Review of Haunted Overload Haunted Attraction

Review of Haunted Overload Haunted Attraction

Review of Haunted Overload Haunted Attraction

Haunted Overload

Haunted Overload is a Haunted Attraction located in Lee, NH.

20 Orchard Way, Lee, NH 03861
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Haunt Type(s):

1HauntedTrail

Links:

Haunted Overload Facebook PageHaunted Overload WebsiteHaunted Overload Twitter PageHaunted Overload on Instagram

Contact:

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Features:

Free Parking, Food/Concessions, Gift Shop/Souvenirs, You will NOT be touched, Original Characters, Uncovered Outdoor Waiting Line

Team Hallowoosh reviewed this Haunted Attraction on October 24, 2020.

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Final Score: 8.76

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Summary:

Every single year I have taken the journey to this incredible staple of Halloween. I am always insanely fortunate to arrive on what appears to be the absolute perfect fall weather day. Out of all the haunted attractions I regularly visit every year in New England, I have managed to experience all of them during a heatwave, frigid cold night, a thick fog, and of course in a downpour except one. One haunt year to year has always had the most perfect fall weather. Even the breeze flowing through the trees is slow and gentle, almost as if the wind was alive and smoothly welcoming me into the woods. The temperature never calls for a jacket but it’s a little too chilly for a simple t-shirt. After eleven years of coincidence, I am truly starting to believe there is a spirit in the air when I arrive, and it wants me to have the best experience as I walk through this majestic gallery of evil. And the same thing can be said about all the incredibly hard-working and dedicated cast and crew at the world-famous Haunted Overload!


Cast: 8.14

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One thing I’ve always liked about the cast at Haunted Overload is that only a few of them seem to have particular spots they are dedicated to. It feels like the majority of the cast have free range over an entire section of the attraction and it always makes this haunt feel a bit more real. While still scary and still someone I would want to keep my distance from (pandemic or not) they are hardly ever hiding behind something waiting to pop out. Most of the time they are walking around you as if they are scoping out all of the guests for their next victim. This makes the entire attraction feel like we are never on that one track path to escaping. Instead, we are always deep into the heart of this village of evil, and its residents don’t have to lunge out and grab because they already have you!

Haunted Overload always has an incredible mix of characters. Some are more obvious than others but they have become so traditional to the attraction people love seeing them every year. We can always count on seeing and hearing the banjo playing redneck in the little backwoods village. It’s always fun to see new guests think it’s just a soundtrack playing on a speaker. And then they enter the cabin where he is sitting and they realize it’s a real bloody mess of a guy playing a real banjo made out of a dead corpse! Sometimes if we’re lucky enough we happen to go through while he’s in the middle of one of his hit songs like “The Possum Song”. It’s a lovely tune about driving home and running over a big old possum for dinner. We weren’t so lucky this year but we still got to listen to his banjo tunes. They are always a blast to listen to no matter what he’s playing.

Other obvious themed characters are all the different clowns and freak show attractions under the circus tent. Characters that have been there for a number of years and always bring the place to life. We saw the bearded lady, the two-headed clown, the snake woman, the contortionist, even the hobo clown playing his washboard named Twinkie. They debuted a new character this year in the chapel. What seemed like an evil satanic priest with a giant black goat head. This was clearly a character meant for this building. But for almost everywhere else the characters could move around quite freely, interacting with the guests in different spots.

Probably our favorite character keeps getting us real good every year. A short but very quick scarecrow-type character with a slowly moving jaw filled with sharp teeth. He blends in with the setting perfectly like a stealthy chameleon making you think he’s just another prop in the display. And when we notice that there is some strange movement in his face we take a closer look. At about the same millisecond we realize its hungry teeth going up and down he suddenly springs to life and crawls towards us like an angry raccoon! And when he does we never have anywhere to go and no chance of escaping, our only hope is he’ll just move past and get everyone else behind us.

But the real spirit of the actors at Haunted Overload is that they all feel very unique and comfortable as more of a community rather than scare actors tucked away in their little scare spots. This very well could be the way a village of darkness actually looks if it were to exist. Evil demons and tortured souls lurking around instead of hiding. This is something I’ve always appreciated about the cast of Haunted Overload.


Costuming: 9.01

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If the authentic feeling of some kind of ungodly commune the cast produces isn’t enough to get you in the mood, I can guarantee their choices in wardrobe will! I’ve seen some crazy costumes and make-up during my travels but nowhere has ever felt more crazy than these lunatics. The dresses they wear, the masks, the make-up, even the shoes on most of them are all super authentic. And the way a lot of them move throughout the property all night long makes it seem like a sick and twisted fashion show. Much like the amazing sets they have built, the costumes are pieces you can spend a minute admiring. These are the kinds of outfits you would expect to see on a showroom floor of some kind of horror convention.

You don’t even need to take my word for it. One look at any of their end of the year group cast photos will tell you everything you need to know about their commitment. Most masks and costumes are custom made and can’t be found anywhere else. This was one of my first memories about Haunted Overload when I discovered them eleven years ago. They pride themselves very much on being as custom as they possibly can. Much has grown very rapidly since then and therefore I do occasionally see some masks that I’ve seen before but for the most part, everyone is unique. Even the ones I have seen before are filled in with an actor or actress that really claims that look and makes it an iconic character for Haunted Overload.

One of our favorite costumed characters is Luci, the demon nun. Usually, we see her hanging out somewhere near or inside the church. Imagine a nun crying blood from her all-black eyes and a upside down cross carved into her forehead. She also has a bloody white facemask to match her pale face and blood soaked tears running down. Big curved horns like a ram are growing out of the sides of her head. And a nice fresh human heart in her hands ready for a satanic ritual. The costume and make-up are awesome enough but she does a great job displaying herself like a living piece of unholy artwork. Just basking in the red light all around her embracing her one true God of evil. It’s always hard to imagine she’s actually just an actress.

We loved running into one of their newest characters, Taloula. She typically roams around the queue area entertaining and scaring all the future victims. Her signature piece is an insane looking gas mask with a small glass window exposing the teeth inside. The teeth are illuminated by an orange light. Matted hair and a dirty old fashion dress with painted veins on her shoulders and face lead me to think this may be the ghost of a woman who was strangled to death many years ago, possibly due to this gasmask she still wears. This year we were surprised to see her costume upgraded into what looks like that same Taloula but possessed by another demon! The iconic gasmask is still there and for good reason this year. But now she has grown horns out of the top of her head covered by a silky scarlet red hood almost. Long twisted braids of hair reach far out from either side of her head and dangle down like some type of voodoo witch. Her hands have grown claws and she clacks them together when she walks by. Her dress looks like it’s made of human flesh stitched together! It’s an incredible costume and a real sentiment toward what these haunted grounds can do even to souls already tortured.

Everyone was wearing a facemask that reflected their character perfectly and they were the most customized and appropriate face masks I’ve seen all year. One actress had a facemask that looked like it was made out of a thick layer of pumpkin skin, and jagged monster teeth were poking through! A clown looked like he was ready for some kind of mad max style battle with shoulder pads; his facemask was a customized gasmask with little spikes around the nose and neon painted filters. A crazy dentist character was trying to extract the teeth out of all the guests and he was wearing a full white pandemic plague mask. Hardly anyone was just wearing a regular facemask, everyone was very committed to their character’s look and it has been a Haunted Overload symbol of pride for years!


Customer Service: 8.24

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Haunted Overload takes place at DeMerrit Hill Apple Orchard Farm which sits on the side of a long dark road. Every year they always have a police cruiser with their lights turned on right on the other side of the road to mark exactly where the entrance is. Once we drove inside, there were plenty of parking lot attendants guiding us right to where they needed us to go. I think this year they actually parked everyone at an angle to help everyone get out when they needed to.

Many new guests might naturally assume that tickets are sold or checked in at DeMerrit’s bakeshop which sits right in front of the parking lot. Unlike many haunted attractions or any attraction, the ticket booth is actually inside the attraction itself. Haunted Overload has arguably the best waiting line for guests in the entire industry. Before even getting to the ticket booth, set up to look like an old witch’s cabin, guests are treated to an amazing display of giant wooden creatures, fog, lights, and roaming characters. It’s like getting to watch the first twenty minutes of a great movie for free!

This year they have taken extra precautions for COVID safety. The waiting line can pile up very fast at this attraction, so they have extended it all the way into the back of the property. Corn stalks are planted every 6 feet to help people stay socially distant. Inside the attraction, they have placed a small grim reaper type prop with a tiny candle to help guide everyone through. Hand sanitizing stations are set up throughout the attraction and everyone is required to wear a mask. Temperatures are taken before anyone enters the waiting line.

Right before they started letting people into the waiting line, one of the actresses did something I wish most haunted attractions would do. She addressed everyone waiting outside by welcoming them and telling everyone to stay distant “if you are going too slow then move aside and let the people behind you move past, if you are going too fast then pass the people in front of you”. Normal guests might not realize how much of an issue this is when an entire cluster of people get backed up because one person in front forgot how to walk. Haunted Overload’s trail is much wider than most trails and very few areas are narrow, so there is plenty of room to get around a slow group. In no way is this encouraging guests to run through or to be rude to other guests, but it is the best way they have to ensure everyone has a good time.


Atmosphere: 9.36

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The first thing we notice when we get out of our vehicle is the amazing aroma of hot cider and fresh cider donuts billowing from the bakeshop. Although the bakeshop is not something that Haunted Overload provides themselves, it is just an awesome fall time bonus. And for some reason, it’s always perfect hot cider weather.

Last year Haunted Overload made some awesome looking reaper statues out of branches and black cloth. They were placed right at the beginning of the waiting line, so they greeted everyone as they walked in. This year, they took them all down and still made them the welcoming committee at the beginning of the woods trail in the back. But now they are all closer together and looking like a gang of reapers out to swallow us all. The lights beaming off their painted faces and casting shadows up into the trees. This is the first taste of the magic that this attraction offers. Soon enough we were walking through the mouths of giant wooden demon heads filled with bloody skeletons and portals into a new world of horror!


Special Effects: 9.31

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While Haunted Overload is famously known for their massive structures and awesome lighting, I’ve come to appreciate their sound design more and more every year. Probably the first thing we noticed about the haunt when we arrived was all the different sounds come from the woods. The speakers had just turned on and we could hear what I can only describe as all the horrible sounds of nature. An owl hooting, a wolf howl, a coyote growl, a chilling wind (even though that could have been real). There is no music other than the banjo player, but everything feels super real when it comes to the sound. Sometimes the noise is of a disorienting nature with certain types of hums bouncing off the walls. And it is just loud enough that it can only be heard right where they want you to hear it. It doesn’t overlap into the other areas to ruin any of their ambiance.

The first effect we see going into the attraction is a long green laser vortex that we had to walk into. This vortex sits in the mouth of another giant wooden demon head which is a sight to see on its own without the green lights and fog. As we got closer and closer to the source of the green light walking through a tunnel of fog, a creepy skeleton hand came up into the fog tunnel and pointed to the other side directing us where to go. We turn to our right and out of the fog tunnel and enter the strange and dark world of Haunted Overload.

One detail I really find interesting is inside their new chapel set. The set itself is incredible with these new dark soul monk statues all over the place and the real birch trees growing through the roof from the inside. Throw in a great character like Luci and this new satanic goat priest who summons some sort of smoky blast from his podium and now this is one of the best sets in the entire attraction. But on the sides of this chapel, much like how a regular church might have, is stained glass window art and they have simple yet super creepy planks of wood with red lights behind them. And on each plank, it is as if a demon with powerful claws scratched out different faces and let that light beam through like a jack-o-lantern. Right where their foreheads would be is an inverted cross. But each of these faces also resembles many of the giant wooden demon heads that we encounter and walkthrough on the trail of Haunted Overload. It is almost as if these heads are being praised like ancient Gods in this church. To me, it feels as if we are getting closer and closer to discovering what could possibly be happening here.


Theme: 8.81

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When we enter Haunted Overload there is really nothing that explains any type of story as to why this strange little village in the woods exists. And even walking through the village there is absolutely nothing that gives a hint of anything. Except maybe, and it’s a big maybe, this church with their carved-out planks looking like the giant wooden demons. However, it has recently come to my attention that there actually is a story to Haunted Overload which provides a little bit of an explanation for this crazy place.

Long ago this area was a quiet and peaceful farming town that didn’t care much for strangers and the outside world. One late October day a tall figure in a dark hooded cloak arrived at the only place in town he could get a meal. When the bartender approached it and looked to see its face buried deep inside this hood the bartender shook in fear and knocked a few of his glasses down when he jumped back. The townspeople inside rushed to grapple the tall figure and they dragged it outside to the hanging tree. They stood it up on a barrel and threw a noose around its neck. What happened next has plagued the town ever since. The executioner kicked the barrel out from underneath… and the figure floated in place. While all the townspeople were now horrified and scared for their lives, a terrible lightning storm came out of nowhere. The figure started chanting in a language and a voice unheard of. A powerful bolt of lightning came crashing down onto the cloaked figure and suddenly the storm vanished as if everyone had just woken up from an awful dream. The figure was gone. The hanging tree grew out over a large rock where the barrel stands before it is kicked out. And right where the figure was to be hung were now two distinct hoof prints in the stone. Ever since then the town has changed. Either by curse or disease or unknown creatures emerging from the woods. Almost all who come to the town are consumed by it and forced to stay forever.


Scare Factor: 8.3

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Haunted Overload is well known to be a spectacle in the Haunted Attraction community. People from all over the world travel to this little town in New Hampshire to see this incredible rustic horror art display. And it seems that people quickly forget this place was made to induce fear. They show up and look up like they are watching fireworks but then realize they are surrounded by the dead!

As beautiful as I know this amazing haunted attraction is, I too forget that it is designed to put me in a state of unease. And it does it very very well every year. Unlike practically every single other attraction I have been too, Haunted Overload doesn’t rely on pop-out scares at all. There aren’t any monsters waiting around the corner and they certainly are not trying to chase you out. Instead, everything is focused on making me believe I am really inside a different world. I’ve claimed in the past that walking into Haunted Overload is like walking into the woods of a world made by the terrifying Spirit of Halloween. It is one of the few places where I can walk into the center of it all, close my eyes, reach my arms out, take a deep breath, and really feel a spirit. Many of the other guests feel it too when they go through, they just aren’t always thinking about it.

Every year it seems there are more and more propped up bodies than I have ever seen. Sometimes they are standing right next to me at the moment I realize they are there, sometimes I walk around a corner and find a small army of them that I have to walk through. Some are hanging above me, some are trapped in from roots growing around them. And all of them are… not obviously fake! Every single one of them can easily be an actor standing very still and waiting till I get just close enough. Sometimes I’ll be focused on the only one I see as I inch towards it, and halfway there I realize there’s another one practically whispering in my ear. It only takes me a second to get spooked, calm down, laugh it off, and continue walking… Oh, wait, that one I was focusing on before is now right in my face! This happens multiple times on the trail through Haunted Overload. The sounds and the lights and the giant sets and awesome actors all play an incredible role in making these lifeless things come to life. They wouldn’t be able to do it on their own. And that is why the spirit of this place feels like a community.


Entertainment & Value: 8.99

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Tickets to Haunted Overload this year were $27. There was a $5 upcharge if you needed to purchase the tickets on-site at the DeMerrit Hill farm store. This year we made it all the way through in about 26 minutes. Giving Haunted Overload a Minutes per dollar rating of .96 which is just on the threshold of one dollar for each minute. This is still not that bad when it comes to haunted attractions. However, I am not taking into consideration the extra haunt that we get to go through leading up to the actual payable moment of the attraction. Technically, we practically get a four-minute attraction for free, and that’s if we are just walking through regularly. But the reality is that we are in a waiting line that is moving very well and there’s plenty of sights to see and an almost infinite amount of photo opportunities all over the place! Great actors entertain the line too, sometimes they even have a headless horseman and a real horse! If I were to include the waiting line as part of the attraction because we have never ever been bored in this line, I could easily add on much more time!

The bottom line is Haunted Overload is an amazing experience that even Haunted House haters can enjoy. They are the only haunt I have ever heard about that has a daytime schedule for kids and families or even just people looking to wander through and marvel at the awesome structures in the sunlight. Their daytime schedule is also just as many days as their nighttime shows!

There aren’t many haunts that are as welcoming as Haunted Overload and I always feel like they really want me to experience the best they have to offer. The spirit of the place is what keeps me coming back every year. And the spirit is made by the awesome cast and crew that work tirelessly all year long to build this amazing show. And after so many years I can say the spirit is also made by these perfect, natural New England elements. They come together and make the most amazing autumn experience with the colors and the breeze and the true feeling of being lost in this little tucked-away village in New Hampshire. No October will ever be complete again without a visit to the remarkable Haunted Overload!


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Guest Reviews
Guest Average: 10 out of 10

Carol Salemi – 10/10 – October 28, 2017
This place has to be seen to be believed. Between the giant woodsy sculptured characters and the …show more amazing sets it is a breathtaking site. It has the most beautiful artistic lighting effects I have seen anywhere. The handmade props, wonderful costumes and creative makeup add finishing touches to all the characters that inhabit this scary place. PS- I am one of those actors that has worked for over 20 years at several haunts across the country and give up the paid gigs to volunteer here because it feeds the need to be both scary and artsy while having fun with your fright family.

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