Friday, October 13, 2017

Things go Bump in the Night at a Haunting on Wood Ave

I received a rather ominous invitation to investigate and review a Haunted Attraction right next door to my house in the Old Mutuals Pharmacy Building in down town Big Stone Gap. The invite said to come at night and come alone….so of course I could not pass it up!

A Haunting on Wood Ave is being presented by the Town of Big Stone Gap and the brave men and women of the Big Stone Fire Department are in charge of keeping the general public safe from whatever horrible things lurk inside.

With the Haunting going on in one of our old Historic (and one of the most recognizable) buildings in town, it is easy to find and a little creepy to boot. The location is smack dab in the center of the town so anybody looking for it will have no problems.

Now, for the walkthrough!


The old Mutual Pharmacy building is the location of the Haunt that seemed to have manifested itself over night in the old building. The building looks harmless enough from the outside....even cheerful, but the heavy metal door with bars over the window made me think twice. I can see the back of this building from my upstairs balcony and the strange lights and smoke pouring out of the old barred windows and the sounds of chainsaw and screams echoed down the street to me. It was literally a 2 minute walk over to the haunt for me.

Once the heavy metal door is opened for you, this set of foreboding steps leading up into darkness is your pathway to the Haunt. Warnings to turn back and promises of pain or worse were painted all over the stairway. The sound of screams and a chainsaw reverberated down the steps as I made the climb into the abyss.

I was ushered into a small waiting area where I met my guides who would lead me through this haven for the haunted. The guides made it clear they were only there to show me the way through and would not be able to help me with the horrific scenes and insane creatures within. I was given one last chance to turn back before the being directed further into the haunt.

I was immediately beset with moaning spirits of the undead. It was as if hands came out of the very walls to claw at my flesh.  

The old building was in a bad state of disrepair and I am not sure if it was from age of the building or from the horrible inhabitant that have made this their home for the month of October. The hallways are narrow and you have to squeeze through lots of very tight passages and tunnels, much like the one pictured above. To get away from the spirits bumping around in this room, you have to crawl through this dark opening for any hopes of finding an exit to freedom.

The next room was a furnace or boiler room of some sort. It was hot and the steam was so thick, you could cut it with a machete. It was here that I encountered good old Freddy Krueger. He came at me from all sides. Vanishing to the left of me only to appear seconds later to my right. The whole time he was scratching the bare walls with his claws and telling me the horrible things that he was going to do with me.

Everywhere you turn there were creepy and apparently psychotic people. Hiding in the walls, behind drapes and in every crevice. Looking closely at the masks....I am pretty sure they were "borrowed" from some poor victims head...never to be returned.

Strange things manifested themselves in the old building. There were thick vegetation on the ground you have to hustle through and even corn growing up through the old floor boards. Beware of scarecrows....they are not there for crows!

Grisly Trophies of past victims decorated every room I visited. Not sure if it was meant to be a warning to me or if the evil beings were proud of their accomplishments.

Don't be fooled by seemingly normal things or people in the is place. I tried to talk to her to see if I could help her out of this makeshift prison...
She did not want to talk...she did not want help...I am pretty sure she just wanted to pull pieces of me through the chain link prison.

All through my guided tour of this horrific place, the unmistakable laughter of clowns followed me. You can't spell laughter without SLAUGHTER as I was told by these deranged circus rejects who wanted nothing more than to add me to the decorations.

No....I do not want a balloon.
You could barely think with all the insane laughing that was going on from these guys...I certainly did not get the joke but I feel it was me.

Some of the clowns were a bit "crusty" I think they were past their expiration date.

Most of the rooms that the clown had taken up residence in were decorated for a party....A party that I did not want to be invited to. Who brings chainsaws to a party anyhow?

I was glad to put sinister shenanigans of the clowns behind me but I also felt dread as I entered the next set of claustrophobic hallways leading into another nightmare. The room was covered in dirt and vines. The smell of rotting vegetation, fresh turned earth, and sour meat hung like fog in the air. Coffins and caskets littered the area. Most of them looked as if they had been freshly dug up that very night. I noticed some of them were busted open...seemingly from the inside out!  It was not long before the shambling corpses from the empty coffins appeared. It was obvious they wanted me to join them in eternal unrest.
 I moved quickly through the half rotten undead that clawed and bit at me as my guide led me down another narrow hallway. I soon detected a chemical smell in the air. The acrid smell of embalming fluid, bleach and worse assaulted my nose as the unmistakable sounds of liquids dripping and sloshing came to my ears.

I was shocked to see a room full of all manner of toxic barrels and containers. It was obviously a very serious chemical spill  and I had no idea what kind of liquids I was sloshing through or what was contained in the drips of liquid that fell from the ceiling. Mangled hazmat suits were thrown all over the place and twisted and mutated body parts floated in the glowing ooze. Apparently not all the bodies were dead...or at least they were moving!

I assume this hissing and bubbling things that lurched after me were at one time human....but the bizarre concoction of chemicals had changed the forever into something half living, half dead. Whatever they were...they were absolutely angry with me and so my guide escorted me away from the terrible toxic fumes and to our next destination.
When I was told that we were entering an Asylum, where they had been able to round up some of the worst creatures that dwelled here, I was a bit relieved. That relief was short lived as I quickly deduced that the inmates were running this Asylum. Whatever good they were trying to accomplish here was completely twisted and ruined by the "staff" that now rules this place. I was grateful when the guide informed me it was time to go....until she told me we were headed to the butcher.
Be warned, the meat they serve here used to be walking around on two legs and talking just a few hours ago. Blood covered the entire room...the floor was slick with it. The butcher was very excited to show me his techniques...and to make me the next "catch of the day".
I wanted no part of this slaughter house...Not as a customer or as a product!

Running through the rooms, trying to find my way out of this nightmare world, I was constantly assaulted by creatures that seemed to appear out of the very walls themselves. Whatever evil had settled in this building, it was obviously not from this world. I was so grateful when I exited to the outside world again and was free of the horrors that called this building home. I exited down a long flight of steps and headed back to my house.

It was at this point I heard the chainsaw crank up behind me. Apparently these things are not contained inside the building anymore!

It was great being allowed to be the first "victim" to enter into A HAUNTING ON WOOD AVE. I really appreciate the opportunity they gave me to come in and take photos and review the haunt. I also appreciate the hospitality I was shown during my visit. 

Now on with the review!


  • Location is great! Well known old building in the middle of town Lots of parking for scare seekers.
  • The Visitor's Center right next door has concessions for those that get hungry or thirsty when they get scared. There is also a bathroom in case there is a long line.
  • The atmosphere of the building is a plus. Bars on the windows. Brick building. Heavy metal entrance door with an almost prison type mesh bar window.
  • Claustrophobia central!  The hallways and passages are narrow to the extreme. It is really unsettling to have to turn sideways and creep down a hallway when you can hear things moving around inches from you face. There are tunnels you have to crawl though as well.
  • Sound system and sound effects seemed very adequate and appropriate for the scenes.
  • Lighting was minimal but good. Sometimes the lack of light is the best lighting.
  • Construction of some of the rooms was great. Keeping in mind they did it all in a week, I am impressed. Hay on the floor, vines from the ceilings. Corn stalks lining some rooms. It made for a great effect!
  • There were some good props scattered around. Body parts and other creepy items flowed throughout the haunt.
  • Some really good masks! High end ones too! Good costumes as well.
  • Manpower. Most haunts suffer from lack of help, this one was well staffed and the scares just kept happening at every turn because of it.
  • Acting. The guys and gals of the fire department really got into their roles and I honestly jumped and cursed quite a few times because they really put their hearts into it.
  • It's a straightforward haunt with no confusing ways in our out or loopbacks. A pet peeve of mine is when you have to circle back to the places you have already been. You go in one door and exit through the back.


  • They literally had a week to put this together. For the time they had, I am very impressed. I would have loved to seen what they could have accomplished given ample time to finesse and really blow it out of the water! As a result some of the sets are really creepy while other aspects have a rushed feel to it.
  • The fog, while a great element, was a bit much in some of the rooms. A good homemade chiller to keep that fog heavy and lower to the floor may be a help here.
  • While masks and costumes were great, I did see a few instances of street clothing peeking out here or there that can ruin the illusion for those who truly want to be scared. Also, some black makeup around the eyes does wonders for believability of some of those great masks.
  • I did not see any actual makeups but I realize it was just a dry run before opening night and they will most likely add it where needed.
  • Continuity of story. Would like to hear a more in-depth story of why the haunt is here and some good reasoning behind the rooms and the creatures within. A good backstory can fill you with dread even before you arrive at the attraction.
  • Advertising is key to any pay for play haunt. Need to get the word out weeks before the opening night. Videos, social media etc. Even I would be willing to help them out next year to make sure the word is out and about.
  • Decorations for the outside entrance of the haunt. While it is pretty forbidding, there really is nothing to signify a haunt is going on. A big scary sign, or anything to say there is a haunt here when it is going as well as when it is not to keep the customers coming.

Below is the ranking by the categories I use to gauge how a haunt based on a 1 to 5 rating system and a final rating to be tallied up at the end.

ATMOSPHERE : 4 The building is creepy. The sets are tight and scary. Ominous sounds and actors playing it up. It is definitely a haunt and people will feel dread and anxiety as they wait in line to enter into the dark steps for sure!

SOUND EFFECTS : 3 For my walk through, effects were at a minimum but what I heard was good and it fit (Freddy boiler room). The human element of laughing and hollering through the haunt also helps out here as well!

SET DESIGN : 3.5 Some of the sets were pretty well done (Cornfield, Asylum, Butcher Shop, Chain-link prisoner, Graveyard, Toxic Waste Room). A few of the others really had a rushed an unfinished feel to it and could have really benefited from some TLC and some decorations.

COSTUMES : 4 Some really high end masks and full body costumes are used in this haunt (Asylum clown, Ghostly Nun at entrance, Chainsaw maniac, All the other clown). A few instances of street clothing peeking out hurt the illusion. Some quick make up touch ups and this is easily a 4.5 area.

ORIGINALITY : 3 All the basics of a haunted house are present. Grave yard, Toxic Zombies, Corn Field, Butcher shop. There were some unique takes on these Classic Haunted House scenes but noting that made me think, "I have never saw that before".

SHOWMANSHIP : 4 One thing for sure, everybody was in character and gave it their all! Getting into character is a challenge for some haunt but these guys excelled at it. Great job all!

FEAR FACTOR : 4.5 I will admit they got me....several times... the jump scare, hidden creature, drop panels, make you yelp scares are here! You will definitely be taken off guard in this haunt. This, coupled with the big personalities acting inside make for an overall scary thrill ride. Manpower also plays a huge roll here as there are two or three of them always around poking their heads out of the wall when you least expect it.

REVISIT RATING : 3 It's a good sized haunt and I personally would want to go through it at least one or two more times just so I can take it in. It is a great haunted event with some absolute scares that will make you jump. Great for a fun October outing with family and friends. With the convenience of concession, central location, parking, and access to bathroom there is every reason to visit multiple times in one night or plan out the rest of your October weekends.


I would rank this haunt as good if not better than some of the Year Round Haunted Attractions you can visit in nearby Gatlinburg TN. This is the best haunt they have had in the last few years for sure! If you are a local, it is a definite must see for a fun night out.

For further information, reach out to me and I will get you an answer!

What are you waiting on? GO OUT AND GET SCARED TONIGHT!!!!!

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