Arx Mortis in Killen Alabama is our next stop of our 2021 Haunt Tour. Coming in on US 72 you absolutely cannot miss the location. It is quite possibly the brightest spot in the stretch of Hwy for miles. Parking is abundant both in the main parking lot out front and the side field. Additionally, the new add on of Frankenville really jumps out at you. As we pull up to the location, the excitement is almost unbearable. You see, when you arrive at Arx Mortis – THE ARX MORTIS – you KNOW you’re about to have a spooky-fun night. The reputation of Arx Mortis is that they are a premiere haunt of the Southeast – dare I even say, the country – and this year they are bringing the scary entertainment better than they have any other year.
Historically, Arx Mortis has had a very open que line which caused people to be packed in on top of each other. It has been very loud and sometimes difficult to know where your group is in the que. This year, Arx Mortis has completely revamped the que line. There are long carnival type lines which run throughout the entire que area. This ensures that everyone is moved through to whichever attraction they are going to within the main haunt with no issues. Typically, there will be monsters roaming throughout the que area, on this night however the que area was quiet, and the monsters were focused heavily in the house. There are concessions where you can get snacks to ensure that you never go hungry while waiting.
With this haunt, you get it all – bright lights, strobe lights, dark empty (or not so empty) hallways, tight spaces, colorful costumes, and scenery – and blood. Lots of blood. Anything and everything you’d want to see inside a haunt is in here, from a head-to-toe neon demonic clown or 2 down to a long, back, abandoned hallway with a faint outline of a pigman waiting for you at the end. The costumes and the scenes alike are equally as impressive to look at, and the art of distraction is a technique that is most certainly utilized.
This year is an all-new setup for Arx Mortis with a total of 3 main attractions for 2021. With a brand-new construction of Frankenville and splitting the main haunt into two independent haunts. We will break down each one below:
Frankenville is a brand-new portion of the overall Arx Mortis attraction. The staff of Arx gives each section a “scare factor” rating and Frankenville get 1 skull from them. This kid friendly attraction is a combination of haunted house, arcade and carnival games all brought down to a level that they believe will help stimulate a love for Halloween and haunts in a much younger generation. The attraction itself was closed to the public due to inclement weather (they have giant inflatables and even a pyro-technic show attached to it) but we were given a first-hand view and tour of it. Additionally, they will be opening this section for birthdays and other special events at different various times of the year. This concept of making a kid friendly haunt should make Arx Mortis a destination for all things haunt related not just for adults, but for the entire family.
As this is more of a carnival/extended midway for children there is no walk thru time. You can spend as much or as a little time as you choose here.
Covington Clinic aka The Animatronic Haunt
–The Arx Mortis staff labels this as 3 skulls meaning it is scary, but mid-level scary …as you walk into this haunt, you walk through some very earie scenes. It is quiet or as some might say “dead zones”, but the scenes are well made and worth the time to look at. At each corner we are just waiting on something to jump out at us, even knowing there are no actors here. Finally, when you get inside and out of the bog, the first noise maker hits and will quickly get a jump even out of the most veteran haunters. Once you arrive, it is all noise and machinery, with various animatronics creating all types of scares.
Total Animatronic Walk thru time: 15 Minutes
Cell Block 9 aka The Actor Haunt
The 5 skull haunt as the owners of Arx Mortis call it. This is where the fear really hits. All the actors from the entire previous two-part haunt are piled into this portion of the haunt. You will be approached from every conceivable direction in this haunt, even from above as several of the Legion seem to love heights.
Total Actor Haunt Walk thru time: 30 minutes
$15 gets you into Covington Clinic
$25 gets you into Cell Block 9
$35 gets you into both Covington Clinic, Cell Block 9 and the outdoor trail
There are VIP tickets starting at $35
Tickets are $1 each, each attraction costs between 1-4 tickets
PowerPass is available for $34.99 and includes admission, unlimited access to 7 attractions and access to 10 other experiences, shows, and a snack
By splitting the main haunt into two standalone haunts as mentioned above, Arx Mortis is now able to pack all of the legion into one attraction. This ensures that during this part of the event you are constantly harassed, chased, tortured, or in some instances made fun of, throughout the entire portion. There was zero actor dead zone unless it was by design such as a pitch-black hallway or very tight maze. The quality of the witty devilish banter between actors in a scene is reminiscent of a Broadway play. Arx’s clowns are always killer (pun intended?) and will be sure to entertain. “Dread” was a standout character, delivering a scare in perfect timing with the lights and sounds in his scene. Additionally, considering that many of the actors at this haunt design and create their own characters and costumes I feel that it is appropriate to mention in
this section that the characters are absolutely top notch, one-of-a-kind, and SCARY. Do not look them in the eyes or you may become their victim.
Frankenville is absolutely in a realm of its own with originality and creativity. Once it really gets up and running and starts to gain some major traction, this will be considered a ground-breaking project done within the haunt community. With a business mindset very similar to that of McDonald’s with the creation of the Happy Meal, Arx Mortis is aiming to reel in younger guests with a positive spooky experience that will increase their chances of growing up with favorable opinions about the “grown-up” haunt. Start them out young, get them hooked, and keep making money off ‘em. From a business standpoint, it’s spectacular. Frankenville itself is also spectacular, and while I won’t give too much away, I will say that even adults might want to have their birthday party at this creation. We really cannot wait to see where this goes and how it effects the overall haunt community.
The main parts of the haunt, bring so much to the table. The legion shines through and every single character or animatronic is a perfect fit to the scene. You may see normal haunt scenes: hospitals, insane asylum, etc.…but the intensity of Arx Mortis takes them to a new level. You couldn’t ask for more originality and creativity from the actors than you get from this team. For guests of the haunt who wish to stay socially distanced, there is the actor less trail to walk through that is equally as terrifying as the path with actors. There were many times throughout this walk where the thoughts of “Are we really alone?” or “Is that a real monster over THERE?” will certainly creep into your brain. It appears the lights had purposefully been turned down as well, possibly extending the trail for folks who aren’t sure where to go (or who are too scared to move forward).
Arx Mortis is a diamond in a sea of glass when it comes to blow-your-socks-off spooky entertainment. You will genuinely feel scared, you will genuinely be entertained, and you will genuinely have an absolutely memorable time. The quality of the show is top notch, and the actors are beasts. You get an amazing bang for your buck, and I can almost guarantee you’ll have one of the best haunt experiences you’ll ever have visiting this haunt.
-REVIEWERS PERSONAL NOTES-
Danny’ Notes: It seems every year Arx Mortis is innovating in one form or another. The additional of Frankenville is something we have every intention of taking our kids to see. Regarding the main haunt section, while I missed a couple of my personal favorite Legion characters due to them having other engagements on this night, the monsters never cease to impress. You can tell extensive training and character development happens within the walls of this haunt.
Star’s Notes: I was AH-MAZEDDD at how on-their-game nearly ALL the actors were, even this early in the haunt season! This was a show, and these were performances that you’d expect to
see on Halloween night or the weekend before, and it absolutely put me in a Halloween-state-of-mind. I love Arx but I’m telling you honestly and objectively that this is one of the best haunts you will ever go to, period. Side note, you will not find a sweeter group of folks than the folks who work here – these people are a family, and there’s a real reason why they are almost considered the heart of the haunt industry. I absolutely adore you, Arx!!!