Archive for erebus

Five Nights Etched in Time

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2015 by bluefall8

I’m often asked which haunted house is my favorite and the honest answer is that I don’t have just one favorite. Haunted attractions come in all shapes and sizes and employ a wide range of themes, narratives and scare tactics to deliver a memorable experience. While I certainly do have my preferences, my favorites are a collection of diverse attractions. As the list below examines, some of the my most treasured haunted adventures were not limited to a single haunted house but encompassed an entire evening of haunting.

The outings below are not ranked in any way other than chronological. Trips made during the 2015 haunt season did not qualify for consideration as the season is, as of the time of this writing, in progress.

Friday, October 31, 2008

It will demand further investigation but if memory serves this was the first instance in which we toured three separate haunted attractions on a single night. 2008 was a momentous season in which we visited nine total locations, our personal best at the time. Without a doubt the best of the year was saved for Halloween when we raced against the clock to tour Deadly Intentions in Warren and then Realm of Darkness and Erebus both in Pontiac. Deadly Intentions claimed the 2008 Horrorlust Monster Award while Erebus gobbled up the 2008 Horrorlust Killer Automatons Award.

Fun Fact: The avatar used to identify myself here on Horrorlust was snapped that night.

RELIVE THE NIGHT!

Erebus, The Realm of Darkness & Deadly Intentions Electrify Halloween Night

Friday, October 30, 2009

Devil’s Night was raucous and windswept; large crowds and an impending storm only added to the pandemonium. We began the evening with a romp through Hellblock 13 which was held in the former Wyandotte police station and ended the night with a wild, rain-soaked hayride at Haunted Farm of Terror; sandwiched between the two was a visit to The Realm of Darkness. This night didn’t capture any awards (although had the Horrorlust Samhain Award existed at the time it would likely have been awarded to this night) but The Realm of Darkness and Hellblock 13 did combine for four honorable mentions.

Fun Fact: While on the hayride at Haunted Farm of Terror, I narrowly avoided being struck square in the face by a large, runaway prop.

RELIVE THE NIGHT!

Season Concludes with Devil’s Night Frenzy

Friday, October 14, 2011

This was an insanely fun night of haunting in which we witnessed three awesome, albeit different shows. Krazy Hilda’s Barn of Doom had style and substance while Chelsea Feargrounds boasted flash and excitement around every corner and finally The Bone Yard served up a trio of fun-filled attractions. Krazy Hilda’s Barn of Doom grabbed the 2011 Horrorlust Dark Horse Award, Tent of Terror (The Bone Yard) became the inaugural recipient of the Horrorlust Prop Master Award and unsurprisingly the whole night was recognized with the then brand new Horrorlust Samhain Award. Furthermore, Tent of Terror and Chelsea Feargrounds combined for three honorable mentions in other award categories.

Fun Fact: The Chelsea Feargrounds offered a unique photo-op in which small, alien creatures were made to look as if they’d burst from the subject’s chest.

RELIVE THE NIGHT!

Thrills & Chills Dominated Hilda’s, Feargrounds & The Bone Yard

Friday, October 5, 2012

Threaten as it did to thwart our plans, the weather was no match for the spirit of the season on this night. It was a trip filled with laughter, illusion and effective, low budget haunting. Barn of Horrors at Erwin Orchards won the 2012 Horrorlust Prop Master Award while Slaughter House collected the 2012 Horrorlust Pulse Pounder Award. Like the previous entry, this night too claimed the Horrorlust Samhain Award.

Fun Fact: Ken Evans, one of the organizer’s of Slaugher House, happened to be conducting some quality control when we toured the barn and asked our opinion of the place once we’d exited the haunt. We got to talking and hit it off — later that year the website for Slaughter House would feature some quotes from the review I posted to Horrorlust. To the best of my knowledge that was the first instance of a haunt using my words to promote their attraction and I thought that was awesome. 

RELIVE THE NIGHT!

Elements Conspire but Erwin, Slaugher House Persevere

Saturday, October 20, 2012

This overnight trip to Ohio had a big time feel as we visited two haunts with a lot of history — Bloodview in Broadview Heights and Haunted Schoolhouse and Laboratory in Akron. Bloodview ensnared the 2012 Horrorlust Eerie Vibrations Award and together with Haunted Schoolhouse and Laboratory scored a slew of honorable mentions.

Fun Fact: It was on this trip that I first enjoyed the little known, gem of a horror film called Stake Land.

RELIVE THE NIGHT!

Haunted Schoolhouse has Presence, lacks Punch

Laboratory Mirrors Successes, Shortcomings of Haunted Schoolhouse

Legion of Terror Breathes Life into Bloodview

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Haunt Til You Drop

Posted in Haunt Schedule with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 20, 2015 by bluefall8

As with any season of haunting changes to the schedule are inevitable and 2015 is no exception. What I have posted below is an ambition if not all together insane flight to the finish. The haunt season has concluded with a flurry of activity in years past but the 8-night, 15-haunt gauntlet listed below is the stuff of madness. It may prove to be too ambition in the end; I may be found on November 2nd lying face down in a corn field with frayed nerves and a vacant expression, but damn it, I’m going down swinging.

10/22 – Hallowe’en Nights in Greenfield Village

10/23 – Delirium

10/24 – Clio Manor, Exit 13, Dreadlands Haunt of Davison

10/25 – Shawhaven Haunted Farm, Slaughter House Adventure

10/29 – Dark Legacy, Rotten Manor

10/30 – Terror on the Boulevard, Abandon, Hush

10/31 – Slaughtered at Sundown, Terrors of Resistance

11/1 – Erebus or Wiard’s Night Terrors

And if all that doesn’t kill me I might just attempt to hit Scarefest Scream Park which will be open on Saturday, November 7th.  Why? Because haunts.

Michigan Hidden Gems

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 19, 2015 by bluefall8

Halloween is big business in the Midwest and Michigan is no exception. The Mitten State is home to dozens of haunted attractions that stretch from Metro-Detroit to the edge of Lake Michigan all the way northward to the sparsely populated Upper Peninsula. Indeed, the October scene in Michigan is diverse, far-reaching and is truly a bubbling haven of haunted houses.

As the one-time holder of a Guinness World Record, Erebus has garnered a lot of national attention and is often ranked by numerous industry outlets as the one of America’s top haunted destinations. Wiard’s Night Terrors too has spent time in the limelight, one of Michigan’s oldest haunted attractions it was the subject of a HauntWorld article as recent as 2014 and is synonymous with all things that go bump in the night around these parts.

These highly visible haunts do our state proud, but Michigan is also fortunate to have a collection of volunteer haunts and other small venues that fly under the radar. These locations may not attract much media attention or possess a large advertising budget but what they lack in grandeur is compensated in heart, creativity and a certain charm.

Tonight, on Horrorlust, we explore the hidden gems of the Michigan haunt game.

A Nightmare on Elm Road – 2020 Elm Rd. Webberville, MI. 48892

A little advertised, smallish haunt situated on the edge of the woods. The low budget decor has just the right amount of grime and is complimented with old school fundamentals. A mixture of indoor and outdoor scenes will keep scare-seekers on their toes.

2012 Review: Elements Conspire but Erwin, Slaughter House Persevere (Beneath “Young Upstart Has Potential, Needs Improvement” Headline)

Krazy Hilda’s – 10340 Ford Rd. Ypsilanti, MI. 48198

Now at Panana Hills Farm, the old witch refuses to be forgotten after nearly two decades of brewing up scares. The Trail of Terrors is an atmospheric forest walk that will delight children and adults of all ages. The team is passionate, precise and can deliver a laugh alongside a scare.

2011 Review: Thrills & Chills Dominate Hilda’s, Feargrounds & The Boneyard!

2012 Review: Krazy Hilda’s Unleashes Spooks on Campground

2015 Review: Krazy Hilda’s Trail of Terrors Casts A Spell

The Psycho Path – 23984 Gibraltar Rd. Flat Rock, MI. 48134

A volunteer effort that has survived for more than twenty seasons, The Psycho Path is a testament to what can be achieved through hard work and creativity. The show is re-themed each year and suffers no shortage of live actors. In a throwback to every child’s nightmare fantasy the haunt is concealed by a patch of woods behind a church.

2014 Review: Psycho Path Sleeper Cell

Realm of Haunted Minds – 18910 Merriman Rd. Romulus, MI. 48174

Just one of the various activities at the quaint Huron Turkey Farm, Realm of Haunted Minds has been chugging along relatively unnoticed for quite some time. The country store where tickets are purchased has an excellent collection of horror movie icons in statue form and the outdoor area features an impressive array of miniature playscapes that lead to the haunted house. Realm of Haunted Minds itself is a blend of the old and new and will result in a fair amount of fun.

2008 Review: Realm of Haunted Minds & The Extreme Scream

2011 Review: Realm of Haunted Minds & Funeral Home a fitting pair for Windswept Outing

2013 Review: Elements & Ambiance Rule Realm of Haunted Minds

St. Charles Village of the Living Dead – 400 E. Water St. St. Charles, MI. 48655

An actor-driven, not-for-profit haunt that has extracted screams for 30 years. Dense fog and strobe lights combine for masterful distraction and disorientation techniques which are underscored with tactile sensations and challenging, claustrophobic sequences.

2013 Review: Village of the Living Dead Preys upon Victims with Classic Scares

Did I miss anything? Do you know of a hidden gem in Michigan? Leave it in the comments below and we shall discuss.

2008 Numbers & Awards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rotten Pumpkin: The Rotten Pumpkin award is given to the haunt considered to be the most disappointing of the season. Disappointment may be the result of an over hyped marketing campaign or the failure of the haunt to live up to expectations set forth in previous seasons. Whatever the case may be let there be no doubt that the haunt receiving this unwanted distinction truly dropped the ball during the 2008 season.

2008 Rotten Pumpkin: Templin’s Night Terror

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

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

2008 Eerie Vibrations: Homer Mill

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

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

2008 Dark Horse: Realm of Haunted Minds

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

Killer Automatons: The Killer Automatons award is given to the haunt that best integrates animatronics into its attraction. When determining this award several factors are considered including timing, prop placement, realism, and sheer wow effect.

2008 Killer Automatons: Erebus

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

Pulse Pounder: The Pulse Pounder award is given to the haunt considered to be the most intense attraction of the season. Intensity can be gauged by a number of factors including commitment of actors, gory or realistic scenes, and harsh or loud music and sound effects. However at the end of the experience the most important element is the level of one’s own fear.

2008 Pulse Pounder: County Morgue (Chainsaw Creek)

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

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

2008 Monster: Deadly Intentions

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

Haunt of the Year: The Haunt of Year award is given to the haunt considered to be the best overall attraction of the season. When deciding on this award several factors are taken into consideration including the timing and intensity of actors, the pace and length of the haunt, attention to detail, use of special effects, realism of props, and most importantly the haunt’s ability to leave a lasting experience in the minds of guests.

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

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

2009 Haunt Season Preview

Posted in Hallowblog with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 12, 2014 by bluefall8

This entry served as the official kickoff to the 2009 haunt season and was originally posted on Friday, September 11, 2009. The song at the top of this entry is called “Bag- O’-Bones” and was included on a Halloween CD called Moans from the Mausoleum.

This entry briefly summarized the 2008 haunt season, but focused mainly on the attractions we were likely to visit in 2009.

As with many of these Hallowblog entries, many of the links that were included at the time no longer function and thus have been deactivated. 

Well I heard about this Monster Mash dance
bunch of creatures flailing around
Well listen up cause now’s your chance
to get spooky and get down

Do the bag o’ bones (bag o’ bones)
do the bag o’ bones (bag o’ bones)
Let the skeleton inside you dance around
Do the bag o’ bones (bag o’ bones)
do the bag o’ bones (bag o’ bones)
Let the skeleton inside you dance around.

Now get up on the bony feet
And give those bony hands a clap
Well then you move those bony knees
And give that funny bone a slap
And that’s the bag o’ bones (bag o’ bones)
That’s the bag o’ bones (bag o’ bones)
Let the skeleton inside you dance around
That’s the bag o’ bones (bag o’ bones)
do the bag o’ bones (bag o’ bones)
Let the skeleton inside you dance around.

I think you really outta be knowin’
wherever you might be a goin’
well there’s a skeleton walkin’ round
they ain’t just buried in the ground
Cause you’re a bag o’ bones (bag o’ bones)
You’re a bag o’ bones (bag o’ bones)
So let the skeleton inside you dance around
Do the bag o’ bones (bag o’ bones)
You’re a bag o’ bones (bag o’ bones)
So let the skeleton inside you dance around.

Whoa, you’re so creepy
I think you’re scaring me a little bit now

I saw the first true signs of fall today; a few leaves had fallen from their summer perch. I knew then that the time was ripe for the first edition of Hallowblog 2009. The 2009 haunt season is nearly here and yet the memories of last year are still so fresh in my mind, it’s hard to believe that the annual celebration of all things frightful and mysterious is so close. Ahhhh, a haunting we shall go indeed but first we have much news to discuss.

The 2008 haunt season was unparalled in scope, in fact the season was such a success it will be the focus of an upcoming edition of Hallowblog. Today however we gather here at this hallowed hearth for a glimpse not into the past, no today we look into the creepy things to come.

My fellow haunters will be excited to know that a majority of haunts have already updated their websites for the coming season one of the noteworthy few that has not is TerrorTown. It is with great anticipation that I await an update from those that provided such a memorable experience last year with The House of the Dead.

Like last year Pigman’s Lair in Chelsea will be dark and it doesn’t seem as if the operators have a definitive plan for the future either. You can amuse yourself with the legend of the Pigman though; I think it’s worth a read anyway.

Legend of the Pigman

While driving on Biddle in Wyandotte last week I made a sad discovery: the building that held 2007’s Hell’s Hospital and 2008’s Templin’s Night Terror has been demolished. I have yet to hear where the Wyandotte Jaycees will hold their attraction this year but you can trust that I’ll keep my eyes and ears open.

I don’t know about anyone else but I still long for a return visit to the Nautical Nightmare. The rug was pulled out from beneath us last year and it just wasn’t right my friends. The Haunt Trinity could have been cannibalized by famished hobos! I’ve emailed somebody involved with the restoration of the Ste. Claire regarding the possible return of the water bound haunt but I have yet to receive a response.

Zioptis will apparently initiate a new rating system for haunts this year. It states on their website that too many people were failing to understand the star system or more specifically for example how a mega-haunt such as Erebus could receive the same rating as a locally produced modular haunt. Well Zioptis clearly states that the ratings are a reflection of how well an individual haunt executes what it sets out to do. They are not meant to serve as a comparison from one attraction to the next. I’m not sure how people fail to understand that, retards. Zioptis also claims that the ratings have inadvertently pitted haunts against each other. The site isn’t exactly clear on what this new system will look like but I can assure you that Hallowblog will continue to grade haunts on the star system. I’ve always enjoyed the information that Zioptis displays and I think the star system is a fine way to rate haunts. If Zioptis is guilty of anything it’s granting far too many 5 star ratings. Too often the site fails to give in-depth details of any haunt and has a tendency to give glowing reviews to mediocre attractions.

The Fear Finder may be released as early as next week but realistically I look for it to flood the area the following week. When it does come out I and my fellows haunters will have some tough decisions to make. We visited a lot of great haunts last year but it’ll be near impossible to revisit them all this year if we also plan to hit some new haunts. The 2009 haunt season will have to be the most carefully planned to date if we’re to make this year as successful and entertaining as the last. Let’s take a look at a sampling of possible first time visits then shall we?

The first haunt that jumped out at me this year is The Haunt in Walker. It’s quite a drive from my apartment, clocking in at 2 hours and 45 minutes so that would obviously be a factor but I encourage all fellow haunters to check out each haunt and bring your own opinions to the table.

An Ohio haunt that has hit the Haunt Trinity radar is The Haunted Hydro. This haunt is located in Fremont which is approximately 30 minutes south of TerrorTown in Maumee. This pair of haunts could make for an adventurous night in the Buckeye State.

In Michigan I discovered a brand new haunt in Jackson called Jackson’s Underworld. I first came across this while looking at the Homer Mill’s myspace page, I’m unsure as to whether it’s operated by the same people or if the two haunts have simply formed an alliance. One thing is for certain if the folks at the Homer Mill are either endorsing or producing this new locale it’s worth checking out.

Also in Michigan is Darksyde Acres in Jonesville. Darksyde Acres features a number of attractions and is produced by Bodybag Entertainment, the same company that was supposed to produce the Nautical Nightmare last year. The sheer size of this place and the ambition of those involved makes this location intriguing but last years disappearing act at Hart Plaza, while not totally the fault of Bodybag Entertainment, has left a bad taste in my mouth. For the time being we’ll place this one in the wild card category.

And there’s plenty of potential first time haunts that we simply didn’t make it to last year like Haunted Farm of Terror in Lenox Township and it’s nearby neighbors Slaughtered at Sundown and Blake’s in Armada. There are also dark horse contenders to consider like The Deadland Haunted House in Davison, The Crypt in Burton, or St. Lucifer’s Haunted Asylum in Grand Blanc.

And then the waters really get muddied when you start to consider which of our favorite mainstays will have to sit on the sidelines during the 2009 season. Last year we opted not to visit The Scream Machine in Taylor or The Lab in Grosse Ile but where will the axe fall this year? I’d like to visit The Scream Machine this year although The Lab is up for debate. The Lab is changing things up a bit this year offering guests an opportunity to traverse the haunt in total darkness with nothing to guide your party but a single glow stick. This “Lights Out” feature will run at midnight every Friday and Saturday.

It has been suggested that perhaps we skip Pontiac’s twin terrors this season: Erebus and The Realm of Darkness. These two haunts have served as our biggest night out the last three seasons and excluding them borders on sacrilege…but if we are to maximize both our time and dollar it may have to be a sacrifice we’re willing to make.

One place that I definitely want to return to is Deadly Intentions in Warren. This haunt scorched our frontal lobes last Halloween and the recently released 2009 theme has set my horror juices a’ bubbling: City of the Living Dead. I don’t think I have to say any more than that to those who witnessed this balls out effort last year. Jason and Disco I ask you this, can the dynamics we experienced at this haunt last year coupled with the excitement of an apocalyptic zombie theme result in anything less than an all time classic? This is a dark alchemy not soon to be forgotten.

Nor can we simply forget about Extreme Scream in Taylor or The Realm of Haunted Minds in Romulus both put forth worthy efforts last year and we’d be remiss to dismiss them so easily. And there’s also Chainsaw Creek in Toledo which delighted us last season with a slew of tasteless characters. It also remains to be known whether or not Adrian’s The Haunting deserves a second chance after a relatively disappointing visit in 2007. I would also like to propose a possible visit to Cedar Point HalloWeekends which features two new attractions this year, one of which is called Happy Jack’s Toy Factory. Can you think of a more devilishly fun theme for a haunted attraction than that?! It’ll be like Chucky, Puppetmaster, and Goosebumps all rolled into one!

We have many decisions to make this season my haunt brethren, let us choose wisely.

Erebus, The Realm of Darkness & Deadly Intentions Electrify Halloween Night

Posted in 2008, Deadly Intentions, Erebus, Hallowblog, Realm of Darkness, Review with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 4, 2014 by bluefall8

This historic post was originally published on Monday, November 3, 2008 and chronicled a momentous, Halloween visit to three prominent Michigan haunted attractions — Erebus and The Realm of Darkness in Pontiac and Deadly Intention in Warren.

This was the only night in all of our years of haunting that I decided to bring a hand-held tape recorder along to document some of the fun. In addition to reviews this post also included a timeline of events throughout the night and a series of humorous quotes lifted straight from the recording. It was a fun idea and a great tool to supplement the written notes I jot down at every attraction we tour; I’m not sure why I haven’t made it a standard practice.  

If I were to compile a list of our top ten most memorable nights of haunting, October 31, 2008 would surely crack the countdown.

It was Halloween night, my faced smeared as a deranged harlequin, the Haunt Trinity set off into the ink black night with much haunting to be done. Jerry joined us on this landmark occasion, a night that took us from Lincoln Park to Warren to Pontiac and back. Our first stop was Deadly Intentions a haunt none of us had previously visited.

There is nothing impressive about the location, held in what appears to be a former grocery store surrounded by a maligned urban sector Deadly Intentions’ local atmosphere won’t win any awards or attract thriving crowds but if you’re deterred by misleading appearances an excellent haunt you are sure to miss.

Deadly Intentions considers this no frills approach a badge of honor and wastes no time smacking guests in the face with a smash mouth, old school approach to haunting. Guests initially traverse a long, dark hallway before entering a room made to resemble the waiting area of a prison thus establishing the haunt’s theme. There is a desk, a security monitor, and a frightening guard who orders guests to sign-in. After doing so he throws back the prison gate and shuts it behind you. Deadly Intentions does what successful, old school haunts do: deliver knock out shows by using pitch black passages and intense actors; everything is well timed and no detail is over looked. We were entertained by a clown who rides a mobile section of wall, propositioned by a female inmate who wanted to play a macabre game involving our intestines, and lured into a room where we were surrounded by a half dozen ghouls who taunted us with chants of “little piggies.”

Later guests come upon a structure set behind mesh wire fencing; a man wearing an orange jumpsuit emerges and with outstretched arms pleads for help. His eyes have been gouged out and despite briefly pursuing the ole Disco and I there was no help for this sorry bastard. Next guests wind their way through a series of prison scenes where lunatics burst forth from holding cells while maniacs send sparks flying your way. A girl pleads for your help from above but a raging night watchman violently brandishes a baton and forces haunters into the next room which contains a casket. As guests approach the casket and the body it holds the opposite wall, made to resemble a morgue, collapses inward forcing patrons closer to the dead head in the coffin. As you exit this room a mad man with a pistol surprises haunters with a loud blast and offers some parting insults as you leave.

Deadly Intentions puts forth a great effort without the aid of expensive animatronics or other flashy effects. The fundamentals of haunting are put to good use here and that application of classic techniques results in an excellent haunting experience.

Rating: 4 1/2 stars

Next on our list of haunts was the formidable Realm of Darkness, the home of the mysterious and elusive wizard. In 2007 the Haunt Trinity tabbed ROD as the Haunt of the Year but last January the haunt experienced a flood that destroyed the vast majority of props and sets. This event forced the brains behind the operation to build the show anew and that fact intrigued each member of the Haunt Trinity.

On our way from Warren to Pontiac we decided to place a call to the infamous B. Mo with the sole intent to mock and ridicule him. No doubt inebriated in some distant podunk corner of Owosso he failed to answer his phone and thus he was left the following voice mail:

“B. Mo, B. Mizzemo, River Rat Morrison, Devil Douche! Listen up, it’s the Haunt Trinity calling you. We’re out crusin’ the streets, cruisin’ Michigan tonight. We hit Deadly Intentions in Warren, next Realm of Darkness in Pontiac and the twin terror Erebus. Eh, if you wanna join us man, if you get this message within the hour we got good news man. Erebus, we called, guess what? They take the EBT card. That’s right, cash, credit, EBT that’s their new slogan there. So it’s B. Mo ready if you wanna show up, you can come on down to Erebus and ugh, you know afterward we can stop at the local liquor store if you’re hungry, I don’t know if Big Boy is on the EBT bandwagon yet or what. Alright B. Mizzemo you give me a call back palzee. I know you’ll probably disregard this message and say whatever (clicking noise) don’t bother me I’ll just roll up a j and smoke it. But you gots to call B. Mo and let us know what the Fright Train was like and what you spent your Halloween doing.”

A short time later Branden would return the call and in his drunken state he truly believed that Erebus was accepting EBT cards as payment. I talked to him for several minutes before we entered Pontiac and after a few ill advised turns by Jason we came to the home of the wizard, The Realm of Darkness.

Like last year we entered the building and made our way across a draw bridge and then into the lobby of the castle. In the lobby guests watch a video explaining the history of the land, the rise of a tyrannical wizard, and the madness into which the towns people descended. Next, we made our way through a hallway and then into a second lobby. This second room is the last stop before entering the heart of The Realm and this year it was crawling with hooded druids. The druids were handing each group a gem, the tokens usually collected throughout the mysterious Realm via games of chance; each gem allows your party a chance to unlock the door to the wizard’s chamber. A druid presented our party with a gem and I seized the opportunity to indulge this character in this wonderful fantasy. “Do you know the wizard,” I asked. “Yes, I know him,” answered the druid calmly. “I have a message for him. Will you deliver this message,” I asked. “Yes,” responded the druid. “You tell the wizard that we’re coming for that ass. He’s gonna pay what he owes.” I couldn’t tell you what went through this man’s head but to his great credit he didn’t miss a beat staying completely in character. After a brief pause to consider my request he responded, “I like your style. Here take this and tell no one. This is a special gem.” I couldn’t believe it. My nonsensical tomfoolery had just gained us an extra shot at the wizard, I told the group that this was surely a good omen.

Shortly after we crossed the threshold and began our quest to conquer the wizard in earnest. The first encounter on our path was with a rather chunky ghoul who demanded that one of us read from a book that sat open upon a desk. The room was dark and it was difficult to read the text but this ghoul was persistent so I decided to do a little improvisation, “He dropped his pants and grabbed his ankles,” I read as my cohorts burst into laughter and then as if innocent I looked up from the book and asked, “What the hell is this?” The ghoul broke character and looked at the text and asked, “Where does it say that?” We all had a hardly laugh before she regained her composure and ordered us into the next room. Once there a male ghoul dressed as a waiter greeted us and then insulted my make up stating that I looked “like an idiot.” The female ghoul from the previous room had apparently followed us into the room and she took issue with the comment stating, “I think he’s pretty cute.” I wasn’t sure if any of this was part of either of their acts and when I looked at Jason he had this “Hey-if-she-wants-it-man” expression on his face. I was starting to believe that maybe the theory he first put forth over a year ago at The Haunting in Adrian had some merit after all. The horny ghoul departed with a creepy smile and the waiter displayed to us a macabre feast before leading us to a staircase at the end of the room. Before any of us could begin our ascent he tossed aside the stairs which collapsed out of sight revealing a secret passage way. It was a neat trick that I’ve never witnessed any where else.

We continued our trek through the shadowy corners of ROD experiencing a blend of familiar scenes and unknown horrors. In one room a deranged executioner straggled a hapless victim and then taunted us for being “cocky” and “just like the rest.” He told us that we’d end up in his dungeon when his boss, the wizard, was through with us. We also traversed an elaborate crypt the keeper of which went nose-to-nose with me for a solid thirty seconds or more, I admired that worker’s commitment. ROD also features a cave complete with running water, a scene that truly makes you feel as if you’re underground. New this year was a sheet room similar to what we saw at the Homer Mill and there was also a weaving pathway in which the walls were completely mirrors. A deadly jester stalked the reflected path but what was actually the scariest moment of this sequence was repeatedly mistaking my own appearance for that of a monster due to my aforementioned make up.

We were unsuccessful in what turned out to be our lone game of chance, in 2006 and 2007 ROD featured three such games; this point would be much lamented when we realized that we’d come to the end of the haunt. Winding our way toward the end of the treacherous realm we encountered a curvy ghoul who snarled at us while gyrating her body against a wall in a rather lewd fashion, I was sure I saw a triumphant gleam in Jason’s eyes. Further down the path we were ambushed by the most effective animatronics we’d witnessed all haunt season. A pair of large, growling dogs leapt from the ground and landed on a table to our right. The resulting clang was very loud and gave all of us a good scare. Shortly thereafter we spotted the cursed pirate ship that we had heard tell of and soon found ourselves waiting in line for our chance at the wizard. Once we had submitted our gems we waited briefly and were then told to proceed through the door before us and then up the staircase to the left. This had not happened last year or the year before that and as we ascended the staircase we prepared ourselves with a final showdown with the wizard. A short walk down a hallway to a descending path of stairs robbed us of all hope though, we were entering the bowels of the pirate ship which led to the haunt’s exit. The wizard had slipped through our grasp once more.

Despite our disappointment at yet another defeat at the hands of the wizard we had to admit that The Realm of Darkness had delivered a great show once more. No, it didn’t quite live up to its Haunt of the Year status of 2007 but it was close. What hurt the haunt this year was our growing familiarity with its structure as well as the reduction in the games of chance and the overall length of the attraction. Despite all of this it remains one of the finest haunts that we’ve visited and if you’ve never had the pleasure of experiencing ROD it should be on your short list of must see haunts. Few attractions have such an attention to detail, here you’ll forget you’re in a haunted attraction at times because the atmosphere is that emmersive. The chainsaw man at the end of the haunt deserves special note as well. While in line I watched this guy chase group after group straight into the parking lot at top speed.

Rating: 4 3/4 stars

We had arrived at our final destination, the last scream of the 2008 haunt season, the goliath of down town Pontiac: Erebus. In 2006 the four story monster edifice was the unquestioned king of the season and as we approached its towering walls the streets were thronged with revelers and freaks alike. This was my third trip to Erebus and it was going to be unique, not just for me, but for you readers of Hallowblog as well. This trip through the depths of Erebus was to be like none other because it was to be documented in the first live walkthrough in Haunt Trinity history.

The brains behind the scenes at Erebus continue with the premise that the haunt is merely a front, a lie created by the mad scientist who uses the building for time travel experiments. By advertising the place as a haunted attraction this lunatic is able to lure in unsuspecting victims who are shortly transported through time and space. It’s a fun theme if not a bit worn but the operators here do not fail to send visitors through a bizarre and eerie assortment of scenes from a Jurassic period jungle to a dank Middle Ages dungeon to a modern day cemetery.

Although the haunt is largely the same show that visitors enjoyed in 2007 several changes helped to mix up the overall dynamics. A handful of rooms stripped away the monstrous animatronics and elaborate props in favor of a more traditional feel. The change of pace showed off the versatility that Erebus is capable of and something I’d like to see the haunt continue to do in the future. The best example of this occurred in what we came to call the zombie room. Guests enter an ordinary looking living room well ordinary save for the corpse that a lustful zombie is devouring. The undead menace chases guests into a long closet full of swaying clothes and shadowed ghouls. Also of note in this vein are the compact, boarded corridors that force haunters to crouch as they move forward. I especially enjoy the bright lights that bleed through the cracks in the floor creating a disorienting effect.

Erebus was a lot of fun this year certainly better than last year although not quite as thrilling as the 2006 showcase. Make no mistake, Erebus is a unique haunt and that fact is not due to its sheer size alone. Erebus is a mad house, a funhouse on crack, a haunted house jacked on anabolic steriods. If you’ve never experienced Erebus you are doing your haunting experience a huge disservice. The staff here deserves a lot of credit for crowd control as well. It drives me nuts whenever my group runs into other haunters because somebody is usually going to get screwed out of certain surprises and with such a massive crowd at Erebus it’s bound to happen at times. Erebus has a system of periodic seperation that works pretty well and although the occassional run in does occur it’s not as magnified as it might be at other haunts because Erebus does such a great job putting on a macabre circus. My only complaint applies to the relative similiarity of the haunt from year to year; a major shake up would be welcome in my eyes.

Rating: 4 1/2 stars

And with that we close out the 2008 haunt season, a memorable odyssey full of fright, mystery, and laughter. This season the Haunt Trinity visited more haunts than in any past year something we’ll look to due yet again next year. So raise your glass as yet another era passes because here we are once more at hallow’s end.

A Halloween Timeline

7:31-The Haunt Trinity follows Southfield to east bound I-94 en route to Deadly Intentions in Warren.

7:42-The highs and lows of the 2008 haunt season discussed.

7:54-We arrive at Deadly Intentions and are slightly surprised by the depressing locale.

8:44-Back in the car following our trek through Deadly Intentions none of us give a damn about the shady atmosphere any longer.

8:49-As we find our way back to the expressway it is agreed that Deadly Intentions was a riot of a haunt.

9:02-While on our way to The Realm of Darkness in Pontiac we amuse ourselves with a prank call to Branden, he fails to answer his phone which resulted in an amusing voice mail.

9:07-A loud and drunken B. Mo returns my call and offers his insights on the economy and Halloween.

9:20-Jason takes unintended detours through Pontiac while seeking The Realm of Darkness.

9:30-We arrive at the home of the evil wizard and hope to avenge our previous failures.

10:57-We emerge from The Realm of Darkness defeated once again, we were however thoroughly entertained.

11:34-While we wait in the front lobby of Erebus we discuss Haunt of the Year contenders.

12:00-Awaiting entrance into the scanning chamber.

12:07-Released from the chamber we enter the heart of the haunted edifice.

12:30-We escape the horror of the monster Erebus, Jason attempts to corral the Chain Man.

12:35-In the car we discuss the merits of Erebus pausing briefly to taunt the Chain Man before leaving Pontiac.

1:20-We stop at an all night diner on Southfield in Lincoln Park. Our waitress gives us free food, flirts shamelessly, nearly pours water on Jerry’s head, and admits to drinking at work. My food was delicious.

2:20-While departing the diner Jason insists that the waitress has flashed us. We give our final thoughts on the season and head home exhausted.

The Best of Hallowblog Live

“Didn’t they have an alligator guy come on and go chomp, chomp, chomp, chomp, chomp…chomp, chomp, chomp, chomp, chomp?”

“Where…wha? I don’t remember that.”

-My bemused reply to Jason when he made a bizarre remark about an alligator man that nobody else seemed to remember.

“If I’d of known that two weeks ago I’d of been there for sure.”

-Branden via cell phone after I’d convinced him that Erebus was accepting Bridge cards as a form of payment.

“Well remind me next year and maybe I’ll pack a fuckin’ sandwich.”

-Jason’s retort after I insisted that The Realm of Darkness takes 30-45 minutes to traverse.

“Did they give everyone a special gem in the beginning?”

“Nah man, it was my wit that got us that gem.”

-Me, clarifying for Jason, the origin of our special gem.

“Whoa look out here! A mega T-Rex comin’ at ya! OH GOD! IT’S BITING MY LEG! It’s knocking me over! Oh my God! It nearly took out me and Jerry! Jason’s been knocked down by it! HE’S HEADBUTTING IT! JASON’S HEADBUTTING THE T-REX!!!

-Me, while in Erebus, thoroughly entertaining myself with the running commentary for Hallowblog Live.

Casual Haunter’s Guide

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2014 by bluefall8

Haunted attractions come in all shapes, sizes and styles and it can be difficult to decide which establishment is worthy of your hard-earned dollars and if you’ve procrastinated until the very night of Samhain itself then you are indeed in need of help.

My band of merry haunters and I have traveled to many lands over the last decade in search of fun and fright, and have on this Halloween prepared for you a list of our most favorite locations which we’re sure will delight and excite.

In no particular order…

Erebus, Pontiac, MI. – It may not be the darling of hardcore haunters but let there be no doubt that Erebus has stood the test of time and has never failed to deliver the goods. The army of animatronics and actor-controlled puppets featured at Erebus is unrivaled by anything in the Metro-Detroit area. Anybody who enjoys haunted attractions should tour Erebus at least once.

Terror Town, Maumee, OH. – House of the Dead can rival Erebus for mechanized monstrosities per square foot and features a number of special effects witnessed at precious few locations. The static props found throughout the bowels of House of the Dead are among the most frightening and lifelike on the market.

Exit 13, Mt. Morris, MI. – One of the most in-your-face, physical casts a haunted house can legally spawn. Quality design, near perfect pace and a blend of laughs and scares alike.

Hush, Westland, MI. – A young haunt with a lot of guts highlighted by some seriously killer scenes and top notch acting.

Bloodview, Broadview Heights, OH. – Staffed by the best troupe of actors a haunted house could possibly want; a group known as the Legion of Terror. The show is re-themed each weekend, the main building has one of the best designs we’ve ever witnessed.

Darksyde Acres, Jonesville, MI. – You never quite know what you’re going to encounter at Darksyde Acres. Come for the scares, stay for the vivacious haunt hotties.

Haunted Hydro, Fremont, OH. – Crazy Bob Turner is a class act of the industry and a true artisan of his craft, the old hydro dam is an excellent structure for a haunted attraction and the location exudes the very spirit of Halloween.

Slaughterhouse Adventure, Fowlerville, MI. – Most effective mix of story, illusion and comedy. Slaugherhouse features three attractions including a haunted barn, haunted corn maze and haunted hayride. Do yourself a favor and spring for the combo package.

Haunted Farm of Terror, Lenox Township, MI. – We’ve only visited The Haunted Farm of Terror once (2009) but to this day we have yet to witness a more electrifying and unique haunted hayride.

Other notable Michigan locations include St. Lucifer’s & 13 Feet Under (Grand Blanc), Wiard’s Night Terrors (Ypsilanti) Village of the Living Dead (St. Charles), The Realm of Darkness (Pontiac) and Dark Legacy (Wixom).

I encourage you to poke around Horrorlust for past reviews (use the drop-down window on the right hand side of the homepage) on all of these attractions and furthermore I welcome any feedback you may have regarding your own experiences.

Happy Haunting.