Finally, Ghost and his friend What a Witch made their annual pilgrimage to FrightWorld America's Screampark. After our recent interview with Stephen Szortyka, Frightworld's GM and Director of Operations and master of all things terror, we were excited to see what spooks were in store for us this year!
This season, Frightworld moved into a new and much larger space, and the possibilites ran through our heads, to see just how they would make use of all the new room. Upon entering we were instanly conflicted on which wicked house we should explore first, and impressed with the layout of the houses.
There was "Eerie State Asylum," "Grind House," "Condemned," "Phobias"-- and the all new "Insantiy." Did we want the backwoods terror of the "Grind House?" The creepy old Asylum? A walk through haunted woods? Or whatever "Insanity" had in store for us? We decided on the Asylum first.
Walking into the first room of Asylum, the door shutting behind us, I was instantly aware of what I love about Frighworld, and what makes this haunted attraction so special. Right off the bat, there are new tricks-- and delightfully startling and scary treats-- in the old Asylum. Frightworld is a master of reinvention, and their actors were-- as they seem to take pride in being-- at the top of their game that night. Across the board, Frightworld's actors are so adept at becoming a character it is always impressive. Boo School, it would appear, pays off. The patients wandering the Asylum were excellently unnerving this year. Halfway through the house, we looked both ways down a hallway. To our left, lay a part of the Asylum we had walked through. To our right, looking farther down the hallway, was what appeared to be the neighboring house. Yes, from the Asylum you can see into the Grind House, and vice versa. The effect in person is wonderful, and exactly the kind of detail that makes Frightworld stand above the rest.
Without spoiling the scares, the highlights of Frightworld in their new space are legion. In the "Grind House," we walked into a closet-- in clothes and mess and darkness-- and the claustrophobia it induced was surprising, and got this Ghost's heart going strong. And, as always, the balloon rooms did not disappoint. For anyone unfortunate-- or fortunate? -- enough to not know what the balloon rooms are, they are the walls (and sometimes ceilings and floors) made of balloon-like material which you must walk through to make it out of a haunt. This Ghost and Witch have always appreciated the simple terror they throw on you; the claustrophobic darkness pressing into you, making you wonder if you will get out alive (literally). As I walked through an even longer-- and more twisted-- balloon room at Frightworld, the scare worked its best on me. What had to be about 10 seconds before emerging from the room, I found I had been in there long enough to take the scare to the next level. I was sweating, panicked. In other words, the ballon rooms this year, with more space to stretch out, did not disappoint.
|The Ghost, the man behind Frightworld and the Witch.|
"Insanity," Frightworld's new house, is a big bowl of tricks and treats. Without getting into any spoilers, there is a scare in "Insanity" that made me scream, curse and jump at the same time-- and instantly clap. A top notch, class act jump that is just brilliance. Bravo, Frightworld. The puzzle within "Insanity" was the perfect mix of environment and mind-teaser-- and we were so impressed with this new house.
We have written here before about the walk in the woods haunt. The kind that take you through sheds and graveyards and outdoor scenes of darkness and fright. The kind that so many haunts seem to forget. "Condemned" offered us our terrifying walk in the woods this year... the one we were waiting for. We tried to linger and enjoy the atmosphere, but the pig-faced residents chased us away. The cemetery, and other mist filled nighttime scenes in the haunt were darkly beautiful. Our haunted hearts loved every minute of it.
In talking with Stephen Szortyka after we experienced all the haunts, we saw first hand how his passion for his haunt and his team who puts it all on exists in every dark corner of Frightworld. In the haunts, in the actors, in the air and on the screen of horror movie trivia-- Frightworld gets it. Frightworld cares about the art of the scare, and explores what frightens us with both a knowledge of the past and an originality that is always a breath of fresh air-- the kind that takes our breath away.
Frightworld gets fear right. Whether it is the creaking doors of the asylum, the silence of the graveyard before you meet its residents, the visceral terror of "Grind House" or the emotion of "Insanity" -- Frightworld knows what scares us-- and is never afraid to use anything that makes us wonder, or see, what terror makes us jump in the night.