By: Jared Alvarez, Adam Evans, and Alex Scheetz
Field of Screams is a well known attraction among those who live in the area, but does it live up to its name?
Before entering the attraction, guests are funneled through rope queues to ticketing windows. This is one of the few times plainclothes employees are visible. Then, around the corner, the mood is immediately set. One clown stands “greeting” guests with a blank stare, and a zombie roams around trying to attract guests toward the various fair games. Ghouls drift about, looking to sneak up on unsuspecting guests, and every so often chainsaw-wielding horrors tear out of one of the attractions, hot on the tail of a guest.
This tone set by the actors in the entrance prepares guests for the four horrifying attractions Field of Screams has to offer: the Nocturnal Wasteland, Haunted Hayride, the Asylum, and the Den of Darkness. On all the attractions the jump scares are always well timed and the actors well trained in creating an interactive experience. No person or prop is ever out of place. Guests are generally sent through the attractions in groups of 5 to 10 people, which allows the actors to scare every individual person in the tour.
Nocturnal Wasteland is an eerie walk through the woods, filled with buildings and vehicles that guests are forced through on the way to the exit. Guests have to navigate between various limbs (of both the tree and human varieties), around rotating saws, through narrow corridors, and over harrowing bridges that feel like they may collapse from under you, all while constantly being confronted by multiple monsters and madmen. It’s impossible not to be scared in the Wasteland.
One of the ways Nocturnal Wasteland is so effectively scary is that, as we waited, monsters emerged from within, firing off cap guns and banging around on the walls and props nearby. We were very impressed with the interactive experience the actors provided. They weren’t simply repeating canned lines for every guest that came through, but were improvising as they went along. In one instance, as we walked through a bus, the undead driver leapt from behind a seat. He saw us clutching each other and quipped, “Three little boys holding hands!” Their integration with the props, buildings, and vehicles was always well thought out and horrifying.
Haunted Hayride is the haunt that started it all at Field of Screams. The hayride is pulled through the cornfield and makes a variety of stops within buildings or sets. Once the tractor comes to a stop, actors sometimes leap out at the guests, climbing all over the trailer and banging on its sides while yelling, growling, and screaming at the guests; other times, they put on short shows, including one where a man is decapitated.
This attraction is much more mellow than the Nocturnal Wasteland and does not have nearly as many jump scares. Coming from Nocturnal Wasteland it was a bit underwhelming, but it was still effective. The best way to enjoy this attraction is to stay facing forward. If guests look behind them, they will find that it is rather easy to predict the scares, simply because actors don’t have a chance to get as close before being seen by nature of the ride.
The Frightmare Asylum is a walk through an insane asylum, with low ceilings and narrow hallways. Guests will get to see the results of experiments, both living and dead, of an insane doctor, as they seek to terrify everyone who comes through. Although guests are limited to the narrow corridors, actors certainly are not. There always seems to be a zombie grabbing your leg through a hole in a wall, or a crazed woman screaming in your face.
The Den of Darkness is another walkthrough, this time through a three-story farmhouse. This attraction is spent in near total darkness, with many actors reaching out from various corners and nooks, seeking to scare everyone who comes through. It opens with a deranged man “welcoming” guests into his home as the ceiling slowly lowers. Guests are led through the house by another woman. Initially, this woman seems quite normal, but as you progress it becomes clear that she is far from normal. She leads guests through the various rooms of the house, from butcher shops to morgues. A warning though, the Den of Darkness can cause some claustrophobia.
Field of Screams offers several pricing options. The Scream Pass offers all four attractions at $35 dollars. If you don’t get to all of the attractions, you can come back on any day in the same season. The Scream Pass is the best value for your money, as the individual passes, which clock in at $16 dollars for a single attraction or $20 for the Haunted Hayride, cost nearly half of what the Scream Pass does.