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This attraction was reviewed on October 5, 2018 by Team Zombillies.

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Final Score: 7.9

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There’s a new doctor in town that has a masters degree in medical malpractice. He goes by the name of Dr. Eugene Belle, and his wife and he have taken root inside a warehouse in Indianapolis, IN. This warehouse, now known as the House of Trepidation (HoT), is no ordinary building for storing boxes and such. Rather, it’s the current home and workplace for ‘Dr. Belle’s sinister clinic!’

Within HoT, there are three separate attractions, representing the three phases of Dr. Belle’s experiments. The first is the namesake House of Trepidation, where the doctor and his wife (Elizabeth) reside. The thing is, the death rate of the doctor’s experiments got so high that he started hiding the bodies inside the walls of his not-so-humble abode. As visitors pass through, it’s said that the spirits become restless!

The second phase is Crossroads of Carnage, the doctor’s medical facility where he conducted his experiments. Found between the House of Trepidation and Purgatory (the third attraction). Dr. Belle found this to be the perfect place to, at least initially, dispose of the many bodies and corpses that didn’t fare his malicious activities so well. The spirits of those poor souls are collected in the final attraction: Purgatory.

Each of the attractions were unique in their own ways and, we will warn you, if you come across Dr. Belle, it’s best to act as if you don’t see him; he gets very upset when people see things that they shouldn’t!

Cast: 7

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There were quite a few cast members in each of the attractions and, at times, there were up to three in a single room. This made it easy for them to play off one another and provide distractions. Many of them were set up for pop scares, where they would quickly reveal themselves, let out a ‘rawr’ and reset. Those that did vocalize with us a bit more elaborately proved to be the most believable and convincing of the journey.

Before we began, we could hear a man screaming and yelling. Come to find out, it was a human head mounted on the wall in the trophy room that continued to yell at us in a panicked voice, ‘I can’t find my body! I can still feel it sometimes – it burns!’ …Poor guy. Mary (known as Scary Mary) made the introduction to the Belle’s homestead one of the most enjoyable parts of the show.

The three actresses that we encountered before going in were very much in character as well as those at other entrances (Scary Mary, the nurse and the witch doctor). They were also some of the most believable during our tour, along with the doctor, his wheeled patient in his room, the coughing patient that was very upset about us getting to see the doctor before she did, and the mad scientist that couldn’t get his machines to work (all of whom were in Crossroads). Although, the girls in Purgatory who were asking if we’d seen their mom were a couple of stand-outs as well, adding a welcomed touch of surrealism to the final attraction.

Costuming: 7.03

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A wide range of costumes were utilized by the spirits in all three of HoT’s attractions. We noted several that were decked out in cleverly-customized outfits, including the lab coats and bloody wound prosthetics worn by the doctors and patients in Crossroads, as well as the taxidermied amphibian in the House. Other apparitions in the House, though, stayed more with the ‘lived-in’ look by wearing fairly normal clothes or all-black cloaks paired with random monster masks… too many for our taste, really. The more-generic looks seemed particularly concentrated in Purgatory, with one monster’s full-head mask being blatantly untucked.

Those that weren’t wearing masks had full-face makeup that pulled off the looks of ghostly, hollowed-out facial features and even some bloody eye sockets, on occasion. The finer details of the makeups were a bit blocky and more traditional, but other accessories like fake hair and nails or gloves helped add to some of their finishing touches.

Customer Service: 9.65

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Our GPS led us straight to the haunt with no issues at all. There was a flashing arrow sign across the road from the entrance and HoT’s customized hearse guarded the gates of the parking lot. The lot is free to use, well-lit, paved near the building and a flagger helped us find the easiest place to park.

The ticket booth and entrance are blatantly labeled, which made navigating the property a no-brainer. Friendly and hospitable staff members can be found there, at the entrance to each attraction (in costume), and roaming around everywhere else throughout the night in case you have any questions (mostly in security shirts). We even eavesdropped on a case where a girl didn’t want to go through when the rest of her group did, so the staff made accomodations for her to hang out in a safe place away from the crowd until her friends had finished going through the haunt.

Each of the haunts were very safe to get through as well, with very few trip hazards aside from the occasional ramp that’s built into the scene.

Atmosphere: 9.36

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The theme of the haunt explains how the story takes place in a large warehouse in Indianapolis and that’s exactly what this is! The well-decorated hearse by the road with lights, banners, signs and the decorated ‘House of Trepidation’ sign on the front of the building combined to let us know that this was where we would possibly meet Dr. Belle and his victims. There was fog and creepy music emanating from the building, rolling out into the parking lot, and a talkative spirit guarded the giant wooden front door. The ‘haunted house’ mood was already setting in before we’d even stepped foot inside the building!

On busier nights, several groups are escorted inside the building at a time, which is where ‘Central Scare Park’ is. This is the area outside of the Belle’s house and the immaculate detail here is actually quite impressive to look at – especially for being part of the queue line. Everything around us was decorated, making it seem as if we were really standing outside someone’s old deteriorating mansion. We just stood there, eyes and mouth wide open for a few seconds to take it all in… There was a lot of vegetation – some fake (the trees and netting overhead) and some real (like the grass on the lawn). We spotted several coffins, tombstones, a water fountain and an informational sign like you’d see in a museum or outside of a historic building. The flickering gas lights, skeletal horse-drawn carriage, fog, ominous music, and strategically-placed lighting helped create one of the most impressive facades we’ve seen to date. Thankfully, guests are allowed to take pictures of this area so they can share with their friends.

The other two attractions had their own facades as well, though none were as impressive as the first’s. Each were appropriately decorated to let you know what was to come in the attractions they guarded. The rule-givers were all appropriately costumed and in character too. Overall, the combination of all the awesomeness in the indoor queues made our review team very anxious to enter. Right before we went into the House, we could hear someone screaming from inside. His screams sounded as if he was in agony, so this added a bit of alarm to the overall vibe before entering.

Special Effects: 8.09

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As mentioned above, you will encounter many different effects and an extravagantly-detailed queue area before you are let inside. The effects at HoT consist of an assortment of old-school ideas, intricate details and a few more-high-tech surprises.

The variety of sounds chosen for these attractions matched the scenes we found them in. They were also pretty realistic and, at times, they added just the right amount of suspense within their respective scenes. Some of the life-like sounds we heard included the loud reverberations of an organ, strange creatures, mysterious hymns, a clown-styled ‘pop goes the weasel’ jingle, church bells, and some calming music in Purgatory that seemed to be doing the exact opposite! We would also like to note we could hear many of the scenes in Crossroads throughout that whole attraction and even parts of Purgatory. But, for the most part, it was demanding dialogue and screaming by the actors and other customers within. Though we’re inclined to believe this was supposed to add to the creepiness of the theme – being surrounded by thousands of tortured souls and all – its execution felt accidental. Furthermore, there was a booming audio system in the outdoor section of the last haunt that made us all turn our heads, but its source wasn’t hidden very well and took away from the suspension of disbelief.

The scenes themselves (that weren’t dark transition zones) were actually decorated really well. In the House, we found ourselves in obvious rooms of a home, a wine cellar, a suspicious closet and even an attic area filled with cluttered junk’ among other things that we wouldn’t dare reveal! It seemed like there were more of the aforementioned ‘transition zones’ than we typically see in a house-themed haunt, so they were a bit repetitive at times, but most of them still had their own hints of decor such as squeaky and squishy wooden floors, pictures on the walls and lots of skeletal remains stashed within decaying walls, as revealed by colored accent lights.

In Crossroads of Carnage, we entered the lobby area of a doctor’s office with vintage decor and medical certificates on the walls (each appropriately adorned by the name ‘Dr. Eugene Belle’), a laboratory, several exam rooms and even some all-out, dungeon-like torture areas. Purgatory had a larger, more diverse variety of rooms, such as the glowing mask room, areas full of wrapped up (presumably dead) bodies, a little girl’s playroom, a clown’s hideaway and more!

Overall, we feel that the house was the most authentically decorated of them all, but Crossroads came in as the closest runner-up. Other effects that contributed to bringing the scenes and theme to life include a giant creature that got very close to us, x-rays, air blasts, deteriorating walls with wood slats showing through, ominous lighting effects, ghostly pictures and furniture, crated critters, a trophy room, complete with a human head, and much much more!

Theme: 9

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Each section of HoT followed a certain era of Dr. Belle’s medical malpractice and experiments. Before entering, the rule-givers for each attraction gave us a very good idea of what we were about to face. The full story of Dr. Belle and his wife, as well as an introduction to each haunt, can be found on the haunt’s website.

Scary Mary was undoubtedly the best rule- / theme-giver of the night! Her delivery held true to the ethics of a classic haunted house, but her timing with the first room’s special effects, including the loud cracks and bright flickers of thunder and lightning, created what continues to be one of our favorite theme introductions of all time! When you enter the house, you are entering Dr. Belle and his wife, Elizabeth’s home. They have taken root in this large warehouse that offers both plenty of room for them to live and for the doctor to provide ‘comfort’ to his many patients. The House of Trepidation is full of said patients’ spirits. It is said that they are connected to Dr. Belle and have followed him here from his former residence. However, you may or may not always see them; they may only reveal themselves as whispers from within the walls of the house. Regardless, it’s best to tread lightly through the walls of this aging estate; the spirits here become restless when visitors pass through’ to which we can agree because, as we made our way through, there were many creatures that came out of hiding. Though, admittedly, we didn’t hear many of them trying to whisper to us’ unless ‘whispering’ comes in the form of yelling and growling.

Crossroads of Carnage is the area between Trepidation and Purgatory. You will experience all of Dr. Belle’s past patients and experiments as the spirits within this facility… or at least what’s left of them; these patients walked in but never walked back out! These poor souls stood out more than the rest as they demanded our help and assistance with their escape. Their cries for help made them seem as if they were truly in agony and, in their reality, preparing for their journey into Purgatory…The introduction to this one also started well as we were asked if we had an appointment with the doctor and when we quickly responded, ‘no!’ we were quickly set up with one!

At the beginning of Purgatory, we were made to watch a short (but disturbing) video on a TV. This was the space that they say quickly became a key component to Dr. Belle and his practices. The bodies that he disposed of in Crossroads would make their way to Purgatory as their eternal, unresting home. The Witch Doctor guarding this realm warned us that we would be facing many fears in this third attraction and she was correct. We understood the idea of having a mix of people (or their souls, rather) from all walks of life and, thus, creating scenes for them to ‘be stuck in,’ but we also feel that the overall variety of scenes and characters in this segment weren’t as believable as the other two attractions. The transition to a makeshift cemetery helped.

Scare Factor: 7.56

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HoT provided many old-school-style scares. The introduction to the House held multiple surprises, which was a great treat right off the bat! There were a variety of frights, but many of the spirits used ‘boo’-type scare methods where they would quickly reveal themselves from an inconspicuous area and reset. However, we will say that some of these hiding spots were nearly impossible to pick out before it was too late, like the furniture, drop panels, and walls that didn’t look like they’d move! A changing picture got the best of us, a large creature came at us and there were so many decoys that we found ourselves taking time to fully inspect everything, trying to pick them out (to no avail).

The spirits here had also taken the form of other objects in the house (don’t trust the plants)! There were only two of us in our group, but they did a decent job of targeting both of us; we found ourselves completely surrounded by up to three scarers at one time. There was no ‘finale’ scene inside the building, so there was a quick break before we exited the building into the outdoor section. From there, you may be chased by something that’s rather loud, but you will have to visit to see what it is for yourself!

Entertainment & Value: 7.3

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The haunts within the warehouse are routed in succession so everyone goes through them in the order they are intended. There are different waiting areas between each one to re-space the groups in case someone catches up to you or vice versa.

General admission tickets are priced at $25.00 online (the same as it’s been for several years). On busy nights where the line is really long, VIP tickets are available for $30, which allows you to enter from a different (typically shorter) route to the right of the ticket booth. Our trip through the Belle’s homestead lasted 7 minutes, we were in Crossroads for another 5 and it took us 6-1/2 minutes to find our way out of Purgatory. With our total tour time for this multi-attraction haunt (not including any wait times) coming in at 18-1/2 minutes, note that your time may vary and that’s if you make through all of the the tortuous tribulations at all! The General Admission price and overall length puts HoT’s MPD rating (minutes of entertainment per dollar spent) at 0.74, which is actually well below the average of 1.5 for the region.

While waiting in line, you may come across some well-plotted and great acting characters that add entertainment to your wait. A female spirit at the entrance to the building was verbally interactive with those walking by. She asked us some questions, including if we ‘got out much’ and, when we responded with, ‘Not really,’ she quickly came back with the fact that she doesn’t either, being a spirit of the house and stuck there, of course. Another roaming character was spotted outside. Miss Chevious greeted us once inside, welcoming us to Central Scare Park and giving us some rules. She declared that pictures were only allowed in this area and there were plenty of great photo opportunities. They informed us that they normally allow groups of 25 in the Scare Park at a time, so you can experience all of its glory while continuing your wait in line.

HoT’s three attractions provide some great detail and a storyline that’s fairly easy to follow as you make your way through. The house itself is something you would expect to encounter in a classic, haunted mansion. If old-school scares, immersive sets and a fun-filled journey that shouldn’t absolutely traumatize the younger crowd is something you are looking for, this needs to be on your list of stops!

We also noticed that they are continuing to run combo tickets to Nightmare on Edgewood so if you plan to go to both, we recommend taking advantage of those.

Be prepared to meet the many spirits and experiments of Dr. Belle and, as they told us, ‘Have an UNpleasant journey!’

HoT is open rain or shine!

3 attractions 1 location $25 online + fees
VIP pass: $30
Edgewood and Trepidation Combo: $35 right now (these prices increase as the Halloween season progresses)

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