Friday, October 17, 2014

Haunted Review by Ash - Danger Run ***SPOILER ALERT!!!***

I know y'all have just been DYING to know what we thought of Danger Run, haven't ya? Lucky you, I'm here to dish about our experience with Danger Run 20!!




Well, first off, we had some pre-Danger Run fun by modeling some epically horrifying wigs and decorating Michala's car. Oh yeah. We are badass.

(Michala's gonna beat my ass for posting this pic...) 


(How awesome are those Pac Man ghosts??) 


After making complete asses of ourselves, we finally make it to the starting gate, get our pic taken as car of the night, get registered, get our book of clues, and we were released into the wild unknown abyss of Louisville. And since I'm a complete moron, we messed up on the very first clue. Then again, we were still kinda goofing off...



























Finally righting ourselves, we got started around 8:30ish (I think) and with Michala driving and me navigating, it was a rather interesting experience! We got incredibly turned around and lost, and had to backtrack quite a ways because we just totally screwed up. Then we ended up in the "Ghost Town" and that's where things finally got a little creepy and scary. 

It ended up taking us two hours to get to the first haunt, and since it took a little while to get through it, by the time we finished and got back to the car, we didn't have time to follow the clues to get to both of the other two haunts. It's the first year that I've been doing Danger Run that we've had to cheat and look up the haunts without even attempting to solve the clues. That was a little frustrating for me. It would have been much better to keep it at two haunts or to make the clues between the starting point to haunt 1 (then subsequently between the other haunts) about half that length. I don't know how anyone could have visited all three haunts and still followed the directions. It just took too long. Not to mention had we followed the clues (time be damned) we would have gone WAY far away in one direction, WAY far away in the opposite direction, then WAY FURTHER away in the first direction again for the final haunt. I can't even begin to guess the number of miles, but it would have taken several more hours of driving. I doubt we'd even make it to the second haunt before they'd closed.

I wish I could review the rest of Danger Run, but I can't. We didn't get to finish, and that kinda sucked, but I hope they don't do this again. Last year was incredible, because we ended up getting to go on two different routes to a total of four haunts. Granted, it was $20 each time we went, but it was hella more fun that way because we actually got to finish the clues.



***SPOILER ALERT!!!***



If you'd like to read the reviews of the haunted attractions on the Danger Run this year, click HERE, HERE, and HERE. I won't say which ones are on the Run for those of you still planning to take the challenge (and it really is a great value worth the money...for the most part), but if you wanna know, yes, we have reviewed all three at one point, and clicking the links will reveal all!

So, sadly, this year the run was kinda not so great, and I really feel I can only give this a 2.5 star review. It just took too long (and that's NOT because we got lost, that was at most twenty minutes worth of time we lost) and we barely made it to the haunts as it was. It was just really flawed in my opinion, and I really REALLY hope next year is better.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Haunted Review by Ash - Haunted Hotel

As the longest running haunted attraction in Louisville (or so I'm told!) the Haunted Hotel has quite the presence in our lovely city. Almost everyone who lives in Louisville and everyone who goes to haunted houses knows its name and has probably been there a time or two. I know I have! And there's a damn good reason why. Suffice it to say I was thrilled about visiting again this year.




First off, the damn place just looks creepy. Being in the Old Louisville/UofL area, the building has lots of character, charm, and just the right kind of run-down appeal you expect to find in a place that's haunted. Though it doesn't really look like a hotel, it does kinda look like a B&B, so that really works for it.


Now, I don't know WHO was running the "parking" with the little light up cone wands guiding traffic to park in the lot across the street, but when we went there were no signs up telling you anything about the parking. Once you're parked and out of your car, ready to head to the haunt, they stop you and tell you it's $5 to park. Um, excuse me? No thanks, I'll go to the empty parking lot across the street and park for free without having to cross a busy street or anything, thanks. I don't think it was the Haunted Hotel staff, I think a couple dicks were just trying to make some money. So that's not a knock at the Haunted Hotel, just a heads up for all you unsuspecting victims just looking for a place to park safely.


ON TO THE HAUNT!!!

We got to say a quick hi to the owner, Kevin Stich, so I could introduce my newest reviewing partner, then we made our way inside. The very first thing that you should know before you ever think about attempting the Haunted Hotel is that it is an EXTREME HAUNT!!! If you have no idea what this means, let me just give you the rundown. The actors can and WILL touch you. They will grab you and try to kill you. Or at least make you absolutely certain you are going to die. They will be in your face (thankfully most of them seem to keep mints or gum or something to freshen their breath - except for one dude who smelled like Doritos and had me craving them the rest of the night) and you are going to feel that bubble of personal space completely invaded in so many ways. It's meant to do that. It's meant to bring you to your absolute most uncomfortable and nervous point to scare the ever lovin' Hell outta you. THAT is what an extreme haunt really means.

Here are a couple of screenshots from their FAQ on their website:






So as you can see, it's intense and vulgar and grotesque.

And you know what?

I f**king LOVED it!!! This haunt is unreal. From the moment you walk in until the moment you're back out again, you have your every boundary not just pushed, but completely shattered. Most haunted houses try to scare you while making you feel safe, but this haunt puts you IN the haunted house, so you actually experience it.

The first actor gets you ready. He's a bellhop (or some other "hotel" employee) greets you by lining you up against the wall and making you very uncomfortable. I'm not a "skinny bitch" like all the other girls they seem to bring him (which dissatisfies him greatly) so he was pleased to have some extra meat. Part of me wanted to die laughing, the other part wanted to curl up in a ball and just die. I can't even tell you everything he said, but his voice was just creepy. Actually, you know that clown-dude from House of 1,000 Corpses? Captain Spaulding? Yeah, for some reason he reminded me of that guy, only in a bellhop outfit instead of a clown outfit. That level of creepy scariness. In fact, here's a pic of the horrifying Captain Spaulding from the movie, just to give you an idea of what's waiting for you as soon as you step inside:




Creepy enough? Yeah, don't relax yet. Next is the elevator. I won't give away the "surprise" but I may not be able to ride an elevator again for a while. I about shat myself...

I'm not gonna lie, the next...I dunno, twenty or so minutes? Hour? I'm not even sure how long we were in there, but it felt like forever. Anyway, it all kinda started blurring together in an all out terror-fest. So I'll just point out a few of the things that stick out in my memory bank. There was what I'm now calling the Religious Room. It's a master of misdirection, because you're paying attention to all the creepy demonic and anti-Christian stuff, but that's not what you should be so worried about. Oh no. Then there's the "Shitty Room" as I've renamed it. Why so vulgar? Well, that's what you see. Everywhere. And again, it's a master of misdirection. The gross-out factor in this room is pretty freakin high. Oh, and those eyes...they gave me bad dreams, for sure. I couldn't stop staring! Of course, there's the Butcher Room that's kinda creepy, but the...I don't even know what room this one was, because I was so scared, but I damn near got hung and decapitated. Like, literally, head on a chopping block, sparks flying from metal on metal, with me squealing like a little girl and Michala pushing me out of the room. The ambulance was kinda...well I'll be honest, we walked in, walked out, and nothing happened. I think that actor must've been on break or something, lol. Oh, and to the mad scientist/doctor guy pulling my hair, I told you it was kinky, why'd you stop?!




This doesn't even do justice to the level of fear that being in what we thought was true and real danger brought on us. We left the haunt panting, sweating, and thoroughly terrified. The haunt employs some truly talented actors and actresses who not only never broke character, they were so deep into their characters I worry that talent was actually recruited at Central State Mental Hospital...seriously, guys, that was an impressive performance!

Okay, I have to award the first 5 star review of the season to Haunted Hotel. I encourage people to visit this insane haunt. BUT because of the level of intensity, I would personally recommend not taking any children or teens under 16 years old. No offense to anyone, but I just don't think a kid any younger than that would be able to handle that. Hell, they probably can't even at 16, to be honest. It's definitely filled with adult language, adult situations, and would be rated R by the National Movie Rating Association (or whatever it's called). Even though it's not for children, it's still getting a 5 star from me. Hell, if I could, I'd give it 6 or 7 stars out of 5! I really, truly enjoyed myself, despite the nightmares that ensued...




Haunted Review by Ash - Darkness Falls on Asylum

I'm not gonna lie, I was kind of excited to visit Asylum again, because there's multiple haunts plus the Carnival set up as you walk in and the stage for while you wait in line. Plus, it's one I'd been to before and enjoyed in the past. So here is my take on Darkness Falls on Asylum, one of four haunted attractions at Asylum Haunted Scream Park!




First off, you already think you're going to end up in Hell when you're driving to get there. It's really out of the way and when it's dark and in an area you're not all that familiar with it can make a person a little nervous. The parking...well, it's kind of a hassle some nights, and if the attendants aren't paying attention it can be confusing. But given the area they have to work with, I can't really complain too much. 



When you walk into the entrance, you get to walk past a number of booths/tables set up, including a fortune teller/tarot reader and concessions. Pretty cool in my personal opinion. When you get further down past some of the cool stuff, there are several different lines roped off for each attraction. (There are three haunts, but since we only visited one on this visit, we'll just pretend the others don't exist!) So you follow the line to the Darkness Falls entrance, passing a stage where every so often the Carnival folks perform, and wait in line in front of the sign proclaiming Darkness Falls. As you can see from our awesome photo courtesy of a couple of cool folks behind us. Once it's your turn, they give you the usual rundown of rules and junk (which I'll be honest, I've heard them from so many haunts so many times I could probably recite them all nearly verbatim) and they release you into the woods.


Right from the start, Darkness Falls impresses with the elaborate decor and setup giving you the heebie jeebies! I have to give massive props to the cast for staying in character and ensuring that no matter where in the group you are, you still get scared. (Although admittedly, the guy in the group with us had more fun scaring us than the actors did...someone should hire that kid!!) I can't even remember all the scenes we went through because my blood got pumping, the fear got flowing, and we might have tried running a time or two. 

Chainsaws were Michala's big fear, but I'm totally not afraid of them so I may or may not have pointed her out as a target and they made her stay a living Hell a couple of times. I was rolling...I don't think she found it quite as funny at the time. But it's cool, cause I got my turn to be freaked by the insane clown with the effed up mohawk trapping me on the bridge. In case you didn't know it by now, I'm not exactly a fan of clowns. And as her revenge, Michala refused to let me back off the bridge so I had to face down the clown and try not to piss my britches. 


**By the way, I met Mr. Mohawk Creepy Psycho Killer Clown Dude and his partner in crime at the Louisville FandomFest in August. Yep, still creepy as f**k even during the day!!**


Like most other haunts, there was a lot of focus on the shock factor for screams and scares, and that's okay, because Darkness Falls uses other methods of fear to get you incredibly spooked. Like, for example, when the actors start following you around, and you don't realize it, then about piss yourself again when you see them RIGHT EFFING BEHIND YOU. Creepy? I think so. And one of the things I love the most in the haunt is when they don't focus on Hollywood horror. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Freddy and Pinhead and even Leatherface and Jigsaw. I love watching them, but they don't really scare me - I'm a little desensitized from the last 30-something years of watching horror movies. So when a haunt touches on things that are scary OUTSIDE of Hollywood, that's a breath of fresh air, and that's what Darkness Falls delivers. Along with a girl flying at your head from out of nowhere when you definitely don't expect it!

Oh, and I have to mention two specific areas that just had my heart thudding in my chest. First, the ballpit. Oh yes, the ballpit. I effing hate slides as much as I hate clowns. Guess what was at the bottom?? Yeah. And then there was the maze. We didn't even KNOW we were in a maze until we realized that we were running into at least two other groups and no one knew where we were supposed to go. I admit, we didn't figure it out on our own, but the smart kid with us did, and he led us out. But yeah...good luck getting out of there.



So, since I've droned on long enough and given away as little as possible with still giving my insights, I guess you wanna know what I rated it?? Yeah, you're right, it's pretty effing good. I give it 4.5/5 stars. It was really worth the wait (which, by the way, the later in the year you wait, the longer you'll be waiting, so go as early in the year and as early in the evening as possible for your own peace of mind. They are incredibly popular!) and I will be returning next year. Way to go, Darkness Falls!!