Black Orchard Haunted House – Full Review

Black Orchard Haunted House is a Haunted Attraction located in Shelbyville, KY.

704 Kentucky Street, Shelbyville, KY 40065
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Free Parking, Gift Shop/Souvenirs, Special Events, You may be touched, Original Characters, Uncovered Outdoor Waiting Line, Indoor/Outdoor Attraction

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This attraction was reviewed on September 22, 2018 by Team Zombillies.

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Final Score: 8.77

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Black Orchard haunted house, now in its 2nd season of operation, is located in a real barn just outside of Shelbyville, Kentucky. For being such a newcomer to the Louisville haunt scene, these guys are on a roll! There are people missing right and left and the Black family’s meat market is the prime suspect for a cover-up.

If you were here last year, the place has been completely renovated and cranked up to 10! They’ve packed just about as many frights as they can into this innocent-looking white barn, and the tight scenes filled with voracious actors will destroy your personal space bubble. (Just for clarity, Black Orchard is a ‘no-touch’ haunt). Also new for 2018 is the ‘Vultures Nest’… an interesting design / layout for the haunt’s final scene.

Don’t try to hide; they will find you. Don’t try to run, neither; they will catch you. Still curious? Come find out ‘what’s in the barn’ at Black Orchard Haunted House…

Cast: 8.84

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Management informed us that, on a typical night, they usually have between 35 and 40 paid actors, which is a lot for this size of a haunt. Judging by how many villains and victims we saw during our walkthrough, we’d say that number probably includes a few of their staff members and roaming actors as well. But, there WERE a lot of actors inside the haunt during our visit.

Each of them were very much into their roles and had great dialogue for the theme and their characters. Some called us ‘meat’ and wanted to make a meal out of us, others wanted to play with our skin, and another crazy guy sang ‘POP goes the vic-tim!’ Even the victims were pretty darn believable themselves, which seems to be a rare trait, these days.

The butcher in the first scene was undoubtedly one of our favorites. His boisterous personality was eerily welcoming; openly showing us his selection of meats and giving us the tour of his shop was a sure sign that he shouldn’t be trusted! We also found some very large chickens, a masked guy who was marinating his victims (and us), a couple of sly skin seamstresses, and a countless number of beings that wanted to harm us in one way or another.

Costuming: 9.41

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The costumes that we saw in the Black family barn were immaculate for this crew. While not the most elaborate outfits we’ve ever seen, just enough blood and grime was applied to make them look very realistic and, ironically enough, ‘at home’ in their scenes. Details extended down as far as grungy skin, tattered clothing, colored contact lenses and tooth decay. The only exceptions to this were the victims, who mostly wore plain street clothes. Though simple, this really drove home the concept of being freshly nabbed and stowed away for ‘safe keeping.’ The masks were also of excellent quality and made the characters wearing them look more aggressive. It even appeared that some of them were recently scalped from animals’ bodies!

Customer Service: 9.59

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First thing’s first’ Black Orchard Haunted House is located at Red Orchard Park. When we typed ‘Black Orchard’ into our Google GPS, it was pretty confused for some reason. However, it knew exactly how to get to ‘Red Orchard Park.’ (This is also the address used on Black Orchard’s website.) Set your sights to there and you should be just fine.

Once we arrived, a flagger greeted us and showed us where to park. They then made sure we knew which barn the haunt was in (there are 2 on the property). The parking lot is in a dark, grassy field, so use caution on your way down to the barn. As we got closer to the haunt, a mowed walkway lined by solar lights guided us to the ticket booth. Navigating the remainder of the property was very easy and the queue lines were roped off well.

One of the first things we spotted was a white tent where tickets, snacks, drinks, merchandise and more could be purchased. Friendly staff were found roaming outside the barn and at the door before we went in, just in case any questions were to arise.

Atmosphere: 8.68

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At first, the barn looks like’ well… a regular barn. But as we walked closer, we noticed a privacy fence with wooden crosses poking out above it. On top of that, there were a few queue entertainers that helped reinforce the mood of a haunted house, along with the loud, hard rock music that was playing outside and the ‘Black Orchard Haunted House’ banner hanging on the wall.

What really got us going were the fleeing victims running out of the privacy fence with two chainsaw attackers in tow! One of them was a pretty mean-looking female (the chainsaw slinger), so we don’t recommend messing with her too much. Right before we entered, we were introduced to Grandma, who was sitting in her rocking chair outside the front door. She was arguing and bickering with the other outside characters just like you’d expect from a stereotypical ‘Get off my lawn’ old lady!

Special Effects: 8.96

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We aren’t really sure if there were any special effects in use here… because everything looked about as legit as it gets! There were intestines hanging up that were still shimmering from the fresh blood on them, vintage decor, some unexplainable sounds, personal belongings of the missing, rats crawling on the walls of the chicken coop… we swear one of those things had a head that was bigger than ours!

The scenes made it obvious that a lot of death and destruction was going on here. Too, as would be typical with a human-slaughtering workshop, spilled and splattered blood was plentiful. One of the only downsides was that some of the scenes were a bit small’ probably in an effort to fit more of them into the (relatively-speaking) small building. But, this feature pays dividends in the Scare Factor category (below)! The pure-white lattice seemed strange at first too, then we figured out why as we got closer to the exit. We’ll let you figure that one out on your own. Aside from those cases, the old equipment, aged wood and nasty tools and appliances made it evident that the Black family had been at their mischievous endeavours for quite some time.

One of our favorite effects is the flashbulb room (though, in our opinion, it could stand to be just a tad darker in there to really pull off the full effect). We won’t ruin the surprise, but it’ll really make you wish you had some night vision’ or maybe not! Effective sounds are used throughout the haunt as well, ranging from the loud whirr of a circular saw blade to a dull, demonic roar that served as the perfect backdrop for such sinister settings. Other notable scenes and effects include the meat market, a particularly ‘sparky’ tool, the slanted door, ‘missing’ (person) posters on the wall, hanging bodies, a deceiving menu surprise, and the sliding table that’s used for marinating fresh victims.

PS: If you see any familiar faces on the ‘missing’ posters, let us know 😉

Theme: 9.1

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The Legend of Black Orchard’ can be found on their website, but here are the basics:

First of all, they say this story is based on real events. Supposedly, this barn is the brutal murder site of the infamous Black Orchard Murders. Silas Black and his whole family of killers – including Ethyl Black, his elderly mother – lived on the property at one time. In 2015, police were getting repetitive complaints of screaming, a wood chipper running late at night and gunshots coming from the premises. Eventually, they decided to investigate. After breaking down the front door, they stumbled upon quite a gruesome scene. Dead bodies, women’s purses, and body parts in mason jars were just some of the horrific things that they discovered. To this day, no member of the Black family has been apprehended.

Police continued the investigation to the barn and the slaughterhouse. Their investigation led them to believing that the Black family had been feeding their kills to their hogs! The FBI leaked that they did find a secret room in the barn, but the pages documenting what they found inside have been classified! Although the Black family remains at large, some believe they’ve returned to Black Orchard.

The theming for the haunt is evident as soon as you step foot on the property. The family’s grandmother greeted us at the front door and we quickly realized that Black Orchard Meats was up and running. That means’ yep’ they are feeding those hogs again! Everything that we came across within the barn matched this intuitive theme or was somehow related to a slaughterhouse, including the ‘secret door.’

Scare Factor: 8.83

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What’s in the barn,’ they asked? Some sketchy and scary sh!t, that’s what’s in there! We had to do a lot of finagling just to keep from becoming the next hog meal. This barn sure isn’t the biggest haunt that we go to, but it does pack a punch… or at least a shovel to the head…

We fell victim to some great hiding spots that were totally unexpected! They were very good at using distractions, as well as focusing our attention at one thing and scaring us from the same direction. In SFX (above) we mentioned that the scenes here are a little bit smaller than usual. However, this forces the scares to be more up-close and personal, so it’s gonna be REALLY tough to get away from these guys once they get you good ‘n scared.

At first, the monsters may seem very friendly, but we discovered that they’re only putting on a show for the darker, more sinister things that you will face as you make your way through. We also came across sparks, cannibalism, other acts of violence, and we were threatened with multiple weapons, including the ones that they chased us with! Even the walls in this place tried to cut us apart! Seriously’ trust nothing.

Entertainment & Value: 7.2

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General admission to visit the Black family will cost you $20.00 per person (plus tax) and possibly some blood too! Fastlane upgrades can be purchased for $10.00 more (plus tax). It took us 8-1/2 minutes to escape the barn, bringing their MPD (minutes of entertainment per dollar spent) to 0.42. This is only about a third of what we see most often at other haunts in the region, meaning it’s quite a bit shorter than most, considering the ticket price. However, your tour time may differ, and ours was definitely action-packed from beginning to end!

On the night of our visit, they had a couple of characters entertaining the queue line as we waited. Pip and the evil bunny interacted with the crowd every chance they got. Again, we visited Black Orchard on a rainy night and, although we didn’t experience any other entertainment, the staff ensured us that they normally have a projector playing some old horror movies, as well as cornhole boards, giant Jenga, and one of their other actors named the ‘Toe Can Man.’ We’re told that he’ll be going around with a can of toes and having guests see if they can choose the correct one for a chance to win a prize’ and possibly a free upgrade to immediate access to the haunt!

At Black Orchard you can choose your level of fear. Although it isn’t recommended for younger children, their website states that if you are ever too scared, you can simply say, ‘Monster be good’ and their monsters will leave you alone. Nevertheless, we had a blast going through with the full experience, and highly recommend the haunt for thrill-seekers in the Louisville area! Whatever happens, we hope you don’t end up in a cage like so many others have…

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Past Awards

2019 Awards

Most Tormenting to Victims (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Most Twisted Haunt (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Most Unpredictable Scares (Given by: Team Zombillies)

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