It was once a thriving fifty lane Bowling Alley in Southeast Columbus. Now, it's a haven of theatrical thrills. Owner Mia Reidmiller and her team have been building the most dense and diverse haunt in the Columbus area for two years in this building and five years in another building and are looking forward to a third year with a new element called The Quarter. For now, it's The Bayou and The Entity. The Bayou is just about every human environment in South Louisiana as well as some of the swamp. The Entity is a Research Hospital run amok.
When you first set upon this building, it's an unassuming 1980's concrete wall edifice set back from the road with all kinds of activity going on out front. On the night we went, there was a vendor of delicious Kettle Corn under a tent. Not sure who else might be operating out there on other nights but, they were fantastic company. The Carnage team takes security very seriously and therefore has a metal detecting gateway just past the door.
Maybe the first thing you'll notice inside is the fluorescent carpeting featuring pink, yellow, orange and green swirls and swooshes from the Bowling Alley days. If you have e-tickets, go left to the lines. If you are looking for the Box Office, go right around the corner. Steps into the building, a glow comes forth. Along about one hundred fifty feet of wall is a staggering piece of 3D Art. At least a hundred creepy creatures and characters look back at you as you gaze at the mural. The artist sits at a table asking for feedback on the houses and offers 3D glasses.
We were given Fast Pass wristbands as compared to the General Admission Line at an estimated forty minute wait, the Fast Pass Line was about a four to five minute wait. An acolyte of the Grim Reaper keeps watch over the line and mildly entertains as he lets groups from the outer queue line into the inner queue line. At the Inner queue line is when you get the rules and are turned loose into the house.
The Bayou is an exceptional exploration of Southern Louisiana in which you walk the streets, the cemeteries and the swamps. You make your way through log cabins, plantations and bayou shacks. The voodoo is strong in parts here so as to represent the arcane and spiritual realm of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean islands. You are first greeted by a Voodoo Priestess in her beautifully dressed hut and when exiting, find yourself in the swamp.
This swamp is unique because being an owned, permanent construction, the team has built a whole pool and rickety bridge as part of the house. In just the next room, a laser swamp with a squishy floor makes you shudder with real feelings of being in water but dry. An Alligator puppet also makes your acquaintance.
Making your way across the Bayou, you encounter many types of maniac. They come at you from the walls, ceiling and inside of props. Many have lines, very few are just a simple utterance or growl.
On the street, you see animals and storefronts. In the cemetery you're haunted by a Baron Samedi looking creep and further rednecks. The Cemetery is a great rendition of the New Orleans above-ground cemeteries. The path weaves around dozens of mausoleums with gaps between them just wide enough for an actor to sneak through. The mourning ghost is one hell of an animatronic scare.
At the very end of the house is a log cabin in which to enter, you must pass by a realistic vulture eating carrion off the hood of a rusted out car. Up onto the front deck, you are about to enter a house overrun by animals. Just about every animal from Beastcraft is present including the giant animatronic Opossum that thrusts itself at you as you pass by.
You exit into a more contemporary street-scape, directly across the way being the front door of a hospital. The halls start out innocent enough with a bit of distressing here and there but, slowly devolve as the scenes show more death and insanity. You amble around the hospital to the Radiology Room, the surgery suite and maternity ward. The doctors are not pleased that you've found their lairs.
Among the most fun rooms are the Maternity Ward and the Morgue.
The Maternity Ward is a medium sized section with all the deckings of celebrating the newest born babies with hearts and stars all around. When you come to the final corner of the section, there is a 4x12 ft sheet of Plexiglas behind which is a series of monitor cribs as a baby viewing gallery. The shock comes when a strobe light triggers and two of the babies come slamming into the window multiple times.
The Morgue is great because on top of the slab doors that hide the frozen bodies, there are hanging bodies, too. It's not just your regular hanging bodies either. Some of them vibrate and there's even a maze at the end. I can't finish without mentioning the Cremation alcove. This whole area is the red and blue colored precursor to a whole series of rooms that will soon have temperature effects. The finale is a blast!
At the conclusion of your thirty-five to forty minute experience in both houses, there is a small concession and merchandise table before traversing a ramp up to the 3D wall. These folks are highly involved in getting feedback on the houses. They currently have a decent variety of merchandise options and some simple drinks and snacks.
My dad and I proceeded to talk to General Manager Andrew for another thirty to forty minutes about everything under the sun haunt related. I found one of my favorite haunts that night and friends of the future. I would recommend anyone within three and a half hour drive put this one on their must-see list and it can easily warrant up to a six hour drive when combined with Fear Columbus and/or Dead Acres/Haunted Hoochie.