Fear Factory comes by its frights the old-fashioned way — by sitting on a site that purports to be haunted.
Now in its ninth year, Fear Factory continues to scare up national recognition for its adrenaline-inducing adventure, which is set at 666 W. (yes, you read that right) 800 South in Salt Lake City. Fear Factory sits on the location of the old Portland Cement Company, which had a long history of unfortunate accidents that led many to believe the place was cursed. The Fear Factory site boasts a history of unexplained paranormal activity and sightings dating back to 1894.
While the stated goal of Rob Dunfield, Fear Factory founder and COO, is to scare the living daylights out of visitors, rest assured, he does so with good intentions and a smile.
“The most enjoyable aspect for me is seeing the excitement and joy on people’s faces,” Dunfield said. “From our loyal returning fans, who come every year, to the first-timer. Also, to be part of an amazing team that all delight in the art of scaring.”
The art of scaring is something at which Fear Factory excels. Fear Factory finished its 2018 season by receiving Legendary Haunt status from TransWorld Trade Shows and Netherworld Haunted House. Fear Factory is one of only 16 of the approximate 5,500 haunted houses in the world to receive that honor.
Previous accolades include being named one of the top 10 horror events in the country by USA Today, one of the scariest haunted events in America by Scary Overload, and one of the most terrifying places in America by the Travel Channel.
It’s no easy feat delivering on that level of nightmarish expectation during Fear Factory’s typical six-week run. Dunfield said there are usually 150-200 cast members per night involved in pulling off the show. Cast members have doubled since Fear Factory opened in 2011.
“Just to turn the show on for an evening costs several thousand dollars, plus payroll and staffing costs on top of that,” Dunfield said. “There are some nights we just break even.”
The main Fear Factory experience lasts just over 30 minutes. One of Fear Factory’s charms is the incessant climbing up and down metal stairs, visiting not only the depths of the basement but escalating to the very rafters of the main factory, with the views of a thousand scares laid out before and below you.
My favorite attraction remains the lake of fog, where laser light refracts over the hazy mist, giving the distinct impression that one is wading through an eerie swamp. Oh, and rest assured you are not alone.
There are diverse rooms with gore galore — in fact, I often wish I could spend extended time in each of the areas so as to better soak in every minute detail. I’m sure there are new things to be learned on repeat visits.
Some of my other favorite moments are the screaming guy in the electric chair (I always wonder what his voice sounds like after a night on the job), the appearance of Freddy Krueger backlit in fog, the meat grinder room, the 3D glasses-impaired haunted circus, and one very effective chain saw rattling.
New this year is a haunted scrapyard.
“The (scrapyard) features infested survivors dwelling in the crevices of the factory’s scrapyard,” Dunfield said. “Watch out for the giant sewer rat. You’ll have to go through the decontamination chamber to survive. Head for the light!”
Another cool new attraction, which is free, is a six-scene interactive selfie station. Our group had a barrel of fun posing in the half-dozen scenarios following our main tour.
“Everyone loves the new selfie stations,” Dunfield said. “My wife, Heidi, had this great idea after seeing a similar type of thing while on vacation. Everyone loves posting cool pics on social media, so we decided, why not create some cool interactive scenes?”
Fear Factory also features some additional thrill attractions for an extra cost, including the Touch of Fear (where actors can touch you), the Last Ride Zipline, the Tower Jump/Fear Fall, and the new VR experience, and Fear Sphere (a three-axis gyroscope).
For further information, visit https://fearfactoryslc.com.