Todd - It's not widely known, but a few of us in this group used to put on a small haunt a number of years ago. It was 100% out-of-pocket and generated no income. It was primarily built as an event for the company we worked for, for a single day and single evening. Weeks and weeks of work, thousands of dollars spent - all for one night. Why did we do it? Because we loved every minute of it. The haunt ceased mostly due to no longer having access to the space we built in. However, we had some aspirations to take it to the next level.
The Thirteenth Hour is the haunt that I wish I had today. While only in its second season, the passion, drive and sheer talent thriving in its foundation already surge at levels that more established haunts often lack.
Going in, I knew that this haunt was constructed outdoors and pieced together using modular sets that were broken down after the season. I will admit it - I questioned the quality beforehand thinking, "How good could it be if it's not a permanent fixture?" It's amazing in the darkest of ways.
People like myself are just naturally attracted to dark things. I'm fascinated by spooky stuff - decrepit buildings, gothic mansions, urban legends, the paranormal, etc. The Thirteenth Hour sucked me in right away. The entire haunt is themed as a dark church and catacombs complete with undead minions, sinister nuns, dark priests, as well as its founder - an undertaker who was practicing dark ceremonies next to his funeral parlor which created this whole thing you are now experiencing.
There is no variation in theme here. The entire haunt is in this church and its catacombs below. There are no clowns, cannibal rednecks, possessed schoolchildren or famous movie monsters. Every character inside fits the theme. The primary actors are fantastic and very interactive. Not only do they enrich the story and the history of the church, but they continually push the threat that one of you (the chosen sacrifice) is going to be taken and separated from the group. In haunt terms, a great deal of time is taken in these rooms with the primary actors; so much so that you actually sit down to listen to them talk. And yet, the pacing remained perfect, keeping our group in solitude.
The haunt is constructed on a gravel lot. There are walls on either side of you without any sort of ceiling. The decor is, well, dark...black...bleak. Candelabras, paintings and subtle animatronics line the corridors as you pass through. The open air above adds to the the ruins of a structure.
Most of the props within are made on-premise. While a few were clearly purchased (but brilliantly implemented), the fact that these were original sets with original props made the experience all the more enjoyable. There are tricks and surprises executed here that I've seen nowhere else. This haunt also demonstrates some of the best programmed lighting I've seen in a long while. The synchronization of music, effects and lighting in parts was outstanding.
Due to the way it is constructed, some of the turns and small rooms can be quite small. There were a number of times when the back of our group of six missed something because the actors reacted to the first person leading the way. This caused some timing issue and missed scares for some of us.
The ending left me slightly disappointed. Again, there's a running theme of someone having to be the sacrifice. At the end, when the choice comes to matter, it wasn't anything overly dramatic. I'd like to see the sacrifice get pulled into something more unique and involved.
It is clear that there is an immense amount of talent here. Almost every aspect (the construction, theme, decor, acting) was so well done. With plenty of room to expand in the coming years, I absolutely cannot wait to go again and see what is in store next!
Teresa -This was our first year going to The Thirteenth Hour. It is located about 10 minutes from downtown Indianapolis. I'm really glad we made the trip! The story behind this one in a nutshell is: an undertaker named Heinrich Chapel was removing souls from bodies by performing ceremonies in the abandoned chapel next to his funeral parlor. When 13 people, including Heinrich and his wife went missing in 1913, it was discovered that he had built all of these subterranean passages, which you now get to explore! See the website for more on Heinrich and his dark ceremonies. It was a very cold and windy the Saturday night we went, but there was a nice line of people willing to brave the elements for the chance to get a peak inside the ruined walls. After getting the chance to see it myself, I don't blame them! There were lots of things about this haunt that impressed me. I loved the chapel facade, and I really appreciate all of the scenes inside and in the catacombs. Rather than being flashy and overdone, they were realistic and the effects were executed perfectly. The lighting, music, and sounds we heard really added to the atmosphere. They did a fantastic job with the theme of the chapel and catacombs below and it really makes it more believable that they never stray from it. You really feel like you're walking through the ruins of a creepy old church and the evil contained within. The actors were fantastic in their roles, interacting with us, jumping out, sometimes just standing quietly in a way that was disconcerting. They made sure the whole group was there before any of the important parts happened (like splitting us up or making us choose which way we wanted to go). The pacing was very good, with time to really appreciate the unsettling decor and wonder what vile being was going to jump out next. The feeling here is one of creepiness. There is a sense of awe and dread. It isn't a touch haunt, and it isn't overly aggressive. However, it is filled with realistic-looking props, so that it was impossible to tell which ones were real people and which ones weren't, so there were plenty of jump scares. There's a lot of fun to be had as well. One thing in particular I want to mention is the option of buying an upgraded ticket for someone in your group. The "sacrifice" ticket, allows you to secretly select someone from your group to receive a special and personal experience, which is absolutely hilarious! It's always fun to turn on one of your own! The poor girl in our group was tortured throughout the entire haunt! There are some unforgettable scenes, characters, and creatures. One of my favorites was the spider-lady. She was really creepy! Itsy-bitsy spider went up the water spout... except there was nothing itsy-bitsy about these!
It is obvious to me that this place was built by someone who really loves Halloween and creating chilling scenes to tell a story. The attention to detail is amazing, and the scenes are all hand-built. This is no cookie-cutter haunt out to make a quick dollar. This comes from the dark recesses of someone's brain; someone who is passionate about sharing it with you, so that you may be haunted by it, too. It is torn down and built anew every year, which really makes it all the more impressive. And having its roots in a charity haunt, they still believe in giving back to the community. For every purchase, you can vote for your favorite charity, and at the end of the season, the one that wins will get a check from The Thirteenth Hour. Ticket prices are also very reasonable. This is a quality haunt, offering a unique experience, and I'm definitely looking forward to where all this creativity goes from here!
Paul - This year marks our first visit to The Thirteenth Hour, and we're sure glad we were able to make it! The Thirteenth Hour is themed around the legend of an Indianapolis undertaker who decided to build a mass underground grave where he could put the bodies from his funeral parlor. This maze of catacombs was built underneath the condemned cathedral next door to his business, and this haunt is your voyage through it all.
You start the haunt outside of a fantastic looking cathedral facade and soon make your way inside to the pews to get things started. You'll wind through the cathedral before you make the voyage down into the catacombs. As you wind through, you'll encounter some very well done sets, well-costumed and talented actors, excellent scares, and very unique contents. One of my favorite aspects of the haunt is that the entire place maintains a singular theme. You don't go from a cathedral, to zombies, to clowns- it all stays relevant.
This is only the second year that The Thirteenth Hour has been operation as a professional haunt, and I'm fairly blown away at the amount they've been able to do in such a short time. It isn't the largest or longest haunt we've been through but almost every inch of it keeps you on your toes for the next scare, and I'm definitely looking forward to our next visit!
Donna - This haunt was a very pleasant, refreshing surprise with a very creative, convincing, terrifying ambiance. Excellent for a 2nd year haunt. Kudos to the actors, music and props. I can see this one becoming one of our Indy favorites.
What I would like to see next year is even more actors (staying in the theme of the dark church, of course), longer haunt, maybe cover the rooms (add a ceiling) if possible to keep out the rain and cold. But so far, so good. Nice job!
Gayle - This was our first year reviewing this haunt, and I am SO glad we did! This was a gem! Fairly new haunt with such an expertly done experience. This place is amazing and like NO other haunt I've visited. They provide such a great story that follows through from the moment you enter, until the moment you escape...ahem...I mean leave. The theme is creepy, the actors and costumes were perfect, the visuals were right out of a movie set...so well done! There's understated intensity that keeps you gripped throughout. I loved every second!