Fear Factory opened last week for the Halloween season, and we need to talk about it.

Why it matters: The haunted factory at 666 W. 800 South has been listed among the top Halloween attractions in existence, by publications like the Travel Channel, Buzzfeed and the Haunted House Association.

  • If you have the best of something in your hometown, you should probably avail yourself of it.

What happened: I took my first tour last Friday—opening night—and I have never seen anything like it.

  • In terms of production value, it compares more closely to a Disney park attraction than it does to any other haunt I’ve ever visited.

Why it’s different: Location, location, location. The haunt snakes through multiple buildings and underground tunnels on a 7-acre cement factory site that dates back to the 19th century.

  • The aging industrial features, the hollow acoustics and the uninterrupted darkness of the site make it wholly immersive from the moment you step through the factory gates.
  • Workers actually died in the factory in the early 1900s, and ghost hunters frequently visit the site for signs of the paranormal, owner Heidi Dunfield told Axios.

My thought bubble: It was so scary that I truly thought I might need an emergency exit.

  • Dozens of actors jump out, chase or quietly menace guests through catacombs, a circus, a vampire lair, and various industrial hellscapes.
  • About 10 minutes into the 40-minute tour, I started to feel almost exhausted from fear and had to take little “it’s not real” mental breaks.

Yes, but: I tend to let my imagination run wild. Afterward, I was desperate to go again.

What to expect: Attendance puts Fear Factory in the top 1% of haunts nationally, so book in advance and plan to wait 10-ish minutes — around 30 in late October, Dunfield said.

  • The queue is themed, with performers and food trucks onsite.
  • One or two features may trigger claustrophobia, but they’re brief.
  • Kids’ reactions vary, Dunfield said, but I didn’t see any opening night. I’m going to wait a couple of years before bringing my 4th grader.

Details: Fear Factory is open Friday and Saturday nights until October, when it goes to five nights a week.

  • General admission is $37, with a range of premium tickets with perks like souvenirs and line-cutting. For $4 extra, the actors make physical contact for a bigger scare.
  • Street parking fills fast, but a “Zombie bus” picks guests up from the Gateway.

What’s next: It isn’t the only nationally-acclaimed haunt in Salt Lake City. We’ll be posting about more attractions as the spooky season continues!

Hands grasp at visitors who walk the path through Fear Factory. Photo: Erin Alberty/Axios
Hands grasp at guests who walk down the path at Fear Factory. Photo: Erin Alberty/Axios

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