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Team Zombillies reviewed this attraction on October 17, 2013.
Final Score: 8.78
For their second season in 2013, Eville Studios continues to bring you two levels of fright at one location! This season’s theme revolves around the ZombieFest, where ‘they’re here, run…!’ Although the entire haunt is based off of this theme, the atmosphere is different on each level. Your group will start out on the second floor where you are given a pair of 3D glasses to experience this mind-bending party! But don’t let this fool you; this is where the virus begins! The first floor of the attraction is where things have gotten so out of control that part of this house appears boarded up in an attempt to keep things from getting out! If a haunted attraction full of realistic zombies sounds like a good time to you then you need to check out Eville Studios, ‘Evansville’s premier haunted house’.
Eville Studios has 40 paid working crew members on an average night with a few volunteers as well. This number seemed to fill in the scenes better this season, but there were still areas where additional actors could have been used where there wasn’t much going on. This season, a professional comedian was hired in to assist the veteran actors with training the cast before the season began. We came across many believable zombies, however some of the cast didn’t do anything but stare at us. We also came across some characters that didn’t appear to be zombies, making them seem out of place. If more of these characters used dialogue that reiterates the haunt’s theme, it would increase their believability. Several of the actors were verbally interactive with us, however the clowns in the first room were both physically and verbally interactive with our entire group! Other memorable characters to us include the energetic chainsaw wielder, ‘Fluffy,’ the zombie munching on a corpse on the table, and the girl banging her doll up against the wall.
Some of the costumes used are purchased at thrift stores to be later modified and others are created in-house when possible, including the ones used in the 3D area. Airbrush techniques and traditional makeup is applied by two main makeup artists who occasionally have extra help with adding finishes touches to the characters. Since most of the characters are zombies, masks are very few and far between. Out of the few that we noticed, they matched their scenes pretty well, but the bunny mask didn’t seem to make sense with the scene it was used in. Costumes matched their scenes very well, but could use more detail to aid in making some of them more realistic. Memorable costumes to us were the giant puppet, female zombie in the hallway, and the zombie eating a corpse on the table that was right after her.
Customer Service: 9.2
There isn’t really a dedicated parking area for Eville Studios, however the owner informed us that their neighbors are friendly about street parking. A newly-designed sign overhangs the front of the building along with another sign guiding you to the entrance. There was a carnival style game booth next to the building as well as psychic readings by Maria, one roaming queue actor, and a semi trailer offering shoot-a-zombie to keep customers entertained during their visit. If you feel the need to look like a monster, they can put makeup on you at $5.00 for basic and $10.00 for makeup that’s more elaborate. The haunt has a gift shop connected to the building where you can purchase t-shirts, hoodies, props, masks, energy drinks, and you can also get buried alive in the Last Ride coffin simulator! There is also a photo booth in the gift shop where you can get group photos taken. Prices are $5.00 for a basic photo and $10.00 for a larger print. The ticket booth is located on the second floor at the top of the stairs on the front side of the building. It seemed that there was plenty of lighting to see where we were going when needed and plenty of exits throughout the building. There are also several sets of stairs, so be careful as you navigate them.
The first thing we noticed was the white disco-type light illuminating the side of the building that could be seen from down the road. Gargoyles lined the top of the building with red glowing eyes making them visible at night and there were two actors roaming about the exterior of the building during our visit, which aided in letting us know we were at a haunted house. Other than the aforementioned, there wasn’t much else going on outside to prepare you to enter a haunted attraction. If haunt related music could be added outside the attraction it would help achieve a creepier atmosphere. Inside the attraction was a different story! Twisted carnival style music is played upstairs while loud, head-banging rock music echoes throughout the first floor which really helped set the mood for the scenes. There were also a lot of other sounds heard within the attraction including dragging chains, realistic zombie growls, horns, screams, and a chainsaw!
Special Effects: 9.15
The majority of special effects used this season are made in-house while the others are purchased and some even later modified to better meet expectations.
The first thing we noticed in the attraction is the exquisite 3D artwork (by Stuart
Smith, Stuarizm Designs) that compliments the second floor. The first floor was also detailed well this season with things you would typically see in different rooms of a house. The attraction offers plenty of original effects including animatronics, effective surprises on the second floor and the design of the zombie horde area, but we would have to give too many things away to better explain them. A lot of props and effects proved to be effective towards our group, however a few of them needed some character interaction to make them stand out even more! Other special effects you will come across are air cannons, dancing lasers, bloody body parts, weapons, and even a falling surprise!
Eville Studios has a short film that can be found on their Facebook page that tells customers the theme of the attraction. For those that haven’t seen it yet, the haunt’s main focus is zombies. Your tour begins on the 2nd floor of the building, which is ‘where the party starts’ and is themed around clowns with some excellent 3D artwork (by Stuart Smith, Stuartizm Designs) and carnival-type music playing. Most of the actors in this area were in context with the theme, but the girl with the dolls, though she asked if we wanted to play and had good dialogue, seemed a bit out of place compared to the rest of the actors because of her costume and the fact that most zombies don’t speak English. Downstairs has more zombies, but is set in a residential house/trailer environment with a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, etc. Most of the actors behaved very much like the stereotypical zombies we’ve all come to recognize with flesh-eating tendencies and the look of hunger in their eyes, but the people in the house-trailer area had very human dialogue and one was wearing a bunny mask, which left us a little confused about how they fit into the theme. Also downstairs, we encountered a scene from ‘The Walking Dead’ with double doors boarded up and ‘Don’t Open. Dead Inside’ painted on them; you’ll have to see for yourself what lies behind them!
Fright Effect: 8.74
Eville Studios needs some fine-tuning to take their score in this category to the next level, but when all is said and done, several scares were delivered to our group before we made our way to safety! For starters, our group was immediately split up at the start of the attraction. This already had us out of our comfort zone and, when combined with the loud rock music throughout the attraction, made the rest of the scares somewhat difficult to predict! There were a several good hiding spots throughout the attraction, but the second half of our group spotted a couple of the actors before they had a chance to reset after the first half went through, which took away the element of surprise for those scares. However, we all almost got an ax to the face and had to endure an intense zombie horde area on the lower level of the haunt with dozens of zombies reaching through their entrapment trying to take a bite out of us! The big downfall to this category is how many of the actors stopped trying to scare us after their initial attempts, regardless of their success. These actors need to hold through and never stop trying in order to increase their intimidation and believability.
General Admission tickets can be purchased at $13 for a single trip through and $15 will grant you unlimited access for as many times as you can go through in an evening! Be sure to check out their Facebook page for additional discounts and offers. It took our review group about 14 minutes to tour both floors in Eville Studios, putting this haunt at around 1 minute of entertainment per dollar spent, which is typical for most haunted attractions. Don’t forget to look for the ‘Shoot A Zombie’ semi-trailer where you can shoot a live zombie with a paintball gun at $1 for 5 shots, $5 for 30, $10 for 75, or you can get a full hopper for $20! The carnival-style, dart-throwing game near the entrance can be played for $2 and a sign says you can get ‘Psychic Readings by Maria’ for $10. For a unique attraction in Evansville priced for the budget-minded haunter, look no further than Eville Studios!