Halloween Review: The Flesh Yard 2016

Well, you certain cannot pretend that this Orange County haunt bills itself with anything but absolute honesty. Pumpkin Patch Haunt: The Flesh Yard is a gory nightmare situated on a pumpkin patch, filled with chainsaws, maniacs, and monsters. Really – what more could you want from a Halloween haunt?

We reviewed The Flesh Yard’s debut last Halloween. The overall approach remains the same: it’s a backwoods, chainsaw-massacre style of horror, with slaughterhouse crazies in pig masks wielding chainsaws, savage werewolves, creepy sets, crawlspaces, and even an interactive element. The main difference is that the haunt has been expanded, and the layout has been rearranged, so there’s more to see, and the old surprises are in new hiding places – you will not know where to expect them, even if you went through last year. This year’s “escape room” features a completely different gag (a hidden key rather than a hidden exit), but the essential challenge remains the same: trying to focus attention on the task at hand when the crazed inhabitants are inflicting mocking aural pandemonium on your eardrums.

We still wish there was something a little more distinctive to the theme. Yes, it’s a Flesh Yard, so the horror is gruesome as expected, but it’s just a tad generic. Maybe there needs to be a central character, a proprietor whose personality infuses the entire haunt. Or maybe that’s just the jaded haunt-seeker in us, always searching for some novel concept to bolster the visceral thrills (which are supplied here in abundance).

The Flesh Yard is a bit of a nostalgic throwback to the kind of Halloween attractions that are almost extinct in Los Angeles: an independently operated, mom-and-pop type of attraction that offers a personalized approach to haunting. It’s almost the Halloween equivalent of an arts-and-crafts festival, selling handcrafted pieces that may lack the gloss of mass-produced items but which offer a more personal touch.

Pumpkin Patch Haunt: The Flesh Yard continues on October 26-31. The address is 5702 E. La Palma Avenue in Anaheim, CA 92807. Their website is: pumpkinpatchhaunt.com.

The Flesh Yard is one of the recommended stops on our Halloween 2016 Orange County Itinerary. See more below.

Steve Biodrowski, Administrator

A graduate of USC film school, Steve Biodrowski has worked as a film critic, journalist, and editor at Movieline, Premiere, Le Cinephage, The Dark Side., Cinefantastique magazine, Fandom.com, and Cinescape Online. He is currently Managing Editor of Cinefantastique Online and owner-operator of Hollywood Gothique.