The Bates Haunting (A PopEntertainment.com Movie Review)
The Bates Haunting
The Bates Haunting
The Bates Haunting is both a cheesy low-budget horror film and an infomercial, all wrapped up in a big, blood-red bow.
The product it is hawking is The Haunted Hayride and Bates Motel, a well-known Halloween attraction in Glen Mills, PA (which is in the suburbs of Philadelphia). Every year, a local farm creates a scare fest which runs from late September to early November, a ride full of screaming ghouls, whirring blades, giant dragons, bloodied corpses and eerie tableaus.
Or as their website puts it: “For over 20 years, the Haunted Hayride at Arasapha Farm has been scaring its visitors with amazing props, digital FX, great actors and extraordinary professional makeup…. The Haunted Hayride is a 25 minute, action packed, heart pounding ride through the dark forest of Arasapha Farm, located just outside of Philadelphia, PA, and is filled with huge, detailed sets, giant monsters and more pyrotechnics than a KISS concert.”
Over the years, The Haunted Hayride and Bates Motel has gotten an international reputation as one of the most well respected Halloween events in the US. (For the record, the attraction has nothing to do with the film Psycho or the new TV series Bates Motel, other than taking the motel name from the story.)
The Bates Haunting takes on a really simple and yet brilliant horror idea. What if this haunted attraction was actually the site of a series of violent killings? If you are watching an actor supposed to be killed in some classic terror tableau, would you even notice if it was the real thing? Would a series of employee fatalities hurt or help the reputation of a place which is celebrating death and destruction?
It’s an interesting concept, one which may be a little more complicated than this joyful exploitation flick is willing or able to explore.
The Bates Haunting is not very good as a horror film. The acting is pretty hit or miss, the storyline makes no sense, the dialogue is awkward, the special effects are laughable and you know who the bad guy is the very first time you meet him. Yet you can’t help but have a certain affection for the movie. The very game “Let’s put on a show” vibe of the film is kind of like a video version of the ride itself.
When you are going to a haunted house, you’re not looking for good acting and cutting edge SFX. You’re looking for people in bloody sheets to jump out at you in the dark, cheap thrills and cheesy scares.
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