Welcome witches and warlocks,
I had the pleasure of attending Field of Screams: The Haunted Stadium and figured I would offer up my thoughts. Just so everyone knows where I am coming from, I have never attended this event in the past, though it has been on my radar for quite some time. Like my other reviews, I will be putting the houses in the order that I saw them with some random thoughts on the other going ons thrown in for good measure.
Witch Trials (Entrance)
It is not often that a haunt designs a mini experience just to welcome people into the event. There was a pretty effective little trick they pulled off just before we hit the main courtyard that caught me nicely off guard. All in all, this might not have been a long or themed experience, but it certainly was memorable.
High Lake (House)
Description: Built on the grounds of pure evil, this abandoned warehouse has been reopened for use of a different kind. What was to host a group of special individuals has gone horribly wrong. Bodies and minds have been taken over by otherwordly beings turning these residents into raged maniacs.
Thoughts: This was probably the longest house of the evening. It was within these walls that we first began to experience the commitment of the actors, who were trying their best to get a good scare. Apart from Witch Way, which I will get to in a bit; this had the least amount of set design within the event. That being said, it seemed like there were actors around nearly every corner and they were able to utilize the bathrooms that the maze was built through in an effective fashion. Also of note, they managed to have two similar looking girls wearing the same outfits at the end of one of their hallways to represent the Grady twins (take note, Universal Hollywood). All in all, while this was not my favorite house of the night, the length of the experience combined with the cast made this a fun walk-through.
Description: Looking for tasty treats? So are the keepers of this house made of cookies and sweets. Except their idea of tasty doesn't involve sugar... it's flesh!
Thoughts: The concept of this house is one of my favorites of the evening as I have always enjoyed twisted takes on fairytales. There were some nice details in here from the gingerbread men in various states of disrepair to the candy themed curtains that transition us between the rooms. There were also quite a few set pieces and animatronics along the way to distract so that the actors could sneak up behind the guests. There were a few moments where I thought the actors could have been a bit more intense in this one as the cast at High Lake had set the bar pretty high (see what I did there?). All in all, this was one of the more visually appealing houses of the evening, but I wish that I had been scared more on my walk through.
Witch Way (House)
Description: Looking to escape the clutches of Evil? You're going to have to look very hard in this labyrinth of darkness. A deja vu of endless hallways, dead ends and the unknown breathing down your neck. What's around the next corner? Step in and find out.
Thoughts: This was a pretty much blacked out maze. No joke, there was no clear exit from the outset. We had to feel our way around and rely on an unreliable flashlight to find our way out of this black walled nightmare. It was the perfect scenario to get some good scares, yet I only ever saw one actor within the confines of this house. I have to imagine that there are more, but I must have never walked down the hallways where they were hiding. From a sheer claustrophobia standpoint the darkness combined with the fact that we kept running into dead ends made this an effectively creepy experience. All in all, the labyrinthine aspects of this one made it incredibly memorable and with a few more actors within these walls it could easily be the scariest house at the event.
The Damned (House)
Description: A ship harboring a greedy Captain has caught the eye of the King in which he stole from. The high royalty summons his sea hag to reclaim what is rightfully his. Gold coins, gems, 500 year old rum and more are strewn about this maze while the gruesome creature hunts for the one thing she will keep for herself... their cursed souls.
Thoughts: I honestly was not expecting much from this house, but it ended up being the surprise hit of the evening. It starts with a memorable pirate character outside giving us a little bit of the story before we pass into the realm of the sea hag. The set pieces were fantastic as they were plentiful and very eye catching. In fact, the costuming of the cast members was also visually pleasing as they ranged from the more typical nautical outfits to an incredible mermaid sporting a trident (probably my best scare of the evening). Throughout the house the cast members were fantastic at scaring while also pushing forward the idea that there was some real danger on the horizon. All in all, this was the best house at the event and well worth seeing.
Zombie Outbreak Laser Tag (Laser Tag)
Description: Now you and your friends can take on killer zombies with realistic replica weaponry! Can you survive the infected?
Thoughts: The first thing regular laser tag players will notice is the specially built guns which save us from having to wear the normal outfits. Apart from that, these babies are pretty darn cool with a heavy duty feel and accurate aiming. The experience was quite lengthy, about seven minutes, and allowed us to take on a crew of zombies as we battled our way towards the front. Sure, there were no scares, but the accuracy of the zombie opponents was enough to frighten me. All in all, this was just a really good time that laser tag enthusiasts should give a look.
Roaming Actors (Scarezone)
No review would be complete without taking a moment to comment upon the many roaming actors at the event. These crews made use of the lines and the entrance to try to achieve the best scare possible. One of the more amusing moments of the evening came from listening to these cast members interact with a group of guests. All in all, adding these characters to the mix made the time waiting in line pass a bit faster as their scaring or conversations provided plenty of entertainment.
All in all, this was a fun event that had some great actors rocking their roles. While there is some room for improvement on the sets, I have been told that they like to keep adding things right up until the final weekend so I imagine it will get more filled out as time goes by. Even with that being said, houses like The Damned are worth seeing as they are a clear indicator what this haunt can achieve from a set, costuming, and scares standpoint.
The Creeping Craig