Pantophobia – Full Review
Pantophobia is a Haunted Attraction located in Montvale, NJ.
53 Craig Road, Montvale, NJ 07645View All Details
Free Parking, Uncovered Outdoor Waiting Line, All-Outdoor Attraction, Family Friendly
Team Old Crow Hollow reviewed this attraction on October 6, 2017.
Final Score: 6.7
Pantophobia is the fear of everything, and also a vague and persistent dread of some unknown evil. This is a small attraction with just one attraction, their Hayride, but it’s marketing shows a storytelling and character development ability beyond the haunt’s current capabilities. The YouTube video on their website and page is very well done. It really draws you into the main character of Cyrus Grain, a serial killer in a wasteland, western dystopian type theme of desolation and decay.
The sets and the costumes are well done, and enhance the theme which is all centered around the Return of Cyrus and his murderous rampage, but the stars of this haunt are it’s actors. They really have to do some heavy, heavy lifting to overcome the limits of the location, and they were up to the challenge. They come at you with enthusiasm, dedication, and murderous intent. The return of Cyrus himself is the highlight and is very well setup.
I did have some concern over the actors walking alongside the wagon as it was moving and jumping on the sides. This is fine if not in motion, but my concern over potential injury for them took me out of the moment a few times. There were a couple of times when the actors came on the wagon, and I think they should do more of that, and have actors on at every scene where they are not up on a stage above the level of the wagon to present a better threat, and a safer situation for the actors.
The downside is that there is just the hayride but they do have hopes of expanding into an indoor haunt in a greenhouse. As great as the property owners are, this haunt just needs a better location or to do a better job of hiding the real world elements all around it. In order to make the trail long enough they have designed a path to get down to a heavily wooded area at the back of the property, which is where the ride is at its best. The trouble is that you would go through a cool set or scene, like the girls in the graveyard, and then look it’s a brightly lit condo building, and that happened repeatedly at the beginning and end of the ride. I don’t know what you do with that, but it really takes away from the immersion of what is a really good story and an excellent effort by the cast.
For the price of the ticket, it’s hard to justify based on one attraction, and the parking is so limited it seems that it is probably a good thing if they have limited crowds attending per hour. Pantophobia is a good haunt when it has the terrain to work with, but desperately needs a better location to reach it’s full potential, and is definitely worth watching going forward as they grow.
The cast here works hard to put on a good show, and are good at sneaking up on the wagon. They utilize lines to help tell the story of Cyrus, who by the way looked really cool standing high atop the hill, and his bit drew some of the biggest screams. There were lots of times that guests in the wagons ended up in the middle after being surprised by a monster from the dark suddenly behind them. Shout out to the ghillie suit guy who scared the back of the wagon twice, and the graveyard girls who just stood and stared after the wagon for what seemed like 5 minutes. Totally creepy.
They really carry the show and work with their surroundings and sets very well, and progress the story. I especially liked the part where we were ambushed and swarmed with actors.
Most of the ride was too dark to really see the makeup work but of the ones we could see, the costumes matched their characters and were appropriate to their environment. Cyrus looked especially good, as he was lit from below as he stood at the top of the hill. The ghillie suit was used very appropriately.
Customer Service: 7.25
The attraction is located right down the road from the Garden State Parkway exit so it was extremely easy to find and I was slightly baffled by the small scale of the parking, which turned out to be sufficient. There was only one actor in the queue area, and their trailer was playing on a screen but in a location where the folks in line could not see it. Although they did mention they were looking to move it to a better location. The creative director and general manager was gracious enough to talk with us and the ticket booth is right in front of the building.
The only dangerous part was the actors around a moving wagon, otherwise it felt safe… maybe too safe.
There was good music and atmosphere coming from the trailer playing by the queue line, but I don’t remember much else playing along the trail. Other than the signs and the video playing there was no way to know there would be a haunted hayride at that location, which is another reason why this haunt deserves a better location. Standing by a greenhouse in a typical farmer’s market definitely did not set the tone for a haunted hayride and even though the creative staff tried to blend the environment into the storyline, it hurts the haunt as a whole none the less.
Special Effects: 5.13
Little to no special effects were found here as it’s not really their thing. It didn’t hurt the storyline but also didn’t help in bringing the overall experience to life.
We did notice some fog in a few areas and minimal lighting. Scenes were detailed enough, but larger set pieces that envelop the wagon would enhance the experience. The graveyard we came across was impressive and coffins and other structures served as effective hiding spots.
The story for Pantophobia is that The Legend of Cyrus Grain continues to grow as his family’s old farm land has been developed into a shopping center. Cyrus seekers have documented videos of a shadowy figure they believe to be Cyrus Grain along the family’s last area of undeveloped land. Legend has it that Cyrus will do whatever it takes to keep all trespassers off what he believes to be the last of his family’s land. Cyrus has been seen lurking in the woods, between buildings, and along the private roads at DePiero’s Farmstand in Montvale, New Jersey. Do you and your friends have the nerve to ride this hayride and search for Cyrus?
The theme was pretty clear throughout and executed well. While I liked the Cyrus story, and character and how everything was cohesive and tied into that, I wouldn’t mind seeing something along the line of the meaning of the haunt’s name. Fear of everything really opens the door to all kinds of different themes, and would leave the guests wondering what is next.
Unfortunately, again the environment around the hayride is a huge detriment, but there is definitely room to improve and expand.
Fright Effect: 6.42
Because of the relative safety of the wagon and long gaps between scenes, the level of fear was low, and even allowed some discussion among the riders. There were times that people were being scared out of their seats but it was too sporadic. I never really felt in peril or distress at the situation. They also used some good distractions and tried to target everyone on the ride. Overall, the hayride was more entertaining than scary.
General admission for the hayride is $25 and VIP tickets are $40 but also include a T-shirt. The duration of the hayride was about 25 minutes which puts their MPD (minutes of entertainment received per dollar spent) right at a dollar per minute which is not terrible (average is about 1.5).
It was an entertaining wagon ride and the actors did well. If they were to offer more than just the hayride or the ticket price was lower, I would say it’s a good value but there’s just not enough here yet to justify the pricing.
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Guest ReviewsGuest Average: 10 out of 10
Ian – 10/10 – October 6, 2017Very well put together. The actors seemed very dedicated and knew what they were doing.
Kerry – 10/10 – September 30, 2017It was so much fun and a great attraction the actors really interact with you and make it scary and …show more