Archive for 2006

Halloween Companion Number 2

Posted in Hallowblog with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2014 by bluefall8

This would be the final entry of the 2006 Halloween season; as with the first Halloween Companion, it too highlighted a film and monster. I also waxed nostalgic with a timeline of Halloween past. This was originally posted on Thursday, October 26, 2006. 

Last week I went on at length about zombies, most of you will find comfort in the fact that I do not plan for the second entry of the Halloween Companion Series to be nearly as long. I will feature another Halloween ghoulie and another recommended flick but I also have something else. When I first conceived the idea of a companion blog to the Halloween themed Word of the Week I mentioned that such a blog would include recollections of Halloween past; tonight I plan to deliver.

Before I get to any of that however I have a small note worth mentioning. Stating the obvious here, I’m a huge fan of haunted attractions and before the season is up I plan to share this year’s experiences with you fine folks. With that in mind I’d love to hear about any haunted attraction stories you might have. Alright then let’s get to it, shall we?

I’ll begin with the recommended film which was added to the Halloween lexicon not so long ago. The film became one of my favorites when I first viewed it at the age of eleven or twelve. I speak of the stop motion animated gem that is Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. I was intrigued by the dark imagery and the notion that a town’s sole purpose was to celebrate Halloween. It was a fun story with catchy, darkly humorous songs. Over the years I have caught myself either singing the tunes of Halloween Town or putting my own nonsensical lyrics to the same beat. The fat kid in the striped shirt never ceases to amuse me; fat little, weird lookin’, bastard. Bottom line: a fun, modern day Halloween classic in my book, should be watched by any and all Halloween or stop motion animation enthusiasts.

See that wasn’t so bad was it? Not nearly the length of my Night of the Living Dead tribute, was it? But now we need ourselves a creature, which to choose? I could go with one of the classics, a witch, werewolf, or vampire? A mummy perhaps? Or will it be a goblin, demon, ghost, or mad scientist? No, I think I’ll choose something to satisfy my carnivalesque urges. Yeah that’s right, I have carnivalesque urges. Therefore the featured monster is a clown. No, not those happy, juggling, dumb sons of bitches; I’m talking about those evil, demented, bloody knife wielding freak shows. You know the ones, when you see them you involuntarily shit your pants. The bulging, crazed eyes, shockingly bright, wild hair, and a grin so wide it can’t possibly mean anything aside from sinister intentions. Any clown is creepy but evil clowns can peer into a soul and devour it from the inside. Despite all of this inherent depravity I applaud them for the twisted element of fear they’ve brought to Halloween. Anyone interested in getting familiar with these strange creatures can read Stephen King’s It and watch the film based on the book. Such individuals may also be interested in the 1988 cut-rate horror flick, Killer Klowns from Outer Space. The Nickelodeon series Are You Afraid of the Dark featured an episode titled, “The Tale of the Ghastly Grinner” that may also interest said parties. In fact there is a wealth of horror fiction that features murderous clowns; most of it is designed to frighten but some will undoubtedly elicit laughter. As long as you steer clear of the Insane Clown Posse you’ll be alright; if you’re a douche bag you can run right on in.

I was unable to decide on just one Halloween memory so instead of one in-depth recollection I offer in its place several short Halloween snippets.

Halloween 1995: Mike Blackwell and I pounded the streets of Lincoln Park amassing an impressive haul of candy. Our path would lead us to Coney Island on the corner of Dix and London where we would inquire about free Halloween Coney dogs, we received Better Maid original flavor potato chips; what a rip.

Halloween 1997: I was fourteen and it would be the last year I went trick-or-treating. I had moved from Lincoln Park the previous fall but returned for Halloween night with my cousin John. We visited Craig’s house and were promptly informed by Craig that we were too old to be trick-or-treating; he reluctantly gave us some candy. We also stopped by Mike Blackwell’s house; I hadn’t talked to him very often since I moved. Mike gave us some sort of liquid stink bomb which John would later throw at a house on Pagel Street.

Halloween 1998: An eccentric 15-year-old dressed up like a devil and performed disco dance steps while passing out candy from the newly moved into Applewood house. The legendary Disco Devil may have been born but this was otherwise an uneventful and disappointing Halloween. To add insult to injury the Wings were thoroughly beaten by the Stars.

Halloween 1999: One of the all-time memorable Halloween nights. Whatever was lacking a year prior was made up for ten fold on this bizarre, fun-filled evening. On this night a bright 16-year-old with a penchant for mischief led a rag-tag team of vandals into his old stomping grounds. Trick-or-treating was shelved in favor of the more attractive trick-or-thieving. It was a night filled with theft, vandalism, and laughter. Rachel, John, Luke, Stu, and JVD, you’ll all be joining me in Hell.

Halloween 2000: Arguably worse than ’98, utterly boring. I spent the evening with the girlfriend at the time passing out candy and regretting that I wasn’t out doing something fun with my friends. The night was saved when our gang of usual suspects joined forces with another unit of wayward bandits and together TP’ed the Jefferson administration building.

Halloween 2002: The second time around at the Applewood house fared much better. My hair was jaggedly spiked in all directions and shaded a healthy blue. I dressed as a zombie and frightened kids by acting like a dummy inside of a casket. Halloween music blared from within the house as a strobe light haunted the atmosphere and a fog machine sent intermittent spurts of mystery into the night. My brother and his girlfriend were among my guests as well as good ole Barry Dotson and the one and only Devil Douche, Branden Morrison. Jason’s girlfriend had also brought some semi-skanky friend of hers who, despite our endless harassment, refused to lick Branden’s swollen nipple commonly referred to as Swowwen Nippo. Following trick-or-treating we hit the Scream Machine haunted attraction at Heritage Park, a well rounded Halloween.

Halloween 2005: The holiday itself was lackluster as I was stuck working the calendar kiosk at the Southland Mall. I was however permitted to dress up and pass out candy as the mall participated in some such thing; I made the best of it. The season overall was pretty good. My brother, Disco, and I hit two solid haunted attractions: The Chop Shop in Grosse Ile and the Nautical Nightmare located in River Rouge. Both featured a number of memorable moments but perhaps the best came from the Chop Shop. We made our way down a dark hallway when a voice began to call out, “I hope you’re hungry!” We turned a corner and entered a small room; the walls were splattered with blood. Against the far wall a guy was hunched over a toilet with his face buried inside when he raised his head he was eating ferociously. He offered us some and when we declined he pulled a bloody tampon out of the toilet, began licking it and proclaimed, “This, your old ladies.” Damn, how we laughed.

I’ll be back again with a special entry on Halloween night. Until then.

Choose your Mask

Posted in Hallowblog, Word of the Week with tags , on May 19, 2014 by bluefall8

In the latest Hallowblog flashback, we turn our attention once more to a spooky word. This would be the final installment of Word of the Week from that year; it was originally posted October 26, 2006.    

We have arrived at the last Halloween themed Word of the Week, I know it’s sad. However, you need not worry; much Halloween related content is yet to come. This week we have a word that helps define the essence of Halloween, an essential component of the mystique that shrouds the holiday. A mask is something that each of us wears through all the seasons of the year; some of us use only a few, others a plethora, and some possess masks for specific occasions. For the most part we choose not to acknowledge these masks, not to others and not to ourselves, we have our reasons. Halloween allows us that one chance to wear those masks openly and with glee. On this night we are allowed to become whoever we want if just for a brief period. The inappropriate becomes acceptable and we wander as we wish.

mask-noun: a cover for the face usually for disguise or protection, something that conceals or disguises.

Halloween Companion Number 1

Posted in Hallowblog with tags , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2014 by bluefall8

Here is the seminal post that would spur Hallowblog (and then Horrorlust) into existence — Halloween Companion Number 1. As you’ll soon read, the purpose of this entry was to highlight a creature of the night as well as one horror movie. It only seemed fitting to select the zombie as the featured monster and naturally Night of the Living Dead as the film. This post was originally written on Thursday, October 19, 2006.

Oh the excitement runs rampant! Rampant I tell you!! Freakin’ rampant!!! I mentioned last week that such an entry would manifest and so it is. Let’s dig into this bag of goodies.

For the first installment of the Halloween Companion I’ve decided to give you good people something of double feature. I call it a double feature because the creature and film highlighted in this entry are pretty cozy with each other; bedfellows you might say. C’mon people, consider the source, this one should be obvious.

Our creature…the zombie. (Seriously, did you expect something else?)

A rudimentary definition of a zombie would read, “a person who is believed to have died and been brought back to life without speech or free will.” That definition is not inaccurate but it is limited. It is essential to clinically, that is to say physically die in order to become a zombie. Logic follows that in order to be a zombie you must be reanimated and to be reanimated you must first die. The definition is also correct in saying that a zombie is without speech and free will. Typically the only sounds a zombie can make are moans and other guttural noises. The bit about free will definitely applies to zombies that have been reanimated by means of voodoo or other forms of black magic. This type of zombie is essentially a slave to the one who has given it a second life and when not being ordered to perform a task it will appear catatonic. This type of zombie does not present an inherent threat to human beings; it does only the bidding of its master. Unlike its cousin, that would be zombies in the Romero vein, the voodoo zombie does not feast upon warm human flesh.

And therein lies the great division between the voodoo zombie and the more prominent flesh eating ghoul. Rules regarding a zombie’s behavior vary slightly depending on the film maker’s intentions but as a template I will focus upon the those characteristics that define the Romero zombie, because truly, 1968’s Night of the Living Dead has served as the basis of zombie behavior for a plethora of films about the undead since.

These zombies do not possess great physical strength in fact they are commonly depicted as being physically weak, easily overpowered by would be human prey. Zombies are also typically slow moving, exceptions do exist, for examples of such view the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead and 28 Days Later. Even Romero strayed from traditional zombie behavior for his fourth zombie film, Land of the Dead although that was more a decision that was necessary to the story arch (the zombies were evolving) rather than a simple twist on an old staple. As if slow, awkward movements and physical prowess comparable to Minnie Mouse weren’t enough of a hindrance the zombie is also a dim-witted creature, again exceptions to the rule exist. With these attributes in mind it brings one to wonder why the hell a zombie is such a formidable foe. Slow, weak, and dumb; indeed it sounds more of an apt description of the kid picked last in gym than that of a vicious, undead murderer. But my friends, to recognize the zombie’s weaknesses and ignore it’s strengths would be foolish beyond a ballot cast in favor of the GOP, okay maybe not that foolish, but it would lead one down a terribly reckless path. Yes, we are faster, stronger, and most importantly, smarter than our hunters and we can wield those advantages against them but not without understanding their strengths and motivations.

The zombie possesses an edge in two crucial areas: strength in numbers and the ability to absorb massive amounts of physical damage. Zombies tend to gather in dense packs, presumably in areas where food (humans) is or was prevalent. They rarely acknowledge each other; doing so only when quarreling over a piece of a victim (a tasty intestine will always trigger a zombie throw down). Zombies also seem to possess some awareness of human presence even when said humans are out of sight, they will also become more active when warm flesh graces their sight. It is advisable that any number of humans avoid large groups of the undead lest you risk infection, which is a topic I’ll come to later. As prior mentioned zombies can sustain large amounts of physical damage without being killed…again. A zombie could have a limb torn off, an eye gouged out, or a spinal column severed, none of these methods will stop the zombie on it’s pursuit for human flesh. To effectively combat the undead one must, to quote many a zombie flick protagonist, “You gotta shoot’em in the head”. Decapitation has also proven to be an effective method in most cases; essentially the rule stands that the brain must be destroyed in order to put down a ghoul.

Thus far we’ve established what a zombie is, its physical traits, its insatiable appetite for the living, and how they are too be guarded against. But why do zombies rise in the first place and why the hell do they want to eat people? Would they devour a friend or former lover from their living life? You bet your ass they would. Zombies are creatures of pure instinct and possess little to no memory of their prior life, they act only on the impulse to feed and possibly a primal desire to multiply, for that is exactly what occurs when a zombie has its prey. A zombie bite is a death sentence, well an undead death sentence if you will. The rule follows; if you are bitten by a zombie you will subsequently join the ranks of the undead. The time table of such a transformation depends on the extent of the injuries. Some have turned from human to zombie in mere minutes while others succumb to the infection in a matter of days. Amputation of the infected area has proven some what effective in suppressing zombie symptoms. These amputees may have been spared for the time being but the trauma of the event combined with whatever bit of infection may have survived the amputations can cause fevers and hallucinations which leads to other destructive behaviors.

So why oh why do zombies rise from the dead and kill the living? Well nobody knows for sure. Many reasons have been presented in movies dealing with these creatures, the most prominent of which are: radiation from outer space, a type of virus usually attributed to some government experiment gone wrong, a plague (presumably from Hell), a judgment from God, or as Peter from DOTD so famously said, “When there is no more room in Hell the dead will walk the Earth.” It is standardly accepted that whatever the cause zombies can infect the living by biting them, suggesting that the virus is transmitted through saliva, this theory has been broadened to other bodily fluids as well, most namely blood.

Now that I’ve made you few loyal bastards suffer through this long-winded lesson about my precious undead friends I’ll conclude by saying that any inquiries regarding the undead can promptly be sent to yours truly. And if zombies do ever rise and you wish to save your mortal ass from becoming a mindless, flesh eating ghoul you’d better seek me out because damn it my vast expanse of zombie knowledge will save your life.

At the top of this I stated that this was a double feature so without further verbal defecation I present the featured film…

Night of the Living Dead. Yes, I know you probably expected it to be Dawn as it is my favorite movie but I certainly have my reasons for choosing the gem that is Romero’s first endeavor into the zombie mythology. Night of the Living Dead has become the rule that all exceptions of the genre are born. There were of course films prior to Night that dealt with zombies but none so memorable, potent, or with such lasting impact. That it is why it became the staple. That is why it is the icon. But NOTLD is not just a classic horror film meant to elicit screams and gasps from viewers; it is also a satire, a stirring commentary about turbulent 1960’s America; a microscope analyzing race relations and social classes of its day. NOTLD is both a horror fans wet dream and a landmark artistic achievement. It is because of the latter that NOTLD remains ingrained in our collective conscious nearly 40 years after Johnny creepily quipped, “They’re coming to get you Barbara.”

Eviscerate the Jack-o-lanters!

Posted in Hallowblog, Word of the Week with tags , , on May 6, 2014 by bluefall8

This Word of the Week entry was originally written on Thursday, October 19, 2006. On that same date I made a second post entitled, Halloween Companion Number 1. The title may’ve been generic but the substance of the post was important. It was in the fall of 2006 that the foundation of Horrorlust was being laid even if I had yet to come up with the name. I’ll share Halloween Companion Number 1 next week. This post starts off a bit rambling, due in part to my use of topical humor. 

Some may argue that this week’s word has no inherent ties to the great holiday of Halloween; I’d call those people morons. Let’s face the obvious shall we? Iraq is a quagmire, but of course that has nothing to do with this entry at all. Haha! No, but seriously. The term eviscerate relates to Halloween in two simple ways. The act of evisceration has been present in many horror films and without question many horror films have, to some degree, been influenced by Halloween and its’ related themes and imagery. It is also fair to say that the aura of the holiday itself has grown and benefited from these same films. So the third installment of the Halloween themed “Word of the Week” is justified.

eviscerate-verb: to remove the entrails of, to deprive of vital content or force.

…Somewhere in the City of Necropolis

Posted in Hallowblog, Word of the Week with tags , , , , , , , , on April 22, 2014 by bluefall8

This is the first of many entries regarding Halloween that predated Horrorlust. When I began to rifle through some of my old posts I was somewhat surprised to discover that the total number exceeded fifty. I’ll upload these missives one by one, once a week until the backlog has been exhausted. Each of these entries was originally posted at Myspace and Livejournal.

Word of the Week was a column I used to write once a week and as you’ll soon read I decided to give it a Halloween flavor during the month of October once upon a time. I actually maintained the practice through October 2012 and then retired it last year to focus on other aspects of Horrorlust. This particular post was written Sunday, October 8, 2006 which means that it predates even Hallowblog which didn’t officially debut until nearly a year later.

This installment of “Word of the Week” is a bit late but, ah yes, the wait was quite worth it. You see, Halloween is my favorite holiday and so I’ve decided that for the duration of the great month of October each edition of “Word of the Week” will be Halloween-themed. I know, I do too much for you people. And yet there is still another treat to share. In this inaugural Halloween issue I have included two words for your enjoyment. I loved them both so much I just couldn’t bear to leave one out in the chilly October night. The first appears in the title as the featured word of the week always does, necropolis. What a wonderfully morbid notion; beautiful in it’s own way.

necropolis-noun: cemetery, especially a large elaborate cemetery of an ancient city.

Interesting terminology is it not? A necropolis is described as an “elaborate cemetery”. I wonder what qualifies it as elaborate, sounds interesting. If I ever find a nice necropolis I’ll be sure to frolic about the elaborate workings.

The second word is closely related to the first, necromancy.

necromancy-noun: the art or practice of conjuring up the spirits of the dead for purposes of magically revealing the future; magic, sorcery.

I also considered the words necromancer and necrosis (isn’t that a cool word), but if you desire to know anything further about all things necro I suggest you do a little research, you have all you’ll get from me. All this talk has me thinking about zombies, and really it doesn’t get much better than that.

Horrorlust Haunt Awards: A History

Posted in Awards with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2014 by bluefall8

The haunt awards, like Horrorlust itself, are the result of an evolution. The 2013 crop will be the sixth annual edition for most of the awards — Rotten Pumpkin, Eerie Vibrations, Dark Horse, Killer Automatons, Pulse Pounder, and Monster all debuted following the 2008 haunt season. The Prop Master and Samhain Awards were both added at the conclusion of the 2011 season, thus making this the third consecutive year for those respective distinctions.

The oldest award that we recognize is of course, Haunt of the Year. This award predates Horrorlust, indeed Haunt of the Year goes back even further than Hallowblog, the predecessor to this blog. Not long before I began chronicling all of these wonderful haunted adventures my merry band of travelers and I would simply agree upon the best attraction of the Halloween season. And so you’ll notice that in the annals of Horrorlust, that the Haunt of the Year Award is officially recognized as having originated in 2005.

As an interesting aside, it’s worth noting that these awards were initially called the Haunt Trinity Haunt Awards. If you delve into the depths of past Horrorlust posts you’re sure to come across such a phrase. The Haunt Trinity was a nickname I fashioned once a upon a time for a frequent trio of haunters. The group was comprised of myself, Jason (my older brother), and our good friend John who is sometimes referred to in these posts as the Disco Devil or simply, Disco.

I used to get a kick out of the name; I even spun spur of the moment rhymes about it and haunted attractions but mostly I think it merely served to annoy everybody else. After a time, it was rarely just the three of us participating in the beloved haunt excursions; a half a dozen or more friends and acquaintances regularly rotated in and out on any given night. My brother began to joke that the nickname Haunt Trinity was a misnomer.

A couple of years ago he found work in a new field and his schedule changed drastically; allowing him to partake in the haunted festivities only a time or two per season. This roughly coincided with the advent of Horrorlust and so it has been since 2011 that the annual awards have shared the namesake of this blog.

Readers, if you need a refresher on any of the awards please refer to the other posts under the “Awards” category, where full descriptions are posted. As a historical footnote, it’s worth mentioning that we began to recognize an honorable mention for each award in 2009 although those are not listed in this post. Interested parties are referred to the aforementioned entries found under the “Awards” category.

Fun Fact: No haunted attraction has ever been named Haunt of the Year on more than one occasion. In fact, there exists just two haunted houses that claimed the same award in multiple years. House of the Dead (Terror Town) won the Killer Automatons Award four consecutive years from 2009-2012. Deadly Intentions secured the Monster Award in back-to-back years during the 2008 and 2009 haunt seasons.

 

Rotten Pumpkin

2008: Templin’s Night Terror (Wyandotte Jaycees)

2009: Jackson’s Underworld

2010: Leo’s House of Horror

2011: Anxiety Alley

2012: Scream Machine

 

Eerie Vibrations

2008: Homer Mill

2009: Bowbee’s Nightmare (Haunted Hollows)

2010: The Haunted Farm

2011: Catacombs & The Rusthole (Darksyde Acres)

2012: Bloodview

 

Dark Horse

2008: Realm of Haunted Minds

2009: Extreme Scream

2010: Woods of Darkness

2011: Krazy Hilda’s Barn of Doom

2012: Dimensions of Darkness

 

Killer Automatons

2008: Erebus

2009: House of the Dead (Terror Town)

2010: House of the Dead (Terror Town)

2011: House of the Dead (Terror Town)

2012: House of the Dead (Terror Town)

 

Pulse Pounder

2008: County Morgue (Chainsaw Creek)

2009: Bowbee’s Nightmare (Haunted Hollows)

2010: Demonic Demons

2011: Catacombs & The Rusthole (Darksyde Acres)

2012: Slaughter House (Slaughter House Adventure)

 

Monster

2008: Deadly Intentions

2009: Deadly Intentions

2010: Realm of Darkness

2011: Catacombs & The Rusthole (Darksyde Acres)

2012: Sinister

 

Prop Master

2011: Tent of Terror (The Boneyard)

2012: Barn of Horrors (Erwin Orchards)

 

Samhain

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

2012: October 12, 2012 (Erwin Orchards, Slaughter House Adventure, A Nightmare on Elm Road)

 

Haunt of the Year

2005: Nautical Nightmare

2006: Erebus

2007: Realm of Darkness

2008: House of the Dead (Terror Town)

2009: Bowbee’s Nightmare (Haunted Hollows)

2010: Demonic Demons

2011: Catacombs & The Rusthole (Darksyde Acres)

2012: Sinister