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 20, 2017.
Final Score: 7.69
Remember back in the school days when you and your friends would take a trip to summer camp and how fun those trips used to be? Well, you can forget all about it because this is no ordinary camp! Camp Angst has gone haywire and the staff there will do anything in their power to ensure you’re having everything but fun.
Horror Hike is full of energetic monsters and the trail stretches through about half a mile of wooded terrain. The path has been re-routed a bit since last season due to some neighboring construction work, but returning guests will still see some familiar scenes and quite a few new ones! The monsters CAN touch you here… they WILL cuss at you… and they MIGHT just try to blow your brains out while they’re at it! Just ask the killer bunny that’s “trying to get your a$$ killed.”
We noticed about 30 or so cast members on the night of our visit, which left the trail a little bit thin on actors. However, most of the scenes have multiple monsters in them to give you an onslaught of scares as you pass through. The maze had a few random fiends and a chainsaw slinger, while the trail contained a combination of everything from nurses and counselors to cross-dressing hillbillies and gun-toting psychopaths.
“Killer Bunny” remains one of our favorites at Horror Hike, if for no other reason than giving us the rules with his own hilarious – and slightly twisted – sense of furry humor. He then sent us off to the nurse’s station after suspecting us of having “bugs,” which we later discovered is a matter that the nurse doesn’t take lightly. The camper she had in her station had been completely scalped! Fortunately, she found us to be clean and let us go… but not without making us touch her not-so-lucky patient’s brain matter! Along the rest of the trail, we encountered several other unique and highly-intense characters, including a female chainsaw assailant (which is rare), a camouflaged attacker, another chainsaw-slinger that zipped over our heads (yes, on a zipline) and a barrel-tossing brute, just to name a few.
Dialogue quality varied quite a bit during our trek this year. Ranging from generic “AHH’s” and “I’m gonna get you’s” to in-depth, character-related scripts, we never really knew what to expect out of the next actors we were going to cross paths with. The two biggest stand-outs for this were the nurse (described above) and one particular fellow who was an exceptionally-excitable psycho in “the cage” area. He welcomed us by stomping all over the woven-wire ceiling above us, hysterically laughing while gasping for air – somehow at the same time – and inviting us to play a game. He then let out a demonic scream of warning that we’d have a 10-second head start before he’d be “…[cutting our] damn tongues off!” Yes… quite the excitable chap, he was.
If you’ve never been to Horror Hike, you might not know what to expect when the first character you see on the trail is Killer Bunny. Accepting that his looks (while memorable) had absolutely nothing to do with the theme, it’s possible to continue on through the haunt and find the rest of the dirty, bloody and grungy campers and staff without too much inconsistency.
The victim with the exposed brain had by far the best makeup application on the trail. Her nurse (ish) assailant was fittingly bloodified in a scrub shirt and even made us touch the squishy/bloody thought organ (which was “thoughtful” of her, to say the least)! Each of the other costumes we found fit their scenes, though none were overly customized beyond worn, tattered or bloodied-up street clothes. A couple of ghillie-suits were present on the trail, which always seems to make good use of the darkness and makes it where an actor can spring out of the most unsuspecting places.
Several of the queue line entertainers we saw were also completely and believably dressed, which only made their characters that much more deranged.
Customer Service: 8.31
A medium-sized “Horror Hike” sign and an equally-adorned semi trailer are easily visible next to the road, signifying the entrance to the haunt and letting you know you’ve arrived successfully. If you’re punching an address into your GPS, you can also search for Phantom Fireworks’ Lawrenceburg location and end up at the same place (at least if you’re using Google Maps). Free parking is available in a gravel lot that surrounds the aforementioned semi trailer and a portable restroom was spotted in the same area.
The ticket booth (at least for this year) is under a pop-up tent just outside of the “Camp Angst” entryway. Several friendly staff members were found there and watching over the queue area, along with the owner who was also in costume and roaming about with queue entertainers “Rev” and “Maddie.” Each of them did a great job at keeping the waiting area stirred up and they even had US grossed out on several occasions! We noticed a pile of hula hoops next to a trash can here too… evidence of some wicked type of soul-capturing sorcery, no doubt.
Horror Hike is one of the few haunts we visit that doesn’t have a normal queue line. As soon as you get your tickets, you’re free to make your way through the maze at your own leisure and, once (or IF) you exit, your group will get a card with a number on it. At the entrance to the trail, a TV screen displays the number that shows which group’s turn is next. In other words, when your group’s number is on the screen, it’s your turn to go through. We think this system is great because, combined with the warm fire pit, nearby seating and concessions, it really cuts down on the amount of standing time. In contrast, we did happen to witness a slight hiccup in the system when one of the groups walked out and waited their turn in their car… which was not within sight range of the TV screen. This caused quite an unnecessary delay between groups that wasn’t the haunt’s fault… although, seating was somewhat limited. So if you visit Horror Hike this season, do us all a favor and keep track of when it’s your group’s turn to start the trail.
Upon pulling into Horror Hike this may not look like much of a camp, but that changes as you near the maze. During our visit, the several queue line entertainers were doing a good job of pre-scaring before guests entered. One read our palms while another showed us this black gook oozing out of her mouth, which helped prepare us a bit for the horrors that lay ahead. Multiple camp signs, a swing set and Camp Angst t-shirts reinforced that we were at camp.
As we waited to enter, gunfire and screams were coming from within the forest. Nobody really wants to enter a dark path to get shot at, do they? That said, these sounds helped make us a bit apprehensive about entering… which is good for a haunted house, right?
Special Effects: 7.16
Horror Hike is what we would call an “old-school” haunt, meaning they don’t have a lot of (or any, for that matter) fancy special effects and pneumatic props. Instead, they get a little more “resourceful” with what they have to work with to give you some unique surprises of their own.
For starters, the maze itself is actually quite difficult in design. Rather than being a fairly linear path with a few dead ends, this is actually a true maze that’s made of see-through fencing, lit with strobes and filled with fog for a totally confusing setup. In fact, we have tried it several years in a row and we still can’t find our way out of it very quickly! However, other than the aforementioned effects and some low-level soundtracks that were only heard closest to the entrance, there wasn’t anything really “special” going on in this area.
On the trail we came across a much wider variety of effects that all seemed to work well with the camp theme. Wooden buildings, a swaying bridge, appropriate camp signs, bloody sheets, colored lighting, tombstones, a barrel surprise and a claustrophobic tunnel that’s cleverly incorporated into a mine shaft are some of the things you may come across. We were also realistically shot at, which is an effect we don’t see very often and you must witness for yourselves! It even had us wincing in fear that we might actually get shot! I mean, it’s a real shotgun that’s shooting blank rounds, so don’t say we didn’t warn you. Just be careful not to run off the path, on a serious note (you might end up on the interstate if you venture WAY off into the thickets). Another returning favorite is what we’ve dubbed “the barrel toss.” We’ve all seen the metal shelving that tilts and a handful of barrels start slowly rolling towards you, only to stop at the last minute with a sudden burst of metallic clanging sounds. This one actually involves a guy that’s perched up on the hill – only a few feet away from the trail, we might add – and he literally throws a 55-gallon barrel at your head! Again… it’s something you’ve just gotta see for yourselves to get the all-too-real “Holy cow, he just threw a barrel at me!” sensation.
Between the chainsaws, barrels and gunshots, it was actually pretty quiet in many parts of the woods. But, there were some sounds that were quite unsettling near the back of the property. One of our team members was actually wondering if they were recorded sounds or not! These were in one area of the trail where it is rather empty, so in an attempt to make up for that, there are speakers set up for a very nice surround sound effect.
Welcome to Camp Angst where a killer bunny will tell you the basics of the theme and explain how he was just eating a carrot one day and how this crazy guy Smythe just decided to go crazy and “boom!” he tried to blow everyone and everything up! Although the full story can be found on their website, we are going to quote a piece of our theme from last season to give you an idea of the gruesomeness going on here:
“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.”
This year, additional camp-related signs were added along the trail, which made it a bit more obvious that we were at a camp this season. We also walked through buildings that you would expect to see at a camp, including a bath house and nurses station. We saw many signs that referred to areas that don’t exist quite yet, so we are looking forward to seeing how many of these may end up getting incorporated into the trail.
Fright Effect: 7.75
If you decide to test your guessing skills in the maze like we did, be prepared to feel trapped. Not only will you feel trapped though, you will possibly be accompanied by a killer with a chainsaw and other energetic freaks set on driving you crazy and cutting you to pieces while you helplessly try to find your way out of their domain.
If you are looking for more scares, they can be found on the trail. First we would like to warn you, again, they CAN touch you here! We have another one too… are you ready for this one? They use REAL weapons here! We know this for sure because we could hear the real metal as they banged on things and we watched several axes get plunged into the sides of trees and they stuck! Now that you’re aware they might try to kill you for entering their camp, we can continue on to the other types of frights.
You just never know when your natural-looking surroundings may spring to life. Good hiding spots within the foliage and timbers caught us off-guard several times. Sometimes these things may latch onto you too! We were shot at multiple times and, let us tell you, when you hear a crazy hillbilly pumping his shotgun near you, that alone is enough to make your skin crawl! Other fright techniques we came across include a tight and very dark tunnel, an additional entrapment, creepy sounds and they even split us up at one point!
If they didn’t scare you here they were determined to at least make you feel uncomfortable too. They tried to give us a swirly at one point in a toilet full of water and, when one of us declined, we got that water rubbed all over our face! They also flung something else on us and warned us that we needed to run or we were going to lose some of our body parts! Multiple chainsaw assaults also existed, as well as a run-in with a different 2-cycle-powered weapon. Just when you think the chainsaw assaults are all on the ground, this trail will prove you wrong! Let’s just say they aren’t kidding when they say they want your heads here!
There are several different ticketing options at Horror Hike. If you like wandering around in mazes and getting scared a little, then maze tickets can be purchased for just $5.00. But if you want to go all in and get scared even more, combo tickets for the trail and maze can be purchased for $16.00 (which is an increase from last season). Although we are terrible at mazes, our group chose the combo ticket option. We spent about 15 minutes lost in the maze and another 23 minutes trying to escape the camp, which brings the overall time to 38 minutes! That puts their MPD (minutes of entertainment per dollar spent) at 2.38 which is one of the highest we’ve seen this season and well over the average of 1.5 that we see most often!
For those who have plenty of time and want to go through again, there is also a $5.00 re-entry option. Even if you don’t like mazes and want to skip that part, the general admission price for just the trail is still a good value. Horror Hike is an all-outdoor attraction that may close in inclement weather, so be sure you check that they’re open before heading their way. We had a great time during our visit and even got scared on multiple occasions! There are some interesting ideas to see here, so if you are in the area and looking for a longer, outdoor fright, be sure to stop in and check out Horror Hike and Maze of Mayhem! Oh, and tell Killer Bunny that The Scare Factor sent ya!
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)