By Joseph "Skull Vault" Walter
Many of them have stuck with me through the years, and there's no doubt their macabre content had a profound effect on me (whether it's positive or negative is up for debate). After the walkthrough, we'd then peruse the large selection of grotesque Halloween props, many of which were incredibly unique. Of course, we never did buy the jar of eyeballs that I wanted, but I've long since let that slide.
Alas, after the 9/11 attacks, the owners of Brock Farms felt that the gruesome scenes depicted in their Halloween walkthrough were no longer appropriate. I remember heading their with my parents that October, only to be confronted with a single, dopey scene of drunk skeleton pirates, and that sign telling us the fun would be no more, which elicited grave disappointment.
Luckily, a few years later, Brock Farms had a brand new "Halloween Barn," and with that, a brand new, albeit short, walkthrough.
Although the products of the "Halloween Barn" no longer matched the quality of the jar of eyeballs, the newly resurrected walkthrough was filled to the brim with many of the old props.
I've been regularly returning to this walkthrough for around 10 years at this point, and I'm more than happy to report it's hardly changed during that time (if at all) and remains one of the most bizarre and shockingly unsettling walk-throughs that I know of.
It's located right to the side of the "Halloween Barn," and is essentially a quarter of the barn simply sealed off, while the other 3/4 contains all the products.
Also of note is the extremely, extremely lifelike clown just standing up next to a wall.
Speaking of actual "scariness," by the time you make out of the lab, the music of "Scooby-Doo" has long since faded away, and your paranoia will be in full effect. I have never, and I mean never looked behind me so many times in the span of two minutes than I have in this eerie walkthrough. It's a tight squeeze to start with, and then you add the oppressive amount of figures and props, along with the sounds of the old motion-effects continually kicking and you've got a genuinely unsettling atmosphere. I continually thought someone was behind me, as did the friend I went with, but of course there's no one. It's only you and a strange collection of mismatched props and figures in a tangentially related collection of themes.
This works to great effect. There are no real traditional scare effects. Very few things "pop up," per se. Instead, the atmosphere does the work. Paranoia sets in. Your mind starts playing tricks.
I'm not sure if this was intentional mastery, and I sort of hope it wasn't. I love the idea of this being a spooky twist of fate that manifested itself. Perfect for the Halloween season.
It's a jarring, but in a good way.
What more can be said about this walk-through, other than that it's an awesome, traditionally spooky and extremely unsettling experience. Although it's technically short, you're sent in alone and (seriously) locked in. Because of this, you're left to your own devices and are able to appreciate the surreal and haunting events at your leisure. This can't be beat for a measly $5.
It's likely that my favorite part of the haunt is what could easily be its most criticized component: The amount and variety of props. What sells it to me, though, is that these are props from a bygone era, when elaborate costuming and set-ups were the norm. They simply don't make consumer products like this anymore. They don't have that "impressive at a distance, but cheap as hell up close" look that so many run-of-the-mill and overly expensive "Spirit Halloween" set pieces do. Even anything, these are even more effective at close range, and genuine works of art.
Also of note, the speaker that plays the spooky Halloween music and sound-effects is all the way at the very last corner of the haunted house. While that may be a criticism for some, the overall silence, populated only by the props, makes an excellent atmosphere that legitimately would have been sullied by Toccata and Fugue (although Toccata and Fugue is a perfect piece of music, and I mean no offense, Bach.)
Overall, this is an awesome experience. Although others may prefer a more active-fright experience, those of us that are hardened to jump-outs and typical scare-tactics will appreciate the psychological dread that "Cemetery" at Brock Farms creates.
+A blast from the past
+Loaded with gruesome props and life-like figures
+An unmatched level of dreadful atmosphere and paranoia.
- Short if you rush through it.
- Too many random props and a garish set-up for some.