A-Hauntin’ We Will Go

TVT_3897As we woefully wave goodbye to long sunny days, we turn to greet the fall season and embrace its seasonal traditions. With Halloween just around the corner, haunted houses have begun to open their doors to welcome guests eager to be tricked and treated. One haunt in particular, Asylum Haunted Scream Park, has taken their attraction – comprised of four individual experiences – to a new level each year to keep attendees longing for more.

The vast majority of haunted houses in Louisville charge roughly $20 for entry. At Asylum, the same is true if you choose to go through just one attraction. If you are interested in getting the biggest bang for your buck, Asylum offers an all-access pass that allows you entry into three of their attractions for $28 or four attractions for $35. The main attractions are spread out across 42 acres of land, and each offers a diverse range of scares and thrills to customers of all ages.

Asylum started out as a single haunt called Darkness Falls that was in operation for two seasons before expanding into a “Scream Park” in 2011. The park now offers four main attractions as well as special features such as the Slenderman challenge on October 22 and 29, a frightening game of finding clues and escaping evil before time runs out. Tip-based entertainment is provided by a local circus troupe, The Carnival of Lost Souls.

TVT_3877“It’s about the community and the weirdness and bringing people together,” describes Richard Teachout, owner of Asylum Haunted Scream Park. “A lot of us are outcasts who don’t fit in to normal society, and we wanted a place to play together. So we built this creepy little place where everyone can be themselves and have fun.”

Upon entering the enclosed outdoor haunt, you are greeted by character actors offering a taste of what’s to come as they coax brave patrons into conversing and chase fearful patrons back to their cars. The path to the park is lined with pinstriped booths that have the look and feel of carnival attractions. The air is filled with soft, eery music that sends a foreboding sense of thrill and fear down your spine. To whet your appetite, The Carnival of Lost Souls offers free performances from fire breathers, contortionists, jugglers and sword throwers.

You can choose your fate in the main arena which rests at the top of a hill, just past The Carnival of Lost Souls’ performance space.

To your left is Xterminate, a mutant-themed game of laser tag in which the only way to win is to accumulate headshots and find your out.

TVT_3890Next to Xterminate is Zombie City, an award-winning theatrical haunt in which you  are the main character of a story that builds upon itself each year. This year, the haunt invites you to participate in an urban “military” mission as newly recruited zombie hunters. Participants are sorted into groups of 15 for an attraction that coincidentally runs approximately 15 minutes. After reviewing your mission, you are boarded single file onto a bus equipped with window-mounted paintball  guns that are at your disposal throughout the course of the ride. Your goal is to shoot as many moving and dormant zombies as possible while your witty, half-crazed driver takes you on a tour of a town on the outskirts of Zombie City.

The plot line in Zombie Hunting ties in to the story played out in Zombie City. Both attractions provide patrons with a sense of realism as they are placed in the middle of a world overrun by zombies and an evil scientific organization called Paragon. You and your group may choose to interact with a variety of interesting characters ranging from mad scientists and military officials to zombies and other victims of Paragon’s experiments. The only way to escape Zombie City alive is to outrun zombies, outwit sinister characters and acquire a security badge before you near the end of your journey.

Darkness Falls, the haunt’s original attraction, gives you a taste of most every fear imaginable. From goblins and ghouls to clowns and crazed cannibals, this haunt leads you on a long and windy path through dark woods filled with surprises around every turn. While the actors are not allowed to touch you, they will get close enough to make you squirm. As soon as you think an actor has retired from stalking you, a twig snaps nearby; the stench of sweat grows closer; the feel of warm breath prompts the hair on the back of your neck to bristle. Actors utilize silence, whispers, screams and loud bangs to keep you on your toes. Near the end of the path, the pungent smell of burning gas leads into the age-old tradition that haunts are notorious for: the revving of a chainsaw. It is a tradition because it is consistently effective at making groups run through the exit as the chainsaw cuts dangerously close at  their heels.

Asylum Haunted Scream Park has created a whole new world filled with humor and horror in which all are welcome. The park gives consumers the opportunity to leave their everyday existence behind and step in to a world far more majestic and adventurous than their own. So this weekend, gather your family and friends and treat them to a haunting experience unlike any other at just one or maybe even all five facets of this terrifyingly unique attraction. VT

For more information and tickets to Asylum Haunted Scream Park, asylumhaunts.com.