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Ohio Valley Haunts
Reviewed 10/6/12
Sandyland Acres
4172 Belleview Road
Petersburg, KY 41080
859-689-4283 or 859-322-0516
Hours:  8 PM until Midnight
Hayride:  $12 / $15 VIP
Farmer's Revenge $10 ($20 Combo)
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Sandyland AcresSANDYLAND ACRES HAUNTED HAYRIDE:  Freddy Krueger torments the queue line setting the stage for this season's sendoff conducted by Mortimer 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 Samara 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 Leatherface who returns for a frenzied, climactic chase-out concluding 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 never 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!

Farmer's RevengeFARMER'S 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 Farmer's Revenge 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.