.......... Review: The Fear Factory - FrightTour

Review: The Fear Factory   
Author FrightTour Thursday 10 October 2013 - 02:20:00      

Every year now it seems like more and more haunted attractions are opening up. In fact over the last five years the haunt industry has welcomed many new faces to the community. There are some that kick it off right from the start and then there are those that take a bit to get off the ground... While Fear Factory wasn't an instant success, it had some strong positives regarding the overall event and then some negatives stemming from a tricky first year. This review isn't going to follow my normal "attraction by attraction" outline. As a truthful review site, I could not "sugarcoat" this critique. I do not want to provide false information and become an un-credible review site for those who value my honesty. Therefore I have to treat it like any other...

Fear Factory out of Mays Landing, New Jersey opened for their first year on October 4, 2013. You might remember our tiny news article posted in June which mentioned Fear Factory would open in July. Well the attraction ran into some snags which prevented it from opening on time. The constant change of opening definitely took its toll on the actors and staff and it was obvious. For example, we arrived at 9pm on a Thursday night. As we pulled up we noticed it wasn't crowded at all. This was no surprise to us considering it was a school night, early in the season and the weather wasn't pleasant. When we walked in and grabbed our tickets, we learned that they were actually closing up shop and we had just made it in time. Now this personally irritated me a little and call it knit picking if you want but... You are in your first year of operation which to me is the most crucial time for you to make an impression. Is an impression of "unannounced early closings" a good idea? How would you feel if you walked up to a Walmart SuperCenter and on the front door a sign reads, "Due to low traffic we have decided to close tonight at 10pm. We will re-open tomorrow." It would make you pretty angry wouldn't it? Well imagine if we had been 15 minutes later, the doors would have been locked and I would have been very angry that I spent 45 minutes in the car for nothing... Just not a good idea to close when you feel like it because of low traffic. It states on your website your hours so full fill those hours.

Anyway back to the review of the actual attraction itself. As you walk up to the front of the building you are greeted by a beautifully operational facade. Instead of an outdoor vinyl banner with some spotlights there is a gorgeous bright sign. You can tell this is a permanent location because aside from the sign the front doors were themed as well. As you walk into the main lobby you are completely immersed into a heavily detailed attraction. The team behind designing and building Fear Factory spared no expense creating what they had visioned. It was perfect! Most places throw up some rope, signs and a few animatronic props and stop there... Nope not Fear Factory everything from the tables to the signs for the restrooms were decked out! I really enjoyed the lobby... And this detailed theming followed throughout both of the attractions; Kill Grille & Mayhem Manor. The attention paid to detail was impressive for a first year haunt. I was sort of shocked as we walked through some of the most elaborate sets I have seen. I mean where can you walk through a swamp thats pretty close to real life!? However, to be honest with you and I mean no disrespect at all... Detailed theming was all it had to offer.

Lets begin with the actors... In the general area of Mays Landing, New Jersey there are only a few haunted attractions within 30 miles or so. Therefore, majority of the actors hired have never done this before and their lack of haunting experience showed. Usually in a haunted house there are actors who have a "ritual scare" which is a very uniform way of always executing their attack. Then there are a few that can wonder in and out of rooms and hallways and deliver "random scares". Well it seemed like everyone at Fear Factory was a "random scare" actor. No one had a uniform way of scaring people. It was like a free for all in the attractions. Actually now that I think about it, it seemed like a competition... Throughout both attractions I only screamed once and I am not lying here. To prove my point... The one person who got me all night was a "ritual scare". She was very well hidden in the wall and out of no where she walked up right next to me and said, "Where are you going?" I flipped! It totally worked for me because it was something simple and not over done. Everything else was over the top, it was like they were trying to prove a point. And by the fourth actor we encountered I was used to it. This was something different...


Not to harp on the actors here, but I have two more negative critiques and I feel these are very important... If one more young lady screamed at the top of their lungs I might have just walked out. One blood curdling scream would have been fine, but seven of them? Yeah that's right I counted! It doesn't do anything for me after it has been done so many times. It actually got annoying... Enough already! Someone please change it up! Now onto the two chainsaws we had present in the attractions... I know this is not something the actors can control but why use battery operated chainsaws?! You have spent so much money on your sets and designs and its obvious. Why not spend the extra money on real chainsaws for a real effect? These were comical and sounded nothing like a real chainsaw. In fact they sounded like someone stepped on a frog full of air. People don't like the sound of a real chainsaw and if done tastefully which is rare now, it can deliver positive results quite well. Now of course there could be some kind of safety code in regards to fumes from the saws but when you only have one in each attraction... I don't think the fumes would kill anybody.

Ok moving on. As I mentioned above the sets were astounding! The design team really got their point across with each set you experienced, really detailed and great work! However, in connection to the sets there were a lot of animatronic props to deal with. Now I know that these props completed the look and feel of the theme. However, tie the large amount of ani-props with the overbearing actors and it was overwhelming. I didn't know where to focus, there was way too much going on!


It also seemed like the usual use of animatronics was not executed at Fear Factory. For a refresher really quick, you have "distracta-scares" and actual "ani-scares". Distracta-scares distract the guests as a scare comes from a different angle. An ani-scare is an actual animatronic prop used as a full blown scare. These scares are usually air cannons or buzzers. However, the animatronics were very cool. They picked some good ones that if strategically placed could deliver some excellent scares! One in particular would be the burrowing snake wall.

Leaving animatronics and actors behind us, I would like to mention that Fear Factory did not have any fog. This was due to a choice to use water vapor which was currently being installed. Therefore, throughout both attractions you had no disorientating effects which can deliver EXCELLENT scares. I personally believe the water vapor idea is a bad choice and here is why. When you have fog machines putting out fog fluid, the fog tends to linger a bit and can really diminish visibility. With water vapor it only lingers for a couple of seconds and fades away. Therefore you have no extra effects that come from it. Yes it saves money but it just doesn't create that real atmosphere. So if you guys are reading this, I would definitely re-think the water vapor idea. Maybe I am wrong but just my belief...

Overall Fear Factory is a decent haunted attraction... Not very scary, but an amazing site to see... Now you are wondering, "Why so negative if you recommend it?" Well considering this is the first year for the attraction and opening was pushed back due to certain snags, I believe this place has serious potential! Aside from overbearing actors, animatronic overload and some bad choices I think if all is corrected it could be a top attraction in the industry. The vision is there... The attention to detail is there... Now all we need are trained actors, darkness, disorienting effects and real chainsaws and we're golden! I wouldn't write this venue off just yet. I would wait till later in the season to hit it up. However, there aren't many haunted attractions in the general area of Mays Landing, New Jersey. Therefore, it might be your only option. But let me leave you with this...

I have been to many haunted attractions since FrightTour was established, I have seen it all. I have been to some pretty bad haunts and some that knock you on the ground. Fear Factory is on its way! Put aside the opening jitters, snags and problems and who knows it could have been a stellar haunt. However, without our support it might never get that lift it needs. Which is why I feel that people should give it a chance before writing it off. My reviews are my opinion from my experience. Your experience may differ and it most likely will. Who knows, you may go there and love it and thats great! I am glad I visited Fear Factory and would go back again during the summer operating season in 2014. I personally hope great things come from this place and wish them much success... HAPPY FRIGHTING!



DATE OF VISIT: October 10, 2013

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