The decorations for Lexington’s Fright Nights promised an enticing trail of horror that unfortunately did not deliver. ZEYNAB DAY/PROGRESS

The decorations for Lexington’s Fright Nights promised an enticing trail of horror that unfortunately did not deliver. ZEYNAB DAY/PROGRESS

By ZEYNAB DAY
zeynab_day@mymail.eku.edu

Dark mazes, zombies, screams, and getting chased by a chain saw; all have one thing in common—haunted houses.

Fright Nights in Lexington had all those elements and added many more twists to their five different trails. Three of the trails are in Jacobson Park in Lexington and the other two were at 3898 Haley Rd., Lexington. The attractions opened the last weekend in September and will  run through Nov. 2.

The two most talked about trails are Zombie Paintball Hayride and Haunted Hayride. Who wouldn’t be excited at the prospect of acting out a live-action version of World War Z or Night of the Living Dead?

The Zombie Paintball Hayride tickets were sold both online and at ticket booths. Tickets for individual hay rides were $18 for the Zombie Paintball and $18 for the Haunted Hayrides or $24 for both. They also offered VIP passes which allowed riders to bypass lines. The initial ticket includes 100 paintballs, which are poured into a paintball gun that is mounted to the side of the wagon. The wagon is pulled by a tractor through a maze of maize. If a rider was expecting to be rushed by a crowd of zombies while taking them out with brightly colored paint balls, they would be disappointed.

The ride was more low key. It had some interesting components, some fun scenes and some larger props but took the rider in a loop where they shot one or two zombies from more than 20 feet away. The zombies posed in the same position and swayed back and forth as riders passed by. Riders were able to purchase 100 more paintballs for $5 at the window, however the ride was shorter than expected and many riders did not use all the paint balls by the end of the ride. The ride was a disappointment for the cost, since it was very basic and only lasted six and a half minutes.

The Haunted Hayride offered more excitement. Ghouls and all kinds of creepy characters jumped up on the hayride as it wound through the maze. There were many more scenes in the Haunted Hayride and the characters interacted with the riders. One missing element was a storyline to tie it all together. Although it did offer several individual attributes such as a demonic horse, a barn that Leather Face would be proud of and dancing marionettes, to name a few. This ride lasted considerably longer at nearly 15 minutes.

The two hayrides offered fear on wheels while the last three offered it on foot. Jacobson Parks has had the Trail of Terror for several years. The trail was broken into three shorter, smaller trails. The tickets could be purchased separately or for a discounted rate. Single tickets were $14, $20 for two trails and $24 for three trails. Speed passes were also available both in the ticket booth and online.

The smaller trails were Dark Forest and Entrapment. Dark forest took less than five minutes to walk through and was very reminiscent of simply going on a nighttime hike. There were only a few characters and they were wearing  poorly done make-up.  The trail ended with the very predictable chainsaw chase. Entrapment was a little more colorful but was not very memorable either. It was hard to follow any story line and it lacked the uncomfortable feel that makes haunted houses successful. It should be more of an interactive experience rather than prop driven.

Thirteen Doors did just that. It was the longest trail of the three and by far the best attraction offered by Fright Nights of Lexington. It was a maze of outdoor buildings and cargo containers that had been transformed into a maze of creepy rooms, each one different.

Through several of the rooms and mazes adjoining them, fear seekers would be followed by well-done characters. Creepy rooms, some of them with dolls and creepy characters dressed as dolls, others reminiscent of the movie Saw. One building even offers a cartoon character who chases visitors out with a chainsaw. It was a well thought-out design and offered more fright-for-the-buck than any of the other   Fright Nights attractions.

Although Fright Nights was not a complete bust, it was a letdown considering how costly the tickets are compared to smaller venues that might offer more creative approaches. The long trails in the past were much more elaborate and offered many more surprises and interesting scenes. Thirteen Doors was the overall best of the 5 attractions while the Zombie Paintball Hayride was very disappointing.

Be sure not to wear costumes, as the site advises those in costumes will be turned away. Also they do not offer discounts for children.

For more information, those interested in visiting any of the Fright Night locations could visit www.lexingtonhuantedhouse.com or call (859)299-4355. Tickets can be purchase online or at the location.