Review of Haunted Field of Screams Haunted Attraction
Review of Haunted Field of Screams Haunted Attraction
Review of Haunted Field of Screams Haunted Attraction
Haunted Field of Screams
Haunted Field of Screams is a Haunted Attraction located in Thornton, CO.
10451 McKay Road, Thornton, CO 80233View All Details
Free Parking, You will NOT be touched
Team Hauntarama reviewed this Haunted Attraction on October 4, 2018.
Special Note for 2018:
We’ve changed the way we give scores for this year. We are now using a weighted average that puts more emphasis on certain features of the haunt (IE: “How scary was it,” versus “Does the haunt’s location authenticate their theme”). That said, these scores should not be used in comparisons to previous seasons. For more information about this, click on the small “Score Sheet” link at the bottom of this review. We appreciate your understanding. Thanks and Happy Haunting! –The Scare Factor
Final Score: 8.13
Situated near the northeastern corner of the Denver metro area, the Haunted Field of Screams almost seems out of place being so near the city. But upon entering the parking lot — surrounded on one side by eight-foot high corn while the unassuming entryway lights your first path through the plants, foretelling the terrors beyond — you know you’re in for a real treat!
The Haunted Field of Screams is an institution in the metro area, and part of the Palombo family’s farm-based enclave, which also includes the more family-friendly Maize in the City. Having been in operation since 2001, the Haunted Field of Screams team designs and expands the attractions each year, from the ground up, though they remain true to their corn maze roots. This year, the Haunted Field of Screams grew to include a fourth haunted attraction and adopted a scream park format designed to give patrons more boos for their buck. Overall, the transition to a scream park was a great success!
After parking and passing through the ominously glowing entryway, patrons pass through a short pathway walled in by the tall corn to find the ticket booth, which itself is separated from the scream park courtyard by another small pathway through the stalks. The simplicity of the courtyard set-up understates the level of terror that awaits in the fields. The first haunt you encounter is the flagship attraction, Dead Man’s Maze, a haunted maze through the towering plants, which was also the most entertaining and frightening. This is a great example of the old adage, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” as creepers popping out of the dark corn rows, whether to whisper into your ear or to bellow and give chase, are enough to cause nightmares without the need for extravagant technology. Up next is Condemned, an attraction that introduced more technological elements and familiar faces while also offering some extremely unique fare as well. A hint of cotton candy fills the air as guests approach the third haunt along the courtyard. It’s CarnEvil, which, while in its rookie year and could have benefited from a little more TLC in its conception, was a heavy hitter in most categories. Although there were some missed scene and setting opportunities, the clown cast was tremendous! This brings us to the final haunted attraction of the scream park: Zombie Paintball! While the concept is pretty straightforward, the cast of military actors did a good job of barking at us until we fell in for “training,” before sending us on our way with a duo of wisecracking young gunners.
Of course, no trip to a scream park is complete without a few boardwalk games, and the Haunted Field of Screams does not disappoint! Just opposite the entrance to CarnEvil, the Haunted Field of Screams boasts a game that allows patrons to launch squishy brains into zombie heads, a skeleton ring toss and a trailer converted into two short escape rooms. Although the games really sold the scenes, they did suffer from a problem that plagued the entire facility. There was a troubling lack of basic information available to the public, including things like when attractions opened and closed, and signage once inside the scream park, culminating in our being denied the purchase of tickets to the escape room because we missed the unposted closing time by a few minutes.
Nevertheless, the Haunted Field of Screams should be on any haunt enthusiast’s list. For the price of entry, you are treated to four separate, well-done haunts, themed games and snacks (the Zombie Bites Donuts were quite tasty!), and the occasional creeper stalking guests from the shadows, all of which is nicely tucked in the heart of an eight-foot-tall corn field.
Two of the attractions, Dead Man’s Maze and CarnEvil, had great casts; the other two attractions had some stars and some black holes. Most notably, the cast of CarnEvil offered a great variety of personalities, levels of interactivity, and a dedicated enough cast that we were literally surrounded at one point, with the clowns closing in around us. Indeed, we were even treated to a personal escort to the haunt’s exit complete with a magic trick. The cast of the Dead Man’s Maze was similarly personalized and full of life! Unfortunately, the zombies early in the paintball attraction were also full of life, such that they weren’t convincingly undead in the least. The Condemned cast did a sufficient job, but they lacked the flair of their cohorts in The Maze and of those wearing clown shoes. There were a few overly-bare spots throughout the haunt, particularly when compared to the individualized treatment we received in CarnEvil and the Dead Man’s Maze. Despite those few issues, though, the cast is one of the highlights of the Haunted Field of Screams.
As Joe Palombo, one of the owners and operators of the Haunted Field of Screams, says, they do the best they can for being in the middle of a corn field with no running water, but patrons would never guess that was the case, as the masks, makeup and costumes were done quite well. Naturally, there was some variety in terms of the quality among the various creatures, but overall the quality was high. Most masks were used to great effect, with, perhaps, the most effective but least effectual being the paintball masks donned by the zombie targets, which were devoid of any zombie-like features. The zombie make up in the early parts of the paintball attraction also left something to be desired which, when paired with the cast’s uncharacteristic zeal (for zombies anyway) for banging on walls and metal barrels, but not actually approaching guests, resulted in more curiosity than fear on our parts.
Coming ‘round to the clowns, there is only so much fertile ground that can be covered in a carnival theme, but the Haunted Field of Screams did a wonderful job providing enough variety in the types of clowns that we were kept on our toes. Enough, in fact, to secure our top score in this category. Not to be undersold, however, the Condemned had a few very dark bright spots, one in particular that cannot be unseen by one of our reviewers.
Customer Service: 8.31
The customer service at the Haunted Field of Screams was terrific! The staff was friendly and helpful, with a few colorful characters among those not wearing costumes to brighten the experience. That brightness does not illuminate several things like adequate signage would have, though. In addition to being unable to try the escape rooms because they closed a few minutes before we were able to buy tickets, despite no hours being posted that we could see, we didn’t know if the cost was $5 per group or per person (it’s per person). Similarly, we didn’t know if the game price was per brain launched or per bucket of brains (it’s per bucket), and whether there was any prize for winning or if you’re just playing for fun (there’s a prize). There was also a window labeled “Upgrades,” but there was no indication of what upgrades were being offered, and the menu to the restaurant was unintelligibly small until you were nearly at the window where you would place your order. Similarly, even prior to arriving, we attempted to determine when the facility opened, but were unable to find hours anywhere online. We arrived just after dark, and the ticket booth and courtyard were open, but none of the haunts were ready for almost another half hour. Although we were not disappointed and got along just fine despite the lack of information throughout the facility, it was a bit of a headache.
Between the courtyard thumping a mix of both the top ten and classic haunt standbys, the strings of lights zig zagging overhead, the four themed haunt doors, the occasional creeper, and the tall corn border looming in the distance, the atmosphere at the Haunted Field of Screams is jovial and welcoming but also spine tingling! Although we were one of only a handful of groups present on the night of our review, likely due to the drizzle earlier in the day (which often turns fields into mud), there is no doubt that the feel of the facility only gets more electric with a bigger crowd. That being the case, we were surprised to see that there were only two boardwalk-style game booths, which, we presume, would be overburdened on a busy night. The atmosphere is also perfect for glow stick sales, but, surprisingly, there was nary a glowing stick to be seen at the facility when we were there. On the other hand, that lack of in-your-face salesmanship (which is also apparent in the exceptional pricing of the scream park) that is a hallmark of some larger haunts, was happily absent from the facility, highlighting the benefits of the family-owned and nurtured Haunted Field of Screams.
Special Effects: 7.38
The Haunted Field of Screams isn’t a high tech scream park; they have something much better than the newest animatronics and holograms in the form of acres and acres of rows and rows of corn stalks taller than you. But the Haunted Field of Screams still holds its own with respect to special effects. There is also a spectacular use of both positive and negative space, lighting and experience to create discord such that you’re variously blinded by both darkness and light. In some spots, you are swamped by fog, while in others, the tension created by your group’s solitude among the corn stalks crescendos toward the next imminent scare. The special effects offerings at the Haunted Field of Screams are rounded out nicely by some of the equipment in both the Condemned and Zombie Paintball, including lasers, glowing ammo and some fun uses of plain old TVs. Despite CarnEvil missing a couple layups in this area, such as lacking creepy carnival music, both it and the Dead Man’s Maze did tremendously well utilizing their cast and setting to achieve lower tech terror.
Each of the Haunted Field of Screams’ four attractions is unique from its sister haunts in the scream park, and each executed its own theme to varying degrees of success. The Condemned was a bit scattered in this respect, as we passed from scene to scene with very little transition in some instances. Nevertheless, the overall effect was certainly achieved in each of the four haunts. The scream park also missed a few opportunities to fully sell the themes in a few areas as well. For example, the Zombie Paintball shooting areas were a bit too narrow to allow both the front and the back spots to take full advantage of the onslaught of zombies. While it was still a lot of fun, it was disappointing to see the zombies crumpling to their knees before I’d gotten off a single shot due to being in the back of the wagon.
The true star, unsurprisingly, is the Dead Man’s Maze. The theme is perfect for the location, as the dark sky, the tall corn and the odd rustling here and there are enough to make even the bravest souls a bit jumpy, and those goosebumps are not for naught, as the Maze’s impressive cast certainly delivered!
Scare Factor: 7.72
True to its name, there was no shortage of screams and shouts filling the haunted fields on the night of our visit. While the scream park certainly brought the fright, it lacked the sort of variety one would anticipate from a place of this scale, relying largely on jump scares and its location in the midst of the corn. Some cast leaned too heavily on silent stares, possibly adorned by loudly banging on a wall or barrel, but most of the cast brought their A games, turning the potentially monotonous jump scares into events. This does not hold true for Zombie Paintball, unfortunately, which was not scary despite its subtle efforts. Moreover, after leaving the paintball wagon, we were left to walk back to the courtyard, which would have been the perfect opportunity to introduce more terror or even a finale to the attraction, but none of that happened. There was a girl lying on the ground at one point, who rose to her feet as we approached, but that solitary actor was hardly frightening. Then, the walk ended and so did our evening. Having that experience, followed by our unsuccessful attempt to try the escape room, was not the most pleasant conclusion to our evening, but given the absolute pleasure that was the rest of the haunt, we could look past those let downs. Ultimately, the Haunted Field of Screams was able to bring the fear without going overboard on gratuitous gore, disgust or profanity.
Entertainment & Value: 7.68
We truly can’t say enough about the exceptional value the Haunted Field of Screams is offering this year! For the price of admission, which is about the average for most single-attraction haunts around the metro area, patrons are treated to four separate, top-notch haunts, the energizing courtyard, boardwalk games, and a night in the beautiful cornfields encircling everything.
As mentioned earlier, unlike many scream parks and larger haunts, guests’ pockets won’t be bled dry by the scream park’s other offerings either. The boardwalk games were a better deal than we expected, the escape rooms were a reasonable $5 per person, and even the bottled drinks at the concession stand aren’t outrageously expensive either. Even if you skip all of the extras, upgrades, frills, snacks (but seriously, the Zombie Bites Donuts *were* really good), and double paintballs, the Haunted Field of Screams is an unbelievably great time for the cost. Do yourselves a favor and check it out while you can!
General admission was $39.99 and VIP Fast Passes could be purchased for $54.99. Instant access for busy nights is offered at $69.99 and double paintball ammo is $4.00.
Photos from Review Trip:
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