Cleveland, Ohio's - The Fear Experience Haunted House
By Hauntworld Magazine
Cleveland Haunted Houses are some of the scariest and best in America! Hauntworld.com rates and review the best and Scariest haunted houses, haunted attractions, and Halloween events in America! The Fear Experience is located in Cleveland, Ohio and has one of the scariest haunted houses in America! Prepare to scream! Sit back and prepare to scream through our review of The Fear Experience. This Halloween you can't miss the scariest and best haunted attraction in the entire state of Ohio, The Fear Experience. Their attraction features some of the scariest actors, crazies scenes, and amazing set design. Now sit back and read all about the best haunted house in the the Cleveland area, The Fear Experience. The Fear Experience is by far Cleveland Ohio's best haunted house and scariest haunted attraction and now rated and reviewed by Hauntworld.com. The Fear Experience features five different attractions in the same location and we will review the biggest, best and scariest haunted house in Cleveland Ohio.
To learn more about Ohio's The Fear Experience visit their websit below:
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From a backyard haunted house to tackling one of the toughest markets in the country, The Fear Experience has had to evolve to stay ahead. Their team has brought a new standard of quality to the Cleveland market which has captured people’s attention. In 2011, the attraction was voted best in Cleveland, in 2013 it was named “Northeast Ohio’s Premier Haunted House” and in 2014, the haunt set the stage for an internationally recognized music video.
The Fear Experience began years ago when the owners were just 12 and 15. Owners Max Simon and Nick Francis (now 19 and 22) are cousins and have been building haunted houses since they were kids. They first worked together in 2007 when Simon helped Francis operate an extensive haunted house Francis had constructed in his garage & backyard. They both had a passion for all things haunted and combined they became unstoppable.
Back then, the duo decided to build a massive home haunt and enter a national competition hosted by Good Morning America. They began building in the summer of 2008, and by fall they were putting the finishing touches on an elaborate 8,000 square foot attraction in Francis’s backyard. “The haunt took up my entire yard; 7 years later the grass still hasn’t grown back,” says Francis. “We spent days researching our favorite horror movies and haunted houses and tried to incorporate some of the ideas we liked. The end result left our families amazed by the terror we created. Nobody believed we could build something that impressive.”
They hired a professional videographer to produce the video that would be submitted to Good Morning America for the haunted house competition. “Our video received the most votes nationally but didn’t manage to win. We found out on Halloween and were incredibly disappointed,” says Simon. “It seemed like all our hard work was for nothing - that is until we opened our doors to the public later that night.”
In just three hours of operation, over 500 people came to their haunt. Not bad considering it was in a residential neighborhood and they had no advertising. At 10 pm, the police showed up and shut them down, but by then Francis and Simon knew they were onto something. The two saw endless opportunity ahead. Of course, they couldn’t keep running the haunt in Francis’s backyard, so that night the young entrepreneurs decided they would open a commercial attraction the next year.
Fast forward to present day and their commercial haunted house attraction, The Fear Experience, has taken the Cleveland market by storm. “It hasn’t been easy; Cleveland is competitive. Sometimes it seems there’s a haunted house around every corner and some have been around for over 20 years,” says Simon. “But for us, the competition acts as a constant stimulus.”
Francis adds, “We believe the only way to keep haunted house customers coming is to put on the best, scariest and most entertaining show in the market, and that is our exact focus all day, every day at The Fear Experience.” Their dedication to excellence in haunting is unwavering.
The Fear Experience is located in a 90,000 square foot, retail location about half a mile from one of the biggest interstates in Cleveland. The entire event is indoors, protecting its guests from Cleveland’s cold and rainy fall climate. Covered waiting has been a key differentiator in a market where most haunts are outdoors.
The Fear Experience haunted house didn’t start off in such a great spot, however. For the first few years the attraction jumped around to different temporary locations and the sets weren’t quite on par with what Simon and Francis wanted. Simon commented, “We originally didn’t have the time, money or skills to build the kind of sets our customers enjoy today, but we always made sure our customers had a great time. Instead, we crafted as many startles as we could and focused on making the show scary and entertaining. We knew we had a long way to go to achieve our goal… being the best haunt in the Cleveland market.”
A stroke of serendipity came in 2011 when Rick Thomas, member of internationally renowned band Mushroomhead, guest acted at The Fear Experience. Thomas saw potential, “I could tell they were ready to take this haunt to the next level, and I knew I could bring the level of quality they needed.” By this time, Thomas had been designing and building haunted houses for more than two decades. Over the years he had acquired a lot of experience in set design and show production that would become an essential aspect of The Fear Experience’s rapid development. Haunted houses have always been one of Thomas’s greatest passions along with music. When he’s not touring around the world with Mushroomhead, he’s working day and night at The Fear Experience. Thomas credits his love for building and designing haunted houses as his motivation to constantly make improvements to the attractions.
With the addition of Thomas as lead scenic designer, the team brought a level of quality and realism that hasn’t been seen before in the Cleveland market. The haunts feature large, grand scenes and realistic, horrifying environments. The latest addition is a massive mausoleum style entrance that customers actually walk through to reach the box office. Francis described the thought process around the project, “We wanted to build an entrance that would amaze our customers the second they walked in the door. Now you’re not just waiting in line to buy a ticket, you’re walking through something you’ve never experienced before. It’s probably one of the coolest sets we’ve built to date.”
There’s another very practical reason for the new entrance. Haunted houses have gotten expensive; it can easily cost $100 for a family of five. Francis and Simon wanted to assure their customers, before they paid, that they made a great choice by coming to The Fear Experience. The best way they could think to do that was to build an interactive scene right in the front door.
The incredible new sets have opened doors to amazing opportunities. Most recently, the band Mushroomhead chose to film their latest music video entirely at The Fear Experience. The band thought the haunt would be the perfect place to shoot the music video for one of the album’s top tracks, Qwerty. Mushroomhead’s new album, The Righteous and The Butterfly reached #1 on the Hard Rock chart and made the Billboard Top 20. “We were really honored to have such a recognized and loved band choose our haunt to shoot this video. It turned out amazing, we were blown away by the end result” says Francis.
Today, The Fear Experience features four haunted houses under one roof. Each attraction has its own unique theme, but they are all tied together by one riveting, overarching concept. The attractions reside in the city of Centralia, based off a real city in Pennsylvania that has a tragic and gripping past. Centralia was once home to the largest coal mines in the United States but is now a ghost town. In 1962, a few local residents accidentally started a fire in one of the mines and it’s been burning non-stop ever since. The rampant fire has made the baron city uninhabitable and destroyed much of its infrastructure. Centralia has also been the inspiration for a number of famous horror movies including Silent Hill.
The latest addition to The Fear Experience, The Centralia County Fair, debuted in 2013 and was a crowd favorite. The first half of this haunted attraction is designed like an outdoor fair. It features a huge destroyed midway, a creepy back alley and rotten food truck. The guests are then chased through a giant clown’s mouth into the circus section. Although it has its fair share of clowns, the team at The Fear Experience wanted to do something more unique. Their idea was to create a freak show and zoo that houses all of the circus’ sideshows. All of the actors in this section are elevated above the customers’ heads, creating a very intimidating effect. “The finished scenes terrify guests,” says Thomas Thomas “We designed each room with the actor in mind. Actors can climb and jump around the rooms so quickly that people don’t know where a creature might pop out from next.”
When the team isn’t working on building new haunted house attractions, they’re working on marketing. They want their marketing pieces to identify The Fear Experience as the go-to haunt in Cleveland. Their first move was to hire one of the top horror photographers in the area, Blind 7 Photography also known as the “Godfather of Dark Glamour” to shoot their characters. Simon commented, “We wanted to use real photos on all of our promotional pieces; we felt that type of realism would capture people’s attention.” Another big step was their website, www.TheFearExperience.com
. The site was designed to be simple and easy to navigate with all the most relevant information right at your fingertips. The site is also very mobile friendly. “We saw that about 50% of our traffic was coming from mobile devices and we knew our site needed to be just as easy to use from a phone” says Francis.
Their website is not their only online presence. The Fear Experience Facebook page has over 61,000 fans. “That’s more than any other haunt in our market!” says Francis who manages the page. “I try to post and interact with fans daily.” He strives to use Facebook to build real relationships with customers so that when haunt season rolls around, they know exactly which attraction they’re going to.
Simon, Francis, and Thomas expect a bright future for The Fear Experience. The three are dedicated to improving the show every year through additions, scenic development and constant innovation. New, creative ideas fuel the changes made from year to year. They want to provide each haunt guest with an incredible experience that they can’t get at any other Cleveland haunt or haunted house nationwide. Their goal is for each guest to leave remembering at least a few very concrete things that scared or amazed them. Francis and Simon closed by saying, “We will continue to bring true quality and the highest level production value to the Cleveland market. Cleveland is a great town and deserves the best haunted houses in the world, and we want The Fear Experience to lead the charge.”