Review of DementedFX Haunted Attraction
Review of DementedFX Haunted Attraction
Review of DementedFX Haunted Attraction
DementedFX is a Haunted Attraction located in Holyoke, MA.
530 Main Street, Holyoke, MA 01040View All Details
Free Parking, Restrooms/Porta Potties On-Site, Handicap Accessible, Food/Concessions, Gift Shop/Souvenirs, “Hi-Tech” Attraction, You will NOT be touched, Original Characters, Indoor Waiting Line, All-Indoor Attraction
Team Hallowoosh reviewed this Haunted Attraction on October 7, 2018.
Final Score: 9.43
If there is one thing that has stayed consistent in my haunted attraction touring career, it is the fact that DementedFX remains in my personal top three favorite haunts in New England. No other haunt I have ever been to has stayed more dedicated to their story then these guys have, and it keeps getting better every year.
Located right off the highway in Holyoke, Massachusetts, DementedFX has been entertaining the downtown area for three years now after the big move from East Hampton. If you like what you’ve seen before then you are in for big surprises this year.
Professor Friden needs your help. He has the secret information that could save the world from a terrible infection. But you must travel through the Bio Med Corp Facility where the initial outbreak occurred. He will guide you on your quest and make sure you are safe from the creatures that roam the halls until something goes horribly wrong.
We went through the Bio Med Corp building expecting to see a good amount of actors like we would with most haunted attractions. From what we could see, we counted about twenty-three actors, not including the mechanisms that required maneuvering by hand (fancy way of saying puppets). This by no means is to say that fewer actors equals less scary. In a lot of haunted house cases less can be more and, at DementedFX, this strategy is apparent.
Two actors were working the line that night and doing a great job. They both were scaring damn near every single person that walked around the corner.
Inside the haunt, the first real acting we saw was from the main character of the attraction, Professor Friden. He contacted us through a video platform as we entered the first room. You might recognize him from a lot of the promo videos online. He explained to us that he was trapped on one of the floors inside the building and has secret documents that could unlock a cure for the outbreak. This was probably one of the finest actors I have seen at a haunted attraction even though he was not physically there.
At multiple points through the attraction, we encountered military soldiers. They were all yelling at us for being there in the first place. They tried to escort us or guide us to safety and failing miserably. Their intensity was believable and passionate.
The majority of the rest of the haunt was filled with doctors and scientists who usually filled in some gaps where a scare was needed. But, one actor in particular was fantastic. His name was Doctor Arber (or maybe Arbor, we never got the official spelling) and he was one of the lead scientists involved with what Bio Med Corp was researching. I wouldn’t want to spoil what his role is in the attraction, but I do want to acknowledge his incredibly-convincing acting and the way his character introduced us into the next room. In a brief statement from him, he also gave a little bit of clarity to what exactly was happening at Bio Med Corp as well, which was only assumed all these years up until now.
I’ve always appreciated the costuming and makeup at DementedFX since they first opened in 2014. One of the best things about their costuming process was the ability to start simple and progress to more extreme ideas without breaking the boundaries of the storyline.
All military soldiers are completely dressed from head to toe as they would be in the real service. With the exception of maybe two or three actors, everyone else was a doctor or scientist with blood and gashes and missing limbs. The makeup jobs on a lot of these actors were done in such a way to show that none of them went through the same experience. I loved this aspect of their characters. It plays along perfectly with the variety of chaos that we endured inside DementedFX.
The only costume that didn’t seem to fit the theme of the haunt was one line actor, who was actually doing the best job at frightening everyone multiple times throughout the night. He looked more like an evil scarecrow, but he was doing such a fantastic job entertaining people I couldn’t stay mad – plus he had an authentic Aztec death whistle, so he’s officially the coolest.
Customer Service: 9.62
The haunt is fairly easy to find. It’s right off of a major highway and it’s the only place on the road that has a big flashy fried dough stand. Not exactly the thing that screams “Haunted House Here!” but it does serve as a beacon.
The side of the building used to have these large, arched niches. Now each of them is filled with a character and letter to spell out DementedFX. It takes up about 50 feet or so, pretty hard to miss. Above the entrance to the building in red letters, it says “Haunted House” and it’s surrounded by a ton of green ivy. The actors are occasionally outside scaring people who probably are coming into the attraction, but I’m sure some people just passing by get caught off guard as well.
You will be patted down before entering the building. Phones and keys and wallets are fine, but for the safety of others and yourself, they will not tolerate weapons or paraphernalia of any kind.
Tickets are available at the door, but it is recommended that you purchase your tickets online. Your online tickets come with a QR Code that they can scan and give you your tickets right away so you can grab a beverage and get in line quick.
Parking isn’t so much an issue as it is just an inconvenience. There is a small unattended lot behind the building, but it looks more like an employee or resident lot, and there doesn’t seem to be any markings for where you can or can’t park. We’ve parked there plenty of times and there was never any issue, just that little voice in the back of our heads asking if it’s going to be OK. Most customers opt to park on the side of Adams St. which is the corner street right where the haunt is. There is no street parking in front of the building or across the street, but there is street parking by the next building up Main St. Just keep an eye out for the few “no parking” signs and fire hydrants and driveways.
Indoor bathrooms are available, which is rare at a haunted attraction and a nice bonus. Please be respectful and considerate of others when using the facilities.
Before the actual official starting point of the attraction, we stood in a room to watch a short video that detailed the rules of the attraction. I don’t think you will ever hear someone speak so brutally honest about what you should and shouldn’t do in a haunt, and I love every second of it. For instance, he details to us that we don’t have to touch anything in the haunt, there are no doors that we have to open. So if we see a door, “Don’t Open The F*#$KING Door!”
DementedFX is located inside what some people might see as an abandoned mill building. It is actually really creepy looking from the outside. A lot of broken windows and green vines growing up the sides make it almost ideal for a haunted attraction in the city.
Inside the waiting area, the atmosphere is much more party club style. Loud music, big screens showing music videos, laser lights, graffiti walls, the beer bars all make this place look and feel like a club. This is intentional and actually a smart move for an attraction like DementedFX. Customers could end up being in line for up to two hours or more if the attraction gets busy enough. The last thing a haunt owner would want you to go through for the hours leading up to the haunt is more haunt stuff. In a way, it would dull my senses to the similar things inside the attraction.
Plus, the reality is that, for most guests, this is supposed to be a fun night out. Grab a beer or a wine, watch the music videos, listen to the music, dance if you want to… just have a good time.
Special Effects: 9.83
There are too many things I would like to say about the effects in DementedFX, but it would give away too much. What I can say is that when a haunted house owner or builder talks to me about a place having too many animatronics or doesn’t know how to get the most out of an effect, I tell them to go here and see how it’s done.
DementedFX is a weird name for a haunted house. Originally, the owners Jeremy and David were making their own effects and getting into the market. We saw plenty of their original works inside the haunt, which makes this haunt even more appealing. I’ve always thought it was fun when I should be officially calling them DementedFX presents Haunted House presents Bio Med Corp but just saying DementedFX was so much easier.
The effects in this haunt run flawlessly and work better than most places we have been too. Typically we run into machines that seem to be more like a “hiss” or “pop” sound maker that someone left their Halloween decorations on. There is not one effect in this haunt that we were distracted by all the bells and whistles that make them work their magic.
The trick behind the trade is sound. All effects were completed with expert sound tech that made us believe we actually were being attacked by these creatures. It was not a matter of increasing the volume so we wouldn’t hear all the air pressure or ungreased metal on metal. The quality of the audio directed at the entire group at different angles is what made everything work gracefully.
Before I talk about the theme of this haunt, I would like to start off by saying I stand by what I’ve said before. There is no haunt I have ever been to that stays as true to their story as DementedFX has done in the five years it has been in operation. It is usually a rare find in the haunted attraction world to have a place that even has a story, let alone make you aware of it, let alone remind you of it throughout the attraction. For this, I am truly grateful to DementedFX for showing me what some places should strive to be, and for putting in the effort that they do.
Every year a new video promo comes out that seems to progress the story a little more into the future. What started out as a terrible catastrophic event in a laboratory became the workings of an evil scientist who strives to capture more and more victims for his creatures. The haunt itself has changed slightly with new rooms and scares to make it feel like maybe “year after year” is really more like “week after week” in the storyline. Although you spend the entire time inside the building, they make you believe that, outside the building, the world has fallen into chaos and the streets are roaming with zombies and badass survivors.
When I mentioned Dr. Arber in the cast, he had a moment where he kind of sort of clarified what was going on. For a brief moment, he talks about how the Bio Med Corp was doing all sorts of experiments on plants and animals and people. In the new promo video this year they’ve added that there were protestors outside the building before the outbreak that screamed the scientists were playing God. We still are not entirely sure what the true backstory is, but every year, they seem to be telling us more and more.
In short, the theme is a laboratory working with DNA of all kinds of species in order to achieve some kind of cloning discovery. Somewhere in the timeline, all Hell broke loose and all of the scientists became infected or killed. A virus escaped the building and tore the world apart. Now you must enter the building to find Professor Friden, who claims to have a cure for the virus. Along the way, you will go through multiple labs and see what kind of experiments they were working on. But don’t worry, most of them won’t go after you. I lied, they all will.
Scare Factor: 9.77
This is my third year going through DementedFX in Holyoke. Yes, there are some scenes that I know I will relive much like many other haunted houses. But this is the only place I have ever been to where I know exactly what is going to happen, I know for sure that absolutely nothing will happen to me, but there are still spots I hesitate to go through and they STILL scare me.
The way some of the effects are placed and how they just lurk in the dark before their attack is perfect. We went through with a couple who briefly told us before the show how much they enjoyed a nearby attraction not even worth mentioning, and I started laughing and getting all giddy with anticipation to see how they would handle DementedFX. They could barely make it out of the first room! Have you ever seen someone think they are going to get killed by a giant puppet? IT’S AWESOME!
Entertainment & Value: 9.9
Unlike a lot of other haunts in New England, DementedFX has not one but TWO bars inside. One right at the front where we bought our tickets, and one halfway through the waiting line. They mainly had beer on tap and those little single serve wine glass things (for the whiners).
As I mentioned before, they do have a fried dough stand right outside the front door. It is requested that you eat outside of the building.
New for 2018 is the DementedFX VIP lounge. VIP tickets (a.k.a. speed passes) are limited to 20 people an hour. You can arrive at any time during the hour you chose when you purchase your tickets online. Since the price of a VIP ticket is doubled, the owners thought it would be nice to offer something else. The Lounge area is a great little room where you and your partner or friends can sit down and have a beer or two. It has its own access to the middle bar and a big flat screen television. Arrive within the hour of your purchase and enjoy the lounge and go through the haunt when you like within your hour time slot.
Merchandise is available where you purchase your tickets. They have boxers that say “I SH@% MYSELF AT DEMENTEDFX” and a new T-Shirt for 2018 “I SURVIVED DEMENTEDFX AND THEY STILL MADE ME BUY THIS F$*&ING T-SHIRT”
The waiting line is more like a club atmosphere with the lights and the music and the giant projection screen playing music videos all night. It is loud, but that is a good thing because nobody wants to listen to your opinions.
The haunt may feel like it is short in comparison to other attractions in the New England area. However, the amount and style of entertainment is practically unmatched. DementedFX is a great haunted attraction that truly aims to terrorize their guests.
Photos from Review Trip:
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