I absolutely love Field of Screams. This year marked our third time going to the event, and we reviewed it last year for the first time. This year we were invited to go to their media night party on their opening weekend (disclosure: we received free passes and dinner) on September 14.
Fine Dining In The Wasteland
I was very excited to go this year since they were adding on a new 4th area to their already great line up of 2 walkthrough house attractions and their haunted hayride.
Pumpkin Pie will get it’s sweet revenge tonight
Field of Screams does their hayride with a combination of outdoor areas and indoor set pieces. In both cases they use a nice combination of props, animatronics and scare actors to cause havoc. We typically have gone near the end of the season in past years, where they’ve had a lower total number of scare actors working–but even then they do a great job of covering things and making each actor count. In this case though it felt like we were being covered with scare actors–in fact maybe double the number of our previous trips. With that in place what was normally a great ride turned into an epic confrontation with people coming out of the woodwork from all sides. The set pieces and locations were mostly the same as in previous years though, but what’s done well stays good.
Which Ass Kicking Do You Want Next?
After the hayride it was on to their house attraction Frightmare Asylum. This is obviously meant to invoke a psychiatric based haunt with the requisite inmates in straightjackets and other medical wear along with the crazed doctors tormenting them (and you). This is partly what you’ll see, but it’s not the only stuff and there’s a wide range of other non-asylum stuff that’s thrown in. I am generally bored by standard asylum haunts but thoroughly enjoyed this one. Just like the hayride this placed was jam packed with scare actors.
I should note (like in the previous review) that this house and the other walk through attractions here are NOT wheelchair or accessibility friendly–if you can’t walk well, bend over, crawl, or climb stairs you’ll have a bad time here. But all of that movement makes the haunts here feel very real, like you are walking through real houses and real situations. I love that feeling and rarely get it at more “corporate” haunts where things are very horizontal and open on a flat plane.
Also, they don’t touch you at Field of Screams–but considering the number of actors in the houses you definitely have to squeeze past them so expect to be brushed against at the very least.
One of the funniest bits (and a small spoiler, but not much of one since it’s pretty common at haunts and you can clearly see this happening when you’re at the midway of the event) is watching people be chased down and around the entire midway area of Field of Screams by the chainsaw guy coming out of this house. They really enjoy the chase and make the most of it for everyone watching. A side note: Both of the main chase people are the sons of one of the owners, Gene, and he told us they get so worked up every year before the event that they take can barely wait to get at it.
Den of Darkness
After Frigthmare Aslyum we went into one of my 2 favorite haunts of all time, The Den of Darkness. To say that I have dreams about hanging out in this haunt is understating my love for it. Every room and location inside hits perfectly and really amps you up. They do a phenomenal job with the three dimensional space–where you can see up into another area and hear and see people getting hit with scares, then be up there and see the reverse below you. There’s no dead space anywhere and it is one unrelenting experience. It’s name might imply it’s a “blackout” or lights out haunt, but it’s not. It’s like moving through your worst nightmare of a haunted house with every type of scare coming at you. I wish I could say more about the specifics but I really don’t want anyone to miss being hit with every single possible scare because you really won’t have any idea of what’s coming because they go in such crazy directions.
Your bus to doom awaits…
After Den of Darkness we were on to what was our most anticipated part of this year’s visit, their new outdoor walkthrough attraction Nocturnal Wasteland. This is their first year doing this haunt, so we were expecting it to be a bit rough around the edges. It was in some ways, but boy was it well designed. It’s sort of a “Doomsday” (like the movie) wasteland with destroyed vehicles, houses, and other items thrown about. It’s actually a bit more extreme for navigation than the houses, with more ups and downs–but with the path ways always very clear (one thing that some other outdoor haunts get wrong, where there are trip hazards and other problematic walking elements). Since we went opening night it was obvious that the actors were still getting the hang of hiding placements and timing–but they were really off to a good start with scares coming from above, below, and all sides. We talked to Jim and Gene afterward and they explained that they were still working out some of the elements and some of our (evil) suggestions for some new stuff seemed likely to be implemented. I think even by a week or two later this area will be killing it. It’s a worthy addition to their line up and will only get better with time and experience.
One other feature of Field of Screams is their midway, which has a ton of fun carnival style games (all created by them with high quality look and design), food options, seating, and most importantly atmosphere. They have a selection of really nice animatronics here that are only there to add to the dread, and make for nice photo ops.
What’s that sound behind me? Probably just The wind…
This is the place where you can imagine just hanging out for a few hours watching the scare actors roam around, the chainsaw guys chasing people, and the fun vibe of everyone having a good time. It’s really a full night destination where you’ll get your money’s worth.
Meet New Friends!
If I didn’t do Field of Scream every year I’d be very upset, it’s the total package and one that I suggest any serious haunt enthusiast make a priority to visit.