Haunt Review: Circus Circus Presents FRIGHT DOME

The weekend before Halloween, I had the chance to drive up to Las Vegas and experience one of Sin City’s most well known haunted attractions, the Fright Dome.  The Adventuredome at Circus Circus houses this mega haunted attraction that features 6 mazes, 5 scarezones, a 4D experience of the top kills in Friday the 13th, 2 live shows, and much much more!  It’s a sight to behold and an experience that must take forever to create.  When speaking with creator Jason Egan, he mentioned that they have already begun work on next year’s show and I don’t blame him, the amount of preparation and dedication to creating such an event is mind-boggling. This year’s festivities brought 3 new experiences featuring Krampus, the deadly animatronics from Five Nights at Freddy’s, and a solo experience through an insane asylum in Ouija.  Something that I have never seen in any haunt before was the use of a “guide” who led you throughout each maze.  At first I was taken aback but I soon realized how much of an added benefit that was.  These guides could signal to the scare actors when guests were coming through as well as join in on the antics taking place.  It was such a great added element that I wish more large scale haunted attraction would consider doing as it really helps with crowd control and pulsing the line.  With all that said, I’m sure you are curious as to what I thought of Fright Dome, so without further ado, here are my reviews of all 6 haunted mazes! 

HELLCATRAZ: ZOMBIE OUTBREAK AT THE PRISON ON THE BAY
Synopsis: The legendary prison on the bay comes to life and is overrun by past inhabitants. Escaping “The Rock” won’t be so easy with flesh eating zombies on your heels. 

Thoughts: I think out of all the mazes at Fright Dome, this one was my least favorite so I’m glad that I got to go through this first.  I will give credit to the scare actors since they worked their asses off to make the most of what they were given; however, I felt like this maze was lacking a substantial amount of actors resulting in less scares.  Also, the individual who was leading us through the maze had a very soft spoken voice which didn’t lend itself properly with all the noises going on around us.  One thing that I did enjoy about this maze though was the concept.  There have been numerous movies, television shows, and haunts which feature zombies in a prison, but as someone who has always had a bit of an interest in Alcatraz, I really liked that they used that backdrop for this maze.  My suggestions would be for next year to add in more scares and to have the lead actor project his voice more so that all can hear.  This maze has potential and I would like to see it grow in the next few years. 

WASTELAND 2: RISE OF THE MECHA-SAUR
SynopsisBack by popular demand with new sinister twists, Fright Dome’s own post-apocalyptic house returns!  Enter a world where the inhabitants battle carnivorous butchers, nomadic mechanics and more!

Thoughts: This was one hell of a romp through life on earth after a post-apocalyptic event has wiped out a large portion of the world.  I absolutely loved the experience that I had in this maze, especially with our guide, who was hilarious and interactive, as well as seeing the amount of detail that went into the design of this maze.  Though the scares could have been better, it didn’t take away from the crazy and sinister atmosphere that was present around every corner.  Unlike in Hellcatraz, this maze was filled to the brim with scare actors hiding in some of the most unbelievable of places.  I appreciated how interactive they were with us and it was quite apparent how much they enjoyed the roles they were playing.  As I mentioned before, the design and detail that went into this maze was impeccable.  The whole experience was made to feel as if the guest had been transported to a whole new world order and for that I appreciate all that went into the design.  This is definitely a maze you will want to visit next year if they keep it around.  It’s a lot of fun and there are some quality scares peppered throughout.  

CLOWNZ: COTTON CANDY, CARNAGE AND CHAOS
Synopsis: Enter the neon, luminescent world of crazed clowns in this nightmarish world of painted freaks and jesters gone wickedly wild!

Thoughts: When it comes to 3D mazes, I’m typically not a fan.  I’ve never really enjoyed them and I feel like they are a lost opportunity for something that could be much better.  Very rarely do I run into one that I actually enjoy, so it was quite a surprise when I ended up loving this one.  As with the previous mazes, a guide leads you through the maze, and in my particular case it was a Mexican Clown with a giant sombrero.  He was comical and loud and led me throughout the crazy labyrinth inhabited by these deranged clowns. I think the reason I enjoyed this maze so much was because it had other elements besides the 3D aspects, such as crazy lighting, well-hidden scare actors, a legitimate maze that focused on getting you lost, and a few special effects.  This is one of the most well-down 3D houses that I have ever gone through and I give the design department major props for pulling off such an effective maze.   

KRAMPUS HAUNTED HOUSE (NEW FOR 2016)
Synopsis: Twas the night before Christmas and all through Fright Dome not a creature was stirring but the Krampus did roam.  The joy and the jolly this beast is out to destroy while on his hunt for every wicked girl and boy.  The screams of the many are too much to bare - enter his house only if you dare.  Tis the season...to be TERRIFIED. 

Krampus’ Not So Silent Night is a Fright Dome original creation exclusive to the 2016 season from the minds of owner Jason Egan and horror guru Gary Tunnicliffe.  Guests will enter the dark world of Krampus - the legendary horned demon counterpart to Santa Claus known for terrorizing and holding captives in his lair.  High above the Adventuredome floor this house features high-tech FX, customized characters, snow and memorable Christmas smells. 

Thoughts: Krampus seems to be the mythical creature of the year as I have seen him popping up in haunts throughout the country.  Having gone through the Krampus house at both Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood and Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights Orlando, I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one.  However, I found myself being presently surprised with this maze as it was designed with it’s own version of events based on the legend.  One of the most effective aspects of this house wasn’t Krampus himself, but the minions that he created.  They were life-size porcelain dolls with cracked faces and they were terrifying to encounter.  Most of the time they were just mannequins, silently staring at you, but other times there was an actual person inside the doll and you could never tell who was real and who was fake.  I enjoyed being led through the maze by our very animated guide who was the mother to all these naughty children as well as seeing her confront their infamous father. Overall, this was a really terrific maze, and I was happy to see the designers take on such a popular story in their own way, as well as encountering the notorious beast at the end.  

FIVE NIGHTS AT FREDDY’S (NEW FOR 2016)
Synopsis: Fright Dome owner Jason Egan has teamed up with the creator of one of the most popular horror game franchises, Five Nights at Freddy’s, to bring it to life this year!  The infamous Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza is closed for the night so guests can tour the unsuspecting eatery - but BEWARE characters like Freddy, Bonnie, Chica & Foxy have a tendency to wander the hallways and stalk visitors.  Hopefully you’ll make it out before the morning…

Thoughts: Out of all the mazes at Fright Dome, this was the one I was most excited for.  Being familiar with the game, “5 Nights at Freddy’s” I knew what to expect when going in and my hopes were that the aspects that made the video game so exciting and terrifying would translate well into a haunted house.  I’m happy to report that they most certainly did, as this was my second favorite maze of the evening.  The set design was impeccable and looked as if it was ripped right out of the video game.  The animatronics of Freddy, Bonnie, Chica & Foxy were spot on and just as horrifying in real life, though I wish we got to interact with them more. Our guide was a lone “security detail” that took us through the pizza parlor while counting down the hours till we could leave… hopefully alive.  For those who are not familiar with the game, you may be confused with the pacing and the events that are unfolding during your experience so I highly suggest doing some research prior to going.  Those who are familiar will enjoy being able to walk through one of the scariest video games to come out in recent years.  

OUIJA SOLO MAZE (NEW FOR 2016) (FAST PASS EXCLUSIVE EXPERIENCE)
Synopsis: Enter the seance with others if you dare but be forewarned… this house chooses who will enter next.  Just when you thought there was safety in groups, you’ll find yourself separated and left all ALONE to navigate.  The abandoned hospital is seemingly harmless until you realize all of the spirits - good and bad - have been awakened within. 

Thoughts: Hands down, this was the best haunt of the evening and I wish all of the mazes at Fright Dome were at the caliber of this one.  From the scares, to the special effects, to the storyline, and the immersion of guests, this was by far superior to what else is at Fright Dome. I truly loved every minute within the confines of this abandoned hospital and it was easy to tell that the actors were having just as good a time.  This was the only haunt that allowed the guest to walk through without the presence of a guide and I liked having that feeling of being alone and being watched.  It was thrilling if not a bit dangerous because you weren’t sure who you were going to encounter when you turned that fateful corner.  If there is one house that needs to be visited at Fright Dome, it is by far this one.  

Overall, I had a great time at Fright Dome.  Though there are still some tightening up that needs to be done in some of the mazes, the experiences themselves are fun and creative.  I think the strongest attribute to Fright Dome is the actors - they were incredibly interactive and energetic, whether you were in line for a maze, walking through the scare zones or experiencing the haunt itself.   When speaking with Jason Egan, inquired as to how someone gets involved in the haunt industry and he informed me that this was all he ever wanted to do, starting from a young age where he designed home haunts to his much larger creations such as Fright Dome.  He has a passion for not just haunts, but horror in general, and it’s something that encompasses his entire life and it’s seen throughout all of his endeavors.  Hopefully in the next few years we will see some major changes and more haunts similar to Ouija, as I feel like they have something really special with that attraction.  All in all, going was a great experience and I look forward to seeing what Egan and his team have in store for haunt enthusiasts next year. 

For more information on Fright Dome, visit their website at www.frightdome.com.

Devastatingly Yours,
Shannon M.