You Find the Strangest Things in a Corn Maze
Strangest Things Haunted Farm
Written by: The Bat
Sometimes small town haunts are the best ones. I booked us tickets to Strangest Things Haunted Farm with that thought in mind.
“It could either be very very good, or very very bad,” I told the Dragon as we got ready to go that night.
We left the small neighborhood in Eugene where we were staying and began to drive. As we followed the GPS, we drove further and further away from town. We made the last turn and the street lights disappeared. We were driving into almost pitch blackness. It was incredibly unsettling….and I began to feel better about my choice to come.
The ticket booth was set back into the site and was not accessible until we signed the waiver. The actors could touch us, we could not touch them. No suing if we got hurt in the cornfield. This was starting to look better and better.
This is not a criticism of the haunt itself, but we did wait for about ten minutes in the unlabeled fast pass line before we were told what it was. Then we had to move to the GA line and wait again. We saw a few actors milling around outside as we drove in. If I hadn’t seen the actors inside later, I would not have been able to tell them from costumed teens, except for the one with the chainsaw. There were no strolling actors in the line. I would usually have a problem with that, but it was so dark that I was not sure they were needed, and the line had no extra space.
We got to the front of the line, were given the instructions one more time, and were sent in. Groups were not combined but went through as they came. That might change as Halloween gets closer, but I liked it for now.
And now….. The review
The haunt alternated between the dark outside of the farm, and small mini haunts set up along the path. Each one had a different theme. Some were obviously based on popular horror films. We identified the Exorcist, The Ring, and Alien. The rest of the mini haunts may have been movies we did not recognize or just regular haunt themes, like neon clowns.
Whichever they were, all of them were well put together and very fun to go through. The walkways were tight enough to give a level of trapped discomfort without actually inhibiting progress. The props were good, but fog and lighting effects sold them. We could see enough to identify familiar haunt elements, Enough was hidden that we were having to peer through the fog and wonder what was coming next.
Between the mini haunts, we had to find our way, mostly unguided through a dark farm. At one point we went through a small corn maze, with actual corn! There were no spotlights, no flashlights. The only way we could be reassured that we were on the right path was to follow the caution tape they had threaded between the mini haunts. The feeling of being lost in the dark outside was more terrifying than the inside of any haunt could ever be.
Dragon: Except we were told while outside we could use flashlights. Although… I guess the corn maze didn’t count as “outside” since we got scolded.
We were told at the beginning that the actors could touch us. My previous experience of full contact haunts had me expecting to be shoved around violently. This haunt was a nice exception to that norm. The actors try to grab your feet, run their fingers over your hair, tap you on the shoulder, and invade your personal space. But even with all of that, only one actor shoved us in any way. Because of their commitment to moderate force, we were able to enjoy the haunt without worrying about being shoved face first into a wall. Definite plus.
In almost every haunt with young actors, you will get a full spectrum of ability. There are the actors who have one line or role, but fully commit to it. There are good screamers, who know how to do it well and to time it so it fits into the scene. There are the screamers that don’t seem to have any other tricks. There are chainsaw people who can hold a character. There are chainsaw actors whose only trick is revving the chainsaw and running. This haunt had actors that fit each of those types, but much more of the good ones than the bad.
The variety of themes woven throughout gave the actors a chance to play to their strengths, and it seemed that all of them were assigned to places that allowed them to do just that. There were a few contortionist type characters, especially in The Ring Haunt. They weren’t too advanced, but they got the creepy crawl from the movie down perfectly
A pair of clowns accomplished a perfect team scare, which makes me think that they were allowed to team up to the best advantage as well.
This haunt took solid acting and wove it in so that it enhanced the experience. Wonderful job.
I have been in a few haunts that try to play to multiple themes. As a rule, that choice comes off as cheap and indecisive. Strangest Things Haunted Farm proved that no rule applies to every situation. The website advertises
“Our goal is to make you feel like you’re trapped in a horror film or your most terrifying nightmares!”
And it succeeded in doing exactly that, with a creepy farm twist added in! Using the farm to space out the mini haunts allowed the themes to stand out on their own, without making them look jumbled together.
My only slight criticism is that there may have been horror movies that we could not identify. However, I am not sure that is really a criticism. Have you ever had the moment where you find an Easter Egg in a movie, or understand a film reference that someone randomly inserts into a conversation? That feeling of “I get it! Awesome!” hit every time that we identified which haunt went to which movie. It was so much fun!
This haunt was the most fun I have had at a haunt in years! I was creeped out and amused by the props and actors in every single scene. I was scared of getting lost in the dark of the farm and the cornfield. I was unsettled by the location, but in the best way. The variety of mini haunts had its advantages. If a guest is not scared of clowns, they may be scared in the spider scene. If the spiders don’t get them to scream, the demons might, or the aliens. It was like a maze combined with a scavenger hunt, but every find led to another scare!
While Strangest Things is not as scary as 17th Door or Gates of Hell, I don’t think it is trying to be. It went in a different direction, and it worked for them.
Dragon: I do have to admit I think the touching would have worked the way they did if I had gone alone. I’m used to the Bat randomly touching me so being with her likely had my “defenses” in that sense down. Also, damn the dark and uneven dirt!!! It startled me a few times.