Saturday, September 28, 2013
Haunted Review - 7th Street Haunt
Okay, it's no big secret that I'm a fan of this haunt. This being only their second year in operation, they are back and quickly becoming one of the most talked about haunts in the area. Well, at least in the circles I run in, but I'm willing to bet it's pretty popular with the normal folks of the world too.
I was able to meet with Travis Boling, owner of the haunt and nightmare expert. We had a lot of fun and he let me in on a few secrets planned for next year that no doubt with bring this haunt to even higher levels of terror. A lot of focus this year was on building the haunt out, and now that they have the layout and design in place, next comes more props and perhaps an exterior facelift? The work that's gone into the haunt so far has really been such a drastic change that I didn't even recognize it! Travis admitted they only took a couple of weeks off at the end of last year's haunting season before beginning the tedious work that goes into remodeling and rebuilding the nightmares. This, my friends, is a haunt that has no limits and moving at warp speed to become one of the most loved and feared haunts in Louisville. We had so much fun, I only wish I'd woken with a voice and without a sore throat. Or the alcohol-free hangover from too much fun.
So without further ado...
The Set Design
Okay, this is the first haunt where I've actually had to stop and run my fingers over the walls and the decorations (kids, don't try this, I was soon attacked by the walls and it's STRONGLY warned that you don't touch the walls or the actors or anything else! Don't make him press the red button!!) The only downfall here was the video in the beginning. Both Aly and I are hard of hearing, and we had no clue what was happening in the video. Then again, it was loud with other haunted house sounds all around us and turning it up much louder probably would have been distracting to other parts of the haunt. Still, it wasn't a major distraction, we just told the soldier we couldn't hear it and he explained it. I have a feeling we missed out on the plot of the dangerous zone we were about to walk into, but I don't feel like I missed out on much. Everything was meticulously done up and the detail to each room and scene was intricate. The rooms and scenes had a great flow and transition, too, making everything very cohesive and connected. I really dig the design and props this year.
There were a lot of props in this year's design, and even though owner Travis revealed that next year was going to be a big addition to the props department, I still thought the props this year were very cool. From the lovely dinner table to the exquisite
Oh, the actors. These guys got me. The actors are statuesque and completely immobile until they're ready to scare you, and when they do, even if they don't do the "BOO" factor, they are pretty darn scary. A lot of these actors blended into the walls and scenes so well that you didn't know they were there or thought they were props because they were excellent at their job. I have to give massive props to the clown that almost put me into the hospital with a heart attack. I actually threw myself into a corner and screamed my head off. Loudly. And repeatedly. While my "best friend" and family laughed at me. Kudos to the hideously terrifying clown, and thanks SO much for the dreams from last night.
The Scare Factor
Although it did rely heavily on the shock factor, this haunt had a good deal of piss-your-pants fear. (Case in point-the clown.) Sure, a lot of times these actors were stationary and popped out at you, but it wasn't just the fact that they popped out to scare you, it's that they were friggin horrifying. Some of the sounds they made too...they didn't have to pop out and scare you at 7th Street. They just have to sit there and make an unnatural noise that makes your blood run cold. Plus, they built the anticipation of not knowing what was coming and not bombarding you with nonstop BOOs. It was both refreshing and nightmare-inducing. Literally.
The Shock Factor
I've already mentioned it a couple of times, but I have to really say it again, these guys had great timing and were unpredictable. We didn't know which ones were props, which were real people, which were moving, or which were stationary. It kept us guessing and wondering what the hell was coming next. Wonderful mixture of shock and fear.
This is one of the very few truly original plots in Louisville, basing the whole haunt on the idea of this long-since forgotten town of Fort Harmony, KY, and the horrific events that took place there. Now, here's where I feel we lost a little because we didn't get the history or background from the video, but it wasn't hard to deduce what happened to Ft. Harmony, for the most part. While we don't know how it happened, the combination of the medical aspect and undead aspect is really truly phenomenal.
Other Factors to Consider
This haunt may only be in its second year, but the genius behind it and powering it are seasoned experts, bringing you to the brink of insanity and terror, and they only keep getting better. The difference between 2012 and 2013 is comparable to the difference between a fruit fly and a Wooly Mammoth. Really, wtf?? It's not the same in any way, except to be terrifying. I'm genuinely impressed with the progress made and was promised next year is going to be even better. I can't wait. (Is it opening weekend 2014 yet??)
Man, just from the moment you get your tickets to the moment you come flying out of the door, there was nonstop enjoyment. You get to look stupid and take a funny picture with props when you get inside, then you get to meet the Mayor, who gives you a little intro and tells you a story before sending you in to meet the army guy. From there, it's a bajillion screams and a lot of fun all the way to the end. All in all, I'd give this haunt a 4.5 Star rating. It's really just been a screaming good time, and we'll definitely be coming back for more!
Now, for Aly's feedback...
Aly's Two Cents