Fear Factory Haunted House

posted by : Jon Kroupa on 09/16/2013
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Last weekend, on Friday the 13th, Meagan and I attended the Fear Factory Haunted House located in downtown Salt Lake City.

The Fear Factory is an old warehouse which was purchased last year and converted to a haunted house. On their website they tell of a lengthy history of deaths, accidents, and paranormal activity on the premises.

We are planning on attending several haunted houses this Halloween season and have come up with the following 4 star rating system for the following categories:

  • Scariness - 1 star (not scary / lame), 2 stars (some startles), 3 stars (creepy atmosphere), 4 stars (reoccurring night terrors and wetting of pants)
  • Decoration - 1 star (mostly empty hallways), 2 stars (some areas good but other poor), 3 stars (mostly impressive sets and costumes), 4 stars (you are living in a nightmare)
  • Actors - 1 star (few and far between or way too many), 2 stars (standing around talking to each other), 3 stars (well costumed and remaining in character), 4 stars (you believe they are actual murders/zombies/whatever and well placed)
  • Line - 1 star (long line, nothing to look at), 2 stars (long line, maybe a few decorations), 3 stars (short line, the line is a set, or otherwise entertaining), 4 stars (no line or the wait is half the fun)
  • Length - 1 star (super short, or goes on forever), 2 stars (short for the price), 3 stars (good mix between length and walking), 4 stars (perfectly paced to entertain without tiring you out)
  • Price - 1 star (not worth it), 2 stars (worth it for enthusiasts), 3 stars (just the right price for the value), 4 stars (perfect price for the experience)

Scariness

2 stars - Although they tried to approach a number of phobias there were too many actors for them to always remain stealthy. We would often see an actor hide after trying to spook the group in front of us, ruining any surprise for us. After the tenth jump scare we started to get a little fatigued with people jumping out at us around every corner.

By far the best moment during the experience is when after climbing three flights of stairs Meagan and I were informed that one of us had to go one way, and the other one another way. We were separated for all of five minutes (each experiencing a different themed area), but the uncertainty of when (if ever) we would see each other again did help to create a sense of uneasiness, which is good in a haunted house.

Decoration

3 stars - Most of the decorations were pretty good. They had a number of different themes throughout the warehouse (movies, hospital, rural, industrial, zombie, circus, bayou) and most of their decorations were well constructed. The two themes that were very short were the zombie and circus (right next to each other). The circus was basically meeting a clown, walking around a corner to meet a couple more, and then it was over.

They had a number of clever mechanical decorations as well as very nice decorum. There was some good use of props, such as when a gate came crashing down, or when the chains on a fence rattled on their own. They also made good use of some superimposed video of insects on food and rats moving a long a wall.

Actors

1 star - There were a lot of actors. So many actors. They were everywhere. Every room had at least one (and often more) actor in it. It made it difficult to enjoy the scenery, because if you stopped to admire anything, they were staring at you, or telling you to keep moving. This was particularly frustrating when the slow group in front of us would pause a lot, and our actor of moment would say "keep going, keep going!" in a shrill scream. One review I read of this haunted house said they had too few actors, well they apparently read that and decided to go completely the other way. Less actors and a creepier atmosphere would have helped.

There was also a point where all of the actors were children. Maybe children are scary, but they looked too young to be working, let alone be working in a haunted house with a bunch of dark themed imagery.

Line

3 stars - We arrived around 9:30 on opening night. We waited about two minutes to buy tickets and immediately walked around the rope lines and gained entry into the haunted house. There was no waiting line. For entertainment they had a live band, but this was not a positive as the singer was not very good. Since we could hear the music long before we saw the stage, we thought they might be doing karaoke. When we asked the ticket booth people if that is what it was, they laughed, because they knew the singer didn't sound very good. In short, the line was good, the band was not.

Length

1 star - This haunted house is too long. After you already feel like you've been walking for miles, you get to the stair section, where you walk up and down large flights of stairs (several stories) repeatedly. So many stairs, so much walking. We didn't check our clocks before entering, but we estimated it was somewhere between 45-60 minutes from start to finish. If the thought of traversing stairs for half of that time appeals to you, this may be a pricy way to get in some good exercise.

Price

1 star - At $25 per person it is very pricy. $50 is a lot for two people to pay to travel through the haunted StairMaster house. A $5 to $10 reduction in price would definitely make the experience more worth it, and appeal to a larger audience. With very few patrons on opening night, and a theme that is greater appreciated by the younger crowds, a lower admission price could only improve their low attendance.

There is a zip-line which can be ridden from a tall tower down to the street level. This is not included in the general admission price (it is $15 more per person). We did not feel it was worth the extra cash. Even with the $5 discount on the VIP pass (which is general admission and the zip-line, and front line access) it is cost prohibitive for 60 minutes of entertainment. Particularly when your target market is probably teenagers.

Summary

By far the highlight for both of us was when we separated, about 2/3 of the way through the experience. Maybe not ideal for a date night situation, but I think a haunted house that breaks up groups and gives them each different experiences can be fun, and increase the desire to go through again.

At one point a zombie tyrannosaurus rex head came out of a wall, and it made me wonder why we haven't seen more in terms of zombie dinosaurs. As scary as the raptors were in Jurassic Park, just imagine how worse they would be zombified.

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JustTiendy JustTiendy : May 22nd, 15:51

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