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Monday, October 13, 2014

Haunted Hayride 2014: Infused with Shark Blood

Ten Thirty One Productions got a big chunk of green infused into them after going on Shark Tank. They are the company behind the Haunted Hayride and this year many returning fans were waiting to see what new surprises ... oh my, what the Hell is that thing from the sky!

Haunted Hayride 6 Echoes from the Rift
Griffith Park’s Old Zoo
October 3rd –31st
General Admission is $30, All Attraction Pass is $42
 and VIP pass is $58 (allowing guests to surpass any line)

Haunted Hayride returns to Griffith Park at night, already spooky, and not just because of the bicyclists who ride around there in the dark. You're int the woods, cut-off from the city. A wonderful full moon glowed and evil glow on the night we attended.  Soon we were surrounded by snake men and little sideshow booths intended in the past to take money away from rubes. The main attraction was the hayride and it brought another year of thrilling sights and scares to see.

The Haunted Hayride's theme of echoes from the rift of Hell wasn't a clear cut demonic slice of life in the fiery pit. A few sections mentioned the terrible ever after and others just went for striking odd horror scenes.

Spoilers ahead.

This year's hayride went will all new themes and stops. This isn't your pre-Shark Tank money ride, it had some bigger monsters on the track, though that was it. A friend and I made our way past the monster rock band and macabre show to the front of the line of the Haunted Hayride.

Missing from our joy of the ride was a little banter from the the driver of the tractor we were put in back of, pulling us on the hay-filled, low-to-the ground beds, not the ones you sleep in. We were still welcomed and locked in a cage waiting for or tractor to come in before getting on it. A hostess or host will gladly take the time to make fun of you and act as creepy as possible before you go in.

Off in our hay-filled bed we slowly made our way past a giant eyeball with a monster in it. A a giant red-eyed Death was looking down on us. This massive torso and head of Death opened up to reveal strange zebra looking monster demons who made strange clicking noises at us.

As we left them we saw the body of The Leviathan. We saw shadows of women fighting snakes along side the Leviathan. It was erotic and wouldn't be the last time the frightening and sexy came together. Snake men slithered around us and they knew how to scare the ladies in our tractor beds. The Leviathan's head greeted us at the end.

Let's meet some clowns.

We entered a fun house where the only fun being had was by freaky clowns. This clown caper had our clown pals surrounding us and freaking us out in their own tent. Some of the clown girls might blow you a kiss and only might scare some Moms on what they're wearing.

Into a sacrifice service for little ones, we saw babies deposited before an angel. Their grieving mothers came after us in baby face masks making noises and yelling at us. They just stopped and stared at us as we went past them.

The moon looked magnificent in the night sky as we past some scarecrows. Then the wind picked up and they started leaning towards us... wait those are... things. Creepy crow people balanced back and forth swooping down upon us. They posed, the twirled, the had no regard over falling. Why would they, why would they when the could open their wings up? This by far was hands down the best part of the attraction. Their masterful acrobatic feats were the highlight and talk of the night. As I looked back at them they slowly melted away into the scenery. From a distance you would just say they were trees.

Spin a wheel and see what lucky monster will eviscerate you. You get a choice on what demon from Hell comes to get you in the next section. Any choice is a failure, you'll lose no matter what the odds. Each one of the monsters is a freaky utter abomination that harassed the fine folks in my hay-bed.

Trick-or-Treat took on a new meaning with little "kids" carving up something other than pumpkins and sharing candy with us. A big Jack-o-Lantern wishes to greet you, but you don't know where from.

Further into the woods the shrubbery becomes fierce, a three-headed forest dragon is hungry. We came up with other names like: Tree Hydra, and tree triad. In all cases it wants to turn you into mulch. This giant beast is a larger than average actor needing at least three people to movie it's massive jaws.

Strange War Section or: How Haunted Hayride Forget to Finish a Section and Gave Out Love Letters. Easily, the weakest section of the ride was the war section. It looked to be Communist versus the US of A. Though no one fought at all. The war scene had nothing going on. Ladies in our group were handed love letter from soldiers on both sides. The letters were creepy and along the lines of death threats. Thinking too outside the box blew someone's fuse while making this war blow.

Hey Haunted Hayride,

Why not have the soldiers fight each other with us trapped in the middle? That would have been scary, it would have been something.

Passing the least favorite part of the ride we entered the rift...or did we enter it from the start? We entered what looked like Hell and the devil done greet us. He pops right out of the ground as do a demon horde. Smog fills the room and these little devils, though they look like broken asphalt from Hell's highway, spook up the ride. Thus ends the Haunted Hayride.

Before going on we must tip our hats or give special recognition to the scarers, the actors at the hayride. Though we didn't have a long time to get to know each other and in the brief instances of their horrible noises, acrobatic skill and yoga perfect twisted angles, we have to give them the top honors of scarers of all haunts in LA. You are ally scary.

There's some other activities beyond the hayride. There's some entertaining side shows, a rock band in monster gear plays close to the line. The Theater Macabre asks for audience participation and re-enacts scenes from horror films. The Death Row photo booth has multiple background scenes of terror to take photos at and post immediately online. Psychics and pumpkin carving for a nominal fee. Watch out for the drone heads high in the sky. The best use of drones so far, having heads hanging from them scaring people.

Sideshows are just that, sideshows. The Four Horsemen and Seven Deadly Sins sideshows needs some work, the themes should come better across. I shouldn't think, oh this is Vanity Two, or wonder what sin id in front of me. You go from small area from area seeing another representation of one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Some were easy to figure others were more head scratches. For a few laughs the Sins sideshow is a quick jaunt. Not that scary, not that fun, not that memorable.

The Four Horsemen was cobbled together as more of a haunted house with the theme of not making sense. We started in a hospital and end up in a crematorium. Death was the nicest person I've ever met in a haunted house, he gave high-fives to us on are way out. I'm not sure what the point of it was.

The In-Between-Maze was more or less nothing new. It feels a little skimpy compared in year's past. Less monsters in the maze, less monsters outside. What it has going past most mazes is really being in the dark. You have to follow your lantern holding leader to try and make it out.

The Haunted Hayride hasn't changed that much from year's past. The new bigger budget isn't seen in the ride other than a big monster or tow, but they've had those before. We saw some added sideshows that weren't needed and their cost could have added more to the main attraction. When the Hayride has a good scare going it pulls out all the stops with its effects and scarers.

Hayride, have a testing phase for the ride and see what works before unleashing it on the public and it will beat and artsy ideas that you think are going to scare people. Other than that you're one of the top tier scares in the city.