Bloodview Burns White Hot with Witch Trials

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Our return to Bloodview Haunted House last October felt, in some ways, like a homecoming. Just two years prior we had embarked on our maiden sojourn to the Butcher of Broadview Heights and had come away spellbound. This time around we found ourselves at the threshold of terror on a cold and wet Friday night. As we passed through the gates of Bloodview that unmistakable and unique aura of horror permeated the air.

BEST QUEUE LINE ENTERTAINMENT IN THE BUSINESS

Zealous preachers barked hellfire and brimstone from all corners of the land while angry townsfolk demanded confessions and repentance from the poor souls who found themselves in the middle of a war between the righteous and the wicked. As John and I entered the queue line a scrawny man with an unkempt beard was engaged in an act of self-flaggellation. He wandered the area and muttered to himself, his eyes a matching set of vacant pools as he lashed his scarred back.

Elsewhere in line, some menacing witch hunters questioned and harassed a group of squeamish teenagers. A burly male hunter with long, dark hair rubbed his blade over the hair of one female guest who visibly shook with fright and then expressed concern that she would both wet herself and vomit from the fear of it all. I was convinced by her body language that her statements weren’t merely for dramatic flair and I thus stepped back a few paces in order to avoid the splashback from any potential spew.

GRISSLY GORE HOUSE

The first leg of Bloodview sent us through the small but powerful Gore House where an overpowering scent invaded our nostrils and set the stage for the foulness to follow. Almost immediately we were confronted by an imposing figure who wielded a blade and wore what looked to be a crown of thorns. I wasn’t sure if he was aligned with the holy rollers or a practitioner of witchcraft; whatever the case his eyes gleamed with malevolent triumph.

He dubbed me “Bigguns” and proceded to make a series of ominously suggestive remarks. Big Boy, as I referred to him in my private thoughts, had a coarse laugh and seemed to get great enjoyment from his interaction with John and I. Soon thereafter, inside of a room filled with hanging corpses, we encountered a special friend of Big Boy’s — a drooling husk of flesh caught somewhere between zombie and mongoloid. This deranged creature followed us for a spell and as he stumbled forward a gossamer of saliva hung from his mouth and then splattered onto the floor.

The Gore House was a galleria of gross-outs and no trip is complete without passage through the one-of-a-kind vortex tunnel near the end of the structure, a vortex tunnel with the color and consistency of molten flesh. John and I crossed the sickly threshold and emerged from the Gore House and descended a ramp to an earthen path that led to the eerie landscape known as Baby Doll Island.

ISLE OF THE DAMNED

Baby Doll Island is a wooded area littered with out-buildings, a small maze and a recently added cemetery; like the queue line it too was populated by those embroiled in the ongoing witch trials. I was impressed by the number of characters that had been dedicated to Baby Doll Island and noted that the actor’s enthusiasm hadn’t been sapped by the cold or rain.

One peculiar creature drew several laughs from us for his use of raunchy humor and cheap Ray Rice quips. He appeared to be a stout, middle-aged man and his manner of dress was interesting indeed. His fingers either sported long, sharp nails or had been adorned with gothic armor, his mouth featured a frightening array of dagger-shaped teeth and the whole of his being seemed to be filled with a wild, untamable malice. I couldn’t decide if he was a vampire, demon or merely the town pervert but he elicited a response and looked good doing it.

Near the end of the trail we encountered another interesting character who seemed to be out of her mind with paranoid delusions. She was bushy-haired and bespectacled — we could do nothing to ease the pain she obviously felt she had suffered at the hands of some unseen tormentors. Despite our offers of help she believed with all of her will that the world, and all who dwell therein, had betrayed her. We departed the trail and left the sad sack to mope, it was time to face the third leg of the Bloodview experience which just so happened to be the most substantial of our visit.

BURN BLOODVIEW BURN

The key to success for Bloodview’s main attraction is a combination of classic haunted house design infused with the energy of a weird, outlandish and spirited cast. The floor plan wound us through claustrophobic passages and uneven hallways that tilted left and right and up and down. Near the entrance of the haunt we encountered a malicious prankster who worked a lever that caused the floor beneath our feet to lift and lurch forward.

John and I were impressed by the physicality of several actors who pushed past us in narrow halls while they snarled and offered thinly veiled threats. The first occurrence of such happened nearly as soon as we entered the haunt when a foxy creature of the night lured us forward with a game of hide-n-seek. One moment she rushed forward and then slunk back to the shadows only to reappear again to cut off our path. She made sure to display her mouth of razor-sharp teeth several times and ultimately forced us to brush by her which was indeed threatening but not without a touch of eroticism.

There were absurd scenes as well such as a filthy bathroom that featured a thoroughly clogged toilet, a mound of excrement was in danger of eclipsing the rim but this fact did nothing to deter one mute character from mounting the porcelain throne. Elsewhere, within the walls of Bloodview, we interacted with a group of characters who had been trapped in a series of large cages, the largest of which contained several captives.

A diminutive blonde girl crawled forward and offered several meek meows, doe-eyed and adorable I offered her a couple of sympathetic pats on the head, in turn she handed me a small, fluffy fur ball which I would later pawn off on a pair of crazies at a deli counter. Another notable prisoner was a toe-headed youth who wore a pair of shorts and a button-down eagle scout shirt that he had long outgrown. He sat and stared at me as if he was completely content with his exposed pudge and when questioned about his attire he responded that he was forced to dress as such. He reminded me strongly of Chunk from The Goonies and I fought the urge to request a performance of the Truffle Shuffle.

Bloodview aslo featured a blackout maze that functioned both as psychological terror and a great false ending. Next, we roamed a few rooms which might’ve seemed warm and welcoming if not for the homespun horrors that peered at us from every corner and crevice, one such example included a pair of old-fashioned dolls who sat a top a shelf and blankly stared.

As we neared the conclusion of the haunted attraction we walked into an argument in progress as a mother-daughter duo engaged in a heated verbal spat. The source of the family feud was unclear although given the larger situation one might assume that someone was being accused of witchcraft. Our presence did little to stem the angry shouts as the two argued unabated. I did defend the daughter as she seemed the more reasonable of the pair which earned me a brief hug before she launched into another round of shouting with her mother.

The finale of Bloodview presented us with a seasoned witch hunter who sported a large gash on one side of his face which extended from where his eyeball used to be down across his cheek. In a Scottish accent he and an acolyte of sorts urged us to move forward lest we rouse the fury of a warlock the pair held captive. Indeed, along the far wall was chained an imposing figure, head covered by an animal skull. The animated witch hunter warned that this warlock was particularly fierce and indeed was the cause for the severe wound he himself sported. Following some lively debate, angry admonishments from the acolyte and a near escape of the warlock; we exited Bloodview.

Bloodview is a unique stop on the haunted highway and one that holds a special place in my heart. The Legion of Terror is comprised of passionate scareactors whose attention to details such as costuming, make-up, improvisation and even accents did not go unnoticed or unappreciated. This is a great location with some throwback appeal, fleshed out with a versatile cast who love to entertain. Bloodview is home to some true sons and daughters of Halloween.

Rating: 4.25 stars

“I think you’d have an easier time with those girls in front of me.”

“How do you know what I like, Bigguns?”

-An exchange with Big Boy inside the Gore House while he held me at knife point.

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