Archive for 13 feet under

2014 Haunt Season Rewind

Posted in Haunt Season Rewind with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 18, 2015 by bluefall8

We gather here at the genesis of another season of screams; night has descended and the doors to many haunted attractions hungrily await the arrival of eager guests. Accompanied by a rush of excitement and a tinge of dizzied disbelief, the first night of haunting of any season is a special outing. For myself and my faithful cohorts the season will officially commence tomorrow evening although at present we have not yet decided exactly where it is that we’ll be headed. Rest assured that the haunted highway will carry us to a destination where the first memories of the 2015 haunt season will be minted.

As we peer from this precipice with an eye on the immediate future let us pause for a few moments and reflect on the year that was — submitted for your approval here are some of the most memorable moments from the 2014 haunt season as recorded here on Horrorlust.

On the atmosphere of Corpse Barn Shock Haunt, 10/04/14

“The interior of the barn was littered with corpses indeed, it was as if the barn itself had been eviscerated. All about the floor in every direction laid piles of dummies; I wasn’t sure if this was the ritual site for a serial killer or merely the dumping grounds for plague victims, but the bodies were scattered, torn and in abundance.”

On a curiosity spotted in the dark at Psycho Path, 10/10/14

“…a strange sight greeted us as we rounded a corner — was that a floating head mere yards in front of us? Indeed, it was floating and glowing a magical shade of green. Wait a second?! Did my eyes deceive me? Was that a second head bobbing beside the first? Did the Gosch Brothers possess siamese twins who were aglow in the gloom like a pair of monstrous stars?!!”

On an oddly comedic character at Psycho Path, 10/10/14

“…and were guided by a husky harlequin who was surprisingly spry and had the odd habit of honking his own nose.”

On a wonderfully ridiculous reaction of a party member at Psycho Path, 10/10/14

“One cannot be sure of such things but a member of our group may have possibly fled with arms flailing above head looking all the world like Olive Oyl from Popeye.”

On a striking actor inside District 13 at The Fear Experience, 10/17/14

“In one corner, a frightening mime repeated the same stuttered movements like an animatronic in need of repair — his eyes were cold, lifeless, soul-sucking orbs.”

On a fellow patron who commented that she felt as if she would both urinate and vomit from fear while waiting in line at Bloodview, 10/17/14

“I was convinced by her body language that her statements weren’t merely for dramatic flair and I thus stepped back a few paces in order to avoid the splashback from any potential spew.”

On the overall flavor of the Gore House at Bloodview, 10/17/14

“The Gore House was a galleria of gross-outs and no trip is complete without passage through the one-of-a-kind vortex tunnel near the end of the structure, a vortex tunnel with the color and consistency of molten flesh.”

On an inimitable creep who inhabited Baby Doll Island at Bloodview, 10/17/14

“I couldn’t decide if he was a vampire, demon or merely the town pervert but he elicited a response and looked good doing it.”

On the aftermath of Splattertown at Wiard’s Night Terrors, 10/18/14

“As we exited, I conferred with Maddie and she too had shamelessly peppered the private parts of some dim-witted zombie.”

On an excellent bit of interaction inside the Ultimate Haunted Barn at Wiard’s Night Terrors, 10/18/14

“Curtis spoke rapidly of his vast collection of goods which were displayed throughout the room. He intimated that he had amassed such a treasure trove by less than honest means but in the next breath stated plainly that any accusations of such would not be met with politeness. Curtis spoke with quickness and clarity; his voice possessed a mesmerizing cadence dashed with a pinch of wit.”

On the eye-popping finale of Hush, 10/30/14

“My eyes darted from her to the frosty fellow inside the chamber. Had I just saw it blink? Was the equipment about to malfunction?! Just as she reassured us of the stability of the machinery, the cryogenic freak lurched forward and secured a meaty paw around the throat of our loquacious host.”

On a superb illusion at Dark Legacy, 10/30/14

“Static filled the screen for a moment but then a shape began to emerge from the white noise, a human face forced itself from the snow-driven abyss!”

On a particularly wild scene at Exit 13, 11/01/14

“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.”

On a fearless haunt actress at 13 Feet Under, 11/01/14

“She locked eyes, leaned in slowly, bared her teeth and sunk them straight into my hand.”

On a waltzing weirdo at The Crypt, 11/01/14

“…and in one unforgettable instance, a stout and hairy man confined to an inaccessible room, treated us to the most unsettling dance number since Buffalo Bill cut a rug in The Silence of the Lambs.”

On a large, freakish doll at The Realm of Darkness, 11/01/14

“One in particular caught my attention, it was several feet tall with a bulbous, unnaturally large head, a rictus grin and bore more than a passing resemblance to Howdy Doody.”

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2014 Star Ratings

Posted in Star Ratings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 19, 2015 by bluefall8

This list is not meant to be used to compare one haunted attraction to another. The star system (1 – 5 stars) is merely meant to reflect how well I felt each individual haunt executed their particular show. Haunted attractions are a unique breed of entertainment and the quality of a show can vary from night to night, hour to hour and guest to guest for a great many reasons.

As you’ll notice, haunts are listed below in descending order. Where there are multiple haunts with the same star rating (and that happened often in 2014) those attractions are listed in alphabetically.

Again, this list should not be used to gauge which haunt is better than another. Primarily, I use these lists for archival purposes so that I can have a record of the haunted houses I visited and how those attractions performed in a given year.

2014 STAR RATINGS

1. Centralia County Fair – 4.5 (The Fear Experience – Parma, OH.)

2. Dark Legacy – 4.5 (Wixom, MI.)

3. Exit 13 – 4.5 (Mt. Morris, MI.)

4. Hush – 4.5 (Westland, MI.)

5. Bloodview – 4.25 (Broadview Heights, OH.)

6. Zombie Uprising at Braxton Estate – 4.25 (The Fear Experience – Parma, OH.)

7. 13 Feet Under – 4 (Grand Blanc, MI.)

8. The Asylum – 4 (Wiard’s Night Terrors – Ypsilanti, MI.)

9. Centralia Mental Facility – 4 (The Fear Experience – Parma, OH.)

10. House of Nightmares 3D – 4 (Pontiac, MI.)

11. The Mind Shaft – 4 (Wiard’s Night Terrors – Ypsilanti, MI.)

12. Psycho Path – 4 (Flat Rock, MI.)

13. The Realm of Darkness – 4 (Pontiac, MI.)

14. Alien Caged Clowns – 3.75 (Wiard’s Night Terrors – Ypsilanti, MI.)

15. Corpse Barn Shock Haunt – 3.75 (Napoleon, MI.)

16. Ultimate Haunted Barn – 3.75 (Wiard’s Night Terrors – Ypsilanti, MI.)

17. District 13 – 3.5 (The Fear Experience – Parma, OH.)

18. Hayride of the Lost – 3.5 (Wiard’s Night Terrors – Ypsilanti, MI.)

19. The Crypt – 3.25 (Burton, MI.)

20. St. Lucifer’s Haunted Asylum – 3.25 (Grand Blanc, MI.)

21. The Catacombs & The Rusthole – 3 (Darksyde Acres – Jonesville, MI.)

22. The Dark Abyss – 2.75 (Darksyde Acres – Jonesville, MI.)

23. Fō-bē-ə – 2.75 (Wyandotte, MI.)

24. The Haunted Funeral Home – 1.25 (Inkster, MI.)

St. Lucifer’s Haunted Asylum, 13 Feet Under Form Formidable Double Feature

Posted in 2014, Review, St. Lucifer's with tags , , , , on July 5, 2015 by bluefall8

We rolled into the parking lot of Playland Park accompanied by an encroaching frost, but winter’s icy grip hadn’t discouraged thrill seekers who were lined up outside St. Lucifer’s Haunted Asylum. It was a heart-warming sight and the shot in the arm John and I needed in our quest for a record-setting night of fright.

While we waited in line we were delighted by a gruesome twosome who entertained guests with mild jump scares and a dash of humor. The first character was a sizable man in overalls and a cowboy hat and suffered from a curious condition in which a hog’s head protruded from his stomach. His cohort was a brightly dressed clown who carried with him a ventriloquist dummy with a punk rock style. The little guy sported multi-colored, wildly spiked hair, a vest, camouflage pants and a pair of black Chuck’s. His face too was painted as a clown. It was clear that these guys loved to mess with customers but to their credit they obliged any time somebody asked them to pose for a picture including yours truly.

Through my own set of Chuck’s my toes grew numb and after a short but pleasant conversation with the owner of the joint, John and I were admitted to St. Lucifer’s Haunted Asylum.

lucifers

Our journey into the madhouse known as St. Lucifer’s began in a box — an elevator to be precise, but this was no ordinary elevator. Even by haunted house standards this condemned transporter may be unique; fitted as it was with a peculiar sound system and one heart-pumping surprise. St. Lucifer’s spin on the so called Hellivator is an excellent way to send customers into the dark and served as one of the highlights of our experience.

Once free from the wild ride we pounded the halls of the haunted asylum and found that a slimy layer of frost had coated the floor throughout St. Lucifer’s. The slippery hallways and bone-chilling air created something of a surreal atmosphere; almost as if we had witnessed the ghost of the haunt season. The conditions put an odd thought into my head, that perhaps we weren’t allowed to be there, as if we had trespassed. Yeah, an early blast of winter will do some strange things to the mind of a hardcore haunter.

Determined not to be the next helpless souls permanently admitted to St. Lucifer’s and with a hearty fire that burned in our hearts we mustered the courage to forge ahead where we enjoyed an infinity hall created with the aid of light and mirrors and also appreciated a length of wall from which jutted numerous pairs of legs — storage for those who had expired within the confines of the haunted asylum.

It was obvious that the weather had sapped a lot of energy from the cast. Everyone gave an honest effort but it seemed the edge was off the performance and I couldn’t fault them because it was that cold. However, true to the spirit of the haunt season, there were those with thicker hides who dug down deep and delivered. There was a busty nurse who earned our respect simply because she wore a skimpy outfit in such conditions. There was also a short orderly who offered us some medication from her metallic tray and as we would find out, this particular pill could be administered rectally. Last but not least, there was Jimmy an unseen specter who engaged us in a spine-tingling game of hide-n-seek before we escaped St. Lucifer’s by way of an uber-tight womb of doom.

Rating: 3.25 stars

13feetunder

The wait for 13 Feet Under was much shorter and for that we were thankful. An armed guard decked out in military gear briefed us on the situation inside the area we were about to enter, but his instructions were cut short when the chained doors behind us began to sway from the weight of the infected that had amassed on the other side.

13 Feet Under utilized the concept of a military containment zone to further the story and drive the pace of the haunted attraction. It was a highly effective approach as it created an environment in which it was easy to suspend disbelief. We found ourselves actively slinking around passages in an attempt to conceal ourselves from the infected, varying our speed depending on the situation.

We came to a checkpoint near the halfway point of the attraction where another guard was stationed; in her left hand she held a chain. She rattled off a lot of information about the infected and how we should proceed if we planned to survive the ordeal but by attention was diverted by what was on the other end of the chain. A dark-haired infected full of sarcasm and a devil-may-care attitude grappled with the restraint and if I’m being completely honest, the diseased dame was making eyes at yours truly. I held up a gloved hand to test the veracity of the claims that were being made by the female soldier, besides I wasn’t so sure I didn’t want to be bitten by this particular infected as she possessed a dark allure. She locked eyes, leaned in slowly, bared her teeth and sunk them straight into my hand.

I was shocked and impressed and a little turned on (but not too turned on because it was freezing). She pulled back careful not to break eye contact, raised her eyebrows and flashed a devilish smirk. I turned to John and professed my disbelief as never before had a haunt actor taken the chomp test so far.

Stunned and more than a little enamored, John and I reluctantly trudged forward with my seemingly infected hand in tow. We ducked through open sewage pipes flush with grates that sent light from above streaming eerily through the slates. We rounded on a choke point and were intercepted by a wide-eyed survivor who advised us to halt for a moment before he noisily rushed us ahead. Before we had a chance to contemplate the need to hurry, a massive snake uncoiled from behind a wall and nearly took a bite of its own. In our haste we lost both the snake and the kind stranger.

In the distance, through a series of tall and winding wrought-iron fencing, we spotted a camper. Was it a safe haven from the infected? Was there medical personnel on hand that could deal with my love bite? Such thoughts were pushed aside when we were forced to participate in an impromptu game of red light/green light. In our delirium, we may have applied a loose interpretation of the rules and then fled like insects when the chatting of a chainsaw chewed through the frigid night air.

Rating: 4 stars

“She actually bit me…hard.” 

-My stunned reaction when the dark-haired dame called my bluff.

Haunts Ablaze Despite Frosty Day of the Dead

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 3, 2014 by bluefall8

There was an undeniable chill in the air this past Saturday when John and I set out to do something never before accomplished in Horrorlust history — tour four separate locations in a single night. It was so cold in fact that the previous night, Halloween, had been witness to an accumulation of snow fall throughout the Flint area; John and I saw the after effects with our own eyes, but as haunters we accept that adverse weather conditions come with the territory.

Our first stop brought us to Exit 13 which has shot up our list of favorite places in recent years and our latest trip served only to strengthen that notion. The haunt underwent a massive overhaul since 2013 with new scenes, scares and characters. Our journey was a lengthy one highlighted by an endless string of scares that fused both fun and fright. We even encountered an honest to God amputee — to the best of my knowledge a Horrorlust first.

We came next to Playland Park in Grand Blanc which boasts the double bill of St. Lucifer’s and 13 Feet Under each Halloween season. I was delighted to find a Big Bertha arcade game inside the main building prior to entering any of the attractions. What’s that you say; you’re not familiar with Big Bertha? My friend, you haven’t lived! No childhood is complete without a round of Big Bertha! But I digress.

13 Feet Under featured a fun theme that drove the pace of the attraction which was punctuated with several unique design characteristics such as the area with sewer tunnels and grates. Here too we experienced another Horrorlust first when an actor bit me! That’s right, I was straight up chomped. No joke. When I was informed of a certain haunt hottie’s taste for flesh I offered up my gloved hand as a tempting morsel and she quickly obliged with a genuine bite! Now that is commitment to the scare.

St. Lucifer’s Haunted Asylum was fun as well but boy was it cold! Kudos to the actors who braved the elements to give patrons a show. It was so cold that the floors of St. Lucifer’s were coated with a thin layer of frost in many areas. How can the patients sleep at night under such conditions much less make suitable specimens for experimentation?!

Next, we zipped down to The Crypt and I’m proud to say that we were the final group through for the 2014 season. The Crypt employed a number of physically imposing actors who taunted us in the first half of the haunt and then allowed the animatronics and props to take over during the back half of this hodgepodge madhouse.

The haunt fates had indeed decided to smile upon us as we were left with plenty of time to reach Pontiac and The Realm of Darkness where we were mightily impressed by House of Nightmares 3D. The length had been majorly beefed up since last year, several areas featured artwork that erupted off of the walls and floor and the conclusion was a vibrant, technicolored display of violence from that ever-hostile harlequin, Bowbee!

The Realm of Darkness itself was yet another long and immersive trek marked by colorful characters and unsettling scenery. The remnants of Sinister were alive and kicking and thrilled us with their signature blend of humor and horror. A few highlights include John being serviced in a most peculiar way (yet another Horrorlust first!), myself being admonished for dishonoring a highly suspect lady and a unique display of sea legs by the inimitable Captain Sage. The level of detail here remained impressive and served as an excellent playground for the Sinister crew to ply their craft.

A big thank you to everybody who welcomed us into their respective house of horrors on Saturday night and in the process helped to create a memorable night in the history of Horrorlust.

As always, full reviews will be posted as they are completed.

Haunt Bonanza to Bury 2014 Season

Posted in Preludes and Nocturnes with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 1, 2014 by bluefall8

In the annals of our haunted history there are good nights and there are bad nights and then there are those nights that live on in legend — instantly enshrined as a classic; memories etched in time. As the clock winds down on the 2014 haunt season perhaps the haunt fates will smile upon our audacious plan and in the process create Horrorlust history.

Tonight, we shall attempt a feat that has alluded us for many moons; a task made near impossible by sheer odds and practicality. I believe in the magic of the season and at this time of year when the veil between worlds is at its thinnest the impossible has a way of being manifest. Tonight there is a keyhole, a harmonic convergence of time and space and if we can navigate our path with precision we can accomplish a feat for the ages and experience a night never to be forgot.

4 locations, 7 haunts.

The night will begin at Exit 13 in Mt. Morris where we have twice witnessed stellar shows fueled by an unpredictable horde of loud n’ proud hellions. In 2012 and 2013 Exit 13 was an honorable mention for the Horrorlust Samhain Award and in 2013 was also an honorable mention for the Horrorlust Monster Award. Is this the night Exit 13 emerges from the shadows and claims a crown of its own? And what kind of an impact will the new attraction Total Blackout make?

On Halloween 2011 we enjoyed an electric night of haunting at St. Lucifer’s, 13 Feet Under and The Crypt — in addition to Exit 13 we’ll pay a return visit to each of these as well. The duo served as an honorable mention that year for the Horrorlust Samhain Award. St. Lucifer’s was packed with unique characters and grizzly scenes while 13 Feet Under wove a tale of terror through the ruined, zombie-infested cityscape. The Crypt presented us with an unsettling claustrophobic, ambiance in what seemed a cross between Hoarders and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. What goodies will each of these locations have in store for us tonight?!

Then the flight to the finish will truly be on as we coast down southbound I-75 in pursuit of history and blaze a trail to The Realm of Darkness in Pontiac. We’ve had many enjoyable trips through the vaunted Realm of Darkness and it would seem that a sinister infusion has restored the wizard’s dominion to its former glory. The Realm of Darkness has collected several awards over the years including the 2007 Horrorlust Haunt of the Year Award and the 2010 Horrorlust Monster Award.

And the intrigue doesn’t end with a record shattering night of haunted houses; there is still the matter of the 2014 Haunt of the Year. We have witnessed some worthy contenders thus far this Halloween season but the door is certainly open for a late season contender to secure the top prize.

Happy Haunting.

Casual Haunter’s Guide

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2014 by bluefall8

Haunted attractions come in all shapes, sizes and styles and it can be difficult to decide which establishment is worthy of your hard-earned dollars and if you’ve procrastinated until the very night of Samhain itself then you are indeed in need of help.

My band of merry haunters and I have traveled to many lands over the last decade in search of fun and fright, and have on this Halloween prepared for you a list of our most favorite locations which we’re sure will delight and excite.

In no particular order…

Erebus, Pontiac, MI. – It may not be the darling of hardcore haunters but let there be no doubt that Erebus has stood the test of time and has never failed to deliver the goods. The army of animatronics and actor-controlled puppets featured at Erebus is unrivaled by anything in the Metro-Detroit area. Anybody who enjoys haunted attractions should tour Erebus at least once.

Terror Town, Maumee, OH. – House of the Dead can rival Erebus for mechanized monstrosities per square foot and features a number of special effects witnessed at precious few locations. The static props found throughout the bowels of House of the Dead are among the most frightening and lifelike on the market.

Exit 13, Mt. Morris, MI. – One of the most in-your-face, physical casts a haunted house can legally spawn. Quality design, near perfect pace and a blend of laughs and scares alike.

Hush, Westland, MI. – A young haunt with a lot of guts highlighted by some seriously killer scenes and top notch acting.

Bloodview, Broadview Heights, OH. – Staffed by the best troupe of actors a haunted house could possibly want; a group known as the Legion of Terror. The show is re-themed each weekend, the main building has one of the best designs we’ve ever witnessed.

Darksyde Acres, Jonesville, MI. – You never quite know what you’re going to encounter at Darksyde Acres. Come for the scares, stay for the vivacious haunt hotties.

Haunted Hydro, Fremont, OH. – Crazy Bob Turner is a class act of the industry and a true artisan of his craft, the old hydro dam is an excellent structure for a haunted attraction and the location exudes the very spirit of Halloween.

Slaughterhouse Adventure, Fowlerville, MI. – Most effective mix of story, illusion and comedy. Slaugherhouse features three attractions including a haunted barn, haunted corn maze and haunted hayride. Do yourself a favor and spring for the combo package.

Haunted Farm of Terror, Lenox Township, MI. – We’ve only visited The Haunted Farm of Terror once (2009) but to this day we have yet to witness a more electrifying and unique haunted hayride.

Other notable Michigan locations include St. Lucifer’s & 13 Feet Under (Grand Blanc), Wiard’s Night Terrors (Ypsilanti) Village of the Living Dead (St. Charles), The Realm of Darkness (Pontiac) and Dark Legacy (Wixom).

I encourage you to poke around Horrorlust for past reviews (use the drop-down window on the right hand side of the homepage) on all of these attractions and furthermore I welcome any feedback you may have regarding your own experiences.

Happy Haunting.

2011 Horrorlust Haunt Awards

Posted in Awards with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 4, 2012 by bluefall8

As we get ready to set off on the first big haunted house outing of the season, we take a few moments to reflect on the best that last season had to offer. The Haunt Trinity recognizes nine dreadful categories, two of which are new this year. Our traditional seven categories include: Monster, Killer Automatons, Eerie Vibrations, Pulse Pounder, Dark Horse, Rotten Pumpkin, and of course, Haunt of the Year. Our newest awards are Prop Master and Samhain, descriptions precede each award.

Rotten Pumpkin – The Rotten Pumpkin award is given to the haunt considered to be the most disappointing of the season. Disappointment may be the result of an over hyped marketing campaign or the failure of the haunt to live up to expectations set forth in previous seasons. Whatever the case may be let there be no doubt that the haunt receiving this unwanted distinction truly dropped the ball, failing to provide a worthwhile show.

2011 Rotten Pumpkin: Anxiety Alley

Dishonorable Mention: Big Top Terror (Terror Town)

It was sad to see the modular haunt of my childhood fall to such an abysmal low but that was the show we were presented. The scares were non existent and the few scenes that were featured were entirely uninspiring. The whole operation was poorly managed, very poorly managed.

Eerie Vibrations – The Eerie Vibrations award is given to the haunt considered to exude the best overall atmosphere. Atmosphere is defined by the mood of the haunt itself but can also be fostered by immediate grounds or even the surrounding area.

2011 Eerie Vibrations: Darksyde Acres

Honorable Mention: The Funeral Home

Strangely void of any other guests when we arrived, the silence permeating the grounds of this former pig farm spoke volumes. Stranger still was the surreal cyberpunk-thrash metal-hardcore haunting vibe that oozed throughout the main attraction. I couldn’t help but feel like we’d stepped into some kind of 70’s snuff film…and that was a good thing.

Dark Horse – The Dark Horse award is given to the haunt considered to have the most potential for growth. Criteria for this award include the ability to deliver an entertaining show at a relatively small venue and at a reduced rate. Think of the Dark Horse award as the Haunt Trinity’s way of recognizing the little haunt that could.

2011 Dark Horse: Krazy Hilda’s Barn of Doom

Honorable Mention: Realm of Haunted Minds

An all volunteer effort steeped in the fundamentals of haunting, Krazy Hilda’s featured a cast of lovable ghouls (but not too lovable) who enjoyed scaring us and making us laugh. This, coupled with some unique room design and a good length made Krazy Hilda’s the obvious pick for this award.

Killer Automatons – The Killer Automatons award is given to the haunt that best integrates animatronics into its attraction. When determining this award several factors are considered including timing, prop placement, realism, and sheer wow effect.

2011 Killer Automatons: House of the Dead (Terror Town)

Honorable Mention: Chelsea Feargrounds

Although several of Terror Town’s demonic denizens weren’t functioning properly those that were secured this award for a second consecutive year. Admittedly, some of the animatronics are accompanied by few set pieces and are simply meant to wow guests with sheer size. However, those that are truly impressive are the electronic entities that have been integrated seamlessly into a larger theme — such as the giant hand in the twisted nursery. It’s those moments that allow House of the Dead to claim this award once more.

Monster – The Monster award is given to the haunt considered to have the best live actors of the season. In order to claim this award workers must display a certain level of intensity as well as a refusal to break character. Also crucial is the ability to improvise lines or actions when adapting to an individual guest or group.

2011 Monster: Darksyde Acres

Honorable Mention: The Haunting

The odd, perverted, and sultry band of ghouls at Darksyde Acres was truly what set this attraction apart from all others in 2011. They were completely committed to scaring guests or grossing them out or even kissing them if such would be required. Some may say the actors at Darksyde are less thespians than they are deranged masochists playing out their sick and twisted fantasies — and that’s alright by me.

Prop Master – The Prop Master award is given to the haunt considered to have best implemented props into the attraction. A prop may be considered a piece of furniture, a weapon, or a dummy. The haunt that claims this award will have paid special attention to placement, function, and realism.

2011 Prop Master: Tent of Terror (The Boneyard)

Honorable Mention: The Deadland

The main attraction at the Boneyard burst at the seams with props, but it wasn’t just the sheer quantity that helped Tent of Terror snag this award. Rather it was the placement of said props in appropriately themed settings, underscored by the workers who interacted with the props in various creative and entertaining ways.

Pulse Pounder – The Pulse Pounder award is given to the haunt considered to be the most intense attraction of the season. Intensity can be gauged by a number of factors including commitment of actors, gory or realistic scenes, and harsh or loud music and sound effects. However, the most important element when considering this award is genuine fear factor.

2011 Pulse Pounder: Darksyde Acres

Honorable Mention: Tent of Terror (The Boneyard)

Our journey through Darksyde Acres sparked within me that primal fear that can only be stirred by the threat of the dark unknown. It seems to happen less and less as we visit more haunted attractions and therefore this award was well deserved.

Samhain – This award recognizes the most enjoyable night of haunting in a given season. A plethora of factors are considered when deciding this award but at the end of the season it comes down to the night of haunting that provided us with the most scares, laughs, and memories.

2011 Samhain: October 14, 2011 (Krazy Hilda’s, Chelsea Feargrounds, The Boneyard)

Honorable Mention: October 31, 2011 (St. Lucifer’s Haunted Asylum, 13 Feet Under, The Crypt)

On this date we made haunting an all night affair and oh what a fling it was! We began the night at Krazy Hilda’s where we witnessed the best overall volunteer effort in our haunting history. Next, we had all our senses assailed at the high-energy, mad house known as Chelsea Feargrounds. Finally, we burned the midnight oil with three substantial attractions at The Boneyard.

Haunt of the Year – The Haunt of Year award is given to the haunt considered to be the best overall attraction of the season. When deciding on this award several factors are taken into consideration including the timing and intensity of actors, the pace and length of the haunt, attention to detail, use of special effects, realism of props, and most importantly the lasting imprint left on guests.

2011 Haunt of the Year: Darksyde Acres

Honorable Mention: Chelsea Feargrounds

It was early in the haunting season when we paid a visit to Darksyde Acres but it certainly left a lasting impression. If the cast wasn’t firing on all cylinders that night I can’t wait to return during the prime of this season of screams. The usual haunt etiquette was discarded with wanton recklessness and the result was a stroke of awe inspiring giddiness.