Haunt Super Fan, Lindsay Bacon, Gives Louisville Halloween the Fan Perspective on the Local Horror Biz!

From late September to early November, Lindsay Bacon plans her life around the regional haunt schedule, visiting 14 different attractions in 2014 (many of them more than once). We’ve interviewed many haunters over the last few years, but this time we thought it would be interesting to hear from a fan. Not just any fan, but a Haunt Super Fan!

A couple of years ago I was on assignment covering a “Lights Out” special event at the Haunted Hotel on South 4th Street, and it was still technically early in the evening, probably around 8PM. This particular event involved signing a waiver and promised a fairly intense experience, under 18 years of age not allowed.

I was standing in line waiting for the assault on my nervous system when up walks this tiny little girl all by herself. I kept waiting for either her boyfriend, BFF or parent (!) to line up next to her.

You here all by yourself?

Indeed, she was. Intentionally!

After talking to her for five or ten minutes about the local haunt scene, I knew this girl was no average thrill seeker. She had probably visited more haunt houses that year than I had. She was a Haunt Super Fan.

Since I like a sounding board for my haunt reviews, I invited her to join me for a dark trip through the Haunted Hotel and we’ve kept in touch ever since. I can’t even tell you the number of times I bumped into her at various haunts over the last couple of years.

Louisville haunt fans, meet Lindsay Bacon.

“First, tell us a little about yourself and your earliest memories of Halloween.”


I was born in Louisville. Shortly after, my family moved across the river to Floyds Knobs, which has been my home for most of my life. For work, I do customer service and order management for a grill company at their service center in Jeffersonville. I have been enjoying haunted attractions for over 11 years.


My earliest memories of Halloween date back to childhood and my first few years in school. The rest of my family weren’t big fans of the holiday and I can’t remember them participating often, but my dad and I would always celebrate. We had traditions we enjoyed every year, like filling up those Halloween leaf bags and setting them out in the front yard, putting up decorations on the porch, painting and carving the pumpkins we’d picked out earlier that month… and of course, every kid’s favorite part: going trick or treating! I can still remember scurrying through the chilly night from door to door with a bulging bag of candy, admiring all the different costumes along the way, my path lit by the flickering glow of the jack-o-lanterns on the porches. One time, after we returned for the night (I was a witch that year), I remember my dad taking me over to the kitchen window and we watched the sky for a while to see if a real witch would fly past on her broom. It’s random, but it’s one of my favorite memories. Halloween had a magic back then that is not lost on me as an adult, but it is different now.


“Do you remember the first movie, book or Halloween event that really impressed you?”


That’s a hard one. Growing up, I always loved the fun side of Halloween, but I wasn’t big on being scared. I did spend many nights watching Nickelodeon’sAre You Afraid of the Dark?” on TV, and I read most of the scary children’s book series that were released in the 90s. (It’s funny, I enjoyed R.L. Stine’s “Fear Street” series, but Goosebumps was a no-no because that ventriloquist dummy was terrifying!) My love of horror didn’t blossom until my late teenage years, and I can’t remember anything in particular kick starting it. It was just something that I came to enjoy.


“Do you remember the first haunted house that you ever experienced? Tell us about that.”


I don’t think I will ever forget it! Sometime in the 90s, when I was a preteen, I went to Brandenburg’s Nightmare Forest with my friends. I had seen commercials for haunted houses on TV and had some idea of what they were about, but my friends, who were far braver than I, and already budding horror fans, didn’t really emphasize the scary part and kept going on like, “Oh it’s so cool, they have Jurassic Park and stuff!” Oh yes, they had dinosaurs… and they also had Freddy Krueger on the bus sticking his blades in your FACE, Jason coming out of the water and an immense Leatherface swinging a chainsaw around your head. I hated it… I was bawling my eyes out and begging to leave. It would be years before I was brave enough to make it through another haunt.


(Not long after that wonderful experience, my friends decided to try again with the Culbertson Mansion. I didn’t get past the front door.)


“Approximately how many haunted attractions did you attend last season, and how many do you attend during a normal haunt season?”


I visited 14 different haunted attractions last season. The number I attend each season varies depending on my budget and work schedule. I always try to fit in as many as possible, but regardless, I have a great time and it is the highlight of my year.


“How many do you plan to experience this season?”


At the time of writing, I am planning on at least 8 for 2015. There will most likely be more, but it depends on what the season brings.


“I know there are some haunts you visit more than once per season. What keeps you coming back to those particular attractions?”


They each have an aspect of their show that is unique to them that I really enjoy. A number of different things could grab my attention and have me itching for a return visit. I do prefer haunts that have original and interactive characters, a lengthy duration and high intensity… so if you have any or all of the above, I will probably be back before the season ends.


“What’s the best haunted attraction you’ve ever experienced?”


Hands down, Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights in Orlando, Florida. This thing is in a league of its own. With the detail they put into their haunted houses, the original characters they come up with and the storylines they write to tie everything together, it’s like stepping into another world.


“What’s your favorite regional haunted attraction currently?”


Three years ago, Brandenburg’s Field of Screams stole my heart. I don’t think I’ll be getting it back anytime soon.


“What kinds of themes, characters, props and scares have you seen in recent years that really blew you away?”


Themes: Culbertson Mansion did some “scary toys” and “classic monsters” themes in the last few years that were very cool. Everyone goes on about how intense the Haunted Hotel’s show is, but if you take a moment to really check out the rooms and familiarize yourself with the characters, you’ll see that the hotel theme is carried throughout the haunt and there is some amazing set design in there. Zombies have been done to death, but I love the way they do them at Asylum’s Zombie City. Great mix of humor, scares, and audience interaction. Of course, I can’t leave out Fear Fair and their incredible movie scenes. I’ve had a prejudice against movie monsters for the longest time because so many haunts use them without putting in the effort to make you feel like you are in the movie. Fear Fair made me see them in a whole new light. I would also like to give a nod to Grim Trails. Their fairy tale themed haunt is a breath of fresh air in the Louisville haunt scene.


If I may include a few haunts that are a little farther away, Indy Screampark up in Anderson, IN recently added Brickmore Asylum to their lineup, and it is the best asylum themed haunt I’ve ever experienced. It was a little bare on actors, but it felt realistic enough to make my skin crawl. I’ve also visited the Dent Schoolhouse and USS Nightmare over the last two seasons. With the exception of a couple of random scenes in USS, both of them did a terrific job of sticking to their respective themes throughout. I couldn’t get over how much detail Dent packed into every single room of the house, they blew anything I’d seen at Horror Nights out of the water.


Props and Scares: I will confess that unless a haunt is heavily detailed, I don’t pay that much attention to fancy props and animatronics. Yeah, they’re neat to look at, but adherence to the theme or storyline (if it has one) and actor performance are much more important to me. If I had to pick something, the giant “actormatronics” would have to be my favorite. I don’t encounter them often, but it’s always a treat (and a shock) to have one come lurching out of the dark!


Specific scares… locally, Asylum has a couple that come to mind. The floor drop in Zombie City never fails to startle, and Darkness Falls’ church scene is magnificent. The Devil’s Attic has a disorienting SAW maze that can set you up for some terrific scares from their Pigface actor if you can’t figure out which way to go. Field of Screams’ Hayride to Hell has a drop scare that I did not expect, and has continued to startle me even after several visits. Branching further out, Indianapolis’ Fright Manor has a great misdirection scare in their Friday the 13th scene involving a static Jason prop and a live actor. Haunted Angelus House, also located in Indy, has an awesome Michael Myers surprise at the end that sent me running out of the house!


I would also like to throw in my favorite scare from Universal’s Horror Nights event. In 2012, they had a black and white house based on the Universal classic monsters titled “Universal’s House of Horrors“. In the Frankenstein scene, there was a corridor off to the side that had boards going through it, and led to the laboratory where the monster was. He was lying on the slab, and as you walked through, he would thrash against his bonds and break free, jumping up to smash through the boards as he charged at you. It seemed like he was really far away, but this was actually a trick with mirrors- so in a matter of seconds, this HUGE actor would nearly be on top of you. People went down like bowling pins!


Characters: Oh wow… a haunt’s characters are so important to me. If I named every character I loved, even the most recent ones, I could easily fill a whole page. I will say that whenever someone gives me a memorable scare or interaction, or even just puts on a great performance, I try to remember to hit up their haunt’s Facebook page or Twitter and give them a shout. It is my way, as a fan, of giving something back to them.


Something I didn’t see mentioned here was events. I have noticed an increasing trend with haunts having a special night or two during the season where they go “lights out” and send guests through the haunt in the dark, or they might have an “extreme night” where the rules are bent beyond how they would normally scare guests. I have attended events of this nature at Fear Fair, Haunted Hotel and 7th Street Haunt, and they are so much fun. I would love to see this kind of stuff become more popular in the future.


“What are some of the things you frequently see in haunted houses that you could do without? Is there anything you really hate?”


Zombies, movie monsters, creepy little girls, hillbillies, clowns. Do these right or don’t do them at all. Any variation of “Play with me,” or “What are you doing in my _____?,” and of course “Get out!” I hate actors breaking character when it’s not necessary.


“Do you participate in any particular online haunt fan communities, chat rooms or websites?”


Not currently.


“Outside of haunted houses, do you also get involved in other Halloween rituals and events? Parades, pumpkin patches, parties, etc.?”


It’s not exactly Halloween related, but I attend the Harvest Homecoming Festival in New Albany just about every year. I visited the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular in Iroquois Park last season and that was wonderful. It will definitely become an October tradition for me.


“I know you enjoy attending special haunt events outside the Halloween season, like Christmas nights, Valentines weekends and Friday the 13th nights? In your opinion, what’s the best off-season event you’ve been to?”


No contest: Bloody Christmas at the Haunted Hotel. I have never seen the cast go as wild as they did on those two nights. It was fantastic.

The Phantom of The Ville

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