When brothers Jim and Gene Schopf opened Field of Screams in 1993 at their family farm in Lancaster, PA, Jim was still in college and Gene had just graduated. They figured they could have fun and make some money by operating a haunted hayride and scaring people. During that first season, about 2,000 customers braved the hayride.
In 2019, Field of Screams welcomed nearly 95,000 customers, maintaining its position as America’s number one haunted attraction.
You don’t achieve that status by being ordinary. The Haunted Hayride features chilling characters and new scares and scenes every year. The three-story Den of Darkness and Frightmare Asylum are two of the most terrifying haunted houses in the world. The Nocturnal Wasteland Haunted Woods is true trail of terror. For fall fun without the frights, the Corn Cob Acres fun park is a popular, family-friendly attraction.
The sophisticated operation and over-the-top facilities and effects at Field of Screams make you feel like you’re walking through a Disney property. Look Solutions fog machines play a major role in creating a creepy vibe, adding suspense, and making each surprise and reveal that much more dramatic and heart-pounding.
Reliability and Consistency for Long Hours of Operation
On the busiest days during the fall season, Field of Screams opens at 4 pm and doesn’t shut down until after midnight. About 250 people are needed to make the magic happen each night, including actors, makeup artists, attraction builders, ticket takers, and more. Operating eight hours or more with a staff of hundreds, night after night, Field of Screams can’t worry about fog machines breaking down.
“We’ve used many different fog machines over the years, from the $40 throwaways to the Look Solutions Viper NT, which we consider the best in the industry,” said Gene Schopf, co-owner of Field of Screams. “We’ve been using the Viper for three years and haven’t had one situation where it malfunctioned or failed. Look Solutions is the only fog machine brand I can say this about.”
How the Viper Helps to Bring the Screams
Look Solutions fog machines are used inside and outside throughout the property, from the chimney to the electric chair. In the cryogenic hayride scene, they’ve created an overhead “tube of death” concept. As the wagon enters the building, visitors are warned by an alert that says, “System scanning – security breach.” Using a Viper fog machine and lasers, they create a fog curtain that the wagon travels through to enter a more frightening phase.
A second Viper is used to fill a long chamber that serves as a storage facility for fog. The wagon is then blasted with fog at strategic points, creating the effects of bursting pipes and leaking tanks. This custom solution is programmed to automate the release of fog.
In the Field of Screams chop shop, visitors quickly learn that trespassers, not cars, are being dismantled. Viper fog machines shoot fog approximately 75 feet in two different directions, using fans to push the fog through slits in tubes. The Viper is set at approximately 10 percent and jumps to 80 percent for about 20 seconds when triggered by a new group of visitors.
For people waiting in line, a glowing low fog to create a haunting atmosphere before the real frights begin. In some areas, fog is even used as a distraction or to hide things that customers aren’t supposed to see.
What to Watch for in 2020
Get ready for more effects, more monsters, and more screams leading up to Halloween. In fact, Field of Screams has a crew of 10 working year-round to build and enhance different attractions.
“We’re adding a wagon lifter and a falling chain link fence wall to the chop shop scene, with more fog and fire effects and a laser light show,” said Schopf. “We’re also adding a huge second layer and tons of monsters to our cryogenic facility scene, along with another fogger to pump fog throughout the building. These new features will be super-intense.”
Heading into their 28th season, innovation and constant improvement continue to make Field of Screams America’s number one haunted attraction.