Archive for the News Category

Brotherly Brainmuncher

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on September 20, 2016 by bluefall8

While on vacation with my family last month we visited Castle Farms in Charlevoix which turned out to be a pretty neat place to poke around. One of the main attractions there is something called the Enchanted Forest which possessed a mild creep factor. There was a cool entrance that looked like something out of the Blair Witch Project; once inside various pathways set off in multiple directions.

Witchcraft? You decide.

Witchcraft? You decide.

Somewhere along the way I noticed my brother veer off onto a different trail than the rest of us and although I felt the pull to follow him, I was nursing an injured foot and also happened to be carrying my 18-month son at the time. Practicality dashed my zest for adventure and shenanigans.

A few minutes later our party emerged from the murk of the Enchanted Forest and arrived at picturesque Birch Lake. Nobody had spotted my brother since his impromptu sidewinder; he finally emerged from the trail a couple of minutes later shambling like a zombie. I took the opportunity to capture the fun on video which you can view below. Of course, I did a little editing to spice things up.

I hope to see you readers subscribe to the Horrorlust YouTube Channel!

Mass Exodus

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 12, 2016 by bluefall8

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While the cover art of the 2016 edition of the Fear Finder dazzled, the content inside the treasured seasonal publication left me yearning for more. Very few new haunts were featured, in fact, if you exclude the returning Scream Machine, there was just one new entry — Haunting in the Hills. Haunting in the Hills will include an outdoor trail of sorts, a haunted hayride and Train Car of Terror. This event will be held in Onsted, Michigan at the Stagecoach Stop Western Resort.

BLOODLETTING

So, who’s not in the Fear Finder this fall? Quite a number of places, actually. Below, I’ve highlighted some notable omissions.

Abandon, Bonadeo Farms, Exit 13, Hallowe’en in Greenfield Village, Haunted Elementary, St. Charles’ Village of the Living Dead and A Terror in Townsend Forest are not listed in the Fear Finder for 2016 but each of these attractions will be open and are advertised elsewhere.

WAITING GAME

Also missing in action are Erwin Orchards as well as Krazy Hilda’s; no word yet whether these haunts will be open or closed this season.

SHUTTERED

The Boneyard in Stockbridge announced several months ago that it would not be operational in 2016 so that particular vanishing act came as no surprise. Also dark for 2016 is Heck of a Haunted Barn in Monroe.

The big shock however was the announcement just days ago that Dark Legacy in Wixom would be closed. Dark Legacy is a powerhouse and had advertised everywhere since exploding on the scene in 2014, no specifics are known as to why it will be closed this season.

The biggest disappointment was word that The Dark Box will not be open after an intriguing rookie season. According to the folks there, the City of Pinckney took issue with the physicality employed at The Dark Box.

2016 Fear Finder Cover Art Released

Posted in News with tags , , , on September 9, 2016 by bluefall8

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Another fall season is rapidly approaching and with it comes the latest edition of the Fear Finder! The digital version will be released this weekend and distribution of hard copies will begin next week, as for now, we can enjoy the beautiful cover art of Steve Shipp.

Our unnamed hero is front and center trying to enjoy some fall fare. He seems to have just become aware that a pack of pumpkin reapers are in hot pursuit. Maybe they like cider and donuts too? I love the phosphorescent green that illuminates the shrouds worn by the gourd gang; the shades of orange and red splashed across the scene are equally eye-catching and atmospheric.

No gimmicks or contrivances here, this is a classic Fear Finder cover by Steve Shipp. In several ways it brings to mind the 2012 cover which was another favorite of mine. I love the autumn allure of this artwork.

As I do every year, I’ll request that other collectors of the Fear Finder looking to swap or sell, get in touch with me by leaving a comment on this post or by emailing: horrorlust31@gmail.com

I am in possession of copies dating back to 2006 and would sorely like to complete my collection.

The Haunt Guide: 2016 Edition

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 6, 2016 by bluefall8

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The 2016 version of The Haunt Guide is now available to view and download at the Michigan Haunters Association website. Long time readers may notice that the cover art has changed, gone is the self-reflexive skeleton who was pictured reading a copy of The Haunt Guide. As you can see above, the cover page now features a cemetery scene set beneath an inky night sky — there’s even a tombstone shaped like the Wolverine State.

Most of the haunted attractions advertised inside The Haunt Guide have become mainstays with that publication in recent years but there are a handful of interesting entries to note. The most prominent news is the addition of a third attraction, called Dead Souls Corral, at The Realm of Darkness in Pontiac. No word on whether the new attraction is an indoor or outdoor event or exactly how it might, if at all, interact with the other attractions there.

It’s good to see that a pair of first year hits will return for a second season — Abandon at Play Atlantis in Melvindale and Rotten Manor in Holly. The team at Rotten Manor does not appear content to rest on the laurels of 2015 having added Rotten Forest and a third attraction ominously dubbed, Clown Barn.

I was very excited to see a new haunt by the name of Awaken located in the small town of Leslie, Michigan which is a mere 15 minutes south of Mason, home to Shawhaven Haunted Farm. Also new to The Haunt Guide is Wicked Woods of Terror in Caro, Michigan which isn’t terribly far from Haunted Elementary in Bridgeport. Haunted Elementary is now under the umbrella known as Bridgeport Goregrounds which also boasts a 3D attraction called FrightSite and a third known as Outbreak.

Lastly, after two years in the dark, The Scream Machine will whir to life once more — this time at a new location in Taylor on Ecorse Road. I sincerely hope the one-time Downriver staple can reinvent itself and rise from the ashes of a dismal 2013 but I do have reservations. The ad featured inside The Haunt Guide is strikingly similar if not identical to the one that was used during the last few years of The Scream Machine’s initial run. It doesn’t help matters that, as of the time of this writing, the ad also includes a web address that doesn’t work.

Horrorlust on YouTube

Posted in News with tags , , , on August 4, 2016 by bluefall8

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As the title implies, Horrorlust now has a YouTube channel! In the months and years to come you can expect to see interviews with horror personalities, mini-documentaries and on-site clips from haunted attractions. In addition, haunters and horror fanatics can use Horrorlust on YouTube as a portal to other creepy content through ‘liked’ videos, saved playlists and featured channels.

Do you operate a YouTube channel dedicated to horror and Halloween or know of one that is? If so, drop a link in the comments and I’ll be sure to subscribe.

Thus far the channel features three videos — a trio of short interviews with author Kasey Pierce who last year had her horror anthology, Pieces of Madness, released by Rocket Ink Studios. In the video embedded below, Kasey talks about the inspiration for the book.

Sponsorships, Notes and Other Fine Morsels

Posted in News with tags , on July 25, 2016 by bluefall8

WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

It’s late July and haunts are gearing up for fall — if you own or operate a haunted attraction and desire alternative or addition means of advertising, consider the offerings here at Horrorlust. One method of promotion is Horrorlust Radio which is in need of sponsors for the 2016 season. For pricing, details and an informational packet contact: horrorlust31@gmail.com

MIDSUMMER HOUSE CLEANING

Regular readers have probably noticed the change in our web address, but if not make note of it. No longer a need to include .wordpress in the title, it’s now simply: horrorlust.com

In addition to a presence on Facebook and Twitter, you can now follow Horrorlust on Instagram as well. There, you can view snapshots from all of our fall adventures this Halloween season and in the mean time, enjoy creepy pictures from previous years. Come find us under the moniker: horrorlust.

Rotten Manor, Abandon Driven Mad by Halloween Moon

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on November 1, 2015 by bluefall8

Howl at the moon, baby. I went to bed last night with thoughts of Rotten Manor and Abandon swirling in my head and when I woke this morning those same thoughts remained stuck in my mind. What had we experienced? Had our eyes deceived us? Did any of that really happen?! When you find yourself pondering such questions that’s when you know you’ve witnessed an all-time classic and on Halloween no less.

After some trick r’ treating with the little ones, which included one seriously awesome yard display on Kings Highway in Lincoln Park, John and I hightailed it into the night. This has been a haunt season busier and longer than any that has come before it — we were admittedly feeling road-weary as we drove north on I-75 through increasingly poor conditions. The further north we traveled the harder the rain hit the pavement and the lower visibility sunk. But any fear that Halloween would become a washout began to recede the moment we arrived at Rotten Manor.

The facade was far more impressive than it had appeared in pictures; it jutted from the landscape like a mountain in a valley and what lie on the inside was more impressive still. Rotten Manor was a half-hour trek through expertly detailed and creative environments that held inventive scares, glorious eye candy, surreal strangeness and the omnipresence of a Charlie McCarthy ventriloquist dummy. Loaded with live actors, psychological warfare and several unique features — Rotten Manor blasted itself into the rarefied territory of our all-time best haunted house adventures.

As we drove in the direction of home we reveled in the experience and thought it a shame that Rotten Manor hadn’t been our last stop of the night because it seemed impossible that anything could follow that. Indeed, another first year attraction, Abandon had its work cut out. We pulled into Play Atlantis in Melvindale a little more than an hour after we had departed Rotten Manor with that experience fresh in mind. Somehow, Abandon would make an impression all it’s own.

Abandon took old school to the nth degree and in the process redefined minimalism. The cavernous, multi-level haunt supplied atmosphere in spades; an effect that was heightened by the expert use of Midnight Syndicate’s booming medieval music. So much of Abandon was purposely understated which provided the imagination free range to manifest horrors hidden in every shadow. Fueled by ghost stories and a genuine sweep from a team of paranormal research investigators (go on, I dare you to ask about the EVPs), Abandon possessed an eerie vibe that is difficult to find. In terms of pure fear factor it was one of the most foreboding and frightening haunted attractions we’ve toured in all these many seasons.

A heartfelt thank you to Wally, Eric and the rest of the large cast and crew of Rotten Manor and to Jason of Abandon who patiently shared creepy stories including his own personal encounters. All of you made Halloween 2015 a truly unforgettable night of haunting that will live on in Horrorlust lore for many moons to come.

A Fracas on Devil’s Night

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on October 31, 2015 by bluefall8

We got a later start than we had originally intended which cost us a visit to Rotten Manor for the time being but Devil’s Night 2015 turned out to be another fun entry in our haunted history.

All was quiet when we arrived at our first stop — Terror on the Boulevard, a home haunt in Lincoln Park. The little haunt was neatly themed, well detailed and an all around good time. Brave trick r’ treaters should be aware that it will be open once again tonight from 7-10pm so don’t miss your chance to confront the Boogeyman!

Our next stop was Hush in Westland where the once mighty corporation was found in a ruinous state. Dr. Phun may be dead but the halls of Hush had no shortage of creepy crawlers — I was even assailed from above by a diminutive pygmy creature! The back-end of the attraction in particular was positively littered with freaks and ghouls who dialed it up to ten as all hell broke loose!

The final stop of the night was a return to Dark Legacy in Wixom, now in their second season. The haunt had been fitted with new scenes, gags and a completely redesigned Fang Cemetery. In particular we enjoyed a handful of inventive scares, several highly detailed scenes and the cast which we found to be collectively superior to their 2014 counterparts.

Full reviews to be posted in the coming weeks.

Five Nights Etched in Time

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2015 by bluefall8

I’m often asked which haunted house is my favorite and the honest answer is that I don’t have just one favorite. Haunted attractions come in all shapes and sizes and employ a wide range of themes, narratives and scare tactics to deliver a memorable experience. While I certainly do have my preferences, my favorites are a collection of diverse attractions. As the list below examines, some of the my most treasured haunted adventures were not limited to a single haunted house but encompassed an entire evening of haunting.

The outings below are not ranked in any way other than chronological. Trips made during the 2015 haunt season did not qualify for consideration as the season is, as of the time of this writing, in progress.

Friday, October 31, 2008

It will demand further investigation but if memory serves this was the first instance in which we toured three separate haunted attractions on a single night. 2008 was a momentous season in which we visited nine total locations, our personal best at the time. Without a doubt the best of the year was saved for Halloween when we raced against the clock to tour Deadly Intentions in Warren and then Realm of Darkness and Erebus both in Pontiac. Deadly Intentions claimed the 2008 Horrorlust Monster Award while Erebus gobbled up the 2008 Horrorlust Killer Automatons Award.

Fun Fact: The avatar used to identify myself here on Horrorlust was snapped that night.

RELIVE THE NIGHT!

Erebus, The Realm of Darkness & Deadly Intentions Electrify Halloween Night

Friday, October 30, 2009

Devil’s Night was raucous and windswept; large crowds and an impending storm only added to the pandemonium. We began the evening with a romp through Hellblock 13 which was held in the former Wyandotte police station and ended the night with a wild, rain-soaked hayride at Haunted Farm of Terror; sandwiched between the two was a visit to The Realm of Darkness. This night didn’t capture any awards (although had the Horrorlust Samhain Award existed at the time it would likely have been awarded to this night) but The Realm of Darkness and Hellblock 13 did combine for four honorable mentions.

Fun Fact: While on the hayride at Haunted Farm of Terror, I narrowly avoided being struck square in the face by a large, runaway prop.

RELIVE THE NIGHT!

Season Concludes with Devil’s Night Frenzy

Friday, October 14, 2011

This was an insanely fun night of haunting in which we witnessed three awesome, albeit different shows. Krazy Hilda’s Barn of Doom had style and substance while Chelsea Feargrounds boasted flash and excitement around every corner and finally The Bone Yard served up a trio of fun-filled attractions. Krazy Hilda’s Barn of Doom grabbed the 2011 Horrorlust Dark Horse Award, Tent of Terror (The Bone Yard) became the inaugural recipient of the Horrorlust Prop Master Award and unsurprisingly the whole night was recognized with the then brand new Horrorlust Samhain Award. Furthermore, Tent of Terror and Chelsea Feargrounds combined for three honorable mentions in other award categories.

Fun Fact: The Chelsea Feargrounds offered a unique photo-op in which small, alien creatures were made to look as if they’d burst from the subject’s chest.

RELIVE THE NIGHT!

Thrills & Chills Dominated Hilda’s, Feargrounds & The Bone Yard

Friday, October 5, 2012

Threaten as it did to thwart our plans, the weather was no match for the spirit of the season on this night. It was a trip filled with laughter, illusion and effective, low budget haunting. Barn of Horrors at Erwin Orchards won the 2012 Horrorlust Prop Master Award while Slaughter House collected the 2012 Horrorlust Pulse Pounder Award. Like the previous entry, this night too claimed the Horrorlust Samhain Award.

Fun Fact: Ken Evans, one of the organizer’s of Slaugher House, happened to be conducting some quality control when we toured the barn and asked our opinion of the place once we’d exited the haunt. We got to talking and hit it off — later that year the website for Slaughter House would feature some quotes from the review I posted to Horrorlust. To the best of my knowledge that was the first instance of a haunt using my words to promote their attraction and I thought that was awesome. 

RELIVE THE NIGHT!

Elements Conspire but Erwin, Slaugher House Persevere

Saturday, October 20, 2012

This overnight trip to Ohio had a big time feel as we visited two haunts with a lot of history — Bloodview in Broadview Heights and Haunted Schoolhouse and Laboratory in Akron. Bloodview ensnared the 2012 Horrorlust Eerie Vibrations Award and together with Haunted Schoolhouse and Laboratory scored a slew of honorable mentions.

Fun Fact: It was on this trip that I first enjoyed the little known, gem of a horror film called Stake Land.

RELIVE THE NIGHT!

Haunted Schoolhouse has Presence, lacks Punch

Laboratory Mirrors Successes, Shortcomings of Haunted Schoolhouse

Legion of Terror Breathes Life into Bloodview

Gerkins & Friends

Posted in News with tags , , , on October 26, 2015 by bluefall8

Sunday night capped off an excellent weekend of haunting when my alter-ego, Gerkins, joined his friends at Delirium — the 2015 Wyandotte Jaycees Haunted House. Last year I was fortunate enough to volunteer on several nights and was delighted to have the opportunity to work an area of the haunt referred to as the dollmaker’s keep. Last night, however, my services were needed elsewhere and so it was that Gerkins entertained waiting patrons inside the lobby and also stirred up odd conversations with folks on the sidewalk outside Delirium.

Gerkins played a subversive game in which he offered suckers to children and parents alike while he playfully proclaimed, “Candy from strangers is fun, you never know what you’re going to get!” And would you believe that most people happily accepted those dubious treats? But the carnival barker of old was not satisfied with merely stirring the pot, he slyly entered the haunt on occasion and offered a brief jump scare to some groups and for others was found on the outside of the building near the exit primed for one last bit of interaction.

Alas, Gerkins was not alone in such Halloween hijinks; he was joined on this night by an interesting harlequin known as Murray the Clown. Equipped with a nasally voice and the polished vocabulary of a simpleton, Murray told stories of his youth that drew both laughs and awkward glances. He and Gerkins were quite the pair as the duo reveled in all of their bizarre synergy.

It was another memorable night and a wonderful excuse to uncork Gerkins once again. Many thanks to Jon and Danielle who welcomed me back into the fold and allowed me to let loose as Gerkins, horrible Gerkins.