On the final night of our Trip To Kentucky, we ventured about an hour south of Louisville, to a place that’s literally out in the middle of nowhere. To get there we traveled on winding roads traversing through the pitch blackness, nervously keeping an eye out for deer in the road. We meandered our way slowly but surely through the hills of Kentucky to a place we consider to be a true hidden gem. Sinister Tombs, a combination of an outdoor trail with several indoor structures and mazes. Although it may take a little extra effort in getting there, we feel that you’ll find that it’s more than worth it.
Finding Sinister Tombs wasn’t difficult with GPS and the helpful signage along the way. Parking is in a grass lot next to the haunt’s namesake sign and is within clear view from the road. The property has that great atmosphere that can only be achieved from being out in the middle of nowhere. The ticket booth and entrance to the attraction are located a short walk from the parking lot through a tall cornfield. After securing our tickets we sat in a cozy area with chairs next to a fire pit while we waited for our group to be called. There’s another waiting area with seating underneath a tent in case of bad weather. Rather than standing in a queue line, groups wait in separate areas that are spaced out for social distancing away from other guests.
The costuming and makeup work was a bit hit or miss. Some of the characters had fairly elaborate costumes, while others wore much more basic attire. Most of the makeup work was fairly minimal.
The entire cast is comprised of volunteers and that's because Sinister Tombs is a charity haunt with all proceeds going to local charities. There were a couple of actors that were a little green and not quite comfortable in their roles, but it was opening weekend, and the top of that we were informed that they were missing several key actors the night of our visit. The majority of the cast did a wonderful job. Our favorite actors of the night were the taxidermist, the clown in the beginning, and the clowns in the mazes. We also need to mention the chainsaw attackers who provided the very best scares of the night.
Trail Experience / Theming
Sinister Tombs enjoys adding a good dose of theatrics to its show by implementing many interactive moments between the actors and patrons. You may be asked to perform small tasks, find a clue, solve a riddle, find a character, or answer questions. This is definitely an attraction that is best enjoyed by those who like to interact with actors and participate in the show. We didn't quite follow the storyline, but it didn't seem to deter us from having a blast participating in the fun. We don't usually enjoy mazes but the new psycho clown maze was really well designed and a lot of fun for us.
Bang For Your Buck
General admission is a mere $15, and out total tour time was a whopping 40 minutes! That comes out to 2.67 minutes of entertainment per dollar spent, which is well over double the gold standard of 1.0 minute. Needless to say, Sinister Tombs offers an incredible value that's rarely seen in the industry, and on top of that, all proceeds go to local charities!
This is an old school haunt through and through. You won’t see all the bells and whistles that you’ll find at the big-budgeted haunts and to be honest, they would seem out of place here. Instead what you’ll find are a lot of interesting sets that are decorated with unique household items, props that are made in-house, and highly effective use of lighting and fog. While some of the sets are rather minimalistic, they worked well with the rest of the environment of the haunt.
Was It Scary?
Yes! We ended up getting more startles here than any of the other four places we visited over the weekend! We counted four separate perfectly timed chainsaw attacks that were the best scares of the night. We also got an excellent pop scare from one of the clowns early on in the clown maze, and we got another from the hilarious clown at the beginning of our tour. All the frights were provided by the enthusiastic cast who targeted my review partner and me equally. Even with all the extra startles, the overall mood of the haunt is more about spooky fun and being entertained than it is being terrified, we feel that this would be a great place for groups of all ages.
Originality / Creativity
We really enjoyed the creative theatrics of Sinister Tombs. Theatrical haunts are something we seem to see less and less. Having an interactive storyline slows down the flow of the attraction which isn't conducive to getting a lot of customers through in a night. It's refreshing to visit a place that's more concerned about the customer's experience, than the bottom dollar.
Did I Feel Safe?
Yes. There are separate waiting areas, some with seating, and all isolated from other groups. They have face coverings and gloves free of charge for patrons. Every actor, staff member, and customer we came across was wearing a face mask. The owner also informed us that all possible touch points inside the haunt are routinely sanitized with high-end disinfectant.
Sinister Tombs has a plethora of things to recommend it; fun interactions with a wonderful cast, great scares, a long tour time, and it’s an incredible value. Plus the folks here couldn’t be more friendly and gracious. Sinister Tombs ended up being our favorite of the five haunts we visited during our weekend in KY, and we definitely consider them to be a 2020 Must-See haunt!