Anytime I get a chance to check out a haunt in a neighboring sate and it puts me in the great tarheel state, I am down. So 221 miles from Lynchburg, VA. to Hickory, NC and through some terrible one lane construction I arrived at Lake Hickory Haunts. I will say this knowing that some of the haunts I have visited it is something amazing to not see everything from the road. All you see is the ticket booth, an office area and the entrance path to the Haunts Midway of Mayhem area. While hanging out at the ticket booth area I was handed the 2019 Event guide that is theme park like pamphlet of the layout of the haunts surrounding the lake. It lists the 8 Attractions and what area they are in as well as all of the games to play in the midway. You will want to get there early so you can see the festivities before they open the haunt and get a sneak peek of the characters in the haunts.
Customer Service: 10
The crew at LHH is just stellar from when I arrived to meeting Ryan and Morgan, They where extremely nice to me. I got to speak to both of them as they would give me info on when they would be getting myself and others down to the Midway to see they opening festivities. I can see from both of them how much they care about the guest from the time they come to the attraction to the time they leave. They flawlessly was able to park a school bus full of kids and park cars at the same time.
At the Entrance gate you already see a boat that has seen better days to a ticket booth with an animatronic dragon. You know when you walk down the path that gives you the overlook of the full attraction you know you are at a haunt. The view from the overlook area with the lights on at all of the attractions you just have to stand there and admire for a little bit just on how they were able to put these attractions around the lake.
The Actors were on point! Before they opened up the entrance to the park some of the actors came out to entertain and scare the guest waiting just to go down to the Midway. While talking to Ryan he had mention that he was down in staff but I will say this his actors stepped up to the plate big time. In numerous scenes Actors I could tell where working other rooms so that why they did not have dead spots.They utilized the haunt they where at to there best ability in catching the people in my group off guard to scare them. The actors that had more of a talking role where very interactive with each guest.
The Detail work in the costumes and make up to each actor not only in the midway but each actor in the haunt was spot on. The great thing is seeing different characters then you see in a lot of haunts. You can see that the actors and make up artist put in a lot of work to make sure the characters are just more then a mask or face paint.
Special Effects - 9.6
From the Midway to each attraction the detail work in using different special effects was stellar. Did notice one spot that they were not using an "Actormatronic" in the trail area which would of had been nice to see work. Each haunt has very unique special effects that you just have to go and see to even notice you go underground in the Decent ( one of my favorite parts). Love the fact that they have Fire on top of the DJ booth and the flame thrower on the stage it reminded me of a mix of Mad Max and From Dusk Till Dawn with the way the are felt on a full moon night.
Is It Scary - 8.9
To the bus load of kids it was scary as some, before the haunt even open, was running around screaming. For me it was entertaining as there was so much to look at in each haunt. Even just waiting to go into the haunt with the characters in the Midway were getting scares constantly. If I haven't been in this industry for the length that I have been I would of had been on my knees a few times in each attraction.
THEME/TRAIL - 9.77
Nightmare Factory: 9.7
This is the first haunt you are ushered into and after being told that you are going to be sprayed a serum so your nightmares come to life in the
nightmare factory. Through most of this attractions it plays heavily on your basic nightmares which was really great to see Mr Nightmare himself Freddy
Kruger in this part of the haunt and it played soo well. During one scene there was a miss scare just due to the face that they had a great opportunity
to have a character there as you are distracted by the way the room is built. Once you get past that section its just more nightmarish rooms that make this
a great start to LHH.
Lair of the Undead: 9.5
As you enter into this attraction you are met with the undead lurking around. With Zombies being in the front of pop culture it is hard to get a really
good feel to an attraction full of them especially when it was just enough light to see them. With the layout of this attraction there was a zombie of some
kind just right around the corner and through a couple of the scenes the zombies the group and I had scene before did go for one more growl or noise as we
When you walk up to this attraction you hear the captain up on his stage just bantering away with each guest as they walk through and you felt as if you where walking
right into a ship. The Actors where on point with the them of this attraction and with seeing the boats on the lake shows the attention to detail the staff has. One
of my favorite spots was how interactive the voodoo character was in their little shack with each guest in the group I was with.
Going from Pirates and voodoo to Aliens is a trip and these 2 attractions back to back are heavy hitters. The detail work of the lighting design, audio and close
quarters walking through what is an alien ship is just spectacular. The lights, the video screens of footage that is of the characters they have in the attraction
really shows how well an alien attraction can be. The Xenomorphs in this haunt are great they do a phenomenal job looking like part of the ship and almost during
there parts that they didn't have only a couple of actors but I was sooo wrong.
As my group walked up to this attraction we had a character on the top of what was a gate to Aftermath. This haunt is the continuation to Extinction which gave off that
vibe as the survivalist kept up with the theme of this attraction. Oh the buses are always fun and for some haunts they are difficult and really take away from the
attraction. LHH uses the buses to their advantage as you go through the path of a post apocalyptic attraction. The actors where spread out which gave you the feeling
that there was not much left after the aliens had attacked.
You know you are in the south when the haunt can pull off some Cannibal hillbillies.
It would of been great to have an actor out front to get a scare in the front of the house. The fun thing is we actually have to open up the screen door and meet this family that was ready for some good southern cooked meal. The scenes changed quickly form the kitchen to the freezer which gives you a good chill before heading through the rest of the attraction.
This was a crazy walk through and really takes away your sense of being above ground. When you walk down to this attraction you are really on the lower part of the
lake and go over the lake to get to the entrance. This just gets darker and darker the further you descended to 12 feet underground through a sewer section to even
a cave to pure darkness and hearing so much going on around you but not being able to see anyone there. If you where in the front of the group you could see the
infamous light at the end of the tunnel (light at the end of the tunnel... coincidence I think not).
Big Top Circus: 9.8
This had a the longer walk to get to it but it was worth it as you could see the big top facade and stilt walker clown waving and wanting us to play some games out in
its own midway area before they handed us our 3D glasses. Most of the time these glasses just fall off and you miss all of the work that goes into the set design and the
paintings of the rooms in 3D. With this Big Top Circus I was able to see it all in 3d and it was a great distraction for the clowns that are lurking around in this
attraction to get you and come out of hidden areas. A couple things that stood out to me was the actors did go with the story of their head clown Boss ( who is up in the
midway of mayhem) and the very fun house feel to the house was great as well.
Bang for your buck: 10
General Admission: $25.00
Fast Pass: $35.00
For the time that I spent there hanging out in the midway with the games and then the 30+ minutes walking through all of the attractions it is well worth the price.
After the trip down to tarheel nation it was so worth the trip. Lake Hickory Haunts does not disappoint at all. This crew is amazing and getting to meet some of them before they had to go into their attractions was amazing. Each attraction with the amount of detail work that has gone into them you can see the team there is just growing and building a haunt that you don't want to miss. I look forward to see what is in store for next season.