- The Washington Times - Friday, October 17, 2014

Since 1993 brothers Gene and Jim Schopf have finely crafted a few acres of their family farm into a horror show not for the faint of heart.

Those not afraid to travel a bit farther north — about two hours from downtown D.C. — for their scares will find four attractions confined within a carnival-style midway sure to deliver a near-fatal dose of screams and chills.

First, climb aboard a seemingly innocuous “Haunted Hayride” for a 20-minute journey through a cornstalk maze containing a collection of individual warehoused presentations holding live-action atrocities. An encounter with a psychotic pig farmer, a lesson on the purpose of a guillotine and a visit to a reptile-infested greenhouse won’t soon be forgotten.

Next, the “Nocturnal Wasteland” offers victims a walking trail of toxic terror, featuring mutants, a living forest, a bus filled with death and an homage to Nikola Tesla, all culminating with a sweaty escape amid the sewers.

Finally, a pair of multistory houses delivers a more traditional dark ride approach to horror. Walk through the corridors and rooms of the “Frightmare Asylum” (a four-story mental hospital) and “Den of Darkness” (an original barn from the 1800s). Bear witness to a seance, live autopsy, surgical rooms lined with the undead and creatures that literally pop out of the walls.

Beware: It was quite startling that the ghoulies and demented creatures were able to taunt (with some occasional mature language) and poke at visitors (especially the chainsaw-wielding maniacs) in the attractions.

Most horrifically, look out for a guy who resembles Larry Fine of “The Three Stooges” in one of the houses. He uses a surprisingly simple yet effective method to startle his guests.

Also, victims will need a certain amount of athleticism to survive the attractions, including areas requiring bending way down, crawling, squeezing and climbing into those dimly lit stairwells.

Younger adventurers should not attend the evening activities but can stop by with parents earlier in the day for the “Corn Cob Acres: Field of Fun.”

Fear factor (out of 5): 4.0 for adults; children younger than 14 need not apply.

Hours: Open weekends through Nov. 9 — Friday, Saturday and Sunday 6 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.

Price range: $14 for individual attractions to $33 for a “Scream Pass” (look online for daily deal purveyors to find less wallet-vivisecting pricing).

Website: www.fieldofscreams.com

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