Archive for the News Category

Clio Manor, Exit 13 & Dreadlands Haunt of Davison Spawn Nightmare Fuel

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2015 by bluefall8

I woke up with a headache this morning which was really no surprise when you stop to consider that last night I got absolutely drunk on haunts. I can say without exaggeration or hyperbole that last night was one for the record books, an evening that rocketed up the list of best outings ever.

Clio Manor exceeded my expectations with a fusion of unique characters, substantial interaction and a physical cast that exercised a certain subversive element. Many of the scenes were visually compelling while the scares possessed a creative flair that kept us guessing. Furthermore, Clio Manor was exceptionally paced and offered some serious bang-for-the-buck as it clocked in at more than twenty minutes.

Exit 13 was rockin’ n rollin’ as usual and continued to solidify itself as one of the best haunted houses in the entire state of Michigan. The actors were as in-your-face as ever — my chin was stroked, my hair petted; I was manhandled by a clown and propositioned for a kiss by a transsexual named Francine! The level of detail throughout Exit 13 and all of its various scenes was impressive to say the least. Like Clio Manor, Exit 13 ensnared guests in excess of twenty minutes and there was even a second attraction — Total Blackout!

The night concluded at Dreadlands Haunt of Davison and we arrived just in time to buy tickets to this hidden gem of the Michigan haunt scene. The Research Labs were like no haunt we’ve ever seen; it featured a large cast, hidden passages, false endings and multiple levels among so many other goodies! It was the stuff that the best nightmares are made of! The second attraction, Proving Grounds Trail, was fun too and offered moments of humor amidst the scares; the zip line finale was a thrilling first at a haunted attraction. Finally, we stormed Zombie Sniper Arena where we worked in concert to shoot down the undead menace and recovered the anti-virus.

Indeed, it was a night not soon to be forgotten. Many thanks to Justin of Clio Manor, Rebecca of Exit 13 and Royce of Dreadlands for being such gracious and friendly hosts.

DreamCorp Stutters then Starts

Posted in News with tags , , , , on October 24, 2015 by bluefall8

Delirium started slowly but settled into a methodical pace with a series of intriguing rooms, a handful of engaging characters and some surprise bits of interaction. While it largely remained a collection of disparate scenes, the DreamCorp angle allowed each section to be playfully broken into zones which helped to pull it all together into a singular narrative.

There are still areas where improvement is badly needed — perhaps the most glaring is the ineffectual and out-of-date soundtrack. However, the Wyandotte Jaycees faced unprecedented challenges this season and managed with a small but dedicated crew to create a worthwhile haunted house.

Murray the Clown was a little stroke of brilliance and one of my new favorite characters, but be forewarned — DO NOT INQUIRE ABOUT FARLEY!

Spirit of the Season Alive with Hallowe’en Nights

Posted in News with tags , , on October 22, 2015 by bluefall8

The skies were clear and the scares mild; it was a perfect night to stroll the jack-o’-lantern lit streets of Hallowe’en Nights at Greenfield Village. Each district was decorated and aglow with the spirit of All Hallows’ Eve; costumed revelers snapped photos and delighted in the festive merriment.

Here and there all manner of characters greeted children and parents whilst staff members at candy stations distributed goodies to every eager hand. Halloween music and other fall fare was heard throughout the village, long shadows were cast upon buildings and trees. There was storytelling, cartoons of old and several spooky performances. Charm and whimsy were found round every corner of this vintage holiday celebration.

Our little guy’s eyes were filled with curiosity and wonder, he braved the covered bridge as boldly as the courageous lion that he was dressed as and even managed to stay alert for the entire enchanting experience.

And for those inquiring minds — yes, daddy ate all the candy.

Michigan Hidden Gems

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 19, 2015 by bluefall8

Halloween is big business in the Midwest and Michigan is no exception. The Mitten State is home to dozens of haunted attractions that stretch from Metro-Detroit to the edge of Lake Michigan all the way northward to the sparsely populated Upper Peninsula. Indeed, the October scene in Michigan is diverse, far-reaching and is truly a bubbling haven of haunted houses.

As the one-time holder of a Guinness World Record, Erebus has garnered a lot of national attention and is often ranked by numerous industry outlets as the one of America’s top haunted destinations. Wiard’s Night Terrors too has spent time in the limelight, one of Michigan’s oldest haunted attractions it was the subject of a HauntWorld article as recent as 2014 and is synonymous with all things that go bump in the night around these parts.

These highly visible haunts do our state proud, but Michigan is also fortunate to have a collection of volunteer haunts and other small venues that fly under the radar. These locations may not attract much media attention or possess a large advertising budget but what they lack in grandeur is compensated in heart, creativity and a certain charm.

Tonight, on Horrorlust, we explore the hidden gems of the Michigan haunt game.

A Nightmare on Elm Road – 2020 Elm Rd. Webberville, MI. 48892

A little advertised, smallish haunt situated on the edge of the woods. The low budget decor has just the right amount of grime and is complimented with old school fundamentals. A mixture of indoor and outdoor scenes will keep scare-seekers on their toes.

2012 Review: Elements Conspire but Erwin, Slaughter House Persevere (Beneath “Young Upstart Has Potential, Needs Improvement” Headline)

Krazy Hilda’s – 10340 Ford Rd. Ypsilanti, MI. 48198

Now at Panana Hills Farm, the old witch refuses to be forgotten after nearly two decades of brewing up scares. The Trail of Terrors is an atmospheric forest walk that will delight children and adults of all ages. The team is passionate, precise and can deliver a laugh alongside a scare.

2011 Review: Thrills & Chills Dominate Hilda’s, Feargrounds & The Boneyard!

2012 Review: Krazy Hilda’s Unleashes Spooks on Campground

2015 Review: Krazy Hilda’s Trail of Terrors Casts A Spell

The Psycho Path – 23984 Gibraltar Rd. Flat Rock, MI. 48134

A volunteer effort that has survived for more than twenty seasons, The Psycho Path is a testament to what can be achieved through hard work and creativity. The show is re-themed each year and suffers no shortage of live actors. In a throwback to every child’s nightmare fantasy the haunt is concealed by a patch of woods behind a church.

2014 Review: Psycho Path Sleeper Cell

Realm of Haunted Minds – 18910 Merriman Rd. Romulus, MI. 48174

Just one of the various activities at the quaint Huron Turkey Farm, Realm of Haunted Minds has been chugging along relatively unnoticed for quite some time. The country store where tickets are purchased has an excellent collection of horror movie icons in statue form and the outdoor area features an impressive array of miniature playscapes that lead to the haunted house. Realm of Haunted Minds itself is a blend of the old and new and will result in a fair amount of fun.

2008 Review: Realm of Haunted Minds & The Extreme Scream

2011 Review: Realm of Haunted Minds & Funeral Home a fitting pair for Windswept Outing

2013 Review: Elements & Ambiance Rule Realm of Haunted Minds

St. Charles Village of the Living Dead – 400 E. Water St. St. Charles, MI. 48655

An actor-driven, not-for-profit haunt that has extracted screams for 30 years. Dense fog and strobe lights combine for masterful distraction and disorientation techniques which are underscored with tactile sensations and challenging, claustrophobic sequences.

2013 Review: Village of the Living Dead Preys upon Victims with Classic Scares

Did I miss anything? Do you know of a hidden gem in Michigan? Leave it in the comments below and we shall discuss.

Ghostly Playgrounds & Twisted Fairy Tales

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on October 17, 2015 by bluefall8

The Psycho Path had a few tricks up its sleeve last night; the mischief began with a bit of role reversal when the back of the haunt became the front of the haunt. That’s right, if you attended the show last year, you can expect to experience Psycho Path in reverse this season. Every turn had been flipped, each room had been flopped — it felt as if we’d been imprinted on a photo negative in an alternate dimension.

All in all, it was another good effort from the team at The Psycho Path highlighted by wicked makeup, elaborate costumes and a collection of broken dolly girls (had Gerkins been present his heart would’ve been all aflutter). I dare say, The Psycho Path also boasted more actors per square foot than any other haunt we’ve ever visited. This location is not without its shortcomings but it does a lot of things right and is loaded with heart and potential.

The second haunt of the night was an old staple of the region — Realm of Haunted Minds. In addition, customers can enjoy an array of Halloween decorations and some tasty vittles inside the country store before a trip through the haunted house. As an added bonus, the Huron Turkey Farm has erected a miniature, haunted landscape that included a schoolhouse, jail, barbershop and even a two-story castle complete with slide! And that is just to name a few. This was a charming, whimsical touch enjoyed by kids and big kids alike.

As always, Realm of Haunted Minds delivered a fun experience fueled by jump scares, an unpredictable floor plan and a few memorable characters. This is a great place with something to be enjoyed by people of all ages and in my opinion is an underrated location on the Michigan haunt scene.

Black & White

Posted in News with tags , , on October 12, 2015 by bluefall8

Horrorlust Flyer 2015

Horrorlust has always been a labor of love and a work in progress. I’ve been fortunate that so many within the haunted house industry have responded to reviews, welcomed me to their haunts, granted interviews and allowed me, like a curious zombie, to pick their brains.

I’ve also been blessed with family and friends who in various ways have lent their time and talents to the evolution of Horrorlust. The latest example of this is a flyer that my brother, Jason, whipped up so that it could be distributed throughout southeast Michigan.

I remember seeing flyers for haunted houses as a child and those that resonated most powerfully were simple, streamlined blends of image and text that conjured an element of mystery. It was our goal to recreate that same dark allure with this flyer. Somewhere, I hope a kid lies awake at night wondering about the monsters at Horrorlust.

Past Tense After Dark Delivers the Fright Stuff

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on October 11, 2015 by bluefall8

Following another Saturday night in the great month of October, we placed two more notches in the old belt after maiden visits to Tunnel of Terror in Rochester and Past Tense After Dark in Lapeer.

Tunnel of Terror brought me back to my youth with an old school trailer haunt that pressed in on us from all sides. The pitch black passages and sparse scenery struck the right tone and left me brimming with ideas. Past Tense After Dark was a pure delight which exceeded expectations with a professional cast, superior detailing and a penchant for humor. The House of Horrors, in particular, succeeded on several fronts and rocketed to the top of the best of list for 2015.

Full reviews to be posted in the coming weeks, of course. Thanks to Paul and Dan at the Tunnel of Terror as well as Nick and Corey at Past Tense After Dark for being gracious and knowledgeable hosts. It’s always fun to talk haunts and I enjoyed picking your brains. Corey even shared a great local ghost story — you can’t beat that!

Shake, Rattle & Death Roll

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on October 4, 2015 by bluefall8

The Dark Box may not have knocked off Demonic Demons as the scariest haunt ever but it did offer one of the single most heart-pounding sequences I’ve witnessed at a haunted attraction. What was it? You’ll just have to wait for the full review or get to The Dark Box yourself, you curious kids. Suffice it to say, The Dark Box has employed some interesting concepts and over time will hone their unique style into a certified shriek-fest.

Unfortunately, the weather did seem to sap some of the energy from the cast at The Boneyard but that isn’t to suggest that Deadwood Forest and Scarecrow Hollow didn’t have their moments. The covered attraction, The Freak’s Show, fared better with a mixture of impressive scenes, dazzling light displays and several surprises — like a crawl-through womb-of-doom! And as fate would have it everything we had witnessed at The Boneyard would be rivaled by an impromptu midnight ride over a pockmarked dirt path courtesy of Boneyard owner, Randy. With a lead foot and and a license from Hell, Randy treated us city boys to a slice of the county life.

Absinthe & Automatonophobia

Posted in News with tags , , , on October 2, 2015 by bluefall8

All of a sudden it is in the air and all around — the magic of the fall season has regained that familiar foothold. Through ritual and routine we revisit all that we experience in this life and for me that is a comfort. Today, I stepped outside to find a crispness in the air and witnessed a hint of nature’s eternal paintbrush. I traveled down London Street in Lincoln Park, my childhood home. As each blocked rolled by my window in a blur of shapes and colors I realized it was here that a love of Halloween was first imprinted on my soul. In many ways that stretch of London Street is the very essence of Halloween for me.

I ventured out today to discuss ideas for a Horrorlust logo with my friend, Stefani Lawrence. She was the artist who created some perfectly spooky heads for The CikNis last year, a home haunt that I helped produce. It was a joy to thumb through some of her past work which included self-portraits, shadow boxes and oil pastels that depicted eerie subject matter. I know that Stefani is the perfect person to translate the dark imaginings of my mind into tangible art work; I can’t wait to see what beautifully nightmarish sketches she will create.

Indeed, fall has descended once more; with wind in hair and wrapped in flannel I raise a glass to another season of screams.

It is here that I am at peace.

A LOOK BACK AT STEFANI’S WORK ON THE CIKNIS

Artistry Most Wicked

STEFANI ON HORRORLUST RADIO

Horrorlust Radio Episode #009

Moonlight Delight at Krazy Hilda’s, Terrorfied Forest & Manor

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

The veteran cast of fellow haunters were all busy with work or prior engagements last night, so I went to the bullpen and invited my friend Mark to experience a night of haunting. It always does my heart good to convert mere mortals into haunters and I think that may be the process currently taking place with my Mark. He hadn’t visited a haunted attraction in years but with some prodding I convinced him last winter to accompany me on a trip through 50 Shades of Phun, the Valentine’s Day event held at Hush in Westland.

Since then, Mark and I have had numerous conversations about haunted attractions and so it was with great interest that we set off into a majestic September night to experience Krazy Hilda’s Trail of Terrors and Terrorfied Forest and Manor. One could not have asked for a more ideal night to stroll through the haunted trails located in Ypsilanti and Pickney, respectively.

Krazy Hilda’s once again showcased how the passion of dedicated volunteers can capture the whimsical magic of the Halloween season. Here we were enchanted by a devilish brew of excellent jump scares, quintessential scenery and a cast of scareactors who know how to have fun. The witch and her brood have faced adversity many times throughout their two-decade run but old Hilda always seems to spur her undead army ever forward. Now at the ideally located Panama Hills Farm, Krazy Hilda is primed to stir her cauldron into the future.

It was an interesting ride to Terrorfied Forest and Manor, but wrong turns and missed road signs only make life on the open haunted road that much more intriguing. After a few course corrections we arrived to find Terrorfied Forest and Manor bathed in the hue of silver moonlight. Bubbles’ Funhouse had the charm of a fun narrative working in it’s favor as well as a handful of neat design features, perhaps most notably was the slide that took us into the basement. The haunted trail radiated ambiance and offered patrons some serious bang-for-the-buck with more than a half-hour of woodland scenes and shrieks.

We are much obliged to Nicole at Krazy Hilda’s and Dean from Terrorfied Forest and Manor for not only being such affable hosts but also for providing such excellent interviews to be featured in Horrorlust Radio. Thank you also to the respective cast and crew of Krazy Hilda’s and Terrorfied Forest and Manor for providing us with our latest treasured memories.