Field of Screams
191 College Avenue, Mountville, PA 17554
Field of Screams, located in Mountville PA, is one of the best mainstream haunted “scare-parks” in the tristate area which each year has improved its four incredibly designed haunted attractions. Field of Screams, can be classified as a “mainstream” haunted attraction which typically caters to haunt fans of all backgrounds, and in the past has avoided such elements found in more adult themed or extreme haunts. We have always enjoyed Field of Screams as one of the most detailed haunted attractions featuring Hollywood quality set designs, intense actors and interactive elements. that have made Field of Screams stand out among similar mainstream haunted attractions. Despite our overall enjoyment of the attraction, in past visits we have never experienced a heightened level of fear at Field of Screams due to the overall design philosophy which appeared to cater to a more general haunt audience.
When we found out that they were hosting a special event entitled, Extreme Blackout, on Friday, November 13, we decided to check out Field of Screams one last time for the season but expected the attraction to be much different from its regular operation. Quite frankly, we simply wanted to experience once last quality attraction for the 2015 season thus made the visit to see what Extreme Blackout was all about. From the moment we stepped onto the property something had changed about Field of Screams. We had to sign a waiver before entry, heard booming metal music across the property and suddenly realized that perhaps the attraction had truly gone to the “extreme”. In short, we were blown away by our experiences at Field of Screams, as the attraction totally evolved from a mainstream haunted attraction into a night of physical and psychological terror. We have never witnessed a major mainstream haunted attraction incorporate this level of mature, adult themes, physicality and outright brutality to generate fear on multiple levels. The sinister creativity incorporated into each attraction has left a mark on our psyche as at times we were completely isolated, and at the mercy of the aggressive, insane character actors of each attraction.
Field of Screams Extreme Blackout was by far the most terrifying experience of the 2015 haunt season which we never expected. The attraction has incorporated mature themes, physicality, psychological horror and interactive elements that challenged members of our review team to complete unique tasks that went above and beyond all expectations. Anticipation grew as we waited in line for each attraction as shocked guests shared their diverse experiences, from being thrown into coffins, and abducted off the haunted hayride. Our review team was subjected to multiple unique interactions in each haunt, each which was unexpected, and surprisingly disturbing. We have not experienced this level of fear since our visit to the Halls of Horror, located in Palmerton, PA, and the sheer size and diversity of each attraction at Field of Screams made the Extreme Blackout event an unforgettable haunted attraction experience.
We first decided to visit “Frightmare Asylum”, an indoor walk-through haunted attraction featuring multiple floors of disturbing set designs, insane character actors and interactive rooms. “Frightmare Asylum’s” lighting had been altered for the Extreme Blackout event as several rooms/hallways were explored in almost total darkness. One member of our group was provided with a glow stick to help explore the attraction which added a level of fear as we cautiously made our way through the attraction. “Frightmare Asylum” featured gory detailed props, disgusting smells and detailed/realistic set designs enhanced by effective use of lighting. Extreme Blackout’s effective use of darkness, lighting effects and audio/visual immersion augmented the scare level generated by the detailed set designs, encouraged cautious exploration and transformed the attraction of a gruesome spectacle to a gritty, relentless house of fear. The control exerted by the limited light source added a dimension of “control” to the haunted attraction experience as exploration was utilized as means of misdirection as character actors appeared almost of every unexpected twist and turn of the asylum.
Every single room and set piece featured insane character actors who utilized a level of physical and verbal aggression to unleash an all-out attack on our senses, grabbing guests from our party, sending others into hidden rooms/corridors and using their abilities to constantly apply a level of pressure and a feeling that we were their “victims”. While in “Frightmare Asylum”, one member of our review team was locked away in a cramped meat locker and forced to sign to escape. Another member was viciously thrown onto an operating table and given a “shot” by a twisted actor in a dollhouse scene, forcibly “chloroformed” by a doctor, and forced to swallow “pills” as part of the attractions interactive/unique experiences. Several interactive challenges were also incorporated into “Frightmare Asylum”, such as we had to search for a “key” in a pot of boiling blood, and had to use our limited light source to guide other group members out of each room.
Field of Screams Extreme Blackout version of “Frightmare Asylum” incorporated physicality, and interactive designs which ensured that at times we were trapped in the dark, ominous structure. The feeling of complete helplessness, constant paranoia, isolation and genuine fear of what was in store next made “Frightmare Asylum” a terrifying experience. Mature themes, and constant aggression/insanity applied by the character actors made us yearn to escape this immersive, disturbing attraction.
Den of Darkness
“Den of Darkness”, was the second attraction visited during the Extreme Blackout event, and found ways to top “Frightmare Asylum’s” pure insanity by utilizing a level of aggression not experienced in many haunted attractions. We started “Den of Darkness” in a theatrical “séance” room in which a character actor kindly reminded us that we had signed “waivers” and were at the mercy of the attraction. This twisted sense of humor set the tone for a mature, dark experience as we entered into a partially outdoor exposed scene featuring actors reaching down for us from above. As we entered into a creepy dimly lit room with “sack bodies” creepily lined up in rows, we suddenly began to experience the interactive nature of the Extreme Blackout event. A member of our group was “abducted” by a character actor, and we were separated almost from the onset of the attraction. “Den of Darkness” like “Frightmare Asylum” featured several unique interactions, a member of our group had to drink a rather disgusting tasting “shot” at a vaudeville era bar, and our group was forced to crawl through a lengthy room as a prop-shotgun was placed near our heads.
The level of aggression featured in the “Den of Darkness” was magnified by the disturbing set designs of the already dark and sinister attraction. As we made our way through a tight corridor/interactive morgue scene, an actor briefly gave us a light source “glow stick”. We then entered into the basement of a chain-link fence, in which actors used sparks and slow strobe lights induced constant disorientation. The comfort level provided by the light source was short-lived as an actor quickly “stole” the light as we headed towards one of the most insane endings to any haunted attraction of the 2015 season. The finale of “Den of Darkness” featured an uncomfortably physical encounter with chainsaw yielding Amish farmers who used their saws to press deeply into our backs, up and down legs in an aggressive manner. The twisted Amish character actors and effective use of chainsaws made the entire demented farm scene a unique ending to the “Den of Darkness” attraction.
“Nocturnal Wasteland”, a post-nuclear fallout outdoor trail, featured unique, personal experiences at Field of Screams Extreme Blackout. The attraction started off as we were abducted by a gun yielding militant character actor and “hooded”. A “hood” placed over each guest added a whole new level of fear as we carefully made our way through the start of the trail using limited vision, and a rope as our guide. Loud apocalyptic noises, and actors used the lack of vision to taunt as we made our way along the trail. Early in the attraction our review team was separated. One member was forced to play “tag” in an abandoned school bus scene, was handcuffed to an actor and had to sing to escape the wasteland. Another group member was forced by cannibalistic character actors into a “meat” locker and had to “squeal like a pig” to be freed from captivity. These unique interactions, which separated us from the group also include periods of time in which we had to explore the wasteland attraction alone.
Despite being separated from our group, the unique interactions experienced during the “Nocturnal Wasteland” event did not hinder the experience of the attraction. We never encountered any other group as we explored each area of the technologically impressive outdoor attraction. “Nocturnal Wasteland” utilized impressive electrical and pyrotechnic displays, coupled with atmospheric sound to create an authentic fallout/post-apocalyptic experience. “Nocturnal Wasteland’s” unique interactive elements, and creative use of interpersonal reactions between guests and character actors added to the already impressive/immersive design of this outdoor trail. Isolation, and constant attacks by mutants, the infected, hillbillies and militant ghouls created an environment of paranoia and nonstop action. “Nocturnal Wasteland” successfully transformed the environment of Field of Screams to generate an authentic wasteland experience.
The “Haunted Hayride” attraction incorporated several unique experiences which we have never witnessed on any other hayride. The “Haunted Hayride” features multiple detailed indoor and outdoor set designs, with large scale animatronics, and creative story-lines that make it one of the very best hayride attractions ever visited. Some of the more memorable scenes/sets included a trip through a gruesome pig/slaughter scene, in which character actors placed pig “entrails” on our faces, a realistic insane asylum/mental ward scene, dark carnival in which we were “crushed” by an inflatable ceiling, a gruesome medieval execution scene, and greenhouse in which we were “sprayed” with water. The “Haunted Hayride” also featured times in which guests were abducted off the wagon and taken into the dense cornfield at Field of Screams. Character actors dragged helpless victims and playfully forced them away from their parties into the darkness. We unfortunately were not chosen to be one of the few abducted from the wagon but applaud Field of Screams for incorporating a new level of personal interaction into a hayride attraction.
Field of Screams Extreme Blackout, was the scariest haunted attraction visited during the 2015 season. We left Extreme Blackout covered in blood, were forced to eat/drink substances, were grabbed/pushed against walls, faced the darkness of each haunt in isolation and encountered multiple diverse interactions with the actors and the attraction itself. Each attraction featured unique experiences, multiple hidden pathways, and interactions, which we were lucky to experience. Field of Screams employed sound line/que management strategies, as we experienced each attraction in small groups (and at times made our way through portions of each attraction alone). The passion and effort put into this extreme or mature event was felt in each attraction, and we wish more mainstream haunted attractions would incorporate these types of adult orientated events into their schedules. The character actors did a fantastic job of using physicality, and creativity to make guests feel uncomfortable, and were very aggressive. We look forward to visiting again in 2016 and only hope that they continue Extreme Blackout as a yearly event. Field of Screams Extreme Blackout event was an unforgettable experience, one of, if not the scariest and very best haunted attractions ever visited.