The Fear PDX Haunted House – Full Review

The Fear PDX Haunted House is a Haunted Attraction located in Portland, OR.

12219 NE Glisan Street, Portland, OR 97230
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Haunt Type(s):

Multiple HauntsHaunted House


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Free Parking, Restrooms/Porta Potties On-Site, Handicap Accessible, Food/Concessions, Gift Shop/Souvenirs, “Hi-Tech” Attraction, You will NOT be touched, Covered Outdoor Waiting Line, All-Indoor Attraction

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This attraction was reviewed on October 10, 2021 by Team Terror Techies.

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Final Score: 6.59

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Located in Portland, The Fear PDX is one of the more established haunts in the area. They have recently moved to a new building that has afforded them more room to expand. We wanted to see the new space and updates they made since we visited a couple of years ago.

This year, The Fear PDX is offering several distinct experiences. Your tour starts with Factory 13, an industrial hellscape filled with the decaying bodies of those who were unable to escape. Then you continue forward to The Kill Floor to check into a ghastly hotel before making your exit through the fireplace. You eventually find yourself mixed up with a bunch of killer clowns in the Blood House. New this year, The Fear PDX offers a separate extreme attraction, Layers of Darkness – an invigorating exploration through a dark maze. For this review, the scores are averaged between the two attractions when applicable.

Cast: 4.73

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The Fear PDX’s main attraction had a well distributed cast, but there were a lot of areas where we didn’t seem to run into any actors. There were a few unstaffed spots for actors within scenes that could have been used. This could have been a pandemic precaution, but the lack of actors put most of the weight on animatronic scares that fell somewhat flat.

In the Layers of Darkness, there were maybe a couple of actors in there. (It was a blackout maze, so it was hard to tell.) One of the actors did a great startle scare as our group was coming around the corner. However, most of the maze felt low energy and empty.

The actors that we encountered were present but did not attempt to be energetic or overly engaging as we proceeded through those spaces. Some of them did ambush scares and had excellent locations. However, other actors, who didn’t succeed in scaring our team, just went back to reset for the next group.

Given that we did not encounter many actors, there wasn’t very much dialogue. The few that had vocalization either yelled or said something generic. The one exception to this was the bellhop that talked to us a bit before we continued.

Costuming: 9.05

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We can only speak on the characters’ costumes that we encountered outside the Layers of Darkness. The costuming that we saw was very good, with each character was dressed in nicely detailed costumes. One example of this was one of the characters working in the photo op area who wore a distressed, bloodied clown onesie with wigs sewn in as ruffle cuffs. It was a small detail that made us take a second look.

Most of the masked characters had hyper-realistic, silicone masks. Makeup incorporated disposable masks on those not wearing silicone masks. This makeup was very well done. At one point, we stopped noticing that all the actors were even masked.

Customer Service: 8.6

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It was easy to locate The Fear PDX. The haunt was located in a strip mall with plenty of free parking. There was signage directing around to the entrance in the back.

The staff were very easygoing and helped us whenever we asked. The attraction had temperature screenings before getting into the midway; staff would remind groups to maintain a six foot distance while we waited in line. It was a light crowd the night that we visited, but that could have been because of the timed ticketing. Either way, there was space to spread out from other groups as needed.

In the main haunted house, none of the sets were hazardous and extra care was taken to make sure the attraction was accessible for those with limited mobility. Though going through Layers of Darkness, there were some half walls to navigate that proved troublesome for some of our teammates. We just stumbled along until we realized where the path was going.

Atmosphere: 7.73

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While we approached the front gate, the first things we noticed were the jumbo screen and lights. There were two entrances, one for those with tickets and the other for those who needed tickets. It wasn’t particularly festive, but it did feel like you were attending an event. Once we were in the midway, there were two large props lit up that allowed us to take photos while we waited in line. On busier nights, there could be room for some entertainment which would have added to the experience.

The entrance of the main haunt was formerly a shipping dock and there wasn’t much to look at from the exterior. Lights were set up to try to add something to the space and provide a background for the photos that they took of our group. It still was obvious that the location was on the backend of a former box store. The actors that posed with us in the photo were the only thing that felt like we were entering a haunted house. In contrast, Layers of Darkness was tucked into the corner of the midway that led into a wood pallet entrance with junk rusting away to either side. There was a character dressed in dirty, ripped denim who chatted with us while we waited for our turn. This attraction had a more remote vibe despite being a few feet away from the main haunt.

Special Effects: 7.4

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As for set design, a smoke machine and some waterworks were set up to make it feel like a more rundown factory. The exposed ductwork and high ceilings filled in the expanse. The hotel was the strongest, with corridors lined with peeling wallpaper and exposed slats where the wall had crumbled away. The path was set up in a square grid configuration that is reminiscent of the layout of an actual hotel. Steamer cases and other luggage were stacked to direct us to follow a twisting path where specters were waiting. The carnival space made good use of luminescent paint splatter and sloped floors to give a more uneasy feeling.

The lighting alternated between focused lights and strobes between each scene. The use of strobes, though effective in some sections, was heavy throughout. The main haunted house relied heavily on animatronic scares. Last year, The Fear PDX was converted to be actor-less and, while actors were added back into the show this year, the animated props were still front and center. Everything was very high quality, but the timing of when the animatronics was just off, with many of them activating as we left the room.

Theme: N/A

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While there were subsections of the haunt, there was no cohesive narrative that was being attempted in those areas. The theme was kept fairly well, with the sets and costumes maintained through each subsection. The transitions between were abrupt. Be that as it may, each area was very distinct in appearance, making it easily identifiable where we were.

Scare Factor: 5.72

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As we mentioned earlier, The Fear PDX relies heavily on props and animatronics for the majority of its scares. Unfortunately for us, the timing just didn’t sync. Overall, the scares were not extremely varied but certainly had specific flair to them. There were some creeping scares where the actors attempted to approach from behind. Also, there were a few pop-out scares that had good placement. There just were scenes where there needed to be an actor to keep up the energy. We did watch the group in front of us dart out of the haunted house after getting spooked, so it could just have been our timing.

Layers of Darkness, the extreme haunt, was able to get one of our teammates with a well-timed actor scare. There also was the opportunity to hit our entire group, since there was no way for us to tell where an actor was coming from. However, the experience left us wanting something more than feeling our way through a dark maze. Again, having more actors or scares would have improved this experience.

Entertainment & Value: 5.58

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The main attraction took us about 12 minutes from when we entered up to the exit. We felt our way around the pitch black darkness of the extreme haunt for 4 minutes. The total time that we spent in both attractions was a total of 16 minutes. With a general admission price of $29.99 for the main attraction and $8 for the extreme haunt, this calculates to .42 minutes per dollar. The Fear PDX is one of the more spendy attractions in the area. However, it also has the most high quality costumes and props that we have seen this season. We hope that The Fear PDX continues to grow within its new location in the upcoming years and rises to its great potential.

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Guest Reviews
Guest Average: 1 out of 10

Susan – 1/10October 23, 2022
When we went it was very boring and very short. I felt we spent more time in line than we did inside …show more the “haunted house” very expensive as well.

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