Archive for chelsea feargrounds

Five Nights Etched in Time

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2015 by bluefall8

I’m often asked which haunted house is my favorite and the honest answer is that I don’t have just one favorite. Haunted attractions come in all shapes and sizes and employ a wide range of themes, narratives and scare tactics to deliver a memorable experience. While I certainly do have my preferences, my favorites are a collection of diverse attractions. As the list below examines, some of the my most treasured haunted adventures were not limited to a single haunted house but encompassed an entire evening of haunting.

The outings below are not ranked in any way other than chronological. Trips made during the 2015 haunt season did not qualify for consideration as the season is, as of the time of this writing, in progress.

Friday, October 31, 2008

It will demand further investigation but if memory serves this was the first instance in which we toured three separate haunted attractions on a single night. 2008 was a momentous season in which we visited nine total locations, our personal best at the time. Without a doubt the best of the year was saved for Halloween when we raced against the clock to tour Deadly Intentions in Warren and then Realm of Darkness and Erebus both in Pontiac. Deadly Intentions claimed the 2008 Horrorlust Monster Award while Erebus gobbled up the 2008 Horrorlust Killer Automatons Award.

Fun Fact: The avatar used to identify myself here on Horrorlust was snapped that night.

RELIVE THE NIGHT!

Erebus, The Realm of Darkness & Deadly Intentions Electrify Halloween Night

Friday, October 30, 2009

Devil’s Night was raucous and windswept; large crowds and an impending storm only added to the pandemonium. We began the evening with a romp through Hellblock 13 which was held in the former Wyandotte police station and ended the night with a wild, rain-soaked hayride at Haunted Farm of Terror; sandwiched between the two was a visit to The Realm of Darkness. This night didn’t capture any awards (although had the Horrorlust Samhain Award existed at the time it would likely have been awarded to this night) but The Realm of Darkness and Hellblock 13 did combine for four honorable mentions.

Fun Fact: While on the hayride at Haunted Farm of Terror, I narrowly avoided being struck square in the face by a large, runaway prop.

RELIVE THE NIGHT!

Season Concludes with Devil’s Night Frenzy

Friday, October 14, 2011

This was an insanely fun night of haunting in which we witnessed three awesome, albeit different shows. Krazy Hilda’s Barn of Doom had style and substance while Chelsea Feargrounds boasted flash and excitement around every corner and finally The Bone Yard served up a trio of fun-filled attractions. Krazy Hilda’s Barn of Doom grabbed the 2011 Horrorlust Dark Horse Award, Tent of Terror (The Bone Yard) became the inaugural recipient of the Horrorlust Prop Master Award and unsurprisingly the whole night was recognized with the then brand new Horrorlust Samhain Award. Furthermore, Tent of Terror and Chelsea Feargrounds combined for three honorable mentions in other award categories.

Fun Fact: The Chelsea Feargrounds offered a unique photo-op in which small, alien creatures were made to look as if they’d burst from the subject’s chest.

RELIVE THE NIGHT!

Thrills & Chills Dominated Hilda’s, Feargrounds & The Bone Yard

Friday, October 5, 2012

Threaten as it did to thwart our plans, the weather was no match for the spirit of the season on this night. It was a trip filled with laughter, illusion and effective, low budget haunting. Barn of Horrors at Erwin Orchards won the 2012 Horrorlust Prop Master Award while Slaughter House collected the 2012 Horrorlust Pulse Pounder Award. Like the previous entry, this night too claimed the Horrorlust Samhain Award.

Fun Fact: Ken Evans, one of the organizer’s of Slaugher House, happened to be conducting some quality control when we toured the barn and asked our opinion of the place once we’d exited the haunt. We got to talking and hit it off — later that year the website for Slaughter House would feature some quotes from the review I posted to Horrorlust. To the best of my knowledge that was the first instance of a haunt using my words to promote their attraction and I thought that was awesome. 

RELIVE THE NIGHT!

Elements Conspire but Erwin, Slaugher House Persevere

Saturday, October 20, 2012

This overnight trip to Ohio had a big time feel as we visited two haunts with a lot of history — Bloodview in Broadview Heights and Haunted Schoolhouse and Laboratory in Akron. Bloodview ensnared the 2012 Horrorlust Eerie Vibrations Award and together with Haunted Schoolhouse and Laboratory scored a slew of honorable mentions.

Fun Fact: It was on this trip that I first enjoyed the little known, gem of a horror film called Stake Land.

RELIVE THE NIGHT!

Haunted Schoolhouse has Presence, lacks Punch

Laboratory Mirrors Successes, Shortcomings of Haunted Schoolhouse

Legion of Terror Breathes Life into Bloodview

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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

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.

2011 Star Ratings

Posted in Star Ratings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 14, 2012 by bluefall8

As my small but faithful group of readers know I write a review for each haunt that I visit during the fall. In addition to that at the end of the review I assign the attraction a 1-5 star rating. It’s just my way of summing up the overall effectiveness/enjoyability of that particular haunted attraction. I take a lot of factors into consideration when I determine the rating things like — actors, theme, props, special effects, originality, and level of excitement — just to name a few but at the end of the night the rating comes down to my raw gut feeling for the overall experience. Below is a complete list of the haunted attractions I visited during the 2011 Halloween season ranked by their corresponding star rating. It’s important to note that the star rating isn’t meant to serve as a way to compare one attraction to another rather it’s a reflection of how well each individual haunt executed what it set out to accomplish.

A quick aside before we get to all those goodies though — once more I’ve had a dream about haunted attractions and the beloved Fear Finder. In this dream I was riding around Lincoln Park in a car with my dad and my two sisters when I suddenly realized that it was Halloween. I began to sweat knowing that I hadn’t yet participated in any seasonal activities and then I reached a full blown panic when it dawned on me that it wasn’t just October 31 but also kids were out trick r’ treating! My sisters were dropped off at a friend’s house or something else similarly boring. I apparently was going to do something with my dad (unrelated to Halloween) and that simply could not stand. My dad tried to calm me down but his words mattered not! How in the blue hell had I forgotten about Halloween?! I opened the door to the car, jumped from the vehicle, and ran into the night in search of Halloween fun.

Next thing I knew I had entered the lobby of a haunt which was strangely situated on the grassy median of what seemed to be Electric Street. I found a stack of Fear Finder and greedily thumbed through one to see what haunts I could possibly hit. I quickly decided their was no time for such planning, I would merely run about feverishly looking for the next available haunt once I’d finished at my current location. On the cover of the Fear Finder was a depiction of a hooded character similar to Ghostface from Scream. The hooded phantom had strings attached to its’ fingers as if it were puppeteering the letters that comprised the phrase ‘Fear Finder’ below. The background of the cover was strikingly designed as stained glass windows; all things considered I think something in this vein would make a pretty damn cool cover for the actual Fear Finder.

Suddenly I was joined by my fellow haunters, John and Jason but before we could enter the attraction I wandered into a bathroom. The walls separating the stalls were comically short and in no way provided a sense of privacy. The stall next to me was completely filthy with feces and toilet paper spilling over the sides of the porcelain throne. I ignored the mess and began to urinate and then I noticed a large window in front of me. I peered out the window and discovered the turret of a castle mere yards from my current position. I took it to be a second haunted attraction and for the first time in this dream I started to feel as if I could salvage the night. I was brought out of my reverie by the arrival of my cohorts and a man I assumed ran the haunted attraction. He made some comment about the filthy stall next to me and then proceeded to jam his hands into the disgusting mess. He yanked a jagged block of ice out of toilet — excrement and used toilet paper jutted out at odd angles. As John and Jason stood by watching the man then acted as if he was going to heave frozen fecal bomb in my direction. After a few moments of  anger and disgust the man relented and began to laugh, turned out that the turdsicle was merely a prank he used to rile up haunters. An odd and tasteless tactic perhaps but now I was excited to see what this haunt had to offer to its customers.

However, as is the case with cool dreams, that’s when I woke up. Does anybody find it strange that as a grown man I’m having a recurring nightmare about missing out on the haunt season? What an awful prospect that would be!

2011 STAR RATINGS

Krazy Hilda’s Barn of Doom – 4.25 (Saline, MI.)

The Catacombs/Rusthole – 4 (Darksyde Acres/Jonesville, MI.)

Chelsea Feargrounds – 4 (Chelsea, MI.)

Tent of Terror – 4 (The Boneyard/Stockbridge, MI.)

13 Feet Under – 4 (Grand Blanc, MI.)

The Haunting – 3.75 (Adrian, MI.)

The Deadland – 3.75 (Warren, MI.)

House of the Dead – 3.75 (Terror Town/Maumee, OH.)

St. Lucifer’s Haunted Asylum – 3.75 (Grand Blanc, MI.)

The Crypt – 3.75 (Burton, MI.)

Realm of Haunted Minds – 3.25 (Romulus, MI.)

The Dark Abyss – 3.25 (Darksyde Acres/Jonesville, MI.)

Scarecrow Hollow – 3 (The Boneyard/Stockbridge, MI.)

Barn of Blood -3 (New Boston, MI.)

Scream Machine – 2.75 (Taylor, MI.)

Deadwood Forest – 2.75 (The Boneyard/Stockbridge, MI.)

Papp Park Trailer – 2.75 (Taylor, MI.)

The Funeral Home – 2.5 (Inkster, MI.)

Woods of Darkness – 2.25 (South Rockwood, MI.)

Lockdown – 2.25 (Wyandotte, MI.)

Papp Park Hayride – 2.25 (Taylor, MI.)

Big Top Terror – 1.5 (Terror Town/Maumee, OH.)

Anxiety Alley – 1 (Lincoln Park, MI.)

Thrills & Chills Dominate Hilda’s, Feargrounds and The Boneyard!

Posted in 2011, Chelsea Feargrounds, Krazy Hilda's, Review, The Boneyard with tags , , , on October 18, 2011 by bluefall8

Friday October 14, 2011 turned out to be the monster night of haunting it was predicted to be. John, Cikalo, Richard, and I departed from Wyandotte at roughly a quarter past seven with three haunted attractions in our sights. If all went well we would have completed our maiden voyage to Krazy Hilda’s, Chelsea Feargrounds, and The Boneyard in a single night. The deft driving skills of the Disco Devil had us cruising down I-94 in no time en route to our first stop — Krazy Hilda’s and her formidable Barn of Doom.

WITCHES, GOBLINS, AND GHOULS RULE KRAZY HILDA’S

The atmosphere at Krazy Hilda’s has all the charm of a family owned farm because that is precisely what it is. A darkened, old farm house greets haunters as they exit their vehicles. A bon fire flickers in the night providing warmth for guests, nearby a large tent complete with tables and chairs offers patrons a place to relax while swapping stories over cider and donuts — here is a quintessential snap shot of Michigan in the fall.

It was a clear, beautiful night in Saline and there was scarcely a wait to enter the Barn of Doom, I think that’s called harmonic convergence. We came to the entrance of the barn and spent several minutes in conversation with the ticket taker a short, 40-something woman with a great sense of humor. The position of ticket taker or doorman is often an under appreciated in the industry. A ticket taker, whether in costume or not isn’t going to make or break the show but when done right this individual can enhance the overall experience and that is exactly what the friendly lady did here. One of Hilda’s goblins was armed with a radio and in contact with our new friend who informed the creature that she had “Four, overgrown chicken nuggets” to satisfy their hunger.

Cikalo and I entered the Barn of Doom first and immediately discovered that the operators at Krazy Hilda’s still remember what scares people, the dark. So many haunted attractions have lost sight that darkness evokes humanity’s most primal instinct, fear. Such perfect dark engages imagination and will send guests to the wandering unknown inside their mind. This approach provides fertile ground for actors lurking in dark places and the creatures dwelling inside the Barn of Doom took full advantage of this delivering numerous startles to us helpless victims.

In one of the earliest rooms we were confronted by ghoul who used a severed head as a puppet, the tongue lolling and licking at us as we passed. Elsewhere a militant creep demanded I drop to my knees and touch my nose. When I’d done so several of Krazy Hilda’s minions mocked me relentlessly. The path eventually led us outside the barn and into the corn where we followed twists and turns down a treacherous path. Here the gang at Hilda’s made great use of threatening dummies which eyed us from the corn. It was here that we were pursued by an imposingly large horror icon and when we stumbled upon a mess of body parts a heartless harpy assailed us parroting my comments by shrieking, “Look what they’ve done! Look what they’ve done!”

We continued our journey which brought us to a graveyard washed in an eerie bluish-green light. A crooked, gnarled tree straight out of Sleepy Hollow welcomed us into the cemetery. The dead stirred here and the living were not welcome, Cikalo and I made our way up a ramp that led us back into Krazy Hilda’s Barn of Doom. The end of the attraction was highlighted by a pair of rooms – the first was painstakingly painted in what I’d estimate was 1 x 1 squares, each square painted with a symbol from a playing card. I loved the effect, I felt as if we’d been dropped into some sort of bizarre Alice in Wonderland detour. The final room was neatly decorated with brightly colored props and several sinister circus clowns.

We exited the Barn of Doom but Krazy Hilda wasn’t quite through with us just yet. In order to gain our freedom we had to brave one final horror, a familiar haunt finale but one that works so much better when executed properly as it was at Hilda’s.

Krazy Hilda’s has a great fall atmosphere and features a haunt with a good pace and a fun layout. The volunteer staff delivered some of the most consistent startle scares I’ve ever witnessed. The scenes inside and outside of the barn employ an effective mix of creativity and haunting fundamentals. I urge anyone who appreciates the art of haunting to get to Krazy Hilda’s this fall.

Rating: 4.25 stars

CREATIVE INSANITY REIGNS AT FEARGROUNDS

The haunted attraction at the Fairgrounds in Chelsea is held in a very large modern pull barn. The show begins before patrons even buy a ticket. A bat-like humanoid revealed an impressive wingspan on a small hill near the haunt’s entrance, a silent octogenarian moodily pushed a walker around the grounds, a neatly placed statue cast a massive and foreboding shadow against the exterior of the building. A large castel facade dominated the lobby area, to the left of this a fun photo-op is available to haunters for a mere $1. We would take advantage of this once we completed our journey through the haunted attraction.

The Chelsea Feargrounds was a veritable grab bag of haunting elements, there was old school, there was new school and just about everything in between. There was a narrative about a mad scientist but this functioned more as a reason to showcase several gizmos and animatronics more than it did to explain any story line. It reminded me of Terror Town although it was clear the this place was less about bumps in the night and more interested in the wow factor.

The first several rooms featured characters who expounded on the think narrative rather than delivering scares and I was happy when that trend ended. Ironically enough it was indeed one of these rooms in which one of my favorite moments occurred. A female ghoul prattled on about the history of the aforementioned mad scientist but what caught my attention was an excellent fortune teller machine in the corner of the room. Those creepy contraptions have always given me the willies. A wild-eyed monkey madly slammed cymbals together from inside the box where the mystic stared out at us with dead, frozen eyes. As we moved forward to texit the room the evil seer lurched form his seat and slammed his hands against the glass! This was no wretched robot! This turbaned future caster was genuine flesh and bone!

Another area of interest further exploited fear of the carnival variety. First, a large floor to ceiling mirror combined with hanging, white ropes and a strobe light created a disoriented, glowing experience. Later a labyrinthine hall of mirrors amused us with visions of our own foul mugs when suddenly one mirror changed and revealed a devilish jester leering at us from behind it. Lastly we came upon a narrow passage that featured a simple yet clever illusion using what we believed to be mirrors.

Once we escaped the Horror at Mirrorland we entered a small, filthy kitchen where insects scattered across the dinner table and a deranged cross dresser offered us the latest meal. I wasn’t surprised when Richard greedily grabbed at the grub for he would as my Grandpa Irv likes to say, “Eat the ass out of an elephant and have the nerve to ask for more.” I was however a tad surprised when I grabbed a handful and began shoving the worms into my mouth.

Near the end of the attraction I was excited to enter one of my favorite scenes, the creepy doll room. Always, these rooms feature fantastically ghoulish play things — some with glowing faces or moving heads. A number of them may even wield weapons and if you’re lucky one of the pint sized deadites will even attack your group! Unfortunately the worker puppeteering the miniature maniac was one of the most unenthusiastic and unimaginative goofs to ever set foot in a haunted attraction. The initial scare was cut short when the worker abruptly stopped the puppet half the distance to our group. I offered my hand up for a good slashing as to allow the worker a second chance but junior wasn’t biting. I made several more taunts in hopes to elicit a response — hell I stopped short of tickling his chin — but nothing.The worker simply stood there like a dolt, a pox on what was otherwise a fun filled haunted adventure.

The haunt did conclude in an exciting manner, after exiting a greenhouse that contained chomping plants we were urged by what appeared to be a S.W.A.T team too quickly clear the area. The reason, you ask? Brain munchers, man!! A pair of sharply dressed dead heads attacked from behind and then a second pair appeared at our side. Soon several others emerged and we were surrounded, but the gunners did their part in dispatching the undead menace whilst Cikalo and I disarmed at least one flesh eater with nothing more than our irreverent wit.

The Chelsea Feargrounds haunted attraction featured superb props and animatronics — a chomping toilet, a faucet that poured blood, and a flatulent deer’s behind (complete with smell) were just a small sampling of the strangeness that greeted us here. We witnessed a rock formation spring to life, traversed a room full of murderous mannequins, and were blasted with sticky, white globs. You read that right. The costuming and make up was done well and the actors as a whole put forth a worthy effort. My only complaint is that at $17 ($15 w/coupon) the attraction could afford to be a little longer.

Once we emerged from the haunt we took advantage of the fun photo-op I mentioned earlier. The staff seemed particularly amused at our willingness to cram four grown men into a small space for the sole purpose of acting like complete idiots.

Rating: 4 stars

TENT OF TERROR HEADLINES THE BONEYARD

When we arrived at The Boneyard in Stockbridge the air had become noticeably colder but such trivial matters have never put a chill in this haunter’s blood. Here patrons claw their way through the Tent of Terror before hitching a wagon ride to Deadwood Forest and finally navigate through the thick fields of corn in Scarecrow Hollow.

Tent of Terror was an elaborately detailed attraction, so immersive in fact you will completely forget at times that you are in a tent. Our journey was punctuated by the hard driving musical stylings of Rob Zombie — an excellent choice for any adrenaline pumping haunted attraction. Tent of Terror was some what reminiscent of County Morgue at Chainsaw Creek in 2008 and that fact put a smile on my face. The attraction was positively brimming with ghouls and freaks — one popped out of a suitcase, several inhabited a macabre nursery, a quartet of clowns appeared as if from nowhere in yet another room issuing insults and threats. No solitary actor or scene really stole the show or outshone the rest but that certainly doesn’t suggest that these tent dwellers weren’t up to snuff. The scenes had a flow to them and the actors worked in a steady cohesion to provide an overall consistency in the scares.

Several memorable moments included a corpse that was skinned clean of all flesh, a black hallway blazing with dancing beams of blue, red, and green lasers, and finally a hung, left for dead pilgrim who lunged at us from death’s door. My favorite moment however came when we were herded down a narrow shaft, forced to crawl down a ramp. Where the ramp leveled off there was a small, strangely distorted window. A dagger-mouthed, beady-eyed, monster with wild, jet black hair was staring out at me hungrily growling, tilting its head to and fro. Its features were oddly misshapen by the glass and illuminated from beneath by an eerie purple light. It reminded me of something similar I saw years ago as a child at Anxiety Alley in Lincoln Park.

Rating: 4 stars

We hopped a wagon to the woods where we were dropped off at the entrance of Deadwood Forest, a western ghost town where the dead rule. Essentially a haunted trail, Deadwood Forest was impressively detailed featuring scaled down versions of Western mainstays such as a saloon and jail house, among others. There were intermittent blasts of fire scattered throughout the forest, a hunchbacked, hobbling hag and a fun, falling wall gag.

Considering the length of the trail it is scarcely populated which leads to more dead spots than are useful. A lack of actors in such an open space also facilitates aimless wandering and a fair amount of second guessing where the path is concerned. Additional actors would have increased the excitement of this attraction considerably.

Rating: 2.75 stars

The forest wall broke and we entered Scarecrow Hollow, a long corn maze full of dead ends and chattering chainsaws. The disorienting trek through Scarecrow Hollow was quite fun but it’s also one of the few times you’ll hear me criticize an attraction for being too long. The majority of the actors seem to be concentrated at the beginning and end of the corn maze which works well in those areas but also creates lengthy lulls throughout much of the attraction. Highlights of Scarecrow Hollow included the corn fed fiend who repeated the liens of passing haunters, although he was presented with a line he would not repeat as we passed, the clearing where we were ambushed by strobe lights and chainsaw touting lunatics, and of course the man with the demon horns who awkwardly participated in our crude jokes.

Rating: 3 stars

Haunt Season Set to Explode

Posted in Preludes and Nocturnes with tags , , , , on October 14, 2011 by bluefall8

Last night was yet another fun night of haunting as Jason, John, Cikalo and I hit Lockdown in Wyandotte and The Deadland in Warren, expect full reviews later this weekend. Tonight we embark on a trip to three — count’em three haunted attractions! First up is Krazy Hilda’s Barn of Doom in Saline followed by the enticing Chelsea Feargrounds, we’ll end the night with a visit to The Boneyard in Stockbridge! This should be a good one!

A Glut of Haunts Dot October Waltz

Posted in Haunt Schedule with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2011 by bluefall8

This schedule is not finalized by any means, think of it more as a shifting blueprint of the season. The status of a few prominent haunts remain unknown, most namely Demonic Demons in Detroit and Extreme Scream which ran last year in Waterford. Situations such as this can always alter our haunt destinations as can a slew of other obstacles, but here she is so plan accordingly if you’d like to venture with the Haunt Trinity.

10/7 or 10/8 – The Haunting (Adrian) and Darksyde Acres (Jonesville)

10/13 – The Deadland (Warren), Lockdown (Wyandotte), Demonic Demons (Detroit)

10/14 – Chelsea Feargrounds (Chelsea), Krazy Hilda’s (Saline), The Boneyard (Stockbridge)

10/22 (Overnight Trip) – Dent Schoolhouse (Cincinnati) and Land of Illusion (Middletown) OR 7 Floors of Hell (Berea) and Haunted Schoolhouse and Laboratory (Akron)

10/27 – Combination of Downriver haunts

10/28 or 10/30 – Blake’s (Armada), Erebus (Pontiac)

10/31 – Undetermined

Several of these dates fall on Thursdays and that is because I have made special considerations for some long time haunters. I still plan to hit some haunts on the weekend of those same weeks, any interested haunters are welcome to join me.