Archive for dark horse award

The Freaks are Due on Devil’s Night

Posted in Preludes and Nocturnes with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 30, 2015 by bluefall8

Haunting on Devil’s Night is something of a tradition here at Horrorlust; regular readers of the blog know this to be true. It may not be the magical night itself when the veil between worlds is thinnest but Devil’s Night has a special aura all its own.

The much ballyhooed Devil’s Night 2009 is the stuff of Horrorlust legend and was just this week enshrined as one of the five greatest nights in our haunted history. On that date we famously survived Hellblock 13 by the Wyandotte Jaycees, The Realm of Darkness (the final year of it’s original location) and finished the night with a maiden voyage to Haunted Farm of Terror!

In 2013 the Wyandotte Jaycees helped us kick off another memorable Devil’s Night with Bloodbath on Biddle which would go on to win the Horrorlust Dark Horse Award that season. That evening would also mark our first exposure to a rookie by the name of Hush which absolutely wowed us and subsequently claimed the Horrorlust Haunt of the Year Award. The night did end with a historic dud in what would become known as the death knell for the Scream Machine, that shocking turn-of-events earned Scream Machine the Horrorlust Rotten Pumpkin Award and in the process made Devil’s Night 2013 all the more memorable.

Last year we ventured first to Dark Legacy and were impressed with the scale and scope of the new attraction — it garnered the Horrorlust Killer Automatons Award. We then returned to Hush where we were once again blown away by a sterling performance that earned the then sophomore haunt the Horrorlust Monster Award.

So yeah, Devil’s Night is serious business around these parts and it is with great excitement that we anticipate another evening on the road as mayhem and mischief rule the night! If all goes as planned we will visit four separate haunted houses beginning with Terror on the Boulevard, a home haunt located in Lincoln Park. I actually attempted to visit this haunt on Devil’s Night 2012 but the so-called Frankenstorm that was all the rage at the time thwarted my efforts.

Next, we’ll burn rubber to Westland and tour Hush for a third consecutive year on Devil’s Night — this combination has yielded nothing but magic thus far so we saw no reason to make a change. Furthermore this will be the endgame for the original location as big plans are on the horizon — is this the year that Dr. Phun and the bunch render us a permanent fixture of the haunt?! If we manage to escape it’ll be off to Wixom for the revamped Dark Legacy and then a flight to the finish at the brand new Rotten Manor in Holly.

Methinks this shall be another Devil’s Night to remember for years to come.

Happy Haunting!

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Realm of Haunted Minds & The Extreme Scream

Posted in 2008, Extreme Scream, Hallowblog, Realm of Haunted Minds, Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2014 by bluefall8

This entry was originally posted on Sunday, October 12, 2008 and chronicled an enjoyable night of haunting that took place at The Realm of Haunted Minds in Romulus and Extreme Scream in Taylor.

This particular trip through The Realm of Haunted Minds would later notch the 2008 Horrorlust Dark Horse Award. 

On October 4 (the Saturday before last) the same group of haunters that survived the Homer Mill one week prior braved the terrors of two local attractions: Realm of Haunted Minds and The Extreme Scream.

Jason, John, and Cherette arrived at my apartment just past dusk and we set out for Realm of Haunted Minds at the Huron Turkey Farm in Romulus. When we arrived the area was nearly deserted but the sound of Michael Myers’ haunting music reassured us that the ghastly denizens of RHM were awaiting the arrival of some unlucky souls. There was a type of country store in which customers purchase their tickets and the decorations here were noteworthy. A number of realistic, life-size dummies dotted the walls on the left side of the room one of which appeared to be Lon Chaney’s portrayal of the title character in the 1925 production of The Phantom of the Opera.

After buying our tickets we hit the grounds were various clubhouse style buildings dominated the landscape, we would explore these after we exited the Realm of Haunted Minds. Upon entering the haunted house guests listen to the wisdom of a slightly creepy animatronic wizard. The haunt features a recurring theme of hallways speckled with neon paint and lit by black light; I think it works fairly well here achieving a disorienting effect without seeming repetitive or disjointed.

One major drawback was the timing of the actors, often off it served as a double dose of disappointment when paired with lackluster deliveries which plagued numerous workers. However, one particular actor was dead set on precision. After being herded down a narrow passage guests approach a turn to the right that forces them to crouch very low to the floor; all would’ve been fine if it hadn’t been for a hungry, undead girl stooped in the corner. The position of the corner and the low ceiling forces the haunt goers to come face-to-face with the frightening creature who barred her teeth in a menacing snarl. As we passed she made her desires known stating, “I want to bite your ankles”. She proceeded to follow us through several rooms, dragging her body across the floor as if her legs were useless. Her persistence was appreciated and I thought it only proper to offer her a just reward, shaking my exposed ankle at her as we rounded a corner I said, “Earn your meal biatch.” She didn’t just steal the show at RHM; she made the show and will no doubt be remembered as one of the top actors of the haunt season.

The rest of the haunted house featured passable if not forgettable scenes perhaps the most awe-inspiring was the room that contained a massive Frankenstein strapped to a medical table. I also was struck by a hallway that featured a high arching ceiling with bright pink tube lights running up either side of the walls and crossing over guests’ heads. As with the Homer Mill there was a “Womb of Doom” just prior to the end of the haunt. Upon exiting haunters wind their way through a small maze comprised of wooden fence posts. We eventually escaped the maze albeit by questionable means when Jason insisted on ducking beneath a wooden structure and barreling through a rather small opening between wooden planks, that opening needless to say increased in size once we had made our hasty exit.

The Realm of Haunted Minds has potential. It’s a great place for someone looking to get into the spirit of the Halloween season who isn’t quite prepared for the scares offered at more intense or graphic attractions.

Rating: 3 stars

We departed the Huron Turkey Farm and began the trek to Taylor for the Extreme Scream. The Extreme Scream wasn’t open in 2007 but during the 2004 Halloween season Branden, John, Amanda, and I discovered just how effective this haunt could be. Needless to say I was very excited to return to this haunt with an old school slant.

The Extreme Scream still features a lot of plain, dark hallways and the desired effect is pulled off here better than any other haunt I’ve visited. The operators here smartly allow haunters to psyche themselves out allowing them a lot of time to think about what lies around the next corner while feeling their way through these basic but effective hallways.

Prior to entering the haunt the guy at the door runs a shtick in which he cons the party weakling (typically the girl in the group) out of their name. Once he has the name he announces it to the foul ghoulies inside and as you may have guessed such dubious honors were bestowed upon Cherette. The monsters wasted little time in taunting Cherette, one depraved creature suggested that we, “Take Cherette to the bedroom”. I’m fairly certain I heard a satisfying slurp escape Jason’s lips.

The Extreme Scream features a strong blend of dark passages, props, actors, and simple yet effective gags. This haunt really starts to hit its’ stride at the midway point with a series of shrinking hallways that force guests to turn sideways and push their way along. While this occurs an agile clown scampers across the tops of walls taunting visitors below. Another neat feature of the Extreme Scream is the various locations at which haunters are forced to crawl their way along, sometimes while grunting creatures pursue you from a parallel path separated by intersecting wooden planks. The timing of the majority of actors is precise here and most seem committed to scaring the guests.

At one point we entered a room where the walls were lined with lockers, a single door stood at the far corner. We went through it and immediately suspected that we had strayed from the haunt. We were staring at the haunt’s sound system and standing in what seemed to be a type of access pathway to numerous rooms throughout the attraction. I could also hear the distinct chatter of employees; in fact I spotted two of them not far from me. After several attempts to find an alternate path and failing to do so I simply approached one of the workers and he directed me back to the locker room where I reunited with the group. Apparently there was a small door near the floor; we had to crawl to get through it. I’m fairly certain that haunt goers aren’t expected to find this for themselves because a ghoul had now appeared in the room behind the secret door this room was actually visible from the employee pathway we had mistakenly entered but it was so small I wasn’t sure that we were supposed to enter it. The ghoul who had suddenly appeared I assume was suppose to have jumped out at us and then directed us in the right direction in the first place, I guess he was busting a ghoulie feke.

The haunt concluded shortly and suffered from a terribly anticlimactic finish. Guests enter a room where a man in an electric chair, bathed in red light slowly raises his head. The prop is merely meant to distract you as a plainly visible slot in the wall houses a masked actor who provided a would be mild scare.

The misguided trip into an employee area as well as an uninspired finish put a blotch on what was an otherwise very enjoyable and well done haunt. I did miss the cart ride that the Extreme Scream featured in 2004.

Rating: 4 stars

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.

Krazy Hilda’s Unleashes Spooks on Campground

Posted in 2012, Krazy Hilda's, Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 9, 2012 by bluefall8

It was a long ride from Wyandotte to Chelsea but it was one made with much excitement. Last year we paid our first visit to Krazy Hilda’s and instantly fell in love with the Barn of Doom, ultimately granting it our Dark Horse Award. As some of you may know, Krazy Hilda’s was at a different location last year, partnering with Coleman’s Corn Maze in Saline, but this year the old witch has relocated to an abandoned campground in Chelsea. As we drew near our surroundings grew increasingly dark and rural. Shortly, we were traveling across dirt roads flanked on either side by thick woods — Hilda and the gang were well off the beaten path this year.

We pulled into a vast clearing, illuminated by powerful work lights. Once we had parked, we exited the vehicle and were directed toward a wooded path which led to the camp grounds. Now, there weren’t any scares during this brief jaunt but it did allow us the chance to soak in the natural ambience, and heck you just can’t help but wonder if something is lurking in the woods.

We bought our tickets and had a nice conversation with the lady at the window who kindly provided us with discount coupons after we’d left ours in the car. When we inquired about the change of venue she informed us that the owner of Coleman’s Corn Maze had given them a raw deal — Hilda and her minions had no choice but to relocate. There was no line for the attraction and this made me sad for two reasons. The first being that the staff and operators here deserve better, they draw more out of what they have perhaps better than any other group I’ve witnessed. The second reason was simply because the lady who collects tickets is a joy to converse with and no wait meant our discussion was cut short (we swapped stories of Taylor’s former haunt, Extreme Scream).

Hilda’s featured some seasoned scarers who were well trained in the art of the startle  and one could hardly ask for a better back drop on which to ply such a craft. Here and there cabins dotted the landscape, the haunted trail left us feeling completely exposed. Our favorite moment occurred early in our trek, as we were marching up a hill there was a disturbance on the ground to our right. A rotting flesh eater clawed his way out of a bed of leaves and staggered after us expressing a desire for our brains! I must admit that the actor did a great job of pursuing us and whatever instrument he used to create such an unique vocalization was an excellent choice. His agonized moans for “Braaaaains” could be heard across the neighboring hills and valleys and provided a most unsettling effect.

I appreciate the fact that Krazy Hilda’s makes use of homemade dummies, some may argue that they look cheap and unconvincing but the practice brought me back to my youth. These dummies also provided a distraction for guests who may otherwise have spotted a lurking monster eager to deliver a scare. One cabin had a pair of cellar doors located at the rear and as you might have guessed, the doors flew open with malice as we approached them. A menacing, female ghoul emerged with expert timing and stalked us down the path.

Some of the workers were equipped with milk jugs (a strange tool for a monster you may be thinking) but these jugs weren’t filled with milk rather they contained something hard and numerous, small rocks perhaps, and when shaken abruptly at just the right moment served to heighten each scare. Simple, yet effective tactics such as these are often ignored at many haunts always to their detriment; scaring is done right at Krazy Hilda’s.

My only disappointment was that our path never took us through one of the various cabins we saw along the haunted path although the staff did seem to indicate that they planned to run at the location going forward so perhaps this is something they’ll integrate in the future. I trust that the minds behind Krazy Hilda’s realize what they have and will make full use of their facilities in time.

Rating: 3.5 stars