Please note: this review is for the 2010 season rather than the current season.
Submitted: Sunday, October 17, 2010
Freakin' Exhaustin'! This is one haunt you want to set aside the whole night for, 'cause it's going to put you through the ringer and back again. Sweet satan, it's a 45 minute hike through a maze of the tallest corn this reviewer and companions have ever seen, they grow 'em big up there in West Bend, maybe it's something in the water, something like...Evil! You're literally wandering through corridors of corn here, it must have been 15 feet high, I kid you not, constant reader, twice the height of a normal person. There's a nice mix of animatronic and live actors sprinkled throughout the haunt, as well as various scenes and little buildings placed at spots in the maze to keep your interest up. You're literally trapped in some of the scenes, too, which is wonderfully unsettling, we ended up banging on walls at one place to try to find an exit, of which there turned out to be none -- these ghouls don't screw around!
As I said, it's a working farm, and there are a bunch of things to do, like shop in the little store (lots of Halloween stuff and craft stuff in several rooms), and you can get stuff to eat at a little stand that gives its money to a German Shepherd rescue organization; it has things like hamburgers and brats and popcorn and candy bars and there are a bunch of picnic tables at the bonfire that you can go eat at. You buy your tickets at the store checkout counter, and then get a bracelet with a number on it. They have an LED sign system with several locations on the farm, so you can wander around a little and watch for your number to be called; they call numbers in groups of 50, and then you go line up and wait to get let into the haunt. There's also a "quickline" ticket that allows you to get directly in line without waiting.
There are also a bunch of living animals in various fenced-off areas that you can marvel at or bother while you wait, like a donkey (whose braying was pretty creepy), emus (yes, emus), ducks and geese, llamas, goats, and then there was Bunnytown, which has little bunnies all romping about, apparently impervious to the terror being visited on the humans only tens of feet away -- where is your sense of decency, little bunnies? There's also a bonfire you can go sit around; there appeared to be a large man in a black leather hat and coat with a cane tending the bonfire, and I got the impression he may tell spooky stories or something, but we didn't hear any while we were there, though we were there quite early. No ghouls wandering around that we saw, but that was okay, the freakin' haunt is 45 minutes long, and you don't really need any pre-show entertainment.
We were impressed. Scenes have clearly been thought out, and the ghouls haunting them are really good, but beware, it's a really long maze, and there will be some lag-time between the more coherent scenes and the things that just sometimes pop out of the corn on hydraulic lifts. This is actually okay, though, there's something really cool about just walking through a literal tunnel of 15-foot high corn and seeing the moon shining down on you as you wait to see what's around the next bend. They obviously really put a lot of time into this and it's clear someone here really really loves Halloween and scaring the peoples. Some of the animatronic stuff is really extremely convincing, there were actually a couple of times in which we were never sure if what was going on was animatronic or a live actor, which is a compliment to the animatronics and not a slam on the excellent actors!
Also ghouls are placed in odd locations, like above you and on the ground level, which makes things even more disorienting and unsettling.
Loved that there were also emergency exits thoughtfully placed throughout the haunt, helpfully marked "Chicken Gate," and just to add a little extra sumthin' sumthin', there appeared to be ghouls lurking just behind the "Chicken Gates!" Perhaps chicken is a favorite delicacy amongst the ghouls, and this ends up acting like a kind of feeding trough.
Oh, there are also lots of strobes and fog machines and stuff, so be ready for that; man, they don't kid around with the strobes, either -- bring your epileptic friends if you want to see a real show! Kidding!
HERE THERE BE SPOILERS:
Excellent excellent excellent op-art house with accompanying op-art clown, and a really cool decaying pirate ship. Very cool webbing area with a screaming web-cocooned man, and one house with the uplifting title of "Welcome to Hell," boasts not only a scene where you're locked in with a bunch of ghouls, but then the ceiling, which has huge spikes in it, starts to slowly lower, and, good lord, there's no door to get out of. There's also a giant octopus, yes, a giant octopus, now how cool is that?
Disorienting House with its Disorienting Accompanying Clown, and Welcome to Hell.
And just to say it again, two words -- Giant Octopus.