While being chased by a chainsaw-wielding clown sounds horrific and deranged, at Fear Farm it’s just the norm. From the scenery to the makeup and costumes, Fear Farm is Arizona’s largest and most detailed haunt.
General Manager Zack Busse takes pride in the 18-year tradition set forth by his father that started as one giant corn maze. It has since evolved into a multihaunt attraction. Every board, wall and trap door was built by hand under the supervision of Busse and his father.
Now Fear Farm has five attractions, something that pleases guests.
“I thought it was really cool that they had different themes at each haunt,” said visitor Hanna Reim. “You could do five totally different houses all in one place.”
The actors are what truly make the magic happen, according to Busse. Guest Jodi Guerrero agreed.
“I liked how in-character the actors were in each show. It was the best haunted-theme place I’ve ever been to.”
Each haunt is meticulously planned by Busse during the off season. In recent years, they have utilized animatronics to add to the overall ambiance. During off-season, at least one haunt is replaced and remodeled each year, so as not to become stagnant.
“In our spare time, if we’re not actually building something, we’re watching movies or playing video games coming up with new ideas,” Busse said. “It all starts with an idea, then we start going to work.”
The building starts around May, and gets busier as October approaches.
“What we lack in extremely detailed sets we make up for in size,” he said.
During the day, the haunts look like any other set for a movie, devoid of actors and special effects.
“The magic really happens at night,” Busse said. “It’s a lot different during the day.”
At night, the attractions transform from an empty scene into a frightening experience. Sometimes, it’s so scary that guests are unable to continue. Busse said he has dealt with panic attacks, heart attacks and people jumping out of windows. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for actors to be hit during a scene.
“Part of our training is telling each and every actor you’re going to get hit,” he said.
While Busse and his actors try to avoid these incidents, it certainly is a testament to how scary the farm is. However, security is tight and the Phoenix Police Department as well as medics are always on site.
Fear Farm’s title of Arizona’s largest haunted attraction is well-deserved. The time and effort that Busse and so many other people put into the haunts year-round show the dedication and commitment each of them has to making—and keeping—Fear Farm as one of the best haunts in the Southwest.