Holiday movie guide to get in the festive spirit Friday, Nov 29 2019 

By Blake Wedding —

It’s that time of year again–nights by the fireplace while sipping eggnog and hot cocoa. The time of year where we think of others more than ever and give gifts. It’s time for holiday parties and cold nights with friends and loved ones. This also means it’s time to snuggle up in the living room and watch holiday movies that remind us why this time of year is so special. The Cardinal has prepared a list of five of the most festive films to make it easier for students to get in the holiday spirit.

1. Planes, Trains and Automobiles – John Hughes (1987)

John Hughes is a legendary filmmaker often regarded for many things, but his greatest gift was in casting the spotlight on the lives of small-town middle Americans in a sympathetic and forward-thinking manner. He is an auteur of the classic “coming-of-age” story in film history, but his 1987 holiday film “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” might be his finest comedic work. Featuring the likes of comedic geniuses Steve Martin and John Candy at the height of their careers, the movie is a wholesome story about two irreverent characters heading home for the holidays. Inevitably, the two characters butt heads due to their incredibly different lifestyles and personalities. But what “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” teaches is to appreciate people who are different than us and to embrace the holiday sense of giving and charity. It is a film that sheds sympathy for the downtrodden, the forgotten and the eccentric people in this world, and it reminds us that helping others is one of the greatest gifts we can give.

2. A Charlie Brown Christmas – Bill Meléndez (1965)

There are few names as well known as “Charlie Brown” when it comes to naming classic holiday films. The Charlie Brown series has its name attached to a number of different holidays over the years, but without a doubt, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is the best of them all. This is a film that captures the spirit and essence of the holidays, as well as the nostalgia and child-like wonder that accompany the holidays. It’s a film about friendship, togetherness, selflessness and caring about people. It also happens to have one of the most recognized and well-regarded soundtracks to any holiday movie.

3. Elf – Jon Favreau (2003)

Just when it seemed like Hollywood was running out of ideas for holiday films, “Elf” came along in 2003 and cemented itself as a modern holiday classic. Sure, the film is filled with clichés and some of Will Ferrell’s goofiest comedy to date, but it’s also an undeniably charming, funny and wholesome holiday film. It’s a film that reiterates already well-known themes of the holidays and why they’re important, but it’s the way “Elf” executes its ideas that makes it an endearing film. Ferrell is hilarious as Buddy the Elf, and as a character, is someone who forces others to reevaluate their selfishness during the holidays.

4. A Christmas Story – Bob Clark (1983)

“A Christmas Story” is a holiday classic in every sense of the word and a film as synonymously American as apple pie. It’s a film that nearly everyone mentions as the quintessential holiday film and one that tells a familiar story of the holidays in small-town America. It’s a funny, endearing and amusing story that shows how an entire family handles the holiday season. From Ralphie’s insatiable desire to have the newest and greatest gifts under the Christmas tree, to his father being overworked and jaded about the holidays, and his mother being overworked and stressed during this time of year, what “A Christmas Story” does best is show us that the holidays can be both full of wonder and worry depending on who you are. Furthermore, “A Christmas Story” manages to tell these stories through a lens that is relatable and undoubtedly hilarious, making it one of the best feel-good movies of the season.

5. It’s a Wonderful Life – Frank Capra (1946)

“It’s a Wonderful Life” is a film that has been called the greatest holiday movie of all time year after year, and there is a reason for that. Not only is “It’s a Wonderful Life” the best holiday film ever, it’s also one of the greatest films of any genre ever made. Yes, this is an old movie, and yes, some younger viewers may be thrown off by the original film’s black and white cinematography, but it’s also a rare film that can resonate with people of all ages. It’s a film about learning not to take what you have for granted during the most important time of year. A film that exclaims that no matter how stressful or hard your life may be, you should take time to understand the importance of being thankful for what you do have. “It’s a Wonderful Life” is a film about compassion, acceptance, togetherness and, as the title implies, life.

Festive Mentions: “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (1967); “Home Alone” (1990); “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” (1989); “The Santa Claus” (1994); “Miracle on 34th Street” (1994); “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993); “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” (1964).

Graphic by Alexis Simon // The Louisville Cardinal 

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Black Friday advice: Strategy is key when going into battle Thursday, Nov 28 2019 

By Zoe Watkins — 

Thanksgiving will soon be here, and it’s time to gather with family and enjoy the annual festivities. Whether it’s making a hefty dinner, watching TV with the family, or tuning in for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, everything is joyful and peaceful. That is until the clock strikes twelve.

It’s time for the bloodiest battle to begin–Black Friday.

The whole day is utter chaos as crowds of customers squeeze through tiny automatic doors for the last set of cookware. So many people get hurt over everyday items, and in the worst cases, people have been killed getting trampled by crowds. However, if you think the price is right to go against the horde, here are some quick tips to survive Black Friday.

Planning and Precision is Key

Going into the store with no clue whatsoever is like going into battle without any strategy. Before it’s time for the deals to start, make a list of what you want to buy and look where the items are located in the stores. This will save you time that would have been spent searching around the store for what you need. If possible, arrive early to avoid parking wars and maybe get in some early Black Friday sales. Also, if you’re going to shop at more than one store, plan your travel by whose sales start the earliest and find the fastest ways to get there.

Look High, Stake Low

Another key detail is location. A lot of people will be heading to major superstores to get their items which leaves a lot of other places a bit less packed. So while everyone is off at Walmart, find an obscure shopping mall or a small plaza. Besides, maybe your favorite local store is having a better sale than other retailers and might have more items in stock with the smaller crowd.

Travel in Packs

What’s a war without an army? Bring friends with you so snagging deals can be even easier, but also for protection. If you have an item in your cart that someone desperately wants, they will not hesitate to snatch it from you and are willing to fight for it.

Have Some Tricks Up Your Sleeve

No one plays fair when valuable items are being sold at a very cheap cost, so use some of those tactics against them.  Put unappealing things over the items you don’t want someone to see. Some stores will even work with you to get your items safely.

Just Don’t Go at All

At this point, there really is no reason to go to Black Friday and have to deal with all of that chaos unless you really enjoy it. Just wait a couple days for Cyber Monday which sometimes has better deals and some things you couldn’t buy at the store. Also, you get to just sit your pajamas and shop around while eating the leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner.

Graphic by Alexis Simon // The Louisville Cardinal

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Porter Scholars accept donations for homeless at Thanksgiving dinner Monday, Nov 25 2019 

By Jordan Geisler —

The University of Louisville’s Porter Scholars group gathered Nov. 21 to throw their seventh annual Thanksgiving dinner. The group collected winter accessories for the homeless community in Louisville as part of the event.

The Engage Lead Serve Board (ELSB) partnered with the Porter Scholars to serve dinner for a multitude of students both within and outside of the Porter Scholars organization. Leondra Gully, the advisor for the Porter Scholars, has been a part of their annual Thanksgiving dinner since its fruition in 2013, and she’s seen it serve a wide array of people in the community while also having an impact on students.

Gully said, “We can still come together, have fun, and have a social piece, but also incorporate some sort of service in giving back to the community. You don’t have to be rich, you don’t have to be of a certain status, and you don’t have to look a certain way; anybody can benefit from giving back.”

Gully said a big part of starting the Thanksgiving dinner was not only so that people could get together before leaving campus for the holidays, but also so people who weren’t able to travel home for Thanksgiving would have a place to go for a good dinner.

“Some people don’t get to go home for Thanksgiving,” said Jalena Slaton, the vice president of the Porter Scholars. “So this is as close to family as they get, whether it be with the Porter community or just the campus community as a whole.”

Taris Smith, the president of the Porter Scholars and board member of ELSB, worked to get the sock company Bombas to donate 2,000 pairs of socks to help give out to the homeless community. They also received donations from U of L’s School of Dentistry such as toothbrushes and toothpastes to put in care boxes. “Our goal is at least 100 care packages. Every year we try to accommodate more people and do a bigger service aspect,” Smith said.

As far as the dinner itself goes, local restaurants like Boss Hog’s BBQ and Lucretia’s Kitchen served food that included turkey, chicken, dressing, green beans and stuffing.

Donations for the winter accessories drive will continue through December. Goods such as scarves and mittens can be dropped off in bins dispersed around campus.

Photo by Jordan Geisler // The Louisville Cardinal 

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New Music Festival allows audience to experience music in new ways Friday, Nov 22 2019 

By Zoe Watkins —

Last week, the University of Louisville’s School of Music held their fall New Music Festival with a plethora of concerts highlighting unique forms of music.

The festival began in 1998 to show how music can be made in creative and innovative ways. Students would take classic pieces and interpret them in a way that was unique and modern for the current time.

This year’s New Music Festival included all different types of concerts with performances from the University Percussion Ensemble, the Faculty Chamber concert, the New Music Ensemble, the Longleash trio and the Elysian Trombone Quarter.

Krysztof Wołek, director for the Electronic Music Concert, said the pieces chosen were classics of the electronic medium. “They were the first pieces that really did take the medium to larger forms,” he said. “They used technology of the times to the full extent.”

The final event of the week was the Electronic Music Concert.

Most of the pieces played during the performance were from when electronic music was just being introduced to the music world. During the performance, the pieces “Bicycle Built for Two” by Harry Dacre, “Gesang der Jünglinge im Feuerofen” by Karlheinz Stockhausen, “Symphonie pour un homme seul” by Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry, “Bye Bye Butterfly” by Pauline Oliveros and “Silver Apples of the Moon” by Morton Subotnick were played.

Derek Carter, third year graduate student and event organizer, said they chose these pieces was because they act as a staple to the electronic music world.

“Pretty much everyone on this program made a large contribution to tape music. They’re kind of like the grandfathers and grandmothers of this genre so we’re paying homage to them,” Carter mentioned.

In an interesting twist all five pieces are a live spatialization of themselves.

“So essentially, we are going to be playing these pieces through all of these speakers in the hall and we’re going to be sending the audio to different speakers, so you can hear the sound move around,” Carter explained.

First year graduate student Gunner Basinger included a lot of the spatialization element in his interpretation of “Bye Bye Butterfly”.

“There was a moment where there was a recording where a full orchestra comes in and I tried to reserve that moment for fading all of the faders in and so that moment would hit louder for example,” Basinger said.

Though there was a lot of memorizing and trying to find focal points, he found it to be a great lesson in acoustics and how sound diffracts in a space. “I love the event, it was fantastic. I think it is great that U of L is doing an electronic music concerts,” Basinger exclaimed.

If you didn’t have time to make it to this semester’s New Music Festival, there will be another one held in the spring for people to see how many other ways music can be adapted.

Graphic by Shayla Kerr // The Louisville Cardinal

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CAMT’s production of “Next to Normal” captivates U of L Friday, Nov 22 2019 

By Blake Wedding —

If you happened to miss the Cardinals for the Appreciation of Musical Theatre’s (CAMT) production of “Next to Normal,” there’s only one thing I can say: I’m sorry for your loss.

CAMT brought to life a transfixing, mesmerizing experience that leaves the viewer feeling equally affected and connected by its brilliant writing, its nuanced, multi-faceted acting and its masterful direction.

“Next to Normal” is a story that has already achieved critical acclaim, but it’s the way in which CAMT reimagined this modern classic that makes it such a remarkable triumph.

This is a story about an abundance of heavy, complex themes like family dysfunction, mental illness, trauma and drug abuse.

These are themes explored with understanding and a steadfast conviction. Yet one of the key concepts many people seem to have missed is how meticulously “Next to Normal” dissects and analyzes the human condition, the essence of what makes so much of our lives so very absurd.

CAMT succeeded in bringing all of these themes to the light, and given the choice, it would be difficult for me to distinguish the CAMT’s version of “Next to Normal” from a Broadway production of the musical.

The performances of the central cast cannot be understated. The actors commanded the stage for three or more hours while acutely understanding their characters and what their stories have to say.

Jess Harris Stiller played the troubled and deeply depressed Diana. She elevated an already sympathetic character. Trent Everett Byers played her husband Dan. His performance provided a subtle and understated evaluation of the complex emotions of a conflicted man.

Clara Wilson and Geoffrey Barnes also delivered dense and complex performances as the couple’s children and helped further demonstrate the ramifications of deep family dysfunction and generational neuroses. Benjamin Horman provided necessary comic relief with the character of “Dr. Fine,” while Nicholas Long brought an endearing and charming touch to the age-old story of teenage romance.

It goes without saying that the music in CAMT’s “Next to Normal” was also excellent. Each of the actors in this production helped elevate the word “musical.” Sarah Thomas’ direction of this production cannot be understated. Her use of lighting strengthened and enriched the writing and performances. She helped orchestrate what can only be described as one of the greatest student productions to ever grace the University of Louisville.

Witnessing “Next to Normal” firsthand is one of those experiences that only comes around every so often, but once it does, it stays with you. Its an affecting, impactful story that has the potential to resonate with every person who sees it. If you get the chance to see it, you simply need to hear what this story has to say.

Graphic by Shayla Kerr // The Louisville Cardinal 

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Students and staff find time to holiday shop at Holiday Bazaar Thursday, Nov 21 2019 

By Zoe Watkins —

Even though it’s November, it is never too early to start Christmas shopping. University of Louisville students and faculty had a chance Nov. 13 to purchase gifts for themselves or others at the annual Farmers’ Market Holiday Bazaar hosted by U of L Dining and the Sustainability Council.

The bazaar featured unique booths, selling goods which ranged from local artisan crafts to farm fresh produce. Vendors sold hand-made soaps, jewelry, holiday decorations, honey, baked goods and ice cream.

One vendor present was Noonday Collections and Simple Gifts. Noonday sells handmade jewelry created by female artisans living in third-world countries. The sales, said independent ambassador Chesson Hazelwood, lead to a good cause.

“Every time I sell a piece of jewelry, it empowers a woman in another country to be able to provide for their family and I love to get the name of Noonday out there,” Hazelwood said.

Simple Gifts employee and U of L alumni Amber Schlegel and her partner sold hand-made arm knit scarfs, handcrafted earrings and heating therapy bags which have aroma therapy inside at their booth.

She enjoyed being able to come back to campus for the Holiday Bazaar. “I just really appreciate the opportunity to get to be here today and to get to return to campus where I had a lot of great memories. It’s always fun to come down here and see all the kids who are currently in college experiencing things that helped change and form their lives,” Schlegel said.

Students enjoyed the break from classes and busy schedules to fit in some holiday shopping.

Mariah Tinnell bought dark chocolate covered cherries and a leather journal while at the event. “I’m buying a bunko gift for some girlfriends and I’m getting something for one of my boys,” Tinnell said.

“I think it is a great idea to bring something like this onto campus because it’s something I would love to visit but don’t usually have the time to do,” said Anna Vanderboon, a second year masters student.

Graphic by Shayla Kerr // The Louisville Cardinal

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Preview: “Next to Normal” reminds us we are not alone Sunday, Nov 17 2019 

By Blake Wedding —

Students at the University of Louisville always have a wealth of options when it comes to finding on-campus art and entertainment. This fall, the Cardinals for the Appreciation of Musical Theatre (CAMT) is offering something different for students that is both uniquely thought-provoking and thematically complex.

The CAMT’s fall production, “Next to Normal,” is a re-imagined story that nearly any and every person will be able to relate to on some level. “Next to Normal” is a powerful depiction of mental illness and how it affects those afflicted and the people around them.

This groundbreaking production asks important questions about how we face these issues, how we can learn to live with them and how we can eventually move past them to find our own path in the universe.

“Next to Normal” is a Pulitzer-Prize winning musical that explores the age-old story of family dysfunction through a new and forward-thinking lens. The plot centers around the character of Diana Goodman, the mother of this family, whom actress Jess Harris Stiller insightfully brings to life.

By extension, the CAMT’s take on “Next to Normal” features an all-star cast and production team, comprised of talent from both the University of Louisville and across Kentucky.

Director Sarah Thomas believes “Next to Normal” is an important story that will emotionally resonate with viewers. She believes it is a story that everyone can relate to in some way.

“As I’ve argued many times, people don’t go to the theatre for escape; they go for connection. To make sense of the world around them and their own lives, to be reminded that we all go through essentially the same trials, that we are not alone,” Thomas said.

Students who are interested in seeing the CAMT’s thoughtful rendition of the contemporary musical can email UofLCAMT@gmail.com to reserve seats.

Prices are $5 for students and faculty. Your last chances to see the show are Nov. 15 and 17 at 7:00 p.m. at the George J. Howe Red Barn.

Photo Courtesy / U of L CAMT

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California professor illuminates the Hubble telescope’s history Tuesday, Nov 5 2019 

By Jordan Geisler — 

The University of Louisville’s Astronomy department welcomed astronomer Robert Williams to the Rauch Planetarium Oct. 31 as part of the Bullitt Lecture Series.

The annual fall lecture series brings in celebrated scientists to enlighten the U of L community on happenings within our universe. Students from all fields of study are welcome to every installment of the lecture series at no charge.

Williams is a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz and is a former director of the space telescope institute. He spoke at the planetarium about the beginning of the Hubble space telescope and how it has evolved over time.

The telescope, which he said cost approximately two billion dollars (courtesy of taxpayers), is the most expensive science project the United States has had. The telescope has needed five servicing missions for maintenance since its launch in 1990.

Williams said the telescope needed repair shortly after being launched, but the cost to move it would be too much, meaning astronauts would have to perform maintenance in space.

“Of all the sciences,” Williams said, “astronomy is the only one where you can look into the past. It’s always important to know what preceded the state that you’re studying.”

He said that whenever we look at the sky, we’re seeing how it was in the past.

He also talked about the expanding universe. “The universe is in a state of uniform expansion,” Williams said. This expansion is due to an unknown source of dark energy in the universe which is counteracting gravity.

“The galaxies themselves don’t move, but the space between the galaxies is expanding in a uniform manner,” he said.

Williams then discussed Einstein’s theory of relativity. “He demonstrated that light could be bended by mass,” he said. He showed photos taken with the Hubble telescope to demonstrate the concept, and the concept could be seen as arcs of light.

“I had no idea about the problems with the Hubble space telescope mission in its beginning and how they had to go into space to fix it,” astronomy major Courtney Bolt said.

After hearing Williams lecture, Bolt became intrigued about the future of the Hubble telescope. “I’m sure they’re going to build a stronger telescope and we’re going to be able to keep seeing more.”

Regardless of if we create a new telescope or not, things will surely continue to change within the universe and the Bullitt Lecture Series will help keep us all up to date on all things out of this world.

Graphic by Alexis Simon // The Louisville Cardinal

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Activist group working to right the wrongs of Honduran corruption Sunday, Nov 3 2019 

By Zoe Watkins — 

Heidy Alachán, from the Broad Movement for Dignity and Justice (MADJ), spoke to students at the Shumaker Research Building about the Honduras Resistance Oct. 31. She informed students about the recent crisis from 2008 to present day concerning the corruption of the political party in power.

The University of Louisville Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research (ABI), Brandeis Human Rights Advocacy Program, Latin American and Latino Studies and the Cultural Center co-sponsored the event.

“Heidy Alachán has a lot of knowledge of the human rights situation in Honduras which is directly affecting a lot of folks who are coming to Louisville right now directly from Honduras,” said Lizz Perkins, a graduate assistant of ABI.

The regional director of Witness for Peace Southeast Emily Rhyne translated Alachán for the audience since she spoke in her native language. The Witness for Peace Southeast also partnered with MADJ for this event.

A protest sparks a movement.

Alachán began the presentation by explaining how MADJ began in 2008 as a protest. “Four public prosecutors from the public prosecutor office were protesting the corruption in their own agency, so they went on a hunger strike in front of the congressional congress,” Alachán said.

There were cases being ignored about corruption involving directors of the public prosecutor’s office. The hunger strike forced both the attorney general and associate attorney general of the office to resign.

Soon the organization began fighting more than just corruption and impunity. It began defending natural resources, human rights and indigenous reserves in Honduras.

Alachán then began telling the turbulent history of Honduras, working from the present backwards.

A long history of corruption.

She first displayed a news headline explaining that the brother of the Honduras president was convicted in a U.S. federal court for four crimes including drug trafficking.

“The brother of the president, who was also a representative in congress until his arrest, was actually trafficking drugs while serving in congress from 2013 forward,” Alachán said.

Due to the trial, the then president and government were found to be part of the drug trade too.

Alachán explained this trial confirmed that Honduras was a narco state, a state whose economy is dependent on illegal drug trades. The government’s mission was to clear out other cartels so the government-sponsored cartel could have complete control in the country.

“From 2013 and forward, there was a huge emphasis from the new government in power to combat narco trafficking and many narco traffickers were extradited to the United States. But it backfired on them because the very same people who were extradited from Honduras to the U.S. were the key witnesses in this trial that revealed links of the current government in power with narco trafficking,” Alachán said.

Human rights and the increase in militarization were an after-effect of a coup in 2009 Alachán said.

Alachán then went into the long history of government corruption and how the national party gained complete control. They purged the police task force of those who opposed drug trafficking, removed four supreme court justices (where the remaining one became the attorney general later on), intervened in other elections in the government and secured the election of the current president of Honduras through the supreme justices.

“They were preparing the path so that they can legalize the crimes that they were later going to commit,” she stated.

The weakening of institutions has left more than just corruption in the government. Alachán told the audience that many crimes were left un-investigated and social security funds were embezzled to support the national party’s campaign.

However, the most devastating effect was on the country’s health care system.

“They also stole machinery for cancer treatment and other types of treatments. They stole a lot of materials used in treatments, but they also sold false contracts with pharmaceuticals companies where they were selling false medicines. People were not taking their pills to treat their illnesses, they were taking pills made of wheat flour. Because of that, at least 3,000 people died,” Alachán said.

She said laws have been passed for the extraction of natural resources by third party companies too.

“The result of that is that 65 percent of the territory of Honduras is concession with mining concession, hydro-electric concession, photo-voltaic concession and many others,” Alachán explained.

Working against the grain.

With the help of MADJ, the Honduran people have tried combatting against this corruption in an attempt to correct the wrongs made by the government.

“I want people to understand that migration is much more complicated than just talking about gang violence. The situation in Honduras has to do with a deep crisis that has a lot of different elements. It is important to review the role of the United States in the crisis and realizing that the U.S policy provokes the crisis in Honduras,” Alachán said.

Native Honduran and U of L freshman Alexander Ruizreyes still has family there.

“I just found it interesting and insightful since I didn’t really know much about the situation as someone who had to live there during the corruption,” he said.

Senior Jillian Wynn said,“I think often we don’t really adequately cover issues like this because we don’t get to see things from the perspective of somebody who comes from that country, so I thought it was really nice to be told the story by somebody who was actually from Honduras.”

If students would like to get involved in MADJ, Alachán said there are ways for people to get involved in solidarity movements for specific cases and campaigns where students can participate in activities and events on campus. Students can also become distant volunteers where they can help with technical work outside of the country.

Graphic by Shayla Kerr // The Louisville Cardinal

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Vibe Check: A solo journey through the Devil’s attic leaves me shaken Thursday, Oct 31 2019 

By Joseph Garcia —

This is the chilling finale to my trilogy of haunt reviews for Halloween 2019. Keep in mind, this review is 100 percent based on my experience, so yours may differ.

It’s pitch black outside and there’s a cool, fall breeze tossing leaves along the asphalt road. The scene reminds me of the start of a horror film.

I’m on my way to experience the Devil’s Attic, a haunt just down the street from where I live in Old Louisville. Unlike my previous two haunt experiences this month, I’m walking down this cold street at night entirely alone. When I enter this haunt, I will be going alone–no boyfriend to hold on to and calm myself with, no group of friends to lead me and share the scares with–just me stumbling around in the dark scared to death.

For U of L students, this haunt is appealing. In terms of prices, the Devil’s Attic has a GA pass for $22 and a fast pass for $28, which is cheaper than tickets at both Field of Screams and Fear Fair. This haunt is also much closer than the others–it’s a short walk from campus on Hill Street in Old Louisville. However, U of L’s Student Activities Board buys out the haunt for a night every year and allows students to attend the haunt for free. I wasn’t able to go to SAB’s night, but I did go my freshman year, so the Devil’s Attic was something that I’ve been through previously. But this knowledge didn’t ease my anxiety at all.

As I stood in line, I felt strangely confident. This entire month I would offer to lead the group but would immediately shy to the back in utter fear. Going into this alone felt like a redemption story. This was a chance to prove to myself that I could do it, that I wasn’t scared.

That heroic confidence lasted a whole five minutes.

Once I was shut in the building I was immediately met with a blood curdling scream from above me. I don’t know where the scream came from, but it caught me completely off guard. After that fright, you’re met face-to-face with the Devil himself. He tells you about this hellish playground he’s laid out just for you and your friends to feed his monsters and opens the door for you.

There’s something about doing a haunt alone that heightens the experience. Familiar rooms I was accustomed to from other haunts became unrecognizable which made them 10 times scarier.

For instance, a room you’ll likely encounter in other haunts is room full of fog with a green light shinning at about waist-level and vines hanging from above you. This was something my friends I went through at Fear Fair so I immediately knew an actor was going to rise up from the fog. Despite this knowledge, I was disorientated and lost. The fog was so thick I struggled to find an exit and in my desperate search for it, the actor saw the perfect opportunity to jump out and spook me.

And spook me he did.

The rest of the scenes were similar to Field of Screams. They were loosely related, but weren’t bound by any sort theme despite being the Devil’s hellish creation. This wasn’t something that I noticed or frankly cared about at the time, but I think the mashup of scenes worked better here than at FoS because it was in tight quarters and they were back-to-back.

Owner Jason Besemann told me after the haunt that the scenes stay up all year and most are the same.

“We change usually one or two scenes a year, but it’s up all year long. Building-wise, we start in March, this year we started in December to build the new Medusa scene. Training starts in the first week of September,” Besemann said.

Even though I knew the scenes, I was still very impressed. The acting was great and the timing of scares was just right to give me a chance to breathe and then make me lose said breath. Like Fear Fair too, the costuming and makeup of actors were believable.

Makeup manager Matt Goodlett told me that despite the haunt opening at 8 p.m., costuming starts hours earlier.

“It’s about two hours we spend doing makeup, we knock out an actor about every 15 minutes,” Goodlett said. “We use custom cotton latex builds, all the makeup itself is mainly air brushed.”

The most terrifying look that night was the actor who was dressed as Pinhead from the “Hellraiser” series. Now, normally, I’m not afraid of movie monsters in haunted houses because I know they aren’t real. Pinhead never scared me before because I never watched the movies. Well, this month I watched the movies and by complete coincidence I forgot this scene was part of the haunt.

I was cornered by Pinhead and one of his demons and I was so scared that I genuinely could not move my feet. My only reaction to being that scared was to back up and away.

Overall, for its price and location to U of L, the Devil’s attic is worth the price. It’s admittedly a bit short, but for a cheaper admission than the other two haunts, I couldn’t complain.

I only had two issues, one being the lack of variation. I feel like after two years I shouldn’t be able to recognize the scenes in the haunt. It defeats the point of returning every year. It would have also been interesting to go up into an attic like space to go with the name, but that was just a personal preference.

Another thing about going to haunted houses alone that I never really thought about it is–the actors don’t expect it! Actors in more scripted scenes constantly kept asking if I was alone or where my group was because they expect groups larger than one. It added to the scare factor, yes, but it felt a little awkward because this haunt wasn’t designed for that. I even caught a couple actors off guard too.

For those readers that use Androids, sorry, but Bloody Mary uses an iPhone.

Photo Courtesy / The Devil’s Attic

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