Dead Acres-“$17 Admission, $50,000 For Therapy”
This year Dead Acres has been rated as one of the best haunts in the nation by Hauntworld Magazine, Haunted Attraction Magazine, AOL and numerous sources across the globe. We drove down to Pataskala, OH on a rainy Thursday night and to our surprise Dead Acres was very crowded and the lines kept increasing with the passing minutes. It truly is a party atmosphere at Dead Acres and has become a tradition for many people who love haunts.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre was playing on the large projector screen while a demon with glowing eyes could been seen staring over the crowd. Near the entrance of the haunt was a wooden building that had a ladder so actors could climb up the top to scare people below. There were plenty of actors who walked around the lines from characters in clown costumes to actors in elaborate gore galore costumes. We were ready for Dead Acres and Dead Acres was ready for us.
Length-9: Your tour through the dark and twisted halls of Dead Acres will take 15 minutes to complete. That’s if your survive. This is a very action packed haunt from beginning to end and gives you very little time to pause and get a breath. Due to how fast the majority of people walk through this haunt, Dead Acres could be conceivably 20 minutes if you took your time like you would with a typical haunt. But Dead Acres is far from typical.
Design-9: Dead Acres is a combination between graphic skits and frightening areas full of high startle animatronics. Your journey through fear begins when you encounter a crazed lunatic who proceeds to place a gun in his mouth. He suddenly fires the gun as blood splatters all over the wall and He dies as people watch in terror. These entertaining while somewhat shocking scenes are scattered throughout the haunt. Some graphic skits you’ll experience include a mad dentist/doctor who drills into his patient’s mouth as blood sprays everywhere, a demon birth that has a baby bursting out of a woman’s womb after hit with a mallet and much more.
Unfortunately we were blocked off from the group in font of us and were unable to see the last scene. We were only able to see the aftermath of someone’s face being sawed apart. These scenes are great and can be intense, but the lighting could be dimmer so you aren’t able to see how the effects are achieved. Also because of the amount of people that are put in the haunt at one time, some skits have to be reset such as the demon birth and some people may miss the scene all together because of this.
Dead Acres isn’t just known for its unique one of a kind skits. It’s also known for some very detailed rooms. These include a hallway that is on fire and full of smoke, walls that move and a variety of awe inspiring rooms. The highlight of the haunt is the outdoor woods area that features realistic cabins, water and more. It feels like you are stepping foot inside a haunted town that has been taken over by ghouls. Dead Acres is very detailed, but a few areas could use improved lighting to better highlight little things here and there. But overall you will be really impressed by what you see.
Props/Animatronics-9: When it comes to decor, Dead Acres is downright impressive. Most of the animatronics you’ll come across in this haunt are from the company Scare Factory which is located in Columbus, OH. They are set up perfectly and are up close and in your face. Props include a large T-Rex, the 13 Foot Impaler, a grim reaper bursting out of a portrait, a fast running vortex tunnel, a vine creature, a CGI devil head and more.
A few props weren’t running properly such as the headless horseman who’s horse raises up in the air as its legs move while the headless horseman (AKA Hessian Soldier) moves back and forth. But considering the sheer amount of animated scares, this is bound to happen. Improved lighting would help some props be more effective since if you are spending thousands of dollars on animatronics you might as well highlight them the best way you can. Cheap $11 mini spot lights would solve this problem while using very little electricity.
Acting-9: Dead Acres’ cast of characters are just insane to say the least. They’ll grab your hair, rub chainsaws against your legs and even turn your head around if you are going in the wrong direction. These actors take a hands on approach to scaring customers, but aren’t aggressive to the point where it’s dangerous. The costumes they wear are unique and some characters are just grotesque. The only downfall the acting has at Dead Acres is that some actors rely solely on intimidation instead of using lines of dialogue. Chainsaws are great when used properly in a haunt, but there should be a little more variety in the weapons actors use in a few rooms.
Scare Effect-9: Dead Acres is a very intense haunt. Every place you turn there is some type of mechanical scare bursting out of a wall or emerging from the darkest corner. The actors are relentless and even touch people as they walk through the haunt. It doesn’t really get much better than this in terms of scares.
Customer Service: The night we had visited there were a couple technical difficulties inside the haunt which caused Dead Acres to open an hour late. But thankfully there were some actors roaming around in the line scaring people and a table set up with Guitar Hero people could play to win prizes like Linkin Park’s new CD and a Couple’s Retreat Hat. At one point one of the characters you’ll encounter in the haunt even started to fire shot gun blanks at the crowd which really caught many people off guard.
Parking is $3, but considering the quality of the haunt, it’s well worth it. There’s a variety of Dead Acres and Haunted Hoochie apparel inside the ticket barn as well as some concessions at the concession trailer. This includes gum, cheese burgers, refreshing soft drinks and more. The prices are a little high, but not too outrageous.
More concessions maybe set up near the line would be welcomed. Since you are waiting hours to get in the haunt you are bound to get thirsty or hungry. The haunts are set up great, but can be a little confusing as to where to go after you purchase a ticket. This is especially the case with Bad Trip in 3D. Even though there is a guy dressed as a ring master, the sign itself for the haunt should be lit up so people know where to go.
Fright Value: $17 gets you into one of the most famous and unique haunts in the country. But if you plan on coming on a Friday or Saturday night please for the love of God buy a VIP ticket for an additional $10. If you don’t do this you may end up waiting in line for over 3 hours. There is a reason that the gates open at 6 PM. It’s that popular of a haunt. Please make sure and purchase a combo ticket for $25 so you can also experience the new haunt Bad Trip in 3D. It’s a dizzying 3D attraction that has some pretty impressive props.
Final Stab-9.0: There’s a reason Dead Acres can have lines of over 4,000 people on Saturday nights. It’s one of the most off the wall and well known haunts in the country. And doesn’t make any excuses for how intense and graphic some of the scenes are that you’ll experience. So if you are in the mood for a haunt that is way different from what you are used to, then head out to Pataskala, OH to enter the one and only Dead Acres (AKA Haunted Hoochie). $17 admission, $50,000 for therapy.