Field of Screams Review
MOUNTVALE, PENNSYLVANIA - We returned to Lancaster, Pennsylvania on October 19, 2013 for another go at Field of Screams our 2012 Frighty Award winner for both "Hayride of the Year" and "Maze of the Year"! So the four based attraction had A LOT to live up to considering it won two awards during last years tour. So given the double win we had high hopes. Last year Field of Screams was only home to three attractions while this year Jim and his crew introduced the all new Nocturnal Wasteland. Therefore we had a busy night ahead of us and couldn't wait to get started!
We began our screaming night at Field of Screams with the our 2012 "Hayride of the Year" The Haunted Hayride! Last year we were in amazement with this attraction... From the hollywood style sets to the dedicated actors and the overall atmosphere. It was the best we had ever experienced! However, this year it was a different story. Of course we know that not much can be done to change an attraction of this caliber without spending a load of money but because nothing was changed from last year... It sort of fell short for us. However, it was still an entertaining and enjoyable hayride... I know something you don't want to hear about one of our Frighty Award Winners. But I got to be honest with you don't I? I wouldn't be doing the site justice if I wasn't...
Now because this was the second year in a row riding through, I noticed some things that I have to discuss. Again the layout of the hayride didn't change from last year, therefore, I came to the conclusion that the scenes scattered along the trail are more like well rehearsed skits. Each time the wagon rolled up to a new scene we stopped and watched actors who were very into their roll execute their lines which have been rehearsed very well. It seemed like the actors had no free range of motion to do as they please with their character. Maybe this is because of the size and the detailed operation of the sets which are again, Hollywood like... But to me when an actor has the ability to change things up from wagon to wagon to see what scares are the most effective it can get pretty interesting. I know that a hayride is very different from a walk through attraction. But in haunted houses & mazes, actors have the ability to change things up constantly depending on the amount of people walking through and the intervals between each group. Whereas a hayride has to be timed so the next wagon doesn't run into the back of the one ahead. Therefore, it has to have some sort of outline, but handing your actors what seems to be like a script to me is a little too far. Instead give them the ability to jump out and execute some scares! I didn't come to your attraction to watch a show, I came to scream! And on the hayride because of the constant stopping and well rehearsed scenes it didn't do anything for me.
Also on a side note, I felt the Freddy Krueger tribute should either be beefed up or taken out. It's the only movie scene throughout the attraction and there was no Krueger... Instead it was some other masked character. If your gonna do a tribute to an infamous movie villain have the character in the scene. Not just his hand creeping down from the animatronic set above. I thought, "Really?!" This was a little cliche to me... But moving on!
Last year The Den of Darkness was our least favorite of the then three attractions. At first the concept didn't click with me. I thought we were walking into a dark maze but instead the "Darkness" stood for evil... Plus the maze was lacking actors and the umpf our 2012 "Maze of the Year" had. However, this year it was a completely different story! The Den of Darkness was absolutely amazing! It has definitely been beefed up since last year and I was really impressed with the additions and changes made. I couldn't find one thing wrong with it aside from the idiots in front of me who had no idea where they were going and managed to open every exit door in every room! Instantly, I got fed up with them and managed to squeeze by and move on cause I knew if I stayed behind them the maze would be ruined for me...
So as I made my way through the dark hallways and actor packed rooms I jumped here, there and screamed everywhere! Rhyming here... It was a truly terrifying experience! Hands grabbing my ankles, feather dusters in my face, dolls coming to life and a speaker scaring the [censored] out of me! Yes you read that right! A speaker omitting whispers scared the [censored] out of me in the dark tunnel right before the menacing car horn. I have never been inside a haunted house where an audio speaker got me! I actually turned around and said to Joe, "Holy crap the whispering just got me really good!" It was honestly the highlight of my night!
The Den of Darkness went from being our least favorite to a possible top contender for this years "Maze of the Year" award! It was perfect, genius, terrifying and just downright creepy! I wanted to go through again and again but of course we had other things to do so we moved on! But seriously save this attraction for last, you won't be disappointed!
This year Field of Screams became home to one more attraction, Nocturnal Wasteland! This outdoor maze of garbage and toxic waste was a stunning visual experience... The sets and overall look of the maze was gorgeous, to be honest. However, it wasn't scary at all. I personally felt it was too bright and actor scarce. We walked for feet and feet with no interaction with live people but to be honest with you I don't know if that would have helped. It seemed like the trail was outlined with some sort of barrier made of sticks and other pieces of material. So it didn't allow the actors that we did come in contact with to hide very well. You saw each one before they made their move and you all know me... That doesn't do anything for me, I like to be startled! Plus there were no portions of darkness or complete disorientation, which always works if done correctly.
However, I will say the attraction is home to one of the most epic scares of all time! It was a bridge that all of a sudden drops a few feet as actors come at you from the front and back cornering you. It was the best and most memorable portion of the attraction. We sort of stood there for a few minutes combing over what had just happened. But for me there were too many things that this attraction lacked and for the caliber that Field of Screams has become I was a little disappointed. I would definitely hit this attraction up first... The line was VERY long and the maze itself is quite a walk. Out of all four attractions this was our second to least favorite of the night.
So you must be asking yourself, "Frightmare Asylum, your Maze of the Year cannot be your least favorite of the night?!"
Well you asked yourself the right question because it unfortunately was... Last year this attraction was undoubtedly the best we had ever experienced. It was terrifying on every level! However this year it was a nightmare but in the wrong way! First off the amount of people put through at one time and the interval between each group caused a HUGE problem... A CONGA LINE FORMED! It of course was the busiest night of the year and having my luck it had to happen during the one attraction we were looking forward to the most. It formed about a quarter of the way in and it was a VERY VERY slow moving conga line. So anything from that point on was completely ineffective. To me this is a maze that should be taken on by small groups. There is so much to take in, in every room and hallway. Given the maze is tight and also complete with stairs that you walk up and down... There are some areas obvious of hardcore bottlenecking. So lets trim down the amount of people we let through at one time!
Were specific parts still creepy as hell? YES! The Silent Hill room, the clown room and the attic are the best parts in my opinion. Nothing had to happen in any of these rooms because I was already freaked out. I also felt the actors were spent! They seemed very tired and weren't delivering as they normally have. We often admire the dedication that the actors of Field of Screams have but on this night it seemed like they were on their last breath. Even if there wasn't a conga line, I still think the maze would have fallen short for us. However, I know that dedication wasn't the problem, it was definitely the amount of people that had already walked through. It took a toll on the actors of this attraction. Therefore by the end of the night, some had given up and decided to break character and talk to each other, some decided to wander in front of us throughout the entire attraction and others just moved slowly. It was a HUGE disappointment because I know what this attraction can be like with an on point crew. We saved it for last for a reason and to our surprise it was the least favorite of the night.
So if you plan on visiting Field of Screams before they close for the season I would hit up the attractions in this order; Frightmare Asylum, Nocturnal Wasteland, Haunted Hayride and finish with Den of Darkness. Overall the entire venue is one of the best in the area! However, I think the new attraction, Nocturnal Wasteland definitely took some attention away from the other three which seemed pretty much the same in regards to layout and set design. There wasn't anything new or anything different in any of the three veteran attractions. To make matter worse, the new attraction that had been given undivided attention wasn't living up to the hype... Sorry it didn't do anything for us. However, Field of Screams is still a must if visiting the Lancaster area during the months of September and October! It's still scary, intense and worth every penny... But make sure to stay away from here two weekends prior to Halloween. It was so busy and crowded the lines were well over an hour and a half for each!