1415 E Eads Parkway, Lawrenceburg, IN 47025View All Details
Free Parking, Restrooms On-Site, Food/Concessions, “Old-School” (Low Tech), You may be touched, Original Characters, Uncovered Outdoor Waiting Line, All-Outdoor Attraction
Team Zombillies reviewed this attraction on October 29, 2016.
Final Score: 7.34
Across a lake, a balloon-carrying, gun-toting clown anxiously awaits your arrival. But wait… a loud crack erupts through the trees and a geyser of the water nearby shoots skyward. This could only mean one thing… this crazed clown is shooting at us! Where are we? None other than the only haunt where we’ve ever encountered armed clowns: Horror Hike Haunted Trail and the Maze of Mayhem in Lawrenceburg, IN. If struggling to find your way through a (very) challenging cage maze isn’t enough to make you question your sanity, the calamitous characters on the trail just might be! As they say: “you’ll be dying to get out!”
Crossing the threshold into their 5th year in operation, the cast at Horror Hike have a slightly different approach for quenching your thirst for frights. Their apparent goal is to create a surrealistic horror experience throughout the trail and, for the most part, they succeeded. The trail uses a decent amount of actors, but the large gaps between them and lack of verbal interaction kept most of them from really developing intimidating performances that lasted until we met another character. Some of them seemed to be clustered together during the second half, which didn’t help matters any. However, there were absolutely several stand-out characters that’ll make you wonder, “Are they still just acting?” The madmen in the first house, “Stitches,” the stray soul and the cross-dresser gave us some of the most memorable acts… but you’ll have to pay them a visit if you want to truly experience their wrath! We also encountered several “lively” bushes, an assortment of clowns, a couple of chainsaw attackers and a few tree-bound figures with uncanny stares. The maze section is dotted with clowns as well… one of which interacted with us very well and had us second-guessing ourselves the whole way through (kudos).
From our experience, the costuming at Horror Hike was pretty average. Masks were adequate pieces that did the job for each of the characters wearing them, but nothing that we’d particularly call “over the top.” Most of them, in fact (besides the clowns), resembled something like what you’d see from “The Purge,” which seemed to work for a lot of the creepy stalking that was going on during our visit. However, there was one section of the path that was decorated with a collection of plain white masks and, when some of them started creeping towards us seemingly on their own, their desired effect was achieved very well! The costumes themselves were largely dark-colored to help the actors blend in with their surroundings, but ghillie suits, appropriate clown outfits and even a full-bodied rabbit suit may cross your path along the way as well. Makeup was mainly made up of blood, greyed-out skin, darkened eyes and, on one actress, some intricate vein work was noticed.
Customer Service: 8.56
Horror Hike is located right next to where the Interstate leads into Lawrenceburg. From that intersection, it’s between the Interstate and the Halloween/Fireworks store just North of there. In fact, if you type in “Phantom Fireworks of Lawrenceburg” (which is right next door to the haunt), Google Maps will take you right there. Anyway, if you miss the “Horror Hike” sign by the road AND the full-sized semi trailer with their namesake plastered all over the side… you might want to consider re-visiting your eye doctor for a different prescription. Once you pull into the gravel drive, parking is self-serve and organized in a circle drive fashion around the semi trailer. The ticket booth and concessions stand are located in pop-up tents near the entrance to “Camp Angst” (the haunt) and we noticed two fire pits for keeping warm while you wait. There’s usually no wait for the maze, as it’s everybody for themselves in there and the time it takes to get out of there is directly dependent on your skillful ability to escape it. The waiting line for the trail is organized similarly to the “timed ticketing” trend that some attractions are starting to use. Basically, when you’re ready to start the trail, a staff member will give you a numbered card. At that point, you’re free to roam about the common area until your number is displayed on the TV near the trail’s starting point. Not having to stand in line is something that we feel is a welcomed feature and very few (if any) haunts in the area have started using it… at least, “yet.” The convenience of this system allows you to keep warm by the fire and have yourself a bite to eat if you’ve got a few numbers ahead of you… that is, if the queue actors don’t hit you up for a selfie first. Lighting along the trail is a bit dim at times, but it stays just bright enough to be able to see where you’re going. Be on the lookout for tree roots and wear appropriate footwear, as we caught quite a few of them during our journey (you’re gonna hate yourself if you wear flip flops here). Professional and very friendly staff members can be found at the ticket booth, roaming the queue area and at the start of the attractions if you have any questions, needs or concerns.
As soon as we pulled in, the sounds of chainsaws, gunshots and screams welcomed us to the grounds of Horror Hike (the looks on our faces HAD to have been priceless)! In addition to that, the haunt’s banners, roaming queue actors, dancing party lights and fog-filled valley definitely let us know we were at a haunted trail! Upbeat music from the maze filled the air and doubled as some extra entertainment for those waiting to enter the haunts.
Special Effects: 6.56
Horror Hike goes for the “old-school” approach with most of their set design and special effects. With a theme that revolves around an abandoned summer camp, each of the buildings that you go through on the trail definitely give you the feeling that they’ve been around for a while. A drop panel, an entrapment scene, accent lighting, creepy sounds and a full-sized truck are just a few of the things that you’ll see along the way. We’ve still yet to see their “flying barrel” effect at any other attraction and we’re willing to bet it’ll make even the hardest of haunt-goers “pucker up” just a little bit. One chainsaw attacker followed us with an amazing coordinated effort between him, a dense cloud of fog and a single, purple, flood light behind him; with his chainsaw held high, you can imagine what his intimidating silhouette looked like! Of course, we can’t go on without mentioning this “gun” that we’ve been talking about, right? Well, at multiple times throughout the trail, you’ll likely hear a few gunshots. It’s okay… it’s okay… they’re “blank” rounds, meaning there’s no actual bullet involved… just the “bang” (and yes, the actors know to still keep them pointed in a safe direction). But, one of the shots “triggers” a very unique effect as you’re walking next to the water. Again, you’ve just gotta see this one to get the full effect, but we will say that it’s very realistic and PTSD sufferers may not get along with it very well.
Horror Hike’s full theme is explained on their website, but here’s the basics: Camp Angst was intended to be a premier summer camp for the Tri-State area back in the ‘60’s. However, an explosion that occurred during construction proved to be fatal for the staff and crew that were working on its development… save for a few key characters. One of these survivors, “William ‘Bill’ Smythe,” was able to rebuild the camp as a memorial to those who’d passed. As the compound flourished, though, random disappearances had been reported and, eventually, traced back to Smythe and an old building back on Trail #13. Smythe has never been apprehended, but locals claim to still see his old blue truck on Camp Angst grounds from time to time.
Honestly, had we not read this story on Horror Hike’s website, we wouldn’t have had a clue as to its plot during our visit… except for seeing the “Camp Angst” sign and the various camp-related buildings throughout the trail. It wasn’t explained to us on-site and very few of the characters made reference to the story or any of the characters therein. However, the setting is almost perfect for the theme (the cage maze is a bit odd). If the haunt is able to incorporate the story into the show a bit more and develop some iconic characters, it’ll likely add some much-needed “depth” to the attraction(s).
Fright Effect: 6.96
While trying to find our way out of the maze, we encountered several stalkers who taunted us, but other than that, there wasn’t anything else to up the fright effect of that portion of the attraction except the fact that you may remain lost within the metal twists and turns forever! The woods are kept rather dark in areas, so just walking through with only your group to guide you might be enough to freak you out! But, the folks at Horror Hike have some tricks up their sleeves too. We can’t tell you what they all are, for you must visit them to face them all without a clue as to what they may be! We can tell you that some great hiding spots among the trees and on the ground were taken advantage of during our visit and surprised us on multiple instances. Loud, shotgun blasts are sure to make you high step a few times as well, especially when it appears the gun is pointing towards you and the water near you says so too! Then there’s the finale, oh the finale. We will tell you two things about the finale: 1. We hope you like chainsaws and 2. Gloria is NOT a person! Oh yea… one more thing. The monsters that you will come across are allowed to touch you!
There are several ticketing options to choose from at Horror Hike. Tickets for both the maze and the trail can be purchased for $13.00 per person. If you think the trail may be too scary for the little ones that may be with you or you don’t have time for both, tickets for just the maze can be purchased for $5.00. We can’t guarantee how long the maze will take you though; it’s a pretty difficult one! It took us 15 minutes to find our way out, so good luck with that. Escaping the estranged beings on the trail took us an additional 18 minutes, putting this attraction at a total of 33 minutes. At the regular ticket price, that brings their value to 2.54 minutes of entertainment received per dollar spent, which is way over average (“average” is 1.5 out of all the haunts we were able to visit last year). HH also has a $5.00 re-entry option available as well as special discount opportunities that can be found on their website. There are some unique ideas being brought to the table at this attraction for sure. If you enjoy mazes and walking through the dark woods, unable to predict what all lies ahead, then this is the haunt for you! This was only our second visit to HH and we sure can’t wait to see what they’re able to pull off in the years to come!
Most Realistic Scare - Barrel (Given by: Team Zombillies)
Funniest Scare - Gloria (Given by: Team Zombillies)
Actor Shout Out Award - "Stitches" A.K.A Caleb Glass (Given by: Team Zombillies)
Actor Shout Out Award - "The 12 Gauge Toting Clown" A.K.A Justin Rice (Given by: Team Zombillies)
Memorable Scare - "The Barrel Toss" (Given by: Team Zombillies)
Most Challenging Maze - "The Maze of Mayhem" (Given by: Team Zombillies)
Actor Shout Out Award - Byron Kaminska, A.K.A. "The Devils Playground Master" (Given by: Team Zombillies)
Actor Shout Out Award - Caleb Glass, A.K.A. "The Devils Playground Taunter" (Given by: Team Zombillies)
Actor Shout Out Award - Matt Mateikat, A.K.A. "Madd Matt" (Given by: Team Zombillies)