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The Haunted => Fright Team Haunt Reviews - 2016 => Topic started by: NCHadmin on October 09, 2016, 02:27:21 PM

Title: Hillside Horror - 2016
Post by: NCHadmin on October 09, 2016, 02:27:21 PM
Hillside Horror
Date Attended: 10/8/2016
Submitted by: Screaming_diana

Scare Factor:  5/5
The adventure starts with a wagon ride from the parking lot to the trail entrance.  The line waiting to get into the haunt can be a bit long however we were entertained by a not so scary clown but a clown that had some pretty clever comebacks each time someone asked him a question. The scares start as soon as you walk through the haunt entrance so be prepared for anything once you begin your journey down the Hillside.  They try to send through small groups so the actors have plenty of time to target everyone within the group.  There are a couple set scenes where actors will stop you along the trail before you enter a set.  This works great here because it keeps multiple groups from running together. Even during these very brief stops the Hillside monsters pay you a not so friendly visit.  They pick up on who's hiding and afraid and inform the rest of the monsters who you are. You'll be a target for the remainder of the haunt.  The biggest section of the trail is a corn maze.  They've upped their game here this year by using actors to frightfully scare you into going the wrong way and dividing you from your group.  At one point I was separated from my trail mates and left screaming through the corn.  I couldn't see anyone.  The trail was dark, there's no way to see over this Jurassic sized corn, and I was too terrified to open my eyes.  I could here rustling in the corn behind me so my only option seemed to be turn around and go the other way but the second I turn around and open my eyes I'm an inch away from some hideous creature. I scream only to have the monster scream back at me.  With my trail mates nowhere to be found I turn to go back the way I came but I can't go in any direction as I am surrounded by the creatures of the corn.  I froze in fear but thankfully my group found me and lead me out to safety.  Otherwise I'd likely still be hiding in the Hillside corn too afraid to move!

Actors:  5/5
The actors are the highlight of the show and what make this haunt great.  They are well hidden, know exactly when to strike, and can pick out a scaredy cat in a second.  The costumes and masks I saw looked great but honestly I didn't look at most of them due to being too afraid to open my eyes.  I just held onto the person in front of me and hoped they'd get us out alive!  I still have the image in my head of pumpkin head reaching out for me in the massive corn field with his humongous creepy hands. There seemed to be a ton of actors in the corn or perhaps it was the same few actors that repeatedly appeared to terrorize me as I tried not to look at them.  They were well hidden in the corn because I could never tell when they were coming or where they were coming from until they were right in my face.  They will get extremely close to you.  So close that you can feel their breath on your skin.  They interact well each other to produce even bigger scares.  One creepy corn monster in your personal space is scary enough but try to imagine three or four.  They are intense.  Most actors didn't settle for a just a quick pop scare but continued to harass and frighten the group until we were completely past their set.  One of the biggest scares I got was from an actor shaking a bottle full of, I'm assuming, rocks at me.  So simple yet so effective and probably would've scared the pee outta me but by this point I didn't have any urine left.  Even after escaping the corn I got an eerie feeling as I continued to hear the monsters screaming my name through the night.  I have to give props to the corn maze actors for their ability to split up groups without me even realizing they were sending me down a different path.  This diversion of people helped improve my experience greatly as my group was paired with two horrible young teenage girls that talked and told the group what to expect at each section of the haunt.  I feared by visit would be ruined by these two disrespectful group members but the corn maze actors fixed that very early on by separating the group into smaller groups.  Well done actors very well done!

Set Design/Props/FX/:  5/5
This is a very actor driven haunt.  I didn't see, keep in mind I don't look up all that often, any big animatronics or fancy props but they aren't needed here.  This is a more old school type haunt with dark narrow walkways darkened by black plastic and mammoth sized corn.  The trail begins with some walk through buildings which are dark and somewhat difficult to find your way through.  This is where I met piggy and the first drops of urine came.  Yep a squealing, scrawling, grunting, and just plain terrifying pig caused me to scream and pee myself before I left the first set. Now terrified and wet I find myself in a vortex. These are fun and this one was especially disorienting because we were stopped in the middle of it so an actor could have a little fun with us.  Once exiting this section of buildings you'll come to a corn field.  Intensity builds here as you make your way through huge corn stalks, while being hunted my monsters, and possibly ending up separate from your friends and all alone to brave the creatures of the night.  Several times I thought we were through the corn field only to be lead over a small bridge or turn another corner to see MORE corn.  Even if you never make a wrong turn there's a lot of corn to travel through.  Once you finally survive the corn maze you venture back up the hillside to some pretty impressive tunnels.  These tunnels are long, dark, have squishy flooring, and are very difficult to maneuver through.

Length:  5/5
It's long.  Very long.  You could spend quite some time just trying to survive the haunted corn maze.  The monsters can keep you in here as long as they desire so your travel time will vary.

Value:  5/5
Tickets are between 13-15 buck s for adults and 8-10 bucks for kids depending on what night you go.  They have a blackout event at the end of the season for 10 bucks.  You can't get a better scare for a better price.  They offer limited numbers of fast pass tickets for 10 bucks more.

Parking is free with a nice wagon ride to and from the haunt.  They have concessions, t-shirts, and glow sticks for purchase.  You can take a last ride in a hearse for $10 per victim.  I've seen people get into the casket, be loaded into the hearse, and driven away, but I have no idea what happens to you after that so good luck if you're brave enough to take this Last Ride.

Overall Impression:  5/5
While, at home, we were experiencing heavy rain and gusty winds from hurricane Matthew just an hour away at Hillside the weather was clear and a perfect night for a haunted trail.  From the line you can't see anything past the trail entrance so you have no idea what to expect.  The trail leads you down the hillside into the unknown where a massive corn maze awaits you with wrong turns and dead ends and filled with all sorts of crazy scary monsters.  Groups were divided for even more intense scares and then lead back together to finish the trail through some pretty tough to maneuver tunnels.  What's not to love other than having an hour drive home with wet pants?  If you're not looking for fancy props and a lot of store bought animatronics, but instead looking for some good old fashioned scares, Hillside Horror is the place to be.

Title: Re: Hillside Horror - 2016
Post by: NCHadmin on October 11, 2016, 09:50:16 AM
Hillside Horror
Date visited:  10/8/2016
Submitted by: packbacker

Scare Factor: 4.5/5
Each and every year I can see Hillside transforming into a scarier attraction.  I remember the first year I visited seeing small children in face paint playing with tombstones.  That fun, yet not scary, facade is gone and Hillside is progressively becoming a more menacing and scream inducing trail.  The hay ride continues to be just a transportation would be great to add some scares to this on the way to or from the trail.  Hillside is a mainly outdoor trail with some outbuildings you traverse through.  The trail hits its crescendo in their cornfield.  In years past this was a direct walk through but now you have to find your way out and may be separated from your group.  The fear factor multiplies several fold when your group is in three areas all being menaced by actors at the same time.  You almost feel like you're trapped as the corn towers over your head and you have a narrow pathway to navigate never knowing who's around the corner.  The "Piggy" set and crawling graveyard zombie are both effective scares and the traditional chainsaw scares all hit their marks. The initial house with the driller killer falls a little flat but the vortex with an actor pinning you in the room is quite disorienting.  The giant pipes near the end with mattress based flooring are always insane and a personal favorite of our group.  Not to give it away but things do end with a literal bang at Hillside Horror.  There's still a fun atmosphere to enjoy at Hillside but the "cutesy" factor is gone and the commitment to making this trail more scary is palpable.

Actors: 4.5/5
Hillside has really upped their game in this aspect.  It seems like last year they increased their numbers but talent was still sort of all over the map.  This year they still have sufficient numbers but now have more interactive actors who do a fantastic job terrifying, joking, and separating customers from their group. Special shout-outs need to go to "Freakshow" the clown as well as the front doorman who do admirable jobs of singling out individuals who they can smell fear emanating from.  The actors in the corn maze section are the strongest of the lot.  They have a good sense of timing and manage to pull off multiple pop scares from behind the enormous corn stalks.  Others do a good job herding group members in different directions thereby separating the group into small cells of petrified humanity.  While I single out the cornfield workers it should be noted that no one at Hillside broke character or was otherwise weak in their performance.  The difference in talent level from years past is quite remarkable.

Sets/Props/Fx: 4/5
Hillside Horror doesn't feature any giant props, animatronics, or lavish sets.......nor do they need to.  Hillside Horror is an old fashioned "spook trail" using their remote location and spectacular corn area for the best effects.  The indoor sets are appropriately appointed but minimalist with a jailhouse, saloon, barn with "Piggy", and more.  The star of the haunt, though, is the cornfield which this year has been made more into a maze than a direct walk-through. The corn seems just as tall as years past but more claustrophobic.  I'm not sure if the path is narrower than previously but it felt that way and at times you felt the corn was just going to envelop you whole....a deliciously eerie feeling.  Late in the trail you encounter some gigantic pipes with mattress based flooring. The disorientation you experience here (especially with actors beating on the outside of the metal monstrosities) is hard to describe but it's a crazy good time to experience.  Costumes and makeup were above average.  I loved the pumpkin masked character in the corn with the freakish hands. 

Length: 5/5
Plan on spending about thirty minutes to complete the trail.  This number may go up if you get singled out in the corn maze and can't escape.....  For the ticket price the length is quite appropriate plus you get a complimentary work-out traversing up and down the hillside!

Value: 5/5
Ticket prices vary from $13 to $15 based on the date.  Later season dates are more expensive.  Regardless of the price difference the trail is well worth the $15 ticket and is a tremendous value for $2 less.  Note that Hillside sends through small groups well paced apart.  Wait times can be quite long so a fast pass option is worth considering if you're trying to hit a second trail.

Free parking!  Concessions and merchandise are available after the hay ride.  There is also the opportunity to ride in a casket (NOT a motion simulator) to a graveyard for an additional fee.

Overall: 4.5/5
Hillside Horror is a throwback to the trails I remember doing as a kid.  Outdoors, lower tech, and seemingly in the middle of nowhere Hillside Horror delivers like they've never done before.  Actor quality has increased, the always amazing "Jurassic Corn" has been re-worked into a fiendish maze that the actors know like the back of their hand, and the whole operation feels tighter in delivering the scares.  The corn maze section really cannot be given justice through print- you need to experience walking down a dark, narrow path with 12+ foot tall corn towering over you.  There's a rustle to your left- oh it's just the wind.  Or is it?  Multiple actors stalk you as you take a wrong turn or they send you the way they want you to go.  You can catch a glimpse of the moon as you run with stalks leaning in towards you.  You think you are near the exit only to find another monster blocking your path while others taunt you by screaming out your name.  It's intense and spectacular.  The rest of the trail is fun and improved but the cornfield section at Hillside has made it to a new level for their haunt and is worth the ticket price alone to experience that section.  Make sure to make a Hillside Horror a must see this October!

Title: Re: Hillside Horror - 2016
Post by: NCHadmin on October 16, 2016, 01:15:10 PM
Hillside Horror
Date attended: 10-15-201
Submitted by: krb187

Scare Factor:  2/5
I do want to point out from the beginning that I was in one of the last groups on a very busy night and was unfortunately with a group of teenagers who were only there to cause trouble, which does have an effect on the rating. However something felt very different about Hillside from years past. No one in our group ever really got scared or even jumped for that matter, and by the time we went through there was a sense that the actors were tired and ready to go home. Being in the back of a group of around 12, I missed pretty much every scare and normally by the time I was entering a scene the actors were already breaking character and resuming their positions waiting for the next group. I lost count of how many times I saw actors break character, and also counted about 6 different people in plain clothes just kind of standing around the haunt. I feel like earlier in the night and with tighter group management Hillside would be a completely different experience, and I know that in years past Iíve always received a great show and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Unfortunately that wasnít my experience this year but as I said before some of the contributing factors were out of there control.

Actors:  3/5
This one is a real mixed bag because there were a few standout actors who did a very solid job of interacting with the group the best they could and really did put in a lot of effort. There were also quite a few actors who seemed to settle for a simple pop scare and would then just wait for the next group to come through, and with large groups that doesnít really work. Honestly most of the enthusiasm that I saw came from rather young children, who while not very intimidating, did seem to be enjoying themselves and that was awesome to see. Most of the standouts were the corn maze actors, with Freakshow and Executioner coming to mind. Also Iíd like to say that their professionalism in dealing with some members of the group deliberately damaging the sets was impressive, and they never broke character during.

Set Design/Props/FX:  4/5
Hillside Horror has a great throwback spook trail feel to it. There arenít any towering sets or multi-million dollar props, and honestly thatís whatís so great about it. You feel like youíre apart of some backwoods nightmare and the whole atmosphere feels very organic and natural. As always the corn maze is the star of the show, and felt a lot more tight and claustrophobic this year. The giant pipes near the end are always fun as well, and Ďpurgatoryí at the end was a fun play on a theme and setting that I donít think Iíve ever seen in a haunt before. Hillside definitely knows what works for them and they play to their strengths very well and set a very solid atmosphere for a great old-school vibe.

Length:  4/5
Hillside Horror has a good length, I think it took us around 30 minutes to complete. It did feel a bit shorter from years past and some parts felt like they were a bit rushed.

Value:  4/5
Tickets are $13 or $15 depending on when you go in the season and they also offer a fast pass ticket for $10 more. The lines at Hillside can get very long so the fast pass can come in handy later in the season. My advice is to go early in the night to get as much bang for your buck as possible.

Parking is free and well organized. They offer concessions and merchandise at the head of the trail, as well as a ride in an actual casket, to an actual graveyard.

Overall:  3/5
I have to admit that I was bit disappointed in Hillside Horror this year, but much of that comes from the fact that I hold them in such high regard. Iíve always had great experiences there and unfortunately this year just fell a little short. As I said before there were factors that were out of there control, but also a lot that they can handle, most notably the group size and character breaking. That being said Hillside Horror is still a very solid haunt and one that I have always enjoyed myself at. As well, I know that the other reviewers went earlier in the season and had an outstanding time. I definitely still recommend a visit out there to go through and just advise going as early in the night as possible to make sure that you get the best show you can.