I’ve been to a lot of haunts over the years. The month of October is always reserved for the scariest of the scary for me, so seeking out the best and spookiest places to get my terror on is of utmost importance. This year, I finally made my way up to Worcester, MA to the Factory of Terror, a 30,000 square foot monster of a Halloween haunt that boasts five attractions in one location. I had seen in more than one review that the Factory of Terror was the #1 haunted attraction in Massachusetts (most recently by OnlyInYourState.com), so I just had to check it out. Was it worth my time? *WARNING! Haunt spoilers ahead!*
It turns out that there are three locations in New England – one in Worcester, MA (the one I went to), one in Fall River, MA (home of the ax-wielding Lizzie Borden) and West Warwick, RI (the same town where the TAPS office was for the original Ghosthunters). The place has been created inside an actual ex-factory, and all of the crumbling, exposed brick, uneven cement floors, dark, twisted passageways and windowless exteriors were part of the original makeup, making for a suffocating, surreal experience that could never be fully recreated in a standard haunted house attraction. Before even one set was built, the venue was already perfect.
I got there really early, so waiting in line wasn’t a problem. But even if it was, there were costumed characters bobbing and weaving through the line like punishments from a previous life. I loved that there was entertainment for those waiting for their turns, since 90% of the line was outside and I can imagine people getting bored and cranky having to stand around for an hour in the chilly New England air. Of the 60 or so actors employed by Factory of Terror, there were at least 3-4 random characters working the line at any given time.
Like I mentioned above, there are five different attractions festering away in the Worcester Factory of Terror. First there was Zombie Alley, where dozens of undead creatures staggered around, gnawing on flesh, jumping out of windows and sniffing you for freshness (you don’t know terrifying until you’ve had someone dressed completely in black sneak up behind you, stick their entire face in your hair and inhale with unnatural gusto). Those zombies really love to get right in your face. At least they don’t bite… yet. You never know when one is going pop up and try to gnaw your limbs off.
Next was the 3D Nightmare. When you get there, a friendly, glowing clown gives you a pair of Chromadepth 3D glasses. I wish my camera could wear these glasses so you all could see just how cool these 3D effects were. There were rotting bodies floating inside real barrels, demon faces popping out of walls and something unearthly swimming in the floor beneath our feet. With just three or four cans of neon spray paint, a couple of black lights and some insane talent, 3D Nightmare was staggering in its surreality.
Immediately after 3D Nightmare was Clown College. Separately, the words “clown” and “college” are really not very scary. But when you combine them together and stick them in a place called Factory of Terror, then even the biggest circus fan will hightail it out of there. Not only were these clowns everywhere, but they were also painted up with the same 3D paint from the last attraction, so even when they weren’t moving, it felt like they were flying right up into your face. Some of them were evil and terrifying, while others were just a bit too friendly for their own good. Still others were way beyond the edge of sanity. But every single one of them knew when to sit still like a mannequin or when to run around like a Screaming Mimi. There were clowns on swings and clowns hanging from ropes, and you never knew which ones were real until they tapped you on the shoulder from behind, evil smiles all aglow.
In Zella’s Hideaway, I was introduced to quite a few new nightmares to deal with when I go to bed tonight. Between the vampire doctor whispering in my ear that she’s thirsty – what’s your blood type? – and the creeptastic little girl staring longingly at a staticky TV screen, only to turn and ask in round-eyed wonder if I was her dead, chopped up mother, I knew Factory of Terror had found my weak spot. There was also a gigantic animatronic wolf head that flew out of the wall and huffed and puffed like the Three Little Pigs’ most blood-curdling nightmare. This was not your mother’s haunted house. This place takes it all to a whole new level.
Last but not least was The 13th Haunt. It was right around here when the group I was in had to squeeze our way, one at a time, through a 15 foot hallway that had walls made of what I can only describe as overblown air mattresses. These things were pressed together so tightly together that it felt like my lungs were crushed inside my chest and a brand new claustrophobic fear reared its ugly head just from the experience. Of course, I would do it again in a heartbeat, but I digress. There were also gravediggers, rotting bodies, skeletons and more than one coffin on display, just ready for someone to drop dead of a heart attack and become a part of the show. To top the night off, we we led out a huge bay door and back into the night, where everyone in line bombarded us with questions about how scary it was inside. I told them about the giant wolf head and left it at that. Who was I to ruin their Factory of Terror experience?
All three of the Factory of Terror attractions are only open for weekends during the Halloween season. Since Halloween is on a Tuesday this year, they will be opening their creaky doors for All Hallows Eve. Prices and hours for all three haunts are available on their website, so be sure to check that out before you set out. There are even discounts for visiting more than one location, so be sure to take a peek at that as well. But Halloween is coming, and with its passing, the Factory of Terror will be closing down for another year of haunted hibernation. Make sure you make your way to one of the Worcester, Fall River or West Warwick locations, and then let us know what your experience was like so we can compare notes! Until then, Happy Halloween!