Hallowe’en is quickly approaching. What better way to celebrate it than visit a haunted theme park? I had never been to a haunted theme park before and B.B. suggested that we go and check one out. It was a really warm October day so we put the top down on the convertible and drove to Anderson, which is just north of Indianapolis to the Indy ScreamPark which was voted one of America’s best haunts for 2010 .
As we pulled into the parking area, dusk was settling in and the way that the dust kicked up and settled the parking lot, it reminded me of fog starting to settle above the ground. I was starting to get a little worried about going to the venue; I’m not really one to enjoy being frightened. I have had previous experience with real life scares from a ghost that seemed to live in my apartment in Vancouver (the building where I lived in Vancouver is about a hundred years old and I often had unexplained occurrences like the lights turning on in the middle of the night, the sounds of paper fluttering when I was about to go to sleep, things disappearing, strange smells, etc–but that’s a story for another time).
We parked in the dusty lot and walked to the area where people seemed to be milling about. There was a mini-picnic area and there were some stands outside where you could buy food and drinks (including beer) and there were some stands where you could play games (shooting hoops and paintball shooting at live people running across the back). There was a large warehouse-type barn which housed three of the attraction themes.
We entered the building and were followed by a creepy-looking ghoul who looked like something out of a Starwars movie. He was wearing a worn-out tan oversized dinner jacket and pants (I suspect that underneath all of the rubber and make-up, he was a teenager at his weekend job). He was basically creeping up to unsuspecting people and scaring them without saying a word. We went inside the building to pay for our admission to the park. They gave us a wrist band to wear and the attendants at the door of each theme would mark our bands as we visited each attraction. There are five different themes at this park. Three of the themes are located inside of the building and the other two themes are outside.
This is the first area that we visited. It is a 3D haunted madhouse full of sound, video, and optical illusions. They gave us 3D glasses to wear. With the glasses, I could see the paint jumping off of the faces of the attendants at the door. The attendants made us wait outside of the doors for a few minutes to give the group ahead of us some time to go through the venue. While waiting outside, we heard screams coming from within the 3D house and the neighbouring theme houses. When we entered the madhouse, it was a big contrast from the dusty waiting area outside. It was like I was bombarded with neon lights, a sensory overload for my eyes. As we walked along the windy path, we constantly turning corners and never knew what to expect. Actors would jump out in front of us and scream at us. I was mostly laughing the entire way because I was a little nervous (I tend to laugh when I’m scared). I was also looking away because I was sometimes scared at what I was about to encounter. After talking about the theme park with B.B. I realized that I blocked some things from my memory. I don’t remember the bouncing clown who was in front of the chain-linked fence. Apparently I walked right by him and said, “That’s cool!” One of the coolest scares was when a guy jumped out from an upper corner and then retracted back (he was in a harness and attached to some bungy cords). That surprised B.B. as well. We made it out of the venue safe and sound and back into the dusty waiting area outside to get into the line for the next venue.
The next room has a Japanese theme, the word “kurayami” means “blackout” in Japanese. This attraction manipulates the use of light and lack of light to induce fear into visitors. When we entered this venue, it was the complete opposite of the neon 3D madhouse that we had just experienced. This venue was pitch black and I could not see a thing. I made B.B. go first because I was scared that people were going to jump out in front of me and scare the bejesus out of me. There were a lot of tight corners to turn and it was pitch-black. I was holding onto B.B.’s hand and he was feeling the walls to figure out where to go. He kept feeling the walls and every once in a while I heard him curse. Of course, because it was so dark, I didn’t know why he was getting so upset. Apparently, the walls were lined with zappers and if your fingers touched the panels, you got a slight jolt of electricity. B.B. ended up feeling his way through by using his feet. I wasn’t as scared in this attraction because B.B. was in front of me. There were people in the Kurayami room who were screaming. I didn’t know why until we went farther into the attraction. There were actors in the venue who would shout and scream at you as you walked past. Every once in a while, they would direct you in the right direction with a creepy voice. I kind of wondered if they were wearing night vision goggles. At one point, we had to pass through a tight passage of mattresses. B.B. beat his way through it. I managed to get through without any problems but I could see how it would induce fear into someone who was claustrophobic. We made it through that attraction without any problems.
From the German word for “nightmare” this venue features several actors and scenes. I thought that this was one of the scariest of the attraction themes. After the attendant explained that if we don’t touch the actors, they wouldn’t touch us, she wished us good luck and we began to make our way through the nachtmahr. There were several different areas to pass through. Sometimes we passed through creepy looking hotel lobbies with creepy looking actors talking to us. We passed through an eerie library with actors suddenly popping their heads out of windows and bookshelves. There was an asylum area with actors yelling and talking to us as we passed by their cages, there was also a mortuary, a weird graveyard area, and a kitchen. All the while, actors would either jump out and scare us or they were just creep behind us and follow us around for a bit. I was a bit frightened. B.B. was laughing at me because I was laughing nervously throughout the tour. At one point a guy with a real chainsaw jumped out and scared me (the chainsaw was real but there was no blade). The other scary actor was the one with the knives. He looked like Fat Bastard from the Austin Power movies and he was wearing an apron with blood streaks. He was hitting his knives together and sparks were flying from the knives. I was scared of him. B.B. just laughed at me (these actors were only preying on the people who were scared). Well, we made it out of that venue in one piece. I was kind of relieved to get out of that one.
This attraction is outside in an actual wooded area. Although I am not really one to watch horror movies, this attraction felt like you were walking through a scene from a typical horror movie. The premise to this attraction is that the Tate family has been living in these woods for generations and they are known to haunt the area. This is a half a mile trail of horror where they send you along the dark trail with a small neon flashlight. (It’s interesting to note that the attendant at the gate tells everyone not to touch the actors or the police will be called in to escort you out. You know that there have been incidents in the past where visitors have laid their hands on the actors, perhaps they were so freaked out? Maybe it’s not a good idea to have a beer garden at scare parks). It was very dark in the woods and we went in a small group with a teenaged couple who appeared to be on a date. I was glad that they were in front of us. On the other hand, being at the back is scary because you don’t know if someone is creeping behind you. We came to an outhouse and eventually figured out that we had to open the door and go through. As soon as we opened the door, an actor jumped out and yelled, “What are you doin’ in my outhouse?” We continued through the outhouse and back onto the path. Along the way, we had to walk through other buildings and pass by other actors, including an actor with rollers in her hair with a walker who said the B.B. “You wanna marry me?” She could very well be the scariest part of the park for the guys. We went through some other buildings where actors were pretending to torture other actors, fake blood was sprayed on the walls, and other actors were screaming. Of course, as soon as we exited the building, the screaming stopped, until another group entered. At one point, the couple we were traveling with hesitated before opening a door. I said, “Don’t worry, we’ve got your back,” but I don’t think that they were comforted by that, especially since I was kind of scared myself. There were some creepers in the forest who were on the ground disguised as hay stacks who would either follow you or just scream “Aaaauuuugh” and scare you. We also came across another guy with a chain saw. I laughed nervously as we walked by but B.B. said that he had the chainsaw right up to my leg. I kind of looked the other way and kept walking. We made it through that one in one piece. However, through the entire tour, I couldn’t help thinking that it would be the perfect scene for a CSI crime.
This attraction makes use of the cornfields outside to scare visitors. There is a tall natural gas tower in the middle of the cornfield, a cool pyrotechnic feature considering that the cornfield was fairly dark. The tower roars to life and lights up every five to ten minutes and illuminates the whole area. We walked along the twisted maze in the corn field and I braced for something to come and scare us. There were some actors who jumped out of the aisles of drying corn to scare people. Sometimes we walked past bare areas where it looked like it could be a hiding spot only it was vacant. There were also quite a few dummies set up in the field. Both the real people and the dummies were dressed like weird corn people (their heads were covered with something that resembled a yellow corn husk). However, I couldn’t really tell if the dummies were real people standing still or dummies to throw you off. The theme park definitely kept people on their toes. Sometimes, there were people creeping behind you and following you, but usually they preyed on the visitors who were scared. Every once in a while, you could hear people screaming nearby. At one point, one of the actors ran out and screamed, “Aaaaaaaauuugh!” and then ran back to their hiding spot and said in a meek voice, “Hug me, I’m scared!” That was actually quite funny. I wasn’t as scared until we came across another guy with a chainsaw. The chainsaw always scared me. I guess it’s a combination of the sound of the chainsaw, the smell of gas, and the sight of smoke coming from it. It didn’t help that the guy holding the chainsaw was psycho looking.
The ScreamPark was really cool. B.B. said that he liked the cornfield the best because we weren’t stuck with a group, although it was kind of a boring trail for him. He probably wasn’t as scared as I was because the actors all seemed to be trying to scare me. I think that I was the most scared during the walk through the woods. Not only do I have a slight fear of being outside in the woods at night, the scenes were very realistic and the actors were very believable. Most of them were psychotic and scary. Even the ghost girl sitting on the bed scared me, even though she didn’t do anything other than look at people with an empty stare. I don’t know that I would go to a haunted park again. I was pretty scared at some parts of the park, although I didn’t scream at all (maybe just jump in surprise). I was definitely on edge during the whole visit.