends, like Digger and Bunny Rabbit, while others were either new or reworked, and they all just worked so well together! Even after the last victims went through, the actors remained in character to bid a fond farewell to their friends.

Set Design: 5/5
If you have never been to Hacker House, just be prepared because the location is one of its greatest assets with natural fog nearly every night. The entry is naturally eerie, and the Pumpkin King is so amazing, I'm in awe every time I see it. The plant room was spotlight for me this year. It was new and fresh, and spectacular to take in! I seem to be lucky with finding my way out of the maze quickly the past few times I've been, but it is very easy to get lost within the darkness. The swamp bridge and the witch are always one of my worst favorite sets...I'm afraid of heights, so being on a bridge in the dark that moves, freaks me out a bit every time.

Value: 5/5
It's definitely worth $20, and if you go on an early weekend, $15 is the best deal anywhere. When my daughter decided to drive in from Asheville to go to a few haunts with the Review Team, her immediate choice of which haunt she had to see was Hacker House.

Length: 5/5
While the trail may not be as legitimately long as some of the larger haunts, it is so jam-packed with things to take in and deal with (actors, props, animatronics, sounds, etc) that it always feels just right. Even though I've been numerous times, I am always surprised by how right the length feels because there is something new or distorting they add in or change to keep you guessing.

Overall Impression: 5/5
Whenever someone asks me for a recommendation of a haunt in the area to visit, especially if they can only go to one, my response is almost always Hacker House with very few exceptions. I've been a fan for years.
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