TRAIL OF TERROR FULTON
Among the haunt-heavy neighborhoods of Fulton NY with competing Frightmare Farms and 13th Hour Rising is The Trail of Terror and Haunted House. Finding it isn't that hard as the streets of Fulton are peppered with the signs along the margin. When we went, the ground was still damp from the previous rain but, the only part that was difficult to traverse was right in front of the Admission Booth, go figure. This review will return to a per element format so as to highlight the worthwhile element over the lesser.
Midway – 8
This Midway is well prepared for long lines and good times. The only downside beside missing a few things necessary for a perfect score is the fact that the projection of Friday the 13th was pretty dim so, it wasn't clear what was even playing without paying express attention. They have food, a roaming actor or two, merch, cool lighting, of course a movie and the sounds of the Trail echoing through the forest.
Trail – 6
There isn't much to say about this troupe because those in the middle are pretty cliché and break character way too much. The folks at the beginning and end are able to pull off a better performance because of better developed environments and tailor made scare spots.
House – 9
This spot is aggressive. Just about everyone in the House at Trail of Terror Fulton is off-the-walls, in-your-face active. Not many crews get so cranked up over a soundtrack they themselves make. The whole duration of the house is permeated by the sound of assorted metal subgenres and is reminiscent of a downscale Dead Acres/Haunted Hoochie. The guy in the santa suit with the bell in his beard was in and out and in and out at what seemed like the most random places. He always has something edgy and/or snarky to say. Really made for a different take on Ho ho ho. The actor optimization is great in this element exemplified by the number of multi-sided “Actor-boxes” for scares by one actor in as many as three spots in the layout.
Trail – 7
There are a lot of props to look at out in the forest. Some of them are very good distractions. The trees are eerily uplit by a number of floodlights in different colors. The lit trees are also good distractions. The problem the Trail has is that almost none of the scenes are immersive. There's the witch scene, a pretty good cemetery and the second last scare hut. These are well developed, everything else is just a prop or two in the woods.
House - 8
The aesthetic essence of this house is likely the laser. There are more in this house than anywhere else probably. They have two conceptually different “laser swamps” and a laser vortex. This element is Nephew Jim's pet project for the family business and I can tell he likes metal because there's a lot of it in the house. Many bits of mesh or lattice separate scenes from the path and there are grate floors in a few areas. The props aren't overly gory but, you can tell many of the scenes are supposed to be extreme. Many are. As is the simple but, brutal lighting and all of the costumes and masks.
Trail – 7
The Trail's beginning is possibly its highlight. There is a house facade inside the concession building where the cordons are nicely out of the rain. When you enter, you think you just entered the house. It's a Victorian Foyer with a staircase and the next room is a gigantic Dining Hall with Trophies on the walls. Then you're led out and it's a backyard. It's cool that they send you directly into the graveyard out the back of the “mansion”. The girl ghosts enforce a neat consolidation of the groups by circling and giving orders. The path takes you up and over a bridge that's been present since 1989 when the attraction started and into a few “hallways” that allow actors to get the whole group. The climax is a barn with eyes that the group is shut in and attacked from all sides..
House – 9
This house is a jewel of the market. Dead Acres/Haunted Hoochie in Columbus OH was already mentioned and if you live in Syracuse and want a little taste of what that one is like, hit this house. It's loud, aggressive and somewhat brutal. The ceiling comes down on you, the floor moves. They have one of the best Spinning Tunnels in NY, probably. Hopefully Jim gets the first half rebuilt soon. One of the most notable scenes is the red laser swamp that you walk over on a grate floor. Out of the glow and metal music come a cohort of three actors who jump right out of the swamp onto the walkway right into your face.
Originality/Creativity – 10
This is another haunt that makes all their own stuff. The neato constructions on the Trail that have lasted decades. Probably the welding in the House. The use of lasers is pretty comprehensive. Allowing the actors to create their own soundtrack is definitely apart from a lot of other haunts out there.
Trail – 7.6
House – 8.8
Overall – 8
I have concluded in my two years of touring in the Syracuse Market that a night on the town is not complete without a trip to The House at Trail of Terror, Grimsley's Gorge and Depths of the Dark Forest at Demon Acres. This house is very similar to one of my Top 13 So Far and I welcomed it's resurgent feelings in the midst of an aggressive show of force. I would say Trail of Terror is definitely worth seeing every year if you're within the Rochester, Ithaca, Utica radius. From a farther distance when paired with the above.