MADWORLD

PIEDMONT, SOUTH CAROLINA

ARTICLE BY: VENISHA VON MORTIS

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Madworld. It’s a popular haunt known throughout the South as well as parts of the nation. You will find massive billboards for this haunted attraction erected all along I-85. I recall seeing these on several other haunt road-trips I have taken over the years. Instantly intrigued by their premiere haunt characters’ detailed and grotesque headshots, I made a mental note to add Madworld to my list of haunts to soon visit. However, I’m embarrassed to say that with my crazy schedule that I never found the time until this past Sunday. This was not a designated calendar event for me. It came out of the blue. I actually owe it all to live feed on social media. The Madworld makeup team decided to film a behind the scenes look of their dressing room as well as an opening portion of their midway. Hagrid witches, broken down dolls AND a crusty, old gargoyle?! Congrats, you’ve got my attention! All it took was witnessing their cast transform into monstrous, theatrical creatures, from the makeup chair to a spot-lit midway, where they ferociously greeted new customers, and I was hooked! I instantly made a last minute change of plans and added Madworld for a visit on my 2022 Scurryface Tour. I do not regret this decision, whatsoever. It was so worth it!

 

Located in Piedmont, SC, Madworld’s beckoning spotlights and expansive, car lined parking lot can literally be seen a mile away. This haunted attraction is right off the side of I-85. Between the hoards of crowd goers and the establishment’s spectral illumination, there’s no way you can miss this place. It’s almost effortless to find. Traffic controllers will be on site, waving their glowing neon orange wands to help usher you through Madworld’s sizable spear tipped, black gates and into a nearby parking spot. Did I mention parking is FREE?

 

Tickets are available on site as well as online. I recommend purchasing them through Madworld’s website beforehand to help avoid a larger wait time. We went on a Sunday, pre season peak and there were still a considerable amount of attendees. I could only imagine how packed this place would be on a mid October Saturday night. That’s how popular this haunted attraction is and yes, they are THAT good. General admission is $35. There is also a $40 “Scaredy Cat” option for the more timid thrill seekers. This ticket purchase comes with a “no scare” medallion. All I could think of every time I saw teenage girls holding these rainbow colored flashing necklaces out in front of themselves screaming while the monsters fled from them was “I’m Sailor Moon and in the name of the moon, I punish you.” It was hilarious. To be honest, I wanted one, just for the pretty colors, but I had to remind myself, I came for the full terror experience and couldn’t get distracted by shining objects. It was time to focus.

 

Madworld’s midway is a captivating, creep filled experience. The moment you step under that winged Reaper archway, it feels like you’ve broken through a hidden portal to a wicked, alternative fae world. Your eyes immediately dart to the towering grey, decrepit building to the right. It is where visitors will later enter the haunted maze. Is it a former insane asylum or an abandoned, ostentatious mansion? We aren’t quite sure, but from the looks of the misplaced roof shackles and poorly boarded up windows, this is one structure we looked forward to trespassing through. Beside the haunt entrance is the towering Mad Factory gift shop. Make sure you check that out for all of your merchandise needs. This haunted attraction’s midway area has almost anything you can think of! There’s a crackling bonfire with festive, spooky tunes coming from an overhead speaker, face painting and a concessions stand for snacks while you wait. You want games? Madworld has those too! To name a couple: zombie brain toss and axe throwing. This attraction also has an 18 hole mini golf course! As you’re starting to see, this haunt aims to please. For all of our selfie queens, there are several photo op backdrops including a run down, swamp covered porch and a grungy laboratory slab. If you ask nicely, the monsters might even pose for a shot with you. Ah, you didn’t think I forgot about those, did you? Upon entering the Madworld gateway, you are stormed by creatures galore, all waiting to interact with you. I’m talking dozens of actors. A vile Viking queen, horned demons donning fur and lavish dresses, kooky clowns and an charismatic cenobite are only a few of the actors you will encounter patrolling this arena. What I personally enjoyed with this was how involved the Madworld cast was at immersing you in their snares. They followed customers from the entrance gate all the way to the front of the cue line with their many, mixed personalities. It’s a fun, whimsical party themed setting and an awesome distraction from what awaits you inside.

 

Once you’ve made it past the red rope of the outdoor cue line, you’re invited into the indoor portion of the Madworld’s waiting area…a haunted mansion scenery follows. This presentation is comparable to Disneyworld’s set design. Ghostly portraits , murderous newspaper clippings and virtually animated pictures hang from the hallway walls, cluttered with lingering cobwebs and nearby candles. I’m a sucker for a gothic, Victorian aesthetic. I couldn’t stop ogling all of the visual goodies as we made it towards a dreaded elevator chamber entrance that would soon seal our fates.

 

From the moment, the rickety, unhinged elevator comes crashing down upon you and drops you straight into Madworld’s maze, you collide with intense, chaotic in your face action. As customers navigate their self guided tour out of the remainder of the spook-filled mansion, they are plagued with hooded, robe wearing, taunting actors who love playing with their prey. Attendees struggle to find their path through skeleton remains and corpse lined walls that could make the catacombs of Paris jealous. It’s mind bending in the best way possible. Buckle up because we are only getting started on our journey. Throughout this maze there are several segments. Once trail blazers think they’ve reached safety…psych…they are launched directly into their next attraction called WITCH VILLAGE, a personal favorite of mine. It’s placed in the heart of a savage, historic Salem. Ritualistically positioned cornstalks and sacrificed heads on spikes litter the area. You will turn the corner to see a glowing green cauldron bubbling misty fog. By the time you see the first witch pop up from the shadows, you’ll realize it’s too late and you’re surrounded by her contemptuous, cackling coven. Hopefully, you’ll have better luck escaping than the screaming child victim they’ve captured and tied to a stake. I loved that this attraction doesn’t shy away from brutality like other haunts do. CLOWNHOUSE is a classic carnival fun zone gone wrong. It’s neon colored paints and candy props galore combined with strobe lights and swinging clown carcasses. If you ever wanted to live out your Killer Klowns fantasy, this is the place for you. If swash-buckling pirates are more your speed, Madworld has them as well in CROC’S REVENGE. Watch out for that side tilting bridge, you may fall into an endless fog of doom. Side note: I wanted their ginormous crocodile puppet. SLAUGHTERHOUSE is your basic Texas Chainsaw Massacre show. While this area is nothing new to the haunt industry, I do want to commend the dinner victim’s convincing performance in this scene. Those bloodcurdling screams and gut wrenching sobs hit my soul. The final attraction of our maze tour, MENTAL ASYLUM, was nerve racking until the final end. There’s no lack of high voltage energy here. It’s your generic 1960s mental hospital. Patients frantically running wild along the corridor entryways. Others trying to crawl their way out behind room doors. It’s reminiscent of the beginning of House on Haunted Hill when the patients go mad and destroy everyone. I’m still getting chills thinking about their morgue with all of the death slabs and toe tags. Does that foul stench ever leave your nose? Madworld is a 40 minute journey that turns into otherworldly experience, beginning to end.

 

The actors of this haunted attraction are sensational. They give genuine, believable performances. Their dialogue is thought out and well rehearsed. Whether it’s the midway actors, playfully luring you into their sinister web of security or the hard hitting, venomous mongrels waiting to tear you apart inside of the maze, these guys take a full advantage of their scenes and surroundings. They have a habit of appearing out of thin air. It’s evident they’ve done their scare homework.

 

When it comes set design and atmosphere, Madworld is amazing at sparing no expense. The attention to detail with costuming and makeup is superior. Countless times, you will question if that’s really a mask with how life like their monsters are. The artistic scenery was eye popping. You never knew which way to look because you didn’t want to miss out on anything. As for electronics and props, Madworld aims to entertain with multiple machines and gadgets…fog machines, virtual projectors, flame throwers to name a few. This haunt even has the infamous moving Exorcist bed seen at Transworld earlier this year! I may have did a little happy dance once I noticed this. Don’t judge me. The Madworld creative team are experts at masterminding their own creepy universe and we were happy to be a part of it.

 

I give this haunted attraction nothing but words of extensive praise on how committed they are to producing a shockingly, spectacular show. The crew is top tier in whatever they do, even in the customer service department. They were all very helpful and kind. I’m so pleased that I finally got a chance to experience this haunt’s “magic.” Madworld truly is a MUST SEE haunted attraction, not just in South Carolina, but nationwide. Seriously, what are you waiting for?! Get out and go support these guys!

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