Date of Visit: 10/29/22 Reviewer: Lindsay
I'm in a bedroom with an altar set up by the mirror; though the only intentions being set here are dark ones, no doubt. The fellow in the black hat, whose home I just barged right into, has ordered me to kneel at the foot of a bed, with an eerie-looking figure suspended over it. "Pray to the Sister. Hail Lucifer!" I repeat those last two words. "Hail Lucifer!" Again... and again. On the third attempt, the suspended body suddenly comes to life with a horrible cry, snarling and shrieking. The man next to me seems pleased with whatever black magick I somehow worked. "Now you are free to unleash your evil on the world," he comments before sending me on my way.
Oh, my dear. I already do that. I'm a haunt reviewer!
Indianapolis is nearly bursting at the seams with great haunted attractions. Among them is the long standing Haunted Angelus House, sitting right next to Patriotic Fireworks off East Washington (and the former site of Ron's Halloween). Originally created to benefit The Angelus- an organization that provides residential services for people with cerebral palsy- this haunted house has been involved in additional community work in the past, holding food drives and offering discounts for students, first responders, and other special groups on select nights. And in keeping with the haunt's original mission, the owner has specifically designed it to be fully wheelchair accessible - so this is a place most anyone can visit to enjoy a night of scary fun.
General admission to Haunted Angelus House is quite affordable, with a basic ticket priced at $16. Fast Pass is also available for $35; a sizable jump in price for sure, but worth it when there's a big crowd or you don't have much time to wait. Parking is free in their own big parking lot, but if it happens to fill up, there are plenty of other lots a short walk away.
The Angelus has a fun, community-oriented atmosphere surrounding it. While I can vouch that they're completely capable of spooking even the most seasoned haunt-goers, this attraction is well suited to families and you will see patrons of all ages waiting in line. They've usually got at least one character outside to entertain the crowd; I spotted a pair of clowns on my visit, and was ecstatic to see that one of them was Crash, their resident red clown and a dear friend of mine. He had taken the previous season off and it was so good to see him performing again - he is excellent at his job!
One small critique: the indoor queue needed something to perk it up. It still looks great, but I missed the music, laser effects, and other stuff they once used to provide ambiance. When I walked in this year, it was pretty quiet beyond customers waiting and talking with each other.
Haunted Angelus House is very much a traditional haunted house, meaning it has no backstory or single theme. Most of the rooms you'll walk through consist of things that are likely to scare people: a carnival filled with creepy clowns, a church under demonic possession, a swamp inhabited by monsters, and a graveyard - just to name a handful. But there are scenes unique to this place, too, like the opening western saloon (neat!), a house full of maniacs, and one of my favorites, a room with a walkway crossing over glowing embers and a seemingly bottomless pit! (No, really. You have to see this thing!)
Many of these aren't restricted to just a single room or two, either. Several areas stretch across multiple rooms, and most are filled with detailed scenery, large props, and animatronics. Seriously, they love their pneumatics here... a lot of the scares you encounter will be automated ones. With that said, they are well placed, and caught me off guard more than once. Among my favorites were the impressive reaper "statue" that suddenly came to life and rose over my head in the graveyard, and the grabby, cackling clowns that corralled me in the carnival!
Although the Angelus does have many mechanical monsters, there's also a good number of live ones you'll need to watch out for as you're going through. Their cast spanned all ages, and every single actor seemed to be having a blast! Once the nurse in the doctor's office got me checked in, the (rather small) doctor was happy to show me the unfortunate animatronic patient she'd been tortur-- excuse me, "treating". I also got a great jump from a female actor as soon as I walked in, perfectly concealed in the shadows. The two girls in the church were hilarious; one was taller and blonde, the other wore glasses. It seemed they needed just one more soul to sacrifice, and along I came, all alone... how convenient! They refused to let me leave for the longest time, the taller one held me up with a severed hand like it was a weapon (ha!), and they both had a response for everything I said to them. I was cracking up. (Then they made the mistake of turning their backs on me when we heard another group coming. I bolted past them. "Hey!" the taller one snapped. Sorry girl, blink and I'm gone.) Their "Jack the Ripper" actor, mentioned at the start of this review, continues to be an amazing and interactive character and I loved how he involved me in his act. While trying to sneak through his quiet, creepy house, I was discovered and attacked by a maniac named Stitches, who pursued me all the way outside... where I was immediately pounced by a pair of clowns, one younger and in makeup, the other wearing a full silicone face and brandishing a chainsaw. Between all three of them, they had me running around in a panic trying to find the exit! Great final scare and teamwork!
Speaking of the exit, this leads into their gift shop. If you can, do try to make a little time to browse! They got loads of new merch this season, including t-shirts in several different colors, beanies, and more. (Just an FYI: I love when haunts offer shirts in colors other than black! A little variety's always nice.)
In an industry where the focus seems to be on "bigger is better", or on having an elaborate theme or storyline to be successful, traditional haunted houses tend to fly under the radar. Fortunately, we have places like the Haunted Angelus House keeping the spirit of the traditional haunt alive. Is it the scariest haunted house ever? Not so much for me, but it is well designed, delivers some good startles, and above all else, it's *fun*. And the fact that it's a fully accessible haunt, allowing nearly every patron to enjoy it, only makes it better. They are also close to many other great Indy attractions, making them easy to squeeze into a night spent haunting around the city. If you want to see a good, solid haunted house and support a great cause along the way, consider stopping by the Angelus over the Fall season.
ENVIRONMENT: 8/10 - Really nice sets and indoor queue, great characters to entertain the line.
ACTING: 6/10 - Decent number of actors and I never had to wait too long to encounter one. Loved the energy from this cast!
SCARE FACTOR: 7/10 - I enjoyed some good scares as I was going through, and a couple of funny moments as well. The final scare at the end was the best!
OVERALL: 8/10 - Awesome haunted house run by great people! I do my best to make the Angelus a stop on my Indy haunt tour every season.