We kicked off the start of the 2020 haunt season in Clarksville, IN which is located at the Indiana/Kentucky border right across the river from Louisville. This was our first time visiting this second year haunt and we’re happy to say that after what we experienced on the night of our visit, it certainly won’t be our last!

Finding the manor was super easy with GPS as they are located just a few miles off highway 65, just N of downtown Louisville.

Atmosphere

 

The haunt is housed in a nondescript pole barn type building that features a Malice Manor banner, colored lights, and a cool early vintage car in the parking lot. Inside the building, things improved aesthetically with an appropriately themed ticket booth and merch counter, Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses playing on the wall, colored lighting, an ominous soundtrack playing in the background, and the menacing facade of the manor with its gargoyles, vines, and distressed stone walls.

Costume Makeup

 

With all actors being required to wear face coverings this year, we were more than a little concerned about how that might affect this category. Well, we're pleased to report that it didn't negatively impact things nearly as much as we were anticipating. The majority of the actors' face coverings had airbrushed makeup effects that matched the rest of their characters' appearance. A few cast members wore small clear plastic face shields that didn't work quite as well, but weren’t overly distracting for us. Overall, the makeup and costuming were both done quite well with a nice level of detail. Most of the characters looked quite believable in their roles and the airbrushed face coverings were a nice touch. We do need to point out to our readers that because all actors must wear face coverings this year, you’ll need to pay closer attention to what they are saying or you’re most likely to miss quite a bit of the dialogue.

Actors

The cast as a whole did a good job and several of the performances were quite excellent. We thought the timing of their scares was, for the most part, spot on. Some of the actors were a bit hard to understand at times, but that is going to be the norm this year with everyone wearing face coverings.

Some of the more notable actors were; the gentleman who told us the story of Lord Rancor in the intro scene, the clown who did a “magic trick”, the guy who told a “Hammer Time” joke, and the lady near the end who was telling disgusting jokes about her “daddy”.

Trail Experience / Theming

 

Group spacing was excellent as we didn't see or hear any other groups during our journey.

We didn’t come across any dead spots as actors were well distributed throughout. We thought the layout/path of the scenes were cleverly designed with obstacles that ensured that we had to focus some of our attention on where we were walking. This took some of our attention off the actors who would then sneak off to a new hiding spot unnoticed and scare us a second time before leaving their section of the haunt.

Other than the opening scene which explains that “in these very walls of Malice Manor lies the dark heart and twisted soul of Lord Rancorf himself” there didn’t seem to be any references to an overall theme. From a Pirate ship to a dungy 80’s arcade, Malice Manor is a bit of a mish-mash of different scenes that the owner described as “controlled chaos”, which we wholeheartedly agree is an appropriate description.

Bang For Your Buck

General admission is $25 and our experience clocked in 14 minutes, which gives us a “minutes per dollar spent” score of 0.56. The entertainment provided was of high quality for the majority of our journey

SFX/Visual

 

We felt the entire haunt was very well decorated and had nicely detailed sets from room to room.. We especially enjoyed the realistic look of the kitchen, the butcher shop, and the pirate’s ship. The spider's lair was very well done and a personal favorite as my review partner is a borderline arachnophobe and I really enjoyed watching him squirm his way through. The special effects were unique and pretty much on point timing wise. The effects we especially enjoyed were; the moving walls, a trick fireplace, and the intense vibrating effect near the beginning.

Was It Scary?

 

We did get startled quite a few times during our journey, which is not a common occurrence for us, so we’d say it was a job well done in this category. We really enjoyed the large variety of scare tactics that were utilized and their unpredictability. Besides earning good marks in the scare department, we’d also like to mention that this haunt is equally as funny. We really enjoyed the adult nature of some of the funnier scenes and their characters' vulgar wit, so much so that I believe we were both smiling and laughing as we exited the show.

Originality/Creativity

 

One of the elements we enjoyed the most was the Manor’s creative flair for humor. Sometimes a bit crude and other times downright disgusting, we really appreciated the doses of hilariousness throughout our journey and how they were incorporated into the show.

Did I Feel Safe?

 

Yes, We did not encounter a single person (customer or staff) who wasn’t wearing an appropriate face covering. The queue line was spaced out with markers for social distancing, common touch points were being sanitized, and groups were very well spaced out. Malice manor is normally a “light touch” haunt, but there was no contact with the actors this year for obvious reasons.

Overall

 

We really enjoyed our time at Malice Manor and they definitely get our recommendation. The show was a lot of fun and for a second-year haunt in mid September, with all the COVID restrictions in place, we’d say that they definitely exceeded our expectations. We hope the show will grow and expand well beyond the 14 mark in the future, as that is a bit on the shorter side of things. But we feel the skys the limit for this place, they seem to have a great crew running things and creative minds at the helm. Thank you for ringing in the 2020 haunt season for us in such a frighteningly fun way!

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