ACRES HAUNTED HAYRIDE: Roaming monsterstorment
the queue line where the veiled Black Bride from Insidious
collects tickets setting the stage for this season's sendoff, traditionally
Mortimer Sneed. The spooky character hops aboard
issuing instructions, and promising "a spine-tingling, hair raising journey
into the darkness for which may be your very last ride!" The Sandyland
gets underway "as it's about time to face the fears that haunt the dreams
that make your cinemas a little spooky," as he so elegantly phrases it!
The trip itself gets underway via a fiery greeting blasting a welcoming
hello from atop an eerie looking silo that guards entrance past an elevated,
pig-faced, chainsaw waving intrusion that coincides with the freezer doors
of an old ice chest opening and closing on their own to the accompaniment
of, "too many people and not enough meat" - a scene straight out of Motel
Hell! As the ride bends its way around the corner and into a
mysterious looking cornfield, a slumbering scarecrow awakens demanding
to know the reason for our presence, giving rise to a delivery van pursuit
blaring the theme from Jeepers Creepers, and enticing the appearance
of The Creeper himself, who immediately boards the wagon terrorizing
those on board! Various monsters follow suit as the course progresses
through fortress gates into a Purge-like encounter with a pair of
masked gals armed with bloody axes! Speeding away past Oakie's
Gas Station and Ben's Bait Shop leads to a spark emitting Darkwoods
Asylum encounter that's soon followed by an enraged man firing a rifle
at trespassers that finds the hayride embarking upon a hillbilly segment
where animal skins hang from porches, steam flows from beneath an overheated
pickup truck, and rubes carrying chains and other weapons are on the prowl
for "fresh meat!" Escaping the life-threatening invasion provokes
a lengthy pursuit from a loud, thundering vehicle boasting red headlights,
and bursting flames skyward from its engine's dual exhausts giving
chase into a foggy cemetery that houses the Grim Reaper behind the
iron doors of a frightening mausoleum, and a shovel dragging gravedigger
damning souls "for all eternity!" On the horizon waits a Circus Tent
filled with friends of Pennywise that offer a number of interactive
confrontations promising to, "rip your intestines out and strangle you
to death with them," and bidding "sweet dreams - those will be your last
one's ever," as they depart! Heading back into the cornfield delivers
a horseback run-in with a Pumpkin-headed Legend of Sleepy Hollow
rider in advance of
The Sandyland Cinema for a triple feature of
horror beginning with
Halloween that witnesses Michael Myers
a girl's throat, then attacking the hayride! Texas Chainsaw Massacre
up next witnessing Leatherface up to his old tricks before a Friday
the 13th sendoff courtesy of Jason swinging a mattock concluding
the 2014 installment of Sandyland Acres Haunted Hayride.
LENGTH - 9, 20 minutes.
ACTORS - 9, Strong acting is present for the most part
with appropriate costumes, and some meaningful dialogue. Clowns
were among the best at conversing with patrons, along with gravedigger,
and Mortimer's beginning. Creeper gives a commendable
performance, and Sleepy Hollow's horse and rider are impressive
and memorable as well. Words only faltered on occasion to overused
standards like "what are you doing in my cornfield/woods" and "fresh meat."
Total Characters = 30.
SCARINESS - 8½, Repeated incursions aboard the
wagon provide legitimate scares. Skits are well played, believable,
and complimented by audio enhancement. Jeepers Creepers scene
blasts the theme song throughout the corn, but outdoors remains fairly
DESIGN - 9, SANDYLAND is known for making annual
changes to their show. While the course itself remains pretty much
the same, dead spots have been eliminated due mostly to the lengthy Jeepers
Creepers engagement, numerous actors that climb aboard the ride, and
a second motorized pursuit. Sparks are a legitimate scare and make
a triumphant return since our last visit. Chainsaw and flames make
for a strong beginning, and the succession of Cinema events combine
for a strong conclusion. Weaker scenes have been canned in favor
of more memorable scares. Elevating the initial chainsaw ambush is
a plus, as is providing a bridge to serve the same purpose for a portion
of Sleepy Hollow. An additional vehicular chase would further
strengthen the score.
PROPS - 8½, It's tough to beat legitimate motorized
pursuits, and they remain standouts. Second vehicular chase blasting
fire from the engine's dual exhaust is very much appreciated! Scenes
are adequately adorned, but the introduction of a few mechanical monsters
would prove highly beneficial. Voice enhancement gimmick has been
lost from Reaper scene.
VALUE - 9+, Cost of admission has remained unchanged
for several consecutive years! Hayride is affordably priced at $12
as an individual attraction.
RATING: 8½, This enjoyable attraction
never disappoints when it comes to providing numerous seasonal surprises
and frights! To their credit, they change scenes up each and every
year, which keeps their scares fresh, and this season's tweaks result in
the attraction inching its way closer to a rating of 9 that's reserved
for upper echelon haunts! Because they're so dependent upon the weather,
outdoor shows often have a tough time competing against their indoor counterparts
as a rule, but hayrides in general are some of the more entertaining events
due to their uniqueness which separates them from traditional outdoor trails.
Haunted Hayride is annually one of the area's best, so be sure to pay
them a visit for an enjoyable night of Halloween entertainment and fun!
REVENGE: Returning for its fourth season,
the experience gets underway in a barn-like structure where counting to
10 elicits the emergence of a farmer none to pleased that we've
invaded his building. Drop-down wall panels serve to conceal various
spooks as the route heads through a dark maze for a bit of misdirection
from inhabitants that briefly illuminate their faces with flashlights providing
quick glimpses of their presence, while advising that intruders are going
the "wrong way." Progression is compromised by plastic tubing suspended
from above, and shock skins attached to walls protecting the way into a
Medieval chamber of caged skeletons, where a chained captive pleads, "Get
me out of here," only to be seized and dragged out of the scene by a monstrous
fiend! Forging onward reveals an area of animal experiments that's
been commandeered by an oversized ape in a doctor's smock in advance of
a defiled chicken coop containing dead and plucked fowl, the remnants of
a recent hatch, and severed human hands and legs. A barrel moves
about on its own as navigation through air cannons send the path back into
the dark amid warnings that "Granny's gonna get you!" Rat infested
body bags accompany continuance through a claustrophobic passage, and into
the domain of a barbed wire crate, where human torsos are suspended from
the rafters, and Pinhead promises, " I'm going to tear you
apart!" Escape discovers an infestation of hissing snakes that accesses
Hanniford Circus featuring a green-eyed mechanical surprise that's
accompanied by a tormenting clown that introduces a spinning vortex
conclusion from Farmer's Revenge.
LENGTH - 4½, Only 5½ minutes.
ACTORS - 7, Cast size is rather sparse, but the attraction
is brief. Maze misdirectors do a good job staying hidden,
and delivering sudden scares. Captive and Fiend are
likewise memorable. Costuming is a bit down as a result of losing
the butcher and half man/half fly mutant present when we
last visited. Total Characters = 9.
SCARINESS - 6, The attraction remains quite short, thus
there simply isn't ample time to develop a surplus of scares. Sound
enhancement seems improved, but could stand to be expanded upon.
Maze offers the best scares from the well-hidden cast.
DESIGN - 5, Farmer's Revenge is intended as a
secondary on-site attraction to compliment the main event hayride.
A variety of scenes offer supplemented décor in comparison to our
last visit, and an evil-minded Farmer is now present as he should
be considering the attraction bears his name. However, the path is
basically unchanged since its inception, setup to the finish isn't as impressive
without the ensnared half-human fly, and endurance continues to
present the event's weakest link. A few entrapments or interactive
scares would lengthen duration, which in turn would help the attraction
score significantly higher.
PROPS - 6, Traditional static props are present with
one of the most appreciated areas being the chicken coop. Pinhead's
abode also exhibits exceptional decorating. Vortex remains memorable,
as are oversized rat, green-eyed clown, and claustrophobic passage.
Loss of "firecrackers" and casket surprise are unfortunate. Expanding
the course to make room for additional rooms and detailing is needed to
improve the score. Some high-impact, imprssive mechanical scares
would also boost the score.
VALUE - 3, While the attraction offers some enjoyable
scares, the fact remains it's just 5½ minutes long. It's entertaining
while it lasts, and seems better than before, but expecting $10 is a bit
much since the attraction really shouldn't be considered as anything other
than an additional haunt to enjoy while at Sandyland for the hayride.
As such, expansion is mandated, or Farmer's Revenge should be restructured
as a bonus attraction included free of charge with paid hayride
admission. There isn't really a lot of value to be had even as part
of the combo ticket mainly because it's so short. Repackaging it
as discussed just feels like the fair thing to do.
RATING: 5½, Farmer's Revenge
just shouldn't be presented as a stand alone attraction. It's an
appropriate compliment to the hayride, but given its nature, it
needs to priced more affordably. The best case scenario is to think
of it as something else to enjoy when visiting Sandyland Acres.