2014-2016 Reviews

2016 Pure Terror Screampark Review

Location: 299 Museum Village Road Monroe, New YorkWebpage: http://www.pureterror.com

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Introduction

Pure Terror Screampark is one of the very best haunted attractions visited this season, an extensive journey through six diverse haunts boasting incredible structural designs and a chaotic atmospheric environment. We first visited Pure Terror Screampark two seasons ago and found the attraction to be solid, yet unremarkable. Furthermore, negative reviews from last season made us wary of visiting this attraction again.  In 2015, Pure Terror Screampark earned the “Guinness Book of World Records” award for longest haunted attraction. While the award attracted attention from the media, many visitors complained the extended nature of each attraction hindered its effectiveness showering the haunt with poor reviews. After researching the attraction’s changes, we still were unsure whether this was a haunt worth visiting. We decided to give Pure Terror Screampark another visit, and to be honest, were blown away by the quality of this attraction. The haunt’s ownership and management team took negative reviews to heart, and completely redesigned, and rebuilt the massive attraction this past 2016. We wish we visited Pure Terror Screampark earlier in the season as it is one of the best overall haunted attractions this year.

Pure Terror Screampark features six interconnected haunted attractions, each with a unique theme. Each attraction is diverse in design and execution, targeting multiple fears and sensory triggers. Line management strategies effectively control groups moving through each attraction, ensuring that each small group gets to experience the show in a personal manner. An emphasis on keeping groups separated allows actors to remain in place and the structural flow of each haunt is utilized to ensure proper pacing between and within each attraction. Diversity in haunt design drives the haunt’s success as each specific attraction targets different fears and provides an experience that caters to haunt/horrors fans of diverse backgrounds. Every single attraction is designed meticulously using impressive special effects, perfectly themed set designs, props, and animatronics that create perfect distractions for scare actors to generate fear. Effective use of spatial structural diversity creates a constant sense of tension and anticipation. Set designs feature interactive rooms that force guests to “crawl”, pray on claustrophobic fears and sensory deprivation created by lighting effects, pure darkness and set specific soundtracks. No expense is sparred in the development of the haunt; as large scale set designs create an immersive experience that undergoes a yearly construction cycle. Pure Terror Screampark starts its construction cycle in February and continues right until the start of the next haunt season. Management strives to create a perfect experience for all guests by constantly communicating with actors and staff members to ensure correct placement and blocking We were blown away by the sheer quality of each attraction and the level of complexity placed in its design. Structural design is used to control lines, allow scare actors to always be in place and generate sensory/psychological fear. An obsessive attention to detail, design diversity, coupled with quality scare acting makes this an impressive attraction that is well worth its cost.

Attractions

The Crypt

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“Crypt” is the first attraction featured at Pure Terror Screampark and is best described as a creepy, surreal movie quality trip to the underworld forcing guests to escape a twisted series of catacombs and scenes that convey an ominous sense of death. Quality set detail is immediately present in this attraction’s design as each corridor features haunting structures and effective lighting. High impact, interactive animatronics create excitement in every room and effectively misdirect guests allowing talented actors to pop out of every corner.

“Crypt” is a high-energy interactive attraction implementing diverse designs and creative scenes that build anticipation. Impressive details around every corner and we cannot stress how massive and sometimes interactive. On our visit to “Crypt”, we had to crawl through extensive dark passageways, walked through tight rooms depicting scenes of murder, bumped into skulls, had to move endless heavy bodies, hanging heads and grotesque body parts that serve to help control movement through the attraction and allow actors to always remain in place. The final climax of the attraction is memorable, a long cavernous hallway featuring animatronic skeletons that reach out and grasp for each guest. The surreal nature of the attraction never goes overboard keeping a sense of realism using animatronics to create a movie quality adventure. “Crypt’s” scare actors hide in tiny crevices along tight corridors creating constant paranoia and claustrophobic environment augmenting the sense of terror. Lighting effects such as slow strobe lights and periods of darkness guide eye direction to see each scene and showcase the massive animatronics and grotesque props. “Crypt” kicks off Pure Terror Screampark in a major way, building anticipation for each subsequent attraction.

Plague

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Entering “Plague” we immediately had a disturbing encounter with a “doctor” kept alive by grotesque breathing tubes sewn directly into his mouth. The vile, ghastly, costume design and creepy demeanor of this scare actor were a great set up to a gruesome, mature attraction. Scenes of surgical nightmares are featured in every single scene. “Plague” embraces grotesque animatronics and hanging mutilate bodies that have been subjected to torture. Dark hallways and tight corridors create claustrophobic fear and scare actors do a fantastic job of interacting with guests. We witnessed twisted characters’ crawl, chase and torment guests creating a constant sense of dread. “Plague” takes on a more sensory approach to generating scares as tight spaces and corridors to create fear. Make-up and costume designs are unsettling and transform the actors into monsters. Insane doctors and mutated patients run wild in this attraction and work tirelessly to engage each guest. “Plague” is gritty, it is aimed at creating uncomfortable feelings and is a representation of psychotic medical horrors that promote dread.

Coven

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“Coven” is a “witch” based attraction featuring border-line Satanic themes augmented by a disturbing atmosphere, that also injects a sick sense of humor into Pure Terror Screampark. Typically, we find “witch” themed haunts to be somewhat silly, but “Coven” is not the case. Creepy witches roam each scene, featuring large spiders, freakish characters and detailed set designs that feature large scale props and animatronics. Special effects such as smoke rising from “witch” animatronics, and demonic character designs are featured in this attraction.  “Coven” effectively implements mature scare acting into its classical Halloween presentation. Witches and freaks constantly taunt and tease as each room is a scene of complete horror. While visiting Coven, we began to run into some line management issues that were not present in the first two attractions. Que lines are not controlled at the entry to “Coven” allowing guests from the prior attraction to enter immediately. On more crowded visits, this causes guests to move through the attraction in large groups. An improved line management system outside of “Coven” can address this issue and allow customers to experience this show in its entirety.  We have never visited a witch or coven based attraction as impressive of “Coven” and would like to see it with fewer visitors next season.

Terror Under the Big Top

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“Terror Under the Big Top” takes a funhouse-clown concept and injects insane energy and gruesome representations of psychotic murderous clowns that breathe life into a traditional haunted attraction concept. We have visited countless clown and funhouse themed attractions which all fall flat or lack the creativity to execute effective scares Pure Terror Screampark’s clowns are insane, they carry chainsaws, Tasers and a variety of demented tools used to carry out an aggressive assault on each guest. Set designs depict a nightmarish carnival starting with a journey through a clown’s mouth. Not only do set designs allow the insane clowns to do their jobs at creating a variety of jump and startle scares. This is one of the few almost perfectly executed clown/funhouse themed attractions visited this season and we only wish we could experience it in a smaller group. Without an effective que line management system in place at the attractions start, multiple groups entered the haunt at the same time which caused minor back-up issues, due to various guests either running from the scare actors or purposely stalling. Despite this minor issue, the quality of “Terror Under the Big Top” is second to none, an amazingly demented yet fun take on a trip to a carnival.

 Terror in the Dark

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“Terror in the Dark” is a pitch-black maze featuring interactive sensory triggers augmenting fear. “Terror in the Dark” utilizes its maze structure to create confusion and panic. Not only do guests cautiously navigate a traditional dark maze, they must move objects become lost in areas of dense fog and feel their way to escape. The structural design of this maze is impressive, incorporating effective spatial design as large dark rooms make way to small corridors, which disorientate and confuse lighting and fog effects to spur constant confusion. At times, we were completely lost as we could not feel a wall or way to escape the haunt. Rubber and plastic objects block passageways serve as a blocking agent as it is impossible to know what is next. Scare actors found throughout this attraction rely mostly on jump or startle scares, and this attraction could use a few more actors to make the experience even more terrifying. The attraction would also be even more effective at creating sensory fear if it can close off the top of the maze. At some points, we could see the roof of the structure which takes away from the immersive experience. Despite these minor issues and areas for improvement “Terror in the Dark” is an excellent pitch black style maze which preys on the senses of its victims.

Legends of Horror

legends-of-horror-logo“Legends of Horror” is a tribute to classic movie monsters, and scenes transforming each room to represent its respective franchise. Many haunted attractions utilize famous iconic characters but Pure Terror Screampark utilizes world-class set designs to transport guests into realistic movie scenes brought to life. Accurate, detailed representations of each movie are brought to life using a perfect mix of life like props and scare actors play their iconic roles perfectly. The costume design of each horror movie character is not cheap, and quality costume design allows the scare actors to hide next to the life size props which represent each movie. While in this attraction we encountered horror legends “Jason Voorhees” “Michael Myers”, “Leatherface”, “Chucky” and “Freddy Krueger”. Each famous character incorporated the environmental design of the attraction to play their role to the tee. Gruesome scenes of slaughtered body parts were seen in Leatherface’s layer, and we were stalked by Michael Myers. “Legends of Horror” does not spare any expensive in bringing horror franchises to life in a fantastic climax to Pure Terror Screampark. While many other haunts feature these characters, none have recreated entire movie scenes within their attractions in such a detailed manner. An obsessive attention to detail, from Chucky’s playroom to a 70’s era recreation of the infamous “Myers” house emphasizes the quality of this attraction. “Legends of Horror” successfully emulates and recreates iconic horror scenes and is a must-see attraction for horror fans that appreciate the history of horror cinema.

The Final Word

Pure Terror Screampark is nonstop action, nonstop fun and one of the most refreshing attractions visited this season. Each haunt preys on diverse fears, using world class, Hollywood quality special effects, animatronics, make-up and character design to create fear. Sensory-based interactive elements are utilized in multiple attractions from claustrophobic corridors to blinding lights, great planning and thought and implemented into the attractions’ design. Scare actors are intense, feature customized costume/makeup designs and stay in “character” based on the attractions specific scene. A high-energy approach to scare acting permeates throughout each haunt, as a friendly competition between each attraction fuels the passion to scare. Actors work tirelessly to engage guests, using their characters to cultivate powerful reactions, using relentless scare tactics and aggression. Every single aspect of this attraction is almost flawlessly executed from start to finish. Ignore reviews from previous seasons, as the entire attraction has undergone a complete resonance in creating a first-class haunt experience that appeals to a variety of different haunt audiences.

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