2016 Forest of Fear Review

Location: 600 NY-17A, Tuxedo Park, NY 10987Webpage: http://renfair.com/forestoffear/

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Introduction

Forest of Fear, in Tuxedo Park, New York, features seven interconnected attractions featuring diverse scenes and themes that cover a wide array of horror genres. Scenes are effectively designed, large in scale and detailed with a mix of mature themes and twisted humor. Makeup and costume designs are top-notch and scare actors creatively interact with each guest throughout each of the seven attraction. Forest of Fear can easily become a must see the haunted attraction with some minor adjustments and improvements that allow guests to become immersed in each detailed scene. We enjoyed our visit to the Forest of Fear, as it is a quality haunted attraction, with some unique concepts that have great potential to grow. Forest of Fear is a quality attraction that has undergone several changes over the past few seasons. Located on the grounds of a Renaissance Fair, the seven haunted attractions each have distinct themes and characterizations. If Forest of Fear can find ways to take advantage of its location, improve line management and strengthen some of the weaker attractions it can be one of the best attractions in the tri-state area.

While visiting the attraction, guests can experience a variety of entertainment options. Forest of Fear features a variety of vendors and activities for guests before and after the haunted attraction. For a nominal fee, guests can position themselves against a wall, while knife throwers launch a barrage of knives surrounding the guest. It is quite the spectacle to watch, and an experience not found at any other haunts. Forest of Fear is only twenty minutes away from Pure Terror Screampark and both haunts can be visited in one evening. We plan on visiting again next season and hope they can refine their show to create a truly terrifying haunted attraction. Minor adjustments and improved pacing can allow the talented scare actors and impressive set designs to shine, making the journey through the forest a memorable experience.

Attractions

Each attraction at Forest of Fear is highly detailed with quality set designs that go above and beyond many other haunts visited this season. Many haunts with multiple attractions rely on a series of plank mazes lacking detail and creativity. Forest of Fear bucks that trend by incorporating talented scare actors, and creative set designs. Forest of Fear’s character designs, makeup effects and costuming are also well above average, with custom designed outfits that fit each specific scene. At times the attractions seem to move at too quick of a pace which prevents scenes from playing out and maximizing scares. Despite these minor issues, each attraction featured at Forest of Fear is solid, and an entertaining journey for haunt fans of diverse interests. Execution of the haunt at times hurts its effectiveness as guests are quickly moved from attraction to attraction. Instead of creating a sense of fear or paranoia, the rushed atmosphere prevents each attraction for reaching its full potential. There is an astonishing level of freakish details found in many of the attractions that may go unnoticed due to line management issues. Forest of Fear starts off by breaking larger groups into smaller, but the interconnected design of the haunt does little to control lines along the trail. Talented scare actors with unique character designs work extremely hard at creating entertaining experiences within the context of their own scenes. Forest of Fear appears to be embracing a mature, adult themed approach to their haunt and we hope they continue in this direction.

Uncle Jimmy’s

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“Uncle Jimmy’s” is the typical “redneck-hillbilly” themed attraction used by many other haunts visited this season. Crude off-color humor coupled with a few aggressive scare actors creates an entertaining although not a scary experience. The visit to “Uncle Jimmy’s” house is rather brief as scare actors quickly move guests through the attraction. Hillbilly themes are featured in almost every large and small haunted attraction and the concept is played out. While the scare actors do a fantastic job of acting out their roles, and set designs are solid, the attraction itself is rather generic. Perhaps a darker, more aggressive approach to scaring can help inject new life into this traditional, perhaps tired concept.

The Slaughterhouse

slaughterhouse-fp“Slaughterhouse” is an aggressive attraction which features gruesome scenes of violence and gore, with terrifying scenes.  Violent butchers, cross-dressing maniacs and an assortment of other twisted characters are found in this lengthy attraction. “Slaughterhouse” is one of the strongest attractions at Forest of Fear, with gritty details and scenes of brutality that are legitimately disturbing. Character actors are also extremely interactive in this attraction using their demented personalities to make for uncomfortable experiences. We only wish that “Slaughterhouse” allowed more time to see some of the most violent scenes play out. Due to a constantly rushed pace, we ran into the group in front of us which hurt some of the scares. Furthermore, we constantly saw a group behind us who was trying to wait for each scene to play out but had no choice but to move on. Effective pacing can help strengthen this attraction’s effectiveness as “Slaughterhouse” has the potential to be a highlight at the Forest of Fear.

Blind Panic

blind-panic-fp-1“Blind Panic” is a unique concept that stands out at Forest of Fear, featuring a new twist on a “biohazard” monster theme. A trip through a decontamination unit is impressive, featuring detailed characters that play their roles of mutant/zombie creatures to the tee. The containment unit/biohazard theme of the haunt is well done featuring props and set designs that match the creative characters found in this attraction.  In previous seasons this attraction operated as “pitch black” style maze, which would complement the diverse attractions found at Forest of Fear. “Blind Panic” is an entertaining take on the zombie/mutant-themed haunt with militant characters and post-apocyptic nightmares brought to life

Carnevil of the Damned

carnieval-2-square4web“Carnevil of the Damned” is a giant circus tent maze featuring a multitude of clowns who try their best to distract guests and prevent escape. The haunt is structurally impressive, transforming the Forest of Fear into a twisted dark Carnival. The nightmarish atmosphere is a great representation of a clown-themed haunt but the maze itself is rather easy to complete. Clowns use loud blow-horns driving guests to panic but overuse takes away from the scare. We found constant loud noises to be rather annoying than scary and felt that this aspect can be toned down. Interactions with the clown actors themselves are the highlight of the attraction. Character actors are talented using a variety of taunts, and funny banter to help create an entertaining, interactive experience. Their ability to successfully misdirect guests into a variety of clown themed props and dead ends is a testament to their quality as they use their acting ability to extend the attraction’s length

Craven Brothers Chainsaws

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“Craven Brother’s Chainsaws” is a plank based maze that tries to create scares using chainsaws and hillbilly style actors that try to misdirect guests. This attraction is one of the weaker haunts at Forest of Fear as the maze itself is rather short. Chainsaw scare actors do their best to generate effective jump and startle scares. “Craven Brother’s Chainsaws” feels more like a brief diversion along the trail and not a full-fledged attraction.

Mourningwood Cemetery

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“Mourningwood Cemetery” is a short, outdoor walk-through a cemetery/walking dead themed haunt. The attraction features a few scare actors, typical cemetery set designs expected for the namesake and effective outdoor lighting/fog effects. The setup of the attraction is structurally solid, we just expected more from a scene that is advertised as a separate attraction. While an enjoyable diversion along the journey, once again catering to diverse haunt interests, “Mourningwood Cemetery” is rather short. The attraction feels like an extended scene rather than its own separate attraction, which has room for growth.

Das Spa

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“Das Spa” is a unique take on a “medical” themed haunt with adult themed scare actors and aggression to create a memorable, violent experience. Blood covered nurses, twisted doctors, and mental patients are found throughout this gritty attraction. An insane baseball bat wielding maniac starts off the experience using aggressive force to create fear. “Das Spa” is a mature experience that again can be a truly terrifying if guests can spend more time processing each disturbing scene. “Das Spa” features dark themes, such as a Satanic mass scene and various rooms of surgical torture. “Das Spa” can benefit from more effective pacing as the quality of these disturbing scenes is impressive, best described as a twisted spectacle for those who appreciate the blood, guts, and gore. “Das Spa” is lengthy in design, with custom-built sets and scenes featuring intricate gruesome details and concepts that with proper pacing can be executed masterfully. “Das Spa” is mature,  a close to an “extreme” experience that stands out at Forest of Fear.

The Final Word

Forest of Fear’s seven attractions feature themes that are generally found in most larger and smaller haunted attractions. A “safe” approach towards theming almost guarantees you will see many similar concepts found across the gamut of haunted attractions visited this year. Overall, each attraction is impressively detailed and with some minor pacing tweaks can help this attraction stand out amongst its competitors. However, despite this approach, Forest of Fear provides a quality show, featuring detailed set designs, talented scare actors, and legitimate potential to be a terrifying, mature haunt. Forest of Fear should continue to embrace the mature themes and scare tactics incorporated into several scene designs and address pacing issues to bring the attraction to the next level.

 

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