Well, it's October yet again and that means HAUNT SEASON is upon us. this time around I decided to tackle Atrox Factory as I haven't been in years and I wanted to see how they are fairing. I was also quite curious as to how they would operate amid concerns Covid-19. With that in mind, let's begin.
Masks are required for the entirety of your visit, and tickets are only purchasable through the website. When you arrive you are asked to wait in your vehicle until 15 minutes before your time slot. There are corrals set up for you to wait in untill your time slot comes up. However inside the trail there are a few dangling curtains in passageways that you must touch to go through, and the exit has a blow up constrictor in the doorway that you must squeeze through. I will note that there were longer hallway sized ones within, but they were deflated. There wasn't much to do in the waiting area (such as watching a movie while you wait) but I think it's a safe bet Covid can be blamed for that
If there's one thing Atrox does right, it's set design. Every scene is highly detailed, extremely well lit, and just plain gorgeous. Each scene has a distinct theme to it and it's hard not to get lost in gawking at the details. Every bit of detail fits within the theme of the scene extremely well and the sounds set them off just right. Also the trail seems to have expanded quite a bit since my last visit many moons ago.
Atrox has always been a very mask heavy haunt, and considering the period of time we are in, that's worked to their advantage. Every costume looked great and seemed in place for the scenes they appeared in. Nothing seemed like it could be found in the seasonal department of your local big box store. I was quite impressed with the costumes, nothing seemed like it was out of place.
Lighting and effects were extremely well placed. From the LED's and computers screens in the spaceship scene, to the water drips in the cavern and boiler room, to the ghosts in the cemetery, it was very well executed. There was even scene that utilized a scent that smelled like an old grandma's closet, a slight hint of mothballs and patchouli.
This is an area that has always plagued Atrox in the past, and hasn't changed much presently. While there were a few stand outs that were really energetic (the Mee Maw character with the pan in the kitchen was very interactive when I asked her for a turkey pot pie!) most of the actors seemed too constrained. Many seemed to be acting as distractions for the animatronics to make the scare, which works well if there's interaction. Some that had spoken lines just spoke their lines without much enthusiasm, which made the scene seem flat and lifeless. Personally I love it when the creatures react to
my shenanigans. Sadly there wasn't much of that going on here, but I suspect it wasn't nessesarily the fault of the actors.
BANG FOR YOUR BUCK
Parking is pretty much free as far as I could tell, so that's a plus. Let's break down admission fees: General Admission = $20 - $25 This gets you inside and in que. A reasonable price for this type of event. TRU VIP Tickets = $40 This allows you to bypass the que, even if there's a sell-out. Again, on par for this kind of event, and possibly worth it on a busy night. Ultimate Date Night VIP = $100 This includes admission for 2, bypassing the que, 2 free fountain drinks, and 2 face gaiters. Seems a bit much for what you get to me, but some may find the value in this. There is also a gift shop where you can purchase t-shirts, hoodies, and collectables (some even signed by horror icons). There was a concession stand as well, however I admit I didn't check the pricing.
IS IT SCARY?
There were a couple of gotcha scares that got me, one was an unexpected animatronic and the other an actor. Most of it was fairly mild, but I'm not an easy mark. A couple of the folks in my group seemed to be a little more froggy however. I'd say if you scare easy you'd find yourself a good time.
Creativity here is quite good. Some stand out scenes were the industrial area and the sci-fi scenes. As for originality (which is quite hard to achieve these days) all I'll say is that at least scenes were detailed well. The sci-fi scene is one you don't see very often in a haunt, so kudos on that.
There's usually a bit of a midway at Atrox, but this year it was heavily modified to account for Covid. They ask you to wait in your vehicle until 15 minutes prior to your time slot. You're then corralled into an area for your time slot until your group is called. Once inside there's a queue for entrance into the haunt proper. After you exit is when you are able to experience the gift shop and refreshments (at least that is how it seemed to me). There weren't any movies or such while you wait, but there were a couple of midway actors to keep things lively.
There didn't seem to be an overarching theme to tie the scenes together, so it seemed to have more of a funhouse feel. Each scene had it's own vibe, but the change over wasn't too terribly jarring.
secret rep score 1 = 7.5
secret rep score 2 = 7.5
secret rep score 3 = 8
Atrox has its pros (set design, costumes), but it's biggest con is what drags it down for me. The Atrox experience is what it's always been: pretty to look at, but not much fun. It's much like going on a date with a gorgeous model that has the personality of a wet sponge. I really want to like the place, I really do, but they MUST work on training their actors to be more energetic and interactive. I had fun, but more from checking out the cool scenes.