Review coming soon!
The Flesh Factory is a nice idea that had me really excited. Haunts always seem to want to send us to the same few places – doctor’s offices, creepy houses in the woods, and, of course, corn fields. The idea of stepping into a laboratory setting was something that was at least new and exciting, and the presentation before we went inside was pretty exciting and made me think I was about to have a new and unique experience, a thing I have always looked forward to. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long after they actually let us inside to realize that the nice idea only extended as far as the threshold, and then I realized that the whole thing was less like an actual nice idea, and more like a cardboard cutout of a nice idea far away on the horizon that was held up by some dental floss tied to the carcass of a diseased puma.
It’s not a good sign when the best part of the haunt is the outside, but I do have to give the actor out there his dues. He earned all four of the points this haunt scored for acting by himself, delivering a complex scientific technobabble-laden speech as if it were as natural as combing his hair. I was hoping, based on his description, that I was finally about to see a haunt several of us on the review team have talked about as some sort of mythical holy grail, where the experience actually starts out in a perfectly normal, controlled environment, and then everything goes to hell around you. It’s a perfect way to lull the audience into a false sense of security and a time-honored technique in horror-based stories: as evidence see Cloverfield, the TV show Lost, the video game Half-Life, the classic paranoia-inducing radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds, and pretty much any zombie movie ever. Then the scientist threw back the curtain, revealing a grungy sort of poorly lit hallway, called out, “We’ve got fresh meat!” and the moment was over, and once again I could feel the tingling at the back of my skull that I get when my dreams are getting curb stomped by the universe.
I’ll also give the haunt passing marks for at least coming up with an original name for their laboratory – even though they blatantly lifted the logo of the DHARMA initiative from Lost in a type of copyright infringement that is, I’m sure, punishable by death at Guantanamo Bay under the new SOPA act. This does lead to some pretty good signage later on in the haunt and lends an air of consistency, but I can’t help but think that if whoever was doing the budget for this lab took a lot of the money from the signs budget and put it into the “make sure our research doesn’t kill everyone in the building” department, that would have been a wise career move. But at least it allows them to plausibly deny that the lab is within thirty seconds’ walk of a Ferris Wheel since they didn’t call it “Elitch Labs” or something utterly ridiculous like that. Otherwise who’s responsible for this kind of gross oversight, the Umbrella Corporation?
Anyway we were treated to a video describing the research the laboratory had been up to, centering on cellular regeneration… as well as how it had all gone horrifically wrong, as scientific experiments in a horror setting are bound to do, then released into the bowels of the facility. The video looked entertaining with some good production values but it was so quiet that I couldn’t hear what the actor was saying over the sound of screaming actors and patrons back inside the haunt, so the entirety of the exposition was something along the lines of “blah blah blah regeneration blah blah blah enraged blah blah blah escape.” I know a lot of testing goes into the building of a haunted attraction so I have to assume that if the builders didn’t think it was important for me to be able to hear the background story then I may as well not care either.
The next several rooms are at least well dressed in terms of sets and props, and for a while I could actually believe that this was a place where science might really be done, but then labs with beakers and equipment and broken cages quickly give way to a maze of black plywood with only a few signs to indicate the ward number to break them up. The haunt seems to have forgotten its identity by this point and I suppose the point of this room is the thought that if we spend long enough looking for the exit, whilst riding a sugar high of soda and funnel cake, so will we.
And finally a word about the acting. *cricket chirp* That was it. We only saw a few actors and the ones that were there mainly just went “aargh” at us, with one “help get me out of here!” just to shake things up around the halfway point.
The Flesh Factory wasn’t a great haunt as far as I’m concerned, and the disappointment was all the more bitter because there was the potential for a setting and an execution that I was really excited about, and for the amount of money you’re looking at on top of parking and admission, you’d probably have a better time at one of the other attractions at the Gardens rather than this one.
PROS: Good set dressing at the beginning, fantastic actor out front, creative and new concept
CONS: Disappointing conclusion, premise falls flat pretty quickly, wasted potential
I have to give Flesh Factory props for sticking with their theme. They gave us the story of a normal laboratory that we were about to enter for education purposes. We were shown a video that prepped us to walk through the facility and assured us that the zombies were quite docile. Wait, what?
They seemed to have shot that video before the crazy came out in their test subjects. Or, that was the idea. Unfortunately, the zombies were the big missing piece. The actors could have used some more lines or some coaching. They didn’t have the strong performance that a zombie breakout needs. No victims screaming as they’re eaten and a severe lack of threatening atmosphere from the zombies. Also, I felt like the haunt was very sparse on actors. I would have liked to see more mayhem going on. We walked through many rooms with little to no actors.
The set was really the star. They had it looking mostly like a laboratory the whole way through. We walked through the cyborg lab, the boiler room, and the archives. I know because they were labeled. The lab was full of very official looking signs and logos. It was a nice touch that brought it all together and made it look more real. One of the wards even had very high tech looking doors that had been ripped open. I can tell that these sets took some serious planning. There were a few rooms, however, that were forced. They didn’t fit the theme and they had no reason to be there. One was just a room of heads hanging from strings. It doesn’t fit in this setting. It mostly just threw me out of the immersion that they did so well with otherwise. I would enjoy the haunt more without it. Other, small things hurt the sets. Some props were a bit more sloppy, hurting the feel of the set, like hazmat suits that had been stapled to the wall instead of hung.
That said, the sets were easily the best part of this haunt. The acting really needs to catch up to make this a really terrifying experience. I really wanted that experience of walking into a lab that looks normal and then watching it degrade room by room. However, this haunt fell a bit short, but really only a bit. The improvements they need to acting and the details of the sets are very doable.
Flesh Factory, one of three attractions we had the pleasure of visiting while in Elitch Gardens theme park. This haunt is one of the bigger productions that comes with additional costs to see outside of the normal park admission. The actor out front explains the rules and gives some backstory to this Zombie overrun laboratory.
Our first area is another story room that’s kind of muffled and hard to hear. Its accompanied with a video being projected on a wall. An actor bursts from the sheets, screams and directs us out of his room.
The laboratory theme and different sections is played on very well in this haunt. Actors seemed out of sync in a few areas or simply unenthused with their dialogue. I liked how the intensity of the zombie encounters increased as we passed through the different sections of the compound. The last compound they hit us hard and fast. Tons of startle scares and plenty of eye candy in this haunt.
I would have liked some ceiling coverage in a few sets. I could see architecture from the existing building that was clearly out of place. I’m weird that way. I feel more immersed when things don’t look out of place. This was only in a few areas. Most of the time I was looking forward.
This haunt sticks to theme and has lots of startle scares. The ending was lacking an actor when we went through. But overall it was a pretty cool Laboratory set.
Standing in line, we listen to this Mad scientist who tells us about the experiments that have been happening at the Kentworthy Biological lab. Here, he said there were experiments on plants, animals, and even some humans. He was starting to pull me in and get interested in what I was about to encounter. Before we know it, the doors open and in we go. Inside we are stopped to watch a clipping about the lab and what is happening in it. Pretty similar to the skit we had listened to up front, but I guess having to repeat twice never hurts, depending on what it is anyways. You never know who was listening and who wasn’t. From there we get a surprise and an actor pops out, telling us to continue before basically meeting our doom. We then leave the evidence, video tape room to continue our travels through the mysterious Flesh Factory.
Making our way through the chemical, biological like lab, we come across many zombies , some plants, but no animals. Maybe they were still being experimented on. The entire haunt stayed with the theme, starting and finishing it with the biological chemical laboratory layout. There were rooms full of files and boxes like those were files of previous experiments and were being hidden by governments. Also rooms with chemical jumpsuits, hard hats, cages that were locked and broken out of, and barrels and biochemical tanks that were holding who knows what. There were what looked like to be jail cells holding the infected.
There were a few rooms and actors that I thought could have used a little work with. I also thought it was very hard to see some rooms because the lighting was very dark or came close to having no light at all. The mannequin room seemed to lack a little bit of detail and almost seemed out of place with the rest of the haunt. Also I’ve been through quite a few mazes and including this one, they all seem to be similar. All black wall panelling, few lights, and little or no actors present. At least with this one, there were more actors roaming around the maze. That’s the thing though, they seemed to just be roaming, and not really trying to scare, To help make that room stand out and play tricks with you more, maybe add the same paint scheme / wallpaper … etc to the walls. Add more props and objects on the walls and scattered throughout the room so people have more things to observe and figure out than just black walls. The actors could use a little energy in there as well. You’re people who have been experimented on and are now infected because something didn’t go right, You are now a sporadic, intense, and hungry for flesh eating zombie. It is now time to jump into that character fully and let the anger and rage take over. If you do that, then you should have no problem creating and getting the scares that you’ve been waiting for all night!
Other than those few glitches, this haunt is pretty cool. I like the theme and think if they keep experimenting with test subjects, this haunt should soon be fully taken over by infectious, raging, and hungry zombies!
Pros- sets, theme,
Cons- lighting, some acting and dialouge, certain rooms out of place
This haunt starts out well enough. The introduction guy didn’t really have a costume to speak of, and forgot to tell our group that the facility experimented on plants and baboons. This led to a lot of confusion when I entered the forest and was like wait, this is a lab that experimented on humans and animals, why am I walking into a forest? However, the intro room had a nice ambiance, with three cameras pointed at us and a giant screen with a movie. However, it was difficult to hear what the video was saying. The room directly after this was a nice hall with hanging lab coats, it was well done, liked it. But then forest, and confusion.
The set design was downhill after the first few rooms. There were a couple of things that I did like, such as boxes labeled with nice references. However, if you looked up a bit above head height, the haunt ended. The walls stopped and there was no ceiling. You were looking up into the rafters of a building with lovely architecture that really didn’t fit. This really killed the immersion. Any sort of overhead camouflage or ceiling would go a long way. In a couple of rooms, the lighting was really poor. This was probably to hide the lack of detail, however, it obscured what details were there. One room in particular stands out, where there were some cages to the left of us. After close scrutiny for a few minutes, it appeared that they were broken and it clicked – ‘oh, this is here to show us that something scary broke out.’ But the intended effect was completely lost in having to puzzle it out, and I doubt people going through who aren’t analyzing everything would stop to notice. I did like the labelling on the different wards, and the way the doors of Ward C were broken.
There wasn’t really any acting. Scares were limited to startle scares, and there weren’t a lot of those. One of them did get me pretty good, popping out of a spot where he was very well hidden. That was pretty much it though.
The ending was really flat. It definitely felt like there was supposed to be an actor there, but there wasn’t, so you just walk between some maybe waist high pressure bags and that’s that.
From start to finish, this haunt took us 11 minutes to go through. This is pretty short, although it’s also only $8 if you don’t consider park admission, so I suppose this could be considered a reasonable length. However, park admission. Basically, it feels like what it is, a side attraction at a theme park. It’s not the main event, and it’s not given the attention that a main event gets. As a side show though, not bad.
Overall: Not a bad idea to go if you’re already at Elitches, but I wouldn’t recommend making a trip to the park just to see it unless you have a season pass (which will not get you into the haunted attractions for free).
Pros: Cool idea, stuck to theme
Cons: Few actors, no characters present, haunt felt like an afterthought
Review coming soon!
|2000 Elitch Circle
Denver, CO. 80204
|October 5th-27thFriday & Saturday Dusk-10pm Sunday Dusk-9pm|
|Join us for a tour of Kenworthy Biological—once a biochemistry industry leader. That is, before the breakout of radiation threatened the human race and life as we know it. Explore the hidden chambers in the science labs of this once thriving organization, a place whose motivations have turned sinister. Overrun by zombies with an insatiable hunger, the world’s supply of human flesh has diminished and Kenworthy Biological manufacturers humans to feed the undead creatures who now roam this twisted post-apocalyptic world. Located in the Trocadero Theater. Please note this is an extra-charge attraction. Open from 6:00 P.M. until closing.|