The American Horrorplex – Full Review

The American Horrorplex is a Haunted Attraction located in Louisville, KY.

2012 Northwestern Pkwy, Louisville, KY 40203
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Haunt Type(s):

Haunted House


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Free Parking, Restrooms/Porta Potties On-Site, Handicap Accessible, Food/Concessions, Gift Shop/Souvenirs, “Old-School” (Low Tech), You may be touched, You will NOT be touched, Original Characters, Uncovered Outdoor Waiting Line, All-Indoor Attraction

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This attraction was reviewed on October 13, 2023 by Team Lone Wolf.

Final Score: 9.17

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A veil of clouds is forming ominously in the sky over the wide brick building before me. I’m not alone here – there’s a lengthy line of us waiting to check in for treatment. However, this is no ordinary hospital… it seems some of the patients who came before us weren’t properly contained. I see them lurking amidst the crowd, their eerie eyes sunken in their faces, behaving in ways that suggest their minds are nearly gone. Some have visible wounds, boils, and rotted skin, while others have grotesque, almost alien appendages emerging from their bodies. We all seem to be wondering the same thing: what on earth happened here? Why do the hospital staff, who also have a presence among us, seem so suspicious? The doctors are going to make us all better… right?

Risen from the ashes of its predecessor in 2019- the late 7th Street Haunt- the American Horrorplex is now celebrating its fourth year of ‘operations’. Its completely original storyline tells the troublesome tale of the Bracken-Hart Institute, a secret military testing facility moonlighting as an asylum for the criminally insane – in reality, their ‘patients’ were being infested with nasty parasites (‘fleshlumpkins’) to transform them into violent super soldiers. A police investigation later revealed a fire had gutted the hospital, leaving only human and animal remains… and a few dazed survivors wandering the property. With Dr. Bracken, Dr. Hart, and all of their staff missing, the complex is now being treated as an active crime scene. However, a memorial has been established with artifacts salvaged from the facility, and tours are offered to anyone bold enough to try to uncover the doctors’ secrets.

And so, on a breezy October night with rain showers imminent, I set out to explore this hospital of horrors and find out exactly what the Institute was really up to…

(Note: I went on this adventure completely alone and did not have any other guests with me.)

Cast Score: 9.14

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Cast Review:

As soon as I stepped through the entrance and entered the property, there was little doubt that this was a hospital-themed attraction. Several staff were roaming the crowd, happy to tend to everyone’s medical needs… when they weren’t trying to corral the patients on the loose! I enjoyed conversing with Dr. Bracken throughout the night as he rolled about on his motorized chair. Nurses Joy and Katya were also a pleasure to speak with – if a touch unhinged. With that said, not all of my roamer interactions were pleasant… some creature with long hair, a dress, and what looked like half of a doll’s face covering its own mangled one was as mean as it was creepy, and kept harassing me in line. “Let me just smash that melon of yours up against the wall!” Ugh.

Progressing into the museum, the curator noticed my concerned face when I heard a distant chainsaw and muttered, “Ignore that.” A sizable graveyard surrounded the Institute, one haunted by reapers that taunted and teased while I tried to find the way out. “You’re already out of time! He’s gonna get ya!” The source of ‘that’ then made his appearance – a crazy guy coming at me with a chainsaw! “What’s the matter, never seen a doctor before?” he sneered. When I replied ‘not one with a chainsaw’, he told me it was his “handy-dandy scalpel!” Once I finally did escape, I found Nurse Bubbles waiting for me at the hospital entrance. She was more than happy to show me how she got her name… by indicating the blisters on her face and giggling “Pop-pop-pop!”

The characters only became crazier, and more numerous, when I entered the actual facility. One staff member, after showing me a sickly-looking animatronic creature, took me to meet her sister ‘Julie’ – whom she deemed a successful experiment. “She’s really bossy! But I fixed her, so now she’s under my contro–” Julie begged to differ, immediately snatching her up against the bars of her cell, and I fled before I was next. Multiple characters teamed up on me – the horrible doll thing literally ran at me trying to bash my head in, while some mutant with a monstrous face and one oversized leg (or whatever it was) kept chasing me around. My favorite patient had to be the one brandishing a bed pan, who had a disturbing obsession with certain yellow bodily fluids. “You want some p*ss?!” Didn’t matter if I did or not, because I got warm liquid wiped on my face anyway. Eww! (They later ran off hitting things with the bed pan and singing “Gimme your p*ss!” *knock knock* “Gimme your p*ss!” to the tune of Addams Family.) One of the many maniacs hanging out between the alley and sewers demanded my battle jacket; when I refused, “Why not? … It’s not like you’re gonna be using it soon!” He quickly enlisted the help of more crazies to try to take it by force!

Overall, a strong cast was working in-house, and I was impressed by how many roaming actors they had. I did see a few of the same characters more than once, but it was awesome how skilled they were at switching between spots and scenes to strike multiple times. Actors also capitalized on scares by working together and ganging up on anyone they could trap – there were times when my whole train of thought was ‘holy sh*t, get me out of here!’

Costuming Score: 9.27

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Working in a hospital can be a messy, dirty affair – and even more so when yours caught fire! That part of the Horrorplex’s story was referenced in Dr. Bracken’s makeup and costume: his clothes were ripped and scorched, and he seemed to have suffered burns to his skin as well. Most other costumes I saw were appropriate for a medical environment. There were many dirty, bloody nurse uniforms, doctor lab coats, and scrubs. The museum’s curator, while not in the medical field himself, was dressed professionally for his role. Experiments wore masks that made their faces look bizarre, mutated, or in various stages of decay. One resembled a metal helmet with a hospital cross on it. When a nurse or dentist asked me for teeth to “make da toothpaste”, I couldn’t help but notice she seemed to have MANY embedded in her face! Other makeup jobs ranged from actors with basic menacing/deranged appearances, to those sporting festering wounds and yellow/green boils on their faces – delightfully nasty.

Quite a few accessories came into play as well. Katya had bloody syringes attached to her uniform. Some characters wore SFX contact lenses. Others suffered those icky fleshlumpkin parasites growing out of them – like the guy I met in line, who introduced me to toothy, wormlike ‘Grandpa’ emerging from his back! More than one patient wielded bed pans, which they could slam against things to keep groups on edge. One particularly mean character, running some forced electroshock therapy on an unfortunate victim, menaced me with a taser stick to make me comply with his orders.

A favorite costuming touch I saw this year was the addition of medical badges on the hospital staff, clipped to their uniforms or coats, with their photos and stage names on display. Just like a real hospital!

Customer Service Score: 9.89

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At the intersection just before I reached the haunt, there was a lit up sign with ‘HAUNTED HOUSE’ in big block letters – an obvious hint I was getting close. Parking, while limited, was free on site, with employees positioned at the lot’s entrance to guide cars in or let people know if it was full. Additional parking was available on the street. Walking up to the haunt’s entrance, I noticed two ticket booths were open to expedite ticket sales and get customers inside as soon as possible. Plenty of staff were on hand in case anyone needed assistance, as well as security – you know, in case any of us ‘patients’ got out of hand. For anyone in need of a snack or drink before getting scared, a concession stand was open right at the entrance, and additional food was being sold in the midway after the haunt. Port-a-potties were available for restroom needs.

General Admission entry to the house was $25. If you were in a bit of a hurry, an expedited VIP option was offered for $45 – and if you were in a REAL hurry, you could Skip the Line for $65 and bypass the whole crowd! The “Invasive Surgery” upgrade has also made a comeback for 2023 and could be added to any ticket for an additional $10. Warning: this involves touching, potential mess, and separation from your group… so it’s not for the faint of heart!

While the line was kind of dark and the pavement got some nasty puddles from the rain that came along later, most exterior areas had enough light and signage to get you where you needed to be. I did not notice any major points of concern inside of the house when it came to trip hazards or possibly knocking your head on anything.

Everyone I met who was working that night was polite and helpful. The Horrorplex’s website was simple to navigate and had answers to any question a potential customer might have.

Immersion Score: 9.6

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The American Horrorplex has a detailed story behind it, and for 2023, multiple podiums were added- at the entrance and throughout the line- with QR codes customers could scan if they wanted to read up on it. Several experiments managed to escape the facility and were roaming the grounds, along with the odd doctor or nurse. A screen above the line played movie clips, along with tidbits and announcements related to the haunt’s story. Lucky patrons may be selected to spin Nurse Joy’s wheel – I swear my spin landed on ‘Prize’, but she switched it to ‘Dare’! Good thing I’m not one to back down from a challenge… I received a super cool prize for participating (and was left smelling minty fresh for the rest of the night).

My visit to the Bracken-Hart Institute began in the memorial museum, where a host gave me a brief rundown of what happened to the place while I stole a quick look at all the artifacts salvaged from the fire. Following a nervous trek around a reaper-infested graveyard, I tried to enter the hospital itself for the real tour. As you might expect, it didn’t go as planned… and I soon found myself dropped into the bowels of the facility! From there, it was a struggle to survive through all the laboratories, operating rooms, experiments in progress, the hospital’s grotesque cafeteria, and much more. Venturing down into the sewers, I might’ve discovered a way out – but all the fleshlumpkin-possessed patients and other random crazies certainly didn’t make it easy to escape!

(Speaking of escape, 2023’s chapter of the Bracken-Hart story involves finding out how the doctors got away during the fire. I’d be spoiling something incredibly cool and new if I told you… but it does come into play when you’re going through the house, and it was amazing!)

Fortunately, I did get out, and the exit brought me into one of the biggest haunt gift shops I’ve ever seen. In addition to a wide variety of Horrorplex merch, they also sold tons of Halloween decor and other cool stuff. This was also where you could buy a souvenir photo. And the fun didn’t stop after the gift shop – it exited into their midway, where people could shop with several vendors, purchase food and drinks (including beer), utilize FREE photo ops, and meet live rescue animals.

Special FX Score: 8.93

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Special FX Review:

A hearse bearing the American Horrorplex logo was parked outside and a towering reaper flowed in the wind, eliminating any doubt you’d just arrived at a haunted house. Music played everywhere to entertain the crowd, occasionally interrupted by story-related announcements or projections on a screen over the line. Lamps cast an unsettling red glow over the steel ‘Unit 732’ door to the museum, which had so many neat things to look at: old medical supplies, what looked like a preserved infant corpse, medical uniforms, and various other artifacts. Later in the scene, a flickering light effect was used.

The graveyard surrounding the Institute was heavy on scenery and highly spooky. Above the hospital’s main doors, the Bracken-Hart Institute sign was lit in a way that cast ominous shadows over its letters. There were several more neat things in the main lobby before I had to board the elevator to go in.

As for the house itself, this was where the haunt’s team really went all out. Most rooms were super heavy on detail: x-rays all over walls, medical devices, props (pill bottles, specimens, etc.), circuit boards and terminals with blinking lights, animatronic experiments (two of which the doctors seemed to MONKEY around with). There were a couple of odd deviations from the hospital theme – I walked through an anxiety-inducing room that was almost completely whited out through the use of fog, light, and curtains. Another had glowing orbs embedded in the walls that almost seemed alive… there was something very alien about them. Egg sacs growing new parasites, maybe? Progressing towards the alley/sewers, I walked over an illusion that made it seem like I risked dropping into the pit below – and a bit later, a giant truck nearly ran me over!

Most sound effects used in the house had to do with the environment, and it was hard to notice much of a soundtrack amidst all the chaos. I did catch the sound of a beating heart in the background at one point.

Scare Factor Score: 8.78

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This haunt was a little heavier on interaction and comedy – if you can’t scare ’em, at least entertain ’em, right? With that said, I was never allowed to forget I was in a haunted house! Some startles came from SFX, like cleverly placed air cannons. Others were pneumatic, like the big truck I referenced in the section above.

But the Horrorplex is a mostly actor-driven haunt, and its cast are the real rock stars in getting those screams! I was victim to many different types of scare tactics as I did my best to survive my tour through this hospital of horrors: threatening dialogue, high-pitched screeching, attacks with weapons, props struck against things to create sharp noises, multiple actors coming after me at once. Some characters even victimized each other in their scenes – a good hint I was going to be next if I didn’t get out of there! And the ending- which might be the super cool thing I don’t want to spoil- was one of the most intense I’d seen from this place. (How intense? Well, one group freaked the hell out and damaged it later…)

Entertainment & Value Score: 9.15

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E&V Review:

My terrifying tour of the Bracken-Hart Institute clocked in at approximately 15.5 minutes, bringing the Horrorplex’s MPD (minutes per dollar spent) to 0.62. While this is a good bit below the full minute per dollar I feel haunts should strive for, I thought the base ticket price of $25 was absolutely worth it. The haunt seeks to entertain guests shortly after they arrive on the property, and makes an effort to maintain that throughout the night by providing plenty of free and paid activities, both before and after you complete the house. Your adventure through the doctors’ facility may not take that long, but the fun definitely doesn’t have to be over once you’re done. And the haunt itself is incredibly well done in pretty much all aspects of the show.

Feeling under the weather this spooky season? It certainly goes around this time of year, but if you head on down to the American Horrorplex and pay a visit to the good doctors, they’ve probably got a treatment for you. Just know they aren’t responsible for any fleshy parasites or extra limbs you might be stuck with afterward… after all, at the Bracken-Hart Institute, the ‘cure’ may very well be the disease.

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Guest Reviews
Guest Average: 9.29 out of 10

Talli – 10/10October 28, 2023
The actors were very engaging, allowing for an extremely immersive experience. I could tell that a …show more lot of thought and practice went into the execution of every detail. The storyline was both disturbing and humorous!

Jacob Dinh – 10/10October 31, 2020
Amazing attraction, the cast was very interactive with me and my friends I went with. Made the …show more experience even more enjoyable

Kathryn Bishop – 10/10October 31, 2020
American Horrorplex was such an amazing experience. They took extreme care to maintain social …show more distancing due to the global pandemic and the actors were amazing. Their all original characters and storyline really sucks you in and the environment makes you forget they’re actors. 5 stars. I really enjoyed it.

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Past Awards

2022 Awards

Most Unique Costumes (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Highest Rated Customer Service (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Highest Rated Entertainment & Value (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Quinn - Emily Rain Moss (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Electroshock - Wendy Brinson (Given by: Team Zombillies)

2019 Awards

Grossest Scene (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Most Unique Costumes (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Past Awards

2022 Awards

Most Unique Costumes (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Highest Rated Customer Service (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Highest Rated Entertainment & Value (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Quinn - Emily Rain Moss (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Electroshock - Wendy Brinson (Given by: Team Zombillies)

2019 Awards

Grossest Scene (Given by: Team Zombillies)

Most Unique Costumes (Given by: Team Zombillies)

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