I was able to go to opening weekend for Six Flags Great America’s very popular Fright Fest! This year, Great America has decided to go with something new: An Icon
Meet Nox, the Demon Overlord of Six Flags Great America. He is looking for some souls and he might as well scare them out of you! All of the transformations of rides such as the bumper cars (Rue La Morgue) and Snakes on a Train (Viper) are of his doing along with the haunted houses of Fright Fest. While there have been only slight changes from years past, the cohesive storyline gives the houses a connection. Nox introduces each house on a short video along with safety information before you enter. As in the past, the daytime is still devoted to families and trick or treating, but once 6pm rolls around, all hell breaks loose!
Gates of Hell: This is the largest house in all of Great America. It includes both indoor and outdoor portions including a couple of places where groups are made to split up and Nox drops by inviting you to a feast. For those familiar with the haunted houses of Great America, this basically is a reimagined Necropolis and Mausoleum of Terror. It had very good production value, but I would say in the middle of the scare factor.
Apocalypse: Zombie Experience: This takes place in the Raging Rapids track (without the water, of course). Now it is a campground overrun by the undead. You are given two options: walk through the site unarmed or, for an extra fee, rent a gun to defend your party. Great America has teamed up with I-Combat Laser Tag for the guns. The Zombies have a sensor on their head and guests have one on their shoulders. See a zombie, shoot them dead. If they get too close, you are bitten (flashing) and you lose points. This was a great idea, but the problem was that there were simply not enough zombies if you had more than one gun in your group. That was our problem. Plus, if you saw the zombie before anybody else, you can shoot it dead before the actor ran out. This lowered the scare factor of the experience. However, I was bitten by some really clever zombies towards the end that snuck up and worked in teams.
Manslaughter Manor: Sadie’s Revenge: This is an update of a house they have always had in Southwest Territory. This has always been a house that has been haunted by ghosts. However, this year, it is by a little pioneer girl, Sadie. What I found very impressive about this house is that the only ghost in the entire house was Sadie. All the actors dressed up like her and wore the same white mask. In other words, Sadie was terrorizing us as we walked through her house. This Haunted House always is full of great jump scares including Sadie hiding behind the front door of the house.
Massacre Medical Center: This popular house has some of the best props in all of Great America’s houses including a real ambulance. However, it still is the same “mental patients taking over the hospital” bit. They actually used to “kidnap” a victim in your group and dissect her later in the house. That seems to have stopped. Still, this house has remained scary, yet remain pretty well lit. There are a lot of little details that many miss including the cafeteria register blinking creepy sayings.
Fear: This is always one that has made me uneasy due to it being small, dark, and has many fears of individuals (Clowns, rats, bugs). Due to the close quarters, actors get super close to you and there are many sound effects such as bees, rats, and laughing clowns.
Abyss: This is the other house in the Bermuda Triangle (Hurricane Harbor). This is another “inside and outside” house where you meet the doomed souls of sunken ships and travel through the jungle dodging snakes, living plants, and an actual maze to escape. I always liked this house because it had a little bit for everybody. For those fans missing the Mausleum of Terror, its vortex tunnel has found a fitting place as you travel from beneath the sea into the jungle.
Other Frights and Fun
Of course, if Haunted Houses are not for you, there are plenty of scares running around the park including clowns, werewolves, and lumberjacks!
Returning as well is the award winning stage show, Love at First Fright, but now with a special “late night” performance for adults only. Hypmotist Susan Rosen has also returned for her fun show where audience members are the stars! So hurry over to Gurnee, IL for the rest of frightful fun at Six Flags Great America’s Fright Fest running every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday until November 1st.
For a detailed video walkthrough, please check out this video:
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