Factory of Terror
Todd - For another HHT first this year, we visited Canton's Factory of Terror and I was immediately excited by the impressive, solid presentation upon entering. While my initial impression waned by the end, I still walked away happy that we made the trip.
FOT is one mega haunt-plex containing 5 haunts as well as an axe throwing side feature and escape rooms (run separately). This place is enormous and perfect for spending an evening in the fall. It's all indoors (not the ticketing line) so no need to brave the weather. It also has a snack bar and a midway area to take a break and have a drink between the various haunts. You could easily spend a few solid hours here and make an evening of it.
Of the 5 separate haunts, only 2 of them felt entirely unique. In fact, after visiting I couldn't even remember the names of some of them. The two I can distinctly remember are Industrial Nightmare and Backwoods Hollow, for very different reasons. I'll get to the others shortly.
Industrial Nightmare was probably my favorite of the five. The entire haunt mimics the building's former identity - a factory. Before it was a haunt home, this facility was an aluminum foundry. When FOT moved in, many machine parts, controllers and other archaic mechanisms were left behind which now make up the scenes for Industrial Nightmare. The haunt winds path after path, walled by dilapidated machinery and electronics. There are a few hydraulic presses as well which produce a natural sense of caution. Industrial Nightmare is unique because a lot of it is legitimate, repurposed stuff. It was a very creative way to produce a theme with what was at hand - and it works. The appearance of abandonment and mechanical rot feels very authentic because to some degree, it is.
The other attraction I could remember by name was Backwoods Hollow, but not for the best reasons. This is pretty much what you would guess it is - crazed hillbillies with cannibalistic tendencies. While there were some impressive scenes at the end, what threw me was the beginning. What felt like the first 40% of the haunt was literally nothing more than feeling our way through dark corridors while nighttime ambient sounds played in the background. I was really expecting there to be a big payoff once we came to first light but no - it was really just the start of the other 60%. Before we knew it, the haunt was over. It felt extremely short and half complete. While the sets were good by the end, I was too disappointment by the first half to salvage the experience.
The other three haunts wound up melding together in my mind. Factory of Terror's first impression is a fantastical one. The entrance to the first haunt (1300 Lost Souls?) is a beautifully constructed home exterior which (at full scale) would be the source of urban legends in any town. VERY cool looking. However, recollecting my experience beyond those doors only stands out in pieces and I have a hard time placing which of those were in which haunt.
The quality of the haunts' environments was very impressive overall. There's a lot of attention to detail, whether it be a room of an hold house, an outdoor cemetery, a locker room, an office, etc. FOT carries a level of detail that would score in a higher percentile than the average haunt. Despite these haunts residing inside one massive structure, the level of detail in them kept my mind from recognizing this.
Although aesthetically the scenes were very interesting and appealing to the eye, one drawback I found was that not only did they run together haunt to haunt but even some of the larger props were repeated in a few of them (or it sure felt like it). For example, by now any haunt fanatic is familiar with the large suspended puppets which are manually operated and manufactured by Gore Galore. We saw a few of the same ones (if memory serves) among these haunts. Volume discount?
The three haunts I didn't call out all seemed to feel like the same haunt because they had no distinct theme. Each had a defining moment, if you will - one has a well-executed mirror maze, while another has a cave you go through. There was no defining story line offered or obviously present to make each stand out. For the most part, among these three, I just felt like I was in "another haunted house;" well constructed, but lacking character.
The biggest detriment to FOT, sadly, were the actors. As with any haunt, there were some standouts - namely the girls at the end of Industrial Nightmare and who I referred to as "Moonshine Guy" in Backwoods Hollow. They were good at improvisation. Overall though, most actors offered no more than screaming single-syllable words as we passed in attempts of a jump scare with little-to-no enforcement. Worse off, while walking through, I saw numerous actors coming and going through side doors - some with personal belongings! I get that the place is big, but this really killed the illusion. Actors should always remain in character until they are clearly behind the scenes.
Factory of Terror is a haunt that heightens the playing field when it comes to construction and multi-haunt offering. It has the advantage of hosting a full night of entertainment for a single admission price where most haunts have limited capacity for their scares. The attention to detail multiplied by sheer size of the complex surely keeps many employees busy at all times. I can appreciate the hard work and dedication that goes into FOT. If they can bring their actors' interactivity up to the level of the environment and leverage good stories, Factory of Terror could be an unstoppable beast of a haunt.
Paul - Factory of Terror is a multi-attraction haunt in Canton, OH that has earned the Guinness world record for longest indoor haunt three times! This is a massive building that is absolutely packed with creepy actors, enormous animatronics, amazing props, and some really wild sets! This year marked our first visit to FOT and it was one I'll remember for some time to come.
There are five separate attractions inside but you make your way through them all in sequence. Each one you walk into has a completely different theme and there's so much to see, you'll walk out completely exhausted at the end! The first dive into FOT takes you through 1300 Lost Souls. The highlight of this one for me was the mirror maze. There were hundreds, or possibly thousands of perfectly-placed mirrors built into an insanely long maze. And as you go through, some very well-costumed actors would jump out of nowhere and give you a pretty good scare. The mirror maze seemed like it took forever to walk through and it was only a small part of the first attraction!
The second, and my favorite of the five haunts was Industrial Nightmare. This one hit home for me because I work in manufacturing and I've seen factories with this kind of equipment in them all over the country! There were all kinds of electronic and mechanical devices, robots, presses, labs, and the animatronic at the end was way over the top!
Backwoods Hollow was the third attraction, which starts off with a super dark maze and winds through some pretty disgusting scenes. This was followed by Massacre On Mahoning where they built one of the coolest cemeteries I've gotten to go through in a haunt, and we wrapped up with House of Nightmares; a collection of intensely disturbing sets based on all kinds of horrors you might dream about.
In between all of the attractions there is a midway area where you can pick up some snacks and drinks, there are a bunch of props set up for photo ops, and plenty of room to hang out and talk with people about the craziness you saw as you voyaged through. The entire place is indoors so there's no need to worry about any bad weather, and the non-actor portion of the staff made us feel right at home with their friendliness and hospitality. Factory Of Terror is a great place and it's well worth a visit!
Teresa - This was my first time going to the Factory of Terror. This place has won the Guinness Book world record for the Longest Indoor Haunted Attraction in the World 3 times. It is 5 different haunts under one roof in an old abandoned foundry. For the price of one ticket, you get into all five of them, which is a really good deal. Check out the website, as they have all kinds of special tickets and discounts. We got there on a Saturday night in October. There was a pretty good crowd outside. I'd recommend ordering your tickets online and picking them up at the pickup window around the side. It looked to be a much shorter wait.
Once inside, it is pretty easy to follow the signs to whichever line you belong in. There are some pretty amazing props and animatronics to see while you wait. There's also a photo backdrop where you can get a professional photo of your group that you can pick up at the end. Each haunt lets you out into an open area which makes it convenient to take a break, then get into the next queue when you're ready. They did a really good job of spacing out the groups so you don't wind up with a line of strangers stepping on your heels. The haunts had so much stuff in them! You get some of everything! The props, the animatronics, the lighting, the structure, the effects, the creepy sounds, the monsters...it's all there somewhere. My favorite thing was that each one seemed to have something that really made it stand out in my mind. When you go through 5 haunts in one place, there's the risk that they will all run together, and parts of them do. But certain things really stand out. For me, these were: the old industrial equipment left over from the old foundry (now put to good use), the awesome giant bats, the spiders, the foggy metal walkways that reminded me of being in a cave, the vortex tunnel, a fantastic mirror maze, one of the best graveyard scenes I've ever seen, a creepy catacomb scene with loads of skeletons, some VERY enthusiastic actors on bungees, a dungeon-like room with mirrors and chains, some really cool lighting effects, some squeeze tunnels, and some of the best animatronics you can find. There was this giant cross that was really impressive. The actors did a great job in their roles, and some were pretty funny. Others were aggressive, and did a really good job scaring you without making this a touch haunt. I really thought the rest areas in between haunts were nice, with refreshments being available and lots of horrific things to look at. There was even a carnival-type game involving zombie brains where you could win prizes. Lots of people were taking advantage of the props to snap selfies. There are also souvenirs available.
If you're looking for a fun way to spend the evening, this place is a great deal. It has a little (or a lot) of everything from actual vintage machine tools to state-of-the-art animatronics, to creative homemade props, to horror movie-type scenes, plus the actors are fun and there are refreshments... and it is all under one roof!