My husband and I met 11 years ago right around Halloween time. We met online and were chatting a bit for about a week. Knowing that I was also very into horror films and such (and I think he also really wanted to check out the haunted house), he asked me if I’d like to join him in checking out a local haunted house. We were in NY back then and went to a local place in Queens. We ended up getting stuck behind a bunch of screaming 10-year-olds, so our experience was not the greatest, but we still had fun and clearly enough that we agreed to go out again (and again and again 😉 ).
On our first dating anniversary, we decided to celebrate and go out to a haunted house again. We ended up going to the same establishment as our first date since they had consolidated their efforts to a large location in Manhattan. We went with a few friends and actually had a really great time. It soon became an annual tradition to go. Sometimes we went ourselves, other times we went with friends. It depending on who was interested or available each time. One time, I noticed an elderly couple waiting on line ahead of us and I remember turning to my husband and saying, “Can we be like them and keep going forever as we grow old together?” This tradition is still going strong 11 years later.
Over the years we visited maybe five different establishments, returning to the ones we liked a few times. We’re always on the lookout for a new one as they can get pretty old and use the same/similar gimmicks. Over the past four or five years, we didn’t really get scared anymore as we seem to have gotten a bit jaded.
This year, we decided to try out Fright Factory here in Philadelphia. We had never been before so were really excited to try something new.
I have to say, we were thoroughly impressed and this one goes down as one of our favorites, for sure!
As with most places, they have live actors roaming around outside freaking people out while they wait online. The costumes were very well done and the actors did a great job harassing everyone. They use converted industrial buildings which really help with the mood. As we waited to get in, we had to stand in a dark brick hallway. There was literally no lighting except from their video monitor showing their rules for guests. There was writing on the wall, things like “Undead Ahead” and “No Escape”. The almost complete darkness really helped set the mood. In fact, most of the attraction had little to no lighting. I think that’s part of why we found it worked so well as it was so dark and much darker than some of the others we’d been to. They also did an excellent job of crowd control and breaking up groups for entry allowing us to truly experience the entire attraction on our own.
It’s set up like a maze if you will with different rooms and themes. I don’t want to go into too many details as I wouldn’t want to spoil it for anyone, but I have to give them props for this one room that was my absolute favorite. They used a fog machine and (I think) laser lights to create what appeared to be a swamp. I’d never seen anything like that and was totally blown away at how real it not only looked but almost felt as we had to “wade” through. For a visual, check out their video below at around the eight second mark where you see the clown rising from a sea of green to see what I mean. We literally had to walk through that.
We were very impressed with their production value and room setup and was one of the best we’d ever seen. That’s saying a lot when we’ve been going to these things for 12 years now. They had excellent usage and placement of mannequins and figures along with the live actors. We often couldn’t tell what was real and what wasn’t and we were definitely freaked out and scared on more than one occasion as we made our way through. The actors were all really great and helped create an excellent creep factor. Also, we were very pleasantly surprised by the size. It felt really big and every time we hit another room, I kept thinking “There’s more??!!”. They really did an all-around excellent job and if we are still in Philly, will definitely visit this one again.
The pricing was also extremely reasonable. If you go on a Thursday night or early or late in the season, it’s only $15. Plus, there’s a Groupon for $31 good for two admissions any day. The offer ends tonight, so you’d better hurry. Fright Factory is open through November, 4.