I fucking love Halloween. That’s probably a given, right? Everything about Halloween and the fall is just amazing. Being from the Northeast probably affected me differently than people in other parts of the country, but since the Northeast is older, we are way better at Halloween. One of my first jobs was scooping ice cream at a dairy farm. You’d think that would make me get sick of ice cream, but NOPE, it only made me love ice cream more. This farm had a haunted hayride every single year and definitely dominated all of the hayrides in neighboring towns. The first time I tried going, I was kind of scared and had just eaten spaghetti so I went home like a stupid baby. It wasn’t until I actually worked there that I came back, because someone called in sick and instead of scooping ice cream, I had to ride the hayride all night. Yes, it was awesome. When I heard that The Bates Haunting was filmed at an actual haunted house/hayride in the Pennsylvania wilderness, I just had to check it out. So I did. So that’s why I reviewed it. And that’s why you’re reading.
This is a scene that happens between two people in the movie! Sorry, finding pictures for this movie was almost impossible.
The first thing we see in the film is a commercial for the haunted house and hayride where the movie is set, with the commercial featuring Jackass star Bam Margera. Wait, what? BAM MARGERA, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING HERE?! Okay, well, I’m sure that’s the only Jackass superstar in this movie. Moving on. After the commercial for this haunted attraction, we see the operation in full swing. At one of the stunts that involves fire, there’s a terrible accident and one of the actresses catches on fire and dies. Dammit, no! A year later, the best friend of the girl who died works at a pizza place where Jackass superstar Ryan Dunn is ordering a pizza. WAIT, WHAT’S ANOTHER JACKASS GUY DOING HERE?! WHAT THE HELL!? Dunn isn’t relevant to the plot, but we do see this girl burn a pizza because she doesn’t really give a shit about anything since her friend died. She tries to conquer her fears by getting a job at the haunted house, but unfortunately this haunted house is looking to cause a much higher body count. People start getting killed off at the attraction, which also causes more guests to start showing up because of the element of danger. Who’s responsible for the deaths? The owners of the attraction? The girl’s family who had their daughter set on fire? Someone else entirely who I can’t really remember right now? Yeah, probably that third one.
According to the internet, Ryan Dunn died while in the process of shooting this movie. He didn’t even die while doing a wacky Jackass style boner to the head or anything. R.I.P.
Was this movie good? No. No fucking way. In fact, I’d say it was bad. However, it could have been absolutely awful, so they should consider this one a win! While watching the movie, it felt very Scooby-Doo in the fact that it was a haunted attraction and the pretty goofy tone of the whole thing. When I looked at the press release afterwards, I saw that director Byron Turk described the film as “Scream meets Scooby-Doo“. Well, at least he was half right? If the film was similar to Scream, it would have been clever and self-referential and a worthy entry into the genre it was attempting to mock. Well, not so much. It did attempt to be self-reflexive in that it clearly didn’t take itself too seriously, but it also just wasn’t really that funny. Combining horror with comedy is always a tricky subject, specifically just finding that balance of the two genres, and at least this film equally failed at both genres it went out for. But hey, A for effort? No, not really. Just not an F for effort. Even though I don’t personally have much of a connection to haunted attractions from my youth, this movie did make me excited about Halloween season and the nice fall weather, so I think this movie might be a little more entertaining if you went to a lot of haunted hayrides as a kid. Entertaining enough to keep my interest, but I can’t really recommend it to anyone unless you’re in dire need of watching a movie set in a location you might have enjoyed as a kid.
Wolfman Moon Scale