Team Zombillies reviewed this attraction on October 6, 2017.
Final Score: 8.37
The House of Trepidation returns for its 3rd season for 2017 and offers guests 3 indoor attractions for a single price. Each will take you on a different chapter of ‘Doctor Belle’s’ story’
Start off the night with a tour through the Doctor’s magnificent mansion. But tread lightly; you wouldn’t want to disturb the spirits of mistreated patients that are still trapped within these wicked walls! Next, explore the examination rooms of Belle’s medical office, ‘Crossroads of Carnage,’ where many experimental (and dare we say ‘shady’) procedures have taken place. Though, you should be warned that nobody’s exams have ever been’ successfully’ concluded! On that note, your final leg of the journey will be through ‘Purgatory.’ Wander along with the other lost souls of Dr. Belle’s patients in a dark, surreal and eternal damnation filled with many fears!
This attraction offers a good selection of detailed scenes, a creative theme and lots of characters that keep the scares flowing from haunt to haunt. Be prepared for a spookily-fun-filled night while visiting House of Trepidation!
Things were off to a good start when we entered the queue line and met Veronica, the gatekeeper to the building and ‘Central Scare Park.’ She, along with the queue entertainers inside stayed very much in character and really helped us get into the theme. The actress who let us into the first haunt was hands-down the best performer of the evening, delivering the introduction story with incredible enthusiasm! Closely behind her was the butler in the next scene who introduced us to a ‘lively’ photo of Miss Elizabeth Belle. The rest of the characters in the House used character-related dialogue as we made our way to Crossroads of Carnage, but some of it included generic phrases like ‘get out,’ screams and repetitive demands for our blood.
Most of the actors in the second haunt were very much in tune with the theme, either making references to our sickness or warning us of meeting Doctor Belle (though, we’re not sure we ever did). The surgeon with frizzy hair, Dr. Belle’s lab assistant, the guy chained up in the crematory and the nurse/patient duo in the opening scenes did very well, really had us keeping an eye out for the (elusive) doctor and even interacted with us, on occasion.
The characters in Purgatory were a bit more random in nature since there are all sorts of lost souls wandering around in the incessant abyss. It seemed we were, in theory, past the point of meeting our fate with Dr. Belle, so performances varied quite a bit from scene to scene and there wasn’t as much continuity as we saw in the other two haunts; only one made a reference to being stuck in Purgatory. The duo in the doll room were believable and stayed in character well, then another actor later on referred to the haunted house that we were walking in (which sort of defeated the suspension of disbelief). Aside from that, the rest of the cast in this last part just didn’t seem to have as much enthusiasm as those we found in the first two haunts.
The costumes throughout each of the three attractions seemed to be mostly made of authentic articles that have been customized for the characters here at House of Trepidation. Each has been given its own layer of ‘age,’ blood or filth to help them match their respective scenes and those who weren’t wearing masks had good makeup and/or wounds for more of a dramatic effect.
The residents of the House – both living and dead – as well as the medical staff in Crossroads looked like they belonged in the rooms we found them in. We saw monsters in closets, cooks in kitchens, victorian-style dresses, a couple of realistic ‘trophies’ and the occasional black cloak in the first attraction, then medical masks, lab coats, surgeon scrubs and tattered street clothes (on patients) before finally ending up in Purgatory. There, the dolls and clown stood out as being some of the most believable. Though many of the masks we saw seemed to be of good quality, most of them muffled the voices of the actors with speaking roles and some were simple, white or glow-in-the-dark models.
Customer Service: 9.19
Once you start getting closer to House of Trepidation, you’ll likely notice their spotlight circling upward into the night sky. We noticed a white ‘Haunted House’ sign at a nearby intersection and our GPS led us right to the entrance. There, we found multiple other signs and the haunt’s hearse out by the road, which confirmed we’d arrived at the right place!
Parking has been expanded this year and multiple flaggers are in place to help keep chaos to a minimum. A couple of portable restrooms are available, as well as several concession/vendor booths once you make your way closer to the ticket booth. Friendly and helpful staff members, including Veronica (the gatekeeper to the warehouse) can be found in this area too and can answer any questions that you may have. Don’t forget to grab some House of Trepidation swag before you leave!
Being located inside a once-abandoned warehouse, most of the flooring is very smooth and easily passable. There are some ‘creaky’ floors that have been added as special effects, but nothing detrimental to safety. Lastly, there is one area at the end of Purgatory where you must walk outside, so there is a slight bit of uneven ground with a potential for mud if there’s been a recent rain.
As the story goes, Dr. Belle has set up shop in an abandoned warehouse on the South side of Indianapolis. Upon pulling into the entrance, we passed their hearse, multiple signs and approached said structure, complete with HoT banners and a giant, wooden doorway. There wasn’t anything to stray us away from believing we were at the correct haunted house!
The atmosphere outside the building seemed to be a bit spookier this season, likely due to the sinister soundtrack that we heard before we even got out of the car and the addition of fog that was rolling down from the entrance. Multi-colored lights, the warehouse’s authentic exterior and the large wooden door helped to add a significant amount of ‘creep factor.’
Once inside, the overall atmosphere changed pretty drastically. Introduced as ‘Central Scare Park,’ this indoor queue area was darker, foggier and complete with a risen grave, gargoyles, large trees, more creepy music and a lot of other spooky decor. Combined with a massive facade to the House of Trepidation attraction and the lady’s introduction skit, we were primed and ready for scares before we walked through yet another pair of large, wooden doors.
Special Effects: 8.29
Many of the effects used within HoT are authentic pieces and items we don’t see used in this form very often. A lot of them reiterated the theme, making it feel as if we weren’t in a haunt anymore.
Upon entering Dr. Belle’s home we quickly discovered holes in the walls exposing the corpsed bodies of many of his past victims. Things moved on their own including drawers, a bed and furniture. The floors creaked in the hallways much like an old house would. At one point what we thought was a lovely picture on the wall revealed a much darker side. A lot of sounds filled the air including ominous music, cries for help and the warnings of the trapped souls.
Many of the scenes in the first two sections showcased intricate details. In the last two sections we experienced additional scene-appropriate music including the realistic sounds from medical equipment. Strategic lighting was used to keep our focus where it needed to be at times. We also experienced a quick-moving and giant bat, a hidden passage, authentic lab materials, hazed areas, a giant jack-in-the-box, a large and eerily-illuminated doll house, a giant book, a partially-exposed coffin, many life-like decoys, a sagacious staircase, a couch surprise, a repeat of masks on the walls and much more!
HoT tries to make sure all of their guests are aware of what the particular theme is for each area before they enter and they did a good job of embracing the different parts of that throughout the haunts.
At the entrance to House of Trepidation, we were given a marvelous performance by an actress in combination with strategic, orchestrated effects that made for quite a theme introduction! We were so excited to continue our way through the house after this welcoming show. Of course, this house is the dwelling of Dr. Belle and, through his medical malpractice on his patients, many didn’t survive and he has buried them all within the walls of his own house to avoid confrontations with the police! At first, this may seem like a normal house to many, but the reinforcement of the souls trapped within will quickly let you know this is not a typical house.
In Crossroads of Carnage, we began in the waiting room where we crossed paths with a nurse and a very sick patient. As we continued our tour, fearing our imminent encounter with the doctor with each step that we took, the medical workers we came across kept referring to him many times. Not only did this reiterate the theme, but it continued to increase our fear of encountering the precarious practitioner as we started to realize he may not be a very experienced… or friendly’ doctor at all.
In Purgatory, we were informed that we had succumbed to Dr. Belle’s wrath and were about to face our many fears and those of the rest of his previous victims. A large variety of differently-themed rooms were encountered here and we must say that Belle must’ve had a lot of victims, as there were many things to be afraid of in here!
Fright Effect: 7.46
HoT offers some clever approaches to delivering frights. Some of their hiding spots were disguised so well, it was nearly impossible to predict their true identities. Though, some of the timing seemed to be a bit off and the first person in the group was targeted the most. We also fell victim to a handful of distractions that provided the greatest scares to our group, along with their acceptable ability at placing efficient decoys in numerous scenes. So at times, you never really know if what you are focused on might suddenly spring to life!
One of the most unique and powerful scares we came across included effective usage of fog and an actor. Without ruining the surprise, we’ll just say the actor had perfect timing! Nearly the entire time we made our way though Bell’s house, we were taunted by the souls trapped within the walls as they warned us of things to come.
Since Purgatory contains the fears of the doctor’s previous victims, that’s exactly what you will find in this section. From dark areas, a tight space, clowns, dolls and more, you never know which one of your fears may be patiently waiting to wreak havoc on you!
General admission to visit all three dimensions of Dr. Belle’s experiments at House of Trepidation will cost you $25 per person (which remains the same as last season). On busy nights when the lines are long, ‘skip the line’ passes are available for $30.00, which will grant you faster access to the doctor’s twisted mind. Other ticketing options are available as well including:
Unlimited access general admission (1 night): $35
Season Pass: $60
VIP (General admission with Limo): $379
House of Trepidation/Nightmare on Edgewood 2017 combination tickets: $35
Compared to last season, our tour time inside all of the haunts was almost 10 minutes longer. We listened to the trapped souls within the House’s walls for about 8 minutes, experienced crazies in Crossroads of Carnage for another 5 minutes and faced many fears in Purgatory for about 10 minutes. Including the final outdoor area, that brings the total tour time to about 24 minutes (not including the wait in between haunts). When considering general admission, that puts their MPD (minutes of entertainment per dollar spent) score at 0.96, which is still below – but closer to – the average of 1.5 that we see most often.
The Crew at HoT are always improving and adding to their attraction and we can’t wait to see what they come up with in future visits! The taunters within, good hiding spots and those who tell Dr. Belle’s story made this haunt really come to life. If you are looking for a haunt that offers a wide variety of original features, we recommend you give Trepidation a visit, you will be PERFECT for the doctor!