I don't know if I should say it, but it's a little impressive to arrive at a haunted house and have to wait to go through because EMTs are carting someone out who had a heart attack. It's sad, and I feel for the person and their family, but it does mean the haunt did their job a little too well. (After speaking with one of the crew at Fear Fair, I found out that the lady had heart problems and had not been taking her medications). The unfortunate event did seem to affect the staff's performance, though, which is completely understandable.
Fear Fair is quite the production and based off my visit last year, I've touted it as my favorite all year long to friends. It's located in an old military bunker at 800 A Avenue in Seymour, Indiana. Everything was a little off this year, though. The production was still impressive, but we caught up to the people in front of us, and the people behind us caught up to us, which means all the "pop out" scares by the actors were not as effective. I chalk this up to the fact that they had record breaking attendance that night in addition to the temporary shut down and still had hundreds of people waiting in line when they were scheduled to close in less than an hour and a half. I'm sure they were trying to appease the people waiting and get them through a little faster.Also, some of the things that impressed me last year were off a bit, like the tessla coil not being lit until I kept saying "Where's the tessla coil?" Then the doctor in the lab went and turned a key, causing the tessla coil to zap the bars next to us.Maybe it wasn't supposed to be on yet, and I just happened to see it that way the year before. After an hour drive and over an hour and a half in line, it was a little disappointing but mostly I was just sad because I know what it is supposed to be like and had been building it up to my friends. Maybe it was just the drive and wait that made us tired and thus a little less impressed than last year (last year they moved me right to the front as a press member). I still had a lot of fun, and it's still the haunt that impresses me the most.
Despite this disappointment, I experienced one of the most awesome things ever while standing in line. We were right in front of a few steps leading up to an emergency exit door marked "Hangar 17", which is not generally used, so no one had been in or out of it. Suddenly, the door slammed open startling everyone in line and a group of girls bust through, screaming as a man in a pig mask chased with a chain saw. Disoriented by the hundreds of people on the other side of the handrail they had just bust out into, they began screaming at us and tried to run back in only to be met by the man in the pig mask - who put his chain saw down and was trying to grab their hands and put them back on the right path. They started turning from pig-man to us and back again while just screaming and not knowing where to go. A mutated zombie soldier who had been working the crowd outside jumped to the rescue trying to shove them back into the building, so they now had a third reason to scream and try to run. They were blocked in by railings, the pigman trying to pull them back in (but still holding a chain saw, scaring them), and the zombie soldier who kept shoving at them, trying to push them inside. The zombie soldier finally succeeded in cramming the armful of girls back into the building, pushing the door shut like an overstuffed suitcase. An actor came out after that and announced to the employee in front of us that the girls had broken the real porcelein toilet in the scene while stampeding. I will laugh for the rest of my life every time I think of that chaotic scene.
The haunt remains one of the most impressive scene-based haunts I've ever seen, and extended their experience this year. The amount of work put into the sets is just so impressive. Who else has a working tessla coil? They've added new scenes, including an entire new "Walking Dead" experience where you get to walk through indoor and outdoor areas while avoiding the zombie invasion going on. Featured walker, Larry Mainland from the AMC series The Walking Dead had a table outside the haunt with a table of Walking Dead promotional stuff for sale like photos. The picture above is a capture of him being startled as he went through the Walking Dead portion of the Haunt (photo supplied by Fear Fair). The haunt has also begun choosing guests at random to wear the "point of view" camera to record their experiences. You can view the videos on their web site along with a multitude of other things they've got going on.
The Saw portion of the haunt still remains my favorite, although this year I was trapped in the bathroom with a group of girls. Last year was more disturbing as I was on my own, but this year was more dangerous as I was nearly crushed by the stampeding young ladies when the door slid open and the pigman arrived with his chainsaw. It was definitely fun to see them scream and leap into my arms.
This haunt has interesting hours for all you folks working weekends. They are open Sunday and Monday from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Fridays/Saturdays from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. I wonder if the weeknights might be a little less crowded. We stood in the "fastpass" line for an hour and a half, and the line was far longer by the time we reached the front. I can't imagine how long the people in the regular line had to wait. The $20 to enter or $40 for the fastpass supports the growth of the haunt and occasionally allows them to do something really cool for the community (like putting defibulators in the back of every Seymour police car or making large contributions to put new playgrounds at elementary schools). If you can gather your friends for a road trip, it might be best to purchase group rate tickets from their web site.
*CORRECTION: THe above hours and prices were taken from their Facebook page and are no longer there. We were notified in comments below, "Thursday and Sunday 8-10pm and Friday and Saturday 8pm-1am... Prices are $15 for regular line and $20 for fast pass..." - This was verified on the Fear Fair web site.