Visibility / Location:
The haunt is easy to find as it's in the Haunted Trails Family Fun Center, which is located along Harlem Avenue. There is ample signage, and Frightmare is in the parking lot next to the fun center. There is a huge neon sign on the top of the haunt with the name "Frightmare", so it can easily be seen.
Parking is ample, as there is room in front of the building as well as in the shopping center behind the fun center.
There was one actor who was both the person leading people in to the haunt and wait entertainment. He did make some effort to rush towards visitors and scare them in between pointing people in the right direction. There is not waiting room, but rather a series of gates put up in front of the haunt which accommodate those waiting in line.
Aside from the one actor there was no other wait entertainment, although Haunted Trails does usually have a live radio broadcast as least once during the season.
$12 or $10 with coupon available on the Frightmare web site.
LPR Score = 1.458
LPR stands for Length/Price Ratio. It represents perceived value of an event, by comparing length vs price of admission. Higher numbers represent more value per dollar. Actual quality and/or entertainment value of an event are not factors in this calculation. Click Here to see how this event compares to others visited this year by the staff of HauntedIllinois.com.
There was no crowd there so no need for crowd control, although there were several security people there in case of larger groups.
First off, Frightmare is more carnival attraction than haunt, so anyone expecting something scary (as the name might imply) will be disappointed. Think of it more as the type of attraction one might see at a county fair or at a local carnival that has various rides set up.
The haunt consists of a prefabricated building with two levels. Visitors enter the bottom level, then wind their way out of the haunt, up a set of stairs and across the top of the haunt, then down another flight of stairs and into the second half. Frightmare varies its theme each year, with this year's being more of a "cabin in the woods" type theme, featuring cannibals and other unsavory characters. The haunt is also decorated in garish neon colors that provide a 3D effect, even though the haunt is not in 3D. If you happen to have a pair of old red and blue 3D glasses they will work inside the haunt.
As mentioned, this year's theme was an isolated cabin. The walls and other areas reflected this theme, being painted with threes, cabins, and other things one might find in the woods. The theme was carried through in the scenes as well, which featured outdoor areas, woods, and even a camp area reminiscent of Camp Crystal Lake from the Friday the 13th movies. Mostly, the sets were minimal, with the majority of set design consisting of paintings on the walls with a few props here and there.
There were a handful of animatronic props inside, including a talking skeleton in the beginning who welcomed visitors into the haunt, a giant wolf head near the end that came out and growled at passersby, and a woman on a bed that was supposed to rise up towards visitors but wasn't working on this visit. All of these props are the same ones that Frightmare always uses, just repurposed for the new theme.
Actors in the haunt were few and far between, and mostly consisted of younger individuals in masks. Costumes were mostly street clothes, and the scares were of the jump out and say "Boo" variety. Nothing exciting here. The biggest scare actually came from one of the security guards who jumped out towards the end of the first part of the haunt to scare visitors.
Overall, Frightmare was quite uninspired this year. While it is never what one might consider stellar, it can be entertaining depending on the theme of the haunt, the number of actors, and the general enthusiasm of the actors. Alas, this year, all three categories came up short. The theme was minimal, with some sections being just blank black walls when they are usually at least decorated in neon paintings, the actors were sparse, with perhaps six in the entire haunt, and only one or two made any kind of extra effort in terms of trying to scare.
Again, Frightmare is not really meant to be scary, but rather more on the entertaining side, but this year it wasn't quite that, either, and with only a five minute length, it's a bit pricey for what you get.
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