I know it sucks that Halloween falls on a Wednesday this year and we were all forced to do our costumed drinking and celebrating this past weekend instead of on or closer to the actual holiday. There is a silver lining, though: most haunted houses are still open this week, and some are even running through next weekend.
Indy Mojo attended a grand total of seven* haunted houses this year. Based on the experiences and opinions of the other members of the Indy Mojo spook staff, I’ve ranked them from best to worst for the 2012 haunting season. You’ve still got a few days left to get scared; read on for our recommendations on where to go and click the links to read the full review.
Southside Massacre was my personal favorite for their extreme interactivity, authentic actors, and overall intensity. If the idea of a monster grabbing your shoulder or chasing you around a medical table with a drill is simply too much to handle, Indy Scream Park is the best around for a well-balanced scare that leaves victims feeling like they got what they paid for.
The Scream Park’s five haunts and Monster Midway make it easy to spend an entire evening hanging out and getting scared, while Southside Massacre’s attractions move you though in a shorter amount of time but will leave you feeling equally exhausted from the unceasing adrenaline rush.
Last chance at Southside Massacre: this Tuesday 10/30 and Wednesday 10/31
Last chance at Indy Scream Park: this Monday 10/29, Tuesday 10/3, and Wednesday 10/31.
Second place: Corpse Manor
Why: mix of humor and terror, professionally trained theatrical actors, detailed props and scenes, no-touch policy
Last chance at Corpse Manor: this Monday 10/29, Tuesday 10/3 and Wednesday 10/31
Third place: Frite Lodge
Why: locally sourced (mostly handmade) props and materials, volunteer actors who truly love to scare, tight aisles that utilize small space well, no-touch policy
Last chance at Frite Lodge: officially closed for the 2012 season
Fourth place: Fright Manor
Why: scary animatronics, original scene ideas, no-touch policy
Last chance at Fright Manor: this Monday 10/29, Tuesday 10/3, Wednesday 10/31, Friday 11/2, and Saturday 11/3
Fifth place: Asylum House
Why: an absolutely terrifying graveyard, expansive outdoor grounds, extended periods of no scaring, a boring corn “maze”, do-touch policy
Last chance at Asylum House: this Monday 10/29, Tuesday 10/3 and Wednesday 10/31
Sixth place: Hanna Haunted Acres
Why: poor acting, very few scares, fun hayride, no-touch policy
Last chance at Hanna Haunted Acres: this Monday 10/29, Tuesday 10/3, Wednesday 10/31, Friday 11/2, and Saturday 11/3
*I also attended Necropolis, even though they didn’t respond to Indy Mojo’s request for a press pass. There’s no review to read because the haunt is exactly the same as it is every year, except for the omission of several of their best classic scenes. The Zombie Inn and Dark Terrors, their subsequent follow-up attractions, fail to meet expectations and left me feeling unsatisfied after the thrills that the opening haunt delivered.
What was your favorite haunted house that you attended in during the 2012 season? Tell us which one and why in the comments below.
Frite Lodge is named so because it’s housed in the basement of the Masonic Pleasant Lodge 134 Craft Club on the city’s southeast side of town. The haunt prides itself on heavy engagement with local residents and a strong dedication to giving back to the community. Frite Lodge is also distinctly characterized by a do-it-yourself feel. From unique, handmade props to unpaid, volunteer actors who truly love what they’re doing- Frite Lodge puts a lot of heart into producing a great haunted attraction with an impressively low budget.
Frite Lodge employs a no-touching policy and strives to bestow no discomfort onto any of their patrons. When I inquired about a memorable portion of last year’s haunt that required victims to crawl, the haunt’s organizers cited negative feedback from their customers as the reason for its absence in 2012. The only activity required to make it through the haunt this year is walking.
Frite Lodge further distinguishes itself by constructing a sizable, single attraction rather than utilizing the popular marketing ploy of multiple haunts. There are no mazes, no rotating black light tunnels, no chainsaws, no rooms full of Jason masks, or any other derivative of tired, overused haunted house elements. The Frite Lodge is pure creativity and passion at its best.
Here’s what the rest of the Indy Mojo spook staff had to say about Frite Lodge:
Indy Mojo Street Team Captin Gwen Wilson:
Frite Lodge was by far the haunt that moved us the most. Not only is it locally sourced, but everything put in and out of the lodge is donated, volunteered, or handmade. Every year they attempt to do something different and new- with the exception of the amazing entry way with a mini-garage door that opens up before the next group of victims enter the haunt. The waiting hallway is filled with deviant art created by a local artist who also contributes to the sets and costume makeup. Furthermore, the hallway is filled with great music to get your adrenaline rushing and nerves alert before you enter.
Avid Indy Mojo supporter Brandon Connolly a.k.a. Puck:
The Frite Lodge is a quaint, intimate haunt on Indy’s Southeast side. Don’t let its size fool you – not one square foot of space is wasted in the planning and layout of the rooms. The lodge is run by the local Freemasonry chapter and the quality of their craftsmanship shows in every detail. There is a fire outside for the workers, but it’s nice to know you can enjoy its warmth and chat with the haunt’s close-knit staff (they are all community volunteers, by the way, for the love of the scare and not the paycheck). The different rooms all had personality because each room belonged to the monster or ghoul who worked in it. Their individual suggestions and requests about each of their rooms are taken in to account by Frite Lodge organizers and it shows. Not one worker showed any signs of boredom or indifference. They were neck-deep in their genuine efforts and you could tell they loved every minute of it. My favorite had to have been the hanging room where a poor soul is put to death by way of lethal suspension. It looks real and I couldn’t help but feel the urge to grab their legs and save them.
Indy Mojo Street Teamer Nike’ Nicole:
I enjoyed this haunted house so much. The staff was extremely friendly and kind, and made it clear all of the proceeds go towards enriching their own community. Each room contained something different that allowed you to see the personalities of the staff members in the room who each had realistic and unique costumes. I was scared or caught off guard more times than I could count. It was cool that such a small place and community could compete with the big dogs! I highly recommend visiting this haunted house.
If you want to support a haunt that is affordable, truly local, and fueled by an obsessive love for scaring people, be sure to swing through Frite Lodge before they close this Saturday October 27th.
7525 South Acton Road