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  • Writer's pictureChandler Clouser

Field of Screams PA - 2020 Review

Haunted Attraction Reviewed: Field of Screams PA

Location of Attraction: Mountville Pennsylvania (Lancaster County)

Date of Review: 9/11/2020

Total Number of Attractions Available: 4

Overall Haunted Attraction Rating: 9.5/10

Entertainment & Food Rating: 10/10

Atmosphere Rating: 10/10

Overall Costume & Makeup Rating: 9.5/10

Overall Cast & Crew Rating: 9/10

Overall Set Design & Special Effects Rating: 9.5/10

Overall Scare/Thrill Factor Rating: 8/10

Overall Feedback: It’s 2020 and Field of Screams is back for their 28th year of bringing nightmares to life! The always HORRIFYING and INNOVATIVE Field of Screams wasn’t going to let the Covid-19 pandemic prevent them from another season of scaring the hell out of people. With the current Covid-19 pandemic Field of Screams undoubtedly operated a bit differently than previous seasons. Social distancing was encouraged and enforced throughout the evening. Attendees and all Field of Screams actors/staff were required to wear face coverings. Numerous hand sanitizing stations were scattered throughout. Among many other new protocols to ensure that haunt goers receive a safe experience this fall. Haunt goers should plan to purchase their tickets online as Field of Screams has resorted to online timed ticketing to help control the crowd and limit the amount of guests in the park on any given night! Our squad, haunt owners, and many others across the haunted attraction industry were all curious to one question, “would people show up”? On Friday September 11th our squad arrived at Field of Screams shortly after 8pm to a sell out crowd. Field of Screams made the announcement earlier that afternoon that they had SOLD OUT for Friday September 11th. We never got word of what that “sold out” attendance number was, but it was a decent crowd for opening night in early September! It was clear that haunt goers were eager and excited to be back out and about searching for that spine tingling scare that we’ve all come to know and love!

As always our squad took the opportunity to parooz the entertainment/midway area prior to entering any attractions. Field of Screams is among the best of the best when it comes to entertainment/midway areas at haunted attractions! Field of Screams possesses a plethora of food vendors, massive souvenir shop, several spooky themed games, three different 5 minute escape rooms (The Heist, Lockdown, and Captured), multiple photo-op booths, bandstand, and much more! You could easily spend an hour just to consume some food, enjoy some music, play a few games, give the escape rooms a whirl, etc. Tack on FOUR WORLD CLASS Haunted Attractions and you easily have a nights worth of SPOOKY FUN! Besides, the $35 general admission ticket is a STEAL! Currently it’s only an additional $10 to upgrade to fast pass, which is well worth it to bypass any lines that you may encounter. We encourage haunt goers to attend Field of Screams early in the season as they only get busier as the season goes on! Just don’t forget to purchase your tickets ahead of time online to ensure they aren’t sold out when you arrive.

To kick off our evening we headed for the DEN OF DARKNESS! This attraction is housed in a 3 story 200+ year old barn and packs a solid 7-10 minutes of in attraction experience! The Den of Darkness is an action packed attraction full of high startle scares. From the moment you step foot inside the barn to the moment you exit, you best be prepared for an experience that will undoubtedly overload your senses. The same detailed and dynamic sets that we’ve come to know and love were back, and better than ever before! Minor tweaks and enhancements were made to several of the sets to help keep things fresh and horrifying as usual for the annual Field of Screams attendees. Due to the Covid-19 protocols the squeeze/claustrophobia tunnel and crawling section were removed for the 2020 season. The ghouls encountered throughout were relentless in their attacks and simply appeared out of nowhere to deliver their scares. Shout-out to the several actors working in the parlor room who startled quite a few of our squad members! Of course as usual we encountered a few chainsaw wielding butchers as we exited the barn doors. Be prepared to encounter everything and anything while traveling through the Den of Darkness, as terrifying surprises lie around every corner!

Next up we venture right next door to the always unnerving FRIGHTMARE ASYLUM! This attraction is housed in a 4 story building and packs another solid 7-10 minutes of in attraction experience! The Frightmare Asylum will bring your worst nightmares to life, so ready or not you're going to face them! Frightmare Asylum is by far one of the most high energy attractions we’ve encountered in our travels, which is credited to the sinister and menacing nurses and doctors that roam within the Asylum walls! These scare actors were amped up and delivered that horrifying experience we’ve come to know and love from the Frightmare Asylum. Not to mention their impeccable timing as they dashed out of nowhere to deliver a fright! Each and every scene is elaborately decorated with numerous cutting-edge special effects that are sure to WOW any haunt goer! We can’t forget to mention the copious amounts of BLOOD and GORE! Oh yeah, and the stomach-turning, appalling, and down right god awful SMELLS - stronger and more potent than ever before! Long story short, you may not sleep for a few nights after experiencing the FRIGHTMARE ASYLUM!

After completing both the indoor attractions we ventured to NOCTURNAL WASTELAND, which was the unanimous winner of our favorite attraction from the 2019 haunt season! Last season the Field of Screams team really outdid themselves to revamp Nocturnal Wasteland and fix some of its downfalls from previous seasons. In 2019 the Field of Screams build crew shortened the path of Nocturnal Wasteland to help lessen the dead space which allowed for a non-stop thrilling experience. Several new scenes were added in 2019 (Cemetery, Swamp, and Sway Shack) which are all still among the squad's favorites today! We are still in awe by the pure elegance throughout the cemetery scene, which is flooded with life size animatronic trees, larger than life tombstones, and a downright eerie vibe sure to frighten the bravest of souls. The swamp and sway shack scenes both possess innovative effects that are sure to catch even the most experienced haunt goers off guard! Nocturnal Wasteland is simply by far one of the most elegantly crafted and innovative outdoor trail attractions that we’ve ever encountered! To beef up the experience for 2020 several new special effects and enhancements were made and added throughout the attraction. We still wish the tesla coil was functioning, but we unfortunately haven’t seen that in action for a few seasons now. One of two major downfalls from our experience in Nocturnal Wasteland this season was a shortage of scare actors throughout the attraction. This led to multiple areas of dead space, forcing the scare actors that were encountered to provide twice as horrifying and memorable performances. A more filled out scare actor crew would undoubtedly enhance the experience. The other downfall was the bunching up of groups about halfway through the attraction. Spacing was not an issue in the Den of Darkness OR Frightmare Asylum, so we chalked this up as an entrance timing issue and hope the Field of Screams team can slow down the pace of folks entering the attraction moving forward. But all in all, Nocturnal Wasteland once again delivered a solid 10-15 minutes of in attraction experience that is sure to please all haunt goers!

Last but not least we ended our evening with the HAUNTED HAYRIDE! This 20 minute hayride experience is action packed and will deliver a heart-pounding experience you’ll never forget! Field of Screams was loading the hay wagons about ½ to ¾ capacity, to allow some spacing between groups. Once aboard the wagon you’ll nestle into the straw and listen to the ominous 20’ PUMPKIN KING as he explains what lies ahead! NEW for the 2020 season is the phase 2 enhancements to the Shade Cryogenic Facility AND the all new CHOP SHOP scene! The Shade Cryogenic Facility is a beautifully crafted, massive, three room scene with hyper-realistic effects and immaculate set design. NEW for 2020 are more animatronic creatures and special effects that are sure to overload your senses! The only downfall is still the lack of a microphone for the mad scientist in the first room of the Shade Cryogenic Facility! This scare actor did their absolute best to project their voice but unfortunately for the most part we couldn’t hear a word he/she said. As always you’ll still encounter the Toxic Wasteland, Hillbillies, Slaughterhouse, Vortex Tunnel, and MUCH more! The newest addition to the HAUNTED HAYRIDE is the all new CHOP SHOP scene towards the end of the ride. This scene is housed underneath the catwalks from Nocturnal Wasteland. As you look above to see other haunt goers traversing through Nocturnal Wasteland you’ll be greeted by several larger than life CLAWS! Field of Screams essentially turned this scene into one massive claw machine - if you aren’t careful you might just be plucked from the haywagon. Not to mention the several other new elements and special effects that the CHOP SHOP scene throws at you, which you’ll have to find out for yourself. Simply put, the Field of Screams HAUNTED HAYRIDE is a world class attraction that all haunt enthusiasts MUST experience!

Facing the challenging scenario of adapting to safety protocols for the 2020 season, Field of Screams did an excellent job adapting masks into their costuming. Characters previously heavily using makeup effects have been limited/restrained with mandatory face coverings, removing a bit of the ability to be expressive or emote using facial cues. The haunt staff did an excellent job adapting, utilizing body language, postures, movements, and amping those qualities up to keep the fear and creep factor pulsing on high drive throughout each of the haunted attractions. This speaks to the professionalism of the actors and their willingness to always adapt and grow, committing to their characters and working to developing them. The previous years of a *very* hands-on experience has changed, but actors have adapted to hiding in new locations, maintaining safe but effective distances, utilization of body language and building off of the more limited set of options they have this year.

Field of Screams proved that the haunted attraction industry is filled with innovative and creative folks who even in the midst of a pandemic find ways to ensure the show goes on! Our squad felt the Field of Screams team excelled at providing a horrifying, immersive, and most importantly SAFE haunted attraction experience! Yes things are a bit different in this wonky year we call 2020, but Field of Screams found a way to remote us into a brief world of “normalcy” and allowed us to kick off our 2020 haunt season on a SPOOKY FUN note! If you’re considering venturing out to some haunted attractions this fall, make sure Field of Screams is on your list, as they won’t disappoint. Are you brave enough to #SurviveTheScreams?

Individual Attraction Ratings:

Attraction Name: Den of Darkness

Overall Attraction Rating: 9/10

Cast & Crew Rating: 9.5/10

Set Design & Special Effects Rating: 9/10

Scare/Thrill Factor Rating: 8.5/10

Attraction Name: Frightmare Asylum

Overall Attraction Rating: 9/10

Cast & Crew Rating: 9.5/10

Set Design & Special Effects Rating: 9/10

Scare/Thrill Factor Rating: 8.5/10

Attraction Name: Nocturnal Wasteland

Overall Attraction Rating: 8.5/10

Cast & Crew Rating: 8/10

Set Design & Special Effects Rating: 9.5/10

Scare/Thrill Factor Rating: 8/10

Attraction Name: Haunted Hayride

Overall Attraction Rating: 9/10

Cast & Crew Rating: 9/10

Set Design & Special Effects Rating: 10/10

Scare/Thrill Factor Rating: 8/10

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