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HAUNTED HOUSE REVIEWS
HAUNTED ATTRACTION
SANDYLAND ACRES HAUNTED HAYRIDE
Ohio Valley Haunts
RATING:
Category:  Homemade Venue
Reviewed 9/27/14
Sandyland Acres
LOCATION & ADMISSION INFO:
4172 Belleview Road
Petersburg, KY 41080
859-322-0516 or (859) 250-9790
Fri/Sat 8 PM until Midnight
Hayride:  $12 / $15 VIP
Farmer's Revenge $10 ($20 Combo)
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REVIEW
Sandyland AcresSANDYLAND 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 conducted by 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 experience 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 slicing a girl's throat, then attacking the hayride!  Texas Chainsaw Massacre is 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

Analysis: 
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 quiet elsewhere. 
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. Sandyland's 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!

Farmer's RevengeFARMER'S 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 The 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.

Analysis:
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.

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