Archive for county morgue

2008 Numbers & Awards

Posted in Awards, Hallowblog, Haunting By Numbers with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 18, 2014 by bluefall8

2008 marked the first season that I compiled numbers such as those listed below; it was also the first year that I assigned awards on such a scale.

On occasion I will look back over past awards and wonder if perhaps I didn’t shortchange a haunted attraction in a particular category; I bring this up now because in 2008 I gave a lot of thought to the Pulse Pounder and Killer Automatons Awards. Those awards would be won by County Morgue (Chainsaw Creek) and Erebus respectively, but there was spirited debate amongst myself and fellow haunters both during and after the fact.

There was certainly a case to be made for House of the Dead (Terror Town) with respect to the Killer Automatons Award and both John and Jason told me that they felt Deadly Intentions deserved the edge where the Pulse Pounder Award was concerned.

Situations such as those would, in future seasons, lead me to name not just the award winner but also an honorable mention; which is a system I prefer as I feel it provides a more complete picture for each award.

This entry was originally posted on Wednesday, September 16, 2009.

The 2008 haunt season was full of unprecedented fun and fright. In order to put things into perspective I’ve compiled the following numbers.

10: The number of Hallowblog entries posted throughout the season, the most since its inception in 2006.

9: The number of haunts visited by the Haunt Trinity, a one year record.

136: The amount of money each of us spent on those nine haunted attractions.

6: The number of nights we set out to visit haunted attractions.

2: The number of states we traversed on our quest for Halloween fun (Michigan and Ohio).

96: Miles traveled to the Homer Mill, the furthest haunt of the 2008 season.

446: The total number of miles we traveled throughout the haunt season.

If all goes as planned many of those numbers will be surpassed this season, what is less certain however is the performance and subsequent rating of the haunted attractions. Let’s take a look back at last year’s noteworthy performances. Presented here in Hallowblog for the first time are the 2008 haunt awards as chosen by the Haunt Trinity.

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 during the 2008 season.

2008 Rotten Pumpkin: Templin’s Night Terror

The Haunt Trinity had high expectations after experiencing a superb, old school experience at Hell’s Hospital in 2007 but the Wyandotte Jaycees wasn’t able to recapture the magic. It wasn’t just that a number of actors were undisciplined and ineffective or that their less than whispered conversations were clearly audible over an oddly mute sound system, no more than anything the largest detraction of the Jaycees’ 2008 effort was that it felt like a bad imitation of its usual product.

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

2008 Eerie Vibrations: Homer Mill

A lot of haunted attractions possess a great atmosphere but in the end it was the Homer Mill that jumped out at us the most. Homer Mill is like no other haunt we’ve ever visited, as if the structure of an old mill adapted to a haunt isn’t a unique enough atmosphere for you then consider the Halloween themed restaurant and bar connected to the haunt. The seemingly opposing but strangely complimentary buildings forge a rare synergy that creates a comfy, fun atmosphere whether you’re traversing the haunt or enjoying a bite to eat and all the while you can hear screams of fun or fright as it may be heralding from the other side.

Dark Horse: The Dark Horse award is given to the haunt considered to have the most potential for improvement. 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.

2008 Dark Horse: Realm of Haunted Minds

Realm of Haunted Minds is located at the Huron Turkey Farm and is one of those haunts that is fun for all ages, it’s not too intense but it isn’t geared toward children either. There’s room to expand here and the haunt benefits from a semi-rural locale which by night creates a creepy small town farm atmosphere.

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.

2008 Killer Automatons: Erebus

A number of mega haunts have awesome animatronics these days but nowhere are they put to greater use than at Pontiac’s four story monster. The integration of animatronics at Erebus is impressive, the willingness of the operators to push the envelope with robots that literally attack patrons shows a commitment to fright that warrants high scores in my book.

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 at the end of the experience the most important element is the level of one’s own fear.

2008 Pulse Pounder: County Morgue (Chainsaw Creek)

Chainsaw Creek’s crown jewel is not a long or intricate haunt but it is frightening. County Morgue is slim on live actors but those that do inhabit its cold corridors are a credit to their craft. County Morgue is a dark brew of ultra-gory props, ear splitting heavy metal, and mind numbing strobe effects. It might not sound like much but the place brought me to a level of fright I don’t often feel. I was tentative when approaching objects and less than comfortable when turning corners. The fear I felt here brought me back to my youth.

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 a refusal to break character. Also crucial is the ability to improvise lines or actions when adapting to an individual guest or group.

2008 Monster: Deadly Intentions

When you talk about a commitment to scaring guests any conversation that doesn’t include Deadly Intentions is just plain wrong. The collective energy put forth by the staff here in 2008 was unmatched. These people are relentless in their quest to scare you and don’t think you’re going to deter them with sophomoric quips. The group at Deadly Intentions clearly loves what they do. It’s primal, in your face, non-stop insanity.

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 haunt’s ability to leave a lasting experience in the minds of guests.

2008 Haunt of the Year: House of the Dead (TerrorTown)

In a season packed with worthy contenders House of the Dead rose to the top of the corpse pile. An unlikely amalgam of innovative techniques and bizarre visuals propelled this stench laden living tomb to haunt super stardom. It was fun, it was scary. It was a wild, haunt riot that assailed all five senses and had me wishing I’d possessed a sixth for I’m certain it would have been delightfully thrown off kilter. Experiencing House of the Dead isn’t like visiting a haunted attraction it’s more like being ripped from reality only to be dropped in a wacky, bygone era video game world complete with a giant enemy eyeball. If you’ve ever played Monster Party for Nintendo then you’ve got a pretty good idea of what House of the Dead is all about.

Haunt Season Hits Stride at Chainsaw Creek

Posted in 2008, Chainsaw Creek, Hallowblog, Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2014 by bluefall8

This entry chronicles a memorable visit to Chainsaw Creek which was located in Toledo, Ohio. It was one of the earliest, if not the first, experience we ever had at a multi-attraction venue. County Morgue, one of the four attractions that was featured, won the 2008 Horrorlust Pulse Pounder Award.

I hold numerous fond memories from this outing and have always considered it a formative event in our haunted history. Sadly, we never returned to Chainsaw Creek. We wanted to embark on a return trip in 2009 but weren’t able to work it into our schedule. The haunt folded after that season and has not returned since. 

This post was originally published on Wednesday, October 22, 2008.

On Saturday, October 18th the Haunt Trinity set out for Ohio with the intent of visiting Chainsaw Creek in Toledo and TerrorTown in Maumee but due to our late start we were only able to visit Chainsaw Creek. Chainsaw Creek features four attractions: County Morgue, Haunted Prison, The Black Swamp, and Carn-Evil. I was some what surprised at the size of the crowd and equally thrown off by the large security presence. Music blared from speakers as elaborately disguised ghouls paraded around the area frightening hauntgoers. I immediately liked the atmosphere of this place, the night had potential.

The four attractions sat in a corner of the Franklin Park Mall parking lot as we approached Carn-Evil was to our left, The Black Swamp and Haunted Prison stood directly before us, and County Morgue was to the right. We bought our tickets and decided to hit County Morgue first as it seemed to be the main attraction. As we waited in line we were entertained by a monster-sized clown with a curiously low set head that bobbed wildly as the creature marched about; I would later get a picture with this freakish being. County Morgue was constructed from a large party tent with a front wall made from wood. It would be easy to write such an appearance off as cheap but the frugal technique worked well here. After watching some idiotic kid fail in an attempt to weasel his way into the attraction it was our time to enter.

County Morgue offers a unique blend of old school and smash mouth haunting. Strobe lights flash throughout the haunt and hard, driving rock music pulses combining to create a disorienting effect all while the adrenaline gets pumping. Upon entering the haunt the first room holds quite a rare sight — an unkempt girl sits in a wheelchair, wearing a helmet. She held her left arm aloft and twiddled her fingers in rapid fashion…and then she spoke and proceeded to warn us of monsters in her own special way. Yeah, I was surprised too. I’ve never before witnessed the mentally retarded reduced to comic fodder for the sake of a haunted attraction. I had to admit, this place had some balls and the effect was nothing short of hilarious if not crass. The very next room did not disappoint either as we approached a doorway a legless, bloodied, zombie-nun crawled from beneath an unidentified structure and began violently gnashing at our legs. This place was crapping on all sorts of taboos! I loved it!

As we continued through the haunt I realized that I was starting to feel apprehension at every turn and that is not something easily accomplished on one such as I, this haunt was doing a hell of a job creating suspense like no other haunt this year. Many torsos hung upside down from the ceiling and each was extremely life like some of the props were even equipped with a gruesome twitching effect. Half way through the haunt we were confronted by an impish girl with a gaping head wound who excitedly and repeatedly proclaimed, “Can you help me”, we just laughed which must have rubbed her the wrong way because she then began expressing a desire to munch upon our flesh. We left the jazzed up cannibal to her own devices and were shortly confronted by a man cradling his own entrails. Highly entertained by this point we were almost sad to depart the haunt as a demented doctor pursued us with a chainsaw. At the haunt’s exit Wheelchair Girl bade us a fond farewell with her simply charming smile.

I’m always hesitant to prescribe individual ratings to a haunt with multiple attractions because as a haunt enthusiast I know that a few are there to function as side shows but County Morgue was so good that I feel it’s an insult not to give it its own rating. Truly the only knock against the haunt was that it was short but again that’s to be expected when one haunt, Chainsaw Creek, features four attractions. So now that I’ve spewed forth that tangled mess of metadiscourse…

Rating: 4 1/2 stars

Next we headed to Carn-Evil, the 3D haunted attraction at Chainsaw Creek. Twice before the Haunt Trinity has set foot in 3D haunted attractions and on both occasions there was something left to be desired, I was anxious to see what Carn-Evil had to offer. While we waited in line we were entertained by a ghoulish goob who did do his job well but was unfortunately ruled partially a douche due to his ICP hoodie. There was also a behemoth grim reaper type with glowing red eyes who skulked the grounds and pointed a threatening finger at haunters. Thus we entered Carn-Evil and while we certainly weren’t blown away we weren’t disappointed. Carn-Evil was thin on live actors but the few who did populate the haunt did their craft a service and possessed excellent timing. We groped through techni-colored passageways and worked our way through a series of maze-like false walls. Everything here was relatively subtle (aside from the shockingly fluorescent 3D paint of course) but it seemed to balance nicely. The attraction ends when hauntgoers cross a great black hole which pushes the 3D effect to the max. Again, this haunt didn’t light our senses on fire but it did reestablish our faith that the 3D attraction can serve as more than mere filler. Jason, John, and I all agreed that it was the best 3D haunted attraction we had visited.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars

The lines were becoming considerably shorter now and after a slightly banal conversation about haunts with a possibly stoned employee at the entrance of The Black Swamp we were granted access into this third attraction. The swamp theme is cool in theory but if it’s not pulled off just right it can become boring and lame. Chainsaw Creek does a pretty good job at creating the illusion of a swamp like atmosphere; typically haunts achieve this through a combination of heavy fog and green lasers. The first turn of the haunt revealed a lunatic clown who laughed joyously as he manically proclaimed, “I want to eat your face!” He delivered the line with such crazed joy and I really appreciated this actor’s effort, sometimes the entire show can live and die by the actors. The Black Swamp was a little light on details but did feature all the right characters for the setting including a Black Lagoon type creature that dashed at us out of the fog from beneath a wall. Like County Morgue it suffered slightly from being too brief.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars

Upon exiting we joined the line to the final haunted attraction, Haunted Prison. This haunt featured a great animatronic at the entrance, behind a set of bars a man is strapped to an electric chair and is of course repeatedly executed. Once we had entered it became apparent that Haunted Prison was fairly bland. Hauntgoers wind their way through a series of chain linked fence for the majority of the haunt while a fair number of workers provide decent scares. Admittedly I had grown tired by this point of the night and my wits were not very sharp but even with that said there just wasn’t a whole lot to Haunted Prison, it was just a bit too generic.

Rating: 2 1/2 stars

Chainsaw Creek on the whole scored positive marks and I would consider a return visit during the 2009 haunt season. The atmosphere exudes a wild and fun brand of scares which is underscored by the band of wandering creatures. County Morgue is undeniably the crown jewel; with more room the operators could turn this attraction into a full-fledged haunt itself. Carn-Evil fills the role of solid side show admirably and has some potential to expand as well. While Haunted Prison could use some work The Black Swamp has promise but it’s likely that these two will be altered next year as multi-attraction haunts rarely feature the same line up year to year. The price is right at $20 so if you’re a haunt enthusiast and you have a free Friday or Saturday it’s worth the drive from the greater Detroit area as well. I’m definitely interested to see how Chainsaw Creek evolves for the 2009 season.

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