Wednesday, October 15, 2014

[Haunt Review] Field of Screams - A Mixed Bag of Insanity


Well, this one has been on the list for quite some time and leading off our trip to the Philadelphia area, we couldn't pass up stopping in to check out what all the hype was about. We really didn't know what to expect from this one, but holy crap, we were surprised and amused right off the bat.

Field of Screams is truly a unique and strange place to wander into. There's a lot for everyone here and while some of it was a little off for us, the rest really was great and I can't say enough about the actors and unique set ups inside of two of the four attractions that are offered up here.
  • Date Visited: 10/10/14
  • Review Team: +Carrie H.C.+Filip Muncan and +Kitsune Hazard 
  • Rating:Very Good
  • Recommendation: Definitely one not to miss and the actors inside Den of Darkness and Frightmare Asylum were completely on their A-game. Really have to check them out!
  • Likes: Den of Darkness and Frightmare Asylum were fantastic, we loved every minute of our strange and bizarre journey through them.
  • Dislikes: Well, the hayride and Nocturnal Wasteland weren't really that great. They need step things up and go off fully scripted events for the hayride in a big way.
  • Pro-Tip: I'd say, if you want to save a little money and just go for the biggest bang for the buck, check out Den of Darkness and Frightmare Asylum for sure. The Hayride and Nocturnal Wasteland were a bit "meh" for us. 
  • *Warning: The actors inside of Den of Darkness and Frightmare Asylum will touch you, nothing extreme but keep it in mind.
Disclaimer: We were invited out to visit and given complimentary admission to Field of Screams to do our review. As always this in no way has influenced our views on the attraction or what we saw and never will.

Now, let's get on with it!


After meeting up with +Filip Muncan in the massive parking lots, we managed to make our way through the entrance and under the Field of Screams emblazoned archway. Thankfully we were a bit early and the walk wasn't too bad, though if ya get there late, could be a little bit of a hike.

Once past the ticket booth and inside, we were faced with an insane wonderland of terror. Evil clowns and other creatures lurked about and various concessions, stages and other fun things lined the central area.

Seriously, it was more a festival atmosphere than most haunts we've been to, but that's not such a bad thing as it does allow for folks to spend a little more time and relax some. You could make a whole night of things here or at least a good portion if you weren't in a hurry like we typically are during this time of year.

Seeing as how the lines were still low since it was early, we figured we'd just dive right in. Our first stop? Den of Darkness.

We had no idea, none what so ever, of the insanity that was lurking inside of this place. From the outside it looked like a typical, but well themed, building. Inside? That was another matter entirely. The actors are everywhere and coming out of the walls, the ceilings and flying about randomly in rooms. Some really unique scares happening in here that took us all by surprise.

It's three stories of non-stop carnage and nothing was left untouched, at one point they were even grabbing at our feet! There's sections of stairs, low clearances and even crawling as we made our way through. Definitely keep that in mind if  you go, it is a bit physically demanding.

From the first room and it's seance type of introduction and hidden scares coming from everywhere until the last, it was like a fun house on acid, and this was one bad trip. None of us could complain about the level of weird that was going on inside, the level of detail was amazing nearly everywhere and we didn't even have to deal with the "scream in your ear" tactic much either. While a couple of actors did get a little too touchy or rough, it wasn't anything to really set us off of the attraction as a whole. Save a couple instances, they were on point and totally in character throughout the attraction.

Having survived the topsy turvey chaos of Den of Darkness, we figured we might as well keep going and found ourselves face to face with Frightmare Asylum.

Again, short lines, so we didn't have to wait much and they were pulsing the groups through, which is always good to see.

Now, I know what you're thinking "Yet another mental hospital" theme, and you'd be right. There's tons of that out there, but it works and Frightmare definitely does it right.

So much so that we couldn't believe that after going through three floors of mayhem just moments earlier, we were about to enter four stories of terror. Seriously, who does this stuff?! Once again we found ourselves in a labyrinth of insanity, literally. The patients definitely have run of this place and there's no escape from them at all. Kodus to them and the set designers, you really feel like you're not in Kansas anymore with this one.

Again, the actors were phenomenal. I really can't say enough about them. Every single one of them was in character, having a blast with their roles and they were employing every trick in the book. Even with the touching, (again a little heavy with a couple) but they were doing it right and nothing that crossed the line at all.

The only thing that was a bit weird and left us scratching our heads, what was up with the clowns? Why were they there?! Maybe they were there just to screw with us...who knows. Overall, this one was simply fantastic and we loved every moment of it.

Next up on our list was the Haunted Hayride.

Things looked promising and they have no shortage of wagons to keep the line moving either. That said, after we boarded and were on our way, things fell a little flat. This was the first time we'd been disappointed during our visit and it was a shame.

The sets and effects employed are amazing and really great, but the actors seemed to be just phoning it in. Sure there was a threat of rain and all and it was a bit cold out, but that's really no excuse here.

Pretty much our entire wagon wasn't feeling it and with every scene being a full stop for the action to take place, it felt way too scripted. With the stop, it also gave a chance for everyone to see where the scare was coming from too. Not so great there with that (even if I understand the reasons for such a thing) and too few actors at most of the scenes as well to really give an impact. That said, the execution scene was great and the interactivity was pretty spot on for something like that. The others? Not so much in the end. Some may really enjoy it, but it's definitely something that Field of Screams needs to work on some more with the actors and their timing some, they've got everything else going for it though.

We were now faced with our last stop of the night, Nocturnal Wasteland.

This haunted trail experience takes you into a very strange world that's definitely seen better days. All manner of crazy is in here from mutants to insane rednecks and all kinds of other weirdness. The thing is, we would've loved to have seen more actors about. It's not horrible and there are some good effects, but way too many dead areas throughout it. That could've been due to call offs or what have you, but definitely left us feeling a little bland in the end.

Throughout you'll be on uneven ground and ducking through sewer pipes, climbing through buses and tons of other things (the bus was pretty good, kudos to the girls in there!). Overall it's a really cool idea, and there are some great actors and scares, but needs a little more of something to pull it all together. Not bad, but still nowhere near what Frightmare and Den of Darkness have to offer.

Overall, Field of Screams is definitely worthy of a visit if you're in the area and there's some really great things going on in the grand scheme of things. However, the only attractions that really set it above and beyond were Frightmare Asylum and Den of Darkness.

It would be great to see the other two get to that level and they may in the future, but for now those two are the ones that I would definitely say are "don't miss". The others, if you don't feel like the gamble, you could pass on and still have a great night of scaring!

For more information, tickets, directions and hours, check out the official Field of Screams website for all that and more!

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