Review of Fear Forest Haunted House and Hayride Haunted Attraction

Review of Fear Forest Haunted House and Hayride Haunted Attraction

Review of Fear Forest Haunted House and Hayride Haunted Attraction

Fear Forest Haunted House and Hayride

Fear Forest Haunted House and Hayride is a Haunted Attraction located in Warren, OH.

6780 Tod Ave SW, Warren, OH 44481
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Haunt Type(s):

Multiple Haunts1HauntedCornField1HauntedHayride1HauntedHouse1HauntedTrail

Links:

Fear Forest Haunted House and Hayride Facebook PageFear Forest Haunted House and Hayride Website

Contact:

Call Fear Forest Haunted House and HayrideEmail Fear Forest Haunted House and HayrideMessage Fear Forest Haunted House and Hayride on Facebook Messenger

Features:

Free Parking, Restrooms/Porta Potties On-Site, Gift Shop/Souvenirs, Indoor/Outdoor Waiting Line, Indoor/Outdoor Attraction, Family Friendly

Team Cleaverland reviewed this Haunted Attraction on October 10, 2021.

How Do We Get These Scores?

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Final Score: 8

How Did We Get This Score?

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Summary:

Fear Forest Haunted House and Hayride rocks a pleasing traditional approach and aesthetic to the haunting entertainment arts.

Four attractions cover all the basic styles: haunted hayride, house, trail, and corn maze, arranged in that order. The hayride may also be experienced on its own. One aspect of our experience we found most interesting was that the attractions ramped up their intensity as we went through.

The Haunted Hayride started things out in a pretty tame manner, but it was still loaded with fun effects and scenes full of spooky Halloween spirit and a good smattering of guts & gore. The Insane-a-tarium (house) lifted things up a notch, and then the Psycho Path (trail) and Forbidden Cornfield continued to ratchet up the tension as things got progressively scarier and more engaging.

For returning customers, please note Fear Forest has a new location this year.

Hayride: 7.19
House: 7.98
Trail: 8.52
Cornfield: 8.29


Cast: 7.35

How Did We Get This Score?

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Being the only attraction available separately, and having gone on our hayride sitting in the back amongst a gaggle of excited kids, we think there is some kind of understanding that the hayride offers more family-friendly fare than the other attractions, though we hadn’t really seen it marketed that way.

In any case, we’re assuming the hayride actors were toning it down for the kids aboard, based on their performance versus the other attractions, especially the outside ones. Even taking this into consideration, we would like to have seen a bit more energy from our wagon pursuers and boarders. But as it was, some of the cast certainly got a few yelps out of the younger riders!

Many simply boarded the wagon and walked down the aisle with a staredown and maybe brandished a weapon or grunted/yelled. A few hopped on the back of the wagon when it began to take off after a scene.

The clown group stood out for their speedy threatening movements and weird laughs. A robed scarecrow-looking character also put some flair into his act, and a serial killer kept sticking the pick end of an axe into his own eye. We witnessed a perfectly cast Michael Myers, tall (roof-scraping, literally!) and lanky with a measured, languid gait.

(On the subject of Michael, would some haunt please include Dr. Loomis in a scene …maybe shooting Michael down like at the end of the first Halloween and Michael even falling off the wagon, and then The Shape gets up and slowly walks away or something. Let’s see some love for the good doctor!)

A somewhat more enthusiastic and interactive troupe followed up the hayride in the Insane-a-tarium. A twirling clown pirouetted with some grace, and many of the medical faculty and patients demonstrated intimidating moves, especially with their bodily invasive tools of the trade. We didn’t get much in the way of vocalizations though until the next attraction, the trail.

Here’s where the cast started to shine. Actors worked alone or in groups to torture and taunt us. They used the dark corners of the woods exceedingly well to hide themselves or in a couple of cases, came tearing out at us in/from the shadows. Quips and conversations became regular. A couple of them complimented (?) our screaming or trashed our pitiful pathfinding prowess.

We had much the same experience in the cornfield, where the most memorable exchanges happened. An irritable fellow angrily ordered us to “stop sleeping with all my monsters!” Whaaat? No creepy canoodling going on here, but that was a new one on us. Another heinous hillbilly conversed with us for a while and told us he had found his new spouse in our group after hearing about the ‘sleeping with the monsters’ crack.

As the show went on, we experienced more and more interaction, improvisation, and acting and scaring chops. Variety-wise we saw some classic creature types like witches, clowns, butchers, evil doctors, and nurses, and there were also a lot of the more generic monster types. Fear Forest had a good amount of actors on hand, with nearly 60 altogether (hayride = 13, house = 9, trail = 17, cornfield = 19).

Hayride: 5.64
House: 6.76
Trail: 8.61
Cornfield: 8.38


Costuming: 7.62

How Did We Get This Score?

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Facially, the majority of Fear Forest embraced masks with a few simple makeup jobs mixed in. A few impressive masks had tubes, hoses, and other such accouterments going on, and we found a particularly revolting one at the end of the Insane-a-tarium.

We’re pretty sure we saw only masks on the hayride actors. Makeup might have been a better choice there, in the generally brighter lighting, to avoid the more readily visible seams and so forth.

To continue along that vein, in the more illuminated hayride and house, we saw a lot of bare necks and such, and the lack of eyeblack popped out at us more. Besides the clowns, most costumes on the hayride relied on basic mechanic-type jumpsuits and nondescript dark robes. The hospital/clinic-oriented Insane-a-torium naturally featured many medical outfits in various states of distress and bloodiness.

Outside, the trail and cornfield faces and clothing ‘looked’ better by benefitting from the shadows and cover of darkness, with predominantly darker costumes being used to effectively fade actors into the night. The big-nosed wheelchair weirdo on the trail looked good and even a little dapper in his hat. In the cornfield, at least a couple went with the country-ish overalls look.

Overall, costumes looked complete, functional, and appropriate, if not very elaborate, and that seemed to work for what they were trying to do.

Hayride: 7.07
House: 7.39
Trail: 7.92
Cornfield: 7.94


Customer Service: 9.48

How Did We Get This Score?

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Fear Forest is located in Warren, Ohio (or Lordstown, depending on your navigational system, but either way it’ll get you to the same location, which is in the general vicinity of Youngstown). With only one exception, we’ve had an easy time finding our way to haunts this year and that held true with Fear Forest. GPS did not fail us.

A large overhead illuminated sign greeted us above the driveway entrance. The attraction provided plentiful parking in a standard asphalt lot. The lot was large, in well-maintained condition, and had good lighting.

Fear Forest is a good friend to your bladder, maintaining port-a-potties out by the ticket booth and in between attractions, as well as permanent restrooms in the main queue area.

Fear Forest runs a solid website with good and complete information. Their Facebook page might stand to be updated a bit more frequently, but they are responsive to messages, based on our own experience and their Messenger rating.

This was one of the easier trails we’ve contended with this season as far as ground obstructions and evenness. Finding the way onward proved a bit difficult at times in very dark patches of the trail and cornfield, and parts of these (especially toward the end of the cornfield) also got rather muddy. Best leave those Manolo Blahniks at home.

Navigating the house was not too bad, aside from the plethora of curtains to be parted, and there was one step-down that could inspire a trip. The usual advice applies about exercising careful footing at any haunt.

We ended up talking to plenty of people (four different door staff, merch shopkeeper, traffic control, etc.). They definitely had enough staff on hand to direct visitors and keep people moving along and in their proper lines. Everyone was friendly and seemed to really enjoy being there to help make the experience a good one for all patrons.

Customer Service scores were the same across all attractions.


Atmosphere: 8.03

How Did We Get This Score?

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We found the best atmosphere at the Insane-a-tarium after being dropped off the hayride. It had a rather wicked-looking façade with a straitjacketed and bandage-faced puppet stationed above the entrance, seemingly surveying the oncoming crowd. Cool props appeared in the inside queue area, which throbbed spasmodically due to flashing siren-style lighting and a jarring soundtrack.

Plus, we got entertained by an inside-the-attraction actor who was moonlighting as a queue actor without moving from his spot inside the house! A crack in the wall allowed for some interaction with the next-in-line folks while the actor waited for his next in-house victims. So, very high marks for the Insane-a-tarium atmosphere. Really well done!

We hope the next time we visit, they will have taken a similar approach with the main entrance and queue for the hayride. This being a new location and main building housing the ticket booth (on the outside), merch shop, and overflow lines for the hayride, it’s a large, covered, secure space, but didn’t have a lot going on yet. (Speaking of the merch shop, it was selling t-shirts with some very nice designs — see photo of the one we picked up).

As it is now it’s sort of bare other than a prop or two, and the lighting is much brighter and harsher than we’re used to for a haunt lobby, so it wasn’t really a great intro for the attraction. But based on what they did with the Insane-a-tarium atmosphere, and their outstanding approach to effects work all throughout the rest of the haunt (addressing that next!), we have every reason to think it’s going to look fantastic once they get some work going on it.

The entryway to the Psycho Path also looked nice and creepy. A dilapidated appearing fence served as the entrance, and walking up to the evocative signage we passed along fencing posted with skulls. The cornfield queue had a similar feel, just a little lonelier, darker, starker, and with some views to the stalks beyond.

We hung around for a while after leaving the cornfield and saw several actors greeting others leaving the trail and posing for selfies.

Hayride: 6.44
House: 9.32
Trail: 8.64
Cornfield: 7.72


Special Effects: 8.56

How Did We Get This Score?

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No doubt about it, Fear Forest busted out a slew of terrific old-school effects early in the hayride and kept ‘em coming in a veritable onslaught throughout all four attractions.

Would you think we were crazy if we suggested this might be the old-school counterpart to the ultra-super-high-tech wagon wizardry of Reaper’s Revenge? Because we’re thinking it kinda could be.

The mile-long hayride path was just jam-packed with scenes and props and puppets and effects. But first, a word about the wagons. Attractions use a lot of different vehicles these days to power their hayrides. Well at Fear Forest, we rode in something akin to a covered tram. It afforded riders two seats on either side of the aisle with very comfortable, cushioned motor bus fashion seating. We are becoming more appreciative of this creature comfort sort of thing the older we get. No offense to the folks who like to go the old-fashioned sit-on-haybales route. We get it, it screams traditional values, leaves falling in October, middle Americana, apple cider swilling heritage. But man, it sure is nice not to have your butt and back sore for the rest of the attraction!

Anyhow, the hayride effects. The tram stopped at many different scenes. Puppets abounded, including a virtual parade of ghouls, undead, and multi-eyed creatures in one scene that might have been some sort of zombie apocalypse, or maybe it was just a bunch of cool puppets hanging together.

There’s really no way to describe all the hayride effects without making this review 10x longer. Corpses popping out of coffins, a mammoth spider and a giant snake thick as J-Lo’s back end (say, she was in that movie Anaconda, right?), a poor soul disappearing into a massive meat grinder, a dismemberment shed whose worktables were stacked high with severed heads and limbs, an evilly decorated clown funhouse, roaring dinosaurs, all sorts of animatronic devices shooting around and emitting otherworldly sounds, and a head-turning show-stopper of a glowing house façade with giant witch puppet out front. Actually, puppet doesn’t quite describe it, actually more of a colossal Easter Island-like statue, sporting a decrepit burned-looking face and grotesque teeth. Fantastically, magnetically repulsive.

That’s maybe half of it and we haven’t even mentioned the drive-through vortex tunnel yet. Yes, we rode through a vortex tunnel! Very weird to not walk through! If anything, this increased the sense of spinning even more. The tram made a long, slow traverse, and we swore the vehicle was about to tip over (of course it wasn’t tipping at all, but our brains and eyes were).

On to the Insane-a-tarium, where Fear Forest delivered the same effects bonanza approach to a freakish facility brimming with (anti-)medical atrocities. Insane-a-tarium brought a full cornucopia of effects to the table. Wigging-out animatronics to each side and above your head. Puppets everywhere. Maternity ward full of gross birth and baby care themes. Flashing lights, strobe lights, laser swamp with icky sponge ground, head-splitting sounds, and ‘music.’ Another vortex tunnel, this one to walk through. FX FX FX!!!

Next, the Psycho Path. Effective lighting set up scares, as did the lack of lighting. Yet more zany animatronics made their mechanical magic. Structures hid actors and funneled us through gory scenes like the creeptastic clown’s abode. We played several rounds of is that a puppet or an actor?, and did not come out as winners.

The cornfield got by on eerie lighting; fencing, walls, and small basic structures; and a ton of puppets. There were so, so many puppets in the cornfield. Like, seemingly every 10 feet another one, or two, or small crowd of them. So good!

Special note here for puppetry fans. We’ve mentioned puppets several times already, and for each of the attractions. We love puppets. We thought we visited a place with a lot of puppets in one of the first attractions we reviewed this season, but Fear Forest went way above and beyond in their commitment to puppet saturation bombing.

They must have had scores of puppets of every description, and most all of them looked great. Each one seemed gnarlier and more gruesome than the one before. We geeked out over a nastily fanged, pumpkin-headed creature with an exposed rib cage in the cornfield. Puppet connoisseurs, take note.

And sounds! This was likely the most sound-intensive haunt we’ve visited this year. A creepy, plinky soundtrack got piped over speakers on the hayride tram, and seemingly each and every of the many animatronics and props made its own unique and crazy sound. Insane-a-tarium’s disorienting soundtrack assaulted our ears with loud ambient whooshes and discordant keyboards, deep-throated roars, clanking chains, random screams, and a host of other bizarre sounds.

Psycho Path was quieter, as trails usually are, and received some bleed-through music and noise from the first two attractions. Its own noises from set pieces or props were pretty effective, such as a group of savagely barking dogs that sounded as if they wanted to rip off our faces.

The cornfield too made do with occasional horns and squonks from props. Besides those, the only sounds were from actors, our feet, or the swishling cornstalks. Spell-check says swishling is not a word, but it sounds perfect for cornstalks.

Thank you, Fear Forest, for the tsunami of neat effects in which we were glad to get swept up! And all the kudos to you for absolutely zero inflatable squeeze tunnels!

Hayride: 9.13
House: 8.87
Trail: 8.38
Cornfield: 7.37


Theme: N/A

How Did We Get This Score?

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The hayride, trail, and cornfield presented unconnected scenes of grue and mayhem. The Insane-a-tarium focused on grisly elements of a wayward healthcare institution and included areas like a maternity ward, psych ward, operating rooms, etc. Since the majority of the haunt was not themed, we are going to say this section is not applicable.


Scare Factor: 7.2

How Did We Get This Score?

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The hayride was not too scary — which is the way we think it’s intended to be. Special effects did most of the lifting. It was great fun however to take in all the cavalcade of effects that got thrown at us (puppets, woo!), and actually, a few of the animatronical things popping out of their spaces did zing us in a surprising way.

The Insane-a-tarium took us out of our comfort zone a bit, especially some of the more extreme medical stuff, the wildly rattling animatronics including one placed strategically overhead, and an actor working sparkers, but it wasn’t too crazy.

At this point we were halfway through and thought we had the place figured out as effects-heavy, fun, more targeted to families, it’s all good. Aaaand then we entered the trail and it was like someone flipped the switch on Dr. Frankenstein’s Scream-o-meter. We were about to experience wimp-out whiplash, as maybe never before have we encountered such an extremely frightful transformation on the back nine.

It started as soon as we set foot on the Psycho Path. Walking through dark woods and cornfields is scary anyway, but about 2.1 seconds after we passed through the entrance, a well-hidden, unexpected goon zapped us pretty good.

Then it happened again a few feet later, and shortly after that a nifty bit of misdirection got us again in an obvious set-up so simple it was laughable …and yet it got us! It *was laughable in the sense that we laughed at ourselves and how easily we were being fooled, again and again (laughing in between screaming, that is).

Then two rumbustious, laughing creeps came charging up to within inches of our faces as we stood frozen in the darkness. From here on out our fright pump was primed for whatever might be coming next, and there came one shock after another. They just. Kept. Coming. Out of hiding spots, behind bushes and trees, from structures like a backcountry cabin, and they did not let up. A surprising turn of events!

More of the same waited for us in the cornfield. Misdirections, distractions, pow. Someone popped out on the side over here – zing! Then while we tried to recover some dignity (Nah that wasn’t happening), the first scarer’s partner slid out from underneath – blam!

So, to shorthand it: first half = great fun effects, second half = wet pants.

Hayride: 4.81
House: 6.74
Trail: 8.71
Cornfield: 8.54


Entertainment & Value: 8.21

How Did We Get This Score?

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We took 52 minutes to wagon-ride, hospital-skip, trail-blaze, and corn-stomp through Fear Forest, via the following breakdown by attraction: Haunted Hayride – 23 minutes, Insane-a-tarium – 11 minutes, Psycho Path – 7 minutes, Forbidden Cornfield – 11 minutes.

Getting nearly an hour of actual in-attraction entertainment at any haunt is phenomenal and not a common occurrence. A MPD (minutes of entertainment per dollar spent) of anything near 2 represents exceptional value. Here, the general admission price is $30, which makes for an MPD of 1.73, a.k.a. quite good bang-for-buck.

That general admission cost of $30 is for what they call the Quad Pass, giving access to all four attractions, with a fast pass option of $40. It’s $12 for the hayride only, or $20 for a hayride fast pass.

To sum it up, Fear Forest is well worth a visit — and that goes double for those who enjoy excellently executed effects of the old-school persuasion.

Entertainment & Value scores were the same across all attractions.


How Did We Get These Scores

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Photos from Review Trip:

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Guest Reviews
Guest Average: 7 out of 10

Lauren – 10/10 – September 28, 2019
Awesome attraction, will definitely visit again!

Jess – 4/10 – October 1, 2021
We decided to go further than our normal search of haunted houses. We drove almost 2 hours for this …show more haunt, from PA. We got there a little before 730pm on opening night, a Friday. It was pretty empty but there was people ahead of us already and a small line was forming. We bought our tickets, went to the bathroom then went to our line. Waited for maybe 10-15 minutes and got on the hayride that had bus seats. It was not scary or “hayride-y” at all in the slightest. No one could jump on the sides or get close like an actual hayride. But we started and then stopped and sat on the hill until the other hayride went through. As we went through the long haunted hayride (that’s the whole beginning) it absolutely wasn’t good, we didn’t encounter anyone scary at all besides the clown barn part. Everyone else walked around the wagon and looked at you or just talked. It was so bad. The clowns were good they got more in your face and close to you. But definitely not worth paying just for the hayride. Then the hayride drops you off at the barn type haunt. You go into INSANE atarium I believe. It coulda been a whole lot better but there wasn’t many actors and when there was they jumped behind you not in front. But it was the best part of that whole place! Then you come out and do “psycho path” it was sooo boring just a few people jumped out and went right back in cause they knew they didn’t scare you. They need to have scarier masks cause the ones they had were so simple and blah. The props were scarier masks than the actors had. Anyways then you exit the path and go over to the cornfield. That was probably just as bad as the hayride. There was maybe 3 people in it and it was so slow and spaced out between actors. They needed to add more people and the ones they did have stood in plain sight. We saw them all before they jumped out. It wasn’t even a cornfield it was a lighted path. Not very good at all. I wish this haunt would do more in the hayride because they def have the room for it!! It was really big and lots of haunt to experience but they didn’t step it up enough. Hopefully down the road they do get bigger and better and add more people than animatronics to their haunts! We won’t be back for quite a while but one day we may try it again. Hope you guys can make it better!!

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