Hayride is a raw, bare bone extremely low budget independent slasher film, made for instant gratification from the legion of slasher fans, full horror movie knowledge, place at the end of October although the entire month the most anticipated of all – just like a few horror freaks I know will agree. A movie appreciation for the throwback to glorious early 80s horror, dominated the horror landscape, herein a local urban legend named “Pitchfork” masks the real killer. One must not expect incredible cinematography and yet understand director and writer Terron R. Parsons doesn’t waltz the story, rather fast moving the production, in his feature debut, originally called Halloween Haunting and successfully secure distribution through Midnight Releasing, with the ability to make sequel released in 2015.
Setting the tone, a smart maneuver on behalf of Parsons, especially regarding the plot points, an escaped homicidal maniac from prison, a local legend about a pitchfork-wielding serial killer and a Halloween haunted hayride converge, horror fans can enjoy the treats this film. It all serves as a decent enough starting point to build a horror movie, with an equal amount of time spent working in the serial killer, and overlooking the duties of the police, tracking down and recapturing him. As this occurs, the authorities forget about the local one-day event focusing their attention to jurisdiction egos, and the largely vast wilderness, realizing the daunting task before them headed by Detective Loomis (Corlandos Scott). Meanwhile Steven (Jeremy Ivy, in his first horror movie) heads back to his hometown in Alabama for the Halloween holiday with his lovely girlfriend Amanda (Sherri Eakin, eluding a wholesome innocence) for the annual “Haunted Hayride” attraction that his uncle Morgan (Richard Tyson, who excels with style) puts on for the locals every year, landscape of theatrical killings and terror. It is during a classic campfire mesmerizing Morgan enjoys telling the tale and the audience learns about a man who lost his mind years ago when his daughter ran off with a local boy, causing him to kill his wife and many townsfolk in his quest to find her and bring her home. A jump-scare backfires, but the silliness of it generates laughs with the cheerful southerners and transcends for viewers. Unknown to the local fans of the attraction and operators the one vicious killer slowly approaching the hayride to unleash his version of bloody mayhem on the Halloween festivities. The activities of the night work fast and covering it poorly lit areas, though not for scares likely budget restrictions as it affects the killing spree including a man wearing Jason hockey mask. The chaos ensues when killing eliminates the attendees, and then what’s happening is extremely real, which works well, for anyone who took a hayride before or worked behind the scenes. This slasher film does not have a lot of gore, and with the killing occurring off screen, highly likely to the budget issues, stringing the kills together stress the entertainment and not necessary in a positive manner. Although the movie still satisfies, it contains some plot holes landing into confusing and boring, yet the film works to overcome the issues, and never stops the insanity to the credits roll.
An interesting premise and moments of enjoyment, but many technical issues make it hard to give the Parsons a pass and award stellar marks however; one doesn’t watch a slasher movie expecting The Godfather qualities. The typical fan of the genre knows the standards and accepts fully understanding the delivery, and herein enjoys the location of massacres set in haunted houses and hayrides, i.e. Scare Zone (2009), The Bates Haunting (2012) and Scream Park (2015). Although slashers have lower levels, a checklist still exists, quality gore, one special kill, and a little T&A, this movie skips some of the prerequisites, and carries dreadful audio problems hindering the enjoyment.
The slasher mayhem leaves everyone on an equal level morgue table as they all suffer slashes, cuts, stabbings, and a bloody smorgasbord. Now for those fans that slam the original Friday the 13th is mundane film and yes they exists even inside the horror genre ranks, won’t enjoy this film either. However if you want something made with love of the genre and passion, then Parsons delivers and provides a little suspense and attempts to create a new monster killer.