Senior Review Crew Member

Kaylyn (hex_on_you)

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Previous Reviews: 2021 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017

2021 Reviews

Please note: this review is for the 2021 season rather than the current season.

The Hill Has Eyes

by hex_on_you (Senior Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 23, 2021 at about 8 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: Very High

Review

From beginning to end the actors and staff at The Hill Has Eyes have created not only a top notch haunted attraction--but a full experience for their patrons. This was my second time visiting The Hill Has Eyes, the first being 4 years ago, and I was pleasantly surprised that a lot has changed; the whole venue had a different layout and feel. This haunt is frequently sold out, and is completely outdoors, so be sure to plan ahead. Our group ordered our tickets online the Wednesday before our Saturday visit. Buying your tickets online and in a group has its perks--like $5 off each ticket and group rewards. Purchasing ahead of time also expedited our wait time in line. This haunt from ticket line to exit took about an hour and a half. When you purchase your tickets online, you pick a time slot to arrive between. Again, just plan ahead when planning to visit. With this being an entirely outdoor experience be sure to dress appropriately for the weather and wear appropriate foot wear. The change in elevation and walking paths means you need sturdy boots or shoes to navigate safely.

We bought our tickets for the 8-10pm time slot, which means you can arrive at any time during this period. When you arrive they check your online tickets and you receive a wristband with a letter on it. When you arrive to the large outdoor queue area, the DJ will call your letter and instruct you where to go when it is your time. This event has a very large outdoor queue area full of burn barrels, fire pits, a food truck, adult beverages, and a huge array of live entertainers. The level of fun and fear at this attraction are both very high--we didn't see many teenage-or-under guests, mainly an adult crowd, which we felt was appropriate for this haunt.

The Hill Has Eyes boast four different attractions. I have been to many haunts with a 'main' attraction, and accessory attractions which sometimes suffer in quality. That is not the case for The Hill Has Eyes. From queue line, and through each and every attraction there was a fine attention to detail in acting, props, fx and scenes. There was no lack of live actors either, the waiting area and each and every attraction was filled with live creatures waiting for you, sometimes in the creepiest places.

FAILED ESCAPE

Entering the woods through a seemingly abandoned cabin feels like the beginning of a horror film. Once inside the woods we were stalked by mutant hillbillies. I loved the change of elevation throughout this portion of the haunt. From staircases to bridges, to walking through winding paths in the forest, you never knew what was going to be behind each tree. For me outdoor, wooded haunts always give me the creeps. I absolutely hate (yet love) when a deranged, seemingly possessed creature comes crawling at you down a forest path, and of course we found that here!

HUNGER HOLLOW

The actors in this attraction were wonderful at interacting with guests. I was invited by the bartender to stay behind to be a head on a platter, which entertained our whole group. Look out above and below, as actors in this attraction were adventurous in their scare locations. Much like the first haunt, the elevation changes and outdoor nature of these attractions adds to the fear factor--this isn't a four walls attraction. You never know where the next scare is lurking.

CARNIVORE

Fear of clowns? Be prepared to be scared! This fun attraction started with a decent into a well constructed mineshaft and through a topsy-turvy tunnel. Kudos to the engineer of that tunnel-- it was by far one of my favorite effects in all of the haunts. This whole attraction played on the fear of carnivals, clowns, and a freak-show like feel. We loved the scenes and entertainers throughout this haunt--and we got a bit dizzy heading through one of their effects!

DEAD END

The Hill Has Eyes saved the best for last in my opinion! It takes quite a bit for me to jump and be scared in a haunt, and I will reluctantly admit that they got me--good job! Again, there was no shortage of live creatures throughout this portion. The Viking-like actors stood out to us in this portion, especially the one behind the counter. His low, gravely, demonic voice gave me the chills! Again, those possessed night crawlers come out of no where--so watch out!

Signage / Visibility / Location


We used navigation to get us to the location and nearly drove by the entrance--there was just one small banner near the road so be sure to keep your eyes open when you know you're getting close! When we arrived in the parking lot it was quite full, and it wasn't completely clear where to go. Some additional, well lighted signage would do this location some good, as it can be tricky to find where you're supposed to go, especially if you've never been to this haunt before.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


Where. Do. I. Begin. Wow. This was by far one of the most entertaining and enjoyable wait experiences I have ever had in all my years of haunt-going. This location is entirely outdoors, and in the past they had a tent for waiting, so when I saw that it was outdoors this year, I was a bit nervous. Those nerves quickly changed to excitement when we saw a food truck, full bar, multiple burning barrels and a large fire pit, and a DJ all waiting for us in the queue area. That isn't all that was waiting--I don't believe I've never seen so many live actors and creatures lurking about in a waiting area before! And these weren't your typical creatures. They had a steam-punk, freak-show feel and truly interacted with their guests and performed unhuman-like "tricks" for them. Make sure you watch your back--you never know where another actor may be hiding or what they have up their sleeve--or their nose!

Actors' Performance


Again, incredible. Each and every character took their role seriously and stayed in character the entire time. There's no "boo" scares or one-and-done scares here. You will be invited to become one with the scene and stalked through the woods. Some haunts with multiple attractions have a "main" attraction, and the added attractions are just that--an after thought. Not at The Hill Has Eyes. Each of the four attractions was well staffed with live actors and had a story line that carried through beginning to end. All four attractions were treated as the main attraction at this location.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


From the queue area and through each of the four attractions the actors costumes and makeup, the props, and the scenes were a wonderful mixture of a classic haunt and a modern fear experience. The change in elevation with the use of staircases and bridges, as well as the detailed walkthroughs, were incredible--especially given the entirely outdoor nature of this haunt. What I loved most was that this attraction could go from a mutant hillbilly story line to a deranged carnival without losing out on their detailed scenes or interactive fx.

Length


Plan ahead with this haunt. From ticket line to exiting the last attraction was close to an hour and a half.

Crowd Control


This was a very well organized haunt. When you arrive and check in with your online tickets, you receive a wrist band with a letter printed on it. The DJ in the queue area will call your letter and tell you where to enter the first haunt. With the amount of live actors, security, and staff spaced throughout the wait area and at the entrances to each haunt, we always felt we knew where we were going, and if there were any issues I have no doubt we would have found the help we needed. This haunt was also very well paced. We never felt rushed or crowded going through the attractions.

Most Memorable Moment


Huge shout out to the entertainment in the queue area--they have some tricks up their...erhm...noses. They'll be sure to "light" up your evening for sure.

Summary

This was definitely one of the more entertaining haunts that I have been to in awhile. I felt that everywhere I looked there was something creepy waiting to be found. With this being an outdoor haunt, be sure to dress appropriately and also be sure to plan ahead as this haunt frequently sells out. If you're looking for a night full of fun, fear, and food trucks, this haunt is the spot to find it all.

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Please note: this review is for the 2021 season rather than the current season.

Terror on Rural Street

by hex_on_you (Senior Review Crew Member) after attending on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 at about 7 p.m.

Fun Factor: Medium Fear Factor: Medium

Review

Terror on Rural Street is back! After a year off in 2020, Terror on Rural Street has returned, and they have a few new tricks up their sleeve! I was so excited to see one of my "staple" haunts return this year, and with having a year off, I was excited to see what has all changed. It seems as though everyone else in the area was excited too--the line for the haunt was one of the longest I have seen for this location. Luckily, the haunt has plenty of parking, and a large, heated indoor waiting area with full concessions, including adult beverages. New this year--there is a decorated outdoor 'courtyard' open for waiting as well. This haunt features many live actors, starting in the waiting line and extending all the way through the haunt. Special shout out to the larger-than-life devil haunting and chasing patrons both in the line and in the waiting areas! This haunt has both regular admission and VIP admission to accelerate your waiting time. We opted for the VIP experience to skip the line and get inside faster! As always, Terror on Rural Street is an affordable haunt at only $15 for regular admission, and all of their proceeds go to the local community.

Terror on Rural street is very well organized from ticket booth to waiting lines. Upon entering the doors you are sorted into groups and have the opportunity to take a group picture, which is then featured on their Facebook page and can be downloaded free of charge. One of the things I was most excited for was to see what changed, and I was let down a bit when I realized a majority of the first half of the house was very familiar from years past. What didn't disappoint was the amount of live actors, the scenes and makeup, and how some of the actors truly got into their role and made the scene and room their own. Look for the incredible special fx makeup and combination of classic scares and modern, life like props. Once we entered what I believe to be the 'second' half of the haunt, we were surprised to see a lot of changes! The second half definitely had a 'theme' going, so all of you with coulrophobia--watch out! The second half had some amazing new scenes, and was definitely more 'fun' then scary. They did a great job of tying in all of your senses--see if you can sniff out what I'm talking about! Overall, we were excited to see Terror on Rural Street with their doors open again, and the teaser of 'new' mixed with the familiarity of old has us on edge to where Terror can go in the future.

Signage / Visibility / Location


Terror on Rural Street is located off of Highway 60 in Hartford, near the Schauer Arts Center and the Hartford Recreation Department. There is plenty of signage pointing you in the right direction, and there is a large, well lit parking lot to hold all of the haunt-goers.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


Terror on Rural Street is one of few haunts with a large, heated, indoor waiting area with full concessions including adult beverages. You won't be bored waiting here--and your scares may start in the ticket line!

Actors' Performance


Some actors really embraced their role! Some left a bit to be desired. Kudos to the creepy clowns and their rat infested popcorn, and the silent but creepy grim reaper!

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


Terror on Rural Street has a great combination of classic haunt and some modern day props and fx. Some of their props I had a hard time distinguishing if they were and actor or a prop! They truly activate all of your senses, with moving sets, creepy sounds, and enticing scents.

Length


From entering the house to end took us roughly 15-20 minutes in length.

Crowd Control


Terror is a well organized haunt, which is to be expected for how long they have been in operation. Even with large crowds, security and staff presence was well noted, ticket lines and group lines were well organized, and even with a small group we didn't catch up to the group ahead of us while inside the haunt.

Most Memorable Moment


There is a very large, new prop in the second half of the house that we loved. I don't want to give it away, but I think you will know it when you see it!

Summary

Overall, Terror on Rural Street remains a staple haunt in our household. We love that it is non-profit and benefits our community, and we love that it is affordable and filled with volunteer, live actors. We are excited to see what the future holds for Terror, and would love to see them make more changes and mix up the sets. This is a haunt to put on your list for this year and for years to come!

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January 30th, 2023 5:58 a.m. CST 15.29