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Please note: this review is for the 2010 season rather than the current season.

Hauntfest - CLOSED -

by Dr Caligari (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 9, 2010 at about 6 a.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: Very High

Review


I had a lot of anticipation for going to this haunted house. This was my first time to what is becoming a classic. Hauntfest has been known for the attention to detail that they give there haunted house every year. It's got a great location that is accessible to those both in and outside of the city.



It is interesting to see the area usually given away to cream puffs, cows, and nature conservation booths filled with a large crowd gathered together blasting themselves with sounds of horror and enjoying the enjoying zombies and serial killers running pell mell all over the State Fair grounds.



The haunted house that they awaited held nothing back and was nothing short of amazing. The attention to detail in the scenes and the non-stop pace of screams and scares made what probably was a fairly short haunted house seem much, much longer.


Signage / Visibility / Location


Being that the location is State Fair Park, I don't think that most people would have any issue finding this. I did not notice much signage for the actual haunted house near the gate, which may make a person not familiar with the fairgrounds uncertain as to where to enter.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


For a waiting area, the people at Hauntfest can't have a much better one. The whole area is haunted and you can choose where to enjoy yourself while waiting for the haunted house.

You can enjoy music, a movie, or just people watching outside.

I will also say that everybody should try out "The Last Ride" while waiting to get to the haunted house. It is a few extra dollars, but it is worth getting a taste for what is going to happen to your mortal corpse after you have left this plane of existence.

That being said, I will note some issues. The night I was there, the wait was easily over an hour. If your not into dancing to hip hop or having yourself blasted with music outside (from the movie screen + from the music at the front of the house, which clashed most or all of the time), the experience may leave something to be desired. I think more people fall into this category than Hauntfest would want to think. Some people just looked miserable waiting to get in.

Actors' Performance


The amount of actors inside the haunt and the quality of their performance will leave an impression in me for a while. They maintained their character and their energy at a level that I would not have imagined they could have. The hard work they put into their characters showed.

I was especially impressed by one bloody fingered female zombie that worked the crowd the majority of the night. She stayed in character no matter what the crowd did, which is a testament to how good she was. Neither was she an exception, when looking at the other actors. It just helped lend to a truly great experience inside the haunted house.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


It is hard to get special effects and scenes of this caliber outside of a major amusement park. Whether it is walking through an 'outdoor' scene with wood chips underneath or staggering through a disorienting cage maze, the little touches that are added throughout really help put you, mentally, into the scene which they create. They utilized animatronics, but only to flush out the environment of a scene, which is often better than making it a centerpiece, as I have seen done in a lot of haunts.

This place is character-driven and the effects take a back seat to them, but this tends to give a better experience for a live-action haunt.

Length


It seemed longer than it probably was. I thought the length was appropriate for the fast pace of the haunted house, which may have left one overwhelmed if it had been too long.

Crowd Control


I was given a ticket without any instruction. The individuals working with the haunt were not that helpful with communicating to people what was going on, which led to large quantities of people looking lost after getting in. It also led to a lot of people asking: "Where is the Haunted House?" In all honesty, the staff looked overwhelmed the night I was there. Luckily, the crowd was fairly well behaved and there seemed to be little issue other than confusion.

Most Memorable Moment


Besides "The Last Ride" (which I will remember for a long, long, time), there were many good scenes in the haunted house. It would be hard to pick my favorite.

It probably would have been trying wrestle my way through the great morgue scene that they put on. Body bags are creepy.

Summary

Stellar haunted attraction, though the somewhat unpleasant wait to get in tended to take away from the experience.

View all Hauntfest - CLOSED - reviews

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August 22nd, 2019 1:44 p.m. CDT 1.9