ACRES HAUNTED HAYRIDE: Freddy Krueger
the queue line setting the stage for this season's sendoff conducted by
Sneed, a spooky character who hops aboard issuing instructions, and
preparing the mood for the Sandyland experience. The trip
itself gets underway to a fiery blast atop a spooky looking silo that guards
the entrance leading past the old, run down Farm Fresh Country Store
where the doors of a freezer containing bags of ice mysteriously open and
closes on their own. An immediate encounter with a strange woman
briefly ensues as the wagon speeds off into a cornfield inhabited by terrorizing
scarecrows. A recreation of The Ring soon follows that witnesses
falling in behind the hayride for a brief pursuit. Various monsters,
including Leslie Vernon (Behind the Mask) periodically climb
onto the cart as the course progresses past a galloping conflict with a
skeleton masked fiend riding up alongside on horseback, and the remnants
of an isolated gallows still displaying the tragic consequences of a recent
hanging. A run-in with a rhyming voodoo character lies ahead in advance
of the Forest of Dolls that finds the figurines suspiciously suspended
from surrounding trees, and an axe toting brute charging onto the scene
to the accompaniment of howling wolves, and yet another onboard confrontation.
Hillbillies fire guns towards the trespassing wagon as the roaring engine
of a horn honking, red-headlighted pickup thunders up from behind!
A frightening Grim Reaper engagement arises from a nearby cemetery,
then it's onto a Pennywise challenge a la the movie It that
gives way to a violent chainsaw skirmish, and a strange alien invasion
alongside a downed flying saucer. Another crimson head-lighted dare
soon follows when a previously unseen tractor emerges out of hiding, and
takes dead aim on the tail end of the hay wagon! Defying its protest,
leads to a succession of events that the ride pauses to investigate.
First, the sight of an enraged fiend sawing a girl in half; then a Leatherface-like
skit that witnesses an innocent victim being slammed into a freezer, and
a subsequent chainsaw advancement; and finally a menacing doctor/glowing
syringe segment that first sees restrained prisoners pleading for help,
but eventually being transformed into zombie-like creatures that approach
the wagon and join
who returns for a frenzied, climactic
Sandyland Acres Haunted Hayride!
LENGTH - 9, 21 minutes.
ACTORS - 9, Better acting exists for the most part in
comparison to our prior visits. Many characters attempt to converse
and interact with riders, and chainsaw assailants actually come in contact
with the wood of the wagon creating vibrations that can be felt onboard,
thus legitimizing their scares. Loss of Headless Horseman
in favor of a masked aggressor is unfortunate. Voodoo man
is memorable with his rhyming dialogue. Hillbillies and final
victims turned zombies don't really have costumes or make-up. Jason
measured up to his potential, and has rightfully been eliminated.
Total Characters = 36.
SCARINESS - 8½, Repeated instances of inspired
confrontations onboard the wagon provide ample scares. Audio enhancement
is complimentary to various skits, but soundtrack is absent elsewhere.
DESIGN - 8½, SANDYLAND always makes changes
to their attraction, and this year is no exception. Dead spots are
non-existant, which is a rarety among outdoor attractions, and the first
time this downfall has been avoided at Sandyland! An attack
zone has now been introduced for the horseman's ambush! The adventure
involves a couple of motorized chases, and builds towards an exciting finish.
Start could be a bit more inticing, Forest of Dolls is likewise
uninspiring, gallows are uneventful, and the final scene has properly been
strengthened, but doesn't really make sense due to villains first being
portrayed as helpless victims. Sparks have been successfully used
in the past, but are absent from this year's production, which is unfortunate
since they provide a legitimate scare. Still miss the zip-line surprise
present several years ago as well. Additional vehicular chases would
earn them a higher score.
PROPS - 8½, Hard to beat legitimate motorized
pursuits, and they remain standouts. Voice enhanced Reaper
segment is memorable as well. Scenes are adequately adorned, but
could stand some flashy mechanical surprises or animatronic monsters to
amplify scares, and leave more lasting impressions.
VALUE - 9, Cost remains unchanged for the hayride for
the second consecutive year! Combo ticket may be a bit overpriced.
RATING: 8½, This enjoyable attraction
can always be counted on to provide numerous seasonal surprises and frights.
To their credit, they change things up each and every year, and it gets
better and better with each passing season! This is it's best performance
to date, and while outdoor attractions have a tough time competing against
their indoor counterparts as a rule, Sandyland's Haunted Hayride
has come a long way since it's 2006 debut. Pay them a visit for an
enjoyable night of Halloween fun!
REVENGE: Now in it's second season, the
attraction gets underway in a barn-like structure where "firecrackers"
accompany an immediate run-in with a pig-faced butcher offering
some freshly cooked delicacies he's prepared in some bloody pots and pans.
Slide-down wall panels conceal various spooks as the route heads through
a dark maze into The Temple of Doom, where progression is compromised
by plastic tubing suspended from the ceiling, and a medieval chamber houses
a suit of armor, caged and chained skeletons, and a brief monk-like encounter.
A mechanical coffin surprise introduces a snake infested area, then the
theme from Halloween teases the appearance of Michael Myers!
Cries for help and a honking horn lure the course through dismembered limbs
and into a strobe-lit, body bag containing bloody sheet maze that brings
about a Pinhead encounter that yields to a spider web covered zone
that's ensnared an enormous half human/half fly-like monster in advance
of a spinning vortex conclusion of Farmer's Revenge.
LENGTH - 4, Only 5 minutes.
ACTORS - 7, Butcher and Fly exhibit pretty
good costuming, but there isn't much meaningful dialogue throughout the
attraction. Total Characters = 10.
SCARINESS - 5, The attraction is so brief, there simply
isn't ample time to develop many quality scares.
DESIGN - 5, A variety of scenes are presented, but the
attraction lacks a central theme, and should have a contemptible farmer
as the main villain considering its name. Improving sound enhancement
would be an asset. Endurance is the main limiting factor.
PROPS - 6, Firecrackers, casket surprise, and vortex
are most noticeable. The course needs to be expanded to make room
for additional décor.
VALUE - 3, $10 is too much to expect from this attraction.
Even as part of the combo ticket, there isn't a lot of value to be had.
It simply doesn't last long enough to be considered as a stand alone attraction.
Restructuring it as a free added bonus included with the hayride
would be the right thing to do.
RATING: 5, Packaging
as a separate event isn't very fair to the haunt at all. It's designed
as a supporting attraction to the annual hayride, and that would
be the best way to enjoy it - as an added bonus to give customers something
else to enjoy when visiting Sandyland Acres.