Doncaster Fear Factory – Full Review

Doncaster Fear Factory is a Haunted Attraction located in Owston, Doncaster.

Holme Ln, Owston, Doncaster DN5 0LR
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Haunt Type(s):

Multiple Haunts


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Free Parking, Food/Concessions, “Hi-Tech” Attraction, You may be touched, Indoor/Outdoor Attraction

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This attraction was reviewed on October 13, 2023 by Team Crypt Seekers.

Final Score: 7.48

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In their third year at Thornhurst Manor, the Doncaster Fear Factory beckons you to experience an exhilarating night of spine-tingling terror. Venture into the heart of the park, where a sprawling wooded expanse sets the stage for an array of five hair-raising mazes featuring a brand-new scare maze, captivating entertainment, and a live scare zone. Prepare to dance away at The Pogo Club, navigate the treacherous terrain of The Chasm, uncover The Legend of Crackle Hill, confront the infection at Y.A.N.A. Gate, and come face to face with demonic nuns at the ominous Diabolus – Keeper of Secrets.

Cast Score: 7.64

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Cast Review:

At Doncaster Fear Factory, we were immediately struck by the entrance to the attraction, where numerous terrifying scarecrows blocked our path to the haunts. The number and intensity of the actors didn’t stop once inside the main grounds of the attraction nor within each attraction itself. All of the actors, especially outside of the attractions, were completely immersed within the world they were creating, and we kept running into horrifying and hilarious clowns when trying to walk through the park or a creepy long-haired creature who kept stalking us like prey.

Pogo Club: Once we were inside the park, we were immediately taken by the hand by a queue actor clown who convinced us to take part in Pogo Club, where we were introduced to the club by a go-go dancer until the lights went out and then the clowns were upon us! We enjoyed that there was a bit of homage to the club with the go-go dancer, and we hoped there would be a few more characters to get the club feeling of the set. The clowns themselves, however, were convincing and definitely ran us out of this circus of hell!

The Chasm: At the Chasm, we were given military instructions by a dangerous general, who barked out orders at us as we began our journey to battle the zombies being held at bay. This actor was incredible and was immediately joined by a huge variety of zombies who ran at us from every side. All of them had incredible timing and ways of interacting and even touching us, one of us being put in a gentle headlock to slow us down!

Legend of Crackle Hill: The head narrator for this piece was incredible and passionate, telling us the legend of the house and warning us of the terror that dwelled inside. Once within the evil lair, we were attacked by numerous maids, which was perfect for the legend of the house but lacked a bit of variety. Nonetheless, these maids were convincingly terrifying, one trying to feed us our medicine and others attacking us with various household gardening tools!

Y.A.N.A Gate: At Yana Gate, we were attacked by all sorts of infected individuals. There was a good variety of characters interesting to us, but all the actors blended together in a similar sort of way, and we weren’t convinced of the diversity of their behaviors. The best of the night was the initial narrator of the haunt, who gave us a terrifying narrative of what we were about to find and even handed us protective masks!

Diabolus – Keeper of Secrets: Nuns abounded in this scare attraction, from those who first hooded us after our confession to a priest to those who attacked us once we could see again. While not a huge variety, these characters were all very detailed and really took their roles seriously. The priest and the quiet nuns at the beginning were particularly convincing and really set the tone for the evil that was in store for us.

Costuming Score: 7.89

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Costuming Review:

The cast members at Doncaster Fear Factory had costumes curated to align with the specific themes of each attraction. While certain costumes, such as those in The Chasm, particularly stood out due to their remarkable level of detail and authenticity, it was evident that every maze within the facility aimed to create an immersive experience for visitors. Whether it was a deranged teddy bear at The Pogo Club or the sinister maids in The Legend of Crackle Hill, the effort put into the costuming was palpable, enhancing the atmosphere of the attraction and contributing to the nature of the scares.

Pogo Club: Whilst a clown theme reigned supreme here, which we know well from other haunts, particularly notable was the full teddy bear suit that suddenly came to life once you were in close proximity! We really didn’t think this was a person, so it was double terrifying when it reached out to grab us.

The Chasm: The most impressive costuming of the night was to be had in The Chasm. Here, extremely detailed full-body costuming was applied, creating looming figures that not only belonged within the attraction but could easily also be seen in nightmares. Particular attention was paid to masks, which seemed to blend perfectly onto the heads of the actors – which is no small thing when considering that most other actors were simply using regular makeup and light prosthetics.

Legend of Crackle Hill: Costumes here were in the main maid outfits with the addition of makeup to create a deadening effect. This was both eerie and well-presented, but perhaps not the most innovative use of costume and makeup.

Y.A.N.A Gate: In order to elicit a sensation of being in an apocalypse riddled with a disease agent, most of the actors here donned white coats and some light bloodwork on their faces. This theme persisted throughout the maze and suited the setting well but was weaker than some of the other displays seen in the park.

Diabolus – Keeper of Secrets: This attraction being a hooded one, we only saw the costume and makeup at the beginning and end of it. The nuns were certainly very creepily made up, dressed in full habits. Towards the end, we got a better look at these individuals, and in the church-like setting, the costuming certainly seemed most realistic.

Customer Service Score: 7.35

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At the start of our research on Doncaster Fear Factory and whether or not to attend, we found their website a bit bare-boned, with very little information about what kind of mazes were provided by the haunt. We had to look up press information about the different kinds of mazes at the attraction, as none of this was easily found on the website. However, there were plenty of helpful FAQs and other navigation bits of information available online, as well as hours and ticketing prices, so we quickly decided that this was definitely an attraction we needed to visit.

Finding the location was relatively easy, with good signage pointing to the entrance and parking for the haunt and also relatively good signage within the park to navigate you to the different mazes, all placed along a woodland trail.

We did find some of the attractions a bit hazardous to navigate due to the excessive smoke used in some of the areas, often providing us with no indication of where to walk or turn. We often used our hands to navigate, especially in Pogo Club, as the smoke was so effusive, and we ended up with a few cuts on our hands doing so. Despite this, the staff was actually quite lovely about this, asking about our welfare after we came out of Pogo Club coughing from the smoke and with a few scratches.

Immersion Score: 7.6

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Immersion Review:

The entire experience attempted to strongly immerse you in the atmosphere of each maze and zone. Upon arrival, a fire-lit pathway with hanging smoke effects leads you to the main attraction area, which is completely populated by very believable and active scarecrows. Sometimes, we noticed that a maze ended rather abruptly, and we re-entered the main area with little ceremony, feeling that perhaps one more scare should have been around the corner, which didn’t materialise.

Pogo Club: The initial setup of a nightclub turning into a terrifying encounter with serial killer clowns was quite imaginative and engaging. Particularly notable were the innovative dance club toilets (which acted as a door) and the playroom filled with at least one very animated toy. The use of fog, while adding to the eerie atmosphere, did obscure some of the detailed costumes and set pieces, making it a bit less believable.

The Chasm: The attention to detail in the set design transported us into an old underground bunker, enhancing the immersive experience. The physical challenges, such as crawling and ducking through tight spaces, added to the realism but proved to be a bit difficult for taller members of our group.

Legend of Crackle Hill: A captivating introduction was given by a professional actor who conveyed the legend of the cursed house we were about to explore. The haunted house was believable and immersive, drawing us into the chilling narrative. The encounters with the evil maids added an element of surprise and terror, with physical contact that left us shaken. Yet, the finale fell short due to a missing actor, leaving us somewhat confused.

Y.A.N.A Gate: The meticulous attention to detail, especially in the hydroponics bay, stood out, merging the wild overgrowth with an atmosphere of pure chaos. The labyrinthine design, disorienting, plunged visitors into the very heart of the post-apocalyptic mayhem. As the experience reached its thrilling zenith, a wire maze, a relentless chainsaw-wielding maniac, and an astonishing infusion of dance music delivered an unexpected and creative twist. Ultimately, however, certain areas seemed less realistic – such as the quality of the video introduction.

Diabolus – Keeper of Secrets: The notion of a malevolent nun leading visitors through a labyrinth shrouded in darkness while relying on a guiding rope was a unique and inventive approach. The element of hooding participants elevated the suspense, rendering the entire experience even more immersive and believable. While other mazes in this category often experiment with sensory enhancements such as heat, scent, and sound, the outdoor setting of this attraction presented logistical challenges in that regard. Nonetheless, the inclusion of Tibetan chanting contributed to the eerie ambiance. The maze’s culmination, set within a sinister chapel with a menacing priest and a cloaked congregation, engrossed participants.

Special FX Score: 7.41

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Special FX Review:

While acting seems to be front and centre at Doncaster Fear Factory, there is still a great use of special effects within all of the haunts at the attraction. Sound was a very effective effect, especially the dance club music at Pogo Club and the Tibetan throat chanting at Diabolus, which really set the scene for the sets we were exploring. The ambient soundtracks of the other mazes were equally ominous, promoting creepiness and a sense of impending doom.

The sets were quite strong for many of the mazes. While we were blindfolded for most of Diabolus, the finale church scene was remarkably built, just as the house for Legend of Crackle Hill was. We really felt we were roaming the halls of an old house while the murderous maids were attacking us! We also enjoyed the beginning scenes of the nightclub at Pogo Club, as well as the diabolical toilets we were shoved into, which really gave us nightclub vibes. However, we were a bit confused on how this then turned into creepy toy rooms afterwards, albeit really freaky ones!

Smoke is an obvious favourite special effect favourite here, sometimes to the detriment of the sets, obscuring a lot of the details, but still obviously an essential piece of the immersive and spooky setting and used to great effect most of the time. We aren’t sure how the actors could see and understand what was going on in this level of smoke, as sometimes we definitely could not!

Finally, we loved the use of scent during the finale scene of Diabolus, with the church smelling like incense. We really wished they would have incorporated more of the senses, especially in this attraction while we were hooded, such as heat/cold, water/flame, or even just light touches! Perhaps something to explore in the future.

Scare Factor Score: 7

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Scare Factor Review:

The one thing Doncaster Fear Factory does so well and should pride itself in is the ability for their actors to touch audience members in ways that are so very creepy and scary, but at the same time aren’t aggressive or boundary-crossing. The slight manhandling, grabbing of arms or legs, or even gentle caresses were perhaps the scariest interactions of the entire night, as we never knew if or when we would be grabbed while going through the mazes. These physical touches definitely provided the best shock scares of the night when done correctly.

Despite this, we weren’t completely scared of many of the mazes, at least enough to make us scream or want to run away. It was more of a general sense of ominousness and a sense of anticipation of whether or not we were going to be caught and dragged into the depths of hell. We honestly think some of the timing was off the night we attended, as we heard others before and after us hit various scares that we seemed to miss. Often, a few actors were obviously missing from ‘finale’ scenes – particularly in The Legend of Crackle Hill, where we were spat out into the evil lair of a serial killer with no one to actually attack us, ultimately just navigating the final open space alone and thus ending on a bit of an anticlimactic note.

The scariest maze of the night was definitely The Chasm, primarily due to just how touchy all of the zombies were and how they attacked in so many different ways. We also think the final scene of Diabolus was quite terrifying and definitely ended the maze on the best of high notes.

Entertainment & Value Score: 7.69

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E&V Review:

Doncaster Fear Factory has upped their game this year, expanding the park from four to five mazes, each averaging approximately seven minutes in length and thus offering a solid 35 minutes of endless scares. We do feel like we got our money’s worth absolutely, as there were definitely so many different scares and mazes and lots of different roaming actors to keep the adrenaline running as you walk around the park.

The only slight letdown was what the park termed a “scare zone,” which is a lovely chill-out space with some food and merch stalls, a bar, and some benches where roaming scare actors come in and out and pester you. This provided a nice space to relax between the haunts, but we don’t really term it a “scare zone,” and we were hoping for a bit more entertainment outside of the haunts itself with how the event was marketed. The main space wasn’t particularly lively and just could have used a little bit of something extra to really pull the space together to offer some entertainment outside of the four mazes.

Ultimately, however, we would definitely return to Doncaster Fear Factory, as they seem to up their game every season, so we’d love to see what they have in store next year!

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