Our 2020 haunt season begins with a trip to Heflin, Alabama to check out the Heflin Haunted Chicken house. We have heard great things over the last two years about this haunt, and we could not wait to see if they lived up to the hype, and Star has been begging to go ever since. From Interstate 20 near Anniston it is about a 10 mile drive down a winding country road. You cannot miss the place, as there is a giant sign letting you know it is up ahead, followed by the literal pile of junkyard vehicles with “Haunted Chicken House” written on them. We were surprised to see, so early in the haunt season that the parking lot (read: giant field) was nearly full. Parking was relatively easy, though some guides might do in making sure patrons are not just parking wherever and allow even more guests to be there.
Upon arriving we heard a loudspeaker yelling about “buck you energy drinks”. We had a chuckle as the gentleman running the PA system was very quickly to say, “it sounds dirty, but it isn’t cause it is a B not and F”. As we approached the PA, we spoke with the gentleman running it and he introduced us to Chicken Dan, who runs the place. We were very impressed with the passion he puts into the haunt, especially when he told us he has beat cancer 4 times. Looking around, you see actors harassing unsuspecting patrons, the hayride to one side, and by itself the “crazy train”. Additionally, they had bonfires already blazing to keep folks warm who may want it. It was a very busy night but being completely outside gave everyone plenty of room for social distancing while still enjoying the midway area. For a haunted chicken house, the overall atmosphere here was spot on, as these are legit former chicken houses on the property.
Costumes were either great or… not so great. One young woman hitting the hayrides with baseball bats was in jeans and a Vans brand t-shirt. For us, effort matters. If you are going to work the haunt, if you are a part of the customer experience, then you have to represent the haunt. On the other side of this we did in fact see some great makeup and masks (an excellent Thomas Sawyer/”Leatherface” mask did not go past our field of vision!), and chicken house character looks such as “102” help make the overall experience special with their own creativity.
Filling this much of a haunt attraction with passionate, dedicated actors night in and night out is difficult. Sometimes, earlier in the season we see performances from actors who are just about to realize that this just isn’t for them. We observed a few of these folks in the haunt and along the hayride trail. However, clowns and dot room girls were on point with their performances! A few chainsaw gentlemen could have given more energy, but I can give them the benefit of the doubt because we did not react at all to the initial loud buzzing. Some actors will give up on you if they don’t see the reaction that they were hoping to get from you at first, but you have to keep going! If you’re a psychopathic maniac/killer with a chainsaw, you’re not going to give up if someone isn’t reacting the way you’d hope – you keep
trying to KILL!!! A small group of young ladies ended up approaching us during the walk through and for most of it we all ended up being 1 group. The acting was noticeably different once the actors saw the fearful reactions they wanted, which was great!
Trail Experience and Theme:
The experience of walking through a haunted chicken house is one that neither Danny nor I will ever experience again, and we say this in a wonderful way! The walk-through part holds true to delivering the customer an actual haunted chicken house experience, but it really goes so far beyond that. You WILL get claustrophobic – this haunt has executed this in a way I’ve never seen at any other haunt, and we were both truly impressed. These claustrophobic walk-through areas not only extend your stay in the haunt and keep you in fear, but they also create fear with zero actors around, allowing actors to be elsewhere for other scenes. We both LOVED this aspect of this haunt!
The theme is delightful and creepy, just what we both like. Where the hell else are you going to find a haunted. Chicken. House. Other than in Heflin Alabama? These folks stay on theme and the theme is as fun as it is original.
Chicken House –
On a personal level, we absolutely loved the chicken house. The theme of being in a chicken house is played on in several areas. If you are claustrophobic, be prepared to really experience fear. We cannot think of many haunts which play this well on that fear. We really cannot remember any animatronics, and though actors were sparse throughout, they were HIGHLY effective. We honestly feel you will thoroughly enjoy this haunt, and it has made its way into our personal top 5 haunts.
The hayride was, interesting, to say the least. You will travel through and stop in difference various scenes throughout the property. We had one scene that easily took the cake with some very young actors who had some amazing moves. We do not want to spoil it, but you will know it when you see it. We had a few areas when stopped that we felt the “guide” getting on an off the trailer to allow the actors to come aboard was a bit distracting, but otherwise it was good. You will be sitting closely with 25-50 people whom you may or may not know. Again, remember your protective gear if you have concerns of COVID.
Crazy Train –
After watching the crazy train and speaking to the haunt operators and other guests, we unfortunately chose to forgo the crazy train due to a medical condition that would have been negatively affected. This is what we can tell you, hold on for dear life….it is a true crazy “train”. The driver of the bus has no fear. We heard talk from some guests of the bus blowing out tires and needing replacements as it bounced and ripped through the property. You will be in tight with other guests, so if you are concerned of COVID, be sure to wear the proper protective equipment. We also received a friendly warning from one of the operators, that it would be a good idea to not have your cellphone in your back pocket, as it may get crushed when bouncing along. In order to ride this, you must sign a waiver, or have a parent/guardian to sign if you are underage.
Bang for your buck
1 Attraction $15, 2 Attractions $25, all 3 Attractions $40
VIP which gets you to the front of the line is an additional $25
Overall bang for your buck is spot on. The jump from $25 to $40 may be a bit much, but it seems to be worth it overall. For the 2 attractions which we did, $25 was a great bargain. We have paid that much for less in attractions.
Not many special effects are used throughout the haunt trail or the hayride, which is good! The lighting throughout both were appropriate and helped the actors create a fearful environment. Surprisingly the hayride may have had more effects than the trail at each of the difference scenes.
Is it scary?
Guests were fearful. In many rooms throughout the haunt, there are doors in scenes that appear as though they are the exit but nope, you have to keep hunting for it. This can be fun as an actor, building up the intensity of how they’re going to escape. Unfortunately, many actors had to break character to tell us which door to use, and one boy even came by and kicked out a stuck door for us to move on. An opportunity to scare became a momentary break in character so while the haunt is indeed scary, working out early-season kinks such as this could significantly help make things smoother and maintain a consistently scary scene.
This haunt is quite possibly one of the most unique and creative haunts we have been to. The crazy train idea, as well as the use of the chicken houses was a perfect blend to really carry this haunt into its own space.
Did you feel safe?
We did have a few concerns here regarding COVID. There was signage stating it is recommended to wear a mask and social distance, but it is not required. The haunt itself is outdoors, however the que lines to get into the attractions are overall rather tight. One sign does say that the hayride and crazy train is unable to social distance at all. Based on the design of these two attractions, it would indeed be impossible to social distance, so we recommend you make your own decision.
It is worth noting that we did feel uncomfortable walking through the black inflatable tunnels.
Make your own decisions when coming to this haunt. If you feel you need to wear a mask, we suggest wearing one.
secret rep score 1 = 8.8
secret rep score 2 = 8.8
secret rep score 3 = 8.9
Overall, we had a blast! We love the fine folks who run the operation, we love the ideas and the concept of a haunted chicken house, and we even loved a few of the men running security! Good people run this place, and the passion and dedication we both saw in them was inspiring. Had concerns for safety not been at the forefront of our minds during the entire experience, this would have honestly been in our top 3 favorite haunt experiences together. Conversely, it is worth mentioning that hardly anyone else among the hundreds of customers visiting the haunt on this particular night had any issue whatsoever with the lack of social distancing and with hardly anyone wearing masks. A few adults such as we were in mask, but the majority of the crowd was teenager to early 20’s. In Heflin Alabama, it looks 99% the same as life at haunts did last year. It was the first weekend in October and the customers were already coming in flocks (PUN INTENDERED), and that truly speaks for itself.