FACTORY OF TERROR
Factory of Terror is a good standard haunted attraction. It makes a lot of top haunt lists, but I wouldn’t say it’s really worth a special trip. It’s got some great visual moments and really elaborate puppets, set and tech at points and then there are large sections lacking creativity.
I did enjoy the mirror maze and some of the moving floor and wall effects. I felt the use of vertigo tunnels and airbags was excessive and ineffective. There were A LOT of very loud sounds throughout that eventually became less of a jump scare and more of a headache.
Factory of Terror claims to be one of the longest haunted houses so we expected much more, but it was simply multiple small haunts. One of the most frustrating things about the event was the theming inside each walkthrough. It was very difficult to figure out what was going on because they were divided up as if to have distinct themes but once inside each maze seemed to change within itself as if they didn’t really know what story they were telling. Stronger theming within each maze could help the actors make stronger character choices.
There were a handful of very talented actors, but overall most had no idea what they were doing. It really felt that they lacked proper training. One entire walkthrough was basically growling. The maze with the large gargoyles in front had some of the best actors and one incredibly unprofessional actor (the first scare when you walk in) was literally playing on her cell phone and looked up annoyed when we stared at her waiting for her to do something and then waved at us as if to say, “move along, stop bothering me.”
Overall Factory Of Terror seemed to be run by nice people that have a passion for haunting, but need some tweaking and the actors need training. If you’re in the area definitely check it out, but I wouldn’t drive far out of your way to see it.
LEWISBURG HAUNTED CAVE
Imagine walking along a bridge over water inside a cave in darkness and feeling something grab your ankle. I don’t have to imagine it, it happened tonight at Lewisburg Haunted Cave. That was the beginning of a very exciting adventure through this one of a kind, truly scary haunted attraction in Lewisburg Ohio.
I have experienced many amazing haunts around the nation from Hollywood style makeup and sets to immersive storytelling to extreme individual experiences, but it’s rare I am actually scared in a haunted attraction. Lewisburg Haunted Cave is genuinely scary and thrilling in a way I’ve rarely experienced. It’s a perfect balance of “fun fear” meets “real fear”. There were moments I legitimately screamed. The unusual underground setting with it’s uneven wet ground, bridges and, claustrophobic nature play a big role. The unexpected moments with perfectly placed pyrotechnics are stunning. The full sized vehicles were impressive. I think the standout scene with Satan giving you actual choices is one of the very special ways this haunted attraction shines above the rest. I mean how unnerving is it to know you have to choose correctly or you could get lost wandering around inside for who knows how long? Honestly though the truck was the moment that made me hit the ground with tears in my eyes. I don’t want to spoil the moment here, but if you’ve been there, then you know the moment I’m talking about. It was such a well done scare that it took a moment for my reality to catch back up to me and remind me that it was a haunted house and I was safe. (They got me good.)
This was about an hour experience because we didn’t get lost. It can take longer. It is dark and the ground is uneven. Please wear sturdy shoes that you won’t care about getting dirty. I wouldn’t recommend this for young children or anyone with health issues that could be aggravated by stress.
It is an impressive combination of genuinely creepy atmosphere, effective actors, awe inspiring animatronics, top notch sound and lighting design, physical and mental stimulation that attacks all of your senses and even pyrotechnics inside one of the most unique venues I’ve encountered. Basically what I’m saying is…it’s amazing!!! Don’t be mislead by the inexpensive ticket price, it’s worth much more for this experience. *They also have a historical tour type hayride that is more family friendly as well as entertinament and concessions. I highly recommend Lewisburg Haunted Cave.
*Due to time constraints we were unable to ride through the family friendly attraction.
INTO THE BLACK
Have you ever wondered how you would react if you were the character walking through the spooky house alone in a horror flick? Now you have the chance feel what that is like. Into the Black at the Los Angeles Fairgrounds in Pomona California is a new Halloween event for 2017. It is a three part adventure in that there is a short movie, VR experience and walk through haunted house that all work together to tell the story. You can watch the movie on YouTube before attending the event. The VR experience is a fun short adventure into the past to meet the characters of the home and find out a little more of the history of the house and it’s former residents. The haunted house is an individual experience inside the house which we have now gotten quite familiar with. Overall, it’s a creative, fun and unique event.
The haunted house is beautifully designed and truly feels like it’s own character. One of my favorite things about the design is the use of space. I enjoyed the large room scenes in combination with the claustrophobic hallways. I also love that there are choices to make within the path. The make-up is amazing, of course. Afterall, Larry Bones (Boneyard Effects) is an incredible make-up creator. The hardworking actors are perfectly placed to build tension and then pounce. The sound design is also wonderfully done. I loved the moment when I was following the sound, but could barely see anything. Everything works together so well to create a fresh style of psychologically thrilling experience.
You can more of my thoughts in the YouTube video below along with my husband and short interview with Larry Bones.
This escape room game is not for the weak. Escapade Games Zoe is both a haunted house and an escape room game. The story is interesting. The set and props are well done. The puzzles are good and the flow works. There is also a good amount of high-tech puzzles in this game. Basically it encompasses the escape room that so many future escape room players picture in their heads when they ask,”Is it scary?” and the answer is yes.
Be prepared for an immersive experience that includes strong creep factor as well as jump scares. There are spirits in this game (in the form of live actors) that will attempt to distract you in the most haunting ways. This is a perfect event for those looking for a more immersive haunted experience any time of year, not just October when the general public is looking for a fright.
Picture if you will an episode of Hoarders taking place in the warehouse of a Halloween prop and animatronic collector and that’s a good start for imagining Netherworld. It was beyond anything I could’ve expected. This sensory overload walk through haunt had me so stunned by the halfway point that I’m sure my eyes glazed over. I’ve never seen so much stuff in a haunt. It was incredible. I can see why it makes so many “Best Haunt” lists. It’s just incredible. The amount of stuff was so overwhelming that it would be impossible to really see everything in just one pass through. I would expect that even after the 10th or 12th time through, a guest could still find things they’d missed. There are also actors flying around and puppeteers and sound/lighting effects throughout the journey. There’s a room at the end that is full of soap suds called a Foam Room that you can choose to walk through. I did not go through it because as I walked up to the entrance a boy ran out of the entrance into me knocking the wind out of me. I decided that as long as the group of boys was horsing around in it I would pass on the experience. I didn’t actually find the haunt scary thematically and honestly the jump scares were a little far and few in between, but it’s still an impressive haunt worthy of a special trip.
SIX FLAGS MAGIC MOUNTAIN FRIGHT FEST
I absolutely love Six Flags Fright Fest in southern California. This is one of my favorite haunts to attend each year. I will admit that not many changes have been made to the mazes or scarezones, but if you haven’t attended in a while I highly recommend it. There are a few new additions this year such as the Dead End maze, Club 6 Feet Under, Damned ‘N Disguise scarezone and most notably the Hidden Haunts VIP Tour.
I always enjoy the mazes at Magic Mountain’s Fright Fest. I especially enjoyed the Willoughby Mansion after hearing the tale of the haunt on the Hidden Haunts VIP tour. Learning the story behind the maze added a new level of appreciation for it. I’m also always impressed by the creativity of Vault 666, aesthetic appeal of Red’s Revenge, spaciousness of Aftermath and fun of Toyz. This year I was especially impressed with the creative and hard working actors in the Chupacabra maze, as well as the Nightmare and Demon’s door scarezones. One of the things I find most impressive about the ghouls at this event is their dedication and spirit. I’ve even found myself following a few of them on social media. Voodoo Nights really shined this year, too. I found myself hanging out and enjoying the show a few times.
As much as I love Fright Fest, there were a couple of disappointments this year. My favorite circus show is not performing this season and there was nothing replacing it. The new Dead End maze fell a little flat for me. I’m not a huge fan of the flashlight technology. (It didn’t seem to work properly for me here or at Knott’s this year. Maybe it’s that magnetic personality my mom loves about me so much interfering with the technology.) I love the concept of Damned ‘N Disguise and thought it was really awesome make-up, however the area felt a little more like a photo op than a scarezone.
My favorite experience this year was hands down the Hidden Haunts VIP Tour. This special tour is an add on for the VIP Tour. It is a special walking tour behind the scenes into areas guests are not normally allowed to go. We got to see the Fright Fest make-up Scream Team hard at work, as well as talk to the incredibly talented Scott Ramp. We heard stories of real spirits that haunt the park all season long, not just during Halloween. I recommend it for anyone with a fascination for the paranormal.
Don’t forget that during Fright Fest you can also get your thrills on coasters or take a break to sit and enjoy the hypnotist show. There are also many food options, including a few good options for gluten free folks like myself. Please consume alcohol responsibly at the event. Above all have fun, but remember to respect the hardworking people behind the event and the monsters working tirelessly to make your experience the best they can.
The following videos were recorded with permission during the Press Event. Six Flags does not allow video recording inside the mazes.
SPOILER ALERT…watching the videos below could affect your experience inside the event.
DAMNED ‘N DISGUISE
RED’S REVENGE MAZE
VAULT 666 MAZE
TOYZ OF TERROR MAZE
WILLOUGHBY’S RESURRECTED MAZE
THE ELEVATOR SHAFT
The Basement has always been ahead of the competition when it comes to immersion and storytelling in their incredibly fun horror escape games, but they’ve really outdone themselves with their latest game: The Elevator Shaft.
The Elevator Shaft is the new Chapter 2 in the 3 part story of The Basement escape games. It is in the space that the Boiler Room once occupied, but don’t be fooled by that because even though it replaced Boiler Room it is a completely different game. The technology is new and advanced compared to anything I have yet to see in an escape room. It features a hydraulic descending elevator hanging overhead, exciting audio effects, fog, water, and lighting effects. The set design is gorgeous, like something out of a movie. The tension that is created in the room is incredible. I’m fascinated by how the room breathes life into the story without using live actors inside the room.
Up to 6 guests are trapped inside this elevator shaft with only 45 minutes to escape. I personally think 3 players is the perfect number for this game, but everyone knows I always prefer to play alone or with only my hubby since we don’t have an established team with which we regularly play. However, I believe you need at least two people to complete the game due to certain puzzles. In my opinion, communication is much more essential in this particular game than the typical escape room. This is the perfect game for a group of friends, especially if they love the horror genre. I imagine it could be a nightmare for someone that is claustrophobic, though. Afterall it’s a fairly small space since it is the size of an elevator shaft with an elevator falling on you.
Here is the story of The Elevator Shaft taken directly from the press release:
About 3 months ago, cannibalistic serial killer, Edward Tandy hired an engineer named John to help him make some “engineering” changes to an antique service elevator on his property. After working on the elevator shaft for a day or two, it became clear to John that Edward’s use for this machine seemed sinister in nature. He confronted Edward and refused to help any longer. Edward told him that not only would he continue to work on the project, but that he would not be allowed to leave the compound until the project was complete, and if he did so, John’s wife and daughter would be killed. Now the project is done and John is long dead, his life taken inside the death trap he helped to build. You wake up and find yourself in the bottom of the shaft, with a video recorded by John himself. Unbeknownst to Edward, the engineer has hidden a series of steps within the inner workings of the elevator, that if you’re able to figure out, you can blow open the emergency access to the shaft and make a run for it. Can you decipher John’s notes, and find the secret sequence of steps in order to escape? Or will you be crushed by the 10-ton antique steel monster that hangs above?
The Elevator Shaft is one of the most immersive and unique escape rooms I’ve played and I highly recommend it.