Archive for the Barn of Blood Category

Terror Town, Barn of Blood Highlight Weekend of Haunting

Posted in 2008, Barn of Blood, Hallowblog, Review, Terror Town with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2014 by bluefall8

This review was originally posted on Tuesday, October 28, 2008; it details one memorable weekend from late October 2008. It was that fall that we first visited Terror Town in Maumee, Ohio and experienced House of the Dead.

I have often considered compiling a list of my top five or ten most memorable haunted attractions and without hesitation I can say that our maiden voyage through the dank, rotting depths of Terror Town’s House of the Dead would easily make any such list. House of the Dead went on to become Horrorlust’s Haunt of the Year in 2008.

The following day, my wife and I went to Apple Charlie’s in New Boston which packed a lot of haunt goodness into a very small amount of time and space. I need more weekends like this magical ride now six years past. 

The last weekend prior to Halloween was a big one for the Haunt Trinity. On Saturday, October 25 we were once again joined by Cherette for a trip to TerrorTown in Maumee, Ohio. Then on Sunday Missy and I visited Apple Charlie’s in New Boston where for just $5 I entered the Barn of Blood. It was quite a whirlwind weekend of haunting and that’s just the way I like it.

I’ve longed to visit TerrorTown for several seasons now but until this year we had never made time for this particular haunt. Mayor Wormface had beckoned to me from the pages of the Fear Finder on many occasions and it was time to take him up on his delightfully dreadful offer.

TerrorTown features four attractions: The Freak Show, Slaughter House, The Beast, and House of the Dead. After buying our tickets we made our way to the entrance of a uniquely lit graveyard, to our left atop a structure a massive skull peered down with a single glowing eyeball that shifted from side to side. We shuffled excitedly through the cemetery lit be a series of large, black light bulbs positioned on top of fence posts; a skeletal horse stalked the grounds. The path lead us to the line for the Freak Show where we were entertained by a one of TerrorTown’s resident ghouls, a tall, red creature with a talent for swallowing fire.

After about half an hour wait we entered Freak Show and witnessed an eclectic and interesting array of oddities. Each item was accompanied by newspaper articles or plaques providing insight into the displayed piece. The entire room was bathed in the glow of black lights which provided the usual eerie effect. My personal favorites included a fetus in a jar that sported a curious tail as well as the dried and rotting Fiji Mermaid. Freak Show was very cool but it was incredibly short and this fact was very disappointing. I remarked to Jason that had I known it was so short I would have taken more time with each display. Alas it was too late as we found ourselves in line for Slaughter House. Given the nature of the Freak Show attraction I don’t feel it would be fair to assign a rating, it isn’t a haunted house and is by all intents purely a side show.

Slightly disappointed, as I think we all were, we soldiered on to Slaughter House which I was quite curious about. I had read on TerrorTown’s website that guests are given a flashlight upon entering this particular haunt but there was a catch, the operators controlled the flashlight. I thought that this unique twist could provide for an interesting and exciting haunt experience. Slaughter House had the look and feel of an old school haunt but failed to utilize those elements that make this genre so effective, instead the haunt featured a number of amusing and gory animatronics. Animatronics are great but I’m of the belief that an inanimate object can only invoke so much fear, they work best in conjunction with live actors and Slaughter House was terribly short on the latter. The flashlight idea was great in concept but in practice turned out to be ill timed seemingly going off at random. I had thought that perhaps the flashlights would abruptly cut off after patrons were allowed a brief glimpse of a stampeding, chainsaw-wielding maniac but it seemed that perhaps every group’s flashlight simply went out at the same time. One wonderful feature of Slaughter House was an enormous pig head that attacks guests and squeals incessantly, you can imagine the jokes this particular scene invoked. Overall Slaugher House wasn’t bad but it did leave a lot to be desired, what was most disappointing to me was that it had potential to be so much more and really with a few minor tweaks it could have been very good.

Rating: 3 stars

Next we followed the path through a colossal pair of jaws that led to The Beast. We entered the structure and began down a path of three or four spinning vortex tunnels also commonly referred to as black holes. These structures are fun because not only are they typically lit by black light; but also feature spinning circular walls which cause a sensation that one is falling sideways. Guests make their way across a narrow path and watch in amusement as members of their party struggle to maintain balance. I feel that these particular devices work best when beginning or ending a haunt or when switching from one theme to another.

After walking the length of the massive tunnel we returned outside. Once again I was shocked and disappointed by the length of an attraction. The Freak Show had also been incredibly short, Slaughter House was slightly better than mediocre, and The Beast, which I had thought was a haunted house, was merely a monstrous vortex tunnel. It wasn’t that any of the attractions had been individually bad but collectively I couldn’t help but to be disappointed. I had been expecting so much more from TerrorTown after reading a number of glowing reviews. As with The Freak Show I find it equally unfair and misleading to give The Beast a traditional rating.

We entered the line for House of the Dead where multiple television sets played a horror movie from the 70’s or 80’s, this at least provided some seasonal ambience. As we advanced through the line I thought about how disappointing TerrorTown had been so far and without a monumental effort by the main attraction the whole night was going to go down as perhaps the seasons’ most dismal. We discussed this fact as we neared the entrance and each of us seemed resigned to the fact that barring an October miracle there was little chance that House of the Dead could save TerrorTown from haunting infamy. I suppose there was a sense that we had nothing left to lose and so we entered House of the Dead.

Guests first wait in a foyer, ahead an ominous set of large double doors rest. After a few minutes a slightly crazed, middle-aged man appears (he looks some what like Mayor Wormface) and invites us inside to, “Play with his children”. We enter another waiting area before being loaded onto elevators that will transport us to the bowels of the house. So far House of the Dead is doing things right, building plenty of tension in the foyer and then jolting guests with a wild ride to the basement of dead house. Once out of the elevator hauntgoers wind their way through a plethora of eerie rooms. The haunt appears to be an abandoned house, old fashion pictures adorn the walls, and common household objects such as furniture and childrens toys layer the landscape. I notice that the haunt smells foul and I mean bizarrely foul; I’ve never smelled something like this. Later on I would take a blast of the rotten air straight in the face and I gagged profusely, nearly throwing up. I know what you’re thinking faithful readers, you’re thinking that House of the Dead did indeed cap off a disappointing night…well…not even close!

House of the Dead was just getting started with the Haunt Trinity and before we exited this unique haunt we would come to know precisely why it had been described as, “an assault on the senses”. House of the Dead is part Erebus, part Extreme Scream and blends the two schools of thought into a rare haunting endeavor. The animatronics are over the top and impressive, a number of mutant aliens scurry about the walls assailing guests from all angles. One such alien ventured to get too close to the Haunt Trinity and found out just how amused I was when I gleefully squibbed that ugly face! The haunt also featured painfully detailed, life-sized statues. I exaggerate not one iota when I say that these props were some of the most frightening I’ve ever witnessed.

House of the Dead also features a number of sprayers that blast guests with both air and water. In fact just after the aforementioned squibbing took place I was blasted in the face by a cartoonishly filthy toilet. The haunt also held a number of bizarre scenes and props such as holographic projections and a giant, floating eyeball. After making our way through a macabre forest in which multiple leapers attacked simultaneously we struck forth to the frantic finish. While on an ascending pathway an unseen creature swooped just above our heads causing all of us to duck. We then made our way through a series of rooms that resembled those at the beginning of the haunt.

I was the first to enter a room filled with the remains of dozens of baby dolls and was immediately reminded of Dolls and Puppet Master. Some of the dolls were moving robotically, heads and limbs moving methodically from side to side or up and down, it was wonderfully creepy. Some of them were missing eyeballs and a select few even brandished glowing knives. The rest of the group trailed behind me and upon entering I witnessed something truly bizarre. One of the babies was running at Jason! The little son of a bitch scurried across the floor slashing the air with his miniature knife! It was indeed a strange scene at first but my eyes quickly recognized a black mass materialize behind the doll. A black clad worker was puppeting the doll and as this came into greater focus the whole scene grew even more ludicrous in a sense. The little guy slashed furiously at Jason as I doubled over in laughter and then turned his fury to a shrieking girl in the group behind us. The gag may have been a simple one but it was pulled off to great effect and will surely stand out as one of the highlights of the season.

We escaped the blood thirsty infant only to be enveloped in fog and green lasers. It was very difficult to determine a path so I took the initiative and began wandering directly into the thickest part of the fog. Just then a massive wolf head lurched forth from the fog; hands outstretched searching for a tasty morsel. Next we turned into a room and ahead I could see a man holding a chainsaw, he was just staring at us. Hauntgoers cross a platform only to have this lunatic charge from behind (a mirror made it appear as if he were in front of the party) and chase them to the exit of House of the Dead.

House of the Dead did indeed save the night for TerrorTown proving to be a wild, haunt riot. A bold combination of old school techniques and flat out, in your face craziness proved to be an unlikely alchemy for success. My only suggestion for the House of the Dead is the inclusion of a few more well placed live actors. We left the now nearly deserted Lucas County fair grounds with riveting moments flitting through our heads, House of the Dead had just saved the night and launched itself into Haunt of the Year contention.

Rating: 5 stars

I did mention that a bit of haunting was also done on Sunday and so let me tell you the tale of the Barn of Blood. Missy opted not to join me inside the Barn and thus I was left to brave the horrors alone. Two things immediately stand out as one enters the barn, the first — it’s extremely quiet, and the second — it’s extremely dark. This is old school haunting reduced to the barest of elements and it reeks havoc on the psyche. A loud blast of fog issues from the left breaking the complete silence and that seems to act as a cue for a sword wielding deadie. The deadie follows me down a dark hallway, slamming the sword against a wall and then onto a metal slab. The ensuing clang is deafening and the sword looks a bit too real for my liking, I don’t like this creep. He departs and I find myself groping about the pitch black hall, shortly sparks fly from the left as some deranged freak thrashes behind wire fencing. Later a ghoulie comes form beneath a wall and desperately claws at my legs. Shortly a gravely voice informs me to, “Enjoy the show,” and as I turn the corner I watch a darkly ironic scene. A man is strapped to an electric chair, basked in red light, as My Chemical Romance’s “Blood” is pumped through speakers. It was a unique infusion of pop culture weaved neatly into a haunted attraction and as a chainsaw wielding Leatherface ushered me from the premises I reflected on what a solid job this small haunt had just completed.

Rating: 4 stars

Terror Town, Barn of Blood Conjure Haunted Time Warp

Posted in 2011, Barn of Blood, Review, Terror Town with tags , , , , , on October 28, 2011 by bluefall8

During the final weekend of the 2008 haunt season I found myself at both Terror Town and Apple Charlie’s Barn of Blood on separate days and as the unseen Haunt Fates would have it, that is exactly where I found myself once again last weekend…on two separate days. First Terror Town, then Barn of Blood. Okay, so it wasn’t exactly a detour into The Twilight Zone but it was close damn it!

Our first stop actually found us at Heck of a Haunted Barn in Monroe but when we arrived the place was simply dead, a few workers roamed the grounds in very basic make up and costuming. Outwardly there was nothing to suggest that this was anything but a heck of a waste of $12 so we decided to depart for Terror Town.

BIG TOP FLOP

The House of the Dead looms as large as ever at Terror Town and is joined this year by a 3D attraction called Big Top Terror; a combo ticket will set you back $25 and for that price haunters expect a unique, memorable experience. Big Top Terror however is just the latest in a long line of 3D attractions to fall flat. The attraction is thin on workers and those that did inhabit the paint splattered halls were lethargic at best. The haunt was also extraordinarily short clocking in under five minutes. There were some cool props but nothing in the way of haunting fundamentals was employed, it was simply a stroll through neon painted rooms. Near the end of the attraction a large box sat against a wall, a wicked clown’s face adorned the front. Of course the box had to be opened right? That was the whole point of the gag! As I approached the mystery box a clown appeared from it’s side and bellowed, “Open it!” We were finally going to experience some interaction in this haunted house but just as quickly as my heart jumped it fell back to its usual steady beat. Nothing was in the box. I could see that it was open on the other end and wondered aloud if we were supposed to go through it but the worker just looked at me and breathed heavily as if his loud proclamation had yielded some satisfyingly dreadful result. I reiterated my query only to be met with more heavy breathing. I noticed a path in front of us and decided to take it. We exited the attraction. As it was the most enjoyable part of Big Top Terror was the jazzed up jingle playing outside the attraction, Killer Klowns by The Dickies which of course is the title track from 1988’s Killer Klowns from Outer Space.

Rating: 1.5 stars

DEAD HOUSE AWAKENS ANEW

House of the Dead once again spans two separate buildings connected by an impressive array of black holes and one well decorated, cemetery. As we first discovered in 2008 this haunted attraction will attack from every angle and assail every sense. House of the Dead is a lengthy trek through ghostly corridors furnished with possessed furniture, blood thirsty creatures, and all manners of strangeness.

The mood for this house most macabre is set from the get go as haunters make their way down a long, narrow hallway illuminated by a cold, blue glow. This first section of Dead House is merely a prelude for the grand horrors to come but was punctuated by a passageway full of deafening poppers; a room full of questionably lively freight, and the ultra-realistic and creepy full sized dummies that we witnessed first at Terror Town in 2008. My personal favorite was a child ghoul who stood around a corner near the exit of this first area. I’ve referenced these particular props on numerous occasions and they are without a doubt the most convincing dummies the haunt industry has to offer. I do not know what company produces them but when I find out I’ll relay the news and post some pictures.

Following the first building is one of the most impressive vortex tunnels you’re likely to find anywhere on planet Earth, no less than six end-to-end tunnels spin in unison. Upon exiting and taking a moment to restore our collective equilibrium we proceeded out doors to a cemetery full of life. This graveyard scene functioned as a wonderful transition between the first half of the attraction and the second. Highlights here included a stone gargoyle which surprisingly leaped from its pedestal and bounded toward us like one of the evil, flying monkeys from The Wizard of Oz. Also of note was the foggy funeral procession which featured a casket, four ghoulish pall bearers, and the distinct smell of mold.

Shortly thereafter we entered the second building, what I like to refer to as House of the Dead proper. We were immediately assailed by a crawling girl with stringy hair who spoke of a ‘master’ that had horrific plans for our body parts. As she wailed and swayed inappropriately close to our crotches an eye opening effect erupted in front of us. The floorboards seemed to crack before us, a strange light poured out from beneath them; it seemed as if something was racing at us from under the floor. It was undoubtedly a neat effect that employed several elements, something we’ve never quite witnessed anywhere else. Just around the corner we ascended some stairs to a bridge and as we crossed, the walls adorned with skeletons, on either side of us collapsed inward. On the other side of the bridge we descended yet another set of stairs, putting us squarely within the limits of Mayer Wormface’s realm.

As always a litany of strange, gruesome, and truly spectacular animatronics dotted the haunted halls of Dead House although it was with some disappointment that we found several of the rampaging robots non-operational. We were also less than impressed with the scant cast of live workers inside House of the Dead. The darkly jovial patriarch however remains as entertaining as ever, stationed this season by Hellivator, the rest of the cast would do well to take their cues from him.

New horrors inside of House of the Dead this year include highly convincing animatronic snakes that descend upon haunters from above, hissing menacingly. My favorite addition was a room in which the walls were smeared with children’s handprints and foreboding nursery rhymes. As we attempted to leave the room a huge, green hand shot out from a slot in the wall and attempted to snatch visitors. Shortly after escaping this scene we arrived outside once more surrounded now by fog and hanging corpses. As we traversed this last area of Dead House we were surprised by a tall, chainsaw equipped butcher.

Terror Town is a haunted attraction that I would recommend to anyone who has not yet paid it a visit. The sheer volume of animated props and creatures is overwhelming and the average haunter will witness things here that they aren’t likely to see anywhere else. You won’t breeze through this haunt in 5-10 minutes either, this year we spent a solid 25 minutes navigating our way through the dark confines of House of the Dead. Also of great interest at Terror Town is the effort to engage all five senses, a touch most attractions pay no attention. House of the Dead is not without flaws of course, the workers as previously mentioned left a lot to be desired this year. The animatronics, as impressive as they might be on their own, oftentimes feel out of place or poorly implemented. I prefer to see a haunt stick to the theme that it has set forth — a gigantic Rancor-like creature may not play into the continuity in this setting. I was also highly disappointed in the conclusion this year, a simple chainsaw surprise may be fitting for many haunts but not one as over the top as Terror Town’s House of the Dead. I can’t help but wonder if the operators at Terror Town aren’t resting on their laurels to some degree. Still, House of the Dead has an excellent atmosphere, top notch props, and loads of potential. I’d like to see more focus on the scare factor here and less on the wow factor.

Rating: 3.75 stars

“Show us your udders!”

-Cikalo, commanding a hefty street walker in Toledo with an old favorite

APPLE ORCHARD HORROR

On Sunday I paid a visit to Apple Charlie’s and experienced a completely different haunted attraction – Barn of Blood. Barn of Blood is a brief haunted jaunt, appropriately priced at just $5, and evokes the spirit of a bygone era of haunting. This was bare bones haunting and when executed properly it can be just as effective as any mega-haunt. It was a very dark and deathly quiet journey through the barn, I was pleasantly surprised by the number of workers hidden inside as well. There is room for improvement – some creative alterations to the interior structure and a little more intensity from the cast would make for an excellent if not small haunted attraction.

Rating: 3 stars