More often than not sometimes even the most well-intention of projects are cut short before they have the chance to flourish. Last season we had the pleasure of visiting a unique, character-driven attraction that celebrated horror with a combination of parody and fear. One of a kind character, themes, and story-lines were interwoven into a theatrical presentation that placed emphasis on showmanship. The Haunted Hallows was a special haunted attraction that remained family-friendly let allowed its story-lines to be modified based on guest maturity. Every single scare actor embraced their unique characters breathing life into a world unlike any other. While still in its infancy the Haunted Hallows had so much potential to grow and was operated by some of the finest people one could ever meet. A contract dispute leads to this attraction unjust demise and as we look back at last year’s show we hope this talented team finds a new home in seasons to come.
Haunted Hallows was a one of a kind, theatrical based haunt featuring a unique take on the “scream park” concept, utilizing a camping community into a fully functioning “town”, home to a variety of off-color oddballs, freaks, and demented characters. What made this attraction truly special was the passion each scare actor had for their specific “character”.
While not all sets were as elaborate as those found in more seasoned haunts, each actor worked tirelessly to make guests “believe” in the magic. Instead of focusing on large-scale sets or massive animatronics, the Haunted Hallows focused on the “story” of this ghoulish town, using the characters to bring each scene to life. While not the most terrifying of attractions, the combination of parody, dark humor and a sense of self-awareness left us constantly entertained by this unique haunted attraction. Haunted Hallows was a special attraction, closed before it had its chance to hit its stride, with a talented, wonderful group of individuals who poured the passion into each performance.
Every single scare actor and staff member conveyed a sense of pride in their work, bringing reality to the absurd, yet engaging story-lines of this “humble” town. As we pay tribute to this show, we look back at last year’s review.
Review (Two Seasons Ago)
This haunt is what we consider to be “character” driven creating mini-stories with twisted humor, slight gore and a clear passion for producing a quality Halloween inspired entertainment show. The characters created by the attraction are some of the very best scare actors you will see, including a hilarious performance by the town’s “Mayor” who roams the grounds of the attraction.
Each attraction is linked with a crazy town concept in which various demented locations featuring twisted characters create awkward, uncomfortable and at times unsettling interaction with each of its guests. The story-line unfolds throughout each attraction, from a humorous slightly off-color start to an aggressive climax our visit was nonstop entertainment. Haunted Hallows is a bizarre, creative, interactive experience that cultivates a constant urge to explore and learn more about the freakish inhabitants created by this town. An emphasis on storytelling and creative development keeps the attraction from ever losing its entertainment value as every single scare actor strives to use its absurd, gory and grotesque scenes to create mayhem. The strangeness of the attraction makes it special, providing laughs for mature haunt fans and scares for younger guests.
Haunted Hallows features an extensive midway area where guests can watch shows, such as a circus act, magic shows and listen to live music. Food options include hoagie stands, traditional carnival food, and drinks. The midway area is in the center of the three attractions which make up the “town” and character actors roam the premises providing entertainment throughout the evening.
The Forsaken Town
“Forsaken Town” is a theatrical journey through the downtown of an odd neighborhood in which a variety of demented townsfolk interacts with their guests. Each scene features dark humor and a twisted theatrical presentation, unlike many major haunted attractions. The personal interactions created between guests and the patrons of the town are unique, humorous, uncomfortable and macabre. On our visit to “Forsaken Town”, we visited with a local barkeep, a psychotic barber, a demented teacher who locked up her students, a corrupt dentist, and a fortune teller. Use of humor coupled with disturbing storytelling creates a special haunted attraction experience that stands out among traditional haunted attractions. “Forsaken Town” sets up the “story-line” of the town’s fictional history and is a great opening attraction. Some of the characters featured along this walk-through are genuinely disturbing, such as the demonic teacher who took glee in “tormenting” her students.
“Labyrinth” is a darker outdoor walk-through attraction featuring more aggressive scare actors and mature themes. Dark humor is used throughout the attraction but there is an adult/mature edge implemented in scene design and scare actor interactions. “Labyrinth’s” backstory involves the lost town’s craziest residents who are left behind in an area that is rarely visited by the more adjusted townsfolk. On our journey, through the “Labyrinth” we were offered to purchase “children” from a carnival-barker, had an uncomfortable encounter with a hillbilly family who warned us not to date their “sister”, visited manic doctor who made a variety of medical mistakes, had an uncomfortable encounter with former “carnival workers”, and celebrated the holidays with “Krampus” as we left this disturbingly creative haunted attraction.
“Labyrinth” is the most mature, surreal attraction at the Haunted Hallows featuring themes that are bizarre and far from normal. Interactions with scare actors in each surreal scene are thoroughly engaging, and entertaining experiences. Dark humor and creativity drive the quality of the attraction as the emphasis on characters to create entertainment are admirable. Due to the open nature of the outdoor trail, several of the scenes feel too “safe” for such a twisted attraction. The addition of enclosed structures and tighter spaces can help increase the fear factor coupled with the strange hilarity created by the oddball characters and psychos lost in the “Labyrinth”.
“Purgatory”, the final attraction visited, is an aggressive prison based attraction featuring endless chain-link fences, violent prisoners, and constant panic. Violent, vicious scare actors use their skills to intimidate and harass guests as they move throughout the corrupt prison. Each scare actor uses weapons, manic scare acting and personal taunts to create a constant sense of paranoia as we made our way through the lengthy final attraction. “Purgatory” is a strong ending to a theatrical, interactive haunt which pushes the limits of sanity. Escaping from “Purgatory” is not always easy as scare actors use their talents to try to block escape routes. Improved structural designs and enhanced interactive experiences can boost the quality of “Purgatory” and create a memorable ending to an oddly bizarre but always entertaining haunted attraction.
The Final Word
The Haunted Hollows was a family friendly yet mature attraction that is far from cheesy, as we thoroughly found ourselves laughing, and being entertained by the dark, creepy freaks that inhabited this “abandoned” town. The twisted dark humor presented by this attraction had a sense of self-awareness, was blatantly off-color and slightly disturbing. Along with our journey, we encountered a variety of modern-day monstrosities including hillbillies who warned us not to “date their sister”, a ghoulish doctor responsible for creating a variety of deformed residents, and a visit with “Krampus”, followed by visiting the local town jail.
The Haunted Hallows excelled at creating a story-line for each attraction with focused acting that aligned with each scene. The banter between characters, and guests made for an entertaining visit to this pleasantly bizarre haunted attraction. Each character seemed to “understand” their place in the demented down, and their performances guided the show to success. As we proceed with the 2018 season, we hope that one day the Haunted Hallows returns and can display its dark, twisted humor, and love for Halloween to a larger, appreciative haunt audience.