Tag Archives: Halloween

Atrox Factory

Last year we said we were going to go to the Atrox Factory in Leeds, Alabama. We held true to our word. We did indeed go to the Atrox Factory.

It’s hard to imagine that a 20 minute haunted walk-through would be worth the two hour drive to Leeds, followed by a two hour wait in line, followed by a two hour drive home. But sure enough, it was worth it. It was worth the time spent in transit and the admission price too ($15 per person).

Leeds is a small town, but the folks who run Atrox have managed to find a perfect place for their sprawling event. We were told by an employee that all of the folks who work there are volunteers, which would explain why there was so much more passion there versus what we saw last year at the disappointing Sloss Fright Furnace in Birmingham. We were also told that the proceeds of Atrox went to a charity benefiting children, but we weren’t told which one.

That should be a hefty amount, because on the Friday night we went (the last weekend before Halloween), the place was slammed. There were a lot of teenagers there, although none seemed to be there for the “celebrity” that Atrox had brought out to sign autographs — some guy who played a killer coal miner in a 3-D remake of a Canadian horror movie called My Bloody Valentine.

But the autograph signing and horror movie screening are really just diversions to consume time while waiting to walk through the haunt. And that’s the real story. The whole thing is highly-professional and well worth seeing. It might be spoiling a bit of the fun for you to read this very favorable review from Haunt World, but probably not.

I don’t want to give away too much of what you’ll see when you go through the exhibits. The shock of it all is part of the fun. But even a jaded veteran will find it exciting to push through the doors and barriers into each scene, which are highly detailed and staffed by actors and actresses who are experts at frightening. There’s a good mix of animated props and sets, atmospheric dread, and simple masked folks stepping out of shadows. None of the scenes feel like cheap gimmicks and even though we got separated from the group we walked through with (we think they just sprinted ahead out of terror), the actors managed to “reset” the scene to still give us a scare even though our group had fragmented.

All in all, we were in the palms of the hands of those who put on the production. Nearly every twist or turn evoked either dread, genuine shock and fear, or, at minimum, a feeling of being impressed by all of the time and effort that went into the detailed renderings of, say, the mad scientist’s lab or the crazy butcher shop of corpses or the giant demon thing feasting on the contents of coffins. There was gore. There was sawdust. There was a trippy disorienting tunnel with a tilting ramp. There was, of course, a chainsaw.

The adrenaline of a good long scare just can’t be replaced. Well worth attending.

The Corn Maize — a Photo Gallery

Halloween in Montgomery

Halloween is my favorite holiday. I like the cheesy decorations, the lights, the fake witches, the skeletons, the horror movies. I love it all. I like the door-to-door semi-communitarian nature of the dusk ritual. I even like the candy.

Each city handles Halloween a bit differently. Since we are new to Montgomery, this is far from a definitive guide. We are still learning and hopefully, each year, will have new items to report on.

First there is the Corn Maize. We went to Titus, Alabama. It’s in the middle of nowhere, as corn mazes should be. It’s actually not too far. It’s near Wetumpka, a dingy little hole of a town. We have some pics, and will be posting them soon. We thought that $10 each was a bit steep, but we ended up thinking that it was a really good price for a fun evening. The maze was not so hard as to be frustrating, but also not super simple either. There were a good number of people bumbling around out there and a huge part of the fun was just listening to the conversations that people were having from various parts of the maze. Very entertaining to be out there in the darkness on the edge of a meteor crater. There was also music, a hay jump, and “a corn tub.” Evidently, the “corn cannon” is only used during the daylight hours. Definitely worth it, even though they told us that the maze is constructed by poisoning the corn in a certain pattern as it is growing.

Next, in a similar vein is the Pope’s Farm Haunted Hayride. We haven’t been out there yet, but we will report back if we do. It looks like it is about an hour away and the prices for the attractions seem pretty steep. With the economy in the toilet, this might the sort of thing that we pass on due to economic considerations.

Other popular haunted houses include the Atrox Factory and the Sloss Fright Furnace. Neither are in Montgomery, but both have pretty good reputations and have been up and running for a while. We have been to Sloss and thought that the “fright” part of it was uber-lame, but the “wandering around an abandoned and historical industrial site” part of it was super cool. Highly recommended if you have an interest in the Industrial Revolution, corporate architecture, or the history of Birmingham. We can’t speak to Atrox, but if that’s your thing, it might be worth it to go on and drive over to Atlanta for Netherworld, which looks like quite a project.

We’ll keep posting if we learn of new items. We’re pretty sure there are a variety of the Christian “alternative to Halloween” Hell Houses in this area. We haven’t found any of them yet, but given our general experience in this city with the number of super serious church folks, it is undeniable that this is the kind of city where people will be preaching the sinfulness of holidays like Halloween.

We’ll also let you know if we hear of any banging Halloween parties in the area. We have seen a few glimmers of possibility, but nothing is firmed up as of yet. Halloween is a week from tomorrow, so we really need to get it together.