After what seemed like a lifetime, Haunt Season is once again upon us. Our 2019 Haunt Tour starts this year in Killen, Alabama at Arx Mortis. This is far from our first visit to this haunt, and on a personal level for the two of us, was our most anticipated haunt of 2019. We honestly could not wait to see what they would bring to the table this season.

As you pull into Arx Mortis’ parking lot, there is absolutely no denying that you have come to the right place. The parking lot is a massive old empty field, parking is free which is great. As you walk up to the haunt itself, you see signage and different lighting everywhere. There are plenty of places out front for photo ops, and the line is very well designed to keep traffic moving. The ticket booth has moved into a new location which opens the cue area significantly. Also, the gift shop has nearly doubled in size, which is nice because we do love looking at goodies.

Actors – 9.5

The Actors at Arx Mortis absolutely take the cake overall. They take their roles very seriously and only a handful of them will ever allow themselves to come out of character, even in conversations with us backstage most of them maintained their character. The time and energy which is put into developing all these characters absolutely blew our mind. We received a backstage tour, and after hearing about their character development, we could tell that this was not a show for the sake of a show, but there was a true passion in these characters. We saw this passion in their acting the entire night. Best of the night for Star was the swamp boy who was making crow sounds then went running through the swamp after people. For Danny, Tiggy took the lead, especially when dealing with a patron who wanted to be a smart ass towards some characters. She never broke character and put him in his place several times. One character in the woods was slightly lacking, easily breaking character trying to give patrons directions when they veered off the trail. Perhaps he (or she?...) could have used the scare to get them back on the trail or find a way to stay in character while redirecting wandering patrons. The best actors deserve a solid 10, without a doubt!



Theme/Trail – 9.5

A trail we look forward to walking every year, we were happily surprised to see a few changes to what we were used to walking through. From the moment the haunt started, we realized things had changed significantly in the overall trail. The wooded trail had very few dead areas except for the few areas that appeared to be scene changes. It was very nice to see extra actors in some of the outdoors scenes, though some could still use a few more. Once inside the main attraction, Arx Mortis flows almost seamlessly through their story line. Very smooth overall transitions between scenes and ideas. There was a moment of confusion for the patrons who were at the front of our group, as they contemplated whether or not they needed to open a door in order to go through a short building on their own or if

they needed to wait for it to open. We noticed a few animatronics which did not seem to operate, but they really did not take away from the show.



Atmosphere – 10

The atmosphere at Arx Mortis is the best overall atmosphere of any haunt we have visited. From the overall setting and location of the haunt to the things to do while you wait to go in, this haunt is entertaining as soon as you enter the waiting area. This year, they will be introducing at 4D theater which according to management should be up and running by the first weekend in October. The outside characters will keep you guessing on what might happen next, and some will even torment you once you are in the haunt. Additionally, in a day & age where everyone coming through your haunt is going to have a cell phone on them, we feel that it’s great that the outside actors will take pictures with giddy guests. It’s free advertising when the kids post it onto social media, it adds significantly to the overall guest experience, and it creates a fun (yet still very creepy) outside atmosphere.



Costumes/Makeup - 9

From a beaked maniac chasing you through a swamp to a feisty feline with a chainsaw to a mob of psycho clowns, the actor’s passion that we keep bringing up rears its head yet again in the form of the actor’s artistic expression. Sliders who hound patrons while they wait in line for their color to be called will be entertained with the character’s costumes, getups, & shenanigans before even making it one foot onto the actual trail. Be it spikes up a mad man’s back, a deranged mad doctor in a lab, or a demented redneck in the woods wanting you to play with him, costumes for the most part not only fit the characters but were also impressive at that. Only a few characters seemed a bit underdeveloped, but we understand that lighting and other aesthetics may have prohibited us from being able to fully appreciate some of the actors’ looks.



Customer Service – 10

The customer service we personally received was phenomenal, however, we also paid attention to how other guests were treated. From ticket booth attendants to gift shop personnel to the actors themselves, the customer service at Arx Mortis was a step above any haunt we have experienced. Everyone was kind and truly put the patrons first. There’s no doubt that Southern hospitality will be served at this establishment all season long.



Special Effects - 8.5

Arx Mortis relies more on the actors than special effects. However, we did notice a few special effect and animatronics which did not seem to function properly or at all. We were not sure if this was by design. We slowed down for 2 animatronics in particular that we really wanted to see in action and attempted to find triggers just to witness them after the rest of our group had moved forward. The remainder of the animatronics seem that they may be on too short of a “play cycle”. Being in the back

of the group, we missed much of animatronic portion of the show. Again, we would allow the group we were with to move forward and take a moment to retrigger the animation so we could get the full effect. Overall the animatronics and effects did add to the show and our enjoyment. We were very thankful to see that strobe lights were not used to the point of being obnoxious, rather they were used sparingly and helped to intensify the scenes in which they were used. Fog levels were at a good overall level for the haunt, without being chokingly thick.



Is it Scary – 9.5

Short answer: YES. Long answer: we won’t ruin it for you, but this haunt seems to have nearly mastered how to utilize everything at their disposal to create fear within their guests/victims. By using a combination of lighting, scenery, actors, scents, and many other tactics, each scene assaults your senses with fear and anxiety. You will get scared at some point or another along the way, and we know that because this haunt doesn’t play solely for jump scares. Again, we won’t ruin it for you, but if you have a fear of tight spaces or of the dark or of feeling lost/trapped or of being followed… Arx is going to have you freaking out at some point. Trust us.



Bang for your buck – 9.5

You experience will last around 40 minutes. FREE PARKING!

General Admission $25 – Includes Main attraction and Ghosthill

Fast Pass $45 – includes both attractions plus quicker access, bypass most of the line

Overall bang for your buck is pretty spot on. The trail is just long enough, without feeling like you paid for something that you ran through quickly. Even if you were scared to death and running through the haunt as some people do, it would still take you a WHILE to get through this haunt. The fast pass might be a hair on the high side, but after buying them in years past to avoid the very long lines they have on some nights, it is well worth the extra money



Overall –

Overall, you WILL be scared at this haunt, and you WILL have a good time. The time and energy put into this haunt by the owners as well as the time and energy put in by the actors and their characters, is top notch and very comparable to some very large and major operations outside of the haunt industry. We look forward to continuing to watch this haunt grow and expand over the years….and perhaps at some point, when we decide to put our costumes back on, we will join in with the Legion ourselves to learn their ways and continue to perfect our craft. If you are looking for a haunt where you will have the best possible night, Arx Mortis cannot be missed this year!



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