Field of Screams 2023 Review

Introduction

In a triumphant celebration of “Harvesting 31 Years of Fear,” Field of Screams in Mountville, PA, continues to stand tall as a pioneer in attraction design, solidifying its reputation as one of the nation’s foremost scare-parks. Each attraction at Field of Screams sets a new benchmark for quality and intricacy, making it an eagerly anticipated annual event in the world of horror entertainment. Perhaps no other “scream-park” style attraction has achieved such a level of detail on every level, embracing diversity, quality set designs and scenes that are so well designed and executed it is challenging to find any “flaws.”  Field of Screams is THAT impressive that you must visit this season, and while you may not find everything scary, the diversity, the depth and the level of detail placed into each attraction (as well as its reasonable price for the amazing quality), is perhaps unmatched.

If anything, we would love to see a few more actors, but even then, the attractions themselves are so immersive in their design and presentation that perhaps is even just a minor idea/suggestion. Every single year the core attractions are heavily upgraded, and one can spend hours exploring the rich, horrific details of each unique experience. Field of Screams this year far exceeded our expectations, allowing us a more intimate experience, preventing large groups of guests to transverse through each attraction, creating a surreal at times, intense environmental descent into pure horror. From a marketing and branding perspective, Field of Screams needs no further accolades, they have mastered the art of creating hype, branding and delivering on its presentation.

The Ultimate Horror Destination

As one steps onto the property, the air is thick with the sounds of terror intermingled with live rock and metal music. A motley crew of demented clowns, freaks, and chainsaw-wielding psychopaths roams the area, keeping patrons on their toes. Field of Screams isn’t merely a collection of haunted attractions; it’s a full-scale horror theme park that embraces the idea of offering something spine-chilling for every type of horror enthusiast. There is an extensive midway, with carnival games, Escape Rooms, live music and even this year a craft-beer bar that really allows one to enjoy the spirit of the season.

The central midway, akin to a macabre carnival, boasts numerous games, food stalls, and mini escape rooms. At its heart lie four world-class haunted attractions: “Nocturnal Wasteland,” “Haunted Hayride,” “Frightmare Asylum,” and the “Den of Darkness.” Each of these attractions is a testament to uncompromising commitment and spares no expense in delivering hair-raising experiences.

An entire evening can be spent at Field of Screams just witnessing the madness that unfolds in the atmosphere created by the performers and the reactions of the visitors. Co-Founder and Owner Jim Schopf aptly sums it up by stating, “there is nothing better than the sounds of screams!”

Field of Screams’ core attractions are marvels of haunted amusement design. The attention to detail and quality in every nook and cranny of each attraction is astonishing, with sensory-driven scares that assault your senses with rotting smells, blinding lights, and more. Each room is a macabre masterpiece, expertly blending realism with the wildest horrors of your nightmares.

The Attractions

Field of Screams offers a sprawling midway filled with games, food options, merchandise, escape rooms, and ample photo opportunities. The four core attractions, “Den of Darkness,” “Frightmare Asylum,” “Nocturnal Wasteland,” and “Haunted Hayride,” cater to a wide array of fears, ensuring every guest’s deepest phobias are addressed and new nightmares are born.

Frightmare Asylum

“Frightmare Asylum” is an extensive indoor attraction themed around an asylum, featuring multiple levels of spine-chilling horror scenes. Each level builds a sense of paranoia and madness, immersing guests in the horrifying experience of becoming one of the facility’s inmates. The scenes include unsettling abductions by clowns, disorienting strobe-lit rooms, eerie mannequin nurses, and numerous instances of patient torture and medical experiments that push the boundaries of violence. As visitors step through the Asylum gates, they descend into the dark, dank basement—an entirely new addition for this year. Here, guests are thrust into inhumane treatment rooms and forced to traverse the recreational wing, where eager inmates await their presence with chilling anticipation. Surviving the all-new basement level of the Frightmare Asylum is an accomplishment in itself.

This year a huge portion of the attraction has been rebuilt; including a disturbing series of new scenes at the “start” of this already horrific attraction. The scare-actors and actresses are rather disturbing, from those that represent the horrors of psycho-medical torture, to doctors that control the pace and make you feel at times a “victim” the asylum is once again a premier descent into madness. Field of Screams in general does a fantastic job at using scenes, details, sites and senses to disrupt. Twisted evil clowns responsible for abducting helpless children, and a visit to a vile dentist’s office gleefully seem to scream torture at those brave enough to enter. And remember, inside the Frightmare Asylum, your screams go unheard…..

Den of Darkness

“Den of Darkness” is a multifaceted haunted attraction that plunges guests into near-pitch darkness. With extensive upgrades for 2023, it features gruesome and bizarre scenes, including an incineration room and a room filled with mutilated bodies sewn together by a mad seamstress. After navigating the foreboding foyer and the ominous furnace room, guests find themselves within the all-new Gory Garage, a place where only the fortunate escape the clutches of Leroy the Mechanic. Witness in chilling terror as he wields his tools on those less fortunate. As the age-old saying goes, “Pay to Get In… Pray to Get Out!!”

Guests must crawl, duck, and physically interact with the sets in this interactive experience, all while vintage 1950s-style music fills the air and scare performers provide moments of dark humor. Den of Darkness continues to be one of the more aggressive attractions; with some of the most terrifying uses of “chainsaws” in a haunted attraction.

Actors again were extremely amped up, aggressive and embraced their sinister roles in a terrifying indoor haunted house style attraction.  Rooms themselves pose challenges for escape, from morgues to the catacombs of hell, Den of Darkness is built for anticipatory fear.

Nocturnal Wasteland

“Nocturnal Wasteland” is a post-apocalyptic nightmare, a jungle gym of twisted steel, rusted metal, and nightmarish horrors inspired by fallout. The outdoor trail, custom-built amidst a dark forest backdrop, offers an immersive experience filled with freaks, mutants, and survivalists. Visitors will pass through a converted school bus, a monster-infested swamp, and various scenes of destruction.

While the attraction is heavily detailed, it did suffer from a lack of actors in some sections, and scenes. Outdoor trails are challenging, and while this is truly structurally impressive; we would love to see more of the talented performers interact with unsuspecting guests; those that do really are disturbing, create a sense of realism amongst the path of twisted metal and hellacious design, and really breathe life into what really is one of the finest “outdoor” style trails one can ever experience. We would love to just see more of the talented performers act out scenes, or maybe carry out some of the “abductions” which occur on the extreme “Blackout” themed event, which will only add a level of immersion to this already impressive outdoor attraction.

Haunted Hayride

“The Haunted Hayride” remains one of Field of Screams’ most impressive attractions. It has undergone significant technical and scene upgrades in recent years, making it a highly anticipated highlight. The fast-paced experience takes guests through scenes with massive set designs based on various horrific themes. The actor performances are intense, though at times, the show’s soundtrack drowns out their dialogue. Crazed clowns assault the wagon, chainsaw-maniacs use the darkness to build fear and anticipation and every single scene is so immersive/detailed it again is hard to find any “faults.”

From gruesome pig slaughter scenes to space-age laboratories full of mutations, “Haunted Hayride” offers a thrilling experience. Iconic scenes from previous seasons return, including a brand new “factory” scene, featuring a new take on the infamous public guillotine “execution” with bodies used for manufacturing horrific “garments” a nightmare circus filled with dark/aggressive clowns, pyrotechnic infused “CHOP SHOP,”-  unique junkyard scene, and once again a finale that brings total fear playing on one’s senses and horrors infused by violent chainsaws.

With its diverse approach to fear and interactive actors, “Haunted Hayride” continues to excel, and leaves little downtime in between the action!

Final Word

Field of Screams deserves the highest accolades for its movie-quality attraction designs and the diversity of its scares. It’s a challenge to find any substantial critiques. During our visit, everything ran flawlessly, with well-paced groups and energized actors. The atmosphere created at this world-class scream park is something that must be experienced firsthand. Field of Screams has set the standard for destination-style Halloween horror parks across the country.

While it’s difficult to pinpoint areas for improvement in such a diverse and impressive attraction, one suggestion would be to enhance rule enforcement to ensure all guests can fully enjoy the detailed and effects-laden shows without disruptions. Field of Screams is a world-class horror amusement park, and it deserves respect for the tremendous effort that goes into its production each season. We would love to perhaps see some more “scenes” in the wasteland, and perhaps one day a brand-new experience but it is truly challenging to find any “faults” with this world-class Scarepark.

Operations are a crucial part of any large-scale show, and Field of Screams has mastered the art of creating an immersive and horrific experience. It continues to lead the way in the world of scream parks, never compromising on creative design and entertainment quality. As one of the finest attractions of all time, Field of Screams deserves congratulations on its historic 31st anniversary, and we eagerly anticipate its future. What cannot be stressed is that there is perhaps no better value for a truly next-level world class Screampark like Field of Screams. Make-up/costume design, scenes/atmosphere, environmental design, branding, and marketing create an entire theme-park like experience that still is overall not matched. They are open far more days than most, have special off-season events and spend such a great amount of time, budget, and effort on creating some of the finest attractions that are truly horrifying yet engaging to explore. This is “the next level” in many ways of building a massive scare-park that is so well detailed and near perfected, we recommend you try to experience the entire journey on a night with smaller crowds (as it does get packed)! Field of Screams is one of the pinnacle attractions in the industry, it continues to improve each season and we hope they keep adding to already richly detailed scenes/themes of horror that are diverse, innovative, and very interactive. 

Strengths

  • Unparalleled Attraction Design (Sound, Special Effects, Smell Animatronics)
  • Exquisite and Detailed Gruesome Scenes; interactive props and scenes that challenge guests escape.
  • Innovative Use of “Moving” Rooms and Chainsaw Finales (all out aggression!)
  • Outstanding Performances by the Cast; hyped actors that embrace their scenes.
  • Extensive Entertainment options and post-attraction activities from food trucks to Escape Rooms; this is a destination for Halloween Entertainment

Room for Improvement/Notes

  • Stronger Operations Rule Enforcement (e.g., restricting cell phone filming)
  • Consider upgrades and changes to some familiar scenes in the Nocturnal Wasteland
  • Attraction experience may be less immersive/interactive with larger crowds so plan accordingly.
  • Add some air conditioning/ cooling in some of the houses if possible

For more information, visit Field of Screams’ official website at https://www.fieldofscreams.com. Location: 191 College Ave, Mountville, PA 17554