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The Haunted => Fright Team Haunt Reviews - 2015 => Topic started by: NCHadmin on October 11, 2015, 01:01:27 PM

Title: Hillside Horror - 2015
Post by: NCHadmin on October 11, 2015, 01:01:27 PM
Hillside Horror
Date visited: 10/10/15
submitted by: packbacker

Scare Factor: 3.5/5
Hillside Horror features a hayride mainly as a conveyance factor and a suitably long outdoor trail.  The hayride has a character or two that will menace passengers.  The trail is where the action lies.  Until you reach the corn section scares have some major timing issues.  Everything is geared to the front of the group.  Actors pop at the first sign of a person such that the rear part of the group goes completely ignored.  At one point we had a chainsaw rev after 1 out of 6 people entered a room.  Once you reach the corn area, though, scares become more targeted to the entire group.  I have to admit that I jumped once in there.  Kudos to you Hillside Horror as that is not easy and the first time this year I've been startled.  The actors here and later in the trail are noticeably stronger in the ability to sell and pursue a scare. Outside of actor driven scares the giant barrels with "different" flooring give all patrons a sense of instability that will make the steadiest nerves jangle a little bit. 

Actors: 3.5/5
First of all- increased numbers from last year (or at least it felt so)!!  My biggest complaint in years back was the dearth of bodies along the trail.  This year there were few to no dead spots.  Actor quality has also increased with again the best set populating the gigantic cornfield.  The actors seem older (in years past we came across numerous small children) and in general more set on selling the scare.  There were some very noticeable timing issues early on , though, with an actor making their reveal at the first sight of a patron.  The back of the group goes completely unnoticed or has to walk past an actor who has used their line and now just kinda stares at you.  Regardless of those complaints, though, there is a very noticeable improvement in quantity and quality from years past. 

Sets/Props/Fx: 4/5
Corn.  Oh my gosh- the corn! The star of Hillside Horror is the fourteen foot tall cornfield that you travel through which of course is populated by actors. There's also a dark maze, flooring challenges in giant barrels, a fantastic Christmas set, and a few other buildings.  The spider tunnel, while disorienting, is prone to removing anything on your face so beware if you have a hat or glasses on.  Actor masks and makeup varied from great (mohawk clown) to absent (kid in a camo hat).  In general makeup was solid, though.  The clown area featured a fire effect (again some timing issues) and the pet semetary area exuded a real creepy sensation.  The trail has some definite footing issues with multiple steps, roots, and such so do be careful and go slowly and watch your step.

Length: 5/5
It takes about 35 minutes to traverse Hillside Horror's offerings.  Line management lets you set your own pace for the most part and you will also be getting a work-out.  The bulk of the scares are set down in a valley so you have to descend and ascend some steep hills to get there.  Wear good shoes!!!!

Value: 5/5
Tickets vary from $13 to $15 later in the season.  Thirteen dollars is a great deal for this attraction; you will get your money's worth in the corn alone.

Free parking!  Concessions are available at the head of the trail.  Line waits can be very long- consideration of a fast pass should be given if you are going to attempt more than one trail in the evening.  As mentioned earlier be sure to wear good shoes as footing can be questionable at times.

Overall: 4/5
Hillside Horror has made great stride from years past.  The trail, while always fun in past years, is beginning to feel actually scary.  There's a noticeable increase in both actor numbers and skill.  Scares start off light or poorly timed but once you reach "Jurassic Corn" the scares increase immensely in number and intensity.  The giant cornfield gives a drastic sense of claustrophobia as the passageway is tight and the corn literally towers over you....all while actors stalk your group rustling through downed stalks to prey on you.  The giant barrels are always disorienting and the addition of the Santa Claus area was a giddy way to end the trail.  This was our third visit and easily the scariest time we've been on the trail.  Overall things just seemed tighter top to bottom with a more professional feel to the entire attraction.  People seem to have heard as well as lines were steady the entire time!

Title: Re: Hillside Horror - 2015
Post by: NCHadmin on October 11, 2015, 01:05:51 PM
Hillside Horror
Submitted By:  Screaming_Diana
Date Attended:  10/10/2015
Scare Factor: 4/5
The adventures start with a hayride from the parking lot to the haunt entrance and ticket booth.   Upon our arrival I can see several characters posing for pictures and a lightly terrorizing a few patrons.  Everything seemed pretty low key in the scares department.  The start of the trail had a few scares here and there but once you hit the 14ft corn maze the scares amped up A LOT!  It seemed the deeper I traveled into the woods the scarier It got and the crazier the actors got.   The trail itself is quite unsettling.  The ground is uneven and, with all the recent rain, a bit slippery which made this trail a bit of a challenge.   You know the song lyrics ďHe sees you when you're sleeping, He knows when you're awakeĒ?  Well Just hope youíve been good this year if not youíre in for a treat.   
Actors:  4/5
The actors in the first part of the trail seemed much calmer and less intense than the actors in the latter part of the haunt.  I was in the back of the group and the scares seemed to be only front centric.  However that quickly changed once we ventured into the Jurassic corn maze.  These guys were everywhere.  At times I couldnít see them but I could sense their presence other times they were loud and in my face.  They were terrifying.  They could hide, chase, stalk, harass, and produce a pop scare with perfect timing.  The corn stalkers were interactive with the group scaring those that would scream and enjoying a good laugh with those that didnít.  Early on one of the chainsaw characters totally missed the last couple people in our group.  His timing was just off but that was more than made up for by the characters at the end.   
Set Design/Props/FX:  4/5
I was scared and didnít look up during parts of the trail but I donít remember seeing any big animatronics.  Fancy props and animatronics are not needed here.  This trail uses the dark woods, unsteady ground, gigantic corn, and its natural surroundings as well as their actors to produce a great haunt experience.   I wouldíve never thought rocks in a shaker bottle could be so scary.  Imagine pitch black tunnels, squishy floors, and only a rope to guide you out oh but wait the rope ends and tunnel begins to move.  Itís all part of your experience at Hillside.
Length:  5/5
It takes a while to get through this haunt especially through the haunted killer corn maze.  I didnít time it but I was exhausted by the end.  Itís a rugged trail with lots of hills to climb.  Good walking shoes are needed.
Value:  5/5
Earlier in the season tickets are $13 and only $15 the last couple weekends in October.  Itís an excellent value even at $15.  Kids 10 and under get in for $8 and they have a special lights out event the first weekend in November for $10.  A fast pass is only $5 more per ticket and well worth the expense as wait times can get crazy long.
Parking is free and they provide a hayride shuttle from the parking lot to the haunt so you donít have to walk a mile or more to the haunt.  Youíll need to save all your energy to survive the trail.  They have shirts and food available for purchase.
Overall Impression:  4/5
Hillside will continue to be on my list of visited haunts each year.  The line was long but it was well worth the wait.  The groups are evenly spaced out and they donít cram huge numbers of people through at once.   Small evenly spaced groups heighten your experience big time.   I had a great time and apparently my group has been very naughty this year because Santa and his helpers tried to kill us.    Itís Christmas in October and itís fantastic!

Title: Re: Hillside Horror - 2015
Post by: NCHadmin on October 12, 2015, 02:17:24 PM
Hillside Horror
Date attended: 10-10-2015
Submitted by: krb187

Scare Factor:  3/5
First off I want to say that Hillside Horror was much improved from last year, and they did a solid job of extracting quite a few screams from members of my group. The shining moments came mostly in the corn maze, which in itself is a pretty imposing spectacle. Most all of the actors had their timing and speaking roles down, and they knew how to effectively scare a guest. While I donít remember being startled myself, my friend who hardly ever gets startled did. Add on the fact that almost every member of my group was at some point assaulted by a certain Frightseeker trying to escape the monsters, and you have a pretty solid scare factor. There was however some issues with scare timing at the first part of the trail, and a couple of times where non-costumed staff were walking around that killed a bit of the experience for me.

Actors:  3.5/5
A big thing for me last year was that there didnít seem to be enough actors lurking around the trail, but that was vastly improved this year. The trail seemed very full, and there were no dead spots where you were just wandering around in silence. The actors who had speaking parts delivered them well, and you could get a sense that most of the actors had a pretty good idea of who their characters are. The highlights for me were the actors in the corn who seemed to be in many different places at once and never let up the entire way through, and the actor at the beginning who reads the rules. His talking felt very natural and he had me laughing quite a few times with some witty one-liners. Along with some of the timing issues I mentioned above, I did spot a few times when some costumed actors were just talking to other guests in what seemed to be completely out of character. Thereís a very solid group of actors at Hillside Horror, and if those few issues are tightened up theyíll be all around great.

Set Design/Props/FX:  4/5
First things first, the corn is HUGE. Honestly you canít really comprehend how tall this stuff is until youíre surrounded by it. It's definitely the main attraction of Hillside Horror and in my opinion where the trail is at its best. Moving past that I have to say that you wonít see very many big or elaborate sets at Hillside Horror, and honestly that is one of my favorite things about it. It has a very grimy, old school, backwoods feel to it and it works for them perfectly. The sets are simple, but are very effective in setting the mood for what Hillside Horror is all about. The costumes are all solid, with the clowns probably being the most detailed and impressive. Another one of my favorite things is that all the weapons you see the monsters here carrying are all real. Itís a pretty intimidating thing to be stumbling your way through a giant corn maze and suddenly hear something sharpening itís blade in the distance. Also Hillside Horror had a very fantastic use of lighting this year that seemed to be vastly improved from years past. The colored lighting that was used to set up the ambiance of the sets was always positioned perfectly and that was very impressive.  Also the very festive holiday-themed ending to the trail is one of my favorite things that Iíve seen this year.

Length:  5/5
Hillside Horror is the perfect length for me, and I always feel like Iíve gotten a decent work out by the time Iím through. They manage their lines perfectly, and we never felt rushed through nor did we ever run into or even see another group while on the trail.

Value:  5/5
Tickets are $13 or $15 depending on the night, and both of those are very good deals for Hillside Horror. They also offer Fast Passes that could be useful as the wait times can get pretty long.

Parking is free and well organized. They also offer a pretty impressive variety of concessions at the front of the trail after the tractor ride. The terrain of Hillside Horror can be pretty tricky at times and there are a few steep slopes, so good shoes are a must.

Overall:  4/5
Hillside Horror has made great strides from years past, and they are starting to establish themselves as a very legitimate haunt. The quantity as well as the quality of actors was greatly improved, and you get the feeling that theyíre really starting to come into their own as a haunt. Even though there was a bit of a slow start, once they got going they fell into a groove and kept the intensity high the whole way through, ending on a very well done high point. Itís been great seeing Hillside Horror evolve over the years, and itíll be interesting to see how they evolve from here. Hillside Horror is a solid haunt, and great way to spend a chilly October evening.

Title: Re: Hillside Horror - 2015
Post by: NCHadmin on October 14, 2015, 03:46:33 PM
Hillside Horror
Date Visited: 10/10/15
Submitted by: jonesm

Scare Factor: 3.5/5
Hillside is a tale of two trails.  The hayride to get you down to the trail itself is long and dark, but totally devoid of scares.  Monsters do show up eventually, but every year I think of what a wasted opportunity the hayride is, and that is unchanged.  Then you do a section through a house that is fine but unmemorable.  After that you descend into the valley, and things pick up significantly.  The glorious corn (much more on that in a moment) does a lot of the work, but the actors seemed to pick up, both in number and ferocity, and by the end you're left panting and good and disturbed.  So in the end I found the scare factor totally satisfactory, it just took a little while to get going!

Actors: 4/5
The real stars of the show here were in the corn maze (naturally, it's all about the corn maze at this haunt).  The maze was designed extremely well, so the same monsters could get you well, and often.  It allowed for fewer actors to get max scares, and I loved that part.  Beyond that the actors were good, and there were almost no dead spots this year (a major improvement over last year) except for where you'd probably break an ankle if they did try and scare you.  This was a real weak spot for me last year, and it really got turned around, so major kudos here!

Sets/Props/FX: 4.5/5
That is soooome corn!  A lot of trails feature a corn maze, but this stuff is something special.  It's literally two persons high, and spaced a little further apart than normal corn, so you can see through it just enough for a monster's head, but never enough to know where you're going.  It is without a doubt the best corn maze going in the haunt world, bar none.  There are other great sets, notably the giant drainage pipes, now complete with crazy flooring!  There were definitely times where I wondered about twisting an ankle or something, but we nobody seemed to have an issue.  All in all the sets are great and are really the star of the show here.

Length: 5/5
One of the coolest parts of Hillside is that you can largely set your own pace.  Groups are good and spread out, so you can take your time and absorb things rather than just rushing through.  Big plus!  It took over a half hour to walk the actual trail, and they mean the hillside part, so definitely wear good walking shoes.  Good length here!

Value: 5/5
Totally worth the $15 price tag!  This is an A-level haunt at a B-level price, plus it's good and long too.  I think this is a really good deal for the scares, and for all that corn!

Overall: 4.5/5
I've always like Hillside, but they've really stepped up their game this year.  Things are more professionally handled, it seemed to me, and the actors better coached as well.  And when you add that to the already unique setting of the trail, I would call this a can't-miss trail for this season.  I was totally gassed and thoroughly pleased when we finished this weekend.  And given how much improvement there is all around, I absolutely can't wait to get back there next year!  Recommended for sure!