Last year, one of the first haunts I heard about in Southern California was Field of Screams The Haunted Stadium, and ever since going to their event I've had a soft spot in my heart for them. I was really looking forward to experiencing their haunt this year because it's clear that the people putting this on love the haunt community and work hard at making the best haunts that they can; however, this year was a lot different than last year. Putting aside the fact that when I went it was right at closing time, resulting in not as many scare actors around, I felt like the overall tone of the event was much somber than the previous year and it was missing a lot of the fun and over-the-top, spooky shenanigans I had become familiar with. Pushing those feelings to the side, I went into each maze with a clean slate hoping for the best. In the end, though this event fell short for, I at least got to experience a few mazes that left me grinning and spooked.
MAZE #1 - ILLUSIONS
Synopsis: Half black out. Half 3D maze. This will put your senses to the test as you journey through a labyrinth of complete darkness as well as an abundance of sounds, feelings and brilliant sights.
Thoughts: This haunt didn't really do much for me in terms of scares or designs. The majority of the time you are inside the maze there are other actors walking around wearing neon masks that are reflective due to a blacklight, but these actors weren't really giving any effort into trying to scare guests that came through. Sure, things were in 3D but nothing was really scary nor did anything really jump out from the 3D designs plastered throughout the walls of the maze. Compared to last year's 3D haunt, which I consider to be one of the best 3D haunts I've ever gone through, I was really disappointed with ILLUSIONS. I hope next year they are able to up their game and do something that has a higher caliber to it.
MAZE #2 - DESCENT
Synopsis: Take a trip down an old abandoned mine shaft. Find your way out or fall victim to the heinous creatures of this abyss.
Thoughts: I thoroughly enjoyed this maze for what it was. I liked the idea of being in a mine shaft and the actors that performed in this haunt were extremely interactive with guests that went through. Even before we entered the maze the scare actors were messing around with those waiting in line to get in. What set this maze apart from all the other ones was there was a dark-ride type of experience that simulated going down into Hell. Who doesn't enjoy a trip to Hell when the moment is right? As I exited this maze I could feel myself grinning from ear to ear due to all the fun I had on the inside.
MAZE #3 - INFERNO
Synopsis: Enter a house that's tormented by a younger spirit who has a burning desire to keep you forever.
Thoughts: This is my other favorite house that I went through that evening. Though simplistic in nature when it came to the design, it really captured what it felt like to be in a house that was burning to the ground. You could even smell the tinges of smoke and charred woods (or possibly bodies) throughout the entire maze which really added to the overall experience. My favorite part about this maze though was the actors, especially those that were burnt to a crisp. It wasn't that they jumped out at you, I mean some definitely did, but it was the quiet ones that sent a chill down your spin, with their dead eyes and slow movements. I will admit, those moments were the ones that actually got me in the end.
MAZE #4 - INSANITY
Synopsis: Sometimes life doesn't make sense. This maze is weird, wild and disorienting... Enjoy!
Thoughts: There were some aspects of this maze that I really liked. One being that the actors were a lot of fun to interact with. However, this haunt didn't offer up anything scary or creepy. It was essentially a maze with strobe lights and disorienting props and though at times they were fun, I feel like it was just a filler because the designers couldn't figure out anything else they wanted to do for a haunt. I wish I could say more about this haunt, but it's exactly as described, weird and disorienting with not much else in the way of scares.
MAZE #5 - HUNTED
Synopsis: Ever have a feeling someone is watching you? Ever feel like you're in the wrong place at the wrong time? Stay on your toes in this shack of torturous sports.
Thoughts: The last haunt of the night was HUNTED and I'm glad we ended on this note. Though it wasn't the best maze at Haunted Stadium, it still had some meat on its bones compared to some of the other attractions. The first thing that I noticed was the set design and I'll admit this is one of the better designed haunts of the evening. As with most of the other mazes, I appreciated how interactive the actors were and the length that they went to try to scare us. Overall, this was one of the more enjoyable mazes and one of the few mazes that actually had a solid storyline from start to finish.
All in all, though there were some aspects that I really enjoyed about Field of Screams The Haunted Stadium, I felt as though there sometime missing from the entire event. Compared to last year, a year in which I really enjoyed The Haunted Stadium, this year felt like it was thrown together last minute. I don't know where the disconnect came from or what the ultimate missing puzzle piece is but I really had a hard time enjoying the overall event. I hope next year they can put on something that's a bit more spectacular with unique maze designs and quality scares. I still have hope for Field of Screams The Haunted Stadium and I hope to see them next year with an even bigger and badder attraction.
For more information on Field of Screams The Haunted Stadium, visit the official website at www.hauntedstadium.com and follow them on social media on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HauntedStadium, Instagram at hauntedstadium and Twitter @HauntedStadium.