Fearscapes Haunted Attraction – Full Review

Fearscapes Haunted Attraction is a Haunted Attraction located in Ellwood City, PA.

1503 Brentwood Avenue, Ellwood City, PA 16117
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Haunt Type(s):

Escape RoomHaunted HouseHaunted Maze


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Free Parking, Restrooms/Porta Potties On-Site, Gift Shop/Souvenirs, “Old-School” (Low Tech), You will NOT be touched, Original Characters, Indoor/Outdoor Waiting Line, All-Indoor Attraction

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This attraction was reviewed on October 9, 2020 by Team Houdini.

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Final Score: 7.2

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Fearscapes is the newest haunted attraction in the Pittsburgh area, located in Ellwood City, about 45 minutes north of Pittsburgh. It is located in an abandoned factory building nested along with other old warehouses. Fearscapes offers a 25 room ‘escape maze’ along with some additional scares, exciting concepts, great props, and a modern ‘sideshow.’

Cast: 6.42

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Fearscapes offers a modestly sized cast in their labyrinth of torment. A staff member led us into the haunt and the elevator. He reemerged at the end of our elevator ride to direct us to the first haunt area. There, we found a terrified girl screaming for help and asking us to believe her, which we did as she was very convincing. In fact, it was one of the best performances we have seen for this type of role. After this encounter, we met with another team member who explained the layout of the maze. She informed us there were 25 rooms, some walls moved and some did not, and that we need to stick together so we did not get lost. We could see how easy it would be to lose someone in here. During our blind excursion, we bumped into one terrifying fright in the maze, by a near-invisible entity. He did a great job of staying silent and waiting for us to get near inches from him before providing a loud and unexpected growl.

Throughout the rest of the haunt, we encountered a female voice in the shadows who told us to ‘keep walking’, a butcher yelling ‘here piggy’, a wary witch hiding in the corner silently and motionless, and a pair of individuals that provided loud screams and noises in the skeleton area. A fortune-teller offered to tell us the future but that ‘it would not be good.’ The insane women in the clown room had the most dialogue of the haunt actors, acting quite erratic and conversing with the voices in her head. The most interesting part of the evening was ‘The Stolen Stitches Sideshow.’ These three performers provided interesting acts of disgust and intrigue. Their job was not to scare but entertain and gross-out guests.

The total amount of ‘haunt actors’ excluding the sideshow was ten (this does not include the two team members that were not in costume/character). We may have missed a few actors in the maze as we navigated it pretty quickly. Although the cast may seem light for the duration of the haunt it felt sufficient. The interchange with the actors was brief but novel, with a few exceptions.

We would have liked to have seen the cast member that was in the haunt (and even in the ticket area) in costume and character. I think it would have added to the overall depth of the haunt.

Costuming: 5.95

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Costuming was a little underdeveloped in some places. The girl in the bedroom scene had on a simple black dress and white makeup. The gentlemen in the maze wore all black but he extinguished his lantern so quickly we couldn’t see his face. The fortune-teller also donned a classic gypsy costume that was all black. The witch had a convincing mask on as did the pig-faced man. Another notable mask was the Leather Face-type mask. The girl in the insane asylum had on clown makeup but no costume, just a tank top and pants. ‘The Stolen Stitches’ had detailed costumes; ‘Danger Dave’ had a classic suit, ‘Charlie Thargic’ wore a striped two-piece outfit, and ‘Clawdette Smm Smm’ had on a flowy dress.

Costuming was basic but on par for a newer haunt. We would like to see some additional costuming next season. As mentioned above, if the staff had some costumes on that would have added to the overall immersion.

All actors wore protective face masks for Covid including the sideshow, granted Charlie was a little confused about how to wear hers.

Customer Service: 8.53

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Fearscapes is fairly easy to find using GPS. However, it does not pop up on Google Maps. You must enter the address from the website into GPS, not the name of the haunt, or click the maps link on their website for directions. There was little signage for the haunt so keep an eye out. Parking attendants will guide you where to park.

All the staff we spoke with were very friendly. Fearscapes does have a website online and are on social media. We did not come across any safety concerns that were out of the ordinary for a haunt.

Regarding COVID, Fearscapes required all staff, actors, and customers to wear masks, which we did see in place. According to their site, they are also doing temperature checks for staff and maintaining distance throughout the haunt. Additional cleaning on high-touch surfaces is also listed. This is the one issue we came across as the maze is a very high touch area. To navigate the maze, you have to feel around and push open tarps to escape. Perhaps the addition of a hand sanitizing station at the beginning and/or end of this maze would have been beneficial. There was a hand sanitizer station at the start of the haunt but we always carry sanitizer with us anyhow. With all these precautions we felt safe going through the attraction.

Atmosphere: 9.17

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We arrived earlier than expected and there were no lot attendants out yet. In fact, there was no one there when we arrived, which made things feel odder than we anticipated. We parked in the upper lot and headed around the side of the industrial building, following the sign that said ticket booth.

On this side of the building, there were empty truck bays and abandoned warehouses. Due to the lack of cars, outside d������cor, the calmness of the area, and the lack of a listing on Google maps, we began to question if we should continue. A man was standing by the trail that led to the ticket booth. He did not say much except, ‘Hi.” He seemed nice but so was Ted Bundy. We were not even sure if he was an employee or just waiting for idiots like us to kidnap. Did we get reeled into a human trafficking situation? Our anxiety grew as we followed a ticket sign that appeared to point into the woods, it didn’t. It leads down around the rear of the building. As we continued down the trail we saw the entrance to Fearscapes. Phew, for a minute we were legitimately scared.

A purplish-red glow emanated from the entrance as an intense soundtrack pumped out through the fog. The waiting area was small inside with gloomy red walls with steel beams. Filled with the aforementioned as well as two larger-than-life props. One was a giant rat with glowing eyes and the other was a huge spider. There were no line actors when we were present, but the setup of the lobby definitely got us into the haunting mood.

Special Effects: 7.48

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Once we were ready to enter the haunt, we were escorted in by a team member and directed to the elevator. The elevator was small and provided a claustrophobic feel. Inside the elevator, a deep voice welcomed us to the Fearscapes industrial elevator. He continued to tell us to ‘Enjoy the ride.’ The lights flickered and then extinguished. Suddenly it began to shake and rock violently. After about a minute the elevator ride was over and we all felt very wobbly.

As we exited the elevator, we were greeted with a cloud of fog that followed down a long hallway. It pulled us to a bedroom scene. The dimly lit room held a large long-faced demon prop that was terrorizing the little girl in bed. A slowed down, creepy, version of ‘twinkle twinkle’ played in the background.
After the bedroom scene, we reached the blackout maze our legs still unstable from the elevator. The maze is 25 rooms of pitch black. The walls are made out of heavy-duty tarp material. Some are not completely solid and can be pushed open. Inside the maze, there is nothing to see. But there are plenty of sounds; screams, laughter, horrible voices, and babies crying echoed throughout the maze area. Some were actors anticipating your arrival, some sounds were recorded audio, all providing a nice touch and creepy feeling since you were already down a sense. The maze took about 4.5 minutes to escape, however, we made a mistake so it could take you longer or less time.

After exiting the maze we made it to the heart of the haunt. Fearscapes has a large amount of animatronics and large props. From large, glowing, pumpkins that talked, to giant jack in the boxes, Fearscapes seems to have it all. A large skeleton horse, giant spiders, and more clowns are all located inside these walls. The props added to the design of the attraction and added more of a distraction for the haunt actors.

Lighting was used well providing nice additions to the scenes without adding too much illumination. The rooms did not seem to be as detailed as other haunts. Due to the size and lighting of the areas, we did not feel that this affected the immersion too much. Of course, details are always welcome.

Theme: N/A

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Fearscapes does not seem to follow a single theme. At first glance, we thought it would be an industrial style haunt. However, as we proceeded it appears that Fearscapes is a fusion of horror scenes and phobias.

Scare Factor: 7.38

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Fearscapes relies mainly on startle scares. The best scare we received inside the haunt was that of the maze monster. Being in complete darkness, we had no idea anyone was in there. Even after one of our members said I think I touched someone, the actor waited. He gave us a few seconds to doubt that anyone was there and we were in a good position to scare the crap out of all of us. The pigman provided an uneasy, and a little overused, deliverance pig call. It still gives me chills though. The gypsy and insane chick offered some good interaction.

As mentioned, the props offer more distractions than scare although some could catch individuals off guard with their loud blasts. The actors did address everyone in the group well enough and the overall aesthetics and characters provided a deep enough level of realism.

The finale was ‘The Stolen Stitches Slideshow.’ Their job was not to scare but to entertain and possibly gross-out patrons. They provided some great feats for us, some we have seen before but never in person. They provide a very old-school, carney vibe, except for that ‘F-bomb’ Charlie dropped, I don’t think P.T. Barnum would have approved. We on the other hand have no issues with it. As we enjoyed the act, at times hard to watch, it stayed with us. We found ourselves talking about it quite frequently this weekend.

Entertainment & Value: 6.53

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Fearscapes provided us an enjoyable time and some disturbing atmosphere. From entry to exit, it took us 15 minutes, which may vary due to the time spent in the maze and sideshow. We spent approximately 4.5 minutes in the maze, 5.5 minutes in the haunted area (including the elevator), and 5 minutes for the sideshow. The general admission cost is $15. That provides 1 minute per dollar of entertainment, which is a little below average. But, ‘The Stolen Stitches Sideshow’ is worth the price of admission.

Fearscapes also offers a 60-minute escape room that is open year-round for an additional fee. After seeing the haunt, we are excited to review the escape room, hopefully, in November.

Although Fearscapes is in their sophomore year of the haunt industry, it is not very obvious. Fearscapes has excellent inventiveness, over-the-top props, good actors, and creative execution. They are definitely on the right track with their ingenuity and imaginative ideas. Fearscapes is absolutely a unique haunt that we will enjoy watching flourish.

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Guest Reviews
Guest Average: 9.8 out of 10

Kylie Parks – 9.8/10October 10, 2020
This off the beaten path haunt delivered scares and thrills with in the confines of an enclosed …show more space. The fact that the host of the haunt is what seems to be an abandoned factory just adds to the creepiness. The line allowed for social distancing and you get to go in with the group you come with rather than being separated. While the haunt is smaller than some of the outside haunts in the area there is always something going on or something to look at. This haunt is a combination of high tech animatronic characters and live actors. I loved that the actors would interact from the child asking you to stay and play to the fortune teller who gleefully will predict your impending doom if you let her and of course you cant forget the clowns who want to have a dance party in the black light. You absolutely get your moneys worth with the haunt highly recommend finding this haunt and checking it out. All cdc recommendations were followed and both actors workers and guests are required to wear masks.

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