Six Flags Great America Fright Fest 2018
Reviewed on: Sunday, September 30, 2018
To begin our 20th reviewing season, Haunted House Chicago was honored with an invitation to review one of the largest (if not the largest) amusement parks in the Midwest: Six Flags Great America. With over 3 million in attendance in 2017, ‘Great America,’ as many refer to it, is virtually completely known by almost every junior high kid within 300 miles of the park. A staple for class field trips, pre-teen dates, and roller coaster enthusiasts, Great America is sure to fulfill all of your theme park desires. Complete with a cornucopia of food options, shows, characters in costumes, and rides for all ages and level of thrill, Great America has been a destination since 1976!
(Although fun history lesson, ‘Great America’ was owned by the Marriott company from 1976-1984, and THEN became a Six Flags property in 1984.)
While all of us (and you reading this article) have probably been to the park more times than you can count, the immediate becomes: What is your favorite coaster? Which ones will you do? Which ones are on your “no” list? We are big fans of Raging Bull and Viper, AND maybe had to make a quick detour before getting to the task at hand: Fright Fest.
As you know, Fright Fest is Great America’s annual Halloween festival. During this time, the park transforms from standard format to the dark side. As they advertise, they are “Thrills by Day, Fright by Night.” We can attest to this transformation. Every store-front window, ewe, fence, and sign seems to have been decorated with something of the spooky persuasion.
The main focus is on the SIX main “traditional” haunted attractions designed especially for the season including: Infestation, Big Top Terror, Manslaughter Manor, Massacre Medical Center, Gates of Hell, and new for 2018: Hell Fest.
But, that’s not all. There are also an additional TEN scare zones scattered throughout every area of the park, TEN shows and special events, and creatures crawling from corner to corner. Without a doubt, as soon as the sun starts setting, “All hell breaks loose.” Staffed by over 350 cast and crew, this is easily one of the biggest haunted houses in the entire Midwest!
The experience starts with the “Uprising: Nightly Call of the Dead” show and parade. A troupe of the undead performed a wonderfully choreographed show with music, lightning, and smoke! Straight out of a performance stage show, this was probably the best dance number in the Midwest! The entire show’s purpose is to bring forth the entrance of their leader, Nox. As park guests watch on, terror immediately covers the crowd as Nox dispatches his minions to all corners of the park to wreak havoc on the living. A parade immediately follows, and is nothing short of a spectacular celebration of the Halloween season.
After finally being able to close our jaws from one of the best Halloween-themed live shows we have witnessed, we made our way to our first traditional attraction of the evening: Massacre Medical Center. Themed after a hospital, things have gone wrong, very wrong. BUT, not everyone knows it. A nurse greets us at the door and asks if we have an appointment. Meanwhile, a barely-alive bloody lump of a patient crawls along the hallway begging for help. Music to our ears!
Next, we headed to the big top… Big Top Terror, that is! Filled with clowns, and a variety of circus scenes, you might think twice about the next time you think about the innocence of the circus! Certainly the highlight was “Roxy the Clown.” One of our biggest takeaways was their token slogan that, “In the circus, no one can hear you scream.”
Following the Big Top, we felt a little itchy. So, we decided it was time to experience, “Infestion!” As one might guess, this attraction is filled with all types of creepy, crawling things that ruin nights and help to create some of your nightmares!
Just a short stroll down the road, we checked into Manslaughter Manor. Themed after a traditional haunted house, we experienced a higher level of detail and a variety of traditional pop-scare attacks! Balancing the quiet and the crazy, this does a great job of providing that false sense of security, and then completely crushing it!
With four down, and only two to go, we thought we’d head to their outdoor attraction, the Gates of Hell. The “home” and playground of the featured demon, Nox, the Gates of Hell introduced us to a variety of creatures of the underworld, all licking their chops to feast on unwilling patrons entering their realm.
Finally, it was time for the featured attraction, “Hell Fest.” Themed after the box office movie, “Hell Fest” is a perfect fit for Six Flags, as a Halloween event that has gone wrong. Key scenes from the movie include the white-mask room and hand-hallway, with various encounters by the iconic star, “The Other.” Other highlights included the theatre with “chained” guests, tall sets in the outdoor section, and a killer soundtrack! Of course, the ending wouldn’t be complete without a chainsaw exit back into the theme park! Bravo to David, Gunner, Pete, Bryce, and their amazing team for creating this fun and entertaining adventure!
Monsters of Note: The clowns, lumberjills, and Nox and his assistants!
The Bottom Line: While we would love to see Great America be a year-round Halloween-themed destination, we know this is certainly an event special for the season. Overall, Fright Fest is a fantastic production for kids of all ages! While Great America already has an incredible roster of roller coasters and thrill rides, it spares no expense to ensure the Halloween experience is just as immersive. After experiencing everything they had to offer this year, it is very easy to recommend anyone to come to Six Flags Great America for an amazing Halloween and haunted attraction experience, and consider the coasters and rides as an added bonus!