Summer Slaughter at Black Orchard Haunted House

Date of Visit: 6/21/24

Visited By: Team Zombillies & Team Lone Wolf

The warm glow of the full moon illuminates a clear, balmy night. A thick blanket of fog has settled ominously over the ground, partially concealing the distant barn and slaughterhouse. There are quite a few other visitors to the property tonight; we can see and hear them milling about and laughing as “Bark in the Moon” rocks in the background. Despite the excitement in our surroundings, we don’t miss the fact that some of the people we’ve seen entering haven’t come back out… nor do we miss the chainsaw roars and faint screams rising above the music.

Summer is here, and it’s time for “operations” to once again resume at Black Orchard Meats. The infamous Black family are preparing for their annual harvest, and from the number of people we can see, they’re about to have one fruitful Summer Slaughter.

Black Orchard Haunted House– located at Red Orchard Park in Shelbyville, Kentucky– has been in operation since 2017. Originally a creation of the Danger Run team, it was purchased by Sindicate Haunted House Group a few years later. 2024 has seen this haunt changing ownership once again – it now lies in the capable hands of the team behind Haunt Bros. who have worked with local attractions and operated their own shows, including the Hatler Haunt and Irvington Asylum. Coming along with this transition is Summer Slaughter, the haunt’s one and only annual “off season” event! Stock is running low, and the Black family are in need of fresh meat to sell until the Halloween- and hunting- season returns. Visitors are welcome to come tour the barn and browse the fine cuts on sale, but take care… else you and your group may wind up on the menu!

Like it is with most haunts that open for special events, ticket prices for this event match those of the regular season: $25 for General Admission, $40 for Fast Pass, and $60 for Front of the Line VIP access! Parking is free, and a dedicated team was outside helping new arrivals find spaces in the grass.

Something else carried over from previous ownership is that Black Orchard is a LIGHT CONTACT attraction. It’s unlikely anything too crazy will happen, but expect some gentle touching- your arm or ankle being grabbed, maybe hair messed up- and there’s a good chance you’ll get dirty! Don’t bring your nicest outfit.

Summer Slaughter is a sort of teaser show Black Orchard puts on before it’s time for the full haunt season. They reveal just enough of their updates for the current year to whet haunt-goers’ appetites without spoiling all the new surprises they’ve got in store for their audience, so there is no special theme or event-specific changes to the attraction. With that said, the atmosphere outside was still pretty crazy! Our group heard loud rock music as we walked up, and could already see a few of the family’s stray relatives chasing guests around… along with the ominous sounds I mentioned at the start of this review. That was absolutely enough to get our blood pumping!

Ah – remember my warning about Orchard being a light contact attraction? If you’re known here (or just seem like a good sport) then you might just get a little more… we had barely gotten in line when our leading lady was suddenly captured by Porkchop, the big butcher wearing his iconic pig mask. He wasted no time stuffing her in a body bag and swiftly spiriting her away while our poor camera guy jogged after them (and probably hoped they wouldn’t eat his wife!). Thankfully, we were sent inside several minutes later and managed to find her… still in one piece.

There are two parts to Black Orchard. One is outdoors, taking groups into the woods and over the property surrounding the barn. The other is the indoor haunted house, where you’ll start out browsing the selections available at the Black Orchard Meats counter… but then you’re sent off to “tour” the slaughterhouse itself, where you quickly find the “quality meats” they boast about aren’t from sources you’d expect! In addition to the broken pallets, old equipment, and chicken coops you’ll pick your way through outside (while being stalked by crazies the whole time), there’s also the slaughter ramp, a chicken house with plucked poultry hanging above (gross!), a room filled with a collection of souvenirs taken from unlucky visitors like yourself, a bizarre church, and many more grimy, grungy, blood-splattered scenes. Most of our group were veterans here and we definitely noticed some changes, though most of those were on the outside and we were informed more work will be done before the season returns. No spoilers in this review – if you weren’t there, you’ll just have to wait and see them for yourself.

One of my favorite aspects of this haunt is how incredibly immersive it is. From the way your adventure begins on the property, to the intense amount of detail added in every room, to the creepily crafted story behind the attraction and the powerful soundtrack that plays throughout your experience, designed to induce anxiety and keep your heart racing. What’s really happening in this barn? Who, or what, might be lurking around the next corner?! You may not care to find out, but your only hope of escape is to plunge deeper into this madness.

The Black family has many members and there’s no telling who you may meet on any given night. Unfortunately for us, a lot of their worst were on the hunt when we came to visit! Our trek through the woods first brought us to Atticus, the family patriarch and owner of the business. Following a cordial greeting, we were assured we’d soon experience the highest quality meat in the area – nothing like that junk they sell in stores. Oh, and we should disregard any “rumors” we’ve heard about the family business. None of them are true!

Atticus might’ve remembered his manners, but the rest of the family… not so much. A few free-range hooligans frequently thwarted our attempts to reach the barn, landing multiple startles on the brave ladies leading us onward. When we were finally herded inside like pigs to the slaughter (by a freaking chainsaw no less!), we met Bray the Butcher, who psyched us up for our tour and showed off some of the meats he had on offer. We found ourselves questioning their quality when we walked in on another member of the family puking an ominous dark substance all over the floor… (By the way, we were treated to some “samples” too. And by “samples” I mean we got nasty bloody sh*t smeared all over our faces and bodies. Yummy.)

Things only got worse the further we progressed. Psychopaths wearing the faces of animals and brandishing weapons threatened us around every turn. (The pig-masked character, wielding some sort of blade, came around early in the house and completely nailed our Black Orchard newbie from a surprise spot. Awesome!) Other deranged relatives came at us with chainsaws, wanted to steal our personal belongings, one poor soul seemed to have been trapped in the church for so long he was driven to madness. Of course, not everyone was out to get us – we came across at least one live victim screaming within a cage, and also encountered the family matron and her unhinged “son” hanging out in the tub. Instead of cleaning him up, she opted to wash our dirty faces with a wet rag. (Hey, gotta make sure the meat is clean!) One more shout-out is in order for the chainsaw actor near the end, who managed to sneak out of nowhere and got right up our behinds with that saw before firing it up. VRRRRRROOOOOOMMMMMM – us girls about ran each other over trying to escape! Nice!

We try to attend Summer Slaughter every year, and luckily for us “reviewer” was not on the menu this time! 2024’s version of the event was one of the most intense us Black Orchard veterans had ever experienced and I would say they left quite an impression on the newbie in our group, too. Needless to say – we are excited for what they’re bringing to the dinner table for the upcoming season! If you’d like to MEAT the Black family yourself, keep an eye on their website and socials for the latest information on when they will reopen their business to visitors this Fall.

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