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.
There are varying degrees of acceptance when it comes to interactivity at a haunted house. There are the kinds of people who scurry through as fast as they can, hoping to go unnoticed and with very few hindrances. Some people enjoy being talked to by the actors, while others appreciate a little physical contact. And then there are the sick and twisted people who think the best kind of thrill is getting tossed into a chair and being held captive by a psychopath while the rest of their group is chased into the next room.
The folks at Southside Massacre fall into the latter category and, as luck would have it, I do too- which is why I’m officially declaring it the best haunt that Indianapolis has to offer.
Southside Massacre warms up its victims with a new twist on the ever-popular neon trip through a black light responsive trailer. Patrons are locked inside with curiously passive actors, disorienting fog, and tension-building dubstep blaring throughout the attraction that make for a unique, extra-sensory experience.
The mostly-dark indoor maze (another common element in modern haunted houses) is again characterized by intensely wubbing electronic music and peppered with masked monsters who have a lot of tricks up their sleeves.
The final leg of Southside Massacre is by far the most realistic and physical portion of the haunt. Expect to be jeered, poked, squeezed, and pushed as you meet room after room of Southside Massacre’s spooky staff who aren’t afraid to get in your face, fire off insults, and threaten to do bad things to you.
One IndyMojo crew member, Brendon Riha, testifies, “The most memorable part of Southside Massacre was the fact that the actors could touch, grab, and really taunt you. It made the whole experience feel like you were actually being tested instead of just walking through. The best part of the experience was when I was taken hostage by a large male actor and his mistress. I was grabbed and pushed up to the wall by the mistress, who used her metal weapon to corral my throat and pin me into the corner. I actually felt like I was being attacked and, while my group was in the next room, I had been left for dead.”
Indy Mojo Promotions Director Matt Ramsey found Southside Massacre to be a satisfying experience as well.
I loved that they completely discarded the traditional Halloween spook music, for a modern taste of electronic music. I felt it added to the tension of the attraction, as you moved through the space. Great make up and acting gave it a realistic feel. It wasn’t just a bunch of people growling at you as you passed through. They actually took the time to corner people in the group, or single them out, while everyone else was left to watch, sometimes providing a great distraction, leaving them as unsuspecting prey to a second villain to enter from another part of the room.
The staff and set up was well-prepared to handle crowds, with strategically placed line corrals, port-o-lets, and staff members at the entrance of each haunt, reminding you of the rules on touching, pregnancy, cameras, and lights. The time between each area also provided time for our group to catch our breaths and discuss our experience from the last room. I don’t want to give anything away, but let’s just say there are a lot of surprises, lots of variety, lots of screams, lots of fun.
Southside Massacre claims to be Indy’s “most intense haunted house”- a declaration I concur with wholeheartedly. It’s not for the faint of heart or those thrill seekers I mentioned earlier who can’t even keep it together in a touch-free haunted house. If you’re the type of person who’s looking to be shit-my-pants-scared, please forget about all the rest of the city’s haunts and head straight for the Southside.
6004 Camden St.
Indianapolis, Indiana 46227
$18 at the door or online; get coupons at their website for $3 off Thursday or Sunday and $2 off Friday or Saturday. Coupons not valid with online tickets or in conjunction with other promotional nights. See their website for full details.