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Author Topic: Hillside Horror - 2014  (Read 1727 times)
Completely Haunted
Posts: 707

« on: September 21, 2014, 06:21:27 PM »

Hillside Horror
Date Visited: 9/19/14

Scare Factor: 3.5/5
We had a few startles in our group but I wouldn't characterize Hillside as scary.  It is, however, fun.  Strolling through a 12 foot high cornfield playing Marco Polo with the "monsters" is always a good time.  Shooting the breeze with Pinhead before encountering a mini ball pit?  Playing with a dog in the cemetery?  High fiving a kid on the DJ stage who is holding a severed hand?  All fun.  A lot of the scares fall a bit flat due to extreme front-centric pop scares.  I'm pretty sure that there were zero scares focused at the end of the group and very few at the middle.  Our group size ended up being 7 which was better than last year (10) but honestly is still to big to be effective on this trail.

Actors: 3/5
The actors here with speaking roles- notably in both corn sections- do admirable work.  They interact well with patrons and can ad-lib on the fly but also run maniacally through the field to re-set and try and deliver multiple scares.  They play well off one another and give off the vibe of a demented hillbilly family.  A large portion of the pop scare actors, though, hit the first person they see and the rear of the group is left wondering what happened and literally utter "Boo!"  Another disappointment is that large portions of the trail are actor-less.  We'd travel five plus minutes without seeing anyone.  All that being said, it was the first night of the trail.  There's plenty of time to assess and make changes and hopefully add some bodies!

Set Design/Props/FX: 3.5/5
First of all, the corn need special mention.  I'm guessing it was 10-12 feet high.  The pathway varies from comfortable to claustrophobic and it creates a dark, creepy atmosphere.  Secondly are some large pipe sets with a flooring effect that will definitely alter your senses as you try and navigate in the dark with echoing screams.  The "boat bridges" are unique and fun but the other set pieces are lacking at times.  There are no large animatronics but there don't need to be- this is a fun, old school spook trail.  

Length:  5/5
The trail is more than satisfactory in length.  In fact if you don't work up a sweat by the end I would be surprised.  You start with a few set pieces before descending into a valley which features two longggggggggg corn mazes.  What goes down must come up the hill you hike before visiting some great pipe sets and a clown set.  Everyone in our group was gleefully tired and sweating by the end.

Value - 4/5
Tickets are priced at $12 with some $2 coupons around.  There is also the opportunity to buy a front of line pass for an additional charge.  The length of the trail is a good value for the asking price.

Other-  Free parking.  There are concessions available for purchase, a casket ride (no simulator!) available, and a DJ while waiting in line.  

Overall - 3.5/5
Hillside Horror is not the most elaborate trail nor the most well staffed trail but it has a lot of heart and some hellacious corn.  The scares are hit and miss but it's almost impossible not to have fun.  
« Last Edit: October 20, 2014, 09:16:39 PM by NCHadmin » Logged

"You can't piss on hospitality.  I won't allow it!"
Completely Haunted
Posts: 243

« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2014, 10:33:02 AM »

Hillside Horror
Date Attended: 09/27/2014

Scare Factor:  4/5
The haunt starts with a hayride from the parking lot to the actual haunt which always worries me because you never know who or what might join in for the ride.  We made it to the haunt, the tractor stops, and here the monsters come.  You have nowhere to go.  You are trapped on this wagon until they decide they are through torturing you and move on.  Just be brave and you will be ok but show an ounce of fear and you are in trouble.   The scares continued while we waited in line and watched victims get placed in a coffin, loaded into a hearse, and be driven away.  It was really unsettling to watch.  Even the fog machine scared a few in our group.  The scares lacked a little simply because more actors were needed to fill in some empty space.   If youíre scared of tight spaces, clowns, demonic children, or corn youíre in for a treat. 

Actors:  3.5/5
The actors were awesome they just lacked in numbers.  They were spot on with their timing and were able to target the entire group.  Often times actors target one section of the group but these monsters knew how to include everyone in the scare.  Most scares where simple, yet effective, pop scares.  With the exception of a few corn stalkers that lurked behind us for a while.   Iím typically not a big fan of children actors but these kids are not your ordinary elementary aged group.  Being told ďI hope you die out thereĒ by a small child with a possessed voice made me shiver a bit. 

Set Design/Props/FX:   3.5/5
Holy corn!  Iíve never seen so much corn, it was over 14 feet tall and it seemed to never end.  The corn maze was fantastically done and likely the most memorable portion of the haunt.  I started to get paranoid that it would never end.  Finally you make it to the end oh but no thereís more tall, dark, monster inhabited corn ahead.   Most of the props are simple yet work perfectly in this setting.  They make the clown house almost seem fun, with a ball pits and balloons, until you meet the evil clowns.  They will test your balancing skills as you try to make your way to the end through long swaying tunnels with squishy floors. 

Length:  5/5
This was a long trail.  The corn maze will take you an eternity to get through, if you survive. 

Value:   5/5
At $12 bucks a person ($8 for kids 10 and under) youíre getting a good deal.  They offer fast pass and last ride tickets for an additional fee.  There was a $14 groupon for admission for 2 people the night we went, which is a steal. 

They have free parking and a comfortable hayride to and from the haunt.  The ticket staff was very friendly and genuinely seemed to want us to have a good time. 

Overall Impression:  4/5
I had a fantastic time at Hillside.  Their haunt was great last year and even better this year.  They keep improving which keeps me wanting to come back.  They send through small groups (ours was a group of 6) so everyone gets in on the fun and scares.  The groups were well spaced so we didnít meet up with other groups throughout the trail.  Overall I had a wonderful visit to Hillside this season and am looking forward to next year. 
Completely Haunted
Posts: 413

« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2014, 11:17:28 PM »

Hillside Horror
Date attended: 9-27-2014

Scare Factor: 3/5
I only got startled once (by a fog machine cutting on no less -_-) but every other member of my group was scared multiple times throughout the trail. The actors and scares in both corn mazes are very well placed and truly utilize the disorienting nature of how dark and tall the mazes are to catch you off guard at the best times. There were definitely startles had by every member of my group and they had one certain member (you know who you are) living up to her name and 'screaming' her head off, as well as shoving our leader into the woods and then taking off into the forest herself to escape a chainsaw wielding clown.

Actors: 4/5
I'll start off with the bad first, my only real problem with the actors at Hillside is that there's just simply not enough of them. There would be periods of 5 minutes or more, especially in the corn mazes, where we wouldn't see or even hear another person other than us. That being said the actors that they do have were very engaging and actually very good. They did a good job of interacting and you could tell they were enjoying their work. Normally I'm not the biggest fan of child actors in haunts but at Hillside their children were very good a playing the creepy doll-like little girls, and they definitely creeped me out. Another notable mention goes to the guy who was right before the 2nd corn maze (Creepshow is what he called himself I think), he did an awesome job of presenting his character and was witty and funny and pretty believable. He managed to sneak up on us 3 or 4 times in that maze and came out of nowhere every single time.

Set Design/Props/FX: 3/5
First things first: the corn. The corn is HUGE, I can't remember ever seeing corn that tall in my life. We were told by one of the actors that it was 14ft tall, that is insane. The corn mazes are extremely dark and you really do start seeing things in the corn that isn't there. Hillside does a very good job playing off that it's in the middle of nowhere and even the drive out there is a bit spooky. There aren't any big Hollywood props and honestly it's for the better because Hillside is an old school backwoods haunt and it works perfectly for them. There are some pretty unique spots with boats and bridges, and the child's room and clown room were favorites of mine. That being said I do feel that they relied on the corn mazes a bit too much and felt that they didn't have the man power to keep the amount of time you're in the corn interesting. The second corn maze felt a little unnecessary and the space could have been better utilized.

Length: 5/5
The length for this trail is perfect in my opinion. It's set in a small valley so you have a steep hike down into the trail and back up the hill as you near the end of it. It's good exercise and you will definitely have burned some calories by the end of it.

Value: 5/5
Ticket prices are $12 and there are $2 coupons you can find plus fast passes to cut to the front of the line for a little more. There is also a groupon event available until 10-11 I think for $12 for two tickets on a Friday and $14 for two on a Saturday. That is a complete steal for Hillside and you get the most bang for your buck you could possibly ask for.

Other: Parking is free and pretty well organized. There are drinks and snacks available as well as a casket ride in the back of an actual hearse. Some of the walking is a little rough so make sure to bring some good hiking shoes.

Overall: 3.5
While Hillside Horror isn't the prettiest or scariest haunt out there it certainly has a backwoods charm that I absolutely love. It reminds me of the old school haunts that I used to go to as a kid and that is worth a lot in my book. You might not get scared but you are going to have loads of fun and one of the best times you'll have at a haunt this season. I'm looking forward to seeing how they progress in the years to come.

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