Hey gang, Valkor here. Summer has officially kicked into high gear and that means most of us will be travelling the globe and visiting exotic places, relaxing on the beach, and/or getting into all sorts of shenanigans. Others still will probably take the "stay at home" route and really there's nothing wrong with that, especially if you've got the AC on full blast to beat the heat. So you're gonna need something decent to pass the time and my usual go to when I'm relaxing at home is to curl up with a good film. Sadly, this next film "Hayride" isn't what I would call a "good" film. Spoilers ahead.
Hayride centers on college couple Steven (Jeremy Ivy) and Amanda (Sherri Eakin), both are visiting Steven's relatives in Alabama to partake in some of his uncle's, Captain Morgan (Richard Tyson), Halloween festivities. Steven brags that his Uncle's haunted hayrides are legendary and this year promises to be even more exciting; in addition to the hayride, Morgan has added a haunted house filled with all sorts of cheap, scary goodness. So what could possibly go wrong? Well, the day before the hayride takes place, an escaped serial killer steals an outfit and adopts one of Morgan's creations named "Pitchfork", turning a night of fun-filled scares, into a real life horror situation. But is Pitchfork just an urban legend… or is he really real?
Hayride is the low budget creation of Terron R. Parsons, which is a total throwback to such classic slasher films such as Halloween or Friday the 13th. The film takes a different approach as it uses its legend of Pitchfork as a "shock" moment in the film. But does it work? Let's find out in the TOV Breakdown.
I'm not crazy about Hayride, but it does have a few positives worth mentioning. For starters, I like the idea behind the film and how it meshes what is true life within the film to that of an urban legend. As you're watching it you think it's pretty cut and paste, but then the film tosses you for an almost M. Night loop at the end; I didn't expect it and I was totally floored by the plot twist. I'd also like to give a nod to Richard Tyson as Captain Morgan, who you can't help but love this guy. The dude is a bro and completely steals the show the moment he's on screen. And that's really all there is to say about that. Which then brings us to…
If you're looking for some scares, then you might wanna look elsewhere as Hayride doesn't offer up all that many. First up, there's way too much storytelling and dialogue that makes this 90 minute film feel like it's going on way longer than need be. And because of all the drawn out dialogue and such, there's no real tension or suspenseful build up. For me, I simply wanted the film to get to the ending already! The kills were decent, though not extremely gory. And there are a couple of cringe worthy scenes, though not enough to keep me entirely interested. The major misstep this film takes is with its ending; as cool as the twist ending was, it makes the mistake of not having a proper ending. What do I mean by this? So the legend of Pitchfork is real and the guy actually kills the serial killer from the start of the film, long before the hayride event takes place, essentially switching places with the guy. Smart! But then it goes on into unwarranted areas such as Amanda revealing she's pregnant. Did we really need that bit of closure? But the worst is when Pitchfork, who is seemingly dead at the end… isn't really dead. Or so sayeth the cop who checked his pulse. And that's when the film decides to end. Pitchfork doesn't get up, slash a bunch a cops, or anything to show that the legend truly lives on. We'll just have to assume he's still alive, either rotting away in jail or continuing his murderous rampage. Or maybe he died of his wounds eventually. We'll never know and frankly, I could care less.
Pitchfork axing a guy with a Jason hockey mask. Not really gruesome, but the way the mask just hangs off the axe…
Hayride is available now and if you're a fan of slasher horror films, you "might" be interested in this one. It's definitely not one of the worst horror flicks I've ever sat through, but had the film been better edited, with a tighter ending I might have had a better experience. But as it stands, out of TOV 5 stars, Hayride gets a 1.5.
TOV Update: Turns out Pitchfork lives as the guy behind the first film sent over a teaser for the second film - Hayride 2. Check it out.