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Ohio Valley Haunts
Reviewed 11/1/13
Hanna Haunted Acres
click logo to visit their website
7323 E. Hanna Ave.
Indianapolis, IN  46239
(317) 357 - 0881
Sept 13 - Nov 2
Combo $29 ($27 online)
$40 VIP ($38 online)
Fri/Sat Dark to Midnight (!! PM in Sept)
Thurs/Sun Dark to 10 PM 10/13-10/31
Hanna Haunted HayrideHANNA HAUNTED HAYRIDE:  The adventure begins as the tractor-pulled wagon descends into the dark, mystifying woods, where signs advertising the attraction suddenly tilt inward providing an early surprise!  Numerous animated monsters line the path, including an elevated confrontation courtesy of a big, green-handed behemoth, an enormous troll that rises up alongside, and mechanical werewolves savaging a helpless victim, and assaulting the ride.  Shacks hide more pneumatic startles in advance of a spider that drops down from above, and a skeleton/devil duo armed with oversized axes!  A fiery, voice-enhanced engagement ensues accompanied by a horned, demon-like beast before escape leads past a pair of abandoned hearses, a majestic gargoyle, and undead zombies en route to a frightening church occupied by a cannibalistic nun ingesting intestines, an eerie funeral procession, and a ghoul projected out of an upright casket!  Jason Voorhees unleashes an attack out of a nearby cabin just prior to run-ins with a huge, winged dragon and his giant-headed accomplice!  A near fatal collision with a train is on the horizon, followed by the invasion of an enraged white, bloody-mouthed creature shadowed by deer and even a moose!  Gators and The Headless Horseman must be avoided prior to a vicious combine chase past Pumpkin Head concluding The Hanna Haunted Hayride!

LENGTH - 7½, 13 minutes
ACTORS - 7, The Hayride cast is secondary as the animatronics are the stars of the show.  Devil is best.  Fiends failed to climb onboard the wagon, thus limiting the effectiveness of their scares.   Non-scary hillbillies have been rightfully removed.  A larger population of actors with more threatening dispositions would be beneficial to delivering more scares.  Total Characters = 17 (down 5 in comparison to 2012).
SCARINESS - 8½, Majority of the frights come from the large number of animated monsters that occupy the woods.  Relevant sounds are practically absent except from these areas, and there aren't enough live characters, which in turn limits live scares.  Combine and train nicely compliment the animatronics.  Additional motorized chases would earn the attraction a higher score.
DESIGN - 8½, A large assortment of mechanical creatures reside within the woods.  Their density is so great that hardly any "dead spots" exist, other than a rather lengthy beginning prior to the tipping signs.  Inappropriate music (themes from Halloween and The Exorcist) has properly been eliminated since their characters are absent, but replacement audio is non-existent.  Blades weren't turning on combine.  Hit-and-run train is unique, and actually "knocks" the wagon to the side to create a realistic impact!  Sleepy Hollow horseman is cleverly positioned above the ride to create a high-impact visualization.  Duration is a limiting factor in comparison to other hayrides which often approach 30 minutes in length, and only one motorized chase exists, which holds back the score.
PROPS - 9½, Electric chairs have been removed, but the hayride boasts more impressive animatronics and monsters than perhaps any other outdoor attraction!  Lengthening the overall experience, and adding additional motorized chases would make this attraction the best of its kind.
VALUE - 9, The Hayride is offered on its own for $19, which reflects a $2 price hike.  It can also be enjoyed for $29 as part of the 6-attraction combo, which likewise represents a $2 increase.  The mechanical monsters, train and combine chase are its claim to fame. 
RATING:  8½, The main event at Hanna is the best attraction the facility has to offer, and the most enjoyable as well. 

SawSAW:  This season's debut attraction finds tile walls, splattered with dripping blood housing the projection of Jigsaw on an adjacent television monitor, and an immediate recreation from the original Saw movie where a restrained captive makes use of a hacksaw in a desperate attempt to free himself from a chain secured around his lower leg.  A variety of "games" are visited, many of which are accompanied by timers counting down to their subject's demise at the hands of a series of torturous contraptions.  One victim is trapped inside a glass enclosure, while another's skull is pierced by a pair of electric drills!  Next up is an apparatus sporting tube-like openings protected by spinning blades, so that anyone reaching in would suffer the fate of having their fingers sliced to pieces, then it's onto a device that rips the arms and legs off of a tied down hostage amid warnings to "See what I see" and "Feel what I feel!"  Other sights include numerous syringes protruding from a suffering body, more prisoners secured to a revolving confinement, a helpless soul burnt to death in a sweltering incinerator, and another gadget that rips its incarcerated stooge's ribs apart as Pigface appears on the scene, soon followed by Jigsaw himself, and eventually John Kramer!  Brick and skull-lined walls, and a claustrophobic passage provide momentary elusion, then more atrocities are exposed in the form of a twisted beheading, a girl that's jammed her hands through glass panels, the Saw Puppet riding forth on a tricycle, sledgehammers primed and ready to smash craniums to smithereens, and even a mounted gun!  A near-miss hit-and-run is thrown in for good measure, in advance of a giant saw bisecting yet another detainee in half, concluding the deadly exploration of Saw.

LENGTH - 7, 11 minutes.
ACTORS - 7, Little dialogue exists, and the initial victim's performance is uninspired.  Pigface and Jigsaw do a good job providing intimidating scares, but the cast size is far too limited for an attraction of this length, and there aren't any live victims beyond the opening scene.  There's also a white-faced villain present, which has no relevance to the theme.  Total Characters = 6.
SCARINESS - 7½, Fans of the Saw films will appreciate the goings on, but many of the devices were out of adjustment.  Drill didn't impact skull, for example, and dismembered arms and legs remained separated from the body.  Jigsaw is seen on several TV's, but the sound is too low and inaudible.
DESIGN - 7, Several atrocities are exposed, but the theme as a whole is tremendously underutilized.  Placing live actors in scenes as opposed to static props would prove beneficial, and the opportunity to involve patrons in some challenging "games" is ignored.  Tubes that looked like you're supposed to put your hands inside prompted an actor's warning not to touch "any of the stuff."  Hit-and-run doesn't belong in Saw.  Presence of skull-lined walls is questionable as well.  The attraction would benefit from a more powerful sendoff, perhaps in the form of a Pigface chainsaw chase-out.
PROPS - 8, Lots of static props and torturous devices are on display, along with some mechanical catastrophes.  Some were out of adjustment, as mentioned earlier, and the fact that more live actors aren't subjected to their various restraints and challenges holds back the score.
VALUE - 7½, The combo ticket is the only affordable option to enjoy this attraction, even though $29 is steep given the brief duration of Medical Malpractice, Hide & Seek, and Carnevil.   $19 online as a single event just isn't worth it.  The only value is achieved by purchasing the event in conjunction with the lengthier Scarecrow's Revenge, and Hayride
RATING:  7½, This attraction has a great deal of potential that can easily be attained by increasing the population, lengthening duration, amplifying the audio, designing entrapments that engage live actors, and interactively involving customers in some of the games.  2013 laid the foundation.  Now it's time to take it to the next level.

Medical MalpracticeMEDICAL MALPRACTICE:  Bewildering music invites entrance into the realm of blood splattered exam room walls housing illuminated x-rays, hospital gurneys and various health care equipment.  The course makes use of an early duck-down corridor to access demented doctors and nurses, and distraught patients undergoing treatments such as "Lumbar spinal fusion," etc. and occasional mechanical surprises including a cadaver springing forth out of a wheel chair!  Plasma covered sinks, showers, lockers, and sheets comprise décor amid an intimidating threat promising, "I'm going to murder you!"  Fleeing the aggressor discovers the sight of another lifeless corpse lying on the ground beside an ambulance that must be entered and traversed  in order to escape Medical Malpractice.  3 minutes.  Total Characters = 5 (down from 9 in 2012.)
Hide and SeekHIDE & SEEK:  The  zombie shoot CGI welcomes visitors into the attraction that delves into Mary Shaw’s world of ventriloquist dolls in a detailed portrayal of Dead Silence that finds a variety of figurines lining the walls.. Crates spring unexpected surprises as progression leads past an illuminated doll house, alphabet building blocks, drop-down startles, and a black sheet maze.  Beware the stare of Mary Shaw.   She had had no children, only dolls.  And if you see her in your dreams, be sure you never, ever scream.  Or she’ll rip your tongue out at the seam, at Hide & Seek!  3 minutes.  Total Characters = 2 (down from 7 a season ago).
CarnevilCARNEVIL:  Brightly colored walls fluorescently create three-dimensional images of objects and various monsters as the course firsts visits the sight of a hanged jokester within a fenced enclosure, then continues past hidden doors and a few animated surprises highlighted by severed clown heads, a pair of which projects outward into the path.  Chain-link encasements and reflective brick walls guide the path to various taunting encounters, and a sharp-toothed, jack-in-the-box startle, then onward past walls that create the illusion of depth from the outward layer being "chipped away," en route to grotesque contortions outside of a polka dot skirmish with an unseen assailant that yields to a spinning vortex conclusion of Carnevil.  3½ minutes.  Total Characters = 5 (down a couple in comparison to 2012).
Scarecrow's RevengeSCARECROW'S REVENGE:  This lengthy, dimly lit maze winds its way through tall stalks of corn that conceal numerous loops, a dead end or two, and several run-ins with hidden monsters.  Successful navigation leads to a rabid chainsaw assault, and eventual freedom from Scarecrow’s Revenge.  Approximately 15 minutes, but could be more or less depending on one’s success in finding the correct path.  Total Characters = 10 (down from 15 last year).
Hanna Haunted AcresOVERALL HANNA EXPERIENCE: This season's event positively replaces Twisted with Saw, the continued development of which will further strengthen its performance.  The Hayride is a bit brief, but otherwise among the best around.

Overall Analysis (see above for Hayride and Saw):
LENGTH:  See individual recaps for precise details.
ACTORS:  Not a lot of standouts exist, and dialogue is fairly weak throughout.  Refer to each synopsis above for totals.
SCARINESS:  Medical Malpractice, Hide & Seek, and Carnevil simply don't last long enough to develop a great deal of scares, and a better soundtrack is needed practically across the board as well.  Music is basically absent in the clown house, Jigsaw isn't loud enough to be understood, and Hayride would likewise benefit from attention to the audio.
DESIGN:  Hanna's main event is one of the best Hayrides around, and certainly boasts the most animatronics!  The debut of Saw comes on the heels of last year's major renovations to further strengthen the site's performance.  The three attractions mentioned by name above are way too short to be considered significant contributors.  They're more accurately classified as supplemental attractions, thus should only be sold as part of an overall event package. 
PROPS:  Saw presents a vast variety of torturous contraptions.  3-d special effects are unique to Carnevil, dolls are everywhere in Hide & Seek, and Medical Malpractice focuses on hospital type décor.  Scarecrow's Revenge is a maze, therefore this category doesn't pertain to it.  Voice enhanced Devil is appreciated on the Hayride, as are the multitude of mechanical monsters.
VALUE:   The combo ticket is the only way to go, and costs $29 ($40 for VIP).  Although general admission reflects a $2 increase, it's the first time prices have been raised in six years!  Supporting haunts Carnevil, Hide & Seek, and Medical Malpractice are far too short to even be compared to lengthier attractions, thus the policy of offering them as single $12 attractions has been properly abandoned, but $19 is still way too much to charge for their combined contribution.  Same holds true for Saw and the cornfieldHayride is the only one that can be sensibly considered worth purchasing on its own, but an additional $10 investment entitles you to experience all six attractions. Scarecrow's Revenge is one of the lengthier, more challenging corn mazes in existence. 
OVERALL RATING:  8, The strong point here continues to be gathering multiple haunts at a single location to provide a variety of scares, and an evening's worth of seasonal entertainment.  As is often the case at multi-venue sites, the aggregate effort at Hanna Acres as a unit outscores most of the attractions when considered on an individual basis.  The best way to view Hanna Haunted Acres is to recognize the annual Hayride as the main draw, and get the combo ticket which allows you to experience everything the site has to offer.  A new ticketing system was introduced last year that permits customers to purchase online, and proceed directly to the haunts upon arrival.  Barcodes are scanned at the beginning of each event, so make sure you don't lose or misplace your tickets!