Updated: Oct 2
Date of Visit: 9/16/22 (Opening Night) Reviewer: Lindsay
In search of lodging after a long night of driving around Ohio? If you're anywhere near the town of Springfield, I'm here to tell you that sketchy old hotel on Cold Spring Road is *not* the place. I'm honestly not sure what should've been my first clue. Maybe it was the HUGE rodent problem I discovered when I was trying to find my room. Or when I was walking down a hallway and had frickin' zombies (yes, I'm serious) rip through the walls. It couldn't possibly have been the killer clowns who tried to keep me with them, or the creepy nun and priest insisting I was destined for Hell, or the horde of lunatics downstairs trying to slice me to pieces...
... Oh, who am I kidding? I never learn my lesson with these places. But I needed somewhere to go after escaping from a certain demon and his Rejects over in Dayton, so for the second year in a row, I found myself driving off into the darkness of rural Ohio and checking in for another night at Face Your Fears: Hotel of Terror.
Face Your Fears came highly recommended from not only the owner of Hell's Dungeon- just half an hour away- but also a handful of my haunt-loving friends, so I just had to check them out over the 2021 season. Holy smokes, I was NOT prepared... what a crazy place! I ended up loving it so much that when the opportunity arose to return to the Dungeon this season, I couldn't resist driving back out to Springfield and revisiting this hotel of horrors, too. (Like I said... I never learn.)
A night's stay at Face Your Fears starts at just $20 - quite a deal considering the length and quality of this haunted house. If you're looking at a long wait, they do offer Fast Pass ($30) and VIP ($40) options, too. Plenty of parking is available in a wide field, with a small fee of $2 cash per vehicle. Wanna make your visit even more exciting? For an additional $2, customers who are feeling a little more bold can add a "Touch Pass" to their ticket, and obtain a glow necklace that grants the actors permission to physically interact with them. Speaking as a touch haunt aficionado, I'm going to warn you right now: up the ante at your own risk! Face Your Fears provides one of the craziest touch haunt experiences I've ever put myself through, and if you select this upgrade, know that they don't mess around... as you're about to find out.
Upon purchasing your tickets, the haunt's staff will request a phone number from a member of your party and enter your group into a virtual queue. When it's your turn to line up, you'll receive a text message and be directed to enter a stall, where you'll soon be sent into the house. I like systems like this, as they leave guests free to enjoy whatever activities the haunt may have available. Sadly, I was there on their very first night, so the crowd level was super dead - and that meant they lacked the hot food vendors and carnival rides I was so impressed by last year. However, I'm sure those will come back later in the season, and I did find a few extra goodies: a merch counter to the left of the haunt, a fire pit for the cooler nights, photo ops, and a vendor selling kettle corn. They also had a badass monster roaming around with a chainsaw; I had fun taking a photo with him once I got out.
Face Your Fears has an awesome storyline (see website) to back the immense, foreboding hotel looming before you, and once it was my turn to check in, I was delighted to see that it was 100% true to what the haunt's team was trying to pull off. Ascending the steps, I was greeted by a lady in a black dress, who led me through the dim, dusty lobby to a waiting elevator. Once it drops you off into the hotel basement, you'll quickly figure out this place is not what it claims to be... and all of those terrible rumors were true! Multiple levels of madness await you, from rooms full of cobweb-coated antiques and old junk, to a bedroom with an exorcism in progress, to hallways infested with zombies (and one big ass rat) clawing and chewing through the wooden walls. Your path will take you outside and around the building, and eventually down to the ground floor, where you'll walk through a killer clown carnival, navigate a walkway over a gator-infested swamp, then try to escape the maze of shacks that are home to a pack of murderous rednecks. One of my favorite things about this haunt's layout- that I haven't seen elsewhere- is that they've gone so far as to install stairs on the sides of the building... so you will literally be all over the place as you're going through. Love it!
Just like each room you'll explore, the Hotel's cast sort of follows suit with their theme for a while... but it won't be long before you discover the true nature of the "staff" in here! And if you know me at all, you can bet I faced them bearing a Touch Pass! A good amount of actors populated both the indoor and outdoor portions of the house, and I do not recall walking through any empty areas. The young lady dragging her chains around the basement was very cool, and once again, I got smudged by the beautiful priestess hiding behind a drop panel. Two familiar clowns- one with green and black makeup and the other wearing a big, exaggerated mask- held me up for a while in the carnival. I also loved the two spooky-looking gentlemen right before the grand staircase, as fun as they were creepy. They wrestled around with me, messed up my hair... then made me climb said staircase on all fours and bark like a dog, "For old times' sake!" (If you're confused, read my 2021 review.) What can I say, I make a good puppy.
As with my previous experience here, interactions involving the glow necklace seemed to come as a slow burn, starting with lighter contact early on and escalating into total chaos at the end. No joke - it was really wild at times. One of the more extreme things that happened was an actor grabbing my wrist, pinning my hand to a table, then switching on a drill and jabbing it all around my fingers! And all hell broke loose in the final scene with all the hillbillies and pigs... this crew was absolutely nuts. A big guy wearing a mask with long "hair" wasted no time catching and restraining me, while countless chainsaw wielding maniacs tore at my arms, belly, anything they could reach! My futile attempts to escape only got me captured again and again... they were really carving me up like a hog in there! Damn! I stumbled out breathless and soaked in sweat - which is, IMO, the best way to end any haunted house.
Although I did run into some crazy moments, I will say that the show felt toned down a couple of notches from my visit last year. The elevator after the lobby wasn't working, either. I figured those were just hiccups of opening night that will be resolved in due time. There was also one interaction that was a turn off; I walked into a room with an actor wearing a ghoulish mask and carrying a weapon, but instead of trying to scare me or anything, he just stood there saying things like "Too slow! Move faster!" and nudging me forward. Um.. excuse me? If you want a guest gone that badly, don't tell them to get out. Do something to *make* them want to leave, especially when they've given you permission to drag them right on out of there if you feel like it.
Wild as they can be, I always enjoy my "stays" at Face Your Fears. The set design is gorgeous and true to the haunt's storyline, that of an old hotel with much more to it than meets the eye... and not in a good way. They've got a solid cast of actors, and if you come in rocking that Touch Pass, they are going to make sure you get what you paid for! Whether you're a more reserved haunted house fan or a thrill-seeker who's after an adrenaline rush, I 100% recommend coming here and spending your night in a horrifying hotel you won't soon forget.
ENVIRONMENT: 9/10 - One of the most beautifully designed haunts I've ever walked through, and follows its story from beginning to end.
ACTING: 7/10 - Pretty good! I loved most of my interactions with the cast, only had a couple that were "meh" (and the one I didn't care for). No dead spots either.
SCARE FACTOR (Touch Pass): 7/10 - A bit less chaotic than the first time I went, but I still had fun! I hope they're back to unleashing full mayhem the next time I go.
OVERALL: 8/10 - Face Your Fears is a gem! I'll definitely be back, and I hope this review encourages others to give them a chance as well.