Frightmare 2011

Scare FactorActingSets/FXLengthOverall
Kris9910109.5
Ryan8810109
Steve9910109.5
Kathie881098.75
Alex G896108.25
Justeen1010101010
Alex K871088.25
Marlena861098.25
Overall8.58.259.59.58.94

Kris Kropelnicki

Fresh with new scenes and rerouted paths, the crew at Frightmare has delivered again! The queue line has a new projection screen with movies running to keep guests entertained while waiting in line which helps get everyone in the mood to be scared.

When I entered the haunt I was greeted by a creepy gravedigger that informed me that it was very dark inside and that I was on my own because he was afraid of the dark. His makeup and costume were very good, but the best part was his demeanor; he was delightfully creepy!

As I began my descent into terror I found myself walking through dark, narrow tunnels that had some wonderful details and the lighting was excellent. There are caves here that are so realistic I catch myself running my hands through my hair to make sure there are no bats in it. Coming out of the cave there is a pool of water, moss on the walls and clever surprises that give this scene authenticity.

The sets and water effects are very detailed and incredibly realistic! The fact that this is an outdoor haunt only adds to the overall set design. The sounds, smell and textures are as real as it gets and this really enhances an already amazing experience!

There are a variety of themes, but the scenes blend one into another effortlessly and there is no break in the flow of the haunt. Old ghost towns, the inhabitants, long dead are less than thrilled that strangers have wandered into their town. Exploring the mine shafts I encountered a group of angry miners that wanted me out of their space as well.

Wandering through the corn maze I encountered one of the best scarecrows I have ever seen. This scene is reminiscent of “Jeepers Creepers” and is done very well. Coming out of the corn I came across a very intimidating character and judging from the wooden spears, some of which had heads on them, he had nothing but bad intentions for me.

This is a haunt that offers many different twists and turns and has something for every haunt enthusiast. Costuming and make up are top notch and the actors are very good. It’s nice to encounter actors who have something to say instead of just the standard, “Grrrr”.

This is a haunt that has to be experienced and should be on your must see list!

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Ryan Acker

When you first arrive at the Frightmare compound, you will notice its signature house. With its windows lighting up in an ominous way and hearing the screams of the innocent, you are immediately transported right in the mood for a haunted house. As you walk to the main entrance you are greeted by concrete castle walls which have nothing to do with the theme of Frightmare. Normally, I would despise this but here, they pull it off nicely. It adds a certain ambiance you can’t find anywhere else and it also ties in the deep, vampire like voice of the person who is informing you about their disclaimer.

As soon as you enter the wooden doors you are greeted by an actor who didn’t really do much but welcome you. None of the actors really did much besides scream and yell get out which after a while get’s very boring and that is exactly what occurred. Constant “Get Away!” and “Get out!” appeared to be the only words these Miners learned in their childhood. However, a few actors within this haunt did bring some good scares to the table. A wandering woman/ghost haunted the cemetery, a priest who was attempting to fight away a demon from a young girl, and a real knife yielding maniac resided in the basement of the famous Frightmare house.

Now with the sets, I have nothing to complain about, they were incredible within this haunt. Moss filled walls with water falling from above welcomed you into the haunt along with a couple of moss creatures who snarled as you passed by. As you continued, you wandered though old mine shafts which gave the allusion that with every mine descended into the ground little by little. This is a great effect which I thought was amazing! Between each set of mines you encountered, was the so called city complete with a cemetery, a walk through a town, a couple of buildings, and a corn field. All of which allowed you to see the ominous house in the distance which you would soon enter. Each of these contained great details but for some odd reason I didn’t feel as if the areas were completed. They were so wide open and so spread out it just didn’t work for me. Also, they lacked some smells that are needed to make a gross scene disgusting!

Throughout this haunt, I encountered great sets and not so great actors. With the constant changes Frightmare makes each year there is no reason why you should not make this haunt a yearly tradition.

Pros: Great detail, Unique Ideas, Perfect length
Cons: Acting, Sets very spread out, lacked smells

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Steven Acker

Frightmare was a very good scare house! Not quite a perfect score from me, but I was very excited when I got out of the haunt for the great time they gave me inside!

The hiding places for some of the actors weren’t that well hidden or surprising. In a few places they used strobes and fog to get you off balance, as well as some good hiding places for the actors to get you good! Most of the actors were just fantastic, but then there were some that went through the same, tired "What are you doing here? Get out!", etc…not scary and unless you’re doing something phenomenal while you’re saying it, I’m not impressed. They take you through a cool western town with some great tunnels and mine shafts and I just loved the miners hanging around (with a serious case of black lung maybe?!). Outside the mines you came through an area with spears sticking out of the ground with some shrunken heads, and then a gentleman pops out of a hut acting like he wants to add a few more heads to his collection. Maybe someday but not today, we’ve got a few more haunts to check out!

There are a few places where you’re going "through" the walls, which is a really cool effect! Then, in the kitchen scene you go through the very disgusting refrigerator to get to the next room! Speaking of gross and totally disgusting, the bathroom is GREAT…not much smell to add to the effect, but definitely a throw up in your mouth moment. Speaking of smells, they really were very good throughout the whole haunt. While you’re going up some stairs, you can look straight up and see some great faces growing out of the ceiling, very nice. Speaking of faces, there was a great hillbilly that got right up IN YOUR FACE while he was talking (screaming) to (at) us…our fearless leader even collected a little spit on her face for her "spit in her face" collection!

One of my favorite places in the haunt was going through the graveyard…a lady in white was sitting in a swing, not so sure how alive she was, and she gracefully & spookily got up and seemed to float over toward us. What made her great was that she wasn’t really even looking AT us, except when we walked away a little; she looked toward us, kind of. We expected her to come after us but she never did, which made her so great…instead she distracted us for another spook to catch us off guard! Nice job, gorgeous! Another great gag was going through a bedroom with a nice lady in need of a serious exorcism. She’s lying there in bed going through her gyrations when she suddenly pops up towards you, and she’s STILL LYING DOWN!!! GREAT use of pneumatics on that one!

All in all some great entertainment! Thanks for the super time.

Pros: Lady in white, exorcist lady, mines & tunnels, great western town
Cons: gum breath on some of the actors, not so good hiding places for a couple of the spooks

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Kathie Holt

This is my second visit to this haunt. The first visit was several years ago and they have added quite a lot to this haunt since then.

This year, there are two haunts in one. You will leave one and transition to the other although it was very hard to figure out the transition from one to the other. However, there is an actor there to keep you in line and help you to the next. I will be reviewing these separately and this review is for Frightmare only.

The majority of this haunt is outside but they make incredible use of the natural surroundings. There are some dark little tunnels and drainage pipes that you will descend through or at least that is what it seems. The walls in the caves all look like they are closing in on you and makes you think nothing will pop out at you because it doesn’t look like anyone fits in there.

There is a ton loud noise through this haunt and the actors are mostly just telling you to get out. They will get very close to you. In fact one actor smelled like coffee and to be honest, that is all I could think of the rest of the haunt. There is a creepy little farmer who will introduce you to his pigs, and the unhappy miners who think you are there to steal their gold. The graveyard girl in the white dress is awesome. She doesn’t follow you, but she will give you a creepy stare.

There is a large nasty looking guy on stilts who will chase you to the quick sand in just a few steps. Of course he cannot follow you through the quick sand since he is on stilts. You will enjoy the Jeepers Creepers scarecrow in the corn field, he is fantastic. Hopefully he will jump down for you. The little covered waterfall bridge is a nice touch. It leads you to the wood spikes where you will meet some growling angry little dead freaks.

For those of you who like chainsaws, you will like this one because he is not where you would expect him to be. Once you get inside there is a small girl with some raggedy dolls and large knife, she just wants to play. Then upstairs you go and make your way through the ventilation system and come out into a nasty little kitchen where you will exit through the fridge which was brilliant. Then, you head into the bathroom that looks very gross. There is no smell to match the set, which was a bit disappointing. After that you are on to the blood spattered shower with the guy/girl thing in there. They have done a very nice job with the exorcism being preformed. This poor girl needs all the prayers she can get. All in all this was a good haunt, a bit confusing and no real theme to it but worth a visit.

Pros: Great makeup and sets, Love the fact that they made such good use of the natural surroundings for the outside portion of this haunt and that it had a little bit of everything.
Cons: if you have an actor who smells like gum, or coffee or dinner, it will completely ruin the experience. There were a few dead spots and corn is just corn unless you make it frightening corn.

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Alex Gallegos

Frightmare is set in an old farm where the inhabitants have gone crazy and are planning to kill you, your friends, strangers who wander in, and probably any stray wildlife. These people are really not happy to have any visitors and they’re sure to let you know it at every turn. The use of set pieces that are, presumably, already at the location during the off season repurposed as creepy equipment was a really nice touch and lent realism to the experience that no prop or set can ever really achieve.

No matter how well it’s designed, particle board and plywood never have quite the same feel as real concrete, metal, and stone. An actual paddlewheel turned in the river near where we entered, and before we got to the wooden mineshaft sets we walked through a narrow cave that, if it’s not actually naturally occurring stone is the best approximation I have ever seen in my entire life. Several actors were well hidden enough to scare me and make me jump, and others were positioned just to be intimidating. A ghost bride in the cemetery comes to mind as an example; she stood up as we passed and stared at us but never gave chase, and waiting in anticipation for the startle that never came really ramped up the tension.
As we neared the end of the haunt we entered an old farmhouse that had definitely seen better days… back when the wallpaper wasn’t peeling, the walls didn’t have massive holes in them, and the basement wasn’t populated with the mutilated bloody corpses of the undead. We actually ended up walking through the ventilation system and breaking out through the walls into different rooms, and even though it was creepy it was also a lot of fun, especially if you like to imagine you’re Gordon Freeman. “Doors? Who needs doors? I’ll make my own way out!”

The actors also did a tremendous job, whether it was a priest leading an exorcism of a young girl who started to levitate in bed or a creepy farmer doing a rendition of “this little piggy went to market” that has forever ruined the poem for me and will now only conjure up images of rusty hacksaws as long as I live.

I did rate props and sets down considerably because of the potential for injury. I understand wanting to put the guests off balance and that sometimes that means literally making the floor hard to walk on, but basic standards still need to be adhered to. We entered one room with an unmarked step up in the dark whose front face was open. Taking slow careful steps I failed to notice that I had wedged my right foot underneath the step (or that a step was even there). My foot and I have known each other since before I was born, and therefore when I tried to lift my leg to step forward it decided it was too attached to my foot to just let go after all these years, and I took a headlong tumble into the room, knocking down the person in front of me and almost crashing into the actor. Since he was holding a hacksaw at the time, it could have ended much more painfully than a couple skinned up hands.

Pros: Well designed sets, good use of natural and preexisting set pieces, great special effects
Cons: Potentially unsafe architecture, some repetitive scenes, long intervals without scares.

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Justeen Walters

Alex Kratz

Frightmare is a well executed haunted house that looks absolutely amazing.

Going through Frightmare is definitely what I would call a visual treat. All of the sets, scenes, and costumes were put together incredibly well. The only real issues I have is the acting falls apart in a few places and some of the scenes, despite being gorgeous, don’t seem to fit in. I can say these are only minor things and Frightmare was still a good haunt to visit.

I was impressed from start to finish with Frightmare’s attention to detail. Every wall, corner and ceiling looked exactly like they should. This was the most apparent inside the actual house. The decrepit walls looked like they had aged horribly and rotten holes were appearing that you actually get to walk through. I recall the brief bathroom scene and actually made me feel grossed out because of how disgusting they made it look. I was able to believe I was in a nasty old house which was great! The outdoor scenes were also simply amazing. Frightmare used the natural terrain and used it to really draw out some great sets. While they looked good, some of the outdoor scenes just weren’t inherently scary. When I saw the big working watermill, I felt like I was going on a nice night time stroll in the woods. It would be great to see some more props outside such as body parts. The overall set design was fantastic and at a great length. There is a lot to experience.

Unfortunately, most of the acting was the jump out and get you moments. Frightmare was able to make it work though, with a clever use of hiding spots and some really good costumes. It would be nice to see some scenes where the actors have to interact with the audience more, even just to get them more set up for a big scare. Just like with the sets, the costumes were all really good. One of my favorites was a grim reaper looking guy carrying a scythe. We all had to stop and admire how creepy he looked.

Frightmare is a great haunt to go to. It’s one of the do-not-miss haunts of the year despite being a little overwhelming with jump and growl acting.

Pros: amazing to look at, use of natural terrain, costumes
Cons: slightly tedious acting, some not scary set pieces

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Marlena Baker

Frightmare is a trip through some of the best creepy scenes I’ve seen yet. It’s an amazingly well built haunt, but it comes up a bit short in terms of acting.

The sets really are amazing. From the mine, to the graveyard to the house, all the sets are executed perfectly. Frightmare did a great job of transporting me to different place. In the mine they even messed with my perception of depth and the layout was great as well. It was fairly linear, but there were enough twists and turns that I wasn’t always sure what direction I was facing. They had some really creative transitions. Moving from inside to outside was very natural, and the progression of the settings made sense. The outdoor areas are used really well to make the haunt seem larger. The sets and props were very realistic, both sight and sound fit so well.

The acting was a bit disappointing. There were a few really good actors, but a lot more mediocre ones. There were a lot of cliché characters, lots of boos and growls that were less than convincing. Several of my favorite characters were actually silent, they were so menacing that way. There was a great screamer and she was just the right amount of crazy while looking fairly normal. There’s something so much creepier about the normal turned crazy.

Frightmare was a great example of realistic haunt settings, props and characters. They put a lot of effort into everything in the haunt and it shows. There was a lack of intensity to it, however. You’ll see some good scares, but it takes some luck to find the good scares.

Pros: sets, layout, length
Cons: acting