This weekend the wife and I went to Dead Man’s Farm, a haunted house attraction in Knoxville. In addition to the haunted house they had a corn maze, a pumpkin patch, a midway with entertainers and a haystack ride where you shoot paintballs at zombies.
My wife was the first to notice that we were the oldest customers there. Everyone else was teenagers and loud teenagers at that. I suddenly understood why horror slashers always go after teenagers. They are annoying as fuck. A lot of the teens were complaining about the 16$ admission price which to my Atlanta-sensibilities felt ridiculously cheap. Heck, they didn’t charge for parking which really made me feel like I was in some strange universe where capitalism didn’t exist.
We went into the actual haunted house which had a redneck hillbilly cannibal family theme. There were cannibals menacing us, future food begging us to help them, LOTS of pitch black corridors which required you to feel around and more epilepsy inducing flashing lights than I care for. There were a lot of really cool set pieces but not enough time or context to enjoy them.
Which brings up the age old question about redneck hillbilly cannibals is why are they so unhygienic with leaving body parts everywhere? Do they want ants? Because that is how you get ants.
About halfway through I was ready for it to be over. It wasn’t because it was bad so much as it lacked any story. Maybe I have been spoiled by the Atlanta Zombie Apocalypse experience, but in AZA, you have a guide who leads you through and hypes what is happening. The guide stays in character and keeps a sense of urgency going. An AZA adventure has a beginning, a middle and an end where you are usually barely escaping with your lives.
The Dead Man’s Farm is just a creepy place with cannibals. We encountered a really cool monster early on but never were we told what it was or how it connects to the house. There was a really cool scene with a witch who tried to help us but on the other hand, I am not sure what exactly she was helping us with.
The teens we were with enjoyed the experience. They were cynical little bastards who tried to make the actors break character but they enjoyed being scared and they enjoyed the atmosphere.
I wonder my wife and I’s need for story is an age thing. I wanted a story to tie it all together. I wanted a climax rather than an exit sign. I really wanted to know what we were doing there other than trespassing.
I think for the teens, they were in a story where they paid money to people to scare them. For us, I think we wanted to be part of a horror story.