Archive for dawn of the dead

Zombies Everywhere, Haunt Schedule

Posted in Hallowblog with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 30, 2014 by bluefall8

This installment of Hallowblog Flashback was originally posted Friday, October 9, 2009. In this entry I wrote about some horror and science fiction of the day; there’s also a dash of haunt schedule speculation included for good measure.

In addition to that, this entry detailed our plans for a fateful night of haunting, plans that were altered in a most historic way. You can read all about the results from this trip when it becomes the focal point of Hallowblog Flashback in just two weeks.  

It’s a Friday night in October which means The Haunt Trinity is set to lurk about the state hitting Michigan’s finest haunts. It’s a wet, dreary evening but that will do nothing to deter us haunting fanatics. Tonight we have two very exciting visits; the first stop will find us at Deadly Intentions the winner of the 2008 Monster Award for best live actors. Deadly Intentions delivered a smash mouth, high intensity show last year when we visited on Halloween night and this year’s theme has us frothing at the mouth: City of the Living Dead! Zombies, man! Fuckin’ zombies!!! A whole haunt packed full of my favorite flesh eating dead heads! Listen to this description from the ad in the Fear Finder:

Though the infection has only been spreading for a few weeks almost the entire city has been affected. Will you be able to make it through town without becoming a victim of this terrible outbreak? Can you escape the City of the Living Dead?

HOLY. FUCKING. SHIT. I have been waiting for a haunt like this since the first time I saw Night of the Living Dead. I’ve dreamed us this day since I discovered the brilliance of Dawn of the Dead. I have hoped for this since I first experienced the wonderful horror of Resident Evil 2 back in February 1998! I’m not kidding when I say that this has the potential to be the greatest haunted attraction that I have ever witnessed. My friends at Deadly best not disappoint!

If I some how manage to survive the sheer horrible awesomeness of this event we’ll continue north to the Haunted Farm of Terror in Lenox Township. This place has drew my gaze for several years now and I’m very excited to finally experience the much ballyhooed hayride which Zioptis says is a spectacle to behold. There are also some zombies to shoot with paintball guns which will no doubt afford a gander from us fine fellows in the Haunt Trinity.

The usual slew of horror films has hit theaters just in time for Halloween a few of particular note include Zombieland, Paranormal Activity, and Saw VI. Zombieland opened October 2nd and devoured an estimated $25 million on opening weekend. The previews reveal it to be more in the spirit of Shaun of the Dead than Day of the Dead but that’s just fine with me. I enjoyed the off the cuff, devil-may-care humor on display in the trailers and I like the possibilities inherent to a carnival atmosphere. I’d like to catch this one as soon as possible. I’ve only seen teaser trailers for Paranormal Activity but it looks interesting. I did a bit of reading and discovered that it’s actually a 2007 mockumentary that has played at several film festivals. I won’t rush to the theater to see it but I’ll definitely give it a view when it’s released to DVD. Saw VI premieres in theaters October 23 and like Paranormal Activity I’ll wait for it on DVD. The last two films have swept the story into some fairly convoluted territory but I like the Saw movies; it’s the first series to carve out a legitimate niche in the horror lexicon in some time and for that it deserves recognition. Can you think of a more recognizable new face on the horror landscape than Jigsaw’s puppet over the last decade?

I absolutely love Fringe. I got into the series when it premiered last fall and I’ve grown to like it more and more as time has passed. The premise has an obvious correlation to The X-files which naturally appeals to me but more than the absorbing story arch I find the main characters fascinating. Has there ever been a more deeply conflicted eccentric genius in television history? He’s wonderful when playing the mad scientist but equally compelling as the flawed and broken father. There’s a redemptive quality about Walter which is appropriately underscored by much of his tragically poetic wisdom.

Below is a rough schedule for the remainder of the haunt season:

Friday, October 9: Deadly Intentions (Warren) and Haunted Farm of Terror (Lenox Township)

Friday, October 16: Terrortown (Maumee, OH) and Haunted Hydro (Fremont, OH)

Friday, October 23: The Haunting (Adrian) and Darksyde Acres (Jonesville)

Friday, October 30: Undecided, although we’re contemplating a visit to either Armada or Genesee County area haunts. We’re also debating a return to some Pontiac area haunts; a selection from all three locations is also a possibility.

We’ve also kicked around the idea of hitting additional Downriver haunts on a Saturday.

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Horrorlust Radio Episode #004

Posted in Horrorlust Radio with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2014 by bluefall8

Creator of the Chop Shop and horror hound, Steve, served as co-host for episode #004 of Horrorlust Radio.

In the fourth episode of Horrorlust Radio, Steve and I discuss horror films, the role of sequels and the often blasphemous practice of remakes. We also talk at length about Steve’s childhood and teenage recollections of Halloween which include his involvement in a basement home haunt and a harrowing encounter with a woodland lunatic.

This episode of Horrorlust Radio also features two fresh segments — Cauldron Questions and Pop Horror. In Cauldron Questions my co-host and I answer three burning questions and then in Pop Horror we discuss all things horror in the land of film and television such as The Walking Dead and an independent film titled The Houses October Built. 

Steve and I also explore the the history of his spooky but likable alter-ego, Uncle Dead Guy. And unsurprisingly, we have some fun with speculation regarding potential haunted house visits.

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 004

SHOW NOTES

The book I referenced on several occasions during the podcast is called Shock Value and was written by Jason Zinoman (Penguin Press, 2011).

Required reading...seriously , go and read it.

Required reading…seriously, go and read it.

Steve and I also discussed a number of old horror comic books which included EC Comics’ most popular title, Tales From the Crypt. In addition to Tales From the Crypt, EC Comics also published The Vault of Horror, The Haunt of Fear and a slew of other non-horror related comics. The company published this style of comic from the 1940’s until the mid-1950’s when it began to focus on the well-known humor magazine, MAD.

In addition to EC Comics’ line of titles we also discussed a pair of titles that Steve was more familiar with from his youth, Creepy and Eerie by Warren PublishingThe former originally had an 18 year run from late 1964 until publication ceased in February 1983; Creepy was resurrected in 2009 and is currently published by New Comic Company LLC in partnership with Dark Horse Comics. Eerie was launched in 1966 and it too ceased publication in February 1983.

For your pleasure, I’ve included a few examples of cover art below.

Tales From the Crypt would later become a hit HBO series from 1989-1996.

Tales From the Crypt would later become a hit HBO series from 1989-1996.

 

Creepy, undoubtedly inspired by its EC Comics forerunners.

Creepy, undoubtedly inspired by its EC Comics forerunners.

 

Eerie, the sister publication to Creepy.

Eerie, the sister publication to Creepy.

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

1. “I Put a Spell on You” by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins (Cow Finger & Mosquito Pie, 1956)

2. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Theatrical Trailer, 1974

3. “Boogie Man” by Mad Sin (Burn & Rise, 2010)

4. Kirk meets Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, 1974

5. “Out of the Dark” by Mad Sin (A Ticket Into Underworld, 1993)

Horrorlust Radio is Hatched

Posted in Horrorlust Radio with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 17, 2014 by bluefall8

I’m pleased and excited to bring to you the inaugural edition of Horrorlust Radio! My plan is to release a new episode of this podcast each and every week throughout the Halloween season and then once-a- month beginning in December. Each episode will be featured here on Horrorlust but will soon be on other forums as well such as iTunes.

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

In this frist episode of Horrorlust Radio I’m joined by my brother, Jason, to discuss sensationalism and hyperbole in haunted attraction advertisements. We also debate how those same ads, in addition to various news outlets and previous visits form customers’ year-to-year expectations of haunted attractions.

This episode also features the debut of two original Horrorlust Radio segments, Lost to Time and Oddments & Urban Legends. The former pays tribute to haunted attractions that are no longer in operation, today we lay to rest the beloved Extreme Scream. In the latter segment we debate the merit of various urban legends, focusing this week on whether or not mummies were once used to fuel locomotives.

Also, we delve into the origins of modern haunted attractions and what role the Jaycees has played in popularizing this unique form of entertainment. Finally, we recount the harrowing tale of our fabled 2010 visit to Demonic Demons in Detroit.

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

Welcome to Horrorlust Radio.

HORRORLUST RADIO: EPISODE 001 

SHOW NOTES

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is a three-part series of children’s books, which as the title suggests, contains spooky stories derived from urban legends and folklore. Written by Alvin Schwartz and illustrated by Stephen Gammell, the book was originally released in 1981. The series continued appropriately on October 31, 1984 with the release of More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and concluded with the 1991 release of Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones.

Pure, unadulterated nightmare fuel.

Pure, unadulterated nightmare fuel.

The Woods of Darkness promotional video that was mentioned briefly during the podcast was shot during the course of the 2010 haunt season. The operators there began using it the following year and credited their surge in attendance that season to the video. The Woods of Darkness is located at 11665 Haggerman Road in South Rockwood, Michigan.

Here is a link to that video: Will You Survive the Horror of the Woods?

During the Oddments & Urban Legends segment I referenced a poem by Charles Webb, here’s a link to a Slate.com article where you can not only read the poem but also here the author read it himself: Mummies to Burn

Lastly, the musical pieces and audio clip featured in this episode are referenced below in the order that each played during the podcast.

“People Who Died” by Jim Carroll Band (Catholic Boy, 1980)

“Gargoyles Over Copenhagen” by The Nekromantix (Return of the Loving Dead, 2002)

Peter, from George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (1978)

“Life is a Grave and I Dig It!” by The Nekromantix (Life is a Grave and I Dig It!, 2007)

Halloween Companion Number 1

Posted in Hallowblog with tags , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2014 by bluefall8

Here is the seminal post that would spur Hallowblog (and then Horrorlust) into existence — Halloween Companion Number 1. As you’ll soon read, the purpose of this entry was to highlight a creature of the night as well as one horror movie. It only seemed fitting to select the zombie as the featured monster and naturally Night of the Living Dead as the film. This post was originally written on Thursday, October 19, 2006.

Oh the excitement runs rampant! Rampant I tell you!! Freakin’ rampant!!! I mentioned last week that such an entry would manifest and so it is. Let’s dig into this bag of goodies.

For the first installment of the Halloween Companion I’ve decided to give you good people something of double feature. I call it a double feature because the creature and film highlighted in this entry are pretty cozy with each other; bedfellows you might say. C’mon people, consider the source, this one should be obvious.

Our creature…the zombie. (Seriously, did you expect something else?)

A rudimentary definition of a zombie would read, “a person who is believed to have died and been brought back to life without speech or free will.” That definition is not inaccurate but it is limited. It is essential to clinically, that is to say physically die in order to become a zombie. Logic follows that in order to be a zombie you must be reanimated and to be reanimated you must first die. The definition is also correct in saying that a zombie is without speech and free will. Typically the only sounds a zombie can make are moans and other guttural noises. The bit about free will definitely applies to zombies that have been reanimated by means of voodoo or other forms of black magic. This type of zombie is essentially a slave to the one who has given it a second life and when not being ordered to perform a task it will appear catatonic. This type of zombie does not present an inherent threat to human beings; it does only the bidding of its master. Unlike its cousin, that would be zombies in the Romero vein, the voodoo zombie does not feast upon warm human flesh.

And therein lies the great division between the voodoo zombie and the more prominent flesh eating ghoul. Rules regarding a zombie’s behavior vary slightly depending on the film maker’s intentions but as a template I will focus upon the those characteristics that define the Romero zombie, because truly, 1968’s Night of the Living Dead has served as the basis of zombie behavior for a plethora of films about the undead since.

These zombies do not possess great physical strength in fact they are commonly depicted as being physically weak, easily overpowered by would be human prey. Zombies are also typically slow moving, exceptions do exist, for examples of such view the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead and 28 Days Later. Even Romero strayed from traditional zombie behavior for his fourth zombie film, Land of the Dead although that was more a decision that was necessary to the story arch (the zombies were evolving) rather than a simple twist on an old staple. As if slow, awkward movements and physical prowess comparable to Minnie Mouse weren’t enough of a hindrance the zombie is also a dim-witted creature, again exceptions to the rule exist. With these attributes in mind it brings one to wonder why the hell a zombie is such a formidable foe. Slow, weak, and dumb; indeed it sounds more of an apt description of the kid picked last in gym than that of a vicious, undead murderer. But my friends, to recognize the zombie’s weaknesses and ignore it’s strengths would be foolish beyond a ballot cast in favor of the GOP, okay maybe not that foolish, but it would lead one down a terribly reckless path. Yes, we are faster, stronger, and most importantly, smarter than our hunters and we can wield those advantages against them but not without understanding their strengths and motivations.

The zombie possesses an edge in two crucial areas: strength in numbers and the ability to absorb massive amounts of physical damage. Zombies tend to gather in dense packs, presumably in areas where food (humans) is or was prevalent. They rarely acknowledge each other; doing so only when quarreling over a piece of a victim (a tasty intestine will always trigger a zombie throw down). Zombies also seem to possess some awareness of human presence even when said humans are out of sight, they will also become more active when warm flesh graces their sight. It is advisable that any number of humans avoid large groups of the undead lest you risk infection, which is a topic I’ll come to later. As prior mentioned zombies can sustain large amounts of physical damage without being killed…again. A zombie could have a limb torn off, an eye gouged out, or a spinal column severed, none of these methods will stop the zombie on it’s pursuit for human flesh. To effectively combat the undead one must, to quote many a zombie flick protagonist, “You gotta shoot’em in the head”. Decapitation has also proven to be an effective method in most cases; essentially the rule stands that the brain must be destroyed in order to put down a ghoul.

Thus far we’ve established what a zombie is, its physical traits, its insatiable appetite for the living, and how they are too be guarded against. But why do zombies rise in the first place and why the hell do they want to eat people? Would they devour a friend or former lover from their living life? You bet your ass they would. Zombies are creatures of pure instinct and possess little to no memory of their prior life, they act only on the impulse to feed and possibly a primal desire to multiply, for that is exactly what occurs when a zombie has its prey. A zombie bite is a death sentence, well an undead death sentence if you will. The rule follows; if you are bitten by a zombie you will subsequently join the ranks of the undead. The time table of such a transformation depends on the extent of the injuries. Some have turned from human to zombie in mere minutes while others succumb to the infection in a matter of days. Amputation of the infected area has proven some what effective in suppressing zombie symptoms. These amputees may have been spared for the time being but the trauma of the event combined with whatever bit of infection may have survived the amputations can cause fevers and hallucinations which leads to other destructive behaviors.

So why oh why do zombies rise from the dead and kill the living? Well nobody knows for sure. Many reasons have been presented in movies dealing with these creatures, the most prominent of which are: radiation from outer space, a type of virus usually attributed to some government experiment gone wrong, a plague (presumably from Hell), a judgment from God, or as Peter from DOTD so famously said, “When there is no more room in Hell the dead will walk the Earth.” It is standardly accepted that whatever the cause zombies can infect the living by biting them, suggesting that the virus is transmitted through saliva, this theory has been broadened to other bodily fluids as well, most namely blood.

Now that I’ve made you few loyal bastards suffer through this long-winded lesson about my precious undead friends I’ll conclude by saying that any inquiries regarding the undead can promptly be sent to yours truly. And if zombies do ever rise and you wish to save your mortal ass from becoming a mindless, flesh eating ghoul you’d better seek me out because damn it my vast expanse of zombie knowledge will save your life.

At the top of this I stated that this was a double feature so without further verbal defecation I present the featured film…

Night of the Living Dead. Yes, I know you probably expected it to be Dawn as it is my favorite movie but I certainly have my reasons for choosing the gem that is Romero’s first endeavor into the zombie mythology. Night of the Living Dead has become the rule that all exceptions of the genre are born. There were of course films prior to Night that dealt with zombies but none so memorable, potent, or with such lasting impact. That it is why it became the staple. That is why it is the icon. But NOTLD is not just a classic horror film meant to elicit screams and gasps from viewers; it is also a satire, a stirring commentary about turbulent 1960’s America; a microscope analyzing race relations and social classes of its day. NOTLD is both a horror fans wet dream and a landmark artistic achievement. It is because of the latter that NOTLD remains ingrained in our collective conscious nearly 40 years after Johnny creepily quipped, “They’re coming to get you Barbara.”

Motor City Nightmares

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2014 by bluefall8

Motor City Nightmares Horror Expo and Film Festival will be held next weekend April 25-27 at the Novi Sheraton located at 21111 Haggerty Road in Novi, Michigan.

The event will feature celebrity guests headlined by Sid Haig, Kane Hodder, Ken Foree of Dawn of the Dead fame and voice of the Crypt Keeper, John Kassir. Independent films will be showcased throughout the convention weekend, live musical acts will be on hand, Friday and Saturday nights will play host to a Monster Bash kickoff party. The event will also feature a litany of vendors including a couple of Michigan based haunted attractions, Exit 13 and Hush.

Ticket packages vary, but you can obtain prices and other useful information at the convention website: Motor City Nightmares. 2014 marks the 6th annual Motor City Nightmares Horror Expo and Film Festival according to the group’s Facebook page.

Kick ass artwork, check.

Kick ass artwork, check.

Haunt Trinity Burns Midnight Oil at St. Lucifer’s and The Crypt

Posted in 2011, Review, St. Lucifer's, The Crypt with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 5, 2011 by bluefall8


Halloween. The night that spawned countless scary stories, local legends, and all of our favorite horror icons. The founding members of The Haunt Trinity struck out into the night to celebrate the holiday with a visit to some fresh haunts.

The open road beckoned us, but before we hit the expressway we zig-zagged through the neighborhood of our youth reliving memories imprinted in time. When the sweet buzz of nostalgia had faded we found ourselves on I-75 barreling toward our destination — first the city of Grandblanc and then if we were lucky, the neighboring Burton.

DOUBLE FEATURE AT PLAYLAND PARK

Our first stop brought us to Playland Park, a family fun center any other time of the year but druing the season of ghosts it plays host to twin terrors headlined by St. Lucifer’s Haunted Asylum and rounded out by the zombie beleaguered 13 Feet Under.

The fun began before we were even able to find a parking spot. Ghouls of various sorts roamed the grounds freely — a particularly emaciated zombie followed our car gnashing at me through the back window. True to the habits of his rotting kinfolk, he peeled off and chased after the next thing to move when my tender flesh proved too elusive. While we waited in line to enter St. Lucifer’s a band of committed haunters entertained the throngs of visitors. One radical dead head zipped about on a pair of roller blades, a swamp creature slunk around the ankles of patrons, and the star of the show — a portly, middle aged woman with uneven patches of hair delighted the crowed by clucking and strutting like a chicken whilst making playfully crude remarks.

When we finally entered St. Lucifer’s we were shortly loaded into an elevator or as they’re generally referred to in the haunt biz — a hellivator. An increasing number of haunts have implemented these in recent years, the first time we experienced one was at the Scream Machine in 2006 and then again the following year at The Haunting. Terror Town’s House of the Dead also features a bumpy ride to parts unknown. However, St. Lucifer’s had a few surprises in store for us. The elevator rumbled to life and quite quickly came a most curious sound. Was that laughter? The mentally deranged held at St. Lucifer’s had broken loose and seemed to be rocking our carriage from the outside! As the elevator shook a cacophony of voices echoed through the box, combining to form a collective insanity that sounded amused, excited, and angry all at the same time. The wild ride came to a sudden halt and just when we thought we were safe the floor beneath our feet dropped! Okay, it merely dropped a few inches but it was entirely unexpected and something new to The Haunt Trinity. All in all St. Lucifer’s was off to a rollicking start.

As it were the pace was kept up fairly well as St. Lucifer’s featured a quality blend of workers and props, maintained a delicate balance of indoor and outdoor, and supported a solid lighting scheme by utilizing powerful strobe lights for thrilling scenes and plain old darkness for just enough psychological pull.

St. Lucifer’s stuck with the insane asylum theme well but didn’t limit itself to padded cells and dark hallways — we witnessed a variety of rooms including a dental area, a classroom, sleeping quarters, and a morgue. Each area included unique features or characters beginning with the dentist who displayed what can kindly be described as a less than gentle touch. In the classroom we encountered Sister Mary Clearance, a mountain of a man dressed as a nun complete with a sweet, Southernly voice that belied a firm hand. We discovered just how firm that hand could be when the good Sister reprimanded us for being late by whipping our asses with a yard stick.

The finale of the attraction made use of heavy fog and unrelenting strobe lights, a ghoul named Jimmy stalked us from the shrouded mist. We raced toward a choke point — a Womb of Doom — as it would turn out it was the most suffocating one of its kind. Jason and I broke through to the other end and waited for John to emerge…and waited…and waited. Had the Womb of Doom ensnared the Disco Devil? Perhaps Jimmy of the Mist had caught up with him? Had John been sucked into a some sort of Halloween time warp? Questions abound but one thing was for certain, we would not abandon our friend to haunt purgatory. Our decision was made, we had to reenter the Womb! Just as we were about to take the plunge Disco sprung forth from the inky black void like a monstrous feline — proving to me that I wasn’t the only one who enjoyed messing with friends during the ultimate season of practical jokes.

St. Lucifer’s was overwhelmingly enjoyable. The workers exhibited good to great acting and the attraction itself was constructed well and was of fair length. The characters were bizarre, grotesque, and humorous — we watched one disheveled lunatic lick a pane of glass in an apparent attempt to express his desire for us. Elsewhere a mentally stunted nun babbled nonsense whilst mistreating a patient. There were also cool structural features such as the aforementioned elevator but also a set of old freezer doors used to simulate entering a morgue. We were even treated to a highly realistic dummy of a midget, and boy do I enjoy that sort of thing.

Rating: 3.75 stars

13 FEET UNDER UNEARTHS A GEM

13 Feet Under is the second house at this location but unlike so many other haunts that feature multiple attractions this is no side show, rather it’s a full blown haunt in its own right. 13 Feet Under was in a sentence — interesting and different with a dash of gloom and fun. Much like St. Lucifer’s, 13 Feet Under employed a design that left many areas open overhead — a feature that lent an authentic feel to the ravaged cityscape the theme suggested. I felt like Jill Valentine dodging Nemesis through back alleys and fire escapes in Resident Evil 3…minus the boobs of course. I was also reminded of Deadly Intensions’ City of the Dead from 2009.

There were some truly neat design features within the haunt such as descending bridges and sewer passages built from large construction tubing — the latter an excellent choice in terms of creativity to transition from one area to another and too also provide haunters with an unfamiliar environment with which to interact.

The first quarter of the haunt was thin on actors but this didn’t detract from the experience in fact it seemed to set the mood well. The first character of note we came across was a walker bound granny who made a bit of small talk before dropping her robe to reveal a pair of comically saggy breasts complete with nipple tassels. She gyrated and danced much to our delight, tassels cutting circles in the October air. When she had finished her geriatric thrusting it was clear we were meant to be on our way but intent on getting the maximum bang for our buck, we attempted to goad ole granny into an encore performance but alas we had received all we would get. That was definitely one of the most outright hilarious moments we’ve ever experienced while haunting.

Further into the haunt we came across three young lasses who had each been trapped in a cage. They begged for our help but as usual all we could do was ogle. We did a fair bit of ogling later on as well when we witnessed a genuine amputee performing in a scene of torture and mutilation. Sex and violence peddled in its basest forms can usually enhance any haunted attraction.

Midway through the attraction we traversed a room full of body bags each stuffed with an occupant. The scene had been designed to look as if the corpses had been disposed of in an alley or area for trash collection. It was wonderfully reminiscent of what I like to call the “Pit of Dead” scene from Dawn of the Dead — needless to say I found it to be a very nice touch.

Speaking of dead things, we had finally found some flesh eaters in this ruined city. A tall fence separated our party from them but that wouldn’t stop any brain muncher worth its weight. The pair pushed against the fence which had a surprising amount of give. They may have surprised us with their ferocity but their yellowed teeth remained on the other side of the fence. We hastened our pace for such a commotion had surely alerted others of their kind to our presence. Shortly thereafter we were surprised by the same emaciated cretin who had chased our car earlier in the night. I offered the hungry fellow a few sporting chomps as is my custom but my reflexes were too quick for the wretched rotter.

We neared the end of the haunt as we wound our way through a wrought iron maze of fence. There was a camper visible ahead, it was lit up and decorated as if it were home…to something. We were given no time to soak in the scene, the residents were home and they were pissed. The lady of the land shrieked something about trespassing whilst a pair of weapon clad weirdos hurried toward us hellbent on getting us off of their land. After a few threats from them and a couple of wise cracks from us we did indeed depart their property and in doing so exited 13 Feet Under.

13 Feet Under was an all around solid haunting experience, scoring particularly well in the areas of acting, pace, props, design, and theme. Along with St. Lucifer’s this double bill should find success for many seasons to come.

Rating: 4 stars

BURTON’S CRYPT BLENDS ODD JUMBLE OF SCARES

The silver light of the Halloween Moon acted as a stimulus upon us, the night was growing late but with The Crypt so tantalizingly close it would be nothing short of a crime if we were to fail in our quest of a Samhain trifecta. On this night however fate would smile upon us as we soon found ourselves standing in line for the final haunt of the 2011 season. The Crypt is located in Burton in what appeared to be a vast and bleak postindustrial landscape; it felt as if we were on the outskirts of Midgar.

The Crypt featured a fairly pedestrian façade but seemed to be comprised of a building and various trailers; it seemed to be of decent length but it was difficult to estimate. We were allowed to enter the structure a few minutes sooner than we would have when the couple in front of us comically chickened out – attempting to quiet their nerves no less than three times.

We entered the darkness and were quickly entrenched in an oppressive series of catacombs. Caught up in the euphoria of our final outing I brashly announced the arrival of The Haunt Trinity to any ghouls within earshot, and what do you know, one such ghoul took umbrage to my bravado and offered up a quality first scare. The first half of the haunt was very well done offering an immersive environment that see-sawed surprisingly well between damp crypts and household scenes of horror. Indeed, the most interesting scenes were those that resembled the living quarters of what can only be called a trailer park nightmare. The rooms were immaculately and bizarrely decorated, The Crypt as it turned out was not without some of the flavor of a pair of our all-time favorites –The Realm of Darkness and Armada’s Haunted Hollows. One room featured a curiously shaped fish bowl complete with livestock, another held a wild-eyed, piano playing fleshy, and yet another had a large, redneck man in a shower.

The props in the first half of the haunt were plentiful, creepy, and kitsch – it was easy to imagine that we had wandered stupidly into the dark fantasy of some whacked out and twisted white trash. The haunt stretched on and the scenery and mood shifted dramatically. We walked down a dark passageway and then through a door that led us to a brightly colored room, a clown with ridiculously long legs sat limply in the corner. As we crossed the room Spider Legs sprang to life and proceeded to tower over us looking like a pasty-faced abomination. This room seemed to distinguish the line between the first and second half of the haunted attraction. The latter half of the haunt wasn’t bad but it was relatively disappointing compared to the first half. This second area of the haunt had a much more generic feel and relied much more heavily on animatronics. The haunt felt a bit slapped together toward the end, at times resembling a dungeon but too often it featured rooms and scenes that felt disconnected from one to the next.

Overall, The Crypt was a very enjoyable haunted attraction and not a bad way to conclude the 2011 haunt season. I’d be remiss however if I failed to mention the excellent choice of music throbbing throughout the attraction – first the theme from Halloween and then The Exorcist. I’ve said it before and I ‘ll say it again, when in doubt you just cannot go wrong with either of those tunes scaring up the air molecules inside of a haunted house.

Rating: 3.75 stars