Updated: Feb 19
Necropolis Underground Haunted Attraction 7130 Western Select Dr. Indianapolis, IN 46219 http://www.necropolisunderground.com
Date of Visit: 9/25/21 Reviewer: Lindsay
When you hear the word "underground", a couple of ideas come to mind: what lies under the earth at your feet, and something that is lesser known. Underground movements. Underground clubs. Most people probably wouldn't even consider haunted houses. But buried beneath a complex of offices and trucking companies in Indianapolis is a place that's a bit of both. A haunted underground; where a mansion turned into a living nightmare, a cemetery that's become a gateway to the spirit realm, a hotel where guests check in... but may not check out, and a bunker full of insidious experiments are all connected.
Once known as "Necropolis: City of Perpetual Darkness", this hidden city of the dead has been a part of the Indy haunt community for several years. However, the property found new ownership in 2020 and has joined the collective within Sindicate Haunted House Group, where it has since grown and rebranded itself under a name better suited to its location: Necropolis Underground.
Visitors wishing to explore Necropolis will find it right off of Western Select Drive - plenty of signs are around to direct you, and their helpful attendants will guide you to a free parking spot. After you've parked, head to the front of the big tan building and look for the 'Necropolis Underground' sign to locate the entrance, then go downstairs to reach the ticket counter and queue. General admission tickets start at $35; if you're in a hurry, two different fast pass options are available as well. (Their Front of the Line deal sounded pretty sweet. Bypass all other lines *and* grab a t-shirt!)
I'm not sure if it was an intentional move by the Sindicate team, but just stepping into the lobby made me feel like I'd entered an underground complex. The walls are painted up to appear stained and grimy, an effect that's enhanced by the building's age. Waiting in line only intensified that feeling; the bright lights soon fade out when you walk away from the ticket counter, and your surroundings become progressively darker and grungier as you draw closer to entering the haunt. Eventually, you're left standing in a room that's almost pitch black... save for the ominous red glow emanating from beyond its door.
(A word of warning: watch your back when you get down there! Some of the denizens of Necropolis are always on the prowl, and they can turn up at any moment. During my visit, a pair of sliders alternated between entertaining customers and terrorizing them, and I was also greeted by Baron Samedi, who was accompanied by a beautiful live python. (Well, I thought she was beautiful. Other patrons didn't seem to agree.))
All too soon, it was my turn to enter and face whatever was behind that door. Cautiously pushing it open, I walked down a short hallway and entered a room that seemed to serve as a transition to the world of the dead city. Worn brick walls, accented by strands of ivy and flickering lamps, created the illusion that I was standing outside. The space was watched over by a towering rotting ghoul, but my attempt to get a closer look at him was interrupted by a frantic voice. "Hey! Excuse me!" A girl's worried face had appeared around the corner. She stepped out and approached me, wringing her hands. "Have you seen my friend...? Can you help me find her?" Against my better judgement, I agreed to do so. She gestured for me to follow her.
We were soon scampering through a dark alley. Jack o'lanterns glowed mysteriously above our heads, illuminating our path around a parked car and pieces of junk strewn about. My new companion became increasingly fretful, pausing here and there to call out for her friend and insisting that we hurry. Unfortunately, experience has taught me that this sort of thing never ends well, and my suspicions were confirmed when someone- or something- burst from the shadows and attacked us. I can't remember what it was or if she made it; only that she kept shouting for me to run, and I had no intention of sticking around to find out. An old, ramshackle house was waiting for me up ahead. I scurried around the corner, ran up onto the front porch...
...and through the front door of the NIGHTMARE HOUSE, the first of Necropolis Underground's four attractions.
Every haunt at Necropolis has a story, and Nightmare House's is among the more extensive, telling the tale of a once prestigious home that fell victim to neglect, and became possessed by the evil spirits that haunt the city. It's said that the house has now taken on a life of its own, feeding on the terror of the victims that stumble inside... and sometimes, selecting a few to become permanent residents. Anyone who finds themselves trapped within its walls must try to escape from this malevolent mansion - or risk their soul becoming a part of it forever.
In addition to having a strong storyline, Nightmare is also one of Necropolis' longest and most detailed attractions. Guests can expect to experience this haunted mansion in full, right down to the grounds that surround it and an expansive cemetery scene out back (if they're lucky enough to get out, that is!). The set design in here is awesome, ranging from the eerie to the delightfully nonsensical... one moment, you're passing by cobweb-coated shelves of books in the library, and the next, you're surrounded by vintage toys stacked floor to ceiling (still my favorite room!). Throw in plenty of beautiful lighting, and the spooky soundtrack playing through each room, and you've got an environment that's as immersive as it is creepy.
But don't let the beauty of Nightmare House distract you from how it got the name. Every inch of the property is guarded by a host of tormented souls, and none of them are happy to see you! (Well, I did have one guy in the kitchen or dining room making remarks about "bacon" as I was trying to slip past him. Which turned into him wanting to eat me, and chasing me out... sigh.) While most interactions were limited to stalking and pop-out scares, the actors maintained good energy, and they covered the house well enough to keep dead space to a minimum. Most spots lacking actors had effectively placed animatronics, such as corpses lurching at you from the cemetery's crypts, and a *killer* scare at the end of the haunt (that I won't spoil, but it's brand new and it got me good!).
Having managed to escape from the house with my soul intact, the brightly lit space I emerged into was a welcoming sight. Unfortunately, I wasn't out of the woods by a long shot - I still had three more attractions to complete. The entrances to two of them were in the same room, but to ensure I did them in the correct order, I turned left and approached the gates to the CEMETERY OF THE DAMNED.
Remember when I mentioned Baron Samedi? If you aren't familiar with him, he is a Loa of the Dead in voodoo, a powerful spirit responsible for guiding the souls of the deceased to the underworld. But in Necropolis, he's known for having a far more evil disposition. You see, if you happen to die here, there is no afterlife waiting for you. Your soul will instead join those that are bound to this cemetery, forever trapped in the Baron's realm of the dead. Any mortals foolish enough to step through its gates must face the wrath of the restless spirits within, who have fallen under the sway of Samedi's dark magic and now torment the living that come to visit.
Cemetery of the Damned is similar to Nightmare House in that it's one of the Underground's more heavily themed attractions, taking groups on a lengthy journey through a labyrinth of ivy-covered fences, ancient, broken graves, dungeons filled with rotting corpses, and other deathly sights. It also has my favorite soundtrack out of all four haunts; slightly trippy, yet melancholy enough to make the Cemetery's gloomy atmosphere feel even heavier. The environment is easy to lose yourself in, but you should remember to tread lightly, for this realm of death is not without its dangers. Navigating through the crypts left me struggling to hold on to a treacherous tilting walkway, and some of the corpses I passed in their graves were not completely dead!
Baron Samedi would normally be lurking at the Cemetery's gates, "welcoming" new victims inside. Since the Baron had other matters to attend to (like scaring the crap out of customers with a live snake), they were instead guarded by a voodoo priestess, who was as intimidating as she was beautiful... explaining that she ruled over this place alongside Samedi, she locked eyes with me as she spoke, and I found it difficult to return her gaze. Sadly, this house had some staffing issues on the night I went, and she was among the very few live spirits I encountered. To their credit, a couple of the ones I met did stalk and attempt to scare me repeatedly, and one of the line actors made an appearance in here as well.
Successfully evading the clutches of the dead returned me to the room I'd been in previously (see why the order is important?). Trying to keep your soul from being ripped out of you is a tiring ordeal, and I was ready for a break. Luckily for me, the DEAD & BREAKFAST was just around the corner - and they had some vacancies.
Dead & Breakfast is based on the story of a pleasant little inn that, one fateful evening, was broken into by a serial killer. Every guest, and almost every employee, was slain that night. Mad with guilt over their own survival, the remaining staff have allowed the place to fall into disrepair, and now seek to make future patrons suffer in the same way they did. Check in to this hotel at your own risk, because there's a good chance you won't be allowed to "check out" alive!
While not quite as decked out in detail as the first two houses, Dead & Breakfast has a very strong opening scene, putting visitors in its story as soon as they enter. Following the creepy looking bellman into the lobby, I barely had time to inspect the knickknacks on the walls before feeling a gust of wind come through the window, where I spotted a suspicious figure lurking outside. "Oh, yes, be careful," the bellman commented airily. "There's a killer out there." I wanted to ask him why the hell the window was open then, but he was preoccupied with checking me in. "Play with my dingaling and I'll come," he smirked, indicating the bell on the front desk. "It's small, but it still works." Cute. I was then provided with my room number- lucky number 13- and sent on my way.
That room number? Make sure you remember it, because it's going to get you through the first half of the haunt. Navigating the inn's haunted halls will have you returning to your room again and again, only to find that it's changed each time, becoming increasingly bizarre - and often, inhabited by unwanted roommates. Possessed beds, creepy dolls, walk-in closets, and a vortex tunnel are among what you'll encounter during your stay. And I hope you can see well in the dark - someone has all but killed the lights in the rest of the hotel, leaving only brief flashes to guide you.
Dead & Breakfast is a little shorter than Necropolis' first two haunts, yet suffered from the same problem with dead areas as Cemetery. I did love the bellman (great acting and look - good job makeup team!), and I also had a fun interaction with a girl I discovered playing with "Mommy"s makeup. (Minor complaint regarding acting: I had a female actor scream to startle me, which was fine, but maybe we could not do that over and over? It's hard on the ears.)
My adventure through this city was approaching its end, but there was still one last house to conquer. A brightly lit "Quarantine Area" sign guided me to the front doors of a hospital ward. Upon walking up, a nurse met me at the window to request my name and... disease? "Clinical lycanthropy." Maybe they could cure mental illnesses, too. She ushered me inside, and pointed me to a seat in the dingy waiting room - right next to the body of a man who'd obviously seen better days. Noticing my expression, she assured me that "the doctor" wasn't dead. I wasn't fully convinced.
THE BUNKER (formerly Outbreak Hospital) is the site of Necropolis' dubious medical facility, and the final stop on your underground haunt tour. Tucked away from the public eye, The Bunker presents itself as a hospital to conceal the dark secret of what it really is: a scientific research lab that conducts experiments on unwitting "patients". Where the other houses possess little gore, this one is easily the nastier of the lot, sending groups through scenes with shelves of wet specimens in jars, sheet-covered bodies on operating tables, and a grisly animatronic surgery. Escaping the laboratory won't guarantee your safety, either; there's a disorienting fence maze once you get out of the labs, and an almost fully blacked out area at the end.
Quite a few demented doctors and crazed patients reside at this facility, and the torture they've experienced has made them highly aggressive to visitors! One actor with longer blonde hair moved with incredible speed, coming at me out of nowhere from between the operating tables, then reappearing in the fences to tag team me with another actor. Others stalked me relentlessly through the crates and boxes in the final rooms. And when I finally thought I had made it out, a particularly tall and imposing patient was waiting to escort me to The Bunker's exit. (Translation: this huge scary guy came after me, and I got the hell out of dodge.)
Although it probably sounds like a terrifying place by now, not everything in Necropolis is scary. The Sindicate team has been working hard to add new stuff, the most impressive of which is the Dead City Festival, a brand new midway that groups exit into after completing all four haunted houses. Intended to provide customers with a more complete experience, the Dead City Festival offers several extra activities for an upcharge. These include games, tarot readings, escape rooms, and axe throwing. (If you'd like to purchase drinks or Necropolis gear, the merch counter can be found here as well.) I'm not an escape room person, but I was graciously offered a chance to experience the Grim Inn, and it was incredible! If you do nothing else, at least make sure you add that to your visit.
Necropolis Underground has grown considerably since my last visit in April (for an Easter event), and I was really impressed by the all the changes. The only major issue on this visit was dead space in a couple of the houses, and that's pretty good for a haunt this large. Without spoiling anything, I was also given a few hints as to future developments, and this place has the potential to become a huge contender in the Indianapolis haunt scene. I can't wait to see what the future holds for the dead city - I'll definitely be making it an annual stop on my Indy haunt tour.
ENVIRONMENT: 8/10 - Loved the actors in the queue and the addition of the Dead City Festival, and theming in the first two houses was amazing. There are some spots I'd like to see dressed up more, like the room with the entrances to Cemetery and D&B (if space allows).
ACTING: 7/10 - Too many dead areas was the main reason for this score. With that said, the actors I did interact with were great.
SCARE FACTOR: 7/10 - All four haunts got a good jump or shout out of me at least once. Animatronics were cleverly positioned to provide some extra scares, too.
OVERALL: 8/10 - Another hit by the team at Sindicate Haunt Group! I really enjoyed my visit to Necropolis this year, and look forward to watching it continue to grow in the near future.