So… What ISexactly?
Let’s just dive on into the nitty gritty!The Scare Factor takes pride in providing the most accurate and fair reviews that we can possibly produce.
“Wait… who’s ‘we?'”We’re glad you asked!
What makes The Scare Factor so different is that our reviews are published by a collaboration of professional haunted attraction reviewers that we call our “Scream Teams.”
Our Teams help us review haunts from different parts of the Country because, let’s face it, one group of haunt-goers just can’t visit them all in one season.
It takes a special kind of haunt enthusiast to become one of our Scream Teams. Some of them even have experience directly working for haunts! They’ve been interrogated, completed mock reviews (which were analyzed by The Scare Factor’s owners), been trained on what to look for while visiting the haunts and instructed on what to include in their reviews. We look for talented individuals who have a true passion for the haunted attraction industry that can also demonstrate a good understanding of the English language and how it’s written. All of our reviews are edited before being submitted to the public.Some of them coordinate with the attractions to determine their review dates and, while this isn’t always the case, they’re usually compensated for their work with one-time, complimentary tickets.
“So let’s get this straight…You guys get free tickets AND you tell the attractions you’re coming?”Yes.
Some of our Teams prefer to let the haunts know they’re coming for a couple of reasons. One, is to arrange a date and time when the owner(s) or management will be available for an interview. Another reason is to give the attraction the chance to put their best foot forward. After all, they don’t deserve a bad review or score if their actors were just having a bad night or a bunch of props happened to break all at once. Thirdly, this gives management the chance to prepare their ticket booth for our Team’s arrival if comped tickets have been arranged.For full disclosure, each of our Teams know that free tickets are not a “right” or required of the haunts they visit.All of our Teams are okay with paying for their own tickets, if necessary… however, failure to provide them may affect the Team’s ability to travel to them. Our Teams understand that comped tickets are a privilege that is granted by the attractions at their sole discretion. If free items are offered, our Teams are not required to accept it and, in fact, we encourage them NOT to. But, if an attraction is adamant about thanking a Team for their time, then free tickets or merchandise may be accepted under the condition that it does not affect the content or outcomes of their reviews in any way. The Scare Factor, nor any of our Teams, shall accept bribery with free tickets, food, merchandise, advertisements, etc. under penalty of being entirely removed from our review system or any association thereof. Our goal is to honestly steer customers to haunts they will enjoy and hopefully help the attractions as well. It does us, the customers, and the haunts no good to accept bribery, so we’ve made it our policy not to deal with it.
We get to know our reviewers. Some may say, “Well they can be different people.” That’s true… to an extent. Each of our Teams has a designated “Team Leader.” That person is basically the “chief” of the Team and must attend every single haunted attraction that the Team reviews. This person will also be the final decision maker when considering scores. The Team Leader may not always bring the same people with them, but the Leaders themselves will be at every haunt. Our teams have also been directed to only allow a total of 4 reviewers per visit, although some of our teams only consist of 1 or 2 people most of the time.
What about our reviews?
Each professional review from The Scare Factor consists of 8 categories and is performed by one of our Scream Teams. After a Scream Team visits an attraction, the Team members collaborate to give each category a score between 1 and 10 as they deem appropriate based on their experience at the attraction. The average of these scores results in the overall “Scare Factor” score. In a review, this section is also a summary/overview of the attraction.
The Scare Factor’s Rating System
N/A = Not Applicable1-2 = Unsatisfactory3-4 = Poor to Below Average5-6 = Average to Above Average7-8 = Good to Very Good9-10 = Exceptional (Some of the best and/or most effective we’ve ever seen)
We don’t base our scores on how much money is put into a show. Instead, we base them on how effective each aspect was when we came through. If the characters aren’t supposed to have makeup, that’s fine, we will include that. It doesn’t mean the haunt will be given a lower score because of it. If they don’t follow a single theme, that’s okay too, we will also include that in the written section of the review… but that doesn’t mean it will negatively impact the review whatsoever. Our goal is to let customers know what the haunts have while not giving everything away and providing scores for different questions in case a haunt wants to make improvements based on what we said.
The following are brief descriptions of each of The Scare Factor’s review categories:Cast: Includes the actors & actresses performing at the attraction.Costuming: Includes makeup, masks and costumes.Customer Service: Can include information about attractions’ staff members, crowd entertainment, safety, etc.Atmosphere: This category covers the overall “feel” of the attraction. Information about how the exterior effects help or hinder this “feel” is also included.Special Effects: This category talks about interior props, lighting, details, etc.Theme: Was there a method to the madness? Did everything seem to “belong?” This category covers it.Fright Effect: This category talks about how scary it was and what kind of tricks they had up their sleeves.Value: This category covers the “bang for your buck” factor of the attraction.
The Scare Factor is unique in its approach to reviewing haunted attractions in that a standardized review system is utilized by all of our Scream Teams. This allows us to apply the same review criteria to haunts across the United States! Something to consider when comparing reviews is the experience/background of the Team that wrote the review. The more years and attractions reviewed by a Team, the more solid and objective their review will be. While we cannot completely eliminate the subjectivity of a given review, we do work diligently to minimize it.
Since 2011, we have reviewed 200 differently-located attractions and posted a total of 397 reviews.