Field of Screams-2022 Review

Introduction

Celebrating or “Harvesting 30 Years of Fear,” Field of Screams (Mountville, PA) continues to be a leader in attraction design and is regarded as one of the premiere scare-parks in the country. While we did encounter some issues with line backup and operations that hampered the experience, the overall level of quality, from design to sound, is well above and beyond industry standards. Every single attraction is designed with the most intricate and highest quality, which has become one of the industry standards bearers. Field of Screams is expected each season. Field of Screams is best described as a horror “theme-park” or full-scale entertainment destination. It’s an evolution of the entertainment industry that embraces the idea of “something for everyone” in horrific style and approach to scares.

The entire complex is a Halloween fan’s dream; as one enters the property, the sounds of terror fill the air, along with rock/metal live music, and a variety of clowns, freaks, and chainsaw-yielding psychopaths chase down helpless patrons. A carnival of terror, numerous games, food options, and mini escape rooms adorn the central midway, which features four world-class haunted attractions; “Nocturnal Wasteland,” “Haunted Hayride,” “Frightmare Asylum,” and the “Den of Darkness.” Each attraction is unique and designed to “scare” with an emphasis on brutal gore and disturbing details, with no expense spared.

The Infamous Frightmare Asylum

One can spend an entire evening at Field of Screams just watching the pure insanity created by the atmosphere and energy of the performers and the reactions to the attractions themselves, and, as Co-Founder and Owner Jim Schopf says perhaps best, “there is nothing better than the sounds of screams!”

Field of Screams four core attractions are some of the finest designed haunted amusements. Furthermore, each attraction’s design’s level of detail and quality is of the highest standard, with no expenses spared and no details overlooked. One can spend hours just exploring the intricate details of each specific attraction, combined with an emphasis on sensory-driven scares (using rotten smells, blinding light, etc.). Every room has gruesome details, is near perfect in haunt design and blends realism with one’s wildness, most horrific nightmares.

The Attractions

Field of Screams features a massive midway with numerous games, food options, merchandise, Escape Rooms, and photo opportunities. Four core attractions, “Den of Darkness,” “Frightmare Asylum,” “Nocturnal Wasteland,” and “Haunted Hayride,” are the core attractions of Field of Screams, each offering diverse scares and fears targeting every guest’s innermost phobia and creating new nightmares.

Frightmare Asylum

“Frightmare Asylum” is a lengthy indoor “asylum” themed attraction featuring multiple levels of some of the most disturbing, unsettling scenes of horror one can imagine. Each level of the attraction builds a sense of paranoia and insanity, creating a sense that the “guest” is slowly becoming one of the inmates of the twisted facility. Medical mutilation, bizarre characters, and vile scenes of sadistic torture are brought to horrific levels of in-your-face reality.

Some of the more intense scenes include a creepy abduction room, where “clowns” are the culprits of victimizing young children, a room filled with slow strobe lights and special effects that leave one questioning their senses and sanity, a hallway of “mannequin nurses” and numerous scenes of entrapment, patient torture, and medical experiments that are unapologetically violent. Field of Screams does a fantastic job at creating a sensory experience, infusing tight spaces with the grotesque smells of rotting flesh, using sound and music to create moments of dark humor as well as emphasizing points of terror, and encouraging guests to “explore” their surroundings and escape the confines of “Frightmare Asylum.”

Den of Darkness

“Den of Darkness” is in many ways a classical, multi-themed haunted attraction that lives up to its namesake by plunging guests into periods of near-pitch black darkness. Featuring extensive upgrades this season, “Den of Darkness” features some of the most gruesome and downright bizarre scenes of any haunted attraction, including a brand new “incineration” scene and one of the most disturbing themes perhaps ever in an attraction, a room of mutilated bodies sewn together by a mad seamstress. An interactive experience, “Den of Darkness,” requires guests to duck, crawl, and physically interact with the sets they must escape from. Vintage 1950s-style music fills the air while violent, aggressive “scare performers” apply their trade, sprinkling in moments of dark humor.

Classic scenes take guests into a most unusual greenhouse, through a 1920’s vaudeville era mascaraed party, into a morgue where bodies refuse to stay “dead,” followed by a plunge into the claustrophobic darkness. A final encounter with a rather unsettling “butcher” shop caps off this gritty, classic, modern take on haunted “house” attractions.

Nocturnal Wasteland

“Nocturnal Wasteland” is unlike any other. This architectural terror is a post-apocalyptic nightmare plagued with desolation and despair. A jungle-gym of twisted steel, rusted metal, and nightmarish horrors of “fallout” inspired fear, “Nocturnal Wasteland” excels environmentally, an extensive, challenging outdoor trail custom-built and suspended amongst a dark forest backdrop. Featuring new scenes this season, including an enhanced “graveyard” set, this attraction is one of the most unique in the industry.

“Nocturnal Wasteland” is an authentic representation of a post-apocalyptic nightmare that comes to life. Guests pass through a “school bus” that has been converted into a “home” for survivors of whatever biological or technical nightmare is plaguing this environment. A unique structure, the outdoor trail built with twisted steel and a part of a “living” forest is the home to freaks, mutants, and survivalists who now take glee in tormenting the unlucky visitors. An interactive experience, “Nocturnal Wasteland,” does feel at times somewhat barren. However, the sterile, chilling, almost isolated nature adds to the immersive experience.

A primarily outdoor trail, “Nocturnal Wasteland” is a custom-built outdoor dungeon constructed out of catwalks, scaffolding, abandoned vehicles (Ice Cream Trucks and school buses included), trees that are “alive,” a monster-infested swamp, and a variety of broken-down shacks, abandoned sewer pipes and monstrous scenes of ultimate destruction in the transformative experience of industrial horror. New sets such as a cemetery and swamp add new entertainment to the occasion, and it is always exciting to walk “above” the “Haunted Hayride” along the trail. While heavily detailed and by far one of the most unique “outdoor” attractions we have ever visited, this is one attraction that suffered from a lack of actors. In previous seasons, we encountered countless mutants, cannibalistic hillbillies, and militant ghouls along the trail.

Haunted Hayride

“The Haunted Hayride” is still one of the most impressive and enjoyable attractions featured at Field of Screams. Having undergone major technical and scene upgrades over the past two seasons, “Haunted Hayride” has become one of the most anticipated interests of the season each year. “Haunted Hayride” is designed as a fast-paced “scene to scene” experience with massive set designs based on various horrific themes. Actor performance this season was highly intense, as performers such as clowns “walked backward,” some aggressively targeted patrons and guests, and added a layer of intensity to each scene. Sound is an important aspect of immersion, and while the show’s soundtrack is on the “wagon,” it is near impossible to hear what some of the performers are saying in their scenes. We only wish that, in some cases, we could “hear” what the characters were saying.

Opening with a gruesome pig “slaughter” scene in which the carcasses of dead pigs descended upon the wagon, as “Willie the Farmer” feasted upon their entrails, developed an intense tone for the entire journey. Then, guests move into an impressive sci-fi facility, “S.H.A.D.E. Cryogenic Mutant Testing Facility.” An entire cornfield is transformed into a space-age laboratory full of mutations and hulking monstrosities that are unleashed onto the wagon. The attacks are paired with sci-fi-inspired visual effects that far exceed industry standards. This is an incredible technical masterpiece.

Iconic scenes from previous seasons return this season with more actors and aggression; the “conservatory” dropped reptiles and insects on the wagon, giant monsters tickled the necks of each guest, and mutants roamed the wasteland with falling debris and toxic waste barrels falling from tall heights into air filled with explosions, a public guillotine “execution” scene thrilled the crowd, a nightmare circus tormented the group with endless clowns and chaos, and “Dirty Dan” once again protected his “moonshine” with his band of fellow hillbillies.

While familiar, the “Haunted Hayride” scenes have always become almost iconic for those long-term visitors to Field of Screams. One of the newer scenes featured in “Haunted Hayride,” “CHOP SHOP,” essentially is a junkyard with massive “human” claws aimed at unsuspecting guests. “CHOP SHOP” is a unique take on a “Mad Maxx/techno” inspired theme and ties in the attraction with “Nocturnal Wasteland’s “walk-through. “Haunted Hayride” is once again capped off by a “chainsaw” barn finale with creepy use of lighting/sound and gore that adds a level of surprise to this already well-established attraction, which never fails to impress.

The “Haunted Hayride” is genuinely designed with a “something for everyone” approach to fear. This season the actors were far more interactive and hands-on with each guest. We feel that some scenes, such as a large wagon “vortex tunnel,” can have more of an “impact” but add to an overall sense of diversity that most hayrides fail to accomplish. In terms of scale, everything is “larger than life,” With such an aggressive pace and nonstop action, “Haunted Hayride” continues to be one of the best of its genre.

Final Word

Field of Screams deserves the highest recommendation and recognition for its movie-quality attraction designs and diversity of scares. It is challenging to find any critiques or areas of improvement. On our visit, the entire show was flawlessly executed; the pacing of groups was perfect (we never ran into another group); the actors were energized and focused, doing their best to interact with each guest. The entire vibe generated by this world-class scream park needs to be felt to be experienced. It is a genuine horror amusement park, with chaos permeating the air and really some of the most impressive set and scene designs that embrace a diverse range of horror genres.

It is hard to find many “weak” points or room for improvement as the attraction is so diverse and features some of the most impressive attractions one can ever imagine. It is almost easy to take this attraction for granted. We “expect” Field of Screams to be one of the top visits of the season every year, and they never fail to disappoint. What could improve the customer experience for all can be a better focus on rules and ensuring all guests can experience what one of the most detailed, special effects laden, and joyfully gruesome shows in the country is. For example, we were quite surprised at how many customers were allowed to film the hayride attraction with cell phones; teens in some of the indoor haunted houses were hitting walls and acting disrespectful and, in some cases, causing line backups. Field of Screams is a genuine world-class horror amusement scare park, and so much work goes into the production each season that it deserves respect.

Operations are a critical component of any large-scale show, and the management/owners have built an incredibly immersive, realistic, and horrifically fantastic show and passionate performers about their art. Field of Screams is a must-visit experience that has over 30 years been established as the country’s premier “scare park” . Often emulated, Field of Screams has led the way in creating a destination-style Halloween horror park that is revered across the country. We have nothing but the highest regard for Field of Screams and its ownership that has paved the way for other “scream parks” and has never compromised quality in creative design and entertainment. One of the all-time finest attractions, we congratulate Field of Screams on its historic 30th anniversary and look forward to the future of this premier horror entertainment event.

Field of Screams deserves the highest recommendation and recognition for its movie-quality attraction designs and diversity of scares. A genuine destination “scream park,” guests can spend an entire night enjoying the core haunted attractions, escape rooms and a variety of games/food options available, and we cannot wait to visit again!

Strengths

  • Attraction Design (Sound, Special Effects, Animatronics)
  • Detailed Gruesome Scenes
  • Unique use of “moving” rooms; and chainsaw finales
  • Quality performances

Room for Improvement

  • Line Management
  • Operations: Rule Enforcement (Keeping guests from filming, causing delays in attractions, etc.)
  • Hayride can use some upgrades and changes to familiar scenes (still not a huge fan of the hayride vortex tunnel but not a major critique)

Website: https://www.fieldofscreams.com

Location: 191 College Ave, Mountville, PA 17554