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The Haunted => Member Reviews - 2014 => Topic started by: hauntednorcak on September 27, 2014, 08:58:17 AM

Title: Hickory Grove Haunted Trail - Gastonia, NC
Post by: hauntednorcak on September 27, 2014, 08:58:17 AM
Scare Factor: 4/5 - The location is not very scary. It's located at a driving range, and the ticket takers do not add any scare factor. The entrance to the trail is far from grand. Things change the minute you walk into those woods. This place caught me by surprise. There were lots of actors. They were in your face. It was very, very dark in a lot of places. The actors followed you, and they didn't let up. If they saw that someone was scared,they made it a point to scare you as much as possible. They got me to jump a COUPLE times, which is EXTREMELY hard to do. I rarely jump in haunt. There were a lot of loud chainsaws back there, too. There were probably 6 clowns with chainsaws in the "Klown Town" part. It was a pleasant surprise. There's an awesome maze at the end too, which surprised me. Your guide will leave you before you go into the maze, and you pretty much think its over. No, it's not. After the maze, you are standing in the pitch dark, and you hear a voice talking to you. Then, a light cuts on, and you see about four guys with chainsaws, right in your face. They rev up, and they chase you down a long, dark path, and you are spit out at the end of the trail, exhausted.

Actors: 4/5 - They weren't professional, Hollywood trained actors. Heck, most of them were probably highschoolers, but dang, they could sell a scare. They would follow you, chase you, get right up in your face. They were relentless and when they saw someone jumped or was scared they wouldn't back down. They did whatever necessary to try to scare you. I loved their enthusiasm. It was their opening night, and I would love to see how much better the scares become at the end of the year. These guys have it down, and have a lot of potential. The clown actors were really good, and they obviously loved their job. A huge letdown, which caused me to give them a 4/5, probably deducting a half point or so, was just before the long tunnels, I saw an actor literally almost miss us and yell "oh shit" and then proceeded with his scare. That took him out of character, and I didn't very much care for that. That was the one and only bad moment with actors throughout the trail. Most of these guys do a really good job.

Set Design/Props/FX: 3.5/5 - This is a low budget haunt. A lot of black plastic, but they make it work. There is one scene through two long dark tunnels, a very tight, long path inhabited with actors, and a very good maze towards the end, which surprised me. I really didn't expect to see such a nice maze at a haunt like this. Pleasant surprise. No animatronic or pnuematic props, that I remember. Doesn't matter though, they make up for it with actors. Great for what it is!

Length: 5/5 - We had just came from The Haunted Mill, a shorter haunt, and this was probably twice as long. You are in this thing for a while. We had no trouble in the maze, so we managed to get out of there quickly. We probably spent about 25 minutes in there, but were moving at a fairly swift pace. The length is very pleasing. I honestly would've been satisfied with the length, even if there wasn't a maze. I expected it to be over walking towards the maze, but was really surprised and glad that this great experience didn't have to end so soon.

Value: 5/5 - For $12, you simply cannot beat Hickory Grove Haunted Trail. Especially after having many experiences involving paying extreme amounts for haunts like this that don't deliver like the guys at Hickory Grove do, it's nice to know there are people who are in the business for the joy they get out of it, not to try to rip you off.

Overall: 4.5/5 - You need to visit this if you are in the area. I pulled up to this haunt, and was not expecting much. We had just come from a featured NC Haunt, the Haunted Mill and just decided to try this on a whim. But dang, was it worth it. I would definetely check this one out if you are in the area, you won't regret it. Places like this give me a "warm and fuzzy" feeling driving away. When I say that, I in no way mean that this is a tame haunt, or a cheesy haunt. It is very, very good and they love what they do. They are obviously not professionals, and don't have a huge budget for this haunt, but they show true dedication and just a passion for scaring people.

Other: The address on their website is not correct. Look for the address to Mountain View Golf Center to get you to the right place. If you are near Gastonia, you should check this out. It may not be the most elaborate haunt you've been to, but it's worth a visit if you're near there. It'll show you what a low budget and a passion for scaring people can give you.

Title: Re: Hickory Grove Haunted Trail - Gastonia, NC
Post by: packbacker on September 28, 2014, 07:31:17 AM
Great review!  We visited this place last year under the exact same circumstances as you.  There was some grumbling from our group as we saw an empty parking lot and just found people sitting in lawn chairs around a fire.........and then we went on the trail.  Well worth the visit!

Title: Re: Hickory Grove Haunted Trail - Gastonia, NC
Post by: hauntednorcak on September 28, 2014, 07:37:53 AM
I was pleasantly surprised by this place! At the entrance people were sitting around eating hamburgers and hotdogs...I didn't know what to expect. Turned out to be really fun!

Title: Re: Hickory Grove Haunted Trail - Gastonia, NC
Post by: calikid1213 on September 29, 2014, 05:54:11 PM
That's a very positive review.  I may try that one in place of X-treme fear since they aren't open this year according to their website.  Thank you.

Title: Re: Hickory Grove Haunted Trail - Gastonia, NC
Post by: hauntednorcak on September 30, 2014, 10:22:58 AM
That's a very positive review.  I may try that one in place of X-treme fear since they aren't open this year according to their website.  Thank you.

Check out the Haunted Mill too, it's good too. They're only about 5-10 minutes away from each other, which is a plus. Just don't get lost like we did, lol.

Title: Re: Hickory Grove Haunted Trail - Gastonia, NC
Post by: packbacker on October 05, 2014, 09:41:04 AM
Hickory Grove Haunted Trail
Date visited: 10/4/2014

Scare Factor: 3.5/5
Your mileage may vary.  I don't find the trail scary but rather quite entertaining.  Screaming_diana feels it is one of the scariest in the state.  Regardless of your scream level I think you will enjoy your time here.  Dark woods, lots of monsters lurking, and a lot of utilization of sound- horns, chainsaws, and the lot.  A dark, claustrophobic maze caps off a fun time.

Actors: 4/5
My oh my are these folks having fun.  The trail has both set scenes where the whole group stops to interact with actors as well as the more traditional pop scares.  The actors with speaking roles have their pitter patter down pat.  Chupacabra boys, Earl and company, and the shaved ice clown were hilarious yet could sell a scare with the best of them.  If they sensed fear they pounced and did not back down.  The non speaking actors were a bit more hit and miss but what was super obvious is that they were all having fun.  After leaving one set an actor yelled at my petrified friend: "Damn girl- you got skerrrrrrrrrrrrrred!"  Professional?  No.  Funny?  Hell yes.  I appreciate enthusiasm!

Sets/Props/Fx: 3.5/5
Minimalistic but that's all that's needed.  Ramshackle buildings, black plastic, and plywood.  What they do have is fun set-ups with the "shaved ice" house and the chupacabra area- cheap but very very effective.  Masks are generally cheap.  The chainsaws are both plentiful and LOUD.  I really liked their use of pumpkins....something you oddly don't see much at haunts. 

Length: 4/5
It's a 20-25 minute jaunt through the woods depending on how scared your group is.  With a guided trail you move at their pace...and if someone is scared they are going to linger to make sure he/she gets the full effect! 

Value: 5/5
Normally it's $12 which is a reasonable price but with a $2 off'd be stupid not to go!  You get your money's worth.

Free parking!  There are concessions available.

Overall: 4/5
Old school, enthusiastic, and low tech innovative.  They've been doing this for 25 years and it shows.   It's never going to be a destination attraction with gigantic props.  What they are is a well crafted trail with an enthusiastic crew who at times have to be called off on the scares.  It transitions from congenial chit chat with backwoods bumpkins to a whirling dervish of chainsaws.  Who needs 3D when you've got a clown manning a shaved ice hut?  Who needs queue actors when you have a clown in a blazer staring at you from the woods for 10 minutes at a time.  Not waving, not coming towards you but just soul piercing staring at you like a love-lorn middle schooler staring at his teacher.  Creepy, unrelenting, and deliciously evil without uttering a word.  Despite a long wait on a bitterly cold night we all left happy and spent.  To top it off I learned how to kill a chupacabra should the need ever arise.