Judging the Old Courthouse Catacombs

I’ve yet to find a single acquaintance who lives in the Evansville area that had a positive opinion of The Old Courthouse Catacombs. Now that I’ve been through the place myself, I can see why.

A mainstay of Halloween culture in Evansville, the Catacombs take over the unfinished basement of the gorgeous old courthouse for several weeks to offer a haunted house experience.

For $15 one can experience ten to fifteen minutes of people in cheap Halloween masks or half-assed makeup shouting at you through a haze of fake smoke and body odor.

The walk itself is constructed out of a series of plywood walls arranged in a way that  guides visitors into various rooms full of props and actors meant to terrorize and frighten. In theory this approach could be genuinely horrific, given the reality that one is in an old basement with uneven dirt floors one couldn’t instinctively run to safety even if they wanted to.

The scariness of the Catacombs falls apart almost instantly as guests are allowed to walk through at their own pace, which is usually just fast enough that most visitors are turning the corner to either see a scary moment ending or an actor awkwardly re-setting to catch another group.

During one such moment an actor tried to take advantage of him being caught off guard and improvised by leaning over a railing and shouting “Om nom nom” at the person walking in front of me.


In my year of reviewing movies for this publication I have not laughed harder at a single moment than I did at that person genuinely believing the phrase “Om nom nom” would instill fear in our hearts.

The best part of the whole attraction is entirely free to the public: the actors outside.

Because of poor planning I ended up sitting in my car across the street from the courthouse for two hours, and I was greatly entertained by the two actors dressed as Michael Myers (“Halloween”) and Jason Voorhees (“Friday the 13th”) scaring people waiting in line.

Neither actor broke character and truly did give life to these well-known characters, so much so they managed to look terrifying even when pausing to participate in selfies.

At one point Jason stalked behind my car to scare a group of pre-teens on my side of the street and I genuinely felt some worry bubble up, hoping he wouldn’t turn and notice I was inside the car.

Save some money and just bring a thermos of coffee to the corner of 4th and Vine, maybe bring a friend and watch two horror movie icons cause scares for hours on end. 

1 out of 5 stars (1 / 5)