Archive for bloodbath on biddle

Hush, Dark Legacy Highlight Devil’s Night Delight

Posted in Preludes and Nocturnes with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 30, 2014 by bluefall8

Devil’s Night has a knack for delivering memorable haunt outings — from the windswept, breakneck adventure in 2009 that saw us hit Hellblock 13 in Wyandotte, The Realm of Darkness in Pontiac and The Haunted Farm of Terror in Lenox Township to the 2013 roller coaster which began with Bloodbath on Biddle, soared to new heights at Hush and finally crashed and burned at the Scream Machine in Taylor.

Indeed, the night before the night of nights has historically provided something to write about whether it be trick or treat and tonight, I suspect, should be no different. If all goes according to plan and no uncontrollable intangibles threaten to thwart our night we’ll visit the well-publisized rookie in Wixom known as Dark Legacy and end the trek with a visit to the revamped, expanded 2013 Horrorlust Haunt of the Year, Hush.

Dark Legacy features three haunted attractions including the curiously named Government Owned Haunt, Kensington Detention Center and Fang Cemetery. The Dark Legacy website has a neat story for each of the attractions and it would seem that a shadowy sect of the United States government has been up to all sorts of nasty experiments. Irradiated milk? Genetic engineering?! And what the hell is Codename GACK?!!!

The evening shall end with a visit to Hush in Westland for a highly anticipated return to the breakout star of the 2013 haunt season and the Horrorlust Haunt of the Year. It would appear as if Dr. Phineas C. Phun has spent the last calendar year creating an army of abominations at the Hush Corporation and tonight we’ll see if John and I can bring down this megalomaniacal institution of arrogance and avarice.

Happy Haunting.

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2014 Wyandotte Jaycees Haunted House Location Revealed

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2014 by bluefall8

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The Wyandotte Jaycees annual haunted house will be located at 4560 Biddle this year. The building was originally constructed in 1970 and in recent years has been run as a bar and restaurant under several names. Each year the Jaycees is able to work with city leaders to obtain a building that is slated for demolition or otherwise vacant for the seasonal haunt. The nexus between the Jaycees and city officials is one that dates back to the late 1970’s which means that Wyandotte boasts one of the oldest haunted attractions in the entire country.

The current location will be a tough sell to the public because it isn’t conveniently located down town as it was last year. No, this year it’s situated near the fringe of the city south of Wyandotte Shores Golf Course just north of Pennsylvania. I hope the location doesn’t negatively impact attendance numbers. I’ll patronize the group as I have each year since 2007 and hope they can build off of the successes from the 2013 effort, Bloodbath on Biddle.

Below, I’ve posted star ratings and other pertinent notes from our trips through the Wyandotte Jaycees Haunted House over the years.

Hell’s Hospital (2007) – 4.5 stars: Held primarily in a mechanic’s garage, but also utilized an old house. Hell’s Hospital executed classic haunt fundamentals and thrilled us in the process.

Templin’s Night Terror (2008) – 3 stars: The old house was gone and the mechanic’s garage was a bit too familiar; one of the fews years the Jaycees utilized the same location consecutively. Templin’s Night Terror was a significant step back from the 2007 effort and would go on to win Horrorlust’s infamous Rotten Pumpkin Award for worst haunted attraction of the season.

Hellblock 13 (2009) – 3.75 stars: Bounced back in a big way with a lengthly trek through the old police station and courthouse; solid jump scares mixed with unsettling imagery.

Massacre Manor (2010) – 2.75 stars: Massacre Manor was held in an old homestead on Biddle which made for an excellent location although the production turned out to be a mild disappointment punctuated by missed opportunities and some amateurish acting.

Lockdown (2011) – 2.25 stars: Housed in a former bar, Lockdown featured a couple of enjoyable scenes but on the whole felt unprofessional and uninspired.

Nightmare Sanctum (2012) – 2.25 stars: Similar to 2007’s Hell’s Hospital, Nightmare Sanctum had the benefit of being held in a mechanic’s garage and a house. It suffered from the usual lows of a Jaycees haunt and can best be described as a mixed bag.

Bloodbath on Biddle (2013) – 3.25 stars: Held at former City Hall, Bloodbath on Biddle was easily the best effort by the Wyandotte Jaycees since Hellblock 13 in 2009. This haunt featured a lot of actors, creativity in design and a few visually impressive scenes. Bloodbath on Biddle went on to win Horrorlust’s 2013 Dark Horse Award.

2013 Horrorlust Haunt Awards

Posted in Awards with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 29, 2014 by bluefall8

The 2013 field was full of worthy nominees and after much consideration, I’m prepared to unveil the 2013 Horrorlust Haunt Awards.

2013 Horrorlust Haunt Awards Banner

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.

2013 Rotten Pumpkin: Scream Machine

Dishonorable Mention: 3-Story Haunted Barn (Blake’s)

The Scream Machine is now the first attraction to earn this undesired distinction twice; in consecutive years no less. It pains me to say that this selection was a no-brainer. The Scream Machine didn’t merely slip this year, instead the once respected haunt nosedived into an ugly downward spiral. The cast was unprofessional, listless and undoubtedly one of the very worst we’ve encountered. The design of the haunt was uninteresting, repetitive, and creatively bankrupt.

 

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.

2013 Eerie Vibrations: Village of the Living Dead

Honorable Mention: Terrorfied Forest (Terrorfied Forest & Manor)

Village of the Living Dead seemed to pulse with a special kind of energy from the moment we crossed the threshold of the haunt. The mixture of dense fog, orchestral music and subterranean passages produced a surreal, claustrophobic adrenaline rush.

 

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 Horrorlust’s way of recognizing the little haunt that could.

2013 Dark Horse: Bloodbath on Biddle

Honorable Mention: Realm of Haunted Minds

The Wyandotte Jaycees took full advantage of the old City Hall building and in doing so, provided  guests with a lengthy trip through two levels of haunted rooms and corridors. Bloodbath on Biddle featured creative room design and a slew of warm bodies, actors who proved more capable than in previous seasons. Time and money are luxuries that Jaycees groups simply do not have to waste, the folks at Bloodbath on Biddle deserve a lot of credit for managing their resources wisely.

 

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.

2013 Killer Automatons: Erebus

Honorable Mention: Jackson’s Underworld

House of the Dead’s four year stranglehold on this award has finally been broken as the old king returns to the throne. This is the second Killer Automatons Award for Erebus; the first came in 2008.

 

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.

2013 Monster: Sinister

Honorable Mention: Exit 13

This award proved to be the most difficult selection of the 2013 season as there were several deserving candidates. In the end however it was the unrelenting, improvisational impresarios of Sinister who grabbed the award for a second consecutive year.

 

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.

2013 Prop Master: Hillside Mortuary (Terrorfied Forest & Manor)

Honorable Mention: Slaughter House (Slaughter House Adventure)

Hillside Mortuary earned this award in 2013 by offering haunters a trek through fully furnished rooms, complete with eerily posed mannequins. The motionless spooks were ominously frozen throughout the attraction, seemingly captured in moments of life that will live forever. The creepiest of the bunch stood expressionless next to an open casket — I got the chills just thinking about it.

 

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.

2013 Pulse Pounder: Village of the Living Dead

Honorable Mention: Purgatory’s Revenge

Reminiscent at times of our 2010 trip to Demonic Demons in Detroit, Village of the Living Dead toyed with the senses in various ways. Haunters were forced to crawl, climb, and grope their way through blinding fog and strobe effects. The overall effect produced a major spike in our heart rates.

 

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.

2013 Samhain: October 25, 2013 (Purgatory’s Revenge, Blake’s & Slaughtered at Sundown)

Honorable Mention: November 1, 2013 (Exit 13 & Village of the Living Dead)

We enjoyed a long night of haunting on October 25, when we managed to visit three attractions for the first time. Purgatory’s Revenge was a very good first time effort while the Nighttime Spooky Hayride at Blake’s was a feast for the eyes; meanwhile Slaughtered at Sundown offered classic fundamentals and engrossing scenes.

 

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.

2013 Haunt of the Year: Hush

Honorable Mention: Erebus

Quite simply, we were highly impressed with the overall effort from the rookie, Hush. The clever theme was leveraged well by Dr. Phineas Phun who highlighted an excellent cast that was full of energy. The scenes and scares varied in type and intensity and that approach produced a common thread of fun and fright that prevailed throughout Hush. It was a welcome surprise in 2013 that left us yearning for more and reminded us once again why we cherish this rite of passage each October.

2013 Horrorlust Haunt Award Nominations

Posted in Awards with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2014 by bluefall8

As the Transworld Halloween & Attractions Show rolls on in St. Louis; the time as come to recognize the best haunted offerings of the 2013 season. We here at Horrorlust present nine dreadful categories , the original seven include: Monster, Killer Automatons, Eerie Vibrations, Pulse Pounder, Dark Horse, Rotten Pumpkin and finally, Haunt of the Year. In 2011 we added the Prop Master and Samhain Awards.

Below are descriptions for each category accompanied by this years’ nominees. All cities listed in parenthesis are located in the State of Michigan unless otherwise noted.

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.

2013 Rotten Pumpkin Nominees: 

3-Story Haunted Barn (Blake’s – Armada)

Realm of Darkness (Pontiac)

Scream Machine (Taylor)

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.

2013 Eerie Vibrations Nominees:

Exit 13 (Mt. Morris)

Terrorfied Forest (Terrorfied Forest & Manor – Pinckney)

Village of the Living Dead (St. Charles)

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 our way of recognizing the little haunt that could.

2013 Dark Horse Nominees:

Bloodbath on Biddle (Wyandotte)

Hillside Mortuary (Terrorfied Forest & Manor – Pinckney)

Realm of Haunted Minds (Romulus)

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.

2013 Killer Automatons Nominees:

Erebus (Pontiac)

Jackson’s Underworld (Jackson)

Realm of Darkness (Pontiac)

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.

2013 Monster Nominees:

Exit 13 (Mt. Morris)

Hush (Westland)

Sinister (Utica)

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.

2013 Prop Master Nominees:

Bloodbath on Biddle (Wyandotte)

Slaughter House (Slaughter House Adventure – Fowlerville)

Hillside Mortuary (Terrorfied Forest & Manor – Pinckney)

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.

2013 Pulse Pounder Nominees:

Exit 13 (Mt. Morris)

Purgatory’s Revenge (New Haven)

Village of the Living Dead (St. Charles)

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.

2013 Samhain Nominees:

October 25, 2013 (Blake’s, Purgatory’s Revenge, Slaughtered at Sundown)

October 30, 2013 (Bloodbath on Biddle, Hush, Scream Machine)

November 1, 2013 (Exit 13 & Village of the Living Dead)

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.

2013 Haunt of the Year Nominees:

Erebus (Pontiac)

Hush (Westland)

Village of the Living Dead (St. Charles)

For awards from 2010-2012 consult the “Awards” category listed in the sidebar to the right. A comprehensive list of past winners will be posted mid-week with the 2013 winners being released one week from today.

2013 Star Ratings

Posted in Star Ratings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 27, 2014 by bluefall8

In anticipation of the 2013 Horrorlust Haunt Awards Nominations, I present to any interested parties, a complete list of last season’s ratings. It should be noted that ratings, in and of themselves, do not determine awards.  This list is used primarily as a means of reference for my own archival purposes. I hope you find it enjoyable, nevertheless.

2013 STAR RATINGS

1. Hush – 4.75 (Westland, MI.)

2. Erebus – 4.5 (Pontiac, MI.)

3. Nighttime Spooky Hayride – 4.5 (Blake’s – Armada, MI.)

4. Bloodbath & Beyond Hayride – 4.25 (Slaughter House Adventure – Fowlerville, MI.)

5. Exit 13 – 4.25 (Mt. Morris, MI.)

6. Village of the Living Dead – 4.25 (St. Charles, MI.)

7. Purgatory’s Revenge – 4 (New Haven, MI.)

8. Realm of Haunted Minds – 3.75 (Romulus, MI.)

9. Sinister – 3.75 (Utica, MI.)

10. Haunted Corn Maze – 3.5 (Slaughter House Adventure – Fowlerville, MI.)

11. Slaughtered at Sundown – 3.5 (Aramada, MI.)

12. Bloodbath on Biddle – 3.25 (Wyandotte, MI.)

13. CarnEvil 3D – 3.25 (Pontiac, MI.)

14. Terrorfied Forest – 3.25 (Terrorfied Forest & Manor – Pinckney, MI.)

15. Slaughter House – 3.25 (Slaughter House Adventure – Fowlerville, MI.)

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

17. Dark Abyss – 3 (Darksyde Acres – Jonesville, MI.)

18. Funeral Home – 3 (Inkster, MI.)

19. Hillside Mortuary – 2.75 (Terrorfied Forest & Manor – Pinckney, MI.)

20. Jackson’s Underworld – 2.75 (Jackson, MI.)

21. Realm of Darkness – 2.75 (Pontiac, MI.)

22. 3 Story Haunted Barn – 2.25 (Blake’s – Armada, MI.)

23. Scream Machine – 0.5 (Taylor, MI.)

Terror Tracker Scares Up Ads

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 16, 2013 by bluefall8

I mentioned previously in my review of the Wyandotte Jaycees’ Bloodbath on Biddle that while there I happened upon a haunted house publication called Terror Tracker. It’s published by Your Hometown Shopper and as Jon Dehring told me that night, the publishers hope to compete with the Haunt Guide and Fear Finder.

My search for additional information on Terror Tracker was fruitless — I have no idea when it was first published or what kind of circulation it has. The 2013 edition does feature four orange slash marks located on the upper right hand corner of the front page, perhaps that indicates that this was the fourth annual installment.

Featured inside it’s pages are the usual heavy hitters who run regularly in the Fear Finder or Haunt Guide such as Blake’s, Night Terrors, and Saint Lucifer’s just to name a few. However what’s more interesting are establishments such as Past Tense After Dark and Erwin Orchards which ran 1/8 and 1/4 page ads in the Fear Finder this season, but landed full page layouts inside Terror Tracker.

Terrorfied Forest & Manor in Pinckney had advertised in the Fear Finder for what seemed to be more than a decade, but disappeared from the its pages this year only to crop up in the Terror Tracker with a 1/2 page ad. Seventeen haunted attractions or events were listed inside Terror Tracker this year, by comparison the Haunt Guide featured the same amount while the Fear Finder advertised 46.

Personally, I welcome the new addition — anything that aids in the continued success of the haunted attraction industry in Michigan is good for all of us who celebrate Halloween around the calendar.

As an aside, I’m still in search of past issues of the Fear Finder pre-2006 — for that matter I’m now interested in obtaining past copies of Terror Tracker as well. I encourage anybody with copies to contact me via the comment section here on Horrorlust or at the following email: joel@bluestarproductions.net

A Bloodbath on Devil’s Night

Posted in 2013, Review, Wyandotte Jaycees with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 13, 2013 by bluefall8

Devil’s Night arrived dreary and wet but with the haunt season coming to a close it would take a lot more than that to keep us off the road. Our first stop brought us to the Wyandotte Jaycees 2013 haunted house — Bloodbath on Biddle. The Jaycees were fortunate to obtain the building that until recently housed City Hall, it’s large and centrally located in downtown Wyandotte.

John and I entered and talked shop with some of the team, some of you may recall that project lead Jon Dehring appeared on an episode of the Mud Puppets during October alongside several of his favorite ghouls. You can watch that episode right now, as well as a behind the scenes tour, by clicking these links: Murder Mystery and Bloodbath on Biddle: Behind the Scenes Tour.

As we talked I noticed a desk to my right, atop it sat a newspaper not unlike the Fear Finder. It was entitled Terror Tracker so I snatched one up to peruse at my leisure. I’ll ruminate more on this publication in a future post. John and I wrapped up the conversation with the Jaycees crew and trudged forth into the bloodbath.

In the past the Wyandotte Jaycees, not dissimilar to many volunteer groups, has struggled to staff their attraction with seasoned scarers. The organization took a step in the right direction this year — the cast may not have been battled scarred veterans, but on the whole the group displayed a lot of heart and energy. In the end we determined that the kids were alright and we appreciated the effort.

There were some standouts too, such as the freakishly contorted handwalkers in the whiteout room. These tortured souls issued primal screams that hastened our departure.

In another room we encountered  a criminally insane young woman who had been strapped into an electric chair and for good reason as we would soon find out. Initially she attempted to convince us of her innocence and asked if we’d free her from the restraints. Skeptical, we questioned her further and soon learned, by way of her own admission, that her current predicament was the result of an incident which involved an oven and some babies.

Her voice was calm, cold while she made this confession, a comical glint danced across her dead eyes — but before she could elaborate further someone threw the switch and sent a current of voltage ripping through her now spasming body!

The halfway point of the haunted house presented us with an interesting choice — Heaven or Hell. We decided that Hell was our best course of action but to our great surprise the route was a circuitous one which inevitably sent us to Heaven…well, maybe an offshoot of Heaven. A preacher had been hung by the neck and in the shadows lurked a devilish dame with a gash for a mouth and a whip for a tongue.

“I don’t know. Is this your idea of Heaven,” she quipped. Philosophers and psychos all under one roof, go figure. As she slunk out of the shadows with the confidence and poise of one who likes to play with her food, I found myself not just pondering the query but also fighting off the litany of inappropriate responses which had instantly flooded my mind. I know, I know — it’s a testament to just how deeply depraved I am that my mind so readily drudges up such things, but hey, it’s a fun way to live.

There was a handful of signature scenes throughout Bloodbath on Biddle which were all decorated and detailed quite well. We traversed a morgue, a carnival sideshow, and one room that featured a very curious wall of televisions.

There was also a pair of scenes inspired by cherished fairytales, granted the interpretation was twisted, but Snow White and Alice were represented nonetheless. Gruesome artwork highlighted these areas — a beheaded White Rabbit for Alice and a dwarf that hung from a tree for Snow White. Which of the seven dwarves, you ask? Un-Happy, of course!

I especially enjoyed the set pieces used in the latter two scenes — a pair of trees and a water wheel in Snow White’s forest and then a large, colorful tea cup found in Wonderland. Another eye catching sequence was found at the end of the attraction when we traversed a front yard and then several rooms in the accompanying house.

As visually impressive as all of the scenes were such inspiration did not lend itself to execution. For various reasons the actors in these prime areas just didn’t muster up a scare worthy of such settings. For instance, the room with the wall of televisions that I mentioned earlier featured a scare that depended almost entirely on timing and unfortunately the  technological and human elements were simply not in sync.

Two scenes in particular that I thought were loaded with potential was the aforementioned sideshow and the closet near the end of the attraction. The sideshow was neatly dressed with whimsical banners that advertised the oddballs who populated the big top. In the middle of the room was a large box but it’s potential went widely unrealized. Similarly, the closet which had clothes hanging in front of our eyes failed to capitalize on the creativity that went into designing the room.

I had also noticed that the actresses portraying Snow White and Alice were different from the pair who usually staffed those positions. I knew this because it was this duo who had joined Mr. Dehring for the interview mentioned near the beginning of this review. The original tandem was very effective in their respective roles and unfortunately their stand-ins didn’t own the characters in quite the same way. I would later learn that the girls had experienced a bit of haunt fatigue and were actually stationed at other positions in the attraction.

It’s a shame that the best scenes weren’t accompanied by more powerful scares and startles because the Wyandotte Jaycees did a lot of good things with Bloodbath on Biddle. The attraction spanned two floors, sported a large and mostly vocal cast, and lasted for more than twenty minutes. The attraction made use of false doors, integrated props well, and featured cool artwork and several detailed scenes. I hope to see the group build on these successes in the seasons to come.

Rating: 3.25 stars