Archive for demonic demons

Horrorlust Radio Episode #010

Posted in Horrorlust Radio with tags , , , , , , , on September 3, 2015 by bluefall8

In episode #010 of Horrorlust Radio, I’m joined by my brother, Jason Adkins.

In this installment of Horrorlust Radio, Jason and I discussed The Evil Within, a survival horror video game like none other. We also shared our thoughts on the 2014 cinematic release The Houses October Built.

This episode also featured installments of Serious Celluloid and Dead Files, just two of the original segments found only on Horrorlust Radio! In Serious Celluloid, Tod Browning’s oddball classic Freaks is enshrined in the Horrorlust library, meanwhile Jason performed a dramatic reading of a 2010 review of the Detroit haunted attraction, Demonic Demons.

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 010

SHOW NOTES

Corrections: I mistakenly referred to Dracula (1931) as a silent film while Jason and I discussed Freaks during the Serious Celluloid segment.

We highlighted many positive aspects of The Evil Within including character design; my brother and I agreed that Spider Bitch was the most frightening. Go on, have a look. Good luck sleeping tonight.

Spider Bitch: She's not here to cuddle, fellas.

Spider Bitch: She’s not here to cuddle, fellas.

An original promotional poster for Freaks, on the right side of the image are the eponymous freaks and to the left are Olga Baclanova and Henry Victor who portrayed the villainous trapeze artist Cleopatra and the strongman Hercules, respectively.

Gooble-Gobble, indeed.

Gooble-Gobble, indeed.

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

“Early Sunsets Over Monroeville” by My Chemical Romance (I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love, 2002)

Sleepaway Camp Theatrical Trailer, 1983

“Buzzkill Bitch” by The Koffin Kats (Straying from the Pack, 2006)

Bumble Bee Toilet Attack from Sleepaway Camp, 1983

“Graveyard Tree” by The Koffin Kats (Koffin Kats, 2003)

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)

2013 Horrorlust Haunt Awards

Posted in Awards with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 29, 2014 by bluefall8

The 2013 field was full of worthy nominees and after much consideration, I’m prepared to unveil the 2013 Horrorlust Haunt Awards.

2013 Horrorlust Haunt Awards Banner

Rotten Pumpkin – The Rotten Pumpkin award is given to the haunt considered to be the most disappointing of the season. Disappointment may be the result of an over hyped marketing campaign or the failure of the haunt to live up to expectations set forth in previous seasons. Whatever the case may be let there be no doubt that the haunt receiving this unwanted distinction truly dropped the ball, failing to provide a worthwhile show.

2013 Rotten Pumpkin: Scream Machine

Dishonorable Mention: 3-Story Haunted Barn (Blake’s)

The Scream Machine is now the first attraction to earn this undesired distinction twice; in consecutive years no less. It pains me to say that this selection was a no-brainer. The Scream Machine didn’t merely slip this year, instead the once respected haunt nosedived into an ugly downward spiral. The cast was unprofessional, listless and undoubtedly one of the very worst we’ve encountered. The design of the haunt was uninteresting, repetitive, and creatively bankrupt.

 

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

2013 Eerie Vibrations: Village of the Living Dead

Honorable Mention: Terrorfied Forest (Terrorfied Forest & Manor)

Village of the Living Dead seemed to pulse with a special kind of energy from the moment we crossed the threshold of the haunt. The mixture of dense fog, orchestral music and subterranean passages produced a surreal, claustrophobic adrenaline rush.

 

Dark Horse – The Dark Horse award is given to the haunt considered to have the most potential for growth. Criteria for this award include the ability to deliver an entertaining show at a relatively small venue and at a reduced rate. Think of the Dark Horse award as the Horrorlust’s way of recognizing the little haunt that could.

2013 Dark Horse: Bloodbath on Biddle

Honorable Mention: Realm of Haunted Minds

The Wyandotte Jaycees took full advantage of the old City Hall building and in doing so, provided  guests with a lengthy trip through two levels of haunted rooms and corridors. Bloodbath on Biddle featured creative room design and a slew of warm bodies, actors who proved more capable than in previous seasons. Time and money are luxuries that Jaycees groups simply do not have to waste, the folks at Bloodbath on Biddle deserve a lot of credit for managing their resources wisely.

 

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.

2013 Killer Automatons: Erebus

Honorable Mention: Jackson’s Underworld

House of the Dead’s four year stranglehold on this award has finally been broken as the old king returns to the throne. This is the second Killer Automatons Award for Erebus; the first came in 2008.

 

Monster – The Monster award is given to the haunt considered to have the best live actors of the season. In order to claim this award workers must display a certain level of intensity as well as a refusal to break character. Also crucial is the ability to improvise lines or actions when adapting to an individual guest or group.

2013 Monster: Sinister

Honorable Mention: Exit 13

This award proved to be the most difficult selection of the 2013 season as there were several deserving candidates. In the end however it was the unrelenting, improvisational impresarios of Sinister who grabbed the award for a second consecutive year.

 

Prop Master – The Prop Master award is given to the haunt considered to have best implemented props into the attraction. A prop may be considered a piece of furniture, a weapon, or a dummy. The haunt that claims this award will have paid special attention to placement, function, and realism.

2013 Prop Master: Hillside Mortuary (Terrorfied Forest & Manor)

Honorable Mention: Slaughter House (Slaughter House Adventure)

Hillside Mortuary earned this award in 2013 by offering haunters a trek through fully furnished rooms, complete with eerily posed mannequins. The motionless spooks were ominously frozen throughout the attraction, seemingly captured in moments of life that will live forever. The creepiest of the bunch stood expressionless next to an open casket — I got the chills just thinking about it.

 

Pulse Pounder – The Pulse Pounder award is given to the haunt considered to be the most intense attraction of the season. Intensity can be gauged by a number of factors including commitment of actors, gory or realistic scenes, and harsh or loud music and sound effects. However, the most important element when considering this award is genuine fear factor.

2013 Pulse Pounder: Village of the Living Dead

Honorable Mention: Purgatory’s Revenge

Reminiscent at times of our 2010 trip to Demonic Demons in Detroit, Village of the Living Dead toyed with the senses in various ways. Haunters were forced to crawl, climb, and grope their way through blinding fog and strobe effects. The overall effect produced a major spike in our heart rates.

 

Samhain – This award recognizes the most enjoyable night of haunting in a given season. A plethora of factors are considered when deciding this award but at the end of the season it comes down to the night of haunting that provided us with the most scares, laughs, and memories.

2013 Samhain: October 25, 2013 (Purgatory’s Revenge, Blake’s & Slaughtered at Sundown)

Honorable Mention: November 1, 2013 (Exit 13 & Village of the Living Dead)

We enjoyed a long night of haunting on October 25, when we managed to visit three attractions for the first time. Purgatory’s Revenge was a very good first time effort while the Nighttime Spooky Hayride at Blake’s was a feast for the eyes; meanwhile Slaughtered at Sundown offered classic fundamentals and engrossing scenes.

 

Haunt of the Year – The Haunt of Year award is given to the haunt considered to be the best overall attraction of the season. When deciding on this award several factors are taken into consideration including the timing and intensity of actors, the pace and length of the haunt, attention to detail, use of special effects, realism of props, and most importantly the lasting imprint left on guests.

2013 Haunt of the Year: Hush

Honorable Mention: Erebus

Quite simply, we were highly impressed with the overall effort from the rookie, Hush. The clever theme was leveraged well by Dr. Phineas Phun who highlighted an excellent cast that was full of energy. The scenes and scares varied in type and intensity and that approach produced a common thread of fun and fright that prevailed throughout Hush. It was a welcome surprise in 2013 that left us yearning for more and reminded us once again why we cherish this rite of passage each October.

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

Village of the Living Dead Preys upon Victims with Classic Scares

Posted in 2013, Review, Village of the Living Dead with tags , , , , , , , , on December 4, 2013 by bluefall8

The final night of the haunt season brought with it wind and rain, but we plowed through the elements en route to St. Charles’ Village of the Living Dead; our furthest visit of the season. I loved the ad for this place inside the Fear Finder, something about it harkened back to a bygone era of terror — perhaps it was the water tower looming ominously in the background, whatever the case Village of the Living Dead had the aura of a small town with a monster to hide.

When John and I first entered the haunt we came across a ghoulish freak who smoothly held out his hand and uttered the word, “token.” His voice was strangled but calm and offered just a hint of curiosity. Was he considering us for his next meal? Did he simply desire a new skin suit? My reverie was interrupted when his cold voice stated the utterance once more. Guests here are provided a token upon purchase of a ticket, the token resembled a poker chip — perhaps these tokens are a form of currency amongst those who dwell in the village.

We soon found ourselves traversing an uneven bridge, our vision obscured by a thick blanket of fog. Orbs of blurred light floated through the haze and served more as a tool of disorientation than a source of direction. We entered a cemetery and groped our way along the winding path, the orchestral tones of the Undertaker’s theme music blared throughout the area.

In one narrow passage the fog had grown so dense that a dead-eyed clown was able to materialize directly in front of my face and offered both John and I quite a fright. The fog swirled around our faces and curled about our bodies — it was as if it had taken on a life of its own. The fog was so prevalent that it created a bizarre and unsettling form of sensory deprivation. It was as if we’d been swallowed up into some abyss and lost all sense of direction.

As we transitioned into the middle section of the haunted attraction the oppressive fog began to thin. In one room our only option was to crawl through a small opening near the floor which led to a meat locker. Swinging corpses were hung from the ceiling and in our current position I felt vulnerable and exposed. It was the perfect chance for an enraged butcher armed with a meat cleaver to harvest additional flesh, but to my surprise no such being would manifest.

I do hate to see such opportunities go to waste but as it were this incident was the exception and not the rule inside the Village of the Living Dead.

Later, we were briefly led outside where an angry redneck assailed us with a weapon. He swung convincingly and with great force, a metallic clang exploded behind us. Swiftly, we entered back into the building through another door.

This final stage of the haunted attraction was rife with darkened hallways and false passages. Eventually we found ourselves in a cellar — we certainly had the distinct sensation of being underground anyway. Again, we were made to crawl and I began to have flashbacks to Demonic Demons in Detroit. Our hallway came to a dead end but above us hung a rope and with it we were able to hoist ourselves onto a platform. We crawled on and shortly came to a slide. And who doesn’t love a slide in a haunted attraction?

The horror was nearly at an end now, and we would soon escape the danger of the Village of the Living Dead but not before we were attacked by a pair of feisty pig girls who would’ve liked nothing more than to find us in the bottom of their slop bucket.

The Village of the Living Dead resonated with us on several levels. It was a haunted attraction in the traditional sense — it was frightening. The cast was vocal, animated, and not without a physical edge. The heavy use of fog throughout the first half of the attraction was a masterstroke that established the tone for what was to follow. With just a few additional well-placed and talented actors, St. Charles’ Village of the Living Dead could be that much more terrifying and memorable.

Rating: 4.25 stars

Old School Romp at Exit 13

Posted in 2012, Exit 13, Review with tags , , , , , , on October 18, 2012 by bluefall8

Our final stop last Friday night brought us to Exit 13 in Mt. Morris just north of Flint. We pulled into the parking lot of a dilapidated building, brush ran wild in untended thickets — it looked as if the place had been abandoned for at least a decade. There was scarcely a crowd at the entrance, a lone group stood hesitantly outside the doors, a boy of roughly twelve was visibly crying — he had yet to enter the attraction — on the inside I had a laugh. We purchased our tickets from an unsettlingly quiet and stoney eyed senior citizen, the creep factor inched a bit higher. We walked to the front of the queue line as there wasn’t a wait — an obscure, low budget film was being projected on the far wall but we had no time for such table dressing the ghouls at Exit 13 awaited our arrival.

As it were a member of the group we had witnessed milling about nervously when we arrived decided he’d rather go with us. His name was Corey and he latched onto my arm as if I were his date for the night. We were greeted by a man who identified himself as Dr. John, doctor of what he did not say. Dr. John comically explained to us that there were no rules at Exit 13 and that the monsters within would indeed touch us and as he said this I felt a pair of hands grab my ankles, this would occur at various times throughout the haunt and it provided that spooky vibe that only an unseen menace can conjure up.

Exit 13 employed a minimalist approach — the whole of the attraction was dark and cold — and reminded me greatly of the old school stylings put forth at the Extreme Scream. By the way — does anybody know what’s become of the Extreme Scream? I miss it dearly. Exit 13 provided rooms with an interesting twist such as the darkly reflective tinfoil room and the narrow passage where a towering wall of water cooler jugs nearly buried us alive. The actors were something of a mixed bag, but the crew was plentiful and on average they performed admirably. A few of the workers did deliver lackluster scares and in one crucial scene a scare came far too late but the cast was lively and genuinely seemed to be enjoying themselves.

We very much enjoyed the Christmas room which was cozy and yet some how horrific simultaneously. It’s neat to see a scene like this in a haunted attraction flush with Christmas decorations and lighting — a stark contrast indeed. It was here that an ill timed scare could’ve been so much more, we did give the evil helper ample opportunity to spring his trap but not every scare can be a work of art. Later on we stumbled upon an enthusiastic preacher who bullied us from his pulpit and commanded us sinners to step in the confessional. I thought for a moment that we would be locked inside of a small room and forced to repent but my anticipation soon diminished as we merely proceeded into the next hallway with no further interaction — yet another opportunity lost in my opinion.

Elsewhere we came upon a small window which afforded us the opportunity to peer inside of a bedroom (oh, kinky) that we would soon enter. I enjoy these type of features in haunted attractions because it adds a twist to the impending scare. The operators are giving you a glimpse of what you must face, a disturbed girl sat in front of a mirror combing her hair, but you know that this won’t be it — someone or something was bound to join her soon. We escaped this scene and proceeded to something neither John or I had witnessed before — a clear Womb of Doom?! It was an incredible and fanciful sight — suffocating inflatable walls pushed in on us from either side except they were a semi-clear plastic and a multitude of bright lights swirled about them. The overall effect was quite dazzling and to add to the excitement the crazed girls we’d escaped from a room prior were now thrashing at us from the other side of the thin walls. This was one of my favorite features of the attraction I only wish it had been utilized to maximum effect and used near the conclusion of the haunt where it would have been much better suited in a thematic sense.

As we neared the final third of Exit 13 we found ourselves caged as animals, a chain linked fence comprised the ceiling above our heads. This is a little used design strategy that I’ve only witnessed at a few haunted houses — Demonic Demons comes to mind most readily — but it provides for an easy assault from above and indeed a wily ghoul beat the top of the fence with shovel whilst shouting insults and threats. By this time our pal Corey had danced a circle of fear around John and I both as he comically talked trash to the monsters while using us as human shields. The chase was on now as we braved the final onslaught of Exit 13 — a giant sized cretin stalked us through a room full of drums, beating on them violently as we proceeded.

A livid nurse ushered us into a hospital room where a retarded man was about to give birth, yes you read that correctly. Suddenly, the newborn sprung forth from beneath his gown and swung wildly by his umbilical cord. The offspring flopped to the ground on the side of the gurney and lay limp. The new parent cast me a confused or bemused or maybe it was just a plain ole retarded look. I approached the bed and picked the apparent still born up off of the floor — it was spongy and skeletal and completely absurd. I handed the baby to the mustachioed father and gave my congratulations, he stared at me with googly eyes and nodded stupidly before pointing to the next room. I glanced back before I proceeded, wondering if I had actually just witnessed a mentally challenged person exploited in a haunted attraction. It was either that or that guy was the best damn actor I’ve encountered at any such attraction — gave me a laugh nonetheless.

Finally, we entered into a large room where several clowns had run a mock. One gleefully peddled a tricycle much too small for himself while another furiously cranked the handle on an immense box. The box sprung open and a third clown raced toward our group, poor Corey nearly hit the ceiling not knowing which way to run. He bolted for the exit where a fourth clown, this one of the hefty sort, greeted him with a chainsaw! The quartet paraded about the room madly for a few moments before they relented and granted us our freedom.

Admittedly, Exit 13 fell short in some areas as I’ve mentioned but on the whole the operators stuck to the fundamentals of haunting and managed to deliver both laughs and scares along the way. A number of the scenes I’ve mentioned were quite creative and full of energy – – John and I saw a couple of things that we hadn’t quite experienced before and for that Exit 13 deserves high marks. With a more consistent cast, a little more emphasis on interactive environments, and a few design tweaks — Exit 13 could be even better still. Regardless, I look forward to returning one day perhaps when we get around to that weekend long Flint area haunt crawl.

Rating: 4 stars

“Congratulations, it’s a…it’s a….we’ll it’s a something.”

“(Unintelligible groaning)” 

-My interaction with the proud father as I presented him with his clearly dead newborn.

Blackout Haunted House a different Breed

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on October 11, 2012 by bluefall8

Yesterday, I wrote briefly about the fabled Demonic Demons and the possibility that Zioptis had found a worthy successor — the news, as far as Michigan haunters are concerned, will undoubtedly be disappointing. The haunt in question is located in New York City, firmly outside most haunters seasonal bounds. The attraction is called Blackout and from what I’ve read it’s more in line with psychological theater than it is a traditional haunted house. Haunters must be over the age of 18 to enter the attraction and are required to sign a waiver, the real kicker however is the fact that guests are required to brave the darkness alone. That last fact is certainly an intriguing twist but I can’t help but to wonder if such a strategy would ultimately hurt the bottom line. A large draw of haunted attractions is the shared experience, it’s fun to go on an adventure with friends and have stories of laughter and fright to kick around for years to come. But as I’ve already mentioned, Blackout is not a typical haunted attraction.

The website for Blackout warns of physical contact, sexual and violent situations, water, and crawling. Apparently haunters are provided a flashlight and a medical mask that must be worn, guests are instructed to shout “safety” if they feel overwhelmed and wish to end the journey but other than that no speaking is aloud. The premise is raw and from the reviews I’ve read the experience sounds primal. A couple of reviewers commented that the experience were as if they had become a participant is a sick game straight out of Saw. The website does state that guests will engage in certain scenes where participation in disgusting or uncomfortable activities is required.

The whole affair certainly sounds interesting and darkly seductive. I can’t say for sure whether or not I’d go to an a attraction such as this if there were one close to home but I’d definitely consider it. Blackout does indeed sound as if they’ve taken the approach employed at Demonic Demons to another level, as Zioptis first suggested.

Demonic Demons, Horrorlust Spreads

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on October 10, 2012 by bluefall8

I popped onto Zioptis earlier tonight and was excited to see a post about Demonic Demons in Detroit but before I could even get excited the entry merely confirmed what I already knew — Demonic Demons is not operating this year. However, Zioptis dropped a tantalizing piece of information claiming to have found a haunt of a similar and perhaps even better than the fabled urban meat grinder! Nothing more has been released yet but as soon as I know I’ll share it with all of you fine haunt fiends.

In one other quick bit of news, the folks at Slaughter House Adventure liked my review so much that they’ve posted a snippet of it on their homepage. I am honored to have my words appear on the site of such an excellent haunt.

Season of Fear Creeps Near

Posted in Haunt Schedule, Preludes and Nocturnes with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 10, 2012 by bluefall8

Today is one of those days when fall and the haunt season feel so tantalizingly close it’s almost painful. By this time next week the Fear Finder may very well be in my greedy little hands! And that is, of course, a very important document for myself and the Haunt Trinity. As much as I try and get an early start on planning our trips, prior to the release of the seasonal newspaper there’s a lot of guesswork. The status of several old favorites and former mainstays remains in question and probably will until I crack open the pages of the Fear Finder.

FIVE HAUNTS IN LIMBO

One haunt shrouded in mystery that we are interested in is Extreme Scream, after moving to Waterford in 2010 the treasured haunt didn’t run last season and unfortunately I’ve yet to see anything that suggests it’ll return in 2012. I don’t know why Extreme Scream didn’t run last Halloween season, but it does cause me to wonder whether or not things went well at the new location in 2010. Formerly located on Telegraph in Taylor, my great hope is that Extreme Scream returns to its roots this year.

Another old favorite that seems to have vanished is The Lab. The operators apparently lost possession of the building after the 2009 season and did not run in 2010. I spoke with somebody involved with the haunt prior to the 2010 season and she said they (the operators) were “optimistic” that the haunted attraction would return in 2011, alas it did not. Just today I discovered that the website has also disappeared. Until further notice I have no choice but to consider The Lab lost to time.

An Ohio haunt that may have experienced a similar fate is Chainsaw Creek. This multi attraction event last ran in 2009 and from what I can tell from their Facebook page it seems as if they had planned to operate in 2010 but for reasons unknown, did not. The website for Chainsaw Creek had vowed to return with a permanent location in 2011. Chainsaw Creek had formerly been located in the immense parking lot of Toledo’s Franklin Park Mall — it’s certainly possible that the relationship between mall management and haunt management went sour but I’m not certain. What I do know is that Chainsaw Creek did not run in 2011 as the website had claimed it would. Currently a very similar message can be found on the Chainsaw Creek homepage in regard to the 2012 haunt season.

Last year we paid our first visit to Krazy Hilda’s and found the experience quite enjoyable. Krazy Hilda’s has called a few places home over the years but in recent years has settled into a location in Saline, Michigan. After our visit last fall I exchanged a few emails with the operator who revealed that the haunt was staffed entirely by volunteers, a fact that impressed me greatly — most volunteer efforts do not display the kind of professionalism that Hilda’s had to offer. Unfortunately, she also informed me that business had been slow and that closing up shop was a very real possibility. I emailed the operator a few weeks ago but have yet to hear back. I hope that this doesn’t spell doom for Krazy Hilda’s.

The final haunt in question is the fabled Demonic Demons. We experienced this haunt just once but it was a trip that will live on in our memories forever. Demonic Demons was housed in a building on Wyoming Street in Detroit and in 2010 Jason, Brad, and I experienced a haunted adventure here straight out of our childhood nightmares. Sadly, when we attempted a return  trip last year it was to find the building foreclosed or condemned or both. According to Zioptis this particular haunted house is infamous for having a spotty history. It seems to pop up one year and then disappear for several only to reappear once more. I am hopeful for a resurrection but as of now no new information is available.

THE OPEN (HAUNTED) ROAD

In 2011 we hit a record nine new locations and in 2012 we’ll look to break that number once more. While this year’s list is not yet complete a few routes have been plotted. Fellow haunt brethren I encourage you to peruse this list and leave me some feedback. With your suggestions and the impending release of the Fear Finder, it is my hope that any voids will soon be filled. Keep in mind that the order in which these outings are listed is not meant to be chronological and in no way does it reflect the date on which we will make the trip — those decisions will be made at the next phase of the process.

Night #1: Erwin’s Orchard (South Lyon) Slaughter House (Fowlerville), A Nightmare on Elm Road (Webberville)

Night #2: Darksyde Acres (Jonesville), Uncle Dickeys Wrong Turn (Hudson), The Haunting (Adrian)

Night #3: Westland Haunted Woods (Westland), Haunted Hallows (Westland), Westland Jaycees (Westland)

Night #4: Haunted Schoolhouse and Laboratory (Akron, OH), Bloodview (Broadview Heights, OH)

Night #5: Wyandotte Jaycees (Wyandotte), Realm of Haunted Minds (Romulus), Psycho Path (Flat Rock), Scream Machine (Taylor)

Night #5: Deadly Intentions (Warren), House of Fear (Hazel Park)

NIght #6: Exit 13 (Mt. Morris)

Thursday Outing Leaves Something to be Desired

Posted in 2011, Review, The Deadland, Wyandotte Jaycees with tags , , , on October 16, 2011 by bluefall8

What had begun as an overcast October day turned to a dreary, drizzling night. On our schedule was a trio of haunts — Lockdown form the Wyandotte Jaycees, The Deadland in Warren, and the hell spawn of Detroit, Demonic Demons.

Demonic Demons was set to be our last stop of the night but when we arrived it was to find a sad fate. A foreclosure notice hung form the door accompanied by a large lock. Several decorations remained in their place from last year including the signature casket. The scene reminded me of an abandoned amusement park, one part spooky, one part sad. This marks the second consecutive year in which the Haunt of the Year title will be unable to be properly defended. Is the Haunt Trinity’s most cherished award possibly cursed?

The revelation that Demonic Demons was indeed closed for business was highly disappointing but before that discovery was made an evening of haunting was had — time to rewind.

EXPERIENCE THE HORROR OF YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD HAUNT

Jason, John, Cikalo, and I first stopped off at Lockdown where the usual issues that plague many volunteer efforts were out in force. Sound effects or music was scarcely implemented, most of the actors were young, inexperienced, and diminutive — costuming was often scant, a fair number of actors were merely dressed in street clothes. It’s really a shame that the same issues hurt the Jaycees effort year after year because what they do well is very enjoyable. The first room for instance showcased some vintage Jaycees haunting. A pastoral scene is painted on the wall, it looks like the kind of thing you’d find perhaps in a kindergarten classroom or at Sunday school — it’s innocent yet sinister. In front of it hangs a swing, in it sits a child draped in a raincoat, head bowed slowly swaying back and forth. Slowly the head is raised revealing one of those clear theatre masks, a moment later creepy, simpering laughter can be heard.

There were several other enjoyable scenes as well including the PG-13 torture scenes, the toxic wasteland complete with tubes carrying glowing liquid, and the pick-a-door room littered with clowns and jesters. Upon opening one door we found a clown sitting upon a toilet, each time we opened the door he fell victim to violent bouts of defecation — I opened the door no less than three times.

Even so these highlights weren’t quite enough to overcome Lockdown’s shortcomings — subpar interaction and timing on the part of the actors, an uninspired finale featuring a chainsaw wielding harlequin, and a middle of the road approach.

Rating: 2.25 stars

THE DEADLAND ON SOLID FOUNDATION

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t expecting a little something more from The Deadland but I’d be fooling myself not acknowledge the fine start it’s off to at its new location. The adventure begins with a long walk down a fog filled hallway, purple lasers cast an eerie light. Each room is elaborately detailed whether it be a graveyard or hellish kitchen. Many of the props and decorations that help dress each scene are either genuine household items that lend a level of realism to the attraction or gory, detailed dummies which expertly build tension and fear.

The characters at Deadland are intense and loud, possessing above average vocalizations and improvisational skills. My favorites included a psychotic clown who was on a search for victims to stuff in his oven. There was also a somber, middle-aged priest with a voice like a serial killer, and a slim, agile loony who attacked us from above.

The Deadland has promise, it’s clear that there’s dedication and professionalism from top to bottom but a few changes need to be made to truly put this attraction over the top. There were several dead spots (areas where it seemed an actor should’ve been), I’m not sure if this was done by design or the result of being short staffed but it’s one area that can easily be improved upon.

The Deadland is enjoyable as is yet despite the admirable performance of the cast and the elaborate scenes nothing truly grabbed me or commanded my attention. When comparing price to length the attraction could afford to be longer and it would dramatically benefit from a powerful finale. Still, the Deadland has a solid foundation and has the potential to become a fixture in the Detroit haunt scene for years to come.

Rating: 3.75 stars