By Joseph Garcia —
This is one of a mini-series where I review haunts around Kentucky for Halloween 2019. Keep in mind, this review is 100 percent based on my experience, so yours may differ.
My boyfriend and I had left the Kentucky Center after seeing “Dear Evan Hansen” at around 11 p.m. on Oct. 5. We were heading south towards Otter Creek Park for the infamous haunted attraction, Field of Screams. Growing up in eastern Kentucky, I always heard of this haunt, but never had the chance to experience it for myself — until now.
Every October I heard how good it was, how scared it made people feel, so going down the dark highway listening to a Halloween party playlist was making my already high exceptions grow.
When I got there, I was impressed. It was spooky at first; tall men dressed in terrifying costumes, classic horror music playing on speakers and in the distant corn field the sounds of loud bangs and screams. Expectations were being met. My friends and I purchased the $35 all access passes to experience everything FoS had to offer; the hay ride, the main corn field and the optional “Scream Tag.” There is another pass for $25 that features only the hay ride and main event.
Simply put, the hay ride was lackluster. A tractor pulled a trailer with hay bales through a course of different sets which you’ll later fully experience in the actual maze. But unlike the maze, there wasn’t much horror here. Actors hopped onto the trailer via a set of stairs on the back and “messed” with the people sitting, but they didn’t really scare anyone as their costumes weren’t as intricate as their corn field counterparts. They just got in your face and awkwardly stared you down.
Granted, there was still a lot of entertainment to be had, as they would interact and talk back to you if you said anything (one actor actually walked away with $100 from a drunk guy for doing what he said), but there wasn’t much else. The night I went two scenes weren’t up because of low staff, but we still trudged through them and it felt awkward and silent as we rode by.
After the disappointing hay ride, we walked over to the entrance of the field and were getting eager again–and then we saw the line. At this point, we didn’t mind the long line because it was to be expected on a Saturday night, so that wasn’t a problem. There was a man dressed in drag as a bearded lady who ran up and down the line keeping people dancing and laughing and a DJ played music. On the way to the front, we passed old freak show posters that looked really exciting. We believed the theme to be focused around this. And this is where the problem lays.
After waiting for an hour in the line we got to enter the corn field. We were not met by horrifying carnival freaks and a demented devil-worshipping ringleader, but instead a very plain haunted attraction just spaced out in a corn field.
The main attraction focused on different classic horror movies and creatures. Most of the time it felt like you were moving from one scene to another and there was no cohesiveness. You were just meant to walk forward. The scenes themselves weren’t frightening, a little creepy maybe, but I expected more from the hype.
Some of the actors were fun to joke with and talk to which is one of the redeeming factors of this haunt. At one point we walked into a church and a lady dressed as a demonic nun yelled at us to wipe our feet before walking inside the building. I, being so observant in dim-lighting told her, “You can’t be mad at us for not wiping our feet if you don’t have a door mat out front or inside.”
She said under her breath as we left, “Well, very true.”
It was moments like that that made the experience worthwhile (and seeing my boyfriend tense up at every sound of the many chainsaws throughout). The scares were few and far and when I did get scared, it was because of a loud noise that was directly in my face or in a small room — just mild jump scares.
By the time we finished the entire attraction it was already 3 a.m., we were too tired to try the “Scream Tag.” But we had also heard it wasn’t very fun either and at this point our options were food and sleep or something that may be good, but probably not. So we decided not to waste our time.
I wouldn’t recommend Field of Screams this year for anyone who wants to go to a true haunt. FoS is more family-friendly and we actually saw a bunch of families there. It’s still worth the experience if you’re with friends and know what you’re getting into. I would just recommend if you do choose to go, pay the $25 and skip the hay ride.
Graphic by Shayla Kerr / The Louisville Cardinal