You call it “corn”

I’ve been following’s “The 100 Scariest Movie Scenes of All Time!” countdown all month. Every couple of days, the list swells to include a few more undead, maimed or just plain psychotic selections. The countdown reaches far beyond the horror genre, including scenes like the pink-elephant parade from Dumbo and Large Marge’s soliloquy from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. Some choices, like Danny carving “Redrum” into the door in The Shining, are right on. Others, like the choice of the mildly eerie chairs-on-table scene from Poltergeist over the film’s truly frightening killer clown, prove there’s no accounting for scary taste.

At press time, none of the retroCRUSH selections involved cornfields. This is surprising, considering that the all-American cornfield has become one of the most popular places for horror-movie villains to lure drunken teenagers since the local summer camp closed for the season. Aside from the definitive corn epic Children of the Corn (parts 1-666), cornfield mayhem was recently visible in Signs, Joy Ride, Jeepers Creepers 2 and Freddy Vs. Jason.

Capitalizing on the terror value of one of America’s chief agricultural products, recreation company The Maize has created more than 140 cornfield mazes worldwide this fall, including one off of Main Street and Route 102 in Woodland. (Visit for info.) At night, The Maize is an organic haunted house with screaming ghosts and chainsaw-brandishing killers. By day, The Maize is a happy, sunlit labyrinth for children and their lost, frustrated parents.

Having seen Freddy Vs. Jason recently, I opted for a daytime visit. The entrance was marked with maze-related facts like “There are more mazes being built today than at any time in history!” and the more obscure “In Germany, unicursal turf mazes were used for ritual procession by apprentices as they reached adulthood.” Right.

Signs also offered conduct guidelines like “Do not throw corncobs” and the golden rule for people immersed in acres of dried corn stalks: “No smoking!” An aerial photograph of The Maize revealed a series of interlinked crop circles and an alien face bordered by the words, “We’re back for yoooooou!”

Inside The Maize, no trace of this artistry was visible. All roads led to corn—higher than the tallest man, rustling in the breeze and punctuated only by corncobs, furry caterpillars and the occasional spider.

My companion insisted we only turn right, mumbling about algorithms and a computer game called Zork. When this proved ineffective, we went only to the left. Then we started to wing it, grateful we’d brought water and comfortable shoes.

Once I realized corn resembles bamboo, the whole experience took on a Zen air. I surrendered to being lost and unable to see more than a foot on either side. I tried not to care that we’d passed the same skipping child three times or to wonder, as the sun started to set, how long we had until they released the chainsaws.