MELINDA LAVINE: I test my fear threshold with Acres of TerrorWe were greeted at the Acres of Terror entrance by a wolfman named Ziggy. I asked him how long the tour is, and his answer: “It depends on how fast you can run.”
By: Melinda Lavine, Grand Forks Herald
LEONARD, N.D. — We were greeted at the Acres of Terror entrance by a wolfman named Ziggy. I asked him how long the tour is, and his answer: “It depends on how fast you can run.”
Our group consisted of a mother, father, teenage boys and one young girl. We signed consent forms before riding a bus through a trail of deep dips and tight trees. Walking onto the porch of a darkened trailer, a masked man lunged at us with a running chainsaw.
I’d heard about that. I was ready, but that didn’t prepare me for the startling sound, the panic and the flashbacks to “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”
And so began our trek through terror.
The trailer was full of tight spaces, open rooms and a few masked beasts hopping out of corners. There are figures — some human, some mannequin — seated and standing along the trail. You learn quickly to be suspicious of everything, even if it looks like a Cabbage Patch Doll. When we exited, I thought “Not too bad,” patting myself on the back for making it through. But that was just the start, I quickly found out.
Knowing there was a second stop wouldn’t have mattered because nothing could’ve prepared me for the schoolhouse.
It’s a blur of black sheets, 10-foot-high room dividers and masked men with Tasers. The small spaces of the schoolhouse were extra unsettling because I couldn’t see ahead of me and I needed a force field of people for protection. The teenager in front of me swatted my hand because I was gripping his sweatshirt too hard. I broke into my comfort song, “My Favorite Things,” and was asked to stop because it made everything creepier. Arriving at an open space, a masked man charged at us with a Taser.
Later, the boys ahead repeated “look up,” and I finally gave in.
A masked figure crawled along the room dividers, his head tilted sideways, peering down. Blissful ignorance annihilated, I looked up at the menacing train wreck above. Even when I didn’t see him, I felt his presence.
Sweaty, smeared make-up, my dignity lying somewhere near the first chainsaw attack, Ziggy told us to prepare for round three. We waited about 20 minutes for the crooked bus driver to retrieve us — just enough time for my nerves to settle. I felt a wave of exhaustion as my adrenaline waned, and I walked onto the bus, sullen.
Despite hearing chainsaws in the distance, I welcomed the corn field. The moon was high and bright, the night air offered a break from hot claustrophobia, but walking in was more disorienting than the first two haunts.
I felt like I’d fall over from the muddy ground, tripping over a branch or being smacked in the face with one. Before I knew it, we were attacked by a dude with a chainsaw. My group scattered like cockroaches, and I rationalized, “the faster I run, the quicker it’ll be over.” I sprinted forward until another chainsaw attacker ran toward us from ahead.
Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, I leaned into the corn field, muttering “OK, OK, OK,” hoping this leatherface apprentice would let up.
Instead, he continued to sweep his weapon left to right, and he only sound louder than the deafening saw was my screams.
I told myself “This isn’t real” repeatedly that night. It’d barely worked before, and it was shot to hell now.
We were chased intermittently throughout the rest corn field, and the only thing worse than being chased is not being chased.
You’re constantly aware that someone could lurch out at any moment, and the silence and anticipation are profound.
Exiting the corn field, we were led through a forest. A numbness set in as I focused on one foot in front of the other. As I walked to the car, others pulled up to the entrance. Some said they’d gone before, and others were excited for their first time.
On the drive home, I knew the Acres of Terror crew is a talented bunch. They embrace a variety of fears, they deliver and their planned breaks in between runs were brilliant because they make the next haunt more effective.
Two nights after my trip to Leonard, my neighbor sparked up what I told myself was an electric razor and not a chainsaw. From that, one thing is certain: Acres of Terror is like no other horror house I’ve visited, and I can safely say, it will be my last.
Lavine is Accent Editor. Call her at (701) 780-1265, (800) 477-6572 ext. 1265 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.