Circle of Screams is a creative haunted attraction that has great potential to thrive with a larger budget and build time, and in some cases, has grown yet reduced its footprint in terms of attraction scope and design. While that may sound confusing, each season, the Circle of Screams has undergone large-scale changes and directional modifications that turned a once-developing “multi-attraction” scream-park into a singular walk-through attraction built out of the modified remnants of attractions featured in the past. Some of the older attractions of previous years and themes are missing, and others seem to be reduced to half their sizes. Fans from the past year may remember a 3D-Tent attraction (which is still partially featured) and a hayride (planned to return next season). What is perplexing is that instead of “building up,” it seems each season is another realignment, removal of certain attractions/scenes each season, and it is our hope that as the attraction heads into its tenth season, some of the “old” returns to compliment the “Manor” attraction featured this season. What is evident is a great deal of creativity, quality character/make-up design, and generally strong acting, which gives energy to the event and makes up perhaps for the simpler set designs and brevity of the experience.
Performances are strong, and some of the “characters” featured are not only designed creatively to scare but perform based on the reactions of their “victims.” Character design has always been one of the strengths at the Circle of Screams, and while we noticed fewer actors than previous seasons, each did a fantastic job at engaging and creating unique scares. A hulking monstrosity chased guests with a “chainsaw,” some type of evil voodoo priestess played with the entrails of a dead body, and “Michael Myers” ominously stalked guests on their escape from “The Manor.” Numerous zombies and other undead creatures lurked around the outdoor trail, and the acting/design of characters is always a strong point of this attraction.
With BIG plans to celebrate its tenth year of operation in 2022, we await what promises to be a monumental season from the team at Circle of Screams. What is presented this season is a hybrid outdoor trail and indoor plan/maze referred to as “The Manor ” which is gritty, bloody, and surprisingly disturbing at times and certainly not one you will see at any other haunted attraction. After a walk through a vortex tunnel and journey along a wooded trail featuring the undead, the grim “Manor” is cautiously encountered within the deep dark woods. A plank-based indoor attraction, the tight rooms are splattered in blood, and several disturbing scenes are featured throughout this brief custom-designed haunted attraction. With a larger budget, more actors, and a lengthier experience, Circle of Screams can really become one of the stronger “performances” driven haunted attractions of the season.