Grim Trails Haunted Attraction Review 2013

Grim Trails is a dark fantasy haunted forest that opened last weekend in Eastern Jefferson County, and if opening night is any indication, it may end up being one of the scariest haunts in the Ville!

If film director, Guillermo del Toro (“Pan’s Labyrinth,” “Hellboy”), designed a haunted attraction, it would probably turn out something like Grim Trails at 12009 Rehl Road in Eastern Jefferson County, not far from the infamous Pope Lick railroad trestles.

Owner and operator, Andrew Coombs, has taken his over 30 years of experience as a home haunter with the Haunted Yard and turned it into an elaborate dark fantasy adventure inspired by the stories of the Brothers Grimm. Two years ago, Coombs made a first attempt at bringing his vision of a dark and twisted fairy tale world to life in his Grim Tales Attraction in Middletown. While the haunt itself was successful, it was constrained and constricted to the small space of an empty strip mall storefront, which ultimately resulted  in an attraction that was not only too short, but also unable to properly convey the scope of woodland fantasy adventure Coombs intended.

After taking a year off to build the type of elaborate haunt he initially envisioned, Coombs is back in the horror business, taking four acres of misty forest in Jeffersontown and turning it into a mysterious netherworld inhabited by strange, otherworldly creatures.

Your journey begins in the rustic, woodland cabin of an odd mountain man who knows the dangers of the dark forest beyond. Once on the trail, you’ll follow a path lit by flickering tea light candles in mason jars hanging from the trees. Not only do these candles create a unique atmosphere, they also make a fun breadcrumb trail. Just as you think you’re surely lost, you’ll catch a glimpse of a solitary flickering tea light which will lead you to the next winding path.

When not following the tea lights between scenes, Grim Trails has built a number of creative structures to guide you to your next destination. Twisted, gnarly vines surround you in one area while another area is completely covered by spider webs, and you know all those spider webs have to have been spun by something!

Grim Trails does a great job of creating different atmospheres in different areas along the path between haunted huts and creepy houses. For example, one area you’ll encounter is a frozen winter wonderland complete with snow and a frozen lake where mermaids dwell.

Speaking of fantastic and mythical creatures, the beasts you’ll run afoul of in the black forest of Grim Trails are some of the strongest elements of this unique attraction. The witch in the witches’ hut gave me one of the biggest startles of the evening when she attacked from a completely unexpected direction. Some of the more ghostly characters give off a less aggressive, but more spine tingling, ethereal quality.

One of the things that really impressed me was how the monsters I encountered along the trail seemed to get bigger and bigger the further I progressed. First, I came face to face with a 12 foot, fur-covered troll who blocked my way when trying to cross under his bridge. Later, I ran into a 15 foot unspeakable monstrosity, and just when I thought that couldn’t be topped, I was chased by a cow skull-headed creature with scythes for arms that had to have been 20 feet tall. For a creature that big, that thing could really move!

What you won’t find at Grim Trails are chainsaws, movie slashers or buckets of blood and guts, so if that’s what you’re looking for in a haunted attraction, there are other haunts in town that will better satisfy your bloodlust. Instead, Grim Trails is an all original and darkly creative journey worthy of a Guillermo del Toro or Tim Burton movie that is likely to end up as one of my favorite new haunts in the Ville!

Grim Trails is open every Friday and Saturday night through October 26th from 8PM until 2AM. For more information, check out their website at http://www.grimtrails.com/.

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