Written By: Aurora Caskey
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Rating = 5/5 Graves
Halloween season is finally here. And if you love a good scare, look no further than the Field of Screams attraction in Mountville, Pennsylvania. Field of Screams was opened in 1993 by two brothers from Mountville who have a love of farming and scaring people. It’s still owned and operated by Jim and Gene, who run a functional farm the rest of the year that sells everything from corn to Christmas trees. Field of Screams is open from mid-September to mid-November on Fridays and Saturdays (with extra days added in October). It consists of four separate attractions: Haunted Hayride, Den of Darkness, Frightmare Asylum, and Nocturnal Wasteland.
You can pay for each attraction individually or purchase a Scream Pass for $35. Add $20 for a VIP ticket and you’ll get to the front of each line. I’ve done a few haunted houses in the PA, MD, and DC area and this seems like a good deal, especially for the quality of entertainment you get.
Field of Screams is located on farmland in a rural area. Driving through Mountville to get there, I expected a creepy abandoned vibe, but it seemed like a quaint little small town. It was easy to find FOS and parking was seamless, with signs everywhere and staff directing you.
Right away I could tell FOS was on another level from other haunted houses. The ticket queue and entertainment area are intricately decorated with large moving statues of skeletons and scarecrows. The concession area has your typical carnival food and had a lovely retro feeling. Order a pig intestine funnel cake and the staff are supposed to squeeze a pig toy and perform a song. One thing I especially loved was the ample picture opportunities. There was a free photobooth in the center of the park that emails you your pictures. There’s also places to pose for spooky pictures with guillotines, chainsaws, and even a hearse.
All the cast and crew did an amazing job. There were even a number of people in costumes roaming around outside the attractions trying to catch people off guard. I saw a clown scare a woman so badly that she fell onto the ground laughing. The scare-actors in the houses did a great job of getting in your face without going over the line. I was nervous because this was the first haunted attraction I have been to where they are permitted to touch you (and you can’t opt out!). But the touching was mostly hair petting or pulling. In the last house someone gently grabbed my sides in a way that I found oddly comforting.
I was blown away by the set decoration and animatronics. The Haunted Hayride and Nocturnal Wasteland in particular have really unique set pieces. The Hayride features multiple large animatronics including a pig head and a snake. Nocturnal Wasteland has a simulation that made it seem like you are walking through a river of toxic waste.
Overview of the Attractions
The first house I did was also the scariest. The theme of this attraction is a closed down, crumbling mental asylum whose murderous inhabitants refuse to leave – even after death. It’s a testament to how scary this one was that I closed my eyes for approximately a quarter of the four-floor house. My companion and I went through the whole place with only two other people in our group which made it all the more terrifying. This house had some great designs, including a room full of people dressed as Silent Hill nurses with their faces incased in bandages. Like in the movie, you had to weave through the figures, not knowing which was a mannequin and which would reach out and grab you. It took about 10 minutes to get through the house (the longest 10 minutes of my life).
Next up was Nocturnal Wasteland. This attraction is mostly outdoors, which made it feel less oppressive and claustrophobic. The theme is a kind of nuclear disaster area inhabited by mutants with a penchant for torture. The look and feel of this haunt reminded me of the film ‘The Hills Have Eyes’. The scariest part was actually the waiting area, where a masked man got the jump on me and a few other people. He would walk up and stand right behind you before bringing his face inches from yours.
My favorite attraction was the Haunted Hayride. After a short wait in the loading zone, you board a wagon and sit on the floor facing the center. I wasn’t sure how scary this one would be since the scare-actors would be further away. But Field of Screams surprised me again by having the wagon stop in various structures and then having doors close in the front and back of the vehicle. After a quick set-up explaining the theme of the room, the lights would flicker and actors would jump onto the wagon and really get in your face. Some themes were more cohesive than others, but they were all fun. The scariest was the first room which had a slaughterhouse theme. The most original was the greenhouse room which had giant spiders, a moving snake head, and people-sized cocoons.
Den of Darkness:
The final attraction of the night was Den of Darkness. After two slightly less intense experiences, I was very nervous to do this one. Turns out my fears were correct because it was terrifying. My friend told me after that they thought I was going to have to make an emergency exit after the first floor because I was really losing it. The building is supposed to have originally been a farmhouse where the residents tortured and murdered people. Then it was a hotel where workers experimented on guests before being bought and taken over by a psychotic millionaire.
This house in particular tapped into some of my worst fears. The first room was filled with figures covered in sheets from head to toe. The figures blocked your path and grabbed you when you least expected it. But the real nightmare was towards the end when you had to get on your hands and knees to get through a crawl space that was filled with corpses. There was no way to get through without crawling over the bodies. Haunted houses are especially effective when they get you in a small space because it increases the feeling of isolation and loss of control.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Field of Screams. While I had to drive about two hours to get there, it was easy to find and very well-run. Everyone I interacted with (with the exception of the actors!) was pleasant and friendly. I love the small-town vibe together with state-of-the-art set design and effects. If you are in the Baltimore, Philadelphia, DC, or surrounding areas and are looking for an exciting activity, I whole heartedly recommend Field of Screams. You get a lot for your admission and the concessions are reasonably priced. I would say it’s probably not suitable for children under 12, but there is an affiliated daytime attraction in the same location called Corn Cob Acres.
For the following reasons, Grave Reviews gives Field of Screams 5 out of 5 Graves.
Did you agree with our review? Comment below.