Face Your Fears Hotel of Terror
1291 Cold Spring Rd.
Springfield, OH 45502
Date of Visit: 10/16/21 Reviewer: Lindsay
Waiting around outside of the old hotel, my conversation with a couple of the guys who work there is halted when the door swings open. I'm a little apprehensive when the bellman appears at the top of the steps- he's kind of spooky looking- but that doesn't stop me from ascending the front porch to join him inside. "All alone?" he remarks, mildly curious, as the door closes once again. "Yes." "Why?" What I want to tell him is 'because I make really stupid decisions'. "I'm here to review."
"Oh... to review..." His voice sounds as dead as he looks. "Well, I hope you have fun with your... review." Making our way through the dusty, hazy lobby to the hotel elevator, he gives me a little information regarding my stay, and comments that the elevator will take me to my room. I get on board, then turn to face him again - only to be startled when he suddenly steps in and grabs my shoulder, punctuating his parting words:
"And if you don't like your room... we really don't give a sh*t."
My experiences with three other haunts this year should have taught me enough to stay the hell out of scary hotels. But tips from two haunt-loving friends in Ohio, and the owner of another Ohio haunt (Hell's Dungeon), piqued my interest in one that was new to me: Face Your Fears: Hotel of Terror. It came highly recommended by all parties, and following my visit to the Dungeon this season, I was offered an opportunity to swing by and give Face Your Fears a review as well. Never one to pass up a chance to see multiple haunts in a night, I accepted, and as soon as I finished up at the Dungeon, I hit the road for the 30 minute drive to Springfield.
Checking in to this Hotel of Terror for a night has a starting rate of $20, or $30 if you want to get in faster (Fast Pass). Be sure to take some cash with you prior to arriving, as there is a parking fee of $2 per car. Parking is in a big open field, and a parking team will be around to wave you into a row with available space. Interested in making your stay even more terrifying? Face Your Fears also offers a special "Touch Pass" upgrade - for just $2 more, you can choose to wear a glow necklace to give their actors permission to touch you. Anyone who knows me as a haunt fan knows I *love* touch haunts; if a haunt has that option, I will get it every time. And Face Your Fears' version certainly did not disappoint... as you'll soon find out.
I'm not one to believe that first impressions are everything, but this place had me going "wow!" shortly after I arrived. A ferris wheel, glowing bright and beautiful against the night sky, was the first thing I saw upon walking up. The air was filled with the scents of fair food and bonfire smoke, and the atmosphere alive with excitement from groups of customers roaming the property. Face Your Fears is located in a rural setting, and there was plenty of space for the other rides, food stands and trucks, vendors, and carnival games I saw while walking around with a member of their build team. He explained that the rides and such aren't always there, but they were able to host the fair that weekend and pair it with a special "lights on" tour of the haunt earlier in the day. Wristbands were available if you wanted to do rides before or after the haunted house. (A suggestion for the FYF team: do this as often as you can! People love haunts with a lot of extra stuff to do.)
Of course, the haunt itself is the main draw, and I didn't let everything else distract me from the run down hotel, guarded by gargoyles, that served as the centerpiece. Before I get any further, I must let you know this haunted house is an adventure in itself, and not a good choice for anyone who struggles to get around. You will literally be all over the place, including the attic, the basement, and even climbing up and down the sides of the building! They have some really nice sets in here; the rooms kind of went back and forth between the hotel theme and more random "haunted house" stuff, but they are designed well enough that it doesn't matter all that much. One of the first scenes you walk through after getting off the elevator is a big, cavernous catacombs setup, and other rooms include a demonic church, an attic infested with animatronic zombies, an expansive butcher area downstairs, and a killer clown carnival.
Despite a few spots that seemed to lack actors, the cast did a great job of covering the indoor and outdoor portions of the haunt. Characters included an assortment of random monsters and maniacs, clowns (of course - there's a carnival), pig-masked butchers, and chainsaw-slinging lunatics. I had a memorable interaction with an amazing character on stilts, who was wielding an immense blade and was a bit taken aback when I rocked on up without a group. "Are you by yourself?!" he exclaimed in disbelief. "Yeah!" "F**K YEAH! That is so badass!" He gave me a fist bump and allowed me to proceed unharmed. That had to be one of the best reactions I've gotten as a solo guest.
The cast's acting was good on its own and they did get some unexpected jumps out of me, but where their performance really shined was with the Touch Pass. If you choose to purchase one, know that it is 100% full contact! Actors delightfully grab, drag, and restrain you, tug on clothing, trap you in cells, and redirect your path at will. You may also want to bring tissues or something to clean up with, as it's likely you'll come out a little dirty. I liked that they seemed to do a "slow burn" with the physical contact, starting off with lighter stuff and going completely crazy by the time you got outside. A priestess popped out of a window early in the house, caught me, and drew a smudge on my forehead. Another actor shoved my hand into a corpse's bloody guts. The pigs outside held me down, ran their chainsaws over my arms and belly, picked me up (!) and planted me against a wall. A pair of lady clowns captured and briefly held me prisoner in the carnival, then began fighting over whose "friend" I was going to be; a male clown acted like he was going to sneak me away from them... only to try to keep me for himself! "You should never trust a clown!" (That's a lesson I'm never going to learn, I'm afraid.) But my favorite interaction was with an actor who had creepy eyes and wore a pale mask with dreadlocks. They forced me to the floor, grabbed my hoodie, and led me all the way up a lengthy staircase like a dog on a leash... in full view of a group of customers downstairs! All I could do was laugh and yell "Are you serious?!" Kind of humiliating, but I loved it. Seriously people, they do not mess around - put on that glow necklace at your own risk!
Face Your Fears is a really strong attraction, and a complete blast if you get the touch option. Other than having the rides and extras around as much as possible to make it more of an "all night" deal, I didn't find much that I'd recommend changing. I'm very glad I took the advice of my friends and checked in to this Hotel of Terror to close out the night, and I'll throw in my own recommendation for anyone in Ohio looking for a great haunted house.
ENVIRONMENT: 9/10 - Sets looked great and house design was amazing (putting those stairs on the sides of the building was cool!). Food stands, vendors, and carnival rides helped with rounding out the experience.
ACTING: 8/10 - Strong, with good dialogue and some fun interactions. I did notice a few dead spaces in the house, but not enough to impact the show much.
SCARE FACTOR (Touch Pass): 9/10 - Holy smokes... they don't mess around! What a ride!
OVERALL: 8/10 - Face Your Fears was awesome! This is one I could absolutely see myself returning to in the near future.