DarkFans 2014 Halloween Haunt Review

Login or Register to Hide This Ad
Apr 5, 2011
7,782
14,750
113
Disclaimer: This review is based off the first night of the event.  Things can change in the meantime.

Mazes

Outbreak- This is a very solid maze.  Part alien themed and part outbreak, it uses the FoF theme intelligently.  They've improved the layout over last year and the props were amazing.  My big complaint is that it’s very easy to get lost.

Doll Factory- Consistently considered one of the best house there.  The decoration was amazing and the actors were all at the top of their game.  The fantastic costumes also do a lot for this house.

Maze of Madness- There was a lot of hype going into this since based on one of the first popular mazes at the park and was brought back as part of the 40th celebration.  While I thought the actors were doing a fantastic job, the layout felt really uninspired and at times it felt really boring.  The decor quality varied quite a bit as well.

Slaughter House- Average maze with average scares.  A typical cannibal themed house.  Not bad, but nothing great either.

Club Blood- The entrance got a major upgrade this year, but the house itself remained the same.  An atypical vampire house with a club spin. The actors were doing great things, but that’s for the event as a whole. Pretty average.

Zombie High- This one was one of my highlights last year.  I didn't quite see the same level of enthusiasm as I did in other mazes.  Still great things going on here though, one of the highlights.

No Vacancy- Still one of the best mazes in the park.  All the decoration and actors are top notch.  I continue to be blown away by this maze.

CornStalkers- This one took a considerable hit from last year.  As of the first week, there was way too much light, making all the actors visible compared to last year when they were virtually invisible, setting up better scares.  This was probably my least favorite house of the night considering how amazing it used to be.  Such a disappointment.

Blue Ridge Bloodbath- I really wanted to love this given how unique it is.  The problem is that the cars are so loud, they’re quite a bit faster than walking, and you’re moving at a constant space so it’s impossible to get the proper intimacy needed for a proper scare.  They even added more props this year and they do nothing.  This isn’t anybody’s fault, just the nature of the attraction.

Scare-Zones

Feary Tales- The highlight of the night for me.  Everybody here was just really into their characters.  All the costumes were unique and the decoration was enough to make it eerie.  The Ice Queen and Red Riding Hood were my favorites.

Primevil- I enjoyed this one because it was maze like since the normal paths have been blocked off.  The actors were mostly silent and the area was dimly lit to provide good scares.

Cleaver Brothers Carnival- This area was pretty open and well lit, but that's normal for a carnival themed path scare and the actors were pretty into their roles.  The decoration is pretty standard for a carnival themed area and was lacking anything really scary.

The Lair- The idea of an enclosed scare zone in itself is pretty neat.  The first night it was too dark making navigating it feel very dangerous.  The actors were certainly able to scare, but not being able to see guests certainly did cause some problem. I've heard they added lights, but now it’s too bright.

IronWorx- Steampunk themed scare zone.  I’m not sure what’s supposed to really be scary here, but the actors were into it.  Neat lighting here, if only too much.

Necropolis- I actually thought this was the weakest of the path scares.  It was well decorated and had plenty of hiding places, but the light here was terrible and this was one of the few areas where I didn’t see actors with super high energy.

Skeleton Key Rooms

So here are details of what the skeleton key rooms are.  I’ve put them in spoilers if you would like to be surprised.  

Maze of Madness[/b]]
Your group looks for a diaper with a small plastic key in a tub in a foul smelling room while a man baby eggs you on.  I appreciate the idea, but after a few minutes of not being able to find one, it became more irritating than anything.


Slaughter House[/u]]
You stick your hand in some cold instant ramen or other gross feeling things and look for a plastic key.  It's a classic Halloween gag, but we were given no idea what to do here.


Club Blood[/b]]
You get a shot glass with something that tastes like blood and get to keep the shot glass. It tastes as you would expect blood to taste.  I didn't hate it as much as people in the group, but totally not worth it.


Zombie High[/b]]
You go through a path of inflatable bag halls that does some turns.  That's it.


CornStalkers[/b]]
Week 1: You go through a rope bridge path over some mulch.  That's it.

Week 2 Update: I have not experienced this myself yet, and I thank Nicole for the details.  This room appears to start off with an actor taking people in by themselves, asking some sort of morbid questions, and sending them through a maze of rooms with black sheets.  This seems like the most suspenseful of them all and doesn't appear to break the pacing of the mazes.  


The problem with these rooms is that they hurt the pace so much in addition to taking the guests out of the frame of mind that is required for these houses.  With Maze of Madness, it took so long to complete the task, my party was irritated by the time we got into the maze.  I really do love the concept here, and the skeleton key was better executed in other Cedar Fair parks, but this is simply a terrible execution of the idea.  The best way to fix this is to put the rooms at the end of the house so it doesn’t kill the house experience.  Club Blood also gave you a small souvenir, they should do more of these to justify the experience and price.

Actors
These guys are what made the event for me, I didn't see a single section that wasn't into it.  They were jumping all around, on the ground, and not afraid to get in your face.  I really can’t say enough about these guys. As long as they can keep their energy up throughout the event, it will certainly be a highlight.  We also noticed just random scare actors walking around by themselves scaring people, which is a neat touch that enhances the event.  A zombie in a KD manager uniform even came up to our group gnawing on a brain.

Another thing that I love is the variety of costumes here.  A lot of events will buy the same costume in bulk, but most of the houses and path scares had a variety of outfits. In places like Feary Tales, being able to identify characters increases its repeat-ability.

Tone
While the event does have a lot of issues, the one major advantage it has to it’s closest competitor is its tone.  All the mazes and path scares are supposed to be scary and it does not falter in this at all.  There are a couple of beer gardens that has some music playing, but it does not hurt the atmosphere.  The event has one clear goal and it executes that properly.  

Overview
I really did enjoy the event, but it does have some problems compared to last year.  The lighting has a huge impact on the scare zones, but the brilliant actors are still there and can be enjoyable despite that.  On a good night, the actors are quite amazing, so as long as they’re at the top of their game, it’s amazing.  They are human,  so when you don’t see them at their best it can be a rather lackluster experience.  I still recommend this event 100% because its strong points outshine the weak points.
 
Login or Register to Hide This Ad