Archive for the Exit 13 Category

Exit 13 a Livewire of Horror

Posted in 2015, Exit 13, Review with tags , , on June 28, 2016 by bluefall8

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It isn’t easy for a haunted attraction to continually improve from season to season, in fact, it’s hard. John and I have found that repeated trips to the same attraction year after year without a break can render even our favorite places a bit stale. 2015 marked the fourth consecutive year that John and I had visited Exit 13 but there was no sign of fatigue; the brazen barbarians who call this place home are determined to rewrite the rule book.

In 2014, Exit 13 was crowned the Horrorlust Haunt of the Year and I had no doubt that the psycho-charged cast would do their utmost to defend that title. We pulled into a packed parking lot and saw a long, winding line of eager faces who had also come to experience Exit 13. Along with John and I was Steve an Exit 13 virgin. No worries though, the freaks inside are expert in the art of popping haunt cherries!

ROCK’EM SOCK’EM HALLOWEEN SPOOKS

Exit 13 was it’s usual self, that is to say, a bad ass blend of in-your-face antics and old school minimalism — no place does it better. The textured walls and expansive environment psyche you out and keep one guessing throughout the dark, winding journey. And then, all of a sudden — you aren’t alone anymore. Dinner is served with a promise of dessert from a southern belle transsexual named Francine and Francine isn’t a shy lass. It’s said that a man’s stomach is the way to his heart and this is true, but I can’t be bought so cheaply (I mean, a single meal? Come on!). While my companions howled with laughter, Francine was denied the kiss she so desired by the timely magic of a hidden door that whisked me into darkness and away from her eager, puckered lips.

Francine wouldn’t be the last femme fatale who took a shine to yours truly, approximately midway through the haunt I was held captive by another woman. This one had a thick eastern European accent and she brandished a bone. I was ordered behind a counter where a second much taller woman stood. My friends were ordered to leave the room which they did without much resistance, traitors.

Meanwhile, Helga and her pet giantess formed a human barrier around me. The giantess was silent but I feared she would be quick to anger and thus I didn’t dare risk rousing her temper with my usual sarcastic comments. Helga, however, spoke at length in that ominous, old world accent. It seemed she had plans for one hell of a soup and she fancied me as the main ingredient. Thankfully, Helga had a change of heart and decided perhaps I was too sweet for her soup. Helga ordered me out of her kitchen. I glanced over my shoulder once more at the mute giantess, she didn’t flinch, she only glowered. I dashed from the pair with expediency on a mission to reunite with my party, but alas, Helga had held me in her clammy clutches for too long. I had no choice but to continue the treacherous trek through Exit 13, alone.

As I navigated the dark passages, I encountered a dead end which had been fitted with a full-length mirror which provided an unexpected startle when a strobe light revealed my own face — it was a serious moment of disassociation that made me feel oddly uncomfortable. Further on ahead I entered an elaborate cemetery and was forced to crawl through a hole in the wall of a mausoleum. On hands and knees, I gingerly progressed through the narrow shaft and all the while I had visions of decomposed hands clutching at my flesh.

Free of the cemetery, I found myself in yet another dark passage when a long-haired patient, atop a gurney, propelled the contraption in my direction. I dodged it but not by much and as a reward for that feat of dexterity I would shortly be roughed up by a pair of malevolent clowns who sent me tumbling through the exit where I was finally reunited with John and Steve.

Rating: 4.25 stars

TOTAL BLACKOUT TRUE TO ITS NAME

Exit 13 had added a second attraction in 2015 — a no frills, blackout maze that was indeed devoid of almost all light. We were greeted at the entrance by a sizable clown who had the curious habit of speaking in two completely different voices. It was as if two separate entities had decided to take up residence in the same body and I got the distinct impression that at least one, if not both, of those personalities had some molester tendencies.

Once he had finished horrifying us into a collective coma, the harlequin slunk off to do what I’m sure were perverse things. We entered Total Blackout and spend a fair amount of time trudging through the blackened halls. There was one point where my hand touched something damp and furry attached to a wall, a conversation about wet, fuzzy muffs ensued briefly. The back-and-forth upset the locals as unseen forces could be heard growling at us from the dark.

Total Blackout has potential to expand and evolve; it can be a great experimental attraction for Exit 13 going forward. Here’s to future zaniness!

Rating: 2.75 stars

Exit 13 Burns Hot during Frostbitten Finale

Posted in 2014, Exit 13, Review with tags , , , , , , on June 26, 2015 by bluefall8

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When John and I set out to make Horrorlust history last November 2nd it would be amidst some seriously frigid weather that threatened to sap the last burst of energy the 2014 haunt season had to offer, but as we were about to discover the lovable loonies at Exit 13 would have none of that.

Our adventure began when we were detained by Officer Hottie Pants, a tall and hairy 30-something male who attempted to intimidate us with the rules of the house. If his short-shorts weren’t enough, his moderately doughy gut exposed beneath his undersized tee-shirt suggested he would pounce on even a whiff of unlawful behavior and personally administer a full body cavity search. Neither John nor myself was in the mood to hear the cold snap of a rubber glove and as such we quickly agreed to follow all of the rules. Soon, free of the dubiously named Officer Hottie Pants, we descended into a crypt then through twin vortexes and into the raging horror show that is Exit 13.

There was a recurring bumpkin-gone-bad theme present at Exit 13, most notable was a tightly designed area lined with cornstalks that also featured the convincing facade of a humble hillbilly homestead. Outside the home and among the rows of corn were various clotheslines from which hung peeled and drying faces — an excellent touch. Elsewhere in the attraction was a spacious and painstakingly detailed general store that would’ve been right at home in Children of the Corn. And I would be remiss if I failed to mention the rotund redneck we encountered in one room who enjoyed a large pot of stew in which the key ingredient was dear old mom.

But there was more to Exit 13 than rural settings and scares, for instance, we were struck by the unsettling doll room that featured one life-like creature who’s howling, porcelain visage is emblazoned in my mind to this day. Once we were free of that threat we were surprised by an enormous reaper who emitted a bioluminescent glow.

As the attraction drew to a close we happened upon a mausoleum where I was bodily lifted from my feet by a stout but seriously strong creep who picked me up by my armpits and held me against a wall of the crypt. When he had relinquished his grip John and I scooted into the adjoining graveyard where Stout n’ Strong and one of his minions secured my arms and legs and attempted to serve me up to a couple of approaching zombies.

Exit 13 wasn’t quite finished with us yet, no before we emerged with hides relatively intact, we would be assailed by iron hulks, harassed by a gang of crazies who tickled us with buzzing chainsaws and my hat was even stolen momentarily when a prisoner in a plague masked snatched it from my head. And most of that took place while we marveled at a hot, sadistic nurse who tortured a wailing amputee! On top of that, we would later discover that the missing leg was no gag.

Exit 13 excelled on so many levels as a haunted attraction by successfully blending a variety of scenes and scares. The entirety of the haunt is highly detailed and filled with immersive environments. In addition it also featured a complimentary balance of blackout halls, descending pathways and interestingly textured walls. It’s a lengthy haunted house that managed to maintain an ideal pace, populated by a fearless cast who utilized every tactic available to scare actors.

As good as Exit 13 has been it still has yet to reach it’s full potential, and that is definitely a compliment. After talking to some of the key people behind the attraction it’s clear that they’re intent on expansion, and quite frankly there isn’t a haunted playground big enough for the supercharged psychos that call Exit 13 home.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Screwball Cast Ignites Exit 13

Posted in 2013, Exit 13, Review with tags , , , , , , , , on January 22, 2014 by bluefall8

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The final haunt of the season always brings with it a mixture of excitement, sadness, and a tinge of disbelief. For the better part of two months my companions and I eat, sleep, and breathe haunted attractions and when the season inevitably draws to a close there’s a lot of information to process. We believe in going out with a bang and we could think of no other place to be on the final night of the haunt season than Exit 13 in Mt. Morris.

Our first trip through Exit 13 came in 2012 and both John and I were very impressed with what we witnessed. Ownership of the attraction changed hands last winter but the iconic name stuck and the new crew set out to top their predecessors. John and I arrived past the eleven o’clock hour on a chilly, dreary night eager to inject that final haunt fix directly into our veins.

Our journey began in front of a black door, a narrow slot had been inlaid at eye level. Suddenly the slot was thrust open, a bushy handlebar mustache was accompanied by a pair of bulging eyes. After a brief exchange the door was opened and I couldn’t help but feel as if we’d just been sucked into some bizarre Wizard of Oz scenario. Once inside the wizardly wanna-be got a bit physical before he allowed us to continue on our trip.

As we delved deeper into the darkness of Exit 13 we would discover the ghastly cast to be energized, abnormal, and without restraint. We were attacked by a mustachioed, little man in a dress, accused of terrible acts during a forced confessional, and roughed up by a gruesome gal who wildly spun yours truly about and then pinned me to a wall (and she didn’t even charge!).

In other areas of the attraction we enjoyed some scenery and a few jump scares. While we traversed a dense woodland area populated by frightening tribal figures, one creep emerged from the brush to deliver an effective moment of terror. Conversely, we were also treated to some humor when we were violently admonished for ogling the mountainous breasts of a convalescing grandma.

However, Exit 13 had saved the best for last as John and I would soon find out. We found ourselves in a strobe-lit hall, in the shadowy distance a sinister shape lumbered toward us. As the figure drew closer the ghoulish features of its face came into full view — darkened eyes leered at us hungrily above a mouth full of jagged teeth. The whole hideous facade was caged behind a metal box that had been mounted to the freak’s head.

Moments later we entered a neatly constructed room that featured cornstalks, a scarecrow, and a murder a swirling crows. And just as we departed that inventive scene we found ourselves first inside of a crypt and then an adjacent cemetery where we were pursued by some famished zombies. We fled that nightmare landscape only to soon find ourselves surrounded by a pack of disturbed clowns who first threatened and then tickled us with buzzing chainsaws.

We were very impressed with the job that the new staff was able to do. The operators overhauled much of the attraction from 2012, in addition many of the scenes or gags that were left intact from the previous season had been successfully tweaked. But make no mistake, the heart and soul of Exit 13 was the lovable cast of loonies who displayed such passion for their craft. The gang here was a versatile bunch equally skilled in both fun and fright.

Once we had emerged from the darkness of Exit 13 we had a lengthy conversation with the owner and a senior staff member who has served as a helping hand at Exit 13 since its introduction to the Flint horror scene. As we learned from the tandem, in 2014 Exit 13 will undergo a complete overhaul and that is an exciting prospect.

With shades of old school, in-your-face aggression, and instances of tasteless, odd ball humor — Exit 13 has quickly become one of my favorite places to visit during the haunt season.

Rating: 4.25 stars

Old School Romp at Exit 13

Posted in 2012, Exit 13, Review with tags , , , , , , on October 18, 2012 by bluefall8

Our final stop last Friday night brought us to Exit 13 in Mt. Morris just north of Flint. We pulled into the parking lot of a dilapidated building, brush ran wild in untended thickets — it looked as if the place had been abandoned for at least a decade. There was scarcely a crowd at the entrance, a lone group stood hesitantly outside the doors, a boy of roughly twelve was visibly crying — he had yet to enter the attraction — on the inside I had a laugh. We purchased our tickets from an unsettlingly quiet and stoney eyed senior citizen, the creep factor inched a bit higher. We walked to the front of the queue line as there wasn’t a wait — an obscure, low budget film was being projected on the far wall but we had no time for such table dressing the ghouls at Exit 13 awaited our arrival.

As it were a member of the group we had witnessed milling about nervously when we arrived decided he’d rather go with us. His name was Corey and he latched onto my arm as if I were his date for the night. We were greeted by a man who identified himself as Dr. John, doctor of what he did not say. Dr. John comically explained to us that there were no rules at Exit 13 and that the monsters within would indeed touch us and as he said this I felt a pair of hands grab my ankles, this would occur at various times throughout the haunt and it provided that spooky vibe that only an unseen menace can conjure up.

Exit 13 employed a minimalist approach — the whole of the attraction was dark and cold — and reminded me greatly of the old school stylings put forth at the Extreme Scream. By the way — does anybody know what’s become of the Extreme Scream? I miss it dearly. Exit 13 provided rooms with an interesting twist such as the darkly reflective tinfoil room and the narrow passage where a towering wall of water cooler jugs nearly buried us alive. The actors were something of a mixed bag, but the crew was plentiful and on average they performed admirably. A few of the workers did deliver lackluster scares and in one crucial scene a scare came far too late but the cast was lively and genuinely seemed to be enjoying themselves.

We very much enjoyed the Christmas room which was cozy and yet some how horrific simultaneously. It’s neat to see a scene like this in a haunted attraction flush with Christmas decorations and lighting — a stark contrast indeed. It was here that an ill timed scare could’ve been so much more, we did give the evil helper ample opportunity to spring his trap but not every scare can be a work of art. Later on we stumbled upon an enthusiastic preacher who bullied us from his pulpit and commanded us sinners to step in the confessional. I thought for a moment that we would be locked inside of a small room and forced to repent but my anticipation soon diminished as we merely proceeded into the next hallway with no further interaction — yet another opportunity lost in my opinion.

Elsewhere we came upon a small window which afforded us the opportunity to peer inside of a bedroom (oh, kinky) that we would soon enter. I enjoy these type of features in haunted attractions because it adds a twist to the impending scare. The operators are giving you a glimpse of what you must face, a disturbed girl sat in front of a mirror combing her hair, but you know that this won’t be it — someone or something was bound to join her soon. We escaped this scene and proceeded to something neither John or I had witnessed before — a clear Womb of Doom?! It was an incredible and fanciful sight — suffocating inflatable walls pushed in on us from either side except they were a semi-clear plastic and a multitude of bright lights swirled about them. The overall effect was quite dazzling and to add to the excitement the crazed girls we’d escaped from a room prior were now thrashing at us from the other side of the thin walls. This was one of my favorite features of the attraction I only wish it had been utilized to maximum effect and used near the conclusion of the haunt where it would have been much better suited in a thematic sense.

As we neared the final third of Exit 13 we found ourselves caged as animals, a chain linked fence comprised the ceiling above our heads. This is a little used design strategy that I’ve only witnessed at a few haunted houses — Demonic Demons comes to mind most readily — but it provides for an easy assault from above and indeed a wily ghoul beat the top of the fence with shovel whilst shouting insults and threats. By this time our pal Corey had danced a circle of fear around John and I both as he comically talked trash to the monsters while using us as human shields. The chase was on now as we braved the final onslaught of Exit 13 — a giant sized cretin stalked us through a room full of drums, beating on them violently as we proceeded.

A livid nurse ushered us into a hospital room where a retarded man was about to give birth, yes you read that correctly. Suddenly, the newborn sprung forth from beneath his gown and swung wildly by his umbilical cord. The offspring flopped to the ground on the side of the gurney and lay limp. The new parent cast me a confused or bemused or maybe it was just a plain ole retarded look. I approached the bed and picked the apparent still born up off of the floor — it was spongy and skeletal and completely absurd. I handed the baby to the mustachioed father and gave my congratulations, he stared at me with googly eyes and nodded stupidly before pointing to the next room. I glanced back before I proceeded, wondering if I had actually just witnessed a mentally challenged person exploited in a haunted attraction. It was either that or that guy was the best damn actor I’ve encountered at any such attraction — gave me a laugh nonetheless.

Finally, we entered into a large room where several clowns had run a mock. One gleefully peddled a tricycle much too small for himself while another furiously cranked the handle on an immense box. The box sprung open and a third clown raced toward our group, poor Corey nearly hit the ceiling not knowing which way to run. He bolted for the exit where a fourth clown, this one of the hefty sort, greeted him with a chainsaw! The quartet paraded about the room madly for a few moments before they relented and granted us our freedom.

Admittedly, Exit 13 fell short in some areas as I’ve mentioned but on the whole the operators stuck to the fundamentals of haunting and managed to deliver both laughs and scares along the way. A number of the scenes I’ve mentioned were quite creative and full of energy – – John and I saw a couple of things that we hadn’t quite experienced before and for that Exit 13 deserves high marks. With a more consistent cast, a little more emphasis on interactive environments, and a few design tweaks — Exit 13 could be even better still. Regardless, I look forward to returning one day perhaps when we get around to that weekend long Flint area haunt crawl.

Rating: 4 stars

“Congratulations, it’s a…it’s a….we’ll it’s a something.”

“(Unintelligible groaning)” 

-My interaction with the proud father as I presented him with his clearly dead newborn.