My old friends Gary and Linda came out to Virginia last weekend to visit me and check out Halloween in the Old Dominion. Sunday, October 23, was our day for PKD’s Fearfest. This event is a bit more intense than BGW’s Howl-o-Scream, but not as well run, I think, especially if your party includes someone in a wheelchair (like Linda). CMs seemed a bit confused about the park’s policy toward the disabled during Fearfest—sometimes we were taken to the front of a maze’s line, other times we were told wait like everyone else. One maze, Headless Hollow, was not wheelchair accessible. One CM told us to head to the front, while another flagged us down about the accessibility problems.
PKD could stand to clarify their policy here, but overall, we enjoyed Fearfest. Here’s a rundown of Fearfest’s “adult” attractions, rated on a scale of zero to 10.
Friday the 13 II: Jason’s Extreme Cuts—Muy lameo. Essentially a commercial for Paramount’s Friday the 13th special-edition DVD set, this is just a collection of clips built around a top-ten list of ways to meet Jason, everyone’s favorite hockey-mask-wearing psycho. Supposedly, an actor dressed like Jason was supposed to pop through the screen at the end, but the guy didn’t show. (Rating: 3)
Maze of Madness—The doctors are in control of the asylum, but they’re crazier than the inmates in this mirror maze in a tent. The themeing is minimal—just mirrors, chain-link, strobe lights, and fog—and because we walked through it in the afternoon, sunlight was leaking into the tent. But the scare actors were an energetic bunch, and darkness would improve this maze quite a bit. Rating: 6 during the day but probably 7 at night
Freakshow in 3-D—Slip on your DEVO glasses and become part of the freakshow in this maze that glows under black lights. Basically, this just a series of “3D” paintings of evil clowns and freaks. The paintings aren’t bad, but the themeing is pretty barebones, and goofy (not scary) circus music undercuts the scares. But the day-glo scare actors do a good job. Rating: 6
Blood Shed—The family in this shack makes the guys in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre look like the Brady Bunch. This maze is pretty elaborate by Fearfest standards, as you’re pursued by cannibalistic hillbillies across their fiendish farm (watch out for the farting horse). Rating: 8
Headless Hollow—A bit odd. Try to escape the spooky woods of Headless Hollow, with living bushes (I counted at least six) in hot pursuit—one bushman literally chased a group of girls all the way to the exit. Crazed local yokels also harass you until you encounter some headless guy, who because he’s in formal wear doesn’t appear to be a horseman. Still, this outdoor maze has good, creepy atmosphere, even if the story is a bit unclear. Rating: 7.5
RL Stein’s Fear Street Nights—Fearfest’s best attraction: an antique car ride on a foggy country road loaded with spooky graveyards, lurching ghouls, and enough mechanical effects for a good “ghost train.” It does BGW’s Nightmare Express one better because you’re closer to the action. Rating: 9
And now allow me to scare you with a few photos.
EDIT: Now with smaller photos for your navigational ease.
Chuck "I've finally figured out how to resize photos with my putzy software" Campbell
The Flight of Fear: I look like an alien; Linda looks like she's enjoying the ride; and Gary looks like, well, somebody who doesn't care for launched coasters.
Here's the Blast Coaster Over the Haunted River of Smurf Mountain (better known as Volcano).
This isn't a great picture, but that tin roof in the foreground covers the loading station for either the Smurf train ride or the Hanunted River ride--Volcano pushed out both the Smurfs and the ghosts.
Run! It's an Avalanche!
Here are some relics that Linda will sell to you--cheap.
This evil, twisted mass of metal is Anaconda--actually ran a bit smoother than usual that day.
Huh? But you told us to bring Linda through the exit.
Another mystery for Scooby and his pals--what Mother Goose doesn't want you to know!
Presenting Mr. and Mrs. Jack O'Lantern. Now that's scary!
Yep--looks like a couple of lost souls, alright.
Memo to PKD staff from management: We have fog machines and, damn it, we're gonna use them!
Er, Linda, behind you . . .
Outside Maze of Madness: "Wait till the sun goes down! Then we'll scare the pants off ya!"
You know, in California, a skeleton condo like this would set you back 750 grand. But at Headless Hollow you can have it for 500, and we throw in a garage!
Hmm--seems that curse is bad hair and middle-aged spread.
The motley crew together at last: Gary, Linda, and Chuck start their first fearless fearfest foray.
If you've made it this far, you know that Linda's wheelchair couldn't go through Headless Hollow. And who is Linda? You may sort of know her and not even realize it. Ever stayed at the Atlantis Resort in Reno? She's the voice of the elevator! And you can hear her over the PA system at the Hard Rock in Vegas, too (I think). Yep--she does some voiceover work on the side.
Anyway, while I was waiting in line for Headless Hollow (which took about an hour), and Gary was off running an errand, Linda checked out the Halloween offerings in Paramount's AFX Theater (one of those simulators where the seats buck like demented bulls): Elvira's Superstition and Fun House Express. She liked both of them, by the way.
Well, Linda got in a bit early and was talking with one of the CMs, who was in a bit of a quandry: seems that she had to read the attraction's saftey spiel in front of the crowd, even though she was scared to death of public speaking. Linda tried giving her a few pointers, then read the spiel aloud for her in her own fashion. The theater's manager overheard, and told Linda, "Hey, why don't you do it?"
So, Linda's dulcet tones graced the AFX Theater that night. The manager was so impressed, he actually offered her a job recording voiceovers for the park!
So, who knows? Someday, Linda might end up being the "voice of Kings Dominion."
disneygurlz2s wrote:I'm surprised they open their "haunted" attractions in the daytime hours... at PKI they open at approx 6-7 pm (dark).
Shari "not that I would know because I don't do scary stuff" Shoufler
They open three of the mazes at three pm: Blood Shed, Maze of Madness, and Freakshow in 3D. I think the reason is that the park is only open on Saturdays and Sundays in October, so Fearfest gets pretty crowded. The lines were pretty long on Sunday night, and I hate to think of what they were like on Saturday.
BGW is open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays during October, and they actually started Howl-o-Scream in mid-September. This spreads out the crowds a bit (you get relatively light crowds on Friday and Sunday, and a huge crowd on Saturday, and BGW opens its mazes early on that day, too). This is another reason why Howl-o-Scream is the better run of the two events, I think. They also spread the crowd out over a wider area of the park than PKD (the best stuff at Fearfest is concentrated in the Old Virginia section, which was mobbed).
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