Thu. Nov 21st, 2019

Vibe Check: A solo journey through the Devil’s attic leaves me shaken

By Joseph Garcia —

This is the chilling finale to my trilogy of haunt reviews for Halloween 2019. Keep in mind, this review is 100 percent based on my experience, so yours may differ.

It’s pitch black outside and there’s a cool, fall breeze tossing leaves along the asphalt road. The scene reminds me of the start of a horror film.

I’m on my way to experience the Devil’s Attic, a haunt just down the street from where I live in Old Louisville. Unlike my previous two haunt experiences this month, I’m walking down this cold street at night entirely alone. When I enter this haunt, I will be going alone–no boyfriend to hold on to and calm myself with, no group of friends to lead me and share the scares with–just me stumbling around in the dark scared to death.

For U of L students, this haunt is appealing. In terms of prices, the Devil’s Attic has a GA pass for $22 and a fast pass for $28, which is cheaper than tickets at both Field of Screams and Fear Fair. This haunt is also much closer than the others–it’s a short walk from campus on Hill Street in Old Louisville. However, U of L’s Student Activities Board buys out the haunt for a night every year and allows students to attend the haunt for free. I wasn’t able to go to SAB’s night, but I did go my freshman year, so the Devil’s Attic was something that I’ve been through previously. But this knowledge didn’t ease my anxiety at all.

As I stood in line, I felt strangely confident. This entire month I would offer to lead the group but would immediately shy to the back in utter fear. Going into this alone felt like a redemption story. This was a chance to prove to myself that I could do it, that I wasn’t scared.

That heroic confidence lasted a whole five minutes.

Once I was shut in the building I was immediately met with a blood curdling scream from above me. I don’t know where the scream came from, but it caught me completely off guard. After that fright, you’re met face-to-face with the Devil himself. He tells you about this hellish playground he’s laid out just for you and your friends to feed his monsters and opens the door for you.

There’s something about doing a haunt alone that heightens the experience. Familiar rooms I was accustomed to from other haunts became unrecognizable which made them 10 times scarier.

For instance, a room you’ll likely encounter in other haunts is room full of fog with a green light shinning at about waist-level and vines hanging from above you. This was something my friends I went through at Fear Fair so I immediately knew an actor was going to rise up from the fog. Despite this knowledge, I was disorientated and lost. The fog was so thick I struggled to find an exit and in my desperate search for it, the actor saw the perfect opportunity to jump out and spook me.

And spook me he did.

The rest of the scenes were similar to Field of Screams. They were loosely related, but weren’t bound by any sort theme despite being the Devil’s hellish creation. This wasn’t something that I noticed or frankly cared about at the time, but I think the mashup of scenes worked better here than at FoS because it was in tight quarters and they were back-to-back.

Owner Jason Besemann told me after the haunt that the scenes stay up all year and most are the same.

“We change usually one or two scenes a year, but it’s up all year long. Building-wise, we start in March, this year we started in December to build the new Medusa scene. Training starts in the first week of September,” Besemann said.

Even though I knew the scenes, I was still very impressed. The acting was great and the timing of scares was just right to give me a chance to breathe and then make me lose said breath. Like Fear Fair too, the costuming and makeup of actors were believable.

Makeup manager Matt Goodlett told me that despite the haunt opening at 8 p.m., costuming starts hours earlier.

“It’s about two hours we spend doing makeup, we knock out an actor about every 15 minutes,” Goodlett said. “We use custom cotton latex builds, all the makeup itself is mainly air brushed.”

The most terrifying look that night was the actor who was dressed as Pinhead from the “Hellraiser” series. Now, normally, I’m not afraid of movie monsters in haunted houses because I know they aren’t real. Pinhead never scared me before because I never watched the movies. Well, this month I watched the movies and by complete coincidence I forgot this scene was part of the haunt.

I was cornered by Pinhead and one of his demons and I was so scared that I genuinely could not move my feet. My only reaction to being that scared was to back up and away.

Overall, for its price and location to U of L, the Devil’s attic is worth the price. It’s admittedly a bit short, but for a cheaper admission than the other two haunts, I couldn’t complain.

I only had two issues, one being the lack of variation. I feel like after two years I shouldn’t be able to recognize the scenes in the haunt. It defeats the point of returning every year. It would have also been interesting to go up into an attic like space to go with the name, but that was just a personal preference.

Another thing about going to haunted houses alone that I never really thought about it is–the actors don’t expect it! Actors in more scripted scenes constantly kept asking if I was alone or where my group was because they expect groups larger than one. It added to the scare factor, yes, but it felt a little awkward because this haunt wasn’t designed for that. I even caught a couple actors off guard too.

For those readers that use Androids, sorry, but Bloody Mary uses an iPhone.

Photo Courtesy / The Devil’s Attic

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