On September 9th, 2016, I attended Field of Screams in a group of six (myself included). We went on the Haunted Hayride and made our way through the Nocturnal Wasteland, but we had to leave shortly thereafter.
Around a week later, on September 17th, 2016, most of us returned for the two indoor attractions, the Den of Darkness and Frightmare Asylum.
The following is a review based on my two-night Field of Screams experience.
Night 1 (Opening Night), Attraction 1: Haunted Hayride
Having visited Field of Screams on three separate nights last year (one of which was for Extreme Blackout), the Haunted Hayride was very familiar to me but still an enjoyable experience.
With that being said, there was a new section that was added this year, creating a bit of diversity for those like myself who have had prior visits.
It was fairly brief — the wagon kept moving steadily through it, unlike many of the other sections — and I felt like there was potential for something greater; however, it still added to the overall atmosphere.
There was also an earlier section, where a rather significant amount of water dripped down on me, ultimately leaving me fairly soaked in what I assumed was supposed to be viewed as pig’s blood.
Both of these additions increased the attraction’s entertainment value but did not serve to make it scarier.
Some of my recommendations for future seasons include additional scenes during the in-between sections (and/or new scenes that replace old ones), adjustments to a certain aspect of the circus tent in order for everyone on the wagon to be reached, a more interactive element to the new section that was added this year, and the inclusion of actors (and/or other changes) in the new section from 2015.
Night 1 (Opening Night), Attraction 2: Nocturnal Wasteland
Similar to the previous attraction, not much has changed since last year, excluding the new, improved line system prior to being admitted entry.
Although it was an entertaining experience, the most significant scare that I received was from the first actor that my group encountered.
There was a lack of actors in some sections, and many of those that interacted with me in some form did so through conversation, which isn’t particularly scary.
In addition to this, I may or may not have seen someone moving through the woods to reclaim their position while in possession of what appeared to be a cell phone.
Regardless of whether or not an actor was using a cell phone, the situation just seemed like it was somewhat off.
Moving forward, the attraction has the potential to be truly terrifying, but it is currently negatively impacted by a lack of actors and the use of largely ineffective scare tactics; two issues which could be resolved.
Night 2 (Weekend 2), Attraction 1: Den of Darkness
A new line system was also implemented into this attraction. Groups are placed in numbered lines, depending on the size of the group, and stop upon reaching a red light.
Once the light turns green, the group moves forward and enters the attraction. The line was very short, but we still had the opportunity to experience the new and improved system in use.
Moving past the line, I recognized much of what my group encountered on the inside; however, there were two new additions that added to the entertainment factor.
These additions included having to crawl over two dead bodies in an attic and a rather visually impressive section where animatronic zombie arms were reaching out from the walls around us.
Two actors in particular, dressed in zombie masks, managed to scare me through their rather aggressive and fast-paced approaches.
In order to improve the scare quality of the attraction, I recommend having the actors approach guests more aggressively (like the previously mentioned ones) and adding an actor in the crawling section among the two dead bodies.
If executed correctly, the latter addition could be one of the best scares of the entire attraction, if not of the entire night.
Night 2 (Weekend 2), Attraction 2: Frightmare Asylum
Upon entering this attraction, I was expecting to have one of the best experiences out of the two nights that I spent at Field of Screams for the 2016 season.
To my disappointment, the very opposite of my expectations occurred.
As was particularly evident in this attraction, the interactivity between guests and actors has increased this season.
Generally speaking, this is a step in the right direction in terms of genuinely entertaining and scaring the guests of an attraction.
Unfortunately, the newly increased level of interactions that I had with the actors was more of a serious detriment to my experience than an effective change in scare tactics.
Fairly early into the attraction, I was targeted by an actor who told me to lay down on an operating table. Doing as he instructed, I laid down on it, spending what seemed like a few minutes having air blown in my direction while he used the failed scare tactic of talking to me until another actor told him to let me continue.
Having just been completely separated from my group, I was required to walk by myself. Just like the general idea of increased actor interaction with guests, this too seemed like it would result in an overall better experience.
That being said, the continued use of dialogue and/or stalking from behind in order to scare me proved to be more awkward than it was frightening.
On a positive note, there was a clown section with strobes that was uncomfortable to walk through by myself. I moved as quickly as possible through it, and an actor made me go through a secret passageway once I had momentarily stopped to investigate the surrounding area.
Prior to that area, there was an actor with a zipper mouth that proved to be rather unsettling.
Continuing with the negatives, my isolation abruptly ended when I found myself behind another group, and I later finished the attraction with a girl who had also been separated.
While we both made our way toward the exit, the girl — who appeared young enough that she should not have been fully separated from her family — expressed her concerns about finding them, and she was not in the least bit amused by the situation.
Not wanting to leave the girl by herself, I subsequently waited for her family to arrive before leaving with my group.
Overall, it was not a pleasant experience.
Pumpkin Rating & Conclusion
Scare Factor: 2 / 5 Pumpkins
Price of Admission: 3 / 5 Pumpkins
Duration of Event: 4 / 5 Pumpkins
Pumpkin Rating: 3 / 5 Pumpkins
Field of Screams has attempted to make some improvements to its attractions for the 2016 season, in addition to its Entertainment Area (including free photo booths) but still feels mostly the same as it did during the 2015 season.
In addition, the actors — comprised of volunteers that vary in age — need to start utilizing more effective scare tactics that are fitting for the more “extreme” image that the attraction has recently been advertising.
These changes should start with making the actor requirement 18 years of age and older and continue by training actors to be less conversational and more aggressive.
If those changes are implemented, the attraction could be much more than a simply entertaining experience.