228 S 500 W, Valparaiso, IN
Our second visit to Amhurst Asylum was one we'd been waiting for all season long. Amhurst was one of the surprises of the 2013 season, with its mix of detailed sets and excellent actors putting it into our Hall of Fame for the year. We're happy to say that our return visit delivered more of the same - that is to say, more of the same quality and more of the same fun that we had last year.
The theme of Amhurst is one of an abandoned asylum that has been taken over by the patients. As we've mentioned, we're not huge fans of this theme as there's not a lot you can do with it, but if it's done in an entertaining fashion then it works out. Thankfully, Amhurst goes the crazy rather than the intense route with the theme, and the humor makes it work.
The location also gives Amhurst an edge. It's located in a somewhat isolated area, which adds to the idea that the asylum could have just been abandoned. As visitors walk up to the entrance, they move through a long area filled with broken medical equipment, TVs and other items, all the while listening to eerie chanting coming from all around them. It's an effective way to creep people out before they even get into the haunt!
Once inside, visitors move through a number of detailed sets, from locker rooms to old offices to the morgue. There's even an "outside" courtyard area (that's really inside) that has a facade of the back door to the Asylum in it, complete with flickering street lamps, steps leading to the door, and the asylum logo in the old fashioned windows, eerily lit with red light.
Great actors abound as well, including the creepy morgue attendant who complains that he's constantly being interrupted so he can never get his job done, the lady in the courtyard who invites people to pet her cat (which is actually a real live skunk - when's the last time you saw a skunk in a haunt?), and "Gus" who works in what looks like an auto maintenance shop - he's quite friendly, although his work leaves a lot to be desired!
Overall, Amhurst is an enjoyable experience, and at almost 20 minutes long it's well worth the admission price. Some may find it intense, and there is some screaming (as it is an asylum, after all), but most of the actors instead concentrate on just being weird, as if they were always like that regardless of who was watching. While not as outstanding as last year (we can't put our finger on what was missing, but it seemed a bit less of an experience this time around) we still thoroughly enjoyed our visit and would recommend Amhurst to anyone looking for some laughs along with their scares.