DATE OF VISIT
October 07, 2016
MIDDLETOWN, DELAWARE - For those of you avid readers of ours, you know this is the first time we have ever ventured into Delaware for a haunted attraction! So our visit to Frightland is very exciting as we are now tapping into a new demographic and totally new region. Just about a two hour drive south of us to Middletown, Delaware we find this monstrous eight attraction haunt. Aside from the evil creations, Frightland is also home to a full blown carnival complete with rides, games and food stands. Of course that is always a nice added feature but unfortunately we do not do rides on our reviews unless we sit on hay.
Speaking of, we began our night with the Haunted Hayride! Of course these attractions are usually just fun for us, very few of them have actually satisfied my inner devil but what the heck, why not! First off, the hayride has a ton of potential! It wasn't terrible nor was it amazing. Aesthetically there were a few things that I would have personally executed differently. For starters, throughout your entire journey the wagon is equipped with a loud speaker that omits a soundtrack to what you are experiencing. Personally this does nothing for me and considering the the of music and sounds coming out, no one else seemed to be enjoying it either. Because of the constant streaming of music there were no parts of complete and utter silence. To me on a hayride there is nothing more creepy then being taken down a deep dark path through the woods while being able to hear a pin drop. It is actually sending shivers down my spine as we speak. Because of the music you also couldn't hear any of the actors, meaning none of their scares were audible rendering them ineffective. Isn't the main attraction of haunts now a days, the live actors hired to scare people? I say, get rid of it and let the actors do the work, there is no need for music!
Aside from the loud unnecessary music, the attraction felt very one sided to me. Majority of the action took place on the right side of the wagon. By the time the actors made it around to our side the scare had died off. However, I will say the sets and props throughout were awesome! Some needed work, but there is always room for improvement... but the majority were detailed and set just right! For example, this was the first and the ONLY time Joe and I have ever been sitting in a hayride while a children's roller coaster is set in motion to complete a scene! Totally awesome! Our favorite sections were in fact the carnival section and power grid section. A lot of the scares were pulled off by animatronic items like crackling wires, horns and animatronics. The skilled actors waiting in the darkness were unfortunately ineffective in delivering their punch because of the annoying music we mentioned earlier. This was upsetting because never have either of us seen a group of actors who used the darkness, bushes and trees as much as the crew in this hayride did. That is something I have always wanted to see and I did but it wasn't as scary as I thought. Honestly if the music goes, this hayride would prolly scare the pants off you!
Our wagon finally came to a stop and not at the same place we had gotten on. We were told we would experience our next three attractions; Ravenwood Cemetery, Fear and Ghost Town in that order. The next three attractions all suffered from the same things; length, design and lack of scares. First off Ravenwood Cemetery was a very dark wooded trail. Scattered along the short path were mute actors who just walked by as well as what looked like slabs of concrete deemed as tombstones. The only part of the attraction that resembled a cemetery was the entrance. Other than that, this attraction was a short brisk walk through the woods. Moving on to the next attraction immediately was Fear... this outdoor/indoor haunt was a mess of black painted plywood with random phobias including spiders, darkness, claustrophobia and clowns. Unfortunately the actors inside were very late on delivering their scares. As soon as we were in, we were out.
Finally our third and final continuous attraction was Ghost Town. This outdoor trail had the most potential of the three. The layout took you in front of, through and behind what looked like a western movie set. The quality was really quite refreshing, however, my eyes had a VERY hard time making out what I was walking through. The lighting was minimal and you couldn't see the sets, actors or trail. Again in connection with the prior two, we were in, we were out. Very short. In all honestly these three attractions should be consolidated into one attraction with one general theme. Maybe focus this one attraction around the western sets in Ghost Town since that was the most tolerable of the three. I feel like the guys behind Frightland are focusing on quantity rather than quality. To say that there were eight separate attractions is technically true but experience wise, Frightland is home to six. So moving along and making our way back out onto the carnival midway I worried that the next four attractions we were about to experience were going to be similar to the three short ones we had just came out of!
Considering we had a two hour drive back home, we wasted no time and made our way to the front entrance of the Idalia Manor. From the outside the haunt looked promising... an awesome detailed and perfectly lit facade of a haunted manor stood before us. I thought, "maybe there is some hope, maybe the next four attractions will deliver some decent scares". After a short wait, our ticket was punched and we were let in. The look of the manor was awesome! The halls and rooms of Idalia were really detailed with cobwebs, bloody props and antique furniture. This was definitely a step up compared to what we had just experienced and just confirmed my thoughts regarding quantity rather than quality. How could this attraction be on such a different level than the previous three. The detailed layout, sets and theme along with very talented and effective actors? Was it immensely scary? No, it was creepy at best but still a great attraction! The one thing I would get rid of would be the numerous TV screens scattered throughout. I think there were four in all and only one of them worked. The manor was long, and full of sneaky little holes where the actors would pop in and out of. My favorite sections were the nursery and library, I loved it!
So after Idalia, not all hope was lost. I began to look forward to the final three attractions so we made our way over to the Haunted Barn. For some reason, whenever there is a haunted barn attraction I am always very anxious. Call me a chicken if you like, but something about barns freaks me out! Well my feelings were right, this attraction was definitely a step up from Idalia. Detailed, lengthy and freaking scary the Haunted Barn was awesome! There were no cliche chainsaw wielding maniacs inside. Just terrifying farm hands popping out from holes and slits in the walls while your fixated on detailed sets and props. Some of the dead bodies looked so real... they looked slimy, bloody and flesh like. However, there were some confusing portions where you get a little lost inside and I almost became an actor when I started to enter the behind the scenes area... I mean I wouldn't have minded it, but I was quickly shown the right way by a farmhand who of course made me jump! When our faces met moonlight, I was sweating, I was breathing heavy... I was in love with the Haunted Barn! It was everything Frightland should be, scary, dark, sinister and tormenting. The actors within the walls of these indoor haunts were talented and I couldn't have been happier that we stuck around to see what else Frightland had to offer!
Making a quick u-turn, the exit for the Haunted Barn fed out next to the entrance of The Attic. Now standing in line, neither Joe nor myself had no idea what this attic attraction was about. Housed in the attic of the Haunted Barn we had just experienced... I gathered it was an odd assortment of creepy things you generally find in the attic. Boy was a I completely wrong! The Attic turned out to be my favorite of the night. It was totally terrifying, tormenting and dark! Yes my friends, The Attic is a pitch black maze where your best friend is touch. There have been numerous dark haunts we have gone through and The Attic was the best one yet! Executed perfectly, the mess of darkness was full of sensory illusions, terrifying actors and optical illusions that scared you to the bone! I wanted out about five steps in! I can't give anything away because it is only the 11th of the month. But all I can say is make sure to save this for the last of the night. Especially if you want to finish your experience off with the most terrifying dark house!!! Kudos to Frightland! Such a simple concept but executed so perfectly! The Attic could stand on its own!
Catching our breath and taking in what we had just experienced... Oh yeah while we were taking a few to relax, we sat a top of concrete crypts in a general gathering area. I loved this, thought this was such an awesome touch!
After gathering our composure it was time for our final of the eight, the Zombie Prison. Idalia, The Haunted Barn and Zombie Prison all started off the same way... You were shoved into a small room and told to stand on an X as something took place in front of you. However, The Zombie Prison started off with an elevator that jumped, lurched and fell with us inside. All of a sudden the lights turned on and to my utter unbelieving eyes there were two massive actors standing in the corners. This completely freaked me out! But the scare could have made me [censored] my pants if at the exact moment the lights popped on the actors banged and moved. Standing there as the lights came on was creepy but waiting until we realized they were real before they moved didn't deliver properly.
Coming out of the elevator we were told to move along as we made our way into a VERY foggy, dark and disorienting tunnel. In the distance you could hear screams, cries and the moans of zombies. Not being able to see anything while hearing that was very nerve racking! However, there was no jolt, there was no intense unbelievable scare at anytime the tunnel. Which was very long. Coming out of it we were then shoved into another pitch dark maze of black plywood, bars and guys with flashlights. Unfortunately we went from a Zombie Prison back to The Attic. It felt like a replica but with a different theme. Still effective considering the actors waited until you were face to face before popping on their light, but it didn't fit the theme of a "Zombie Prison". At the end we made our way through a prison bus where the actor waiting for us at the end saw us, jumped off and ran... we never saw him! Where the hell did he go!? I wish I had saved The Attic for the last of the night, because the Zombie Prison was in line with Idalia but not as scary.
Overall Frightland was a decent attraction. It needs some work and focusing on quality rather than quantity. I personally believe downsizing the amount of attractions into six and taking the same effort put into The Haunted Hayride, Idalia Manor, The Haunted Barn and The Attic throughout would make it a powerhouse haunt. For now it is a just another diamond in the rough. Nothing utterly spectacular scary, nothing to differ from the rest. Would I recommend Frightland to anyone outside of an hour? Maybe, but if you have to drive more than an hour to two hours... no... However, I will say this Frightland is a great venue for a whole night full of fun. Aside from the haunted attractions, there is a full blown carnival complete with a ferris wheel, swinging ship, fun house, food stands and more! But of course we didn't go to Frightland to review and experience carnival rides, it was just a nice bonus!