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Gyro's 3-D Fear Factory

Sunnyvale Town Center, The WAVE

Reviewed by: Hauntmaster 10/20/2002

Well as many of you already know we here at Haunted Bay have never been a fan of Gyro's. In the past they have been under staffed, under scary, over broken, and over priced. I am more than happy to say this has changed. Tonight we took a drive down to the Sunnyvale Town Center and checked out Gyro's 3-D Fear Factory.

Gyro has taken over several mall fronts and created two haunts, "Planet Horrorwood" and "Evil Jack's Madhouse", a souvenir and Halloween merchandise store, "Little Shop of Horrors", and a 3D special effects museum, "The Museum of the Macabre". We had a slight problem with directions to the mall and arrived much later than we expected so we were only able to attend the two haunts which disappointed me as I would have liked to see the museum and the gift store looked like it had some very nice things. On the bright side we did get our free T-shirt for ordering our tickets in advance online. A nice touch if you ask me.

Located on the upper level of the mall is Evil Jack's Madhouse. The haunt is based loosely on the old carnival funhouses with a decided slant toward Killer Clowns from Outer Space. Upon entering you are issued 3D glasses and treated to some well done murals and 3D effects that pop off the walls at you. A little slow in the beginning the haunt picks up steam (both figuratively and literally, copious amounts of fog are used throughout the haunt) as you delve further in. You travel through a lengthy series of rooms populated by some of the most grotesque clowns you'll ever encounter.

On the main level of the mall is Planet Horrorwood. This haunt is an homage to all the great horror movies that have scared us over the years. All the greats are here, Friday the 13th, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, Psycho, Scream, the list goes on and on. The individual scenes that make up this haunt are well appointed and authentic feeling enough to make you feel like you are in the grisly places these movies portray. This haunt, much like Evil Jack's Madhouse, starts slow in the beginning and builds momentum as you continue through.

Many of my complaints from years past were answered in this year's haunt.

Light Pollution - By the nature of this year's location they have this problem licked. The haunts are wonderfully dark. Nothing spoils a haunt quicker than bright overhead lighting or lighting that hits you right in the eye so you can't see anything. Their indoor location combined with low lighting levels means you generally won't see the scare coming. However, they might have gone a bit too far in some sections of Evil Jack's Madhouse. Several rooms were a little too dark to see the full detail of the actors and props. I'm undecided if this was a good or bad thing. It certainly helped maintain and even enhance the creepy atmosphere but I like to see every detail.

Noise Pollution - Perhaps the most impressive sound work I have ever heard in a haunt. A lot of time and effort has gone into the sound at both Sunnyvale haunts and it shows, or is that hears? Sound does not bleed through from one scene to the next and they have chosen the perfect accompaniment to for each scene. Much like a movie, sound can either make or break a haunt and it made these big time.

Actors - Actors were actually present this year and good. They were most actively interested in scaring us and aggressive in their efforts. Although all did a very fine job, we were very impressed with the actor who played Michael Myers. He nailed the role and scared the Hauntmistress thoroughly by just making his presence felt. Every time she tried to move he would block her path and eventually worked her into a corner. Absolutely no touching involved just calculated moves and impressive presence. Another actor who played Norman Bates was also great. It's important of a haunt actor to make the role their own, to interact with the audience. He followed us through several rooms always just behind the Hauntmistress. She would turn because of something scary in her path and he would get her again and again. Well done!

Scene Visibility - In years past this was a major problem. While in one scene you would be able to hear and see into another. Not so this year. Each room is separate and distinct, veiled with sheets of cloth that add apprehension about entering and allow for each individual room to have more impact.

Length - Gyro's has always had lengthy haunts. However this year there was more bang per foot than in years past. There needs to be a balance in a haunt. You can't scare people all the time and expect each successive scare to carry the same impact as the previous. However, you can't let the customer go too long with out a scare or it becomes, let's face it, boring. Gyro's has found a good balance this year. Plenty of jolts and good ones as well.

Cattle Syndrome - Also gone are the vast herds of people filing through the haunt. Granted we went toward closing on a Sunday but we were specifically asked how many were in our party. A great sign that the experience of each person or group is as important if not more so than throughput.

In short I would not hesitate to recommend both of Gyro's Sunnyvale haunts this year. Well put together, well staffed, great decor, and a pretty good value to boot. If you've avoided Gyro's in the past it's time to take a second look.

For more information about Gyro's 3-D Fear Factory including hours and pricing visit the Gyro's 3-D Fear Factory website.

Do you think we got this review totally wrong? Agree with us? Or just want everyone to know your thoughts? Then start a discussion of this haunt in our forums!


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