Walk Among Us through Stillwell Manor in Anderson, Indiana!

Take a tour through Indiana’s Stillwell Manor for a special off-season event called “Monster Movie Mayhem”!

Greetings, Louisville cellar dwellers, it’s the Phantom of the Ville just back from a road trip to Anderson, IN and Stillwell Manor (www.stillwellmanor.com). Off-season events at haunted houses across the country continue to gain popularity with fans who just can’t get enough chills and thrills in October to last them the entire year. Stillwell Manor has been experimenting with special event weekends far beyond the expected dates.

They hosted a “Nightmare before Christmas” weekend in December as well as a Valentine event in February and a Prom Night themed weekend last month. This weekend’s “Monster Movie Mayhem” event seemed geared at taking advantage of the county fair and carnival taking place just across from their parking lot.

Why not? Every carnival needs a good Spook House.

For this haunted road trip I was joined by Scare Factor’s Team Zombillies and haunt super-fan, Lindsay Bacon, all of us rolling into town in the Zombillies’ haunted limo equipped with strobe lights and a fog machine.

That’s how we roll.

Stillwell Manor is located inside the old Applewood Movie Theatre, which immediately brought to mind memories of our beloved Psychomania which was located inside the old Green Tree 4 Theater in Clarksville. The various movie screening rooms through which Stillwell Manor’s maze snakes through weren’t constructed on level ground. They were built on inclines and this somehow adds to rather than detracts from the whole off-kilter, funhouse feel of the haunt. There are almost no level surfaces or straight angles throughout the maze. Everything is slightly off keel, keeping the guests slightly disoriented.

There are also quite a few areas where the correct path forward isn’t clearly marked. Doors must be opened. Curtains must be parted, and there are a number of dead ends, one of which we fell prey to and were trapped in a corner by the Frankenstein Monster and Jason Voorhees!

The approximately 20 minute tour through Stillwell Manor’s main haunt is themed as a crumbing Victorian mansion and includes many stately rooms that have ultimately fallen into rot and disrepair as well as several simulated outdoors scenes including a large forest and graveyard set.

The “Monster Movie Mayhem” overlay of the standard maze meant the mansion was filled with classic and modern movie monsters including the Frankenstein Monster and his Bride, Dracula, werewolves and mummies as well as Jason, Freddy, Regan from “The Exorcist,” Chucky, Annabelle, Samara from “The Ring” and Leatherface.

In between assaults from the monsters hiding in the dark corners of the mansion, there were moments of creepy stillness and quiet where the sound design worked very well at keeping the hairs standing on the back on my neck. Whispering voices in the distance fill the space and occasional ghostly cries ring out from somewhere up ahead — or behind.

I can’t speak to the quality or length of Stillwell Manor’s second haunt, Tantibus, which takes places upstairs in the old theater’s corporate offices, because it wasn’t open for this particular event but our friends from Team Zombillies tell us it is as long and elaborate as their signature maze.

By Halloween 2015, Stillwell Manor also plans to open a third attraction, Isabell’s Beyond, a freak show themed maze to round out their trilogy of spook show thrillers.

Our thanks to Team Zombillies for providing transportation to Anderson and to the cast and crew of Stillwell Manor for providing us with a proper chill on a warm May evening. Louisville haunt fans may want to consider adding Stillwell Manor to their 2015 Halloween haunt tour.

The Phantom of The Ville

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