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Event Report: Dread Central visits Las Vegas for Fright Dome 2017

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Fright Dome

Dread Central hopped a flight to Las Vegas, Nevada, this past Friday, September 29th, in order to cover the highly-anticipated opening of the haunt attraction Fright Dome (at Adventuredome at Circus Circus), now in its fifteenth year of scaring the hell out of Sin City.

Arriving to the carpet, we were beset on by the jaw-dropping menagerie of scare actors historically hired by Fright Dome creator and owner Jason Egan, who in true Tod Browning fashion once again has employed individuals with actual physical anomalies, which were accentuated by entirely professional makeups. In addition to the duo of Johnny Eck-like young women with truncated torsos (made up as a carnival performer and a zombie, who traversed the carpet using their hands as locomotion), a motley assortment of sinister clowns, black-shrouded witches and chainsaw-wielding madmen also stalked the press line.

In attendance for the carpet, which unfortunately this year was light in genre talent (with the exception of indie darling actress Sarah Nicklin of Ama Lea’s From Hell She Rises and the upcoming feature The Basement – video below) was UFC’s Dana White, who arrived to the event with Egan himself, the latter who dished on the amount of work it takes in order to deliver Fright Dome each year (video also below).

As for the mazes, new for 2017 is the 15,000 square foot maze entitled Zombie City, the macabre Happy Hell-idays attraction (which put a gruesome spin on holiday traditions, replete with killer Easter bunnies and one hell of an animatronic Krampus), and the brand new maze HEX, with fan favorites Chainsaw Massacre and Killer Clowns in 4D making their encores.

For this writer though, the standout attraction of the evening was Lights Out, an isolation-style maze available to Fast Pass or VIP Tour purchasing customers only (purchasing them is highly recommended), taking over the space of last year’s Ouija maze. After a thirty minute or so strobe-lit wait, we were granted access individually, and found ourselves navigating the pitch black within, with only a less than reliable flashlight to guide our way. Having attended dozens of haunts over the course of my life, and having lived on a steady diet of horror films since my youth, I’m notoriously difficult to scare, and Lights Out did so on both occasions I went through.

With Lights Out, Egan and his team have constructed a maze which seeps into your being. You will feel utterly alone. You will be entirely impressed by the set design, and by the creatures which lay within, who seem to dance ghostlike in and out of reality (when the pre-programmed flashlight, which interacts with the environment and set pieces around you, allows you to see them). And by the time you are requested to sit in an old wheel chair, and are spun one hundred and eighty degrees into the final heart-pounding scene, you’ll be attempting to catch your breath. The entire experience sent chills up my spine, and the finale? I won’t spoil it, but I will say, you’ll never forget it.

Lights Out raises the bar for haunts everywhere.

As for the rest of the attraction, Egan’s stepped it up this year, with the main floor positively shrouded in fog (as the attraction is within an enclosed structure, precise control of it is possible), and Fright Dome’s use of laser lighting in conjunction creates for an entirely eerie spectacle. The scare actors which populate the space are beautifully committed to their roles, as evidenced by the consistent shrieks of guests which continually erupted, heard over even the din of the dome’s two heart-stopping rollercoasters which screamed overhead.

As we’ve been there for the last four years running, and have been positively blown away by the sheer levels of production, fright and fun, we can attest to the fact that Fright Dome has grown past its roots of simply being a Las Vegas attraction, and has transformed into a destination for fright fans worldwide.

Don’t miss it.

Writer’s note: My thanks to Mandi McCary of MMGNV for arranging our visit.

Fright Dome is open select nights from 7 p.m. to Midnight, Sept. 29 – Oct. 31, with general admission tickets only $37.95, with additional fast pass upgrades starting at $20.00. For all things Fright Dome, you can click here, and be sure to “like” them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter  and Instagram.

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