Erebus Unleashed

It had been three years since we had visited the four level haunted edifice in Pontiac known simply as Erebus, and Michigan’s best known Halloween attraction didn’t disappoint.

We had purchased timed tickets and therefore were scarcely made to wait which is always nice, but standing in line at haunts does have its advantages. Some of my best memories of our adventures on the road have come while standing in line for a haunted attraction. Not only does the wait help build suspense but it’s also when the best stories of yesteryear are shared. There’s nothing quite like breathing in the crisp fall air while swapping haunt tales gone by.

A lot of things had changed since our last visit and those alterations were met with an overwhelmingly positive response. The haunt commenced with a military troupe, in one room a sadistic surgeon bemoaned a failed experiment. Over his shoulder a pod contained a mutant; one eye popping effect later and the creature had been vaporized. As we made our way through this area we passed large machinery and what seemed to be an enormous missile which blasted us with a torrent of air.

Erebus also featured many of its famous scenes — the buried alive chamber, a retooled bottomless pit, and the oppressive swamp where we were ambushed by a trio of sodden creeps. Also present were the mechanized monstrosities and marauding puppets that are a hallmark of Erebus — we encountered a rabid baboon and had our backsides pummeled by the evil cousin of Falkor from The NeverEnding Story; Jason even renewed his rivalry with the resident T-Rex.

New additions included a caged zombie, and try as she might to grab at us through prison bars John and I were able to pass by safely. The rest of our party wasn’t as fortunate, forced as they were by a hooded ghoul to enter the cage. The she-zombie leaped, clawed, and gnashed until once again she was left alone inside the cell.

Near the conclusion of the haunt we traversed a narrow, wooden passageway encased in wire fencing; a Tesla coil erupted in front of our faces. Elsewhere, a vocal screamer urged us to enter the “Mouth of Chaos.” The head of a massive beast stood before us, its snarling jaws were eager to receive our flesh. Richard and I plunged through head first and quickly discovered that the tunnel wasn’t nearly as long as we had anticipated. I burst through the other side, lost my balance, and crashed into the opposite wall. I fell to the floor and struggled to get up as there was an ache in my knee; there was also some unseen creature that repeatedly beat me over the head.

It all added up to another action packed visit to Erebus but without a doubt the highlight for us was the newly designed sinister sideshow! It began when a gigantic clown lunged at us from a darkened corner and it only escalated from there. A carnival barker attempted to help us out of our plight but before we could heed his warning a stout, female clown dashed into the room wielding a sledge hammer. We didn’t have time to blink before she planted the weapon solidly between the barker’s shoulder blades — the force of the blow knocked his head clean off his shoulders and sent it crashing into his hands! He scurried about the room and lamented his new found condition; the neat effect made for one amusing scene.

In order to avoid a similar fate we tore into a series of mirrored hallways — yet another harlequin dwelt therein and toyed with our perceptions. We were also treated to a a bit of clown aerobics by one spunky gal. She performed comical motions in front of a mirror and shortly implored us to do the same. When I obliged I found that I cast no reflection, but before my confusion had chance to take root an identical clown jumped out of the mirror! As it turned out there was never a mirror at all, we had been bamboozled by a clever, yet simple illusion.

However, the twisted carnival wasn’t over yet, we would soon meet a mystical snake charmer and then we came across a jester with a dark wit and a bloated face. He swayed back and forth much too contentedly for my liking, his gravelly voice was the stuff of pure malevolence and it made my skin crawl. And to top it all off there was even a midget! Her eyes flashed with evil intent and when she growled we got the hell out of dodge.

Erebus offered a great blend of modern technology and old school fundamentals. The cast was plentiful and on the whole performed admirably. It may not have been a perfect show but there was very little to find fault with. Erebus has even contracted an outside company to provide guests with a one-of-a-kind souvenir. When we emerged from the haunt it was to find a series of monitors. We located ourselves on one and watched as a Matrix-like clip played across the screen. It’s an interesting concept for a haunted attraction and one still in need of some tweaks, but also loaded with potential.

Rating: 4.5 stars

“You guys saw that midget, right?”

“Yeah, that wasn’t a figment of your imagination.”

-John reassuring me that my eyes, did indeed, not deceive me.

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