Please note: this review is for the 2008 season rather than the current season.

Wisconsin Feargrounds

by louiscyphre (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 17, 2008 at about 3:30 p.m.

Fun Factor: High Fear Factor: Medium


Geez, I was just a little disappointed; I mean, obviously they've worked very hard on their haunt again this year, and maybe we were there on an off-night, but...having attended Morgan Manor two years ago and being impressed with the imagination, characterization, and overall creativity and execution of the place, I had high expectations for the three haunted houses of Wisconsin Feargrounds...and they were good, but just not mind-blowingly cool.  There are three houses in all, including a 3-D Funhouse where you have to wear 3-D glasses to get the full effect, which sounds really cool, is really cool at first, but by the end, just kind of cool.  It feels to me like they were trying to do too much this time, and stretched the contents of one Grade-A+ Haunted House into three Grade-B+ Haunts.  So, I guess, it takes more time to cover the whole thing, but the effect is eventually diluted, and, to be honest, I was kind of tired of it all by the end of the third haunt.  It also felt like stretching the haunts out over three locations led to less ghouls, as we noticed a number of the same ghouls having to cut through and be used in multiple rooms and scenes.  I dunno, It felt like there were some budget cuts or something, less ghouls ultimately doing more work; maybe they should unionize. 

Actually, I hope all that doesn't sound too negative; we did have a really good time overall, and there are some scenes in here which are amazing -- one in particular, involving having to work your way through an increasingly narrowing rubbery space, with the walls and ceiling actually drooping down onto you more and more as you advance and it seems to be getting harder to breathe and which actually kind of panicked several members of our group, was an incredibly original scene; everyone in my group talked this up for the 45 minute ride home, so hats off to whoever thought that up -- we need more of you!  Oh, and there is a potted plant that isn't what it seems...and some of the 3-D illustrations in the Funhouse were super-cool.  I mean, a 3-D painting of a malevolent Winnie the Pooh holding a bloody butcher's knife aloft is in its own orbit of cool. 

Signage / Visibility / Location

Very easy to find, just follow directions on the website, right off 90/94, in the Waukesha Fairgrounds (hence the pun).  Tons of parking, including actual restrooms and not just porta-potties, which was a big hit with the ladies.  The Haunt is in several buildings on the grounds. 

Wait Area / Line Entertainment

Very efficient, they line you up in various columns and let subsequent groups in individually.  There's a lot to do while waiting, they have various crowd-distractor games to watch or participate in like that Gladiator thing where two opponents stand on padded posts and try to knock each other off with padded Darth Maulish double-sided sticks.  And it looked like they had some kind of bouncy-boxing thing, too; I wasn't sure if these cost money to do or not (it got kind of confusing).  There were some nicely-made-up ghouls walking around menacing the people in line.  Oh, and the waiting area is in a heated tent, so it was quite comfortable. 

Actors' Performance

Performances were good, some scenes had some really great little storylines developing (shout out due to the Librarian Ghoul!), and there was one ragged-y guy wandering around who kept yelling that he "just wants to see (my) wife and children!" who was really great, 'cause that's a very different approach to unnerving the customers; someone should ask him what happened....  I also liked the clown who was looking for "Chuckie!" in the 3-D Funhouse; sometimes you would hear him calling this out from other rooms and it would rhythmically line up with the weird music in the Funhouse for a cool effect.  I also liked that the urinator on the toilet apologizes for peeing on you (!).  It doesn't cost anything to be polite. 

Sets Scenes / Props / FX

Well, there's a lot of hanging stuff that you have to duck, and lots and lots of smelly hemp rope used.  Actually, there's a space where there are all these human heads (severed human heads!) hanging all over and blocking your way, and when you knock into one, it hits a bunch of the others, and then you've got yourself a hallway of swinging human heads on strings to get through, which is even more awkward than it sounds.  There is also lots of fog and strobes and lasers in various rooms, used to varying effect.  And, as above, the 3-D Funhouse is quite cool, but seemed a little lacking in ghouls and scares when we went through; can I just put in another call to stop over-monsterizing clowns?  A clown is creepy and scary all by itself, people, it doesn't need blood-red eyes and dripping fangs and a hook hand and bat wings and a stupid chainsaw.  Just make it a clown!

The giant 3-D illustrations on the walls of the 3-D Funhouse are pretty much a must-see, though they range from boring, overly-fangy horror movie stereotypes ( see above) to cool and creative perversions of childhood iconography. 


Excellent, each house took about 15-20 minutes to go through, and we never ran into other groups, so pacing was really good. 

Crowd Control

As above, very well-done, you wait in columns and they let you in a column at a time.  They also sold concessions outside near the ticket space. 

Most Memorable Moment

I have to say, having a whole rubbery passage close in on you while also slowly dropping down on you was a bit like being swallowed; never experienced that before!


Overall, I had too-high expectations for this one; on its own merits, well-done, but not as creative or engaging as I had seen in the past.  Stretching over three haunts dilutes the overall effect, and I would suggest tightening this up in the future.  Was still a lot of fun, and you should probably see what a 3-D Funhouse looks like, anyway.  And beware the potted plant!

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July 19th, 2024 3:29 a.m. CDT 24.08