Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Haunted Review - Baxter Ave Morgue (by Ash)

Hiya, folks! So, first let me apologize for my absence and my silence. Between PC issues, migraines, and a lovely head cold/respiratory bug, I've not been myself lately. Not trying to seek pity or make excuses, just reality has been ROUGH lately.

Anyway, I'm kinda back, the PC is kinda working, I can kinda breathe, and my brain hasn't exploded, so I'll call it a win. And I owe you some reviews!! First up is Baxter Avenue Morgue.

Okay, I visited this haunt several years ago (back with Aly) and we absolutely loved it. Suffice it to say that after two or three years, we were excited to revisit. The night we went it was rainy and wet and crappy outside, so naturally the line was short. We only waited about fifteen minutes, but I will say it seemed SO much longer because the ghoulies that normally come around and try to scare the people in line were mostly absent, and the ones present were apathetic. One dude did seem like he'd had a wee bit too much sugar and was mildly entertaining, but he disappeared and we only saw him again from a distance. Some of the ghoulies were standing around talking, which wasn't scary but at least it was something to look at.

We made it to the front of the line and I don't even know how the conversation started but we ended up saying each other's names loudly. Hey, we pay good money to be scared, and when they know your name, it's a little more personal and a little more intimidating! When it was our turn, they called me out first and made me go into this room just inside the door BY MYSELF. I repeat, I was utterly alone with these psychopaths. Let that sink in a moment...

Now, this was awesome. I thought they were doing some little "Hey, your friend went missing, go find her" kind of schpiel. Nope. They were coming at me with friggin needles, talking in the most deranged voices with these eerie accents and turning the lights out on me and overall making me wanna piss my panties. These guys were GOOD. I was ready for a chicken door, but I sucked it up and followed their direction into the haunt. Alone.

Oh. Em. Gee. Have you ever gone through a haunt completely alone?? It's intimidating and I was on the lookout for the chicken doors because I honestly didn't think I'd make it without at least one person holding my hand. I started through, and rounded the corner and then...

Nada. Not one single scare. There were approximately four actors throughout the rest of the haunt, the animatronics were delayed so I had to turn around to see them, the paths weren't marked too well and with no actors to point the way I almost went off the path a time or two. There was one scream and that was when there was a loud burst of air at my feet that I wasn't prepared for. That was IT. I literally went through the remainder of the haunted house waiting for something - ANYTHING - to try to scare me, but then I saw some people goofing off in what looked like a gift shop and I thought I'd finally gone off the path and ended up somewhere I wasn't supposed to be. Nope. Just the end of the line, end of the haunt, please exit through the gift shop (literally), don't let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya!

Wait. It's over? Like, when am I supposed to get scared? Is there some grand finale that's gonna make me cry like a baby?

Nope. Worst experience EVER. The only one of the three of us who got anything was Jennifer, who was the last of us to go through the haunt alone.

Now, here's a bit of a disclaimer. The night we went, apparently 75% of their haunting staff called in. Well, more than that, but I don't do math. The owner came and talked to us after such a devastating performance and explained that normally there are 40-ish actors inside and that night there were about 10. That's a really good way to make the haunt not scary, and out of the owner's control. What was NOT out of the owner's control was a forewarning of what to expect (since we paid good money for nothing) OR just shutting it down for the night. Yeah, he'd have lost some good money, and that would suck for him. But in my humble opinion, getting crappy reviews from review groups (like us) who paid to be scared and got irritated instead is a much worse blow than losing the money for that night. I appreciate his explanation and apology, but the apology came too late and the damage had been done.

I give Baxter Avenue Morgue 3/10 stars. The only salvation was the intro. Had that been lacking in any sort of way, this would probably be my first ever 0 star. It wasn't even mildly entertaining once we left the intro area. In all honesty, I thought about going easy on them because of how many actors called in, but the reality is: if I experienced it, so did someone else, and that makes it not okay.

I'm so disappointed, Baxter Avenue Morgue. You made a bad call and ruined our experience because of it. I thought you were above that. Tsk, tsk...

Review: Gallrein Farms (by Ash)

With Halloween creeping closer (hooray!) the time arrived for our annual family punkin' pickin' day. Every year my family loads up and travels the short drive to Shelbyville to Gallrein Farms to pick out our pumpkins and for some family fun.

This year we noticed a few changes, one that particularly hurt the score and broke my heart. The hayride to the pumpkin patch that is ALWAYS free is a thing of the past. It's always been free to ride to and from the pumpkin patch, then you just pay for your pumpkins by weight. So we show up with my husband, my mother, my sister, and my two brothers. Six people. And they are charging $2 per person to just go TO the pumpkin patch. My math sucks, but I'm pretty sure that's an extra $12 that we weren't planning on paying. The only salvation was the fact they had picked out some of the pumpkins and put them in a field within walking distance so you could go walk and pick UP your pumpkins. They weren't on the vines anymore so it's no longer punkin' pickin' but punkin' pickin' UP. When you put it that way it kind of loses it's charm and draw. I was so disappointed.

Nevertheless, they still had the hay pit, the hay castle, the bales of hay set up for kids to run and jump around on, and the big tunnel for the kiddos to play and run down some of their energy, all for free. Plus a free petting zoo (feed = $) and some paid activities, like a tractor ride, pony rides, bounce houses, and a corn maze. They have a market where you can buy smaller pumpkins and gourds, Indian corn, food/drink, gifts, and other goodies. There is also a tent set up selling food, but the prices are kinda high. Not, like, unreasonable, just higher than I'd like to pay for six people.

So we ended up walking to the small pumpkin patch and thankfully had a really easy time picking out our pumpkins this year. I guess it wasn't terrible that they changed things up, I like the selection. But I prefer the hayride and having to pick the pumpkins off the vines. It makes it more...involved. Personal. Like, "Pikachu, I choose YOU!!" (I totally need to get a fourth pumpkin named Pikachu now...)

So all in all, I give it 8/10 stars. We'll go back. We'll be more prepared, but we'll go back.

***Pictures of our pumpkins Chuck, Larry, and Zelda will be coming soon***

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Haunted Hotel Review by Michala

Haunted Hotel Review by Michala Tyann

So this haunt was by far my most favorite last year. It scared the bejeebies out of me. The scenes and themes were spectacular. The makeup and costumes were first rate. The scare factor was off the charts.
Needless to say, they were going to have a hell of a job getting me to like it as much as I did last year. High expectations and all that. It's really hard to one-up yourself when you've hit a homerun.