A brand new haunt for 2016 – HellsGate – an old school haunt experience featuring a mansion deep in the woods.
The haunt features a cemetery trail leading to a giant dilapidated
mansion, which is effectively realized – it’s do detailed you might
think you’re in some type of Universal Studios attraction.
For set design HellsGate cannot be faulted at all. It’s one of the most immersive haunts we’ve ever been to, featuring an almost complete mansion, including a parlor, kitchen, freezer, dining room, long corridors, attic, basement, doll and clown rooms, trophy room, and more. A Victorian/Edwardian theme with actors in period costume chauffeuring you through the mansion, serving more as guides than as scare points.
For anyone familiar with Statesville Prison you’ll find a lot of
similarities here: static and animated props in rooms, a giant animated animal head, live snakes and other creatures, an introductory scene featuring actors on wires flying overhead, and even the same lining up of visitors in single file lines in a couple of rooms.
Some effective scenes include the opening scene with two evil twins, a trophy room with a giant skeletal deer head on the wall that expands to feature the entire deer including flailing legs, and in the same room a live actor disguised as an animal trophy, a doll room with hundreds of creepy dolls with smashed heads and oddly painted faces and bodies, a library with falling shelves containing people inside them, and even a room with a zombie suspended from a wire who reaches out to grab visitors as they go by.
If you’re a fan of set design you’ll love this haunt – it’s not scary,
but rather more of an attraction with a haunted house theme. The actors are not in your face or intense, but rather more on the comical side. Not many prosthetics in favor of simple makeup and costuming. Approximately 22 minutes long for the main house and another 10 for the cemetery/trail.
Get there early, preferably before they open, and lines get very long and there are four of them – one for the shuttle bus, one for the tickets, one for the entrance to the trail and one for the entrance to the main house, plus two more smaller sections inside the house. Prepare for 2-3 hours of waiting if you arrive after the haunt opens.