Frightmare is an old school haunt that is a throwback to the haunted attractions at state fairs and carnivals of old. In fact, if you think of Frightmare as more of a carnival attraction and less of a haunted house, you will probably get more out of the experience.
Located in the parking lot of Haunted Trails, Frightmare is basically a prefabricated haunted house that consists of a lower and upper level connected by staircases and a walkway. The outside is decorated with airbrushed paintings and various other static items. The insides of Frightmare change every year, although the pattern of the haunt remains the same. The walls of the haunt are always redecorated with different glow in the dark pictures and paintings. This year’s theme was “Maniac Manor”, so the walls this year had clown motifs, including Pennywise the clown from Stephen King’s “IT” and others.
Special note: although Frightmare is not advertised as a 3D haunt, if you wear 3D glasses inside they do work.
This year began in a hotel lobby, where visitors were led into an elevator and taken into the Manor. There was a nice trick in the elevator where the attendant got switched to another individual during the trip. It’s a trick a lot of haunts do, but this one was pretty amusing.
Once in the lower level, you meet your guide, which is an angry clown – he tells you to follow him and basically introduces you to the various scenes and animatronics inside.
For instance, one thing he introduced visitors to was his “dog”, which was an animated wolf, along with a wolf-masked actor who sprang out of the wall. He also introduced visitors to his “sister” who was an animatronic creepy clown on a bed that sprang towards visitors. Along the way visitors encounter various other small scenes, mostly containing animatronics of some kind and one or two actors. As mentioned, this year’s theme was all clowns, so every actor was dressed like some type of clown and the animatronics were also in line with this.
Once done with the first part of the haunt, visitors go up a staircase, across a walkway on the top of the haunt, and down another staircase. Actors usually spring out from hidden areas just outside of the staircases and also along the walkway, but this time around there was only one actor on the top of the walkway, who was simply walking back and forth and not trying to scare. Different amounts of actors show up on different days, so your experience might vary depending on when you go.
Actors in the haunt are mostly younger, from high school age or below. Thus, the scares are not intense, but usually wind up being the jump out and startle variety. This sometimes works depending on how well hidden the actors are. This year, with the guide, there were some scenes where he introduced the actor who was hiding as a relative of his, thus spoiling the surprise.
Finally, the second section to the haunt consists of a few larger scenes. In past years there have been scenes from Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th, but this year one scene was a large room filled with various clowns and the final scene was a butcher shop.
Overall, the acting varies from OK to lazy, with some actors really trying to scare and others not really bothering, or even laughing, when jumping out. Their efforts may vary based on the age of the visitors, though.
Although Frightmare has been quite good in past years (again, in a carnival funhouse attraction type of way), this year was just average. The haunt is short, doesn’t have a lot of actors, and only has a few sets. The fun here is in looking at the paintings on the haunt walls, some of the animatronics, and perhaps some of the jump scares that the actors provide. If you go into the haunt not expecting much, or if you bring some friends who are easily scared, it might wind up being fun and entertaining for you. The guide this year was a new twist, and he was quite amusing as he varied from being funny (like a clown) to angry and shouty, and visitors never knew which he would e, or if he was being serious.
This is not an intense haunt at all, and it’s really more of a fun event, so if you look at it in that spirit you might enjoy it more.
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