- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 8, 2015

Something more frightening than Congress lurks in the nation’s capital.

The folks that made Maryland’s “Field of Screams” a yearly Halloween event since 2000 now offer unsuspecting humans a chance to enter “Scream City.”

Situated in a massive tented structure in a parking lot next to RFK Stadium, the 20,000-square-foot enclosure offers a pair of haunted-house mazes.

First, enter “Exorcism Estate,” a roughly 20-minute journey through what promoters call “a dark and decaying Victorian Haunted House that was once residence to an affluent D.C. political family.”

Well, let’s call it more like a tour of a horror-movie-themed sound stage than an actual abode, especially with the false front of the mansion entrance.



Guests walk through a winding set of rooms, corridors and tunnels and face plenty of depressed maniacs, homicidal clowns and spirited entities along the way.

Many of the scares depend upon the enthusiasm and creativity of the wandering actors as they shout and scream their displeasure with the unwelcomed guests.

Atmosphere is crafted to near-perfection with aged furniture, blood-splattered walls, spiders, skeletons, creepy dolls, cobwebs and scariest of all, an ominous antique sewing machine.

The pinnacle moment at the mansion finds guests walking into a live exorcism that does not go so well for the priest in attendance.

My favorite demented human here was a short bald guy I ran into in one of the corridors. He was ranting in a high-pitched tone and looking like a cross between Uncle Fester and Tiny Tim. Now, that’s scary.

The mansion’s exit leads to a path directly to the “Slaughter Factory.”

I think the name says it all. No other explanation required other than appreciating the prominent presences of chainsaw-wielding maniacs and toxic mutations along with odes to rotting humans and animal corpses hung or strewn about.

It’s roughly 15-minutes worth of gorier horrors in the factory with lots of screaming and the hollers of “fresh meat coming” echoing through the hallways.

However, what prevents both attractions from delivering premium scares is the lack of ceilings in many of the areas. At any point, if the frights become overwhelming, simply look up to see the tent structure innards to totally break the illusion.

Still, “Scream City” is really the only horror attraction of its kind in the District of Columbia and worth a look during its inaugural year.

IF YOU DARE GO

Where: RFK Stadium/D.C. Armory, 2400 E. Capitol St., Washington, D.C. 20003

Fear factor (out of 5): 3.5 for adults; children younger than 13 need to stay home.

Hours: Open from Oct. 2 to Nov. 1, Fridays, Saturdays and most Thursdays and Sundays, from 6 to 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. depending on date.

Price range: $30 to $40 depending on dates for access to both attractions. Closer to Halloween, check out the VIP/Demon Pack that includes a general-admission ticket, plus faster access to both attractions in much shorter lines for an additional $10. (Look online for potential daily deal sites to find less wallet-carving pricing.)

Website: https://www.screamcity.com

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