Celebrating 22 years of horror, Legend of Fear, Shelton Connecticut, is one of the most robust celebrations of “Halloween” one could ever imagine, an atmospheric attraction that basks in the season perhaps best described as a hybrid haunted attraction/fall festival. From a midway that features fantastic food and fall crafts to two quality haunted attractions, Legends of Fear was a pleasant surprise and one of those attractions we now wish we had visited in the past. Utilizing its environment (a tree farm) to its max, Legends of Fear, for the most part, avoids the pitfalls of being unable to control surroundings or people’s reactions by allowing for enough space between groups and by offering a lengthy “Haunted Hayride” attraction. On our visit, Legends of Fear was jammed with massive lines and eager guests waiting to enjoy the two haunts, yet both attractions are designed to create an intimate experience, avoiding the dreaded “conga line effect”.
On our visit to Legends of Fear, in general, while we found the” Haunted Hayride” to be enjoyable, detailed yet attraction that covered a wide array of Halloween themes and really celebrates the overall “season” almost to the tee. Quality haunted hayride attractions are beginning to become hard to find and Legends of Fear boasts overall one of the more impressive, immersive hayride attractions. While we recommend the hayride, what really is the “star” of the show is the mind-blowing However, “The Hallow” outdoor trail truly shines and is one of the best outdoor/indoor hybrid trails we have ever visited. “The Hallow” is a long journey into the deep ominous woods, of this operating “tree farm” and features five unique attractions that are all equally strong both structurally and creatively, featuring immersive set designs and talented scare actors that are trained to respond to each guest.
Legends of Fear is a professional haunt, in which rarely you will see an actor that is out of place or is unable to garner a reaction. Quality “scare-acting” is a premium in this industry and it’s truly refreshing to find actors that strive to play characters, other than run around and yell. We cannot stress enough that Legends of Fear is an attraction that is at times “scary” yet embraces diversity in covering multiple “Halloween” themes ensuring each guest enjoys their evening. Legends of Fear was an attraction we did not give much thought to in the past and we were sadly mistaken as we plan on adding this to our must-visit list in future seasons.
“Haunted Hayride” is close to forty-minute journey into the dense forest of Legends of Fear featuring numerous scenes covering all the expected themes one would expect in an attraction that celebrates Halloween. From witches to a haunted graveyard, “Haunted Hayride” plays it somewhat conservative in terms of show design yet executes each scene to perfection. Despite the somewhat generic themes (as opposed to the Hallow), each scene is for the most part extremely well designed, acted and enjoyable. Scare actors are all in costume, do a fantastic job of interacting with every guest on the cart and focus on entertaining more than scaring. The “Haunted Hayride” starts off with an intense, mature “barn scene” featuring some shocking adult language, and an all-out “hillbilly” assault that really sets a tone of tension yet becomes progressively more family-friendly in nature as it progresses. Scene design, music, and special effects are all on point and this is a well-oiled machine in terms of presentation, just nothing out of the ordinary in terms of themes for those who visit multiple attractions each season. For those who travel to haunts across the country, you will enjoy the hayride but also feel as though it is slightly overhyped from a design perspective. What we mean by this statement is the attraction really kicks off with a high-intensity, high-startle border line rated-R opening then cools down. Perhaps it is our own interests and background in the industry but scenes featuring “witches” really lack the fear factor as others featured along the trail. However, if this is one of the only attractions you visit in a season all bases are covered in terms of Halloween entertainment and “Haunted Hayride” is a quality, overall family-friendly attraction that embraces a variety of themes.
While veterans of haunted hayrides will anticipate many of the scenes, Legends of Fear excels in presenting first-class scenes with each character in complete costume and with detailed make-up. Scenes are all detailed to the highest degree and there is a great use of scene-specific sound effects. Quality is emphasized in this attraction and the “Haunted Hayride” is an enjoyable experience.
“The Hallow” is a long trail that features five distinct attractions, each boasting incredible levels of realistic detail and featuring talented “scare-actors” that thrive on interacting with each guest. After a somewhat underwhelming experience on the “Haunted Hayride,” we didn’t expect too much intensity from what we thought was primarily an outdoor trail. However, as we continued along the journey we were blown away and the level of intensity and detail placed into each separate attraction. “The Hallow” is one of the stronger outdoor walk-through attractions we have ever visited and featured numerous stops along the way that are unique in design yet high in quality. At times we were legitimately afraid as we were isolated in the dense forest only to encounter a gritty, abandoned amusement park, and we were taunted and disturbed by rather demonic nuns. “The Hallow” is serious, scare focused experience, designed professionally and executed almost flawlessly by the show’s talented “scare-actors.” Despite a massive crowd, the only time we encountered another group was in a brief line for one of the indoor sets or when a group of teens decided to “run” in fear.
Funhouse of Fear
Deep in the forest, we encountered what appeared to be an abandoned, creepy funhouse and midway; The “Funhouse of Fear”, which had an eerie presence to it, as if it was lost to time. The “Funhouse of Fear” is a shockingly lengthy and interactive representation of what one would expect in a classical funhouse attraction, from a lengthy mirror maze, 3D hallways, clown rooms, and areas where we had to crawl, strong scare-actors use off-color humor to create a certain sense of fear that builds throughout the attraction. Legends of Fear does a great job of constructing an “authentic” funhouse along the wooded trail, custom-built to feel “real” enough to transform the environment. The certain sense of being lost in an “abandoned” at a lost carnival and at the mercy of demented clowns and freaks is terrifying, to begin with, and Legends of Fear does not pull any punches in creating a “realistic” nightmare.
Hemlock Manor Mortuary
After our visit at the funhouse, we never expected to encounter what appeared to be a full-scale replica of a mortuary. Legends of Fear has essentially constructed a mini-house outside in the deep forest and inside one encounters a variety of ghoulish undertakers, doctors and half-dead patients in a shockingly long, and gruesome take on a funeral home. “Hemlock Manor Mortuary” has a gritty grindhouse style-1970’s feel and style to it and actors are quite likely the most interactive of any attraction featured at Legends of Fear. The size and scope of this attraction impressive alone as one does not expect to encounter an isolated funeral home that feels and looks authentic in its presentation. A twisted sense of dark humor coupled with a grim environment creates a memorable presentation. One cannot express how darkly authentic and at times evil this attraction feels. Simply the site of the funeral parlor alone lost in the woods builds a budding sense of anticipation and really again blows one’s mind. Scope and size are important in creating “immersive” attractions and “Hemlock Manor Mortuary” transforms an entire forest. It cannot be stressed enough how amazing this structure is from a visual standpoint. We never expected what appeared to be a “real” mortuary set in the backdrop of the dense forest. The actors within are probably the most “interactive” and aggressive of those in the “Hallow”, and several unique scenes including a disturbing “morgue” scene in which bodies seemed to come to life at will still haunt our memories.
Pine Hills Parish
A visit to “Pine Hills Parish” is not only creepy but one of the more memorable experiences at Legends of Fear. While the attraction is rather short, it is such a memorable, disturbing experience that it is important to emphasize that in this case, “quality” is greater than “quantity.” Entering into the authentic church a series of nuns go from “calm” to absolutely insane in a matter of seconds, and the “dead” rise in a surreal scene that ends in a frantic manner as quickly as it begins. Use of evil “nuns”, while cliché is actually one “movie”, inspired the idea that we find to be delightfully terrifying and “Pine Hills Parish” perfectly captures the spirit of evil. The demonic nuns are chilling, the church organs blaring, an overall manic atmosphere combines to build a jolting moment of fear, brief but impacting. These “sisters” have no problem punishing guests for their sins…
Melon Head Revenge Trail
Outdoor trails are rarely effective and too much “openness” ruins entire experiences. However, “Melon Head Revenge Trail” features hordes of crazy scare actors that aggressively charge and dodge from guest to guest. A loud “metal” soundtrack, disorientating lights and fog create a sense of being overwhelmed and lost along this trail. Indoor walk-through periods allow for guests to separate along the journey and keeps groups small and manageable.
The Dark Harvest
“Dark Harvest” is a rather gruesome trail, featuring homages to horror movies such as “Friday the 13th” and numerous scare actors begging for safety. Some disturbing scenes including ghouls that eat “live” wildlife, including a life-like dear among others are to be found on this journey. Due to several issues associated with groups, we didn’t experience this attraction to its fullest extent as this was the only time at the “Hallow” that other groups negatively impacted the experience.
The Final Word
Legends of Fear is one of the top attractions we have visited so far, embracing the “spirit” of Halloween and maximizing its atmosphere as means to serve as the perfect backdrop for quality performances and quality haunt designs. We left extremely impressed with the professionalism and quality of each attraction and understand why it is one of the most popular in its state. Guests can spend an entire evening enjoying the season and visiting diverse haunted attractions that are built to cover almost every “theme” imaginable related to Halloween. Professionally run, and managed it is one of the few attractions we will ever give our highest recommendation to and are thankful for such quality haunted attractions on the East Coast.