November 20, 2017, 01:50:26 PM
News: The Screaming Season is Here!  Visit a Featured Haunt and Enjoy!
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 51 
 on: October 04, 2017, 07:27:32 AM 
Started by NCHadmin - Last post by ngbomb2872
Are you guys doing a monster tour this year?

 52 
 on: October 04, 2017, 07:26:55 AM 
Started by packbacker - Last post by ngbomb2872
Nice!  Thanks for sharing!

 53 
 on: October 03, 2017, 01:20:43 PM 
Started by packbacker - Last post by packbacker
Hacker House tickets are $5 off this weekend only- no coupon needed!

 54 
 on: October 03, 2017, 07:54:31 AM 
Started by NCHadmin - Last post by NCHadmin
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!

 55 
 on: October 03, 2017, 07:53:52 AM 
Started by NCHadmin - Last post by NCHadmin
Hillside Horror
Date Attended: 9/29/17
Submitted by: jonesm

Scare Factor: 4/5
All the best stuff at Hillside is grown and not built.  In talking with the owner after we went through the thing he was most excited about was a new strain of vine that was growing through the corn this season, making it even MORE claustrophobic like a cave than ever!  The setting of a steep hillside trail followed by the best corn maze around really packs a wallop!  This haunt uses the natural surroundings better than anybody, and it makes for something totally unique, and spooky in a down home, old fashioned kind of way.  Good scares throughout, with atmosphere to spare!

Actors: 4/5
This year's crop of critters is improved over past years, popping up in places they hadn't been before.  The actors also drive that awesome corn maze, and I thought the struck a great balance between nailing you and letting you take a bit of that amazing valley setting.  Also, bonus points for a nearly constant sound of sharpening tools just kinda off in the distance. It was really well placed, and set a great tone to the whole thing, so really good job there, well planned!

Set Design/Props/FX: 5/5
This score isn't necessarily reflective of the astounding construction or over the top props because that's not really the point of this trail.  But even with the natural resources available there still needs to be a balance and taste involved, and I think they've struck a really good balance.  Also, I thought the moving tunnels and increased monster pressure to get through them was really cool!  It was extreme enough that some in our group didn't even want to go through it!  Well conceived, well executed.

Length: 5/5
Good sized trail, plus buildings, and it takes a while to dig your way through that jungle of a corn maze.  Above average length, plus inclines (that make it feel even longer than it is!).

Value: 5/5
$15-20 range depending on when you go, and I think that's a steal, to be honest.  It's really long and no small hike up and down those hills, and I definitely felt like I'd accomplished something by the end.  Definitely worth the money!

Overall: 4.5/5
This was my first trail of the season, and I was very pleased to start here with this one!  Please take it as a compliment that I love Hillside like I love old Scooby Doo cartoons.  I find myself grinning like an idiot every time I walk down that hill, with the moon shining down on you and tools are being sharpened vaguely in the distance somewhere.  It feels like Fall and campfires and I love it.  Quality scares, amazing environment…old school spook trail at its best!  Great job!

 56 
 on: October 02, 2017, 09:58:56 PM 
Started by NCHadmin - Last post by NCHadmin
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!

 57 
 on: October 02, 2017, 12:15:52 PM 
Started by NCHadmin - Last post by NCHadmin
Hillside Horror
Date visited: 9/29/17
Submitted by: packbacker

Scare Factor: 4.5/5
Hillside Horror is the epitome of a professional old fashioned "spook trail".  Using the best atmosphere that the North Carolina foothills can provide you get a mainly outdoor experience that will satisfy anyone who gets creeped out by things that go bump in the night.  The trail starts with a hayride that takes you away from civilization into a isolated area out in the country.  While the hayride is mainly a conveyance to the ticket booth a scare or two may show up.  Queue line actors easily pick out the weak ones to elicit some early screams.  The trail is self-guided in small and well spread out groups.  Trust me it's worth the wait to not have anyone piled on top of you.  It starts out with some satisfactory dark, dark, dark mazes with some actors there to catch you off guard.  Escaping the first few buildings you descend down towards a clown area and then the star of the show: the cornfield.  The corn is gigantic, claustrophobic, and cave-like in appearance at times due to vines offering a natural canopy.  The corn itself is a goosebump causing natural set but add in a giant handful of "critters" and you'll be running to try and find the end.  When you think you're free, something will rattle in your ear or rustle up ahead and your imagination will run wild.  If you manage to make it out of the corn you'll encounter a few more scenes as well as section of giant piping with "different" flooring.  You'll either laugh, scream, or cry as you try and navigate your way to safety. 

Actors: 4/5
Hillside Horror doesn't leave you many bare spots to catch your breath due to well spaced actor placement.  They'll let you walk just far enough to think you may be in the clear before another critter in the corn makes themselves known or you find a hand that's not yours while navigating the maze.  Actors have a good sense of timing generally aiming for the soft middle of a group but all sections get some attention.  The majority of actors here are pop scare only but especially early on in the corn the critters will chase you for quite awhile.  The same goes for Mr. Myers early on in the trail.  Few actors have speaking roles but those that do nail their lines (like Belladonna - the keeper of the corn). 

Sets/Props/Fx: 4/5
Don't attend this trail expecting to see giant animatronics, finely detailed sets, or other big prop scares.  Those are not present at Hillside Horror nor should they be.  This trail is old-school.  Dark.  Ramshackle buildings.  Dark.  Towering cornfield.  Dark.  Giant pipe segments with "squishy flooring".  Dark.  Hillside Horror excels at using mother nature's bounty.  As you descend towards the bottom you'll see what I mean as peripheral light begins to fade and you notice a foggy haze hanging over ten plus foot tall corn stalks.  They do have a vortex early on, a nice sparking knife from Michael Myers, and a few other gadgets up their sleeves.  My favorite "prop" has to be the giant pipes that have mattress flooring, echo with screams, and this year have the added fun of movement.  Costumes run the gamut from fantastic to lacking as some children of the corn (pun intended) seem to have just dark clothing and shaker bottles rather than actual outfits.  The queue line actors up the action with their costumes.

Length: 5/5
This haunt winds you through a few mazes and buildings (including a vortex) before descending towards the immense corn.  You spend a delightful eternity in the corn and then get to work your legs in ascending the same hill for more screams.  Allow yourself at least a half hour for the trail itself- this doesn't include the time of the hayride to the ticket area.  You'll leave tired, sweaty, and happy.

Value:  5/5
Tickets range from $15 to $20 depending on the date on which you attend.  Earlier dates mean cheaper admission and shorter lines which is a double score!  $2 off coupons were readily available at the security screening checkpoint so keep your eyes peeled for those!  Hillside gives you a good return on your money and throws in a free work-out as you traverse up and down the hill from scene to scene.

Other:
Free parking that is adjacent to an actual cemetery.  The ticket booth also offers both concessions as well as Hillside logo merchandise.  A last ride side attraction is also offered.  While we did not check it out my understanding is that instead of a simulator like you find at many haunts this is an actual ride in a coffin, inside a hearse the aforementioned cemetery.  A bit more realistic!

Overall: 4.5/5
Hillside Horror delivers a top notch spook trail experience.  Parking near the cemetery starts your uneasiness and the hayride leaving any traces of civilization behind does nothing to assuage your fears.  A scream, a chainsaw, a gunshot...all can be heard as you wonder what you've gotten yourself into.  Darkness, the claustrophobia of the never-ending steroid sized corn, and a bunch of well placed pop scares will get most people to jump a wee bit or even run for their lives.  Hillside does a great job of incorporating sound into their scares as well as giving patrons uneven footing so even the most resolute trail goer gets a surprise or two while trying to survive until the end.  It's a fun attraction that's worth seeing just for their corn but it delivers so much more.  Your muscles may ache from the exertion of making it up and down the hill, you may be breathing a bit fast after screaming too much, and you'll have a smile on your face as you ride the hayride back to safety.  Hillside Horror is definitely worth checking out this season!

 58 
 on: October 02, 2017, 10:42:18 AM 
Started by MrBones - Last post by MrBones
Lake Hickory Haunts

Date visited - 9/29/17

My daughter and I visited Lake Hickory Haunts this weekend. I was very happy with what this haunt has grown in to.  It has been a year or two since I have visited this haunt and so much has changed, but all for the better. From the time you enter the trail leading down to the midway, you hear screams coming from inside. The trail offers you a glimpse of things to come with a view overlooking the haunt. Once you enter the midway, you find an array of characters roaming the midway for photo ops and quick scares on unsuspecting guests, a dj playing music from his flame-spouting tower, multiple games and an escape room, and concessions. As you wait, you can enjoy the games and concessions or mingle with the rotating cast of characters that wander the midway. Your anticipation grows as you watch a constant stream of victims running out of the end of the haunt while chainsaws rev in the background. The line does take a little time, but that is because they send in smaller groups (usually around 4 to 6 people). It ends up being worth the wait because you have a smaller group and get a better experience over the places that send larger groups leaving you out if you are in the front or back and miss a scare. Once inside, you are immediately hit with some great looking scenes and plenty of well-placed scares and they continue all the way through. The haunt is a very good length and there is a minimum of down time in between scenes. In the first years I attended this haunts, the scares lacked a bit and there was too much dead space, but by this visit I can see that they have fixed both of those issues quite well. Though I miss the old scene where you boarded a boat and crossed the lake with the creepy boatman, it is worth the loss for all the extra gained. Throughout the haunt, you hear the screams ahead and behind you. Lake Hickory Haunts has plenty to offer and is a must for the haunt season. Even though we visited a few days before October, the entire place had such a great Halloween atmosphere to it and you felt like you were in the middle of the haunt season. Unlike some other haunts that only offer about 10 minutes of cheap thrills, Lake hickory Haunts offers you an evening of great Halloween fun and great scares. Well worth the admission price. I plan to go back again this season.

*note- parking is $2  but free parking passes can be found at spirit Halloween and party city in hickory while they last. (probably at some other nearby places too)


 59 
 on: October 02, 2017, 10:27:21 AM 
Started by Uncle Henry - Last post by Uncle Henry
I knew this morning I had a third moment but it slipped my mind until now.

#3  Lake Hickory Haunts the first year they had the boat ride.  We came around the corner and first saw the lake with the underwater lighting and the "ferry-man" striding back and forth on the dock waiting for our group.  Goosebumps and a deep, soul-clutching shiver with that perfect little moment. 

I've wanted to check them out for so long, and that boat ride is a big reason.  Always heard amazing things about Lake Hickory Haunts.

 60 
 on: October 02, 2017, 10:26:25 AM 
Started by Uncle Henry - Last post by Uncle Henry
Mine's definitely a tie between a trip to Midway when I was 16 and the first time I went to X-Treme Fear (RIP  Sad ).

The trip to Midway was on a Friday I believe pretty early in the season, so when me and my two 2 buddies got dropped off there was a good group of people, but not crowded. From the moment the tractor took off everyone was firing on all cylinders and it was the first time I had ever seen my two friends actually get scared. There's so many moments from that year that stick out to me, but the one that I remember the best is we were about to enter into one of the first rooms of the house at the beginning. This was the first year they had built the house so everything was new. We were standing at the entrance and the room is being lit by only an electronic candle, but we can see that it's completely empty and only the walls were decorated by these black and gold foil streamers. My friend who was in the front absolutely REFUSED to go into the room because he just knew that something was in there. We ended up having to literally shove him into the room so that we could keep going, and lo and behold the only thing that was in it was the slowest prop I have ever seen in my life that barely came out from the wall. We definitely didn't let him live that one down for a looong time. Midway became a staple of our Halloween after that and a few years later all 3 of us ended up working there.

As for X-Treme Fear there really isn't much to be said that other people haven't already. It was the perfect backwoods DIY style haunt and it blew me away the first time that I went through. They got me so many times that I can't remember them all, and the strobe and monster on a chain spot that a few other people have mentioned remains the hardest I've ever jumped at a haunt to this day.

That Midway memory is hilarious!  Love it, krb187!

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