Trail of Doom
Haunted Corn Maze Perfect for a Fall Fright Night
Round these parts we love an outdoor haunt. Nothing against indoor haunts, but there’s something about the wide open space, the stars, the cool fall air all around you, bonfires… the sound of buzzing saws in the dark distance. You know, stuff like that. It just screams Halloween. Especially now that we’re attending a lot of haunts outside of Texas (we still love you guys!) and the outdoor attractions are surrounded by hills and trees instead of asphalt and cars, it just really sets an ideal mood for conjuring the spirits of the season. I tell you, we actually saw a shooting star while at the Trail of Doom.
Alright, alright. I can see you rolling your eyes from here. This warm and fuzzy stuff is not what you’re here for. You want to know about the scares. Well there’s certainly no short supply of chainsaws if that’s what you want to know! Gas shortage be damned, those suckers are juiced and hot. And you never know when the next creep or maniac is gonna come. The place is crawling with them. They come from the corn… they come from the corn!
The Trail of Doom is all new this year. It’s still out at Oakes Farm, but in a new location, separate from their family friendly corn maze. They’ve moved it up on top of a hill, which is cool because you arrive at the farm to buy your tickets and stuff, come out of the back end of the barn and up above you there’s this elevated scene of mayhem in the dark distance. Colored lights, the sounds of screams and, yep, chainsaws buzzing through the valley. The new trail location is right up against some woods, which you continue to get closer and closer to as you work your way through.
Unintentional maybe, but that adds a nice little ominous feel. Maybe as a combination of the woods blocking one side and the cycle of the moon that night but the sucker was dark! The corn was also much taller this year (compared to last year’s hell drought summer). The women working the entrance timed the groups well so just walking through the dark, silent trail at night is creepy as heck to anyone that came of age during the Children of the Corn years, and it’s big enough that they can space out the scares some to allow the tension to build and still pack the place with plenty of killers and monsters.
I can’t swear to it but it seemed longer to me this year too. I clocked it at somewhere in the 35-40 minute range. Some of our favorite features from last year return (best vortex tunnel around), plus they’ve made upgrades to both the haunt and the entire farm itself for an even better experience this time around.
Dave Black, the haunt master of the Trail of Doom has been doing some off-season shopping for you. They’ve added new props, a second claustrophobia section, and some really great sound effects. Talking to him afterwards we learned he has plans for even more new bits to be added throughout this season as well. Let’s hope he’s able to get them all done, as some sounded really great. Another really nifty feature is the spooky imagery projected onto the side of a box truck giving you something to stare at and help the time go faster while you wait in line.
Outside of the haunt itself, they’ve added two shiny new public bathrooms (so no more “port-o-potties”), and they’ve really expanded the selection in their gift shop with Halloween treats and a huge variety of Trail of Doom T-Shirts. The little snack bar returns, try some ORANGE hot chocolate while you’re there.
The Trail of Doom is one of east Tennessee’s best haunts going right now. We would definitely recommend it to anyone in the area looking for a good spooky time. Fun like this is what October is all about!http://goblinhaus.com/halloween/08/articles/TrailOfDoom.htmp>
This year was my first experience with a corn maze. Let me tell you that during my first weekend of going to haunts this year I encountered 4 mazes at 4 different haunts. Let me also tell you that I’m tired of effing mazes!! There might not be any bigger whip in a haunt than a pitch-black maze that takes forever to get out of. Especially when there aren’t even any actors in there. It’s not good filler. To all haunt owners: Don’t be a jerk and try and fool your customers into thinking the haunt took a long time to go through by sticking a boring, aggravating maze in there. I guess I can’t speak for everyone (cause some people are just stupid) but we’d rather have quality over quantity. Of course ideally we’d just like QUALITY QUANTITY.
So now that I have that rant off my chest, lets get on with the Trail of Doom. Since this was my first ever corn maze and since I was so OVER mazes in general, I had very low expectations for this place. When I got there and saw a very “family” type atmosphere, I was expecting even less.
The Corn Awaits
There weren’t any lines when we got over to the entrance to the corn maze. When we entered, we were greeted with near complete darkness. However, there were electric currents running from our fingertips to the walls that provided a little light. Those of us who were touching the walls were getting the crap shocked out of us! It hurt like a mutha but it got me all hopped up for what was yet to come.
From that point on, it kept getting better and better. I mean, when you think about it a corn maze is nothing but “boo holes” – meaning the actors had endless possibilities of places to hide and scare the bejesus out of us (and you). The actors really did a phenomenal job. They all had different acting styles and they really mixed it up. There might’ve been two times someone jumped out and said “RAHHH!” at us. Otherwise we were spoken to in creepy tones or growled at or silently followed or gazed at from afar. And the corn itself was creepy. I guess cause I think back to Children of the Corn and Field of Dreams (dead people ghosts walking out of the corn, dude) and cause I couldn’t look all around me at all times. We were constantly scouring the corn to find the next monster and they were always where you wouldn’t expect them. And they moved so stealthily and silently through the corn that I was completely shocked most of the time.
I go to lots of haunted houses. It’s basically a part time job during Halloween season. Man, don’t you wish you had an 8-5 like that? Yeah, me too. Anyhow, so I don’t really get scared by any of the actors anymore. They’ll occasionally get me and I’ll jump. But this time I was actually screaming. Sometimes I was screaming with delight and other times they really got me. That’s saying something, folks.
And this corn “maze” isn’t really like a maze. We wandered around and there were different paths to take, but ultimately they all spit you out at the same place. So unless I’m mistaken, you can’t really get lost in this - if you’re drunk or short a few marbles maybe, but otherwise I don’t think the intention is to get you lost.
There were some great features at the Trail of Doom. They, for instance, have THE BEST vortex tunnel I’ve ever been through. This has become a haunted house staple and they’re always fun, but this was the best. If you go through, take your time. Notice how the fabric drapes more and how you feel dizzier and more sea-sick than other tunnels. There’s also a fun bridge for your group to walk over. One of the not great features, in my claustrophobic opinion will be found at the end of the haunt. This torture chamber is a new toy haunt owners have installed just in the past year or two. We went through several the weekend before and it sucked every single time. But for those of you who aren’t afraid of being stuck in tiny spaces, you might like it.
Another thing I usually disdain in haunted houses – chainsaws. They’re overdone and outdated. They aren’t scary and honestly I feel bad for the dudes who still have that station in a house cause it’s gotta be pretty boring. HOWEVER – the trail of doom has two actors who just might get you. I’m not saying you’ll be scared of the actual chainsaw, but their timing was impeccable and I’m kind of ashamed to say…..one of them actually got a squeal out of me. Kudos to you, dude.
Overall, it was one of the most fun haunts I’ve ever been to. There were a million stars in the sky, the night was peaceful and pleasant and the actors were some of the best I’ve seen
You can grab a snack and drink at the concession stand, you can pick a pumpkin or gourd to carve your jack-o-lantern out of and you can continue your night on the hayride – which unfortunately we didn’t get to ride on. It got late on our heads.
If you live within an hour of the Trail of Doom or if you’ll be in the area for a UT game, I highly recommend going. It’s an inexpensive haunt and if you walk slowly and enjoy yourself you’ll have a heck of a good time. Fun. Yay!