“Lights Out: Zombie Outbreak” Keeps Halloween Rolling into November at the Haunted Hotel while Plans for a “Bloody X-Mas” Promise Freezing Fear in December!


Pushing the seasonal boundaries of the haunted attraction industry, the Haunted Hotel tests exclusive special events outside of the traditional haunt season.

As most Louisvillians prepare for the horrors of Black Friday and retailers replace their sale copies of “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” with “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving,” the Haunted Hotel continues its 24 year mission to keep Halloween alive even after October 31st.

Last night’s “Lights Out: Zombie Outbreak” was the brainchild of the Haunted Hotel’s owner/operator, Kevin Stitch. The concept is that a zombie infection that started inside the hotel during the regular haunt season has spread and now the Haunted Hotel is overrun with a zombie horde. In the chaos, the power has been cut and all the lights are out. A military response team has been sent in to assess the situation, and you get dropped right in the middle of ground zero. Alone in the darkness, you must feel your way through the pitch black hallways and twisting passageways to reach safety.

Unlike the regular Halloween season attraction, “Lights Out” had an age restriction of 18 years old, allowing minors to enter only with an adult guardian, and everyone who bought a ticket had to sign a waiver relieving the Haunted Hotel of all responsibilities regarding any injuries incurred! “Lights Out” also allowed you to experience the hotel alone if you dared, with a maximum group of three at a time.

I had my suspicions that Kevin Stitch was planning an extreme trick on unsuspecting haunt fans like the one that Brett Hays pulled this year with his special event, Myctophobia, at Fear Fair in Seymour, IN. Myctophobia advertised itself as a “lights out” version of Hays’ haunted attraction, but after patrons signed the waiver, they found themselves abducted by Fear Fair’s sickest psychos, blindfolded, hands tied, imprisoned, driven around in the back of a hearse, threatened with murder and sometimes even waterboarded!

Pushing the boundaries of physical haunt tactics, including secret panic safety words given to patrons in case they find themselves in over their heads and need to escape, events like Myctophobia are a new trend in extreme thrills that have emerged over the last couple of years as an alternative to the “safer” thrills offered during the traditional haunt season. Grown men have often wet their pants during Myctophobia and everyone who makes it to the end of the experience gets a survival certificate.

Brett Hays and Kevin Stitch aren’t the only local haunters who have expanded the boundaries of their attractions with special events. Richard Teachout and Janel Nash at Asylum Haunted Scream Park have already programmed a series of Slenderman special event nights, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see more events take place at Asylum before next Halloween.

As far as “Lights Out: Zombie Outbreak” goes, Kevin Stitch’s crew didn’t waterboard anyone Saturday night. Instead, to my great relief, he delivered the dark version of the traditional attraction he promised. I was lucky enough to meet a Louisville Halloween website reader outside the Haunted Hotel who offered to challenge the dark, zombie infested halls with me.

Here’s what went down in the dark.

Instead of the touchy-feely bellboy that usually greets patrons at the front desk, we were met by a military guard who checked us thoroughly for bite marks before herding us into the Haunted Hotel’s infamous elevator for an especially intense plunge into the bowels of the building. When the doors finally opened, our poor military escort was taken out by a waiting zombie and we were forced to push ahead alone into complete darkness. We had to feel our way through the twisting passageways as we heard unseen ravenous zombies lurking about and grabbing at our clothing. Suddenly a six foot drop panel slammed down and we were momentarily blinded by bright lights and attacked a hulking animatronic monster. Then we were forced back into the darkness, even more disoriented than we were before.

Finally, we reached the Haunted Hotel’s staircase, which was lit well enough to climb, but were assaulted by animatronic man eating (and girl eating) plants on the way up. At the top of the stairs we were met by another armed solider who was trying to use a drill to open up the blocked way forward. Unfortunately, a zombie started crawling up the stairs after us and the military guy just barely got the passageway open before it reached us.

After that we got turned around a couple of times, groping around for the way forward. We found ourselves trapped in a room with a chainsaw wielding maniac who chased us around as we desperately tried to find the exit. Finally, we found our way out of the dark and back onto the street. The total tour was a little shorter than the seasonal attraction because the outdoor, chainsaw maze wasn’t used, but we ended up spending more time in the hotel because it takes longer to find the way out in total darkness.

If you missed “Lights Out: Zombie Outbreak,” the Haunted Hotel has a couple of other creepy special events coming up in December. Kevin Stitch promises a complete holiday overhaul for “Bloody X-Mas” on Saturday, December 14th, and Saturday, December 21st.

“We’re going to decorate the whole hotel with Christmas lights,” says Stitch, “and the inside will be decorated as if the maniacs who live in there have decorated for Christmas.”

Stitch says the “Bloody X-Mas” events will deliver the complete traditional Haunted Hotel experience with the addition of some of the darker and scarier characters associated with winter and the Christmas season. “We’ll have Christmas music pumping though the halls,” says Stitch, “and you’ll encounter characters like the Christmas Krampus, the Grinch and the Yeti.”

“And chainsaw Santas,” he adds. “You’ve got to have chainsaw Santas.”

I’m not going to argue with him. This is the Phantom of the Ville, wishing all of you a terrifying Thanksgiving. I’ll be back next weekend with a report on the Danger Run Finals taking place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Saturday, November 16th. Stay scared!

The Phantom of The Ville

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