The brainchild of Terry Royce, a former scare-actor at the now defunct Screamers Hollow at the Sterling Renaissance Festival, Demon Acres is a growing force to be reckoned with. Mr. Royce built the attraction entirely from the ground up, giving him the flexibility to create things exactly as he envisioned in his twisted mind (that's a compliment), and you can't argue with the results.
After parking at Demon Acres you make your way down a long dimly-lit road into the bowels of an enveloping dark forest. Sounds of screams in the distance hint to what awaits, as your blood pressure rises, approaching the end of the road. Upon scanning the surroundings it's easy to see why people love Demon Acres. So deep in the middle of the woods, a bustling community of thrill-seekers enjoy stalk-around monsters, a food-court, a bonfire, and even a stage for live entertainment!
One of our favorite attractions at Demon Acres is their Demon's Den haunted house. The Demons Den is reminiscent of a real shack, or cabin deep in the woods, possibly residence to a reclusive off-the-grid mad man… or the Unabomber! Rough cut lumber lines the exterior and walking to and from the haunted house, the design maximizes all of the elements of nature. You never know what lurks among those trails or foot bridges over water.
At the risk of being redundant with what we've said in the past, The Hayride at Demon Acres is absolutely one of the best we've ever experienced. Their close-up scenes and thoughtful design makes it possible to get actual scares on a hayride. This is a challenge that many hayrides simply don't rise to. For all of the theatrical planning and prop design, a haunted attraction without scares is always a dud. Demon Acres has no problem in this department. This year their hayride is even larger.
We caught up the the HDIC (Head Demon in Charge) to bring you the current low-down on what's poppin' at one of CNY's favorite attractions...
Earlier in the season we some some pics posted of bulldozers... Did you extend the hayride this year?
Yes we spent many weekends adding another loop to the hayride becoming the home of two new scenes to the hayride and a third coming in the near future.
Whoa, that's awesome! What's new for 2019 at demon Acres?
We are always making changes, we took the time to change a few scenes in each attraction. We also try new crowd entertainers each year and this year we have a magician walking the lines doing tricks for the customers.
One of the attractions we keep hearing feedback about, is jailbreak. There isn't anything like it in the area...How did you come up with that idea?
We had a left over school bus that we didn’t really know what to do with so instead of getting rid of it we built an attraction to go along with it.
What is your favorite scene or scare at Demon Acres?
I wouldn’t say I particularly have a favorite scene, each attraction has a few things that may be my favorite out of that attraction but I wouldn’t say I have a favorite overall.
Do you ever go to any of the national conventions like HauntWorld?
We used to go to conventions but we haven’t had the opportunity to get away to one of them. One thing we do take the time for is we love haunts outside of ours and a lot of out of state haunts stay open later than we do so we do an annual road trip to different haunts every year.
Beside live-monsters, what kind of technology does Demon Acres use for scares?
We have all sorts of animatronics throughout the hayride that pop up or out and we have objects that move. Every year we try and enhance more and more on technology.
When it comes to designing the sets and scares at demon acres, do you do that yourself or is there someone specific you work with who you want to give a shout out to?
When it comes to the scare ideas and the idea behind it I would say that would be mostly me with the occasional suggestion from others. Overall though we have a fair share of helping hands that pull together to bring it to life between the set painting, detail, and layout ideas by Morgan Seckner To the electrical that makes it all run, even down to the character props and costumes that will bring it to life.
Do you personally get in-costume and join the actors?
Yes I do get into costume throughout the night being a crowd entertainer I love interacting with the crowds and taking pictures with people.
Being positioned somewhat between Oswego and Syracuse, do you feel like you get a lot of visitors from Oswego?
I would say we get our fair share of oswego customers.
You’re one of the only (if not the only) Haunted Attractions in CNY with a stage. How often do you host live bands?
We don’t get to host live bands very often but we do try to hire crowd entertainers that will utilize the stage as well as playing music from it.
Thanks for sharing that behind the scenes info with our visitors!
You can visit Demon Acres at 341 Co Rte 36, Hannibal, NY 13074