Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Popes Haunted Farm in Salem, Alabama

Popes Haunted Farm

     Located off a dirt road in the middle of what seems to be absolutely nowhere is a large and very busy haunted attraction.  Popes Farm has been in business for seventeen years, according to their website.  We drove to Salem, Alabama to check out this haunt on a Friday night after work.  Our navigation system was completely useless for located their address until about the twentieth time we tried to input the address by searching in a zip code instead of the city and street address.  It was highly annoying, so we weren't really excited about what was coming at that point. 
     Housed at Popes Farm are three haunted events to choose from, or commit to do the entire package of the three.  The price for the full experience is currently at $25 per person.  There is a haunted forest, haunted barn, and haunted hayride.  Of course we chose to do all three so that we could see what their strengths are.
     We decided to start with the haunted forest.  Be prepared, it really is an outdoor trail with ropes marking the path.  The ropes aren't always easy to see, and the roots on the ground are not painted with glowing paint for easy visibility.  That being said this was definitely an experience.  There were several points that produced jumps out of both of us, and the three preteen boys who went through with us were absolutely terrified at points.  The beginning of the path is located within what seems to be an old trailer, and the floors don't feel very solid (though this could be something intentional).  The sets are almost nonexistent or very low tech, but there are some great uses of what we will call "poor man's scares."  Overall this event rated about 3 and a half severed heads for us.
     Next we decided to check out the haunted hayride.  That had to be the longest trailer behind that tractor that either of us has ever seen.  The hay lines the sides and when you sit down you face the interior of the trailer, but remember to keep the aisle clear for the characters that are bound to join you throughout the journey.  The best part of this event was the length.  It took a rather long time to complete the ride and it included many scenes.  The downside was that most of the actors were people dressed in regular clothing who simply threw on a mask for the night.  They needed some improvements in that area, which took us out of the haunt in a way.  Several of the scenes were amazingly well themed, but others required us to turn in uncomfortable ways on the hay in order to see what we were supposed to see.  The haunted hayride ranked at 3 severed heads.
    Finally we went through the haunted barn.  We were completely excited when we entered to see a very interest hearse on display.  If you are in line to wait in the room with the hearse you might get the chance to see how they have pimped out the hearse and watch another group of guests walk through the haunt on the mounted television.  With all of the dust in the air, the camera that is hooked to the TV isn't always that easy to see.  The most memorable part of this event was the darkness.  There were several spots throughout were they did dark mazes very well.  Unfortunately, it often felt as if you walked a long way to get from one scene to another for a minimal scare payoff.  It was probably our least favorite event of the night and ranked at 3 severed heads, barely.
    With all of that said we have discussed our opinions of the haunt and seem to vary between an overall rating of 3 or 3 and a half severed heads.  It is a good haunt for the area, and they must be doing something right to stay as busy as they were in the middle of nowhere.  We wouldn't recommend driving an extended distance for this haunt, or otherwise going out of your way for it, but if you live nearby (within 50 miles in that area) you may want to give it a try.  It has a lot to offer for those who don't attend as many haunts each year as we do.