On my first stop in my haunt review tour for the 2021 season, I headed to 13 Stories Haunted Attraction. This haunt is located in Newnan, Georgia. I am based in Rome, GA so I am not too far away. The drive was pretty straight forward and lasted just over an hour and a half for me. There are several active towns surrounding Newnan, including Carrollton which is home to the University of West Georgia. I am sure this means a good college crowd during the season for 13 Stories. With a GPS and well placed signage, the haunt was easy to locate. I pulled into the parking lot just as the haunt was opening. There were already several cars in the lot with plenty of space for many more. I was really excited about my visit because I had not experienced this particular haunt yet. The ticket booth area was clearly marked and easy to navigate. I collected my tickets and headed to the queue area.
I found the entrance and line easily. There was not a Midway area, but there was plenty of extra entertainment available. There was a gift shop that was easily accessible before and after entering the haunt trail. There was also a foam party for an additional fee. I will say I did not enter because I was not prepared for the drive back covered in foam, but it looked like a lot of fun. There were also a few vendors selling their art. I bought some handmade ghost face earrings for my wife. While in line for the main attraction, there were plenty of people who were already terrified. There were three outdoor actors to entertain the crowd as we waited, I will detail them further in the actor portion of my review. This is early in the season and I arrived early in the evening, so the wait time was about 15 minutes. Watching the queue actors scare the other patrons was pretty entertaining and made the time pass quickly. The employees in regular attire/ not in character were also friendly.
EYE CANDY/ VISUALS
This haunt was visually appealing in several ways. The makeup I saw was a mixed bag. Some actors had highly detailed airbrush designs. Other actors simply had blood and bloody clothing. There were a few masked actors spread throughout the haunt as well. The placement of these characters worked with the areas that each character was placed. The makeup and scenes were complimentary. Most of the rooms were very detail oriented. There were grotesque props and scenery spread throughout the haunt. The lighting further highlighted the aura that each room wished to portray. Music and sound effects in each area also helped set the mood as I walked through. As if I was not immersed enough, there were scents that were gross and fitting every time. One great example was a “busted pipe” that had an air cannon blow out air that smelled like sewage. The atrocious scent blasted right into my face made me believe a pipe had busted for real.
During my walkthrough, I did not notice one set theme, but there were several areas containing a group of rooms that fit into themes as I made my way through (ex. An area with several rooms for an asylum or an area with several rooms for clowns) This created a nice flow that made me feel like I was getting a few haunt trails in one. The transition between each area was smooth and seamless. There did not seem to be any spacing issues and most of the scares were well timed. There were very few dead spaces because there were well placed animatronics throughout those types of areas. The actors also worked overtime to run you through those spaces. Between the well placed animatronics and some well hidden actors, there were terrific jump scares. IS IT SCARY? I followed two separate groups through. The first group had a “pacifier” so the actors knew not to go too hard. Even with that group, I felt the actors got some great scares and did an amazing job. I asked to follow a non-pacified group through. This group was also terrified and both experiences packed a punch. The second group was a young adult couple and the guy ran backwards into me several times trying to escape the monsters. After the main attraction we were led to a zombie kill area. This was a trail that you navigate and shoot “zombies.” The zombies wear collars that turn red when you get a perfect kill shot. They have to play dead until the light goes off. This was my first experience with such an attraction. I was surprised by how much fun I had. I felt like I was in an episode of The Walking Dead. The main attraction took an average of 20 minutes and the zombie kill took about 10 minutes. The ticket price nearly makes that a dollar per minute and it was worth every penny.
This is probably where I take the most notice, the actors. The queue actors stayed on guest the whole time and fed off of fear from several patrons. The three outdoor actors were a clown girl, a ghoul with blacked out contacts and a creepy dude that looked inspired by Rubberman from AHS. The two males also had slider gear on and knew how to use it effectively. Inside the haunt, the actors seem to work well together to get the desired scares. There was one moment when a female actor did not see me as she pursued the two people I was following through. She chased them to a point and turned to see me, a giant dude, towering over her. She was startled and it made me chuckle. I would say a good improv line from her would have made the moment better. There were also two actors who did not see me and were celebrating their last tag team scare with a high five. It reminded me of my early days in the haunt industry. Some standouts in the haunt were the maiden on the pirate ship. She had a great accent and some good improv lines. In the asylum area, there was a male actor in a straight jacket and a mini skirt. He was probably the most in character. He was relentless and even had facial expressions. He never broke. It was like a horror movie version of Ace Ventura.
Most of the themes used in this haunt have been seen before in other haunts, but it was how well executed 13 Stories is with them that makes the difference between a good haunt and a great one. This was definitely one of the better designed haunted houses that I have seen in my lifetime. You can tell the crew is experienced and has found a formula that works for them.
Overall this was a fantastic haunt. I really had a good time even making the trek alone. I would say it was worth the ticket price and the three hour round trip drive I made to attend it. There are always areas that all of us could improve, but this haunt seems to have a nice grasp on the spooky season. It is one to be visited for sure and I will return in the future!
REVIEWER PERSONAL NOTES
On a more personal note: I think that haunts are made with great actors. I know like most places of business, haunts are having trouble finding help, but even so this haunt had 25+ actors and the season is still young with plenty of opportunity to add even more actors to the experience. Allyn, the owner, was friendly and willing to talk about the haunt and industry. He also had a sign in his gift shop supporting another nearby haunt attraction. I think that it is awesome to be supportive of each other.