Field of Screams Review (2014)

The Phantom of the Ville takes his very first expedition into the Field of Screams during its 13th spooky season!

Good Evening, Louisville haunt fans, it’s the Phantom of the Ville coming to you from the dark and terrifying middle of the six acre haunted corn maze at Field of Screams at 132 Darnall Ave in Brandenburg, KY, just one mile past the entrance to Otter Creek Park. I’m both very excited and admittedly a bit nervous because this is my very first experience in the Field of Screams and I have no idea what to expect.

One word immediately comes to mind: MASSIVE.

If you’re looking for a haunt that will both terrify and entertain you and your creepy friends for an entire evening this Halloween, look no further. I was graciously given the VIP Pass treatment by owner/operators Jan and Matt Powell and spent well over two hours exploring the corn maze, barn, haunted woods and signature Hayride to Hell. That doesn’t include any wait times. That’s just time spent in this action packed haunt. Field of Screams is without question the longest haunt in the region.

Before being sent off on the 40 minute Hayride to Hell, I got a chance to speak with both Jan and Matt Powell about their seasonal labor of horrifying love. The Powells own the land where Field of Screams is located, which explains how their haunt has grown into such an elaborate and extensive attraction. Even though they completely change the maze every year,  unlike most outdoor haunts, they don’t have to tear down and rebuild everything from scratch each year. They just have to grow the corn, which thanks to a mild and rainy August this year has given them an impressive and intimidating corn maze with stalks as high 15 feet.

“This will be our 13th season in business,” says Matt. “I’ve seen a lot of unusual things over the years, but perhaps the most unbelievable thing I’ve seen is parents with small children getting so scared that they take off running, abandoning their own kids!”

“I grew up in this area,” relates Jan. “My best memories of Halloween as a child were going to the haunted forest down the street at Otter Creek Park.” After touring Field of Screams and speaking with Jan, I could see the homages paid to the legendary scenes that folks remember most fondly (in their nightmares) of the classic Otter Creek haunted attraction.

One of the most beloved scenes in the old Nightmare Forest at Otter Creek involved an actor as Jason Voorhees unexpectedly rising up out of the lake to shock customers. Field of Screams recreates this scene as customers are crossing a bridge over a black pond when an actor in scuba gear and a Jason costume suddenly emerges from the depths!

Ki, ki, ki, Ma, ma, ma!

I was really pleased to see folks of all ages climbing aboard the Hayride to Hell tractor, including fairly young kids snuggled up against their parents in the unseasonably chilly early September air. The hayride trailer is surrounded by a protective fence that might give you the impression that you are reasonably safe from the creatures of the night along the trail, but if that’s what you thought, you would be dead wrong. Killer Clowns, crazy hillbillies and flesh eating zombies will climb right on board with you and some of them have the dexterity and jumping abilities of Spider-man!

There is an unexpected stop along the route that will find you getting off the tractor for a jaunt inside a creepy, dilapidated house. After getting back on board, watch out for giant spiders dropping from the trees and shotgun toting hillbillies who really hate trespassers.

I recommend taking the Hayride to Hell first as a warm-up for the main event in the Field of Screams because once you’ve taken the hour plus journey into the field, the hayride might seem a bit tame in comparison, but I strongly recommend the hayride to families looking to test their kids’ fortitude before sending them headlong into the cornfield!

The Field of Screams is broken into three distinct areas (or four if you count the open corn maze in the middle which isn’t haunted, but could take hours to explore); the haunted corn maze, the haunted barn and the haunted woods at the end. The 12 to 15 foot corn stalks create a sinister maze punctuated by various structures you’ll need to pass through along the trail.

My highest compliment goes to both the pace and nearly endless series of scenes in the maze. There is only just enough quiet, dead space in the cornfield to generate sufficient suspense before you encounter another massive set piece. One of my favorite scenes involved a huge castle with a pentagram window that was home to a ferocious lycanthrope. In fact, I encountered several werewolves along the way as well as lots of clowns, giant snakes & spiders and a couple of twenty foot tall creeps!

There is also an amazing tribute to John Carpenter’sHalloween” involving jack-o-lanterns, an ambulance and a very convincing boogeyman.

The haunted barn is a highlight of the Field of Screams and a very physical experience. You’ll be climbing up and down stairs and ramps and even, in one of my favorite parts, navigating a claustrophobic and pitch dark maze on your knees! You and your skin will crawl.

Lastly, you’ll travel through the haunted woods to complete your journey. Field of Screams is like a “best of” Halloween attractions experience. You’ve got indoor haunts, outdoor haunts, corn mazes and tractor rides all in one place. If length and scope are what you’re looking for, Field of Screams should be at the top of list of haunts to visit this season.

Field of Screams is open on Friday and Saturday nights through Halloween. Cost is $20 for Field of Screams and $15 for the Hayride to Hell or $30 for a combo ticket.

The Phantom of The Ville

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