Triple Threat a Real Treat at Slaughter House

If you own a parcel of land in Michigan’s countryside, you already have one of the key elements of a successful haunted attraction — mix in an old barn, cornstalks, and a patch of woods and you have all the right ingredients for a haunting good time. Such is the case is Fowlerville where Slaugher House, Haunted Maze, and Blood Bath & Beyond Hayride comprise “Michigan’s Best Trifecta of Terror!”

The Wolverine State is dotted with a veritable smattering of haunted attractions and this is one location that deserves attention. There are scares to be had here for certain but also plenty of laughter as well as a measure of magic. The pricing is flexible too, allowing guests to participate in one, two, or three attractions — the $30 super combo which allows haunters to experience the haunted hat trick is one of the better bargains we’ve come across.

SLIGHT OF HAND, TWIST OF FATE

Little has changed since last year inside the formidable barn known as Slaughter House, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing when you consider the fact that the show we were treated to in 2012 was a mile a minute thrill ride. Many of the characters we encountered last year were on hand as well but were portrayed, in many instances, by different actors. The results in this case were varied; some performed admirably, even out doing their predecessors while others left us yearning for the latter. I personally missed the little old lady in the final room the most, she was a breath of fresh air last year.

Billy Wonka and his special son, Billy Jr., were on hand once more and the duo didn’t disappoint with their hilariously tasteless antics. Also of note was the diminutive trickster who played on our sympathies before being cast to the depths of Hell! This technique in particular is something I greatly enjoyed about Slaughter House that I’ve never seen at any other attraction; truly a brilliant storytelling device.

There was also a bit of old school fundamentals at work inside one room where a series of dummies formed a semi-circle. Intermittent blasts of light from a strobe revealed that all was still. Another flash of light illuminated the room and we were offered a similar sight save for one dummy which remained stock still but had changed position, now with an extended index finger that presumably pointed us in the correct direction. It may not sound like much but in my mind it was an example of classic haunting that utilized anticipation and misdirection.

Unfortunately, there was a malfunction with the mechanism incorporated in the guillotine illusion, and despite a valiant effort there wasn’t much the actor could do to save the scene. Familiarity did sap some of the magic out of the overall effect of the show for us but that obviously won’t be an issue for anybody who has yet to experience Slaughter House. I very much enjoyed the use of comedy employed here — the recurring theme of ordinary people persecuted for minor offenses and then subsequently executed through archaic means created a fun and absurd form of entertainment.

Rating: 3.25 stars

MONSTROUS MAIZE MOST IMPRESSIVE

One of the most striking elements of the haunted corn maze is the maize itself — it’s enormous! We’ve witnessed some monstrous stalks before but the corn here jutted out of the ground and leaped toward the moonlit sky at a height that exceeded thirteen feet; the vast size easily left us at a loss for a sense of direction.

The attraction was of generous length and the path even wound guests through various shacks, silos, and a storage bin that served as a dark maze. The finale featured an interactive carnival of sorts where a clownish host tried his hand at the Hammer Bell before he encouraged me to shoot some electronic sensors. It was all in good fun, and when a zombie burst out of a cellar beneath the firing range, he shot it in the head.

Rating: 3.5 stars

BLOOD BATH & BEYOND TO THE MOON

The Blood Bath & Beyond Hayride is yet another enjoyable attraction here, clocking in at just over thirty minutes it certainly offered haunters a great return on their dollar. Many of the scenes remained the same as last year but there was quite a shake up as well including a comical electrocution and an impressive bit with a scarecrow who was suddenly elevated off of his post and lifted above the corn.

In the woods we encountered an artist of sorts who had the odd hobby of framing the heads of dead relatives — mom and dad had already been framed handsomely and late brother Billy was just about to become the latest member of his macabre collection. One instance of slight of hand later, Billy’s head sat before us and urged his able bodied brother to snatch a good looking lady from the wagon.

Further down the path we drove by the scene of a car accident where the drunkard responsible for the wreck, shambled directionless through the woods while he incredulously insisted that he wasn’t the guilty party. This particular actor was quite the comedic sight both in appearance and delivery; he had made for a very believable drunk.

Later, we drove directly into a blood feud that featured the infamous Hatfield and McCoy families; the sides engaged in a verbal spat which then escalated when octogenarians from each family were brutalized by the other side. Our tractor hastily departed among a hail of threats and gunfire.

Shortly thereafter we came to rest near a cage in the woods, a woman was held captive inside. Outside the structure a mad scientist raved about an elixir of youth that he had created and he was prepared to demonstrate it on the young lady. The scientist attempted to parry favor with those on the wagon by asking who among us wouldn’t pay a steep price for just such a potion, he even went so far as to single out a guest but she didn’t seem eager to play along.

The scientist, however, was the persistent type and pressed further but no answer came and when the silence lingered on the precipice of awkwardness — I threw my voice and bellowed, “Yeah, she could stand to lose a few.” To my great pleasure (and relief) the whole of the wagon roared with laughter and the determined scientist was able to continue with his demonstration which resulted in the woman being transformed into a screaming child.

The finale of the hayride also featured some humor; yet another loose canon scientist had been engaged in experimentation. This fellow had nabbed himself a live alien specimen but his experiment devolved quickly which resulted in the rather abrupt and senseless death of the extraterrestrial being. The scene became even more improbable when the mother ship ascended above his lab with an agenda of revenge!

Rating: 4.25 stars

“Don’t goose a ghost, you’ll end up with a hand full of sheet!”

-Sage wisdom from the woodland drunk.

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