top of page

Fear Columbus is a true contender for best all-indoor haunted attraction in Ohio. As successor to Scare-a-torium and 13th Floor Columbus in the Northland Plaza, this show is the best yet and has a stellar team that brings Apocalypse and the Occult to vibrant life.

Top of Page

Navigation and Customer Service

  • In a shopping center with a through-road

     

    - Somewhat hidden by the rest of Northland Plaza when traveling Westbound 

       on OH 161

    + Conspicuous Parking Lot and Queue Area when travelling Eastbound on OH

        161

    + Lot operation run by fun and solid people

    + General Manager Marco is a fair guy

    + All manner of team member is looking for your feedback

Navigation and Customer Service

Atmosphere and Lobby/Midway

Key Lobby and Midway Amenities

  1. Concessions

     + A whole food bar at the Exit Lobby

  1. Merchandise

     + A whole Merch store in the Exit Lobby

  1. Video

     + An extravagant video and light show in the Entry Lobby

  1. Music

     + Hot pop tunes blasting in the outside queue

  1. Seating

  2. Bathrooms

  3. Games

  4. Stage

  5. Photo Ops

  6. Queue Line Actors

    + Icon Characters do the entertaining

Bonus:

  1. Metaphysical

  2. Pyrotechnics

  3. At least one HUGE set piece

Facade Quality

  • Two Houses

 

    + The Facade of The Summoning: Animal Instinct features a Photo Booth

    + The Facade of Aftermath: The Final Stand is actually a trashed Diner

    + Both are wait-inside

Actors and Acting

Energy

(The Summoning: Animal Instinct)

  • Dozens of actors

  • Nearly all have “Boo Boxes”

 

    - They don't get very deep into the scene

 

    + They thrash around vigorously from the Actor Boxes

 

(Aftermath: The Final Stand)

  • Fewer Actors

  • Mix of Roaming and Boo Box

  • Nearly all have props

 

    - Comparatively low-energy characters

 

   + Climb over vehicles

   + Roaming swing weapons at you

Costuming

(The Summoning: Animal Instinct)

  • All characters have relevant costumes

 

    + Layered materials

 

(Aftermath: The Final Stand)

  • Mix of civilian, First Responder and Military

 

    + Makeup that transforms the character quite nicely

    + Authentic looking Military and First Responders

Lines and Vocalizations

(The Summoning: Animal Instinct)

  • Almost all characters powered by Boo Boxes

 

    - No unique interactions

 

    + Actors can keep going and going and going

 

(Aftermath: The Final Stand)

  • Mix of Boo Boxes and Roaming Characters

 

    - Lots of groaning when not powered by a Boo Box

Actors and Acting

Theming and Design

Lighting

(The Summoning: Animal Instinct)

    + Crazy Strobe Patterns

    + Great Dynamics between Spot, Flood and Wash

    + Different angles, like uplighting on the wall panels

    + Shadows exactly where needed for suspense

 

(Aftermath: The Final Stand)

    + Different lamps relevant to environment (Streetscape, Greenhouse,

        Convenience Store)

    + Color Scheme dominated by Blue and Green making for washes akin to

        Moonlight

    + The occasional dash of fire

Sound

(The Summoning: Animal Instinct)

  • Music is very atypical and captures a time and place in the house

 

   +/- Boo Boxes get to 90db

 

    + Mid-20th Century tunes from several subgenres

    + Boo Boxes somehow don't compete with the theme of the music

    + Some rooms like the Cultist Altar have sinister sound effects of their own

(Aftermath: The Final Stand)

  • No music

  • Sounds of breakdown

  • Some actors have Boo Boxes

 

   +/- Boo Boxes get to 90db

 

    + Sound Effects are not overbearing in some parts, just enough to be

        subconsious and cause unease

    + Real First Responder vehicle sirens

Special Rooms

(The Summoning: Animal Instinct)

  • Given that I had House of Horrors & Haunted Catacombs' Mark of the Beast in my home market for six years, nothing stuck out as extraordinarily inventive

 

(Aftermath: The Final Stand)

  • An entire streetscape featuring the simulation of a Helicopter overhead

  • Greenhouse with plants that eat you

  • Fully operational Ambulance

Set Dressing

(The Summoning: Animal Instinct)

  • Looks like a 1940's Mansion

  • Parts are Satanic Temple themed

 

    + House looks like it was just cleaned

    + Old Velvet looking wall panels and drapes

    + The appearance of ornate Woodwork and Trim

 

(Aftermath: The Final Stand)

  • A city that has been torn asunder by mutants

  • Any number of different buildings are represented in this house

 

    + All represented buildings look like they were looted

    + See – through walls that allow you to see ahead of and behind you on the path

    + What was left behind after the looting is a collection of hundreds of items

       that make the space look authentic

Theming and Design

Entertainment and Other Values

Fun

    - Might leave with temporary hearing loss

 

    + The two given themes are a great mix

    + The enrapturing environments grant you ~25 minutes of quality escape

Scares

  • A good dozens of potential scare points

 

    + Going first, the Boo Boxes got me about half the time

    + The Ambulance definitely got me, too

Monetary Value

  • Online Only

  • $19.99 - 29.99 GA, +$10 Skip the Line, +$20 Immediate Access

  • ~ 25 minutes between the two houses

  • Usually one judges whether or not GA is worth it and then, scales down for VIP tiers

  • In this case, considering the length of the queue I can only condone buying VIP

  • The attraction is built and run so well with so many scares that paying an extra $15 to skip the GA Line and even another $10 to walk straight in are the only sane way to buy tickets

Recommendations

  • 3 hrs on its own is reasonable, anywhere within that radius its a must see

  • Within twenty minutes of Carnage and Dead Acres/Haunted Hoochie

  • Probably worth a six hour trip if combined with the other two

Entertainment and Other Values

Experience Essay

For over a Decade, the same unit of Northland Plaza in Minerva Park Ohio has had a haunted attraction within its walls. It started in 2009 with Scare-a-Torium, went on to be bought by 13th Floor Entertainment Group in 2016 or 2017 and was bought by Nick Francis in 2020 after a hiatus of ownership since closing Cleveland's The Fear Experience quite a while ago.

 

This new ownership and branding is in the shape of Fear Columbus. Fear Columbus came out of the gates in 2021 as a leading all-indoor haunted attraction in Ohio. The team's skills of DMX programming and projection mapping, CGI, Materials Distressing, Costuming and Makeup Development came in handy quickly when building a haunt from the ground up to become an instant contender within the year of establishment.

The initial themes are Occult and Apocalypse in the houses: The Summoning and Aftermath.

 

This year is The Summoning: Animal Instinct and Aftermath: The Final Stand. The Summoning will continue next year and Aftermath is in its final year.

 

As you drive up, you can't miss the ridiculously huge blocked off section of the parking lot for queue lines, media remotes, security and bathrooms. The Lines are for General Admission, Fast Pass and Immediate Access. Price tiers are dynamic based on night and function like this:

  1. GA is $19.99 - $29.99

  2. Fast Pass is adding $10 to that

  3. Immediate Access is adding $20 to GA

 

There are two queue lines. An outdoor for all time periods then, an indoor for all of Immediate, one time period of Fast Pass and a certain number of GA I was not able to determine. Inside, there is an exciting DMX Light and Video show as you're waiting to go on to the next section. Through the front door of the facade, you're let into a photo booth of sorts where you're set up with your potential end-haunt souvenir picture together.

 

The real house: The Summoning begins just shortly after passing through the curtain on the other side of the booth. First thing you'll probably notice is the music not being a typical horror soundscape. The music calmly wafting within the walls is a mix of mid-20th Century genres like Jazz, Swing and Ballad. The walls themselves looked dressed to appear like you're walking the halls of Mansion decorated for sometime between the 20's and 40's.

 

Slightly deeper into the adventure, you start to encounter actors. Many of the scares are powered by Boo Boxes. These tools are great for constant, repetitive and powerful scares. The thrash of the actors and violent flashing of the strobe lights cause for a hostile and unnerving encounter. This house is full of interesting and amazing occult imagery and is one of the best houses in that theme I have seen. The few animatronics are crazy and the Cult Scenes are, too.

 

The second house being Aftermath is a rendition of the Apocalypse in all considerable human environments. They have you enter the streetscape through a very well built diner with a smashed window that allows you to see way down the line to later parts of the path. Among the coolest parts of the streetscape is a simulated police helicopter flying overhead. You encounter some Boo Box actors but much more roaming actors than the previous house.

 

The whole place looks like a completely built out city that was then looted and ransacked. The stores still have some odds and ends on the shelf, the medical quarters has medicine and tools strewn about. It looks the most like Fallout of any haunted house I've been to. You do get some experience of the residential apocalypse but, that takes a distant second to other environments in society as the traditional house was already explored in The Summoning.

 

In all parts of the attraction, Lighting and Sound are truly Hollywood. The lighting is distinct and mostly consists of precision spots in The Summoning. The streetscape in Aftermath is lit to look like Moonlight shining down. In The Summoning too, there is a prominence of strobe lights. These Strobe Lights are some of the most disorienting patterns I've ever seen. Sound wise, the speakers are high end and their output is thoroughly enveloping. The effects played by the Boo Boxes are highly disruptive and dissonant to top off the assault.

 

My tip for buying tickets is General Admission is a rip-off for the amount of time you'll spend in line, buy one of the VIP tickets. The show is definitely worth the extra $10 on most nights and $20 on the busiest nights. On its own, I would say a three hour drive is max, up to six hours for a combination with Carnage and Dead Acres/Haunted Hoochie.

Experience Essay
Photos

Recommended Drive Time Range - 3 Hours

Recommended Drive Time Map
bottom of page