Dark Harvest returned to its original location in Anaheim Hills back when it was known as The Fleshyard. This season, they have done away with their “harvest” theme and haunted corn maze and instead opted for an insane asylum walk-through in the forest. Insane or haunted asylum themed mazes have been done seemingly for decades; it almost seems cliché. However, Shady Pines Asylum is not just any insane asylum, this one is surely unique as it is also powered by the technical staff at Pirate’s Cave Productions. So let’s see what craziness awaited us. It’s a new philosophy and therapy that they employ here so what could go wrong?
Dark Harvest 2022 Review: Maze
We entered through a great looking building exterior with boarded up windows, giving you dire warnings very early on. Inside the lobby, the receptionist checked us in and then the alarms went off and it sounded like all hell broke loose. An orderly or nurse attacked the poor receptionist and exclaimed that they’ll be opening up all the doors today. This orderly/nurse definitely looked like he was part of the experimentation here. He then ran out from behind the counter and directed us to move on to the next room.
The next room was the morgue, with bodies covered with white sheets; the real question is whether or not they are dead. We survived and found a padded room with a fast-talking patient in a straitjacket; he was phenomenal with an in-your-face demeanor to psych you out. After surviving this patient, we ended up in a room known as the “spare parts” department with a comical actor who makes body part puns. We braved the halls of this asylum while trying to get away from individuals who’ve clearly been experimented on. We came across what looked like a handful of cryo-chambers but with skeletons inside; indicating something sinister was at hand. Each room we passed by was reminiscent of a run-down asylum. The creepiest room would be the one with 2 female patients banging on and dancing on top of flammable liquid bins. With some pressurized steam from the bins and an intrusion; we were saved from these crazy looking gals and were ushered into an elevator to get away.
So the elevator did not help us. We were supposed to be taken up to safety but instead it did the opposite. Eventually it simulated a crash and now we’re in the basement at this point. The basement, a tunnel from hell, was full of fire and brimstone and contained figures mysteriously lurking all around you. Once we survived it, we ended up outside and got sent into the forest. The forest had what seemed to be hundreds of trees and random vines hanging in your face. As if the dark forest wasn’t spooky enough; we had to worry about the escaped crazies roaming around the dark forest. After escaping the forest, we finally bumped into a real human again who’s dialogue helps wrap up the story as she was burying something in the dirt.
Dark Harvest 2022 Review: Conclusion
With more than enough special effects to rival even theme park haunts; Dark Harvest’s Shady Pines Asylum is a winner in our book. Dark Harvest f.k.a. The Fleshyard has always been known for its more traditional/old-school style of haunting that operates at a higher quality output than others in the similar space. Now, with a partnership with Pirate’s Cave Productions, it really showed what a boutique pro-haunt’s potential can be with the right combination. This was a blend of old school with the new school. Yes, it is not what we may expect from Dark Harvest; but this is “Halloween III: Season of the Witch”. Even that anthology earned a strong cult following afterwards and did $14.4M in ‘82. Also, the rooms are bigger than before, bigger than most places we’ve been to and there are no conga lines here. Just because a haunt has been around and has been successful, does not mean that it can’t improve itself or evolve from time-to-time. The big boy theme park haunts should really take note.
Hollywood Gothique's rating of Dark Harvest's Shady Pines Asylum 2022
1 – Avoid
2 – Not All Bad
3 – Recommended
4 – Highly Recommended
5 – Must See
Dark Harvest Haunt + Pirate’s Cave Productions = a winning hybrid blend of old school and the new school.
Dark Harvest Haunt’s Shady Pines Asylum continues until October 31st. Express Queue ticket upgrades are available. Parking is free. For more information, visit: https://www.darkharvesthaunt.com/
*Note: The author of this post is a close acquaintance of the creator(s) of this haunt. However, this review is still written from a haunt-goers perspective and from a purely objective point of view.