Final Score: 8.24
On a dark autumn night, we drove down a long and winding road through the Hocking Hills area of Logan, Ohio. Our destination? The Wicked Forest. What once was a treetop zipline attraction has, in recent years, been transformed into a haunted trail through the forest. You run for your life through the tall pines and towering oak trees as werewolves, psychopaths and all-around baddies hunt you down’wanting to feast upon your flesh and cure themselves of their cursed existence. The over ������ mile trail is not recommended for children under 13 years of age but, use your best judgment.
The members of Wicked Forest’s cast are all one big family and every one of them strives to make Wicked Forest bigger and better year after year’and it shows. Every character is painstakingly crafted for each of their respective scenes and brought to life by the actor portraying them. We were confronted by several werewolves with the most realistic and impressive growls, snarls and howls we have ever heard come from a human being. Even the usher-esque character that entertained us prior to entering the haunt was very convincing and reminded us greatly of Eddy Izzard in his delivery of a multitude of jokes, stories and quick quips. Along with his female clown companion, they made sure that we did not get bored.
From what we could tell, and what we learned through our conversation with the park’s manager, most of the costumes here are all handmade, including the werewolf suits. The wolf masks were purchased, but the fabricated costumes (complete with muscle suits) matched perfectly with them. There were no off-the-shelf bagged costumes here and the few masks that we did see, only complimented the characters. They were well-fitting and worn properly. We were quite impressed with the attention to detail and care used to create these characters.
Customer Service: 8.25
GPS got us heading in the right direction and a brightly lit billboard let us know that we were on the right path. However, if we hadn’t been paying attention, the GPS would have had us drive about a quarter mile past their gates. So, keep an eye out. Once we arrived, it was easy to find a place to park in the brightly lit field and we were greeted by Tina, who instructed us on where to purchase tickets and find the restrooms. ACTUAL RESTROOMS! It was great to be able to use an actual restroom, with running water, after a 2 ������ hour drive down! This is an outdoor trail, so the normal hazards of walking around the woods at dark apply. There are a couple of semi-steep slopes that could get slippery when wet, so use caution. Other than that though, the trail is clear of debris and adequately lit.
The staff were all super helpful and friendly. The manager, Karen Armes, gathered our tickets while her son Jeff (Cir Chris) kept us entertained at the stockades photo-op until we were ready to board the bus to the top of the trail. At the top is where the queue area actually begins and we again met Cir Chris and his female clown companion who kept us on our toes until it was our turn to enter the Wicked Forest.
Cir Chris’s voice bellowed out of a speaker at the top of the beautifully painted fa������ade amidst booming rock music. The screams and shrieks from behind the door made it ever so apparent that we definitely were not in Kansas anymore and were about to embark on a journey into the dark recesses of the Wicked Forest. There was no doubt that we didn’t know what we were in store for, the only real question was; what exactly laid beyond that dark ominous door.
Special Effects: 8.72
This is an outdoor haunt and, as such, there are no extra sound effects in use. They want to remind you that you are outside in the forest so, they let Mother Nature create the soundtrack. Whether that is the chirping of crickets along the path or a coyote howling in the distance, it all creates a suitable soundtrack amidst the trees and enforces the fact that you are, indeed, in the woods at night. Due to their incredible realism, we are including the werewolves various noises as special effects’they were incredible. All of the various scenes that dotted the trail were exquisitely detailed and the lighting was beautiful. We were impressed by what they were able to accomplish in the middle of nowhere.
The theme for 2017 was ‘The Curse’, which isn’t really explained in great detail on their website but, once you are there you quickly figure out that the curse of which they speak is the curse of Lycanthropy. Werewolves. From the little gypsy lady acting as harbinger to your inevitable doom, to the werewolves themselves, you are fully immersed in the story line and find yourself watching for predators or previous victims around every corner. While werewolves have long been a staple of horror, it is rare for a haunt to dedicate an entire season to them and it was a refreshing change from the normal infected psychopaths and deranged doctors that seem to be a favor of haunts. The location, being some woods in the middle of seemingly nowhere, serves as the perfect backdrop to their theme.
Fright Effect: 7.42
Distraction is the name of the game at Wicked Forest. They create beautiful sets and props to draw your attention, leaving you vulnerable to the creatures lurking up behind you. They come out at you from the pitch black forest and disappear just as quickly’unless they decide to have a little ‘extra’ fun with you. The beasts that stalk these woods are not picky about which member of your group will be their next meal’no one is safe. What you think are props, suddenly come to life to snatch you in the darkness and’if you make it that far’they have you running for the exit.
Our journey through Wicked Forest took us about 15 minutes. Their $12 ticket price gives them a Minute Per Dollar value of 1.25, which is just under the average of 1.50. They do offer a VIP/Fast Pass for $17. This haunt is definitely on our ‘Must See’ list and we look forward to coming again in the future. They are well worth the price of admission.