The Scream Machine
23131 Ecorse Road, Taylor, MI 48180View All Details
Free Parking, Gift Shop/Souvenirs, You will NOT be touched, Indoor Waiting Line, All-Indoor Attraction
Team Body Bag reviewed this attraction on October 28, 2017.
Final Score: 8.78
Located in Taylor, Michigan is a haunt that has been terrorizing the greater Detroit area for the past 17 years with its creative frights, detailed scenes, and a great cast of creepy characters. The Scream Machine has kept haunt goers coming back for nearly 2 decades offering new tricks up its sleeve each season.
The owners informed us that TSM has a cast of about 24 actors on staff each night. That number surprised us as we would have guessed that there were more than that the night we visited based on the number of different scenes that had actors in them. The cast here obviously does a great job at covering multiple rooms as we didn’t really notice any dead spaces. The majority of the actors portrayed their roles with confidence and the startle actors, for the most part, displayed great timing with their pop scares. We especially enjoyed the actors in the more prolonged scenes. These characters used interesting voices, spoke creative dialogue, and interacted with us, adlibbing well when we spoke to them. There was one character who didn’t speak at all but still managed to be one of our favorite characters with their creepy movements and impeccable timing. The majority of our encounters with the cast, however, were fairly brief. A quick startle or a short line of dialogue were the norms. We would love to see a larger number of interactive roles for the cast members in the future because the few we experienced were among our most favorite moments during our entire tour.
The costuming and makeup work was well done with several characters’ costumes being top notch. We noticed at least adequate cosmetic attention to all the characters and everything looked professionally done. Most of the costumes looked complete, believable, and they all seemed appropriate for their character’s role. We noticed colored contacts, applications, professional quality masks, and attire that appeared to be custom made for the character.
Customer Service: 9.5
TSM is located in a spacious strip mall which was super easy to find with GPS, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding it. There is a large Scream Machine banner above the entrance with colorful lighting surrounding it letting you know you arrived at the haunt. Free parking was very convenient with the large mall-sized parking only feet away from the entrance. Waiting is completely indoors which is a welcome relief on rainy or cold nights. There is a gift shop and public restrooms as well as two fun 5-minute escape games on-site.
Having a strip mall location doesn’t do TSM any favors atmosphere-wise to the exterior of the attraction but with the ticket booth and queue line being located entirely indoors, it’s what’s inside that really counts. Once inside we were treated to an impressively detailed gothic castle facade and excellent lighting that really helped in setting the mood. A couple of roaming actors kept those waiting in line entertained and provided frights to some customers who were just arriving.
Special Effects: 9
The owners seem to have a real passion for their attraction and it really shows in the creativity of the effects and in the attention to detail of the sets. They have also been doing this for many years so they have accumulated quite a collection of cool effects and props. We were taken aback by the level of detail in several scenes as we weren’t expecting it to be at such a high level. One example of this would be the crypt scene, which honestly looked as good as many of the larger budget haunts that we have been to, from the excellent lighting to the authentic set pieces. The 3D artwork was very well done, especially the demons and monstrous creatures. We have to give a special shout-out to the Hellevator, while we’ve seen this effect many times at different haunts over the years, TSM is one of our favorites due to the excellent timing of the actor and clever lighting effect that gave us numerous creepy scares throughout our ride.
TSM didn’t appear to follow a single theme.
Fright Effect: 8.88
We enjoyed a wide variety of frights during our journey, many of which were quite unpredictable. There seemed to be a good mix of actor-based scares and animatronic startles, some of which you might only expect to see in a larger budget haunt. Creatures lunged at us, something loud and bright came racing towards us, things grabbed at us, and loud noises startled us. The best frights of the night came from the cast who got us with a mixture of pop, distraction, and creepy follow scares. One of our group members’ favorite actor scares was based on the idea that there’s something scary hiding under the bed. We really enjoyed the timing of several actors who seemed to hit us at just the right moment when we would least expect it. Being that TSM has a strong cast we would like to see more interactive scare attempts in the future, it would help extend the tour time and really add more to the overall fright effect.
General admission is priced at $18 and a VIP Fastpass is available for $25. It took our review group 11 minutes to complete our tour from start to finish which gives us a MPD (minute per dollar) score of .62. While this may be a relatively short attraction, we didn’t experience any wasted space or downtime. Every minute was pretty action-packed making it very much worth the price of admission. There are also 2 Escape Rooms available on-site for an additional $5 each. Overall we walked away quite impressed with The Scream Machine and are looking forward to future visits!