Monday, October 26, 2015

Frightworld 2015

     It’s not Halloween until you walk into the darkness, and the screams fill the air. And that is exactly what happens when you walk out of the world—a suburban parking lot—and into the doors of Frightworld, America’s Screampark.

     Stephen Szortyka’s indoor haunted house park is put on every year in frighteningly spectacular fashion. Every year, What a Witch and the Ghost look forward to what Frightworld has planned to have jump out at us from our nightmares. Every year, we look forward to the originality, timelessness and terror Frightworld puts on—and this year was no exception.

     While other haunted attractions are content to rely on standard figures and (often copyrighted) characters of horror (Michael Myers, Freddy Kreuger, Walking Dead walkers)—Frightworld creates a world all original and all its own. And there is something for every part of the haunted heart. Whether you find you’re scared best in the walls of a creepy old Asylum, an outdoor cornfield and grave yard, in the creepy run down walls of secluded house, or in the dark—there will be something to make your heart race at Frightworld.

      In 2015, Frightworld did not disappoint. The mental hospital, the maze, the grind house, the dark. What rose to the top for us this year was a perfect mix of the old and the new. Our two favorite houses were "Grind House" and "Night Stalkers." 

      "The Grind House" is a house we have been scared in before, and we were again this year. The actors at Frightworld are top-notch, and their talent is on full display in grind house. The desolate, dirty, hoarded, grime and terror of Grind House-- with the sound of a chainsaw in the distance, screams Halloween. And makes us scream. Our favorite actor of the house (and night) was a woman who-- never breaking character, asks you to come play with her, in her room of dolls. It is such an unsettling, perfect haunt-- and the girl with the doll face and the unforgettable voice is truly horror film quality.

      "Nights Stalkers" was the new house this year, and it exceeded expectations. When you enter "Night Stalkers" one person in your group gets a flashlight handcuffed to their wrist. The flashlight is controlled by forces beyond you-- and you walk into the dark of the house, and the tone is instantly different. More adult, with few things that pop out at you, and more nuanced and with a fright far more lingering-- the darkness, and clinging to the flashlight in the house-- and how it fails you and reveals what is before you is the perfect experience of fear. The big reveal of the house is epic. We turned a corner and our flashlight revealed a room, large and populated with people, bodies. Shrouded and chained. Without spoiling the climax of the haunt, the experience is like no other we've had in a haunt before. "Night Stalkers" is a haunt that trusts you, and does not reveal all of its mysteries at once (if at all). And leaves you frightened long into the night and beyond.  

      We went to Frightworld on a Sunday night, and while the crowds were light when we came in, within a mere hour, hundreds-- if not over 1,000-- people had made their way into Frightworld, and created massive lines. Frightworld is always worth the wait, but we highly recommend the fast past as a money-well-spent investment. 

      Thank you, Frightworld, for another year of fear. 

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