Fright Factory is a haunt located in Philadelphia. They have a quote on their site from FOX 25 saying that they are the “SCARIEST HAUNTED ATTRACTION IN PHILADELPHIA.”.
The Exterior and Pre-show
Fright Factory is a haunt located in a warehouse. Here is the exterior:
When you go in the door beneath the glowing skull you are frisked and then you enter the real queue. The indoor queue seems to be not decorated at all, but dimly lit with whatever stuff might be sitting in the warehouse during the rest of the year. Garbage cans, brooms, things like that. I didn’t think this detracted much because it’s supposed to be a messy haunted house, but I did note that it seemed no attempt was made to theme the area. There were no actors harassing people in the line or any sort of signs hanging up letting you know which maze you were about to enter.
There is a TV in the queue that plays a preshow movie for you to watch. This would be a great idea except for the fact that almost no one can see it due to the L-shaped configuration of the queue and poor location of the TV. Only the first few people in line can see it. The line moves fast enough that you aren’t in front of the TV long enough for the movie to cycle through. I found the video on youtube:
There were 4 attractions – Mine Massacre, The Asylum, Panic!, and Bloodlust.
Mine Massacre consisted of a dimly lit maze with a few guys in gas masks trying to scare you. Some of the parts of the maze were very well designed. I would have liked to see more storyline here. It was just a guy jumping out of an obvious place and making some sort of sound in an attempt to startle you. The end of the maze was a bit confusing because it was not immediately clear where to go to get in line for the next maze. We got a little lost.
The Asylum is a very easy theme to get great scares from. Unfortunately, the scares here were just OK. There were a few scare actors that had good spots to jump out of, but it was a little repetitive. The house was very reliant on just a guy jumping out and screaming. There was also at least one scene with a crazy woman talking to someone in a wheelchair. Again, not scary. I was expecting a great distraction scare where the real scare comes from another direction…but we got nothing. I hope to see more distraction scares as they develop this.
There has been a trend recently to have “pitch black” mazes at your attraction. I hate all mazes at every haunt that use this concept. Eastern State Penitentiary is the only place I have ever seen that did this well by not keeping the maze completely dark and lighting the set pieces with ambient lighting so that your eyes don’t freak out. All of the other attractions seem to use total darkness. Panic! was also in total darkness. It was difficult to find out way through and not step on each other.
There were guys with lights on their heads jumping out at you. Other scare actors had no light on their head and were jumping out at you while flashing a super bright light in your eyes. This was seriously disorienting and kind of painful.
Scare actors at Universal Studios often request for you not to use flash photography on them at all because it blinds you for a decent amount of time. This attraction basically just took and used the equivalent of that on everyone who walked through. By the end I had imprints of lights burned into my retinas.
This is a vampire maze. It was not scary at all. Cute girls in Hot Topic goth club mini skirts are just not scary. Most of the scares and scare actors were not hidden well so you could see them 3 seconds before they jumped out at you. I had to pretend to be scared because I didn’t want to hurt their feelings. This one definitely needed some tweaks. We became confused at the end because we didn’t know if we had gotten lost or finished the haunt.
Fright Factory is a cute haunt, but I would love to see some elements adjusted / built upon as they move forward. Things like further development of their props and set pieces and integration of those into the scares would be really cool. More directional signs and storyline would also be really awesome.
Was it worth the $25 admission? Our group thought that this year’s version was worth about $15. We didn’t regret going once because it was fun to see what they had, but I won’t be back for awhile unless they make some enhancements.
EDIT: Their Twitter has informed me that they are adding / changing / updating the haunt. I’ll have to go back and see what’s up.
Oni Hartstein is a Los Angeles-based CMO and entrepreneur that is obsessed with progressive rock / metal, marketing, and nightlife. Please direct all business inquiries or review requests to the "Contact" tab on the top nav bar.
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