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Conveniently located at the Bill Monroe Music Park in Beanblossom, Ind, this haunted attraction has a great, lively atmosphere including a live band playing on stage and lots of family activities. The highlight for me was the Zombie Challenge, an indoor, mostly-dark maze through a zombie-infested house.

It was thrillingly nerve-wracking sliding down narrow, winding hallways with the Walking Dead theme playing loudly on loop and zombies growling in my ear the entire time. The maze isn’t hard, but that’s a good thing since it’s a real challenge to solve puzzles with a biter breathing down your neck.

Entering the longest haunted trail in the Midwest, adrenaline from the last haunt still running through our veins, we walked right into a zombie attack in the wild that quickly escalated into screams of horror and a quick jog into the next leg of the trail.

The haunted trail was a lovely hybrid of the openness of outdoors and smothering sensation of being locked indoors with monsters and villians. The entire trail, which covers 55 acres, is peppered with trailers and mobile homes to offer a variety of things to “go into” while also enjoying a rugged haunt in the outdoors.

puckCedar Rock Haunt Trail is split up in different sections of the campgrounds in Jamestown, Ind. One particular walk-through had endless The Walking Dead theme music and a fun slide . Another walk-through had us on an outdoor path through the woods complete with animatronics and live scarecrows. -Brandon

 

 

erin-perkinsAll I can say is they can and will touch you. Cedar Rock Haunted Trail is located at a campgrounds with a live band to give you the feeling people are near, but once you start the trail it’s only you and the glow stick down a pitch black trail.

I also loved the zombie maze, which had me in a panic. The zombies were biting at and grabbing us as we had to navigate through dark bending hallways and tunnels. We had to get on our knees and crawl while zombies were close at our heels. – Erin

 

brandon-faulknerSet back in the woods and at over a mile long, this haunted trail and its two other attractions really created an immersive and erie experience with plenty of scares and surprises. I like how the environment and sets were rugged and some areas required crawling, sliding or climbing over obstacles to avoid certain death. Foggy graveyards and actors that really delighted in terrifying everyone in the group made this place great.

The Electro Shock Maze was a must see—adding the fear of being shocked to an already creepy environment. But I think my favorite was the Zombie Challenge which really brought the fear of a zombie apocalypse to life. You couldn’t just shake a zombie attack and move on to the next one… zombies continued to follow and accumulate behind and in front of you, sometimes grabbing and pinching you as a kind of reminder that, had this have been a real zombie outbreak, you’d be toast! – Brandon

 

morgan-faulknerWhen we approached Cedar Rock Haunted Trail I was surprised by the crowd at first, but quickly realized why it was such a popular haunt. With multiple haunted attractions, live music, a hayride and bounce house for the kiddies, you could work your way up to the longest haunted trail in the Midwest by first going through the Electroshock Maze and the seriously scary Zombie Apocalypse Challenge. The Walking Dead intro music really set a chilling vibe for the Zombie Challenge, where the living dead actually touched and grabbed us – this one definitely isn’t for the faint of heart.

Once we were in the haunted trail, we were quickly thrust into the first scene with an eerie abandoned police car. We approached slowly, looking up and forward through the fog and darkness, assuming something would come out of the car when an unexpected snarling zombie appeared on the ground at our feet, grabbing for our ankles. Cedar Rock’s actors were completely dedicated to terrifying us, with some of them even chasing us through the trail, or sneaking up behind us just when we thought we’d lost them. – Morgan

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Cedar Rock Haunted Trail

Bill Monroe Music Park

Beanblossom, Indiana 46160

Dates & Hours

The Haunted Trail is open every weekend in October, as well as a special Halloween Eve treat on Thursday, October 30th! The last day will be Saturday, November 1.

Fridays & Saturdays | 7:30 pm – midnight

Sundays | 7:30 pm – 10 pm

Admission:

$25 combo ticket

$17 haunted trail only

$36 fast pass

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Mike Kaiser’s Poor Farm is a short drive to Franklin, just a few miles south of Indianapolis on 65. The haunted corn maze is only $15 and well worth the cost, given the time it takes to complete the maze. Our group spent a solid 45 minutes, but it could easily take more than an hour to find your way out.

Tall stalks of corn offer adequate cover for the countless actors wielding chainsaws throughout, waiting to jump out when you least expect it. Different types of indoor stations along the way create a sense of smothering stuffiness, contrasted by the vulnerability of walking through a corn field – something you simply can’t experience in the city. If you run from a monster in a corn field, you really have nowhere to go.

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Phobias:

  • Claustrophobia, Nyctophobia (fear of the dark)
  • Kanayaphobia (fear of chainsaws)
  • Formidophobia (fear of scarecrows)
  • Arachnophobia & Ophidiophobia (fear of snakes)
  • Gephyrophobia (fear of bridges)

Pros:

  • Fresh country air
  • Fun to navigate the cornfield maze
  • Good exercise

Things to watch out for:

  • Haunt is all outdoors and subject to weather. Plan accordingly.
  • Wear comfortable hiking shoes. Some trails can be steep and/or muddy.
  • Portapotties were ancient and smelled of death. Coprophobia (fear of poop)

 

puckTry to plan this trip on a cloudless night; you will need the moonlight help your group travel through the darkness. Running from monsters and chainsaws makes navigation through the maze difficult. Getting lost comes with the territory. The haunt also flaunts key farm features including empty corn silos, rickety metal walkways, broken down buses and possessed scarecrows. -Brandon

 

erin-perkinsThe short ride to the countryside for Mike Kaiser’s Poor Farm was scary enough to set the mood for a good old-fashioned back-woods haunt. No flashlights, no cameras, no phone – just you and your friends trying to find the way through a six-foot tall corn maze while being chased by chainsaws. It was worth the drive and money, especially knowing it’s never the same maze year after year. – Erin

 

brandon-faulknerFine details really made this a great haunt to check out. From a nice fire right beside the entrance line to the downed private aircraft buried nose deep at one of the many ends of this sprawling maze, there are well-planned features around every turn. Having to squeeze through the walls in an almost entirely dark farming silo while being chased by zombies was a thrill. The subtle but intentional rustling of corn behind you as you walk in almost complete silence at times is creepier than any chainsaw could ever be. Actors had perfectly-timed scares and used the darkness to their full advantage—silently sneaking up behind and waiting for us to look back to really come alive. My favorite scare had to have been crawling through the abandoned bus with a maniac stomping around on the roof. –Brandon

morgan-faulknerAfter an anticipation-building drive to Franklin, we were beckoned by an inviting bonfire outside the maze entrance. We gathered around the warmth to procrastinate our fate in the corn maze before finally getting in line. Once surrounded by towering stalks, the creepiness of the situation set in; a corn maze really adds a new psychological element when you’re lost in the middle of nowhere! Knowing that there could be something lurking in between every row of corn put me on edge and it seemed that every little rustling sound startled me. – Morgan

MKPF

Mike Kaiser’s Poor Farm

1650 N. 800 E. Franklin IN 46131

mkpf sched

Dusk to Dark (Non-Fright)  Dark to 11:30 (Fright)

Admission:

General Admission – $10

Kids 5 and under – FREE

Hayride – $5

Military Discount Available –  I.D. Required

 

Scarevania 2014 IndyMojo.com Spook Staff

IndyMojo.com Spook Staff at Scarevania with Jingles the Clown

Any first timer to Scarevania will be impressed with the attention to detail that clearly goes into the haunt’s design. From spinning art on the outside walls to larger-than-life creep show relics on the roof – the props and design of Scarevania are over the top. Moreover, any returning victim who has visited in the past will be even more impressed at Scarevania’s ability to provide a nearly unique experience every year.

scarevaniaExpect a fairly long line if you hit Scarevania during peak hours; we found a 10 or 12 minute wait behind a couple of groups in front of us. However long the wait seems, it’s truly worth it once inside and you’re the only victims in the haunt with hardly any risk of running into the group ahead of you.

Luckily, there’s a new creepy stage outside to provide entertainment for patient line-waiters and scaredy cats too afraid to go through the haunt. Expect to see suspension acts, fire breathers, bands, and other live entertainment performing on the stage, in addition to movie screenings and scaryoake.

Scarevania's Carnival Cabaret

Scarevania’s Carnival Cabaret

The first room of Scarevania is perhaps its most memorable, as victims are held captive for several minutes while acclimating to their new environment – plenty of time to examine the thoughtful placement of props from ceiling to floor, from the front of the room to back.

Scarevania upholds a no-touch policy but that doesn’t mean they won’t interact with you. Those who aren’t scaring are clearly pissed off or mentally disturbed and they’re keenly aware of your presence.

Tipsy The Clown provided comedic entertainment from the stage as he stumbled over his own words when reminding us not to touch the actors. A creepy man-baby of a clown who goes by the name Jingles (ask him why) lingered in the corner, offering a childlike laugh at opportune moments.

When we entered the haunt an immediate assault of all senses immediately began: blaring death metal music, shrill screams from all angles and enduring performances that felt authentic as we stumbled by, totally in shock of our surroundings.

The second half of Scarevania takes victims outdoors on a trespassing jaunt where they’re promised not to make it out alive. In a completely different twist from last year’s shadow-filled graveyard trail, one recurring character steals the show with perfectly-timed scares. The outdoor portion of Scarevania has doubled in size, ending the trip on a desolate trail that ends in the longest, most intense chainsaw chase I’ve ever seen.

Gwen StaffAfter attending last year, I was eager to see what would be next for this Muncie haunted house. The heavy metal music paired with tons of terrorizing monsters and sick staging proved yet again to be a winning combination.

My favorite moment came with the rattle and smell of a chainsaw. Usually you can hear and anticipate the moment that you will sprint off without your group however, that was not the case this time. I ran, I ran so fast I didn’t know what was behind or ahead of me. – Gwen

 

dan2As a new contributor to the Spook Staff I did not know exactly what to expect. Scarevania was extremely well organized and managed. Eerie music played as we waited to enter that effectively set the mood to get scared. I liked that half of this haunt took place outside and included children in an interesting way. – Dan

 

 

ziziThis haunted house was set up with quite a bit of imagination and had a “Devil’s Rejects” meets “Nightmare Before Christmas” vibe to it. But, before I knew it, that vibe was gone and I was on the haunted trail outside, which led us through a graveyard of rusty, broke-down campers, RV’s and tall, grassy, unlit paths filled with chainsaw fog. I love chainsaw fog and everything, but I can’t say that I didn’t see or hear the guy coming. They definitely pull all the bells and whistles at Scarevania. Well, all the bells and whistles that they could pull without touching me… which was really the one thing missing from here – hands on interaction. – Zi Zi

 

ramzThey really spent some time on the scenery. We were weaving in and out of some well thought out areas outside. It allowed for actors to interact multiple times through the journey. It felt relatively tame after going to haunts that can touch you. I didn’t realize how much of an impact it has on the fear factor when you know actors aren’t allowed to get into your space; they’re no longer a threat. There were a few actors who stood out, though, such as the creepy little kid who followed us for quite a while, seeming to reappear out of nowhere. He was easy to lose track of due to size. Overall, I think it was a good haunt, especially for the low price of $12. – Matt

Scarevania Haunted House

1911 N Granville Ave
Muncie, Indiana 47303

Thu: 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm

Fri – Sat: 8:00 pm – 12:00 am

$12

noewIndyMojo’s #SpookStaff moseyed down to Nightmare on Edgewood last Saturday evening, and they left feeling eerily elated, and satisfied. Consistently ranked one of Indy’s premier haunts, if not the top-dog, NOEW offers a smattering of freaky frights that will probably hit home with even the bravest soul. Ranging from demented clowns to cannibal butchers, this haunt promises certain fright to anyone who enters.

"It" will get ya!

“It” will get ya!

Situated on the grounds of an athletic compound, this haunt boasts several different components throughout the set-up. This writer can’t give it all away, because the surprise is half the fun, but a few juicy tidbits will be shared. Sections are aptly titled anxiety-inducing names like “Pandemonium”, “Hysteria”, “Old School Fright”, “Schizophrenia”, and “The Last Ride”. Each different portion of the haunt is unique, and each one has its own distinct frightening element. However, one theme remains constant throughout the experience: the scarers can touch.

Not only can the scarers at this particular haunt touch you, but they can also poke you with their machetes, run forks across your throat, and shove you into walls. After experiencing this, this writer will never go to another house where they CAN’T touch you. Its friggin’ awesome. It adds a completely new element to the scare when someone pops out of nowhere and grabs your shoulders. All illusions of safety go out the window, and the sensory scaring begins.

Winding through pitch black mazes, avoiding killers reminscient of “The Purge”, and being caressed by Freddy Kreuger are among many of the memorable events from NOEW. This haunted house is a beastly one, and probably not the best pick for those that are faint of heart. Here’s what the rest of IndyMojo’s #SpookStaff had to say about it:

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Mike Myers & Freddy say “Hi!”

Gwen StaffNightmare on Edgewood has done it again! This haunt stands out due to the pure terror of being touched while winding through the twists and turns of its wicked attractions. Edgewood consistently reinvents their ghoulish sets and employ actors who truly love the thrill of scaring the guts out of people. My favorite was a room that everyone was shut in to and nobody truly knew what was going on. - Gwen

dan2I liked that at Nightmare on Edgewood patrons were turned around in the haunt, as well as had to crawl through a portion of it. They were also able to touch us, which made things seem realistic. No one was safe – whether they were in the front or in the back! - Dan

 

Danielle Staff 2Old School Fright was the clear winner for me at Edgewood this year. The addition of multiple new scenes and rooms, as well as elaborate new lighting effects, took the production to a whole new level. The monsters inside of Old School Fright were especially touchy, which left me paralyzed in hysterical laughter as I repeatedly brushed away Freddie’s metal claws and worked to escape the clutches of a curiously friendly psychopath who wandered with our group for a significant amount of time. - Danielle

 

Nightmare on Edgewood

Indy’s Most Intense Haunt

6004 Camden Ave

Indianapolis, Indiana

Note: #SpookStaff recommends not using GPS, as you’ll end up in a nearby neighborhood. From 465, take the East St. / 31 exit and head south. Turn left (east) onto Edgewood Avenue and look for the haunt on the right (south) side of the road.

Regular Admission: $20

(includes Schizophrenia, Pandemonium, Hysteria and Old School Fright).

VIP Fast Pass Admission: $30

(includes all four haunts mentioned above, plus The Last Ride, and shorter wait times)

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Read our special behind the scenes interview with Nightmare on Edgewood here.

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Year after year, Nightmare on Edgewood lives up to its claim of being Indy’s most intense haunted house and the 2014 season is sure to be no different.

This year the haunt is longer, stocked with new special lighting effects and boasts significant updates to the clown-themed Schizophrenia and the dark maze Hysteria. Nightmare on Edgewood has even increased their staff by 20 people, bringing their total headcount to an astonishing 70 workers.

I had the opportunity to stop in at Nightmare on Edgewood on the afternoon of their opening night to speak with co-owner Kevin Cook. With just hours to go until the first patrons of the season showed up at their gates, Cook was called to the front for our interview via walkie talkie from somewhere deep inside one of the haunted house trailers.

Several minutes later he emerged with beads of sweat dripping from his forehead and streaks of fake blood on his forearms. His brother (and Edgewood co-owner) Paul walked by us with a cinder block in his hands and his head down to the ground as he worked on a waiting line corral.

It quickly became evident that their work is never done. Driven by passion, not profit, they thrive on hearing people scream, cry or laugh and do all they can to make sure their patrons are scared- or at the very least having fun. As it turns out, there’s a lot that goes in to making that vision come to life.

Construction & Logistics

Planning for each new season begins immediately after closing for the previous year. Since Nightmare on Edgewood uses the Edgewood Athletic Association to hold their attractions, they cannot have access to the site until August 1st, at which point they have six weeks to build mostly from the ground up until the fire and safety inspection. After inspection, they have two additional weeks until opening night to finalize and make adjustments as necessary.

The fire inspector walks the haunt from beginning to end to look for things like a smoke alarm installed every 25 feet and a fire exit every 50 feet. He triggers smoke alarms, makes sure exit lights light up, and confirms that everything is backed up by a battery. The entire process takes between one and two hours and even includes pulling things off the walls and setting them on fire.

“Everything has to be flame retardant, and that chemical also has to be mixed into the paint that goes on the walls. A lot of people think you can just throw it up and open the door. There’s a lot more to it,” Cook explains.

Bringing the Haunt to Life

How does one go about planning the layout of a haunted house? Cook says he used to draw everything out to spec on graph paper, but learned over time that it never turns out the way he plans and eventually abandoned the precise plotting. Now, when has an idea, he jots it down as a guiding concept and lets it come together freely and naturally. Pandemonium, the outdoor crate maze, is an example of this phenomenon.

Long-time fans of Nightmare on Edgewood will be pleased to hear that staples like “the bus” and “the house” are still part of the experience, and Cook says he’s OK with that level of familiarity in the haunt because it’s something people look forward to seeing.

“It flirts with reality. They don’t know if it’s really a haunted house anymore.”

Nightmare On Edgewood is also one of the few haunts in the area with a unique do-touch policy, which Cook says has always been the haunt’s rule, despite the occasional complaint.

“We weigh our options that we get way more people that want that than don’t. We hang signs to make it clear that you’re going to get touched. That’s the scare factor. That’s why people come.”

Operating A Haunted House

Cook and his brother are the type of guys who can walk through a commercial haunted house alone and not flinch, which is why one might assume they would both be actively involved in scaring the hell out of their customers. It turns out that their role is just as crucial as the actors, albeit not quite as glamorous.

“We just run around and fix stuff, relieve people for bathroom breaks, or let them take a smoke break. We’ll dress up occasionally and bounce around in the line and have fun with it, too. But believe it or not, when it’s open, stuff breaks. Lights go out, bulbs break, somebody runs through a wall. We kind of run around and do chaos control. It’s pretty hectic.”

Kevin and Paul are very serious about providing an experience that is both terrifying and fun at the same time.

“If people come out of the haunt and there’s one certain room that I get a lot complaints that they didn’t like, we change it,” Cook says, and quickly adds, “… outside of crawling, because everybody complains about crawling.”

Crazy Customers & Scaredy Cats

Cook shrugs when I inquire about over-the-top customers and runs through a list of predictable situations they face every year: customers resentful towards the fast-moving VIP line, patrons with uncontrollable reflexes that throw punches at actors, high school kids that act tougher than they are, and the occasional threat to sue (usually over a splinter or fake blood on a t-shirt). Annoying? Perhaps. A big enough problem to prevent them from operating again? Unlikely.

“We do get a lot of people that quit, usually in the clown area. We usually have between 100 and 200 people that quit over the course of the season. And it’s not all kids; a lot of adults quit, too.

We get a lot of girls that just sit in the corner and don’t move. The good thing about the do-touch policy is that our guys can just pick them up and take off with them to make them move on to the next room.”

The Attractions

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This year, Cook & his brother relinquished creative control of the neon clown haunt to local artist Steve Stephens. Indianapolis residents who have been to the eastside’s Bat Cave batting cages & mini golf will recognize his unique art decorating the walls of this haunt. Unlike Cook, Stephens drafted the big top themed layout and design of Schizophrenia on paper first, then brought it to life with impressive drawings, gallons of glowing paint and a whole lot of devious handiwork.

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The only outdoor haunt at Nightmare on Edgewood, Pandemonium has expanded to be twice as big as it was last year. The haunt’s inhibiants , inspired by The Purge, are hungry for a fresh kill.

Edgewood’s characters are given creative freedom to make their roles uniquely their own – an effective approach that works especially well in Pandemonium.

“One thing we do different from a lot of haunts,” Cook explained while standing next to an abandoned car that acts as the centerpiece of the Pandemonium haunt, “is we don’t give a script. We don’t say, ‘You’re gonna stand here and you’re gonna say this.’ We have 13 people in this area; last year there were only five. I brought them all out here and I said, ‘This is what I want: someone here, someone there, someone there; make it work however you want.’”

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This pitch-dark, feel-your-way-through attraction has been a staple of the Nightmare on Edgewood haunt for years and that’s something that won’t be changing any time soon. Always mindful of providing the best experience possible, customer feedback has played into some notable changes to Hysteria in 2014. Expect the difficulty level to be toned down a few notches, as well as a break from the darkness that’s sure to tickle your senses, thanks in large part to the contributions of art designer Paul Lanner.

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Perhaps the most elaborate haunt at Nightmare on Edgewood, Old School Fright literally puts you shoulder-to-shoulder with all the classic characters you love to hate. Cook notes that the attraction has more props than usual, all of which are operated by the actors (as opposed to timed sensors) for optimally timed scares.

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After a successful first run in 2013, this 4-D ride will return for another year at Nightmare on Edgewood. As detailed in our 2013 review, “Patrons undergo a simulation of being buried alive in The Last Ride. After taking a surprisingly comfortable seat inside of a specially-outfitted coffin, the lid is closed and the pitch-dark ride begins. Without their sense of sight, patrons rely on sound, scent, and touch to keep their sanity as they endure the unique ride.”

Nightmare on Edgewood

Regular Admission: $20

(includes Schizophrenia, Pandemonium, Hysteria and Old School Fright).

VIP Fast Pass Admission: $30

(includes all four haunts mentioned above, plus The Last Ride, and shorter wait times)

edgewood dates

For more scary fun, check out these websites for like-minded haunts:

Indiana Haunts

Indy Haunts

Read our full review of Nightmare on Edgewood 2014 here.

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Haunted Angelus House is more than your run of the mill seasonal haunt. Aside from boasting a creepy haunted journey, it scares for a good cause.

Located on E. Washington Street, this combination haunted house/costume shop offers spooky thrills to help those in need. The Angelus House is a foundation supporting individuals with Cerebral Palsy, and the Haunted Angelus House proudly donates to this charitable fund. Additionally, the scarers at HAH coordinate canned food drives to stock local pantries.

Assisting the community while having a scary good time? It really doesn’t get much better than that.

This haunted house had just the right amount of chill and thrill. It’s moderate course time of about 25-30 minutes made it easy to get in, get scared, and then have the opportunity to grab dinner without it being too late.

This writer and her accomplice!

This writer and her accomplice!

The Haunted Angelus House is certainly not for the faint of heart, but it is also relatively family friendly. There were terrifying moments that may, or may not, have involved evil clowns. Also, some of Hollywood’s scariest bad guys were seen thoughout the place. However, it was not pants-wettingly horrifying, so take that into consideration when planning.

This writer would recommend this haunted house to anyone searching for a creepy evening. If you aren’t too faint of heart, and don’t want to be touched (it’s a no-touch facility) than the Haunted Angelus House is for you!

Twisted Darkness - IndyMojo.com Spook StaffKokomo’s Twisted Darkness impressed our Spook Staff from the minute we arrived until the very last scream of the night.

The haunt is housed entirely inside of the historic Kokomo Tire & Rubber Co. Building (1022 S. Main St.) and it’s the perfect space for an elaborate haunted attraction like theirs. With year-round access to the building, owners Ronnie and Steffannee Catron are always tinkering within the depths of Twisted Darkness.

Although Twisted Darkness has been in operation for seven years, the 2014 season presents an entirely new layout that has been rebuilt from the ground up. If you’ve been to Twisted Darkness before, you’ll want to check it out again this year for a brand new experience.

The first half of Twisted Darkness lives up to its name, winding attendees through dimly lit hallways, tunnels and dungeons. Some actors stalked us as we moved about in the haunt, while others played their role from their distinct room. My personal favorite was one particularly flexible patient in the psych ward portion of the haunt.

The second half of Twisted Darkness is less intense, but equally as fun and disorienting. Victims are given 3D glasses to wear through a vivid world of color that’s brought to life by black light responsive paint. A circus-themed maze concludes the attraction that’s simply not as easy as it seems it should be.

The Spook Staff didn’t have the chance to partake in the new zombie hunting attraction since it wasn’t open yet, but Spook Staff veteran Brandon Connolly took good notes while the Catron’s told us about the new attraction:

puckAfter seven years of operation, the crew has decided to convert the 2nd floor of the haunt in to a laser tag zombie zone. This feature will allow groups of four people armed with a laser-tag guns (equipped with CO2 cartridges for firing noise and kick-back effect) to clear all rooms of any zombie threats. The zombie crew dons their laser receivers on their head, so you know, aim for the head (because they’re zombies). Score is kept and uploaded to the Twisted Darkness website so you can compete with friends or try to beat your own high score. This feature will be available for the first time this weekend.

Note: this video is a simulation and does not contain actual footage from the Twisted Darkness zombie hunt.

Spook Staffer Pali (pronounced “Polly”) Endi made note of the haunt’s reputation and production:

paliNear the middle of historic Kokomo, a long, boarded up building stands, ominous. A talented host of zombie actors, gruesome effects, and sense-warping obstacles stand ready to twist the darkness into a truly unnerving synesthetic experience.

For the past seven years, the owners of Twisted Darkness have developed both the building and their talent. Named the number one haunt by The Midwest Haunters Convention in 2011 and 2012 and “Best in Show” by Kokomo’s Haynes Apperson Parade in 2010, the Twisted Darkness staff is regularly recognized for their hard work and demented sense of entertainment. As the saying goes, there is no rest for the wicked; in the off-season, they also travel to conventions to learn from other haunters and add to their prop stockpile. The result is an intricate, multifaceted spectacle, well worth the drive.

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Spook Staff veteran Morgan Walker loved her experience at Twisted Darkness:

morgan-walkerTwisted Darkness had frights built into it that I have never seen in any other haunted house before. At one point I found myself working my way through an air-tight hallway where I couldn’t see anything and had no idea what kind of decrepit creatures would be waiting for me at the other end. The 3D spinning tunnel and the crazy, neon-glowing world were both as exciting as they were scary.

Overall, it is very obvious that the creators of this haunt have put an insane amount of planning into it. The actors were on point, the production was extremely scary and the thought and creativity that went into it was unlike any I have ever seen. Twisted Darkness is definitely worth the hour drive to Kokomo.

Erin Perkins had similar favorite moments:

erin-perkinsTwisted Darkness was exactly what the name implies- a winding path through dark trails and mazes. The hour drive from Indianapolis to Kokomo goes by fast waiting in anticipation and it is well worth the trip.

Once you’re in, there is no turning back as you lead yourself through a twisted, almost completely dark, path. Watch out for the maze because you will take a wrong turn and the ghouls will be waiting when you mess up. Don’t forget to leave your 3D glasses on as they take you down a vortex tunnel you won’t soon forget. The overall experience was indeed a scary one and, with a zombie laser tag opening upstairs on the weekends, this haunt is one for the books.

Twisted Darkness

1022 S. Main St. Kokomo, IN

Visit their website for dates and hours of operation

Twisted Darkness and Twisted Illusions 3D: $15

RIP (no waiting in line pass): $25

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Corpse Manor’s theme and layout doesn’t change drastically from year to year, but the trained actors encountered throughout the house are highly interactive and provide a unique experience every single time. Spook Staffer Wes Ogden agrees, “The actors at Corpse Manor sold it for me- from their makeup to their voices to their oddly inhuman postures.”

Ogden also appreciated the well-developed theme of Corpse Manor.

wesThe back story to Corpse Manor was a big bonus. They help bring you into the mindset of a true haunt, taking you to a more sinister mental place than you had planned or expected. After gaining admission, we were led to a doorway and met by a ghoulish witch who began to slowly spin us the tale of Lord Henry Calvert and his Corpse Manor. Calvert had purchased the Manor after moving from London to Indianapolis, and unaware to he and his wife, their house was built on an old graveyard. It is said that tombstones from the site were used in building the foundations of the mansion… and so began the story of the Corpse Manor.

After finishing our introduction into the background of ‘The Manor’, we proceeded inside to meet Igor. A slightly more decomposed version of the identically-named character from Young Frankenstein, he laid out the ground rules for our journey and sent us on our way into the mansion.

Once inside, I could see the effort that went into the making of this haunted attraction. The place was showered with creepy lighting and ghoulish monstrosities from floor to ceiling, edging our imaginations onto scarier and scarier suppositions. Inching our way through the multitude of doorways, no one knew what to expect. Each room had a different feel to it; as we went deeper and the scenery grew darker, I could feel the place envelop me as we tried to make it back out.

woodsNight Shadows, the 2nd indoor attraction, abandons the home-like manor theme and opts for traditional styled scares, which allows for more flexibility in the haunt’s design. Outfitted with a totally-new and disorientating feature, Night Shadows is shorter than Corpse Manor but arguably more riveting.

Something felt a bit off at Corpse Manor this year. While the haunt was one of our favorites from 2012, we just didn’t get all that scared this year. When the Spook Staff returned a week after our original visit to hit up the outdoor Sinister Woods (it had been closed due to rain the previous weekend), we hoped to find a fully staffed forest of hillbillies. Instead, we waited in line longer than it took to get through the woods, as only one group was sent through at a time.

Indy Mojo Spook Staffer Morgan Brooke also left Corpse Manor feeling somewhat unsatisfied:

morganAfter experiencing two amazing haunts on Friday night (Piney Acres Haunted Corn Maze and Scarevania), this haunt didn’t quite meet my expectations. After waiting for quite a while, our group was finally let through. On one hand, the woods were decorated very creatively and definitely gave off a spooky vibe; the actors were very much on cue to frighten the living day lights out of us. Imagine being the prey of one decrepit butcher family and that’s what Sinister Woods feels like. We were definitely scared… but then all of a sudden it was over. The amount of time we waited, to only be in the woods for a few short minutes kind of ruined it for me. Corpse Manor has a really small area to work with, and with that in mind, I think they did a great job setting up the haunted area. If you’re scared to try haunted houses this year, this one is a good one to start out with and ease into. It’s pretty scary, but you’re in and out before you know it.

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Corpse Manor

4700 N. Post Road

Indianapolis, IN 46226

(just south of Pendleton Pike on Post Road in the Post Road Recreation Center)

Corpse Manor and Night Shadows tickets: $15.00

Combo ticket (includes Corpse Manor, Night Shadows, and Sinister Woods): $20.00

Vip Pass Upgrade (avoid the lines; almost immediate access): $8.00

corpsemanor calendar

scarevania

The Scarevania Haunted House in Muncie won major kudos from the Indy Mojo Spook Staff for their exquisite theming that’s consistent from the second you step foot outside your car until the moment you come running back to it in terror. Elaborate, menacing props adorn the rooftop of the building that houses the Scarevania haunted house. A fat, bearded lady and sinister devil on top of the room eye patrons from their vantage point as they approach the entrance. Carnival-style concessions and quirky signage further enhance the freak show format of Scarevania.

scarevania

scarevaniaA roaming pair of clowns entertained us while waiting in line- one overwhelmingly flamboyant and chatty, the other uninterested and totally silent. Inside, we took in as much of the detailed rule-reading room as we could before being shooed into the haunt; clever signs and props lined the tall walls while the leader of Scarevania’s freak show posed for a photo and warned us not to touch the actors.

Scarevania employs a no-touching policy, but makes up for it in sheer numbers. Every room had at least two monsters, some as many as five or six. With constant attention coming from every angle, Scarevania’s indoor haunt leaves its victims feeling disorientated and overwhelmed. Special attention to costumes and makeup also solidifies Scarevania’s freak show format; our favorite characters included Pigman and the opening room’s nightmare baby.

An outdoor graveyard rounds out the Scarevania trip of terror. The spooks and scares are not as constant or jarring as the whirlwind of surprises inside but when they get you, they get you good.

scarevania cast

Spook Staffer Morgan Brooke loved the intensity of Scarevania:

morganThis haunted house went above and beyond–literally every three steps and around every corner there was something new and horrifying to continually keep us on edge. From the second we walked into the heavily-decorated, creepy building, we were instantly startled by the scariest looking child who sent chills down our spines. Every step of the way we were on look-out and these characters never ceased to execute on a scare. With several different disturbing scenarios, it was a mix of being in Saw, The Hills Have Eyes, and The Ring all at once. We got an all-around scare and the actors made sure we felt like it was real. Scarevania is definitely worth the drive to Muncie if you want a good spook, but if you’re looking for something to last for a while, this one is short and you’re in and out before you know it.

scarevania aww

Spook Staff veteran Gwen Wilson sums up her Scarevania experience as follows:

Gwen StaffIf you ever wanted to be in a Rob Zombie movie, this is the place to go! The sick and twisted world of Scarevania left me in utter terror. The hunted attraction literally taps into everything freakishly grueling and gives their guests an uncomfortable constant scare! The acting was amazing, especially the demented cemetery girl that rushed at us in convulsions and spasms. This haunt is for people that can handle true gore and horror!

Though some would argue that the trip to Muncie from Indianapolis isn’t worth the 20 or 30 minutes of entertainment you’ll find at Scarevania, we would still encourage anyone looking for something new to gather a group of their friends and head north.

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Scarevania

1911 N. Granville Ave., Muncie, Indiana 47303

October 18, 19, 24, 25, 26, & 31; 8 pm – 12 am weekends; 8 pm – 11 pm weeknights

$12

maze piney acresWe had so much fun at Piney Acres that we paid them a second visit the following weekend to see if the haunted corn maze lived up to its reputation.

We forgot to bring our own flashlights, despite my own suggestion to do so in the previous review (see link above). It’s worth repeating: IF YOU GO TO THE CORN MAZE AT NIGHT (HAUNTED OR NOT) BRING YOUR OWN FLASHLIGHT. The staff gave us explicit instructions on finding the entrance to the haunted portion of the maze, emphasizing the we just need to “follow the arrows”, but the signs were not easy to see in the dark and we meandered for some time before finding the actual head of the haunted maze.

The trail immediately proved to be much more scary than the Haunted Loft. The corn was tall and the trail was dark. Every single prop we met was passed with much caution, as it was difficult to distinguish which ones were living and which ones were not. The maze was dotted with shacks, grave yards, and (gulp) live traps that almost always offered an opportunity for interaction. My favorite part, however, was when the maze seamlessly shifted from corn stalks to Christmas trees and I found myself winding through haunted evergreens.

The Piney Acres Corn Maze covers five acres, only two of which are haunted. For scaredy cats who can’t handle a good frightening romp through the corn, the monster-free maze is long and challenging and will keep patrons busy for at least an hour.

Indy Mojo Spook Staff veteran Gwen Wilson says Piney Acres was her favorite haunt of the season:

Gwen StaffThis year my favorite haunt was the corn maze at Piney Acres. I have not been to many corn mazes in my life, so the experience was thrilling and chilling! We started by receiving instructions on how to get to the haunted part of the maze, only to get lost soon thereafter trying to find our way. Once in, we went through different shacks and graveyards throughout the maze that had lurking bodies waiting for us when we least expected it. My favorite was the demon in all black located in a room that got smaller and smaller as we passed through it. Piney acres brought their A game!

Spook Staffer Morgan Brooke also enjoyed her first trip to Piney Acres:

morganPiney Acres did an amazing haunted trail (it wasn’t exactly a maze). Full of overly thrilled and well-dressed actors, this part made us feel like we were the victims in a zombie movie. Topped off with crazy lights, spooky sounds, and death-defying characters hidden around every corner, we were definitely frightened. And of course there’s no better way to top off a haunted maze than being chased through a dark field with a chainsaw; Piney Acres absolutely nailed the lid on the coffin with this one. Not only do you get out of the city for a bit and experience the eeriness of the dark countryside, but it’s a great price and definitely delivers an adrenaline rush!

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Piney Acres Farm Haunted Loft

1115 E. 1000 North

Fortville, IN  46040

(317) 326-1700

Open every Friday & Saturday through October from 7 – 10 pm
$10 per person (children 5 & under free)