Pumpkin Patch Haunt, Anaheim, CA
What happens when you take a home haunt on the road and go professional? Well, you might get a haunted attraction with the gritty, rough-on-the-edges texture of an impressive amateur production coupled with the scale of a money-making endeavor. And lots of gory, violent-looking scenery. Such is the case with The Fleshyard, a second year independent haunt put together by Adam LeBlanc, who used to be a part of the team that does the Perdition home haunt up in Yorba Linda.
If haunt enthusiasts don't recognize The Fleshyard from its critically well-received debut last year, they might from this year's Hall of Shadows at Midsummer Scream. It was one of nine attractions on exhibit, and it was definitely one of the bloodiest. Set behind a cabin in the woods, The Fleshyard tells a loose narrative about a band of merciless, depraved individuals who commit unspeakable evil. Unfortunately, incoming guests have now become the latest victims on the menu. There's a bit of a hillbilly hell feel to the theme, coupled with wild creatures and and scenes of vicious savagery. And the haunt itself brings everything together in very intense form.
Guests arriving at the location just north of the 91 freeway and Imperial Highway (east of the 55 freeway) will find a small pumpkin patch at the southeast corner of Imperial and La Palma--hence the name of Adam's outfit, Pumpkin Patch Haunt. The Fleshyard is the main attraction in a small carnival type setting that includes a bounce house, inflatable slide, and petting zoo. It's nothing too extravagant, but these are nice, modest upcharge options to distract those who may be waiting.
Guests who enter The Fleshyard will recognize the same creaky cabin facade that was present at Midsummer Scream. Unlike in July, the immediate space inside is used primarily for a photo op, with results posted online on The Fleshyard's Facebook page. The rest of the maze lies beyond and encompasses a pretty solid amount of space!
Unlike a lot of haunted attractions, which opt for a slow build (especially since it's a more efficient use of talent if there is a shortage present), The Fleshyard starts things off with a bang and continues that adrenaline-filled level through most of the maze. Guests essentially wander through this horror house, passing through a dingy bedroom with salacious wall decorations, a tight and unnerving closet space, into a kitchen full of cannibalistic looking catering, and on into the greenhouse and outside. From there, scenes of slaughtered farm animals as well as threatening animal-hooded creatures greet visitors through this tour of demented violence. And a high stress finale and chase-out is sure to conjure up associations with techniques that Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights uses.
The Fleshyard also contains some unique elements show some of that home haunt influence, crafting certain intimate and tight quarters that are more difficult to successfully implement in a commercial setting, where regulations around accessibility and public safety reduce the coziness of a haunt. There's also a scene that sort of echoes an escape room element, resulting in tense circumstances as trapped guests struggle to figure the way out.
These elements all come together to produce a haunt that accomplishes its primary goal: to just plain deliver scares to each visitor who passes through. The Fleshyard is not slick and polished, and on my visit last weekend, Adam and the team were still fine tuning certain aspects such as lighting and effects. But it's a solid, effective, relentless haunted house attraction that does its job well. It doesn't hurt that Adam's friends from Perdition have also helped out in both build and scaring. And the plentiful talent inside this attraction definitely keeps the energy and activity flowing, staying on top of visitors as they come through, inflicting as much terror as they can muster.
Ultimately, The Fleshyard is a fine and low-cost (only $10) addition to the haunt community that is well worth checking out, especially as part of an Orange County sequence. Cross Roads Escape Games is located very nearby, while Sinister Pointe is just a few miles west and also along the 91. Further south is Motel 6 Feet Under, and down the I-5 from there is The 17th Door. Plus, as we reach the end of the month, we also have home haunts and yard displays such as Boot Hill and Higgins Manor in Irvine and Mission Viejo to contribute to the tour.
The Fleshyard runs this weekend and next week starting Thursday through Halloween. Unofficially, there's also a haunter's night next Wednesday evening for those who scare at other Halloween attractions. Go check it out this weekend! It's sure to be a scream!
Architect. Photographer. Disney nerd. Haunt enthusiast. Travel bugged. Concert fiend. Asian.