October has finally come, and with that comes our second haunt of the season. We traveled to Vincent Alabama to visit Hellbilly Hollow. Traveling to this haunt is an experience. Our GPS took us a new way this year, which included a gravel/dirt road (yes it was a public road that had a name) and we immediately joked about scenes from Deliverance and wondering if we would be hearing banjos soon. As you arrive at Hellbilly Hollow, you cannot miss it. The parking lot is a large grass lot that is lit up by streamers of light. There is plenty of parking here, even on the busiest of nights, and it is free to park which is a bonus. Be mindful of other guests parking, as in a larger vehicle the lot can become problematic when getting ready to leave if others have not left you room to maneuver your vehicle. This sprawling property that the haunt sits on, we were told by a worker who lives nearby, used to be a dairy farm. You can imagine how much property they truly have available to them for this attraction.
You will approach a security guard before granted entry into this area – a metal detecting wand will be waved over you, you will be asked to temporarily remove everything from your pockets, and you will be gently reminded to keep any & all firearms & knives in your car. The large open space that the entrance ushers you into after purchasing your ticket is welcoming and an ideal hangout spot while you socialize, eat some tasty treats from their food area, run scared from the outside actors running around, and watch a very entertaining local hillbilly in a dunking booth who throws insults at everyone all night long. I honestly did not see anyone manage to dunk him, but many tried. He had us laughing each time we passed by.
Before we arrive at Hellbilly Hollow, we anticipate how a hillbilly hollow of fear out in the middle of the Alabama woods might look like. What you see when you drive up is precisely what you imagined! What would any good Alabama hillbilly business be without a massive cornfield and a creepy swamp or 2 & a rundown house, all spanning over a few acres? The house looks empty & torn from the outside, the corn maze looks simple, the hayride looks like some good ol’ innocent country fun. Not all is as it seems. Inside these attractions, big lights are sparingly used and not everything the light touches is what you should be looking at. Out of the darkness creeps the best scares along the hayrides, the ones you never see coming. Light distraction works, and Hellbilly Hollow actors use it. In the corn maze, the use of frantic lights from up above where the “prison guards” are set up looking for their “escaped prisoners” means that patrons never get an opportunity for their eyes to settle into the darkness, adding a subtle addition to the scare factor. How can you be fully on your toes and get your bearings if you must focus so much on where you’re going? It works beautifully in the maze. The house offers props full of neon pink poison, insane actors dressed in torn & bloody garments, & the details on the walls in each scene allow a sense of individuality per scene without deterring from the overall theme.
Hellbilly Hollow offers 3 different attractions. We will break down the walkthrough on each separately:
Who does not enjoy a good hayride? Hellbilly Hollow offers a very fun, and quite scary as some on our ride found out.
You will explore the old swamps on the backside of the property while being harassed by maniacs, swamp people, and voodoo queens. We were impressed with changes made over the last 3 years to this area, while minor, they were well noted made strong impressions on us with each one. Hold on tight and you might survive without joining the monsters in the swamp. Be prepared for your fellow hayride companions to push up against you or to even jump in your lap out of sheer fear when an actor strikes! Expect the hayride to last about 12 minutes.
Corn mazes in and of themselves are also always fun to experience. Each year Hellbilly Hollow has brought a new theme to the maze, and this year may take the cake. During our time in the maze, we were hunted, stalked, chased, and generally terrorized by the denizens that live there. We were very impressed with some of simplicity of the effects in this area but how truly effective they were. Constant light movement from above means your eyes never adjust, so it makes the maze itself more challenging and ensures that the monsters of the maze have every opportunity to get you. We heard screams throughout the maze, which made us very happy and told us that many were getting their money’s worth on scares. Depending on how fast you run, expect the corn maze to last approx. 15 minutes.
Hellbilly Hollow was busy in the off season this year. The house, while on the outside appears the same, was completely redesigned on the inside. We honestly only recognized the remnants of a couple of old scenes, and they were used to flawlessly integrate the new theme. The amount of time spent overhauling the house was impressive, and the actors took full advantage of new toys to play with. Expect the house to last approx. 15 minutes, again, depending on how fast you run, or how badly the monsters want to torment you.
Scene-to-scene, the flow of the house makes sense. Each compartmentalized scene offers an engaging situation upon which you have just entered, and generally speaking the actors know how to scare groups forward to avoid much group clumping. Numerous jump scares happened with guests we observed throughout the house.
At a price of $25 a person, for three attractions, you get quality entertainment for the whole evening.
We were told they were down 20 actors for the night after we went through everything…in most haunts this is a near death sentence and means there will be dead spots everywhere. These actors brought it on our visit. Many actors working together and working multiple scenes, moving flawlessly backstage to ensure that no matter where you were you were being scared. I must say, this part was VERY impressive. On top of that, none of the characters inside the attraction ever broke character. The characters they were playing fit perfectly into the overall theme of the haunt. Actors of Hellbilly Hollow, our hats are off to you for putting on a show with such a large portion of your team missing.
The actors played there parts very well, from the intake guard yelling at us that we are going to be abused, tortured, imprisoned for life…to the insane characters set loose upon unsuspecting guests, they all brought something special to the haunt.
Masks that move along with the actor’s performance are used, and the one that stood out the most to us was a pumpkin head mask in the corn maze. This actor, combined with this mask, gave us the best performance we observed throughout the entire night. His energy and his persistence were energetic, passionate, and very much appreciated.
Old favorites like “RaRa” the clown were a pleasant surprise to observe, as was a hovering Michael Myers in a gruesome hillbilly scene.
Younger actors were very clearly dedicated to scaring patrons, and their performances were consistent and effective.
This year’s theme was unlike anything we have seen at any other haunt recently. While playing off the pandemic very mildly, they took it in a whole new direction. Very quick backstory, a prison that is paid by the government to test treatments on prisoners for the virus. Everything goes sideways, the prisoners escape, and all hell breaks loose. There is very little time spent on anything with the pandemic other than the occasional mild comment here and there, most of the haunt focuses on the prisoners being mutated and escaping…and of course trying to kill you. The creativity of this theme makes its way into the corn maze to add a scare factor not many corn mazes utilize – the use of overhead lights from above as “security” searches the land for the “prisoners” never allows the guests to settle their vision fully on the trail, adding an excellent added sense of discombobulation throughout the maze. The integration of theme between the corn maze and the house is flawless. The haunt uses modern fear derived from the pandemic (mentioning vaccines and government funding) to connect to the audience & it works. Real life is scary – why not weave some non-fiction into the show?
We thoroughly enjoy our time spent at Hellbilly Hollow each year we stop by. It is, beyond question, worth the time driving out to Vincent to experience this place for a scary fun night with your friends & family members. HH puts on a quality show that is certain to trigger numerous phobias & provide you with entertainment for the entire night.
-REVIEWERS PERSONAL NOTES-
Danny’s notes: Hellbilly Hollow had a complete makeover of their entire theme this year. At first glance, we were concerned that this could be very difficult to pull off, but the team at Hellbilly Hollow did not let us down. Full Disclosure: We went through the house and hayride twice but would gladly do it again and again. We received a unique experience on both attractions we went through each time, and were pleasantly surprised at how different, and yet how good, each trip through was.
Star’s notes: I genuinely always look forward to visiting Hellbilly Hollow each year. The show is always a bit (or a GOOD bit) different each year, which not only keeps things interesting, but it shows me that these folks really care about what kind of show they put on. I want to support folks who are passionate about what they put out, not the money side of things. I know that each time I visit HH, I will undoubtedly have a good time. This haunt is a “must-see” for me, personally, each & every year!