The Dent Schoolhouse booted out the Klowns this season and left our good pal
Bludzo homeless, we at the HOD!!! have been having a serious case of Evil Haunt
Klown withdrawal. We’ve been looking for a really crazed Klown that is rotten
to the core, but yet retains the warped sense of humor that sets them apart
from the other homicidal crazies. And we think we’ve found him at Sandyland
Acres Haunted Hayride! As the wagon moves through the Big Top mysteriously ensconced
at the edges of Sandyland’s cornfield, it’s boarded by a couple of Klowns
looking for a few laughs. One of these big-nosed bozos is Mr. Giggles. Mr.
Giggles isn’t so bad, despite the blood running down his white greasepaint-he
just wants to play a game. And his game of choice is ‘Scream or Die’. Getting
right up in the faces of two terrified girls, he explains the rules-“Scream,
and I let you live. Don’t, and I come to your house later tonight and kill you”.
We’ll never know if he’d really follow through, because the screams that emit
from the girls fill the countryside around Sandyland!
enters its eighth season under the capable direction of Gene and Brenda Webb
along with their partners, the Stephenson family. The event is on fire,
especially when Gene pulls out his remote control and activates the propane jet
on top of the nearby silo! Much has changed this season, including the event’s
host. Mortimer ‘Ripper’ Sneed is gone, replaced by a Confederate General
complete with authentic uniform and engraved dress sword. With the change in
hosts, there’s also a brand new backstory to go along with it. It doesn’t mean
the old stories are invalid-the ‘Pumpkinseed’ story works just fine alongside
the new one. The current version’s based around some local lore. There’s said
to be a Confederate General (perhaps the brother of Confederate raider John
Mosby) buried on the hill that’s behind Sandyland, and this along with wanting
to create a Farmer character gave Brenda the inspiration for the new tale.
usually suited up as Farmer Emmett Mosby, the title character in Sandyland’s
walk-through attraction, Farmer’s Revenge. For a couple of years now we’ve been
wondering just what it is the Farmer is seeking revenge for, and it turns out
he’s got a legitimate reason. It seems that during the Civil War (or War
Between The States, for those of you of the Rebel persuasion) the Farmer was
killed by Confederate General Cyrus Bones. The legend gets a bit vague here…it
might have been over the apocryphal ‘Farmer’s daughter’, Bones wanting to marry
her and the Farmer wanting no part of that. Maybe the Farmer had his eyes on
Bone’s wife, Boo. Maybe Bones’ wife IS the Farmer’s daughter. Maybe the Farmer
was just a supporter of the Union (after all, Kentucky officially fought on the
side of the Union in the Civil War). But no matter the reason, the Farmer ended
up just as dead and wasn’t happy about it. His restless spirit, pitchfork in
hand, continues to wander the barns and fields of Sandyland looking to catch up
to Bones and punch his ticket to Hell. Sandyland has some sharp looking promo
photos showing the two of them facing off, weapons in hand.
brought back a couple of scenes that were seen in their first season but have
been conspicuous by their absence the last few years. One of these is the corn
cribs-the massive fence-like silos used to store corn. Looking much like large old-fashioned
animal cages, they make a perfect home for Werewolves-there are a couple in
there now, including the large animatronic wolf that Sandyland used in their ‘Red
Riding Hood’ scene last year. If history is any indication, the Werewolves won’t
be imprisoned for long-and that proves to be the case as they break out, joined
by a couple that were hiding in the nearby cornfield just for good measure. The
second scene making a triumphant return is the ‘flying spirit’ that soars
through the air towards the wagon just as it enter the woods-it used to be a
witch or a bat creature, but this season it’s a skeleton on a rocking horse. Either
way, it’s a welcome sight as it cuts through the air with the moonlight
reflecting from it.
a few minutes, after passing through the ‘Island of Evil Dolls’ and an
encounter with ‘Sackhead Jason’ and Pamela Voorhees, the wagon pulls into a
rustic compound where a victim is chained between two trees. Could this be the
home Ma (the woman running the Farmer’s Produce stand in the first scene-you
know, the one selling arms, legs, and heads?) warned us about? “Don’t bother my
boys in the woods”, she screamed, but it looks like we’re about to do just
that. Giving the biggest scare of the night is the country boy hanging from a
tree who attacks the wagon as it rolls underneath his perch. After several
hillbillies take potshots at the wagon with shotguns, it appears the trouble is
over as the wagon moves away from their shack. But the illusion of safety is
shattered when the backwoods butchers clamber into their ‘monster truck’ and
roar towards us in hot pursuit. This season the hillbilly trucks have their ‘stacks’
fueled with propane, meaning that when the twin pipes on the hood belch flame,
it’s even more impressive than last season-you can feel the heat from fifteen
there’s the Terror Barn, the final portion of the hayride and traditionally the
location of the strongest scenes. This season you’ll be accosted by a
bizarrely-masked Plague Doctor and his loaded hypodermic, bear witness to
Leatherface bashing in the head of his freezer bound victim (and watch out-he’s
not happy with just the one!), and finally be confronted by the civilized psycho,
Hannibal Lecter, as he offers choice sweetmeats from inside the skull of his
always, the reactions of the hauntgoers on the haywagons make for the best
entertainment. We had the good fortune to be sitting across from two teen girls
who were the ultimate haunt actor’s fantasy-they alternated between false
bravado and screaming terror, stating defiantly they weren’t scared one second
and then jumping into each other’s arms a second later when a character jumped
on board. And as soon as they declared all the monsters were gone and they were
safe, the one standing right behind them would reveal himself! They were an
absolute joy to behold and made the ride memorable for everyone on board. We
told them after the ride was over that we thought they were great, and they
heartily agreed they were, heading into the gift shop to pick up a few mementos
Revenge is Sandyland’s indoor attraction-it’s a quirky combination of
traditional haunt, carnival fun house, and dark maze. Outside, they’ve added a
video screen so people can see what’s going on inside. Originally it was
playing movies of past years’ hayrides, but Gene switched over to the live feed
when it got a better reaction from the crowds. Inside, changes have been made
for the current season-the Webbs spent about three months during the hottest
part of the summer (under a metal roof, no less) making them. “We used to put
the hayride together in about two months”, muses Gene, “but now we’re working
on the haunt all year round”. Some of these involved removing things that didn’t
fit in with the barn’s theme (the electric chair, for example) and adding
scenes that did-such as the scene of the zombies raiding the henhouse. Farmer
Mosby and his pitchfork often make special appearances inside the haunt. The
dark room filled with hanging pipes has been moved and replaced with a new
bloody dining room where the Farmer’s family sits down to a bit of ‘head’
cheese. Another of Sandyland’s well-done movie monsters appears in the person
of Pinhead from Hellraiser, complete with a Lament Configuration box and a
pillar of souls. A couple of Mr. Giggles’ pals have set up a ‘Sandyland Circus
Outlet’ inside with a very nice vortex tunnel. There are the hanging snakes, bloody
kitchen, dungeon, and boulder room (watch out for the Ghoul with the axe!) from
last season along with other scenes. And while some haunts only threaten that
you’ll leave with wet pants, there’s a new effect inside that guarantees that
you will at Sandyland!
of Brenda’s handiwork can also be seen in the Spooky Gift Shop-while it might
only be slightly larger than your average coffin, it’s packed with macabre
artistic creations you won’t find anywhere else. On a cold night, it’s also a
great place to hang out since it has a heater-and also sells Sandyland
Blankets, bargain priced and just the thing to keep warm while waiting in line
on a frosty fall evening. You’ll find other unique items like raven cages, light-up
eyeballs, carved mini-statues from the cursed wood of Sandyland, custom
jewelry, and stuff that’s so strange you’d have to see it to believe it. You
can also get black or green T-Shirts with the Sandyland logo or a DVD of hayrides
from past seasons. Or have a souvenir photo taken with the Farmer, the General,
or other characters for only four bucks. Auntie Susie’s Haunted Kitchen is also
on site with a large menu of food and drinks, a kiosk by the queue line sells glow
necklaces and light-up jewelry, and there’s a stand selling kettle corn.
made more promotional appearances as well, and it’s helped their bottom line. An
appearance at Citibank in Florence (where the employees specifically requested
Sandyland characters) led to several truckloads of their employees visiting the
hayride, and an upcoming appearance at the Fifth Third Banks Halloween Party should yield
similar results. Mortimer Sneed will even be making a special appearance at the
Fifth Third event-we’re guessing General Bones wouldn’t have been happy
crossing into Yankee soil anyway.
Sandyland Acres Haunted Hayride markets itself towards family entertainment rather than be dripping with gore and violence (although there’s some of that). It’s fun and exciting with just the right balance of horror and spectacle. It’s by far our favorite outdoor event-on a cool autumn night with a waning moon hanging in the sky and a layer of fog hovering just over the cornstalks, there’s no place with more seasonal appeal than Sandyland. As we’ve observed over the years, we’ve never seen someone get off the hayride unhappy. That’s tough for an event to do! And speaking of tough to do, when Mr. Giggles challenges you to play “Scream or Die”, try to keep from screaming. We’re dying to know how that turns out for you.
Auntie Susie's Haunted Kitchen Has Some New Items On The Menu
2013 EVENT INFORMATION
SANDYLAND ACRES HAUNTED HAYRIDE 2012
All info on this page, including the event/pricing information section, is from the 2012 event. 2013 coming soon!
You Want Confrontational?
The Hayride's Actors Will Invade Your Space Big Time!
MEETING A 'DEAD'LINE!
Welcome to Sandyland Acres, home of the Haunted Hayride and Farmer’s Revenge. Run by Gene (currently in Freddy Krueger mode, stalking the crowd and popping in and out of the Farmer’s Revenge attraction) and Brenda Webb along with their partners the Stephenson family, it’s now in its seventh season. Perhaps the most impressive addition to the event this season is the pyro effects. The first one you’ll notice is the flame on top of one of the farm’s massive corn silos. And you might notice it way before you get to the farm-we spotted it in our car from well over a mile away. According to Brenda, installing the propane jet on top of the towering silo was harder than one might assume. “We had to build a catwalk up there first to make it safe to work on”, she said, “but after that it wasn’t too bad”. While working on top of the silo is probably daunting under the best conditions, imagine how it was for Gene when the effect had a glitch the first night of operation. “Yeah, it was a lot of fun climbing up there in the middle of the night and working on that thing in the dark”, laughed Gene. “Thankfully, it’s been running great ever since then”. You can also see two impressive pillars of flame shooting up just as the wagon enters the woods, punctuating the singsong patter of a rhyming voodoo man who boards the hayride while riders are distracted. They join the flames that shoot up from the twin stacks of one of Sandyland’s pursuit vehicles, but more on that later.Sandyland’s also added a couple of brand new scenes inside the cornfield where none existed before. The first is in the field before the wagon plunges into the woods and features Sadako (from the ‘Ring’ movies) slowly advancing on the wagon after seemingly escaping from a well in the background. The second comes after surviving the ‘Klown Tunnel’. It was a last minute addition that even one of the creators wasn’t sure about including (that being Gene) but that has turned out to be quite popular with hauntgoers. It’s a flying saucer complete with a couple of BEM’s (bug eyed monsters) in flight suits. While at first it may not seem to fit in with a hayride, what could be more natural? After all, flying saucers are ALWAYS making crop circles appear throughout the Midwest! When asked about how the saucer was constructed, Gene just grins, but the secret is spilled when someone else blurted out that it looked like “a couple of satellite dishes put together”. And Gene confirms that’s just what it is. Pointing with a razored finger, he says, “Yep, they were sitting in the front yard there not too long ago”. Satellite dishes or not, in the dark and with special lighting and detailing the saucer looks pretty impressive to us! The new scenes, along with a few characters hiding out in the corn and the second vehicle chase have effectively eliminated the bane of most hayrides-dead spots that aren’t covered by actors or effects. This had been somewhat noticeable at Sandyland in the past, particularly in the area after the graveyard. Now, however, there’s always an actor or some effect throughout the entire half hour ride.
Most of the existing scenes have either been rethemed or had something new added to them. The flames we spoke of earlier on the silo were added to the ‘country butcher’ scene. The werewolf grotto from last season is now home to the ‘Forest of Dolls’, a scene inspired by Mexico’s creepy ‘Island of Dolls’. It’s home to the voodoo man we spoke of earlier along with a couple of ghouls (one of whom literally was right in our face-her nose couldn’t have been over an inch from ours). The following scene, home to Friday the 13th and Evil Dead scenes the past few season, is now Grandma’s House in the woods. Is that Red Riding Hood we see? And a HUGE animated wolf at the door? It’s a good bet that the wolves who used to be in the previous scene are somewhere around as well-and my, what big teeth they have! The pall bearers in the Sandyland Cemetery have been booted out of the crypt by the Grim Reaper and friends. They’re still there carrying their coffin, but the Reaper has built a massive iron gate across the front of the crypt and the interior is filled with fog-it almost looks like a passage into the netherworld. The ‘bridge over the graveyard’ is now a Klown area and has had a long tunnel added to it-just the right Big Top for Pennywise and his minions. And in the Terror Barn (traditionally the climax of the hayride), poor Saint Nick has been replaced by Leatherface, back to slamming the freezer lid shut on those troublesome teens that just won’t stay dead before firing up the ol’ chainsaw. He’s particularly vicious this season-a regular virtuoso of the blade. He was able to skim the saw mere inches over the heads of those on the wagon as well as slamming the saw down on the railing with the bar right in someone’s face. Feeling the gas-powered chainsaw’s vibrations shaking the railing just gives the scene that extra tactile dimension it needs for maximum scares! Finally, the doctor in the last scene now has a full syringe of glowing green reanimation fluid he uses to threaten hauntgoers-there’s just something about a syringe that freaks most people out. And if that doesn’t do the trick, the zombies in the background that break out of their cage are happy to finish the job! You’ll also find hillbillies with shotguns, multiple creatures lurking in the corn, a gallows, a woman being cut in half by a buzzsaw, and the scenes that everyone looks forward to…
…vehicle chases! Sandyland had added to them, both in number and effects, since its inception in 2005. Originally there was just the ‘red eye express’, a tractor that chased the haywagon upon exiting from the woods to the gates of the graveyard. That tractor now takes up position in its spot as the second chase of the tour, occurring in a narrow path cut through the cornfield on the approach to the Terror Barn. It’s known for getting close enough to the wagon where one could leap onto its hood. In fact, during Sandyland’s second season, a memorable chase had it actually making contact with the back steps of the wagon-mere inches from where the HOD!!! was sitting! The former course of the ‘express’ has now been taken over by the ‘death truck’, a souped-up vehicle belonging to the hillbillies from the preceding scene. It’s got twin chromed stacks rising up from the hood. As the truck revs it’s impressive sounding muscle car engine, it alternates between lurching to one side or the other of the wagon and tailing it from behind. All the while, it entertains the crowd by belching large jets of flame out of the hood stacks! And not all of the pursuits at Sandyland are mechanical. After being on hiatus for one season, the Dark Rider has returned to the event. Formerly the Headless Horseman, he’s now a skeletal rider that appears to haunt the haywagon before it reaches the safety of the woods. Sandyland has built a bridge for him to cross (ala “The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow”), and the sound of his powerful steed’s hoofs pounding across the wooden structure added a great new dimension to the stunt!
Farmer’s Revenge, Sandyland’s indoor haunt located inside an old barn, is in its second year. Based on customer feedback from the first season, Sandyland has increased the number of live actors found inside and eliminated some of the still displays. As fate would have it, the first actor we came across was Jim Fletcher, formerly with our friends at Haunted Cincinnati. Jim’s currently playing Horace Pinker from the movie ‘Shocker’ in Sandyland’s electric chair. So what’s Jim been up to that got him sentenced to death? I mean, we know some haunt owners overreact when they disagree with a review, but getting the chair for it seems a bit harsh. Well, it turns out Jim’s motivation was nothing more than wanting to help out Sandyland because Gene and Brenda are “such great people”. Once getting past the fried haunt critic, you’ll find the animatronic Leatherface from last season has been replaced by a pig-headed butcher in his ‘little shop of horrors’. It’s a very macabre sight and rendered even more sinister by the enhanced voice gear the butcher uses to threaten the hauntgoers. There’s little safety to be found after that as a black maze is entered-a crazy farmer continues to pop up from ‘scare panels’ hidden in the wall along the way and one can feel what seems like snakes thrashing against your legs. Before the way out is found a confounding room full of dangling pipes is encountered, and even after that things end in a torture chamber that appears to be a dead end. Escape that and you’ll still need to survive a room full of writhing snakes hanging from the ceiling, crates with mysterious contents, gi-ants, Michael Myers, Pinhead and his Pillar Of Souls, and the Sandyland Circus. The circus not only features one of the best vortex tunnels we’ve seen but also a Human Fly-just not the type you’re used to seeing climbing up hi-rises. As we mentioned last season, Farmer’s Revenge defies easy description-it’s not a traditional haunt, a funhouse, or a dark maze, but combines elements of all three. It’s a fun complementary event, and it’s probably best experienced before taking the hayride.
Elsewhere on the grounds is the Spooky Gift Shop and Aunt Susie’s Haunted Kitchen. While concessions aren’t normally something we at the HOD!!! dwell on, Sandyland’s are so unique that we’re going to. They add an extra dimension to an already enjoyable event. The Spooky Gift Shop is housed in a shed that isn’t much bigger than a clothes closet-but it’s packed with all sorts of cool handmade items put together by Brenda in the offseason. She’s painted skull plaques, made Sandyland Scarecrows, put together custom jewelry, filled jars full of Sandyland cursed soil, and generally made the tiny shop one of the more intriguing haunt merchandise stops in the area. The prices are excellent as well-none of the hyper-marked up items you’ll see at some other attractions. Tonight we bought a cool little silver bucket filled with gore and body parts with the Sandyland logo, a Sandyland muffler, a DVD of the 2010/2011 Hayride, and a pair of earrings for our wife (yeah, we wished we could have gotten her a Sandyland Thong ala Dent, but you can’t have everything). There’s also a wagon near the hayride queue line that sells glow items and other trinkets. Aunt Susie’s Haunted Kitchen serves the best variety of food of any local haunt, made to order (not sitting around all night and kept heated), and they even wrapped our stuff in tin foil and bagged it when they found out we were taking it with us. Sandyland has excellent customer service top to bottom-one touch that we really enjoyed was that they had an employee standing at the bottom of the wagon as riders exited, personally thanking each customer for coming. There’s nothing like letting your customers know how much they’re appreciated, and no doubt helps to keep them coming back.
Sandyland continues to grow in the hills of Petersburg in northern Kentucky…steadily…inexorably. Despite losing three Fridays out of the season to rain they’ve had a good season, helped along by changing their marketing strategy. According to Gene, running their radio ads on the Eagle has brought in masses of people from southeast Indiana-enough to help offset the lost days. While many midsized haunts flounder and never make it past a couple of seasons, Sandyland’s made solid decisions that have resulted in a financial and creative success. When next haunt season rolls around, they’ll be ready-setting a deadline for quality haunting that you won’t want to miss!
Stalking Amongst The Stalks...
Sadako Demonstrates Her Version Of A Crop "Ring"
We'd Have Called Him Bug Boy, But There Can Only Be One!
Nevertheless, The Human Fly Was The Season's Coolest Haunt Character