Three Completely Different Haunted Attractions and One Dark Carnival Sideshow Make for a Wicked Night’s Entertainment at The Asylum Haunted Scream Park in Louisville’s South End!
Welcome back again, Haunt Fans, it’s The Phantom of the Ville with another preview of another massive haunted theme park within city limits! It just doesn’t seem possible that one city could offer so many first class Halloween attractions, but Louisville seems to love the spooky season more than any other. I’m not complaining, and if you’re reading this then I’m guessing that you aren’t either. This time my enchanted compass is pointing South, and my hearse driver has just taken the Gene Snyder Freeway to the Stonestreet Exit and turned right to arrive at 3101 Pond Station Road. I feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand up as I realize we’ve arrived at the Asylum Haunted Scream Park.
Most of the calendar year, this facility serves weekend warriors as the premiere paintball tournament arena in the Kentuckiana area, but from late September through late October it becomes something else entirely; something much more sinister. As soon as I passed through the front gates on a chilly late September evening, I was greeted by a huge burst of flames rolling across the sky. When the smoke cleared, I recognized my old friend, Midian, the fire-breather from the Carnivale of Lost Souls! In the circles of horror conventions, cult video stores (with good horror sections!) and haunted houses, you often run into others with the same haunted interests time and again, and Midian and I have bumped into each other on many occasions over the years.
The Carnivale of Lost Souls, a FREE dark carnival sideshow, performs shows every 30-45 minutes at the Asylum Haunted Scream Park. For no extra charge, you’ll see the Human Blockhead nail sharp objects through various parts of his body, you’ll witness the Fire Dancers dazzle you with hypnotic flaming dance routines, you’ll swoon for the alluring Belly Dancers and you’ll warm up to Midian as he breathes fire into the night sky. You can also get your fortune told by an authentic psychic who will look into her crystal ball or divine your future through Tarot cards. If you really, really hate the walking dead, you can grab a paintball gun and unload on the poor chained up stiff in the Shoot-A-Zombie booth. This is a great way to blow off stress while waiting for Season Three of AMC‘s “The Walking Dead” premiere broadcast!
If you like the idea of Shoot-A-Zombie, then you’re going to love Xterminate: Zalien Attack based on the locally produced horror comedy, “Overtime,” starring WWF & WWE professional wrestler, Al Snow, and upcoming Louisville actor, John Wells. You’ll be given a machine gun that flashes a bright light every time you squeeze the trigger and sent into a massive warehouse filled with corpses that have been infected with nasty little aliens that have turned them into flesh eating monstrosities. Your mission is to find and shut down three power stations while fending off the zalien hordes, then defeat their hideous Queen (“There’s always a Queen.”) and escape with your life. This experience is like a live, interactive version of a first-person-shooter Xbox 360 video game. Actors playing zaliens will try to attack you, but will fall to the ground when you fire your weapons at them.
Since I had never been to the Asylum Scream Park before, I was a bit nervous about this attraction because I thought it might involve paintball guns, and I didn’t want to ruin my best black robes or red puffy shirt. I can assure you that you need not worry about this. All the guns used in Xterminate: Zalien Attack are light guns and do not use paintgun pellets. One cool thing this attraction does have is a pre-show video starring Al Snow and John Wells that sets up the story for the mission ahead just like the pre-shows you would see at big budget theme parks like Universal Studios and Walt Disney World.
After surviving the zalien assault in Xterminate, we met with Asylum spookmaster, Richard Teachout, for some insight into the mad genius behind these attractions. “We’ve got 40 acres of space here to use for the Haunted Asylum Scream Park and this year we’ve grown 400%,” says Teachout. When asked about why he became interested in the Haunted Attraction business, Teachout said he was taken to The Darkness Haunted House in St Louis, Missouri when he was 8 years old and was totally hooked. The Darkness, owned and operated by legendary haunter, Larry Kirchner, is consistently ranked in the top two or three haunted houses in America.
It was already a busy night at Asylum, so we let Richard get back to the business of scaring people while we took a tour of Zombie City! Whatever you might be expecting, this attraction is probably not like any haunted attraction you’ve experienced before. The focus is taken off traditional jump scares and placed more on atmosphere and story. Zombie City is an interactive theatrical experience where you travel through a zombie infected town and run into various characters who will chat with you and forward the plot as you go forward. You’ll meet mad scientists, jumpy sheriffs, trigger happy hillbillies and battle hardened soldiers, and someone in your group will get to blow up a zombie!
It was getting late, nearly two hours past the witching hour, when we arrived at the last, outdoor attraction at Asylum known as Darkness Falls. Nothing I had seen all night could have prepared me for the incredible one mile journey into darkness I was about to take. Darkness Falls is one of the most elaborate haunted forests I’ve ever hiked through, rivaling the very best years of Nightmare Forest in Otter Creek Park. This is just my opinion, of course, but I think that if you have to choose just one attraction at Asylum Haunted Scream Park, you must take the hike into Darkness Falls.
You’ll pass outdoor graveyards and a colorful, Tim Burton-esque Halloween Town while occasionally coming upon heavily themed structures you must work your way through. Darkness Falls is somewhat of a full contact haunted obstacle course. You’ll have to navigate your way over bridges right out of “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” through twisted, giant mazes and into claustrophobic tunnels. One of my favorite scenes had us careening down a giant slide into a spongy foam pool! When I first pushed off into the dark downward tunnel, I had no idea how long the slide would be or how soon (and how possibly hard) I would hit the bottom. As I picked up speed, vertigo set in and I let out a scream for the history books! That’s what Halloween is all about, wouldn’t you agree?
Asylum Haunted Scream Park is open September 28th and 29th from 8PM until 2AM. It’s open every Friday and Saturday in October from 8PM until 2AM.