The Fear Experience Valentine Weekend Haunt

Weeks ago, plans had been made to get a small group of people together to check out The Fear Experience's Valentine's weekend haunt, Love Is In The Scare. Final tally would bring a total of 12 people together to drive up to the Parma, Ohio haunt, and then go out for some after-haunt beverages. But as the date drew nearer, and the weather forecast changed for the worse, that number of attendees dropped like the frigid temperatures outside.

By Saturday morning, we knew that the entire Northeast Ohio area was going to get walloped with a blizzard and sub-zero temperatures. The snows fell relentlessly throughout the day as the temperature hovered around a bone-chilling 8 degrees. Yep. 8 degrees. Friends who would have driven in from further away quickly canceled their trips and I kept an eye on the weather reports as well as the local highway traffic cams. 

Car accidents piled up as quickly as the snow and I was close to calling off the trip as well. When Stacey called and said that she wasn't going due to a power failure in her neighborhood, it was down to me and Mrs. Highbury, and good friend Jimmy T. and his brother-in-law, Chad. I made a call to Jim, who was already on the road, and my decision was made. Screw it. Let's do this.

I won't lie, I was doubting that decision the entire way up, as we crept along the highway at 40 miles an hour. But we took our time and eventually made it to the haunt, where we met up with Jim and Chad. I was surprised at the number of cars in the parking lot, but it looked like a little blizzard wouldn't keep a large gathering of local haunt fans away. We Clevelanders are a hardy bunch...

While the haunt itself didn't have any Valentine-specific theming, it was still worth the trip up. It was separated into 4 separate haunts, with a quick walkway between each. The first 2 sections, Zombie Uprising and Centralia Mental Facility, were really good. Lots of very detailed scenes with specific attention paid to lighting and sound. I hope the actors weren't offended as I completely ignored them to check out all of the rich scenery (They did manage to scare Mrs. Highbury quite a few times, though!).

The third haunt, Centralia County Fair, was also a great section. More rich scenery, lighting and sound set in an old freakshow carnival with sideshow performers and clowns. I especially loved the detail in the old freakshow banner paintings on the walls as you entered. I actually stopped to admire the art, somewhat to the dismay of the people behind me.

The final haunt, District 13, was a bit different than the previous sections. Fewer actors in this section, although it was more of a dark maze, complete with oodles of wonderful, hanging fog and a painfully slow, pulsating overhead strobe light that played with your sensory perception, as you tried to navigate your way through.

Overall, I really liked The Fear Experience. I know that because of the bad weather, a few of the makeup artists didn't make it in, and I can assume that the same was true for some of the actors, but I still enjoyed the haunt greatly. I like how it was broken up into different sections with different settings and experiences. But what really impressed me was the great detail that was paid to each scene, as well as the attention that was paid to lighting. I found myself stopping in the middle of a scene, just to take it all in. 

Maybe it was all the trouble we had getting there, or maybe it was the smell of the fog and the sounds of the chainsaws that made me feel like it was Halloween again, but I had a great time and I can't wait for October so that I can go check out The Fear Experience again!



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