Delirium Gets Lost Inside Mind of a Madman

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As a citizen of the City of Wyandotte and an avid haunter, it would seem sacrilege to fail to visit the Wyandotte Jaycees Haunted House each fall. Indeed, since 2007 not a season has passed in which I haven’t checked out the haunted happenings of my local Jaycees. No matter the result — be it good, bad or indifferent — a trip through the Wyandotte Jaycees Haunted House has become a tradition. Last October, Delirium came to the former City Hall on Biddle and it echoed the successes and shortcomings of previous Jaycees’ haunted houses.

It was clear mere minutes into our voyage that Delirium was badly short-staffed which caused the meandering dark, empty halls to seem that much more like a gargantuan waste of space. There was a scene or two with actors right off the hop but after that it was a painfully long time before anything of substance happened again; wandering through darkened passages will lose its effect if there’s no pay off and this seriously hampered the first third of the haunted attraction.

Also on the negative side of the ledger is the chronically bad soundtrack — a disparate collection of weird and repetitive screams, bestial cries and silence. It’s outdated and borderline corny. It doesn’t enhance the atmosphere or mood of the attraction, in fact, it detracts from it. The soundtrack is also deficient at covering the movement or idle chatter of the actors who sometimes need to communicate with each other. It is, in effect, a complete failure at everything a soundtrack is supposed to do for a haunted attraction. If it can’t be replaced by something more dynamic and modern, simply eliminating it would be an improvement.

Despite these setbacks, Delirium did showcase several enjoyable scenes and characters. In one room a young girl sat on a bed and tapped out an inexpert tune on a toy piano. She wasn’t pleased with our presence and expressed her displeasure when she forcefully threw a baby doll against a wall. The miniature monster did this with such quickness and violence that she gave our group a genuine shock — most impressive.

Next, we suddenly found ourselves in a large room completely decked out for Christmas. This was another authentic surprise and the overall effect was melancholy and haunting in spite of the cheerful yuletide tune that played on an unseen radio. A lone teen-aged girl roamed the room holding a small present. She was hyperactive in her love for the holiday and possessed a frenzied, strangled laugh.

Another favorite area was the freak show complete with sideshow banners and the absurd Lobster Boy. Much to our delight the freak show led us to a game of chance where I was afforded the chance to throw the head of a baby doll at some stacked bottles! With my life on the line I wound up, my aim was true and that baby’s head sent those bottles clattering in all directions. The clownish carneys who were in charge of the game were the finest actors in all of Delirium, their interaction and vocalizations in stark contrast to the amateurish deliveries found throughout much of the attraction.

There were also several other areas of note that had the seed of a good scare but the aforementioned lack of actors derailed what might have been. Included in that list were a brightly-lit laboratory that featured an empty desk, a threadbare playground and an appropriately detailed ritual scene.

Delirium concluded with an above average chainsaw gag in which we encountered the scientist who was responsible for the state of affairs. He was determined to right all of his wrongs and he was willing to get bloody to that end. Needless to say, he thought we were as good a place to start as any.

Once we exited Delirium we were introduced to the inimitable Murray the Clown who emerged as a bona fide mascot for the Wyandotte Jaycees Haunted House. The man behind the greasepaint is a true credit to the organization.

Rating: 2.25 stars

“I’ve heard of being eatin’ out but this is ridiculous.”

-My artful reaction to an enormous rat devouring a corpse

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