Archive for Cleveland

Cleveland Trip Underscored by Mix of Emotions

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 29, 2018 by bluefall8

This past Saturday, I took to the road with 7 Floors of Hell and Bloodview on the agenda. It was a fun outing despite some rain but overall I did expect more from my maiden voyage to 7 Floors of Hell. The same can be said of my beloved Bloodview; this was my third trip to the haunt called home by the Legion of Terror  and although it had its moments, I found myself nostalgic for years gone by.

7 Floors of Hell, as the name implies, featured seven separate haunted attractions — Chaos, The Basement, House of the Dead, Catacombs, The Butcher Shop, Mental Ward and Phobia. Chaos and The Basement were the best executed, House of the Dead also had several redeeming qualities but on average the various haunts offered too few unique scares or interesting characters.

The set designs fit the bill and each attraction featured plentiful, impressive props, but only a handful of actors engaged in fun and creative interaction, the vast majority delivered simple jump scares and bland, cliched vocalizations.

Bloodview remained a beautiful, macabre Mecca but the cast on this night was largely missing that magical spark. There were memorable moments sprinkled here and there but that was the exception. Perhaps the lack of punch was caused by the rain, or the false emergency that was in full swing upon our arrival or maybe it was simply the effect of the passage of time on yours truly. Such things are difficult to discern these days.

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Tetralogy of Terror at The Fear Experience

Posted in 2014, Fear Experience, Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 26, 2014 by bluefall8

Haunted-Houses-in-Cleveland-Ohio-Logo-400x150

It was a dreary Friday night when John and I set a course for the Cleveland area; a two and a half hour trip that seemed to pass relatively quickly. Our first stop brought us to The Fear Experience located on Brookpark Road in Parma, Ohio which we would shortly discover was a veritable feast for the senses.

The parking lot alone was larger than most haunted attractions and the building that housed The Fear Experience is, according to the haunt’s website, in excess of 100,000 square feet. A large banner hung above the entrance, music pumped through speakers; there was certainly a big event feel to The Fear Experience.

We entered the structure, purchased our tickets and were ushered through a detailed facade which led us to the massive queue area. The entire space was bathed in an eerie blue hue and covered in a thin fog. Rock music ripped through the scene while a handful of characters tenderized those waiting in line. A couple of mausoleums added additional atmosphere to the queue area.

I was thankful that John and I had arrived when we did because the line was only growing longer and when it came time for us to entire the first attraction, Zombie Uprising, we had waited nearly an hour. However, our wait was about to pay off as we embarked on a breakneck adventure through four haunted landscapes.

Upon entering Braxton Estate I was immediately struck by the level of detail — we traversed fully furnished rooms and highly convincing hallways where tattered cloth hung from the ceiling; it was undoubtedly an immersive experience. The whole of the house was infested with the undead; something had caused this once proud manor to fall to ruin. Everywhere there was clutter and grime; no longer a warm homestead, Braxton Estate had been rendered a slovenly Shangri-La.

There were large holes in the walls, so large in fact a flesh eater had managed to wedge herself inside of one and utilized it as a point of ambush. Her torso jutted from the wall and swung in our direction as we passed as if it were attached to a swivel. We encountered more dead heads near the conclusion of Zombie Uprising when we roamed through a ghostly playground connected to Braxton Estate.

Zombie Uprising featured one room that stood out over all the rest — a small dining room that required us to walk at a forty-five degree angle. The floor, walls, and furniture were all slanted which created a fun and memorable experience. Another design feature that I enjoyed was a series of box fans that had been placed inside the walls throughout Braxton Estate. It was something different that played with sound and light in interesting ways and was just one more element that contributed to the overall atmosphere.

Rating: 4.25 stars

We exited Braxton Estate and were immediately ushered into the Centralia Mental Facility which was nearly identical to Zombie Uprising in terms of length and amount of actors. Centralia Mental Facility was perhaps not as detailed as the aforementioned Braxton Estate but it was no less immersive. In one memorable instance as we navigated the shadowy passages, I was surprised to hear The Dixie Cups’ 1964 hit “Chapel of Love.” The sweet melody stood in stark contrast to our surroundings and as such created a distinctly odd, ominous and even cautiously humorous moment.

Inside this den of lunacy we witnessed a surgeon gleefully wield an electric bone saw at any who crossed his path, passed an exhibition of caged nutters and were even forced to enter a padded cell complete with a patient who lent the term wallflower a whole new meaning. The Centralia Mental Facility presented many solid startle scares, the best an enormous circular saw that buzzed near the tops of our heads. Fortunately, we were able to escape by way of an inordinately long and suspiciously loose womb-of-doom.

Rating: 4 stars

We experienced a short wait once free from Centralia Mental Facility and it seemed our time spent amongst the patients had created in us a yearning for cotton candy and games of chance, so we did the logical thing and made our way to the Centralia County Fair. We exchanged pleasantries with the ticket taker at the fair’s entrance who asked in less than decent terms if we’d enjoyed our trip through the mental facilities’ peculiar finale. I got the distinct impression that he may have had something to do with the womb-of-doom’s present condition.

Fortunately, we were spared further speculation and allowed entrance into the Centralia County Fair which possessed a dark and magical allure. We entered into an abandoned midway full of tents, carnival games and prizes galore. The level of detail was substantial, my brain couldn’t process the information fast enough. The midway was capped with the classic test of strength game — the High Striker. I had visions of setting a new high score, bright lights flashed across my face as a cheering throne of fairgoers applauded my triumph. There I was looking like Dennis the Menace, holding some cartoonishly over-sized plush toy aloft while my faithful friend John stood beside me patting me on the back as he smiled at the roaring crowd and proclaimed, “This is my buddy, this is my pal!”

My reverie was broken by a lone carney who roamed the midway and instead of issuing a challenge he suggested we be on our way; scuzzy jerk didn’t want to part with any of the goods. Next, we traveled a narrow path — to our left was a wall littered with flyers of missing persons and aged posters that advertised the Centralia County Fair from years gone by. I had a strong and sudden sympathy for the central characters in R.L. Stine’s The Beast.

We left the eerie scene behind us and came to an area where I imagine patrons once purchased funnel cakes, corn dogs and candy apples but the carnival had fallen silent. Again, I was impressed and awestruck at the excellent level of detail. Before we were assailed by another angry carney, we plunged into a nearby funhouse rigged with a brilliant array of lights, mirrors and multi-colored ropes that hung from the ceiling.

Later, we clawed our way through a disorienting maze full of hanging, striped tarps only to then happen upon caged side show freaks. Once free of the curiously named figures we found ourselves back inside the funhouse, now surrounded by large, brightly colored boxes and pillars. We bobbed and weaved through the vivid scene and in the far corner found a very curious exit. It required us to duck a bit but a small, long passage seemed to be our ticket to freedom; a white inflatable pushed down on us from above and of all the sights at the Centralia County Fair it might’ve been that glowing, half womb-of-doom that filled us with the most glee and bewilderment.

Rating: 4.5 stars

The last leg of The Fear Experience was District 13 which had a cold, industrial feel. There were green lasers used to disorient guests at the beginning and end of the attraction which was an unsettling journey through a series of tall chain-linked fences. It was difficult to gauge the size of the space due to the heavy fog, strobe lights and harsh music but it felt voluminous. In one corner, a frightening mime repeated the same stuttered movements like an animatronic in need of repair — his eyes were cold, lifeless, soul-sucking orbs.

While inside District 13, I couldn’t shake the notion that we were akin to rats in a maze. As we staggered along the route we were subject to a loud, intermittent banging. Would we be rewarded with a food pellet if we reacted with the desired response? Was I supposed to leap with fright, run headlong into a wall or spectacularly wet myself?! I wasn’t sure but that noise was setting me on edge and it only served to heighten the sensation that we were being watched for the amusement of some unseen audience.

Rating: 3.5 stars

The Fear Experience offered an enjoyable selection of haunted attractions and did from beginning to end provide quality entertainment at a reasonable price. Of course, there were a couple of drawbacks, such as the feeder system with which guests are funneled through the haunted attractions. This was particularly detrimental to the experience inside Zombie Uprising and Centralia Mental Facility which featured plenty of actors but little time for interaction as we often crossed paths with other patrons.

Centralia County Fair on the other hand would’ve benefited immensely from additional actors as it seemed quite scarce on live bodies. Unfortunately, those that were present didn’t offer much outside of standard interaction and that was truly a shame because this setting provided wonderful opportunities for storytelling.

It would’ve been thrilling to engage in a game of chance with a shady carny or to have been loaded onto a questionable ride or offered a dubious treat from the food truck. Why not encounter a distraught mother who sought to reunite with a missing child or be presented with a doomed fate by a mysterious fortune teller?

Still, John and I have toured plenty of haunted attractions that employed a carnival theme and none did it better than Centralia County Fair. The minds behind the madness at The Fear Experience have built a wonderful stage for which to act out future plays; perhaps next year all the crucial roles will be cast.

 

The Fear Experience, Bloodview Blitz the Night

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on October 18, 2014 by bluefall8

What an action-packed, surreal experience the Cleveland Turn N’ Burn proved to be. It was difficult to pass areas like Toledo, Fremont and Elyria with the knowledge that old favorites and untapped horrors were within shouting distance but we were on a mission to see The Fear Experience and then Bloodview and we wouldn’t be distracted or deterred.

The Fear Experience certainly had a presence, housed inside an enormous building the joint was crawling with patrons itching for some scares. It was a breakneck pace through a haunted odyssey that overloaded my brain with sensory input. The trek sent us through a dizzying array of spectacularly detailed scenes including a zombie infested estate, a mental asylum and the best display of a carnival theme that we’ve ever witnessed.

When the fun was done at The Fear Experience, John and I made the short drive to Bloodview in Broadview Heights where the Legion of Terror did not disappoint. The witches were out and so too were the preachers and townsfolk who sought to destroy them. Bloodview proved to be once again a haunted tour de force punctuated by an immersive experience fueled by the unparalleled talents of the Legion of Terror.

Full reviews will appear on Horrorlust in the coming days and weeks!

As for tonight, some work on The CikNis and should the weather cooperate a possible trip to Wiard’s Night Terrors.

The Fear Experience, Bloodview Comprise Cleveland Turn & Burn

Posted in Preludes and Nocturnes with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2014 by bluefall8

The air bristles, the approaching night beckons. John and I are to leave shortly for a haunt excursion not soon to be forgotten. In 2012 we witnessed a highly memorable outbreak of the dead at Bloodview and on this night the twisted and brilliant minds collectively known as the Legion of Terror will assail guests with a bonafide throwback — witch trials. Will John and I be swept up in the frenzy of paranoia? Will we too burn at the stake?!

Two years ago Bloodview snagged the Horrorlust Eerie Vibrations Award and was an honorable mention for he Horrorlust Monster and Horrorlust Pulse Pounder Awards; can the Legion of Terror repeat the feat or dare I say, even exceed our expectations?

And that is not all that the night has in store; after much hype we make our virgin sojourn to The Fear Experience in Parma, Ohio. There we will attempt to survive four haunted attractions including a Zombie Uprising at Braxton Estate, Centralia County Fair, Centralia Mental Facility and District 13. Centralia is a town with a particularly sinister past, but you don’t have to take my word for it; go ahead and check it out for yourself. The Fear Experience has lifted a bit of history from a true life Pennsylvanian town.

The website for The Fear Experience warns to avoid many things inside the Centralia County Fair such as accepting a prize at the midway or stopping for a snack at the burnt out food truck. There was also talk of a freak show complete with a lizard-boy and wolf-man; I just don’t think I possess the kind of impulse control the Centralia County Fair might require.

Here’s to a night of adventure! Happy Haunting!

Horrorlust Radio Episode #005

Posted in Horrorlust Radio with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 16, 2014 by bluefall8

I’m flying solo without a net in episode #005 of Horrorlust Radio.

In the fifth episode of Horrorlust Radio, I talk about the haunted attractions I’ve visited thus far and those I aim to tour before the 2014 Halloween season is to end; I also answer a few listener questions.

This episode of Horrorlust Radio also features the second installment of Nightmare Fuel and the debut of Dead Files. In Nightmare Fuel, I recount several ghostly nights spent in Lovett Hall, a former high school now part of The Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village. Dead Files is a segment in which haunted house reviews are read in dramatic fashion and up first is an account from a 2012 trip to Bloodview in Broadview Heights, Ohio.

I also provide my thoughts on the season premieres of The Walking Dead and American Horror Story. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Gerkins’ appearance on the Chop Shop!

I’m actively seeking sponsors for Horrorlust Radio, if you own or operate a haunted attraction or are otherwise involved or connected to the haunt industry and are interested in such an opportunity you can contact me at the following email address: horrorlust@bluestarproductions.net

Email any questions or comments to the address above or feel welcome to post any reactions to this podcast in the comments section below.

HORRORLUST RADIO: EPISODE 005

SHOW NOTES

Here’s a poster from Ed Wood’s Night of the Ghouls, the subject of the latest episode of the Chop Shop which featured my alter-ego Gerkins alongside Uncle Dead Guy.

A bizarre horror film with an even stranger history.

A bizarre horror film with an even stranger history.

Gerkins with Uncle Dead Guy, a match made in Hell.

Gerkins with Uncle Dead Guy, a match made in Hell.

Lovett Hall is a beautiful structure but it’s walls undoubtedly hold many secrets lost to time; by night certain areas, such as the ballroom and dormitories, are creepy indeed.

Lovett Hall originally opened in the late 1930's.

Lovett Hall originally opened in the late 1930’s.

The songs and audio clips featured in this episode are listed below in chronological order:

1. “Bad Moon Rising” by Creedence Clearwater Revival (Green River, 1969)

2. Day of the Dead Theatrical Trailer, 1985

3. Unknown Song, Unknown Artist

4. Captain Rhodes argues with Dr. Logan from Day of the Dead, 1985

5. “Labyrinth of Dreams” by Nox Aracana (Grimm Tales, 2008)

Horrorlust Radio Episode #003

Posted in Horrorlust Radio with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2014 by bluefall8

Wrestler, home haunter and haunted attraction enthusiast Mike Marvel serves as co-host for episode #003 of Horrorlust Radio.

In the third episode of Horrorlust Radio, Mike and I discuss the tradition of home haunting in all its various forms and then dig into the pros and cons of multi-attraction venues.

This episode also features the second installment of Lost to Time, a segment that highlights haunts now departed; you’ll also hear the birth of a new segment, Hosts & Hotties where we pay respect to icons of the industry from horror hosts to scream queens and everybody in between. The luscious Elvira, Mistress of the Dark is our inaugural honoree.

Mike and I also banter about the quality of haunted attractions during the month of September and even delve briefly into the crossover elements of professional wrestling and the haunted attraction industry.

I’m actively seeking sponsors for Horrorlust Radio, if you own or operate a haunted attraction or are otherwise involved or connected to the haunt industry and are interested in such an opportunity you can contact me at the following email address: horrorlust@bluestarproductions.net

Email any questions or comments to the address above or feel welcome to post any reactions to this podcast in the comments section below.

HORRORLUST RADIO: EPISODE 003

SHOW NOTES

Mike Marvel isn’t just a wrestler, home haunter and haunted attraction enthusiast, he’s also the man behind the scenes at Michigan Haunt Central on Facebook.

Brandywine Cemetery, the prominent home haunt cited during this episode, is located at 2727 Brandywine St. Ann Arbor, MI. 48104. Brandywine Cemetery will be open Thursday, October 30 and Friday, October 31 in 2014. For more information visit their website here: Brandywine Cemetery

I’ve included a scan of The Lab’s 2009 ad from the Fear Finder. My scanner isn’t quite large enough to capture the entire ad but you can enjoy 95% of this colorful, eye-catching advertisement.

Fear Finder, 2009

Fear Finder, 2009

And for those of you who live under a rock, here’s a picture of the gorgeous Elvira, the first honoree in Hosts & Hotties.

She puts the lust in Horrorlust.

She puts the lust in Horrorlust.

The songs and audio clips featured in this episode are listed below in chronological order:

1. “This is Halloween” by Danny Elfman (The Nightmare Before Christmas, 1993)

2. The Return of the Living Dead  Theatrical Trailer, 1985

3. “Living Walls” by Midnight Syndicate (The 13th Hour, 2005)

4. Trash from The Return of the Living Dead, 1985

5. “Born of the Night” by Midnight Syndicate (Born of the Night, 1998)

2014 Haunt Schedule: A Road Map to Horror

Posted in Haunt Schedule with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 30, 2014 by bluefall8

Never before has an October been so filled with a litany of events and that fact has made crafting the haunt schedule that much more difficult and tedious. In this never-ending quest to hit as many new haunted attractions as possible, things are set to be shaken up considerably. Below are listed a number of possible outings for the 2014 haunt season, but on which nights will we traverse those listed below? Of course, there’s also room for a wild card or an October surprise — there’s no telling where the haunts fates might take us.

In no particular order…

#1 – Corpse Barn Shock Haunt (Jackson) & Shawhaven Haunted Farm (Mason)

#2 – The Fear Experience (Cleveland) & Bloodview (Broadview Heights)

#3 – Hush (Westland) & Dark Legacy (Wixom)

#4 – Wiard’s Night Terrors (Ypsilanti) & Krazy Hilda’s (Ypsilanti)

#5 – Clio Manor (Flint), St. Lucifer’s (Grand Blanc) & Exit 13 (Mt. Morris)

#6 – Fear Factory (Mt. Clemens) & Salem’s Haunted Village (Capac)

#7 – Psycho Path (Flat Rock), Wyandotte Jaycees’ Fō-bē-ə (Wyandotte) & Woods of Darkness (South Rockwood)

9 of the 16 listed would be firsts for the Horrorlust team and yet old favorites niggle at the back of my mind. After five consecutive years of visiting Terror Town we skipped it last year and our last visit to the Haunted Hydro in Fremont, Ohio came some four years ago. Would this formidable duo not make for an enjoyable outing once more? Furthermore, the recent news from a friend regarding The Realm of Darkness has given me pause and now I find myself considering yet another trip to the aforementioned haunt and Pontiac’s other twin terror, Erebus. And what of my zany friends at Darksyde Acres?! It is times like these that I simply wish somebody would make these decisions for me.