Archive for flat rock

Dead Vengeance

Posted in Pop Culture with tags , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2016 by bluefall8

Dead Vengeance is a four-part series published by Dark Horse Comics. The first issue was released October 2015 with subsequent issues released monthly from November 2015 to January 2016. The series was written and illustrated by Bill Morrison, a native son of Lincoln Park, Michigan.

Steve Colwell, who has served as co-host on several episodes of Horrorlust Radio, turned me onto Dead Vengeance. Steve also hails from Lincoln Park; he and Bill have been friends since childhood. Lincoln Park also happens to be my boyhood home! It’s not every day that you get the chance to read a horror story created by somebody from your hometown, so it only seemed natural to highlight Dead Vengeance here on Horrorlust.

Dead Vengeance 001-000

The tale of Dead Vengeance begins in May 1940 at a carnival on the outskirts of Detroit. The very first panel reveals a carnival barker in front of a sideshow tent affixed with a sign that reads, “Cavalcade of Oddities.” Once inside the tent, readers will discover a mummified Fiji Mermaid but more importantly will be introduced to the central protagonist — a pickled man who unconsciously floats inside of a large tank. As the above cover art suggests, our new friend won’t be unconscious for long. And like that, I was sold.

Readers soon learn that Pickled Man is actually Johnny Dover, a one-time popular radio host out of Detroit. So how did this guy end up preserved inside of a tank full of chemicals at a carnival?! In order to find out you’ll just have to snag a copy and read for yourselves, my friends. The story also features a voluptuous fortune teller, a legless freak named Cesar and even Detroit’s infamous Purple Gang! Dead Vengeance is a fun, fast-paced read stuffed with action, intrigue and capped-off with a classic twist in the tradition of EC Comics!

It was neat too that creater, Bill Morrison, gave a nod to his hometown roots with a mention of area cities like Lincoln Park, Wyandotte and Flat Rock. Readers will also recognize familiar Detroit landmarks like the Ambassador Bridge. Dead Vengeance can be found at your local comic shop for $3.99 and should be enjoyed by any lover of horror but especially those who call Southeast Michigan home.

Advertisements

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.

Ghostly Playgrounds & Twisted Fairy Tales

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on October 17, 2015 by bluefall8

The Psycho Path had a few tricks up its sleeve last night; the mischief began with a bit of role reversal when the back of the haunt became the front of the haunt. That’s right, if you attended the show last year, you can expect to experience Psycho Path in reverse this season. Every turn had been flipped, each room had been flopped — it felt as if we’d been imprinted on a photo negative in an alternate dimension.

All in all, it was another good effort from the team at The Psycho Path highlighted by wicked makeup, elaborate costumes and a collection of broken dolly girls (had Gerkins been present his heart would’ve been all aflutter). I dare say, The Psycho Path also boasted more actors per square foot than any other haunt we’ve ever visited. This location is not without its shortcomings but it does a lot of things right and is loaded with heart and potential.

The second haunt of the night was an old staple of the region — Realm of Haunted Minds. In addition, customers can enjoy an array of Halloween decorations and some tasty vittles inside the country store before a trip through the haunted house. As an added bonus, the Huron Turkey Farm has erected a miniature, haunted landscape that included a schoolhouse, jail, barbershop and even a two-story castle complete with slide! And that is just to name a few. This was a charming, whimsical touch enjoyed by kids and big kids alike.

As always, Realm of Haunted Minds delivered a fun experience fueled by jump scares, an unpredictable floor plan and a few memorable characters. This is a great place with something to be enjoyed by people of all ages and in my opinion is an underrated location on the Michigan haunt scene.

The Psycho Path Headlines Downriver Haunt Stomp

Posted in Preludes and Nocturnes with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 16, 2015 by bluefall8

It’s a nice night to stay close to home and hit some haunts in the Downriver area. It wasn’t so long ago that nearly a dozen haunted attractions populated the region but recent years have witnessed the demise of The Lab in Grosse Ile, Leo’s House of Horrors in Riverview and Scream Machine and Extreme Scream in Taylor. Still, a healthy number remain and we’re set to tour at least two, possibly three local attractions tonight.

First, we’ll travel The Psycho Path in Flat Rock where the Mad Hatter has unbound a storybook and is primed to thrill guests with a one-of-a-kind fairy tale horror show. In 2014, The Psycho Path presented the Gosch Brothers Circus of Horrors and it became the sleeper hit of the season. I was pleasantly surprised by the costuming, make-up and level of theatrics — I have high hopes for the twisted fairy tale theme.

2014 Review of The Psycho Path

Psycho Path Sleeper Cell

Once we’ve finished there we’ll decide what to tour next; in the mix is Delirium by the Wyandotte Jaycees, Woods of Darkness in South Rockwood and Realm of Haunted Minds located at the Huron Turkey Farm in Romulus, an old favorite.

Happy Haunting!

2014 Haunt Season Rewind

Posted in Haunt Season Rewind with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 18, 2015 by bluefall8

We gather here at the genesis of another season of screams; night has descended and the doors to many haunted attractions hungrily await the arrival of eager guests. Accompanied by a rush of excitement and a tinge of dizzied disbelief, the first night of haunting of any season is a special outing. For myself and my faithful cohorts the season will officially commence tomorrow evening although at present we have not yet decided exactly where it is that we’ll be headed. Rest assured that the haunted highway will carry us to a destination where the first memories of the 2015 haunt season will be minted.

As we peer from this precipice with an eye on the immediate future let us pause for a few moments and reflect on the year that was — submitted for your approval here are some of the most memorable moments from the 2014 haunt season as recorded here on Horrorlust.

On the atmosphere of Corpse Barn Shock Haunt, 10/04/14

“The interior of the barn was littered with corpses indeed, it was as if the barn itself had been eviscerated. All about the floor in every direction laid piles of dummies; I wasn’t sure if this was the ritual site for a serial killer or merely the dumping grounds for plague victims, but the bodies were scattered, torn and in abundance.”

On a curiosity spotted in the dark at Psycho Path, 10/10/14

“…a strange sight greeted us as we rounded a corner — was that a floating head mere yards in front of us? Indeed, it was floating and glowing a magical shade of green. Wait a second?! Did my eyes deceive me? Was that a second head bobbing beside the first? Did the Gosch Brothers possess siamese twins who were aglow in the gloom like a pair of monstrous stars?!!”

On an oddly comedic character at Psycho Path, 10/10/14

“…and were guided by a husky harlequin who was surprisingly spry and had the odd habit of honking his own nose.”

On a wonderfully ridiculous reaction of a party member at Psycho Path, 10/10/14

“One cannot be sure of such things but a member of our group may have possibly fled with arms flailing above head looking all the world like Olive Oyl from Popeye.”

On a striking actor inside District 13 at The Fear Experience, 10/17/14

“In one corner, a frightening mime repeated the same stuttered movements like an animatronic in need of repair — his eyes were cold, lifeless, soul-sucking orbs.”

On a fellow patron who commented that she felt as if she would both urinate and vomit from fear while waiting in line at Bloodview, 10/17/14

“I was convinced by her body language that her statements weren’t merely for dramatic flair and I thus stepped back a few paces in order to avoid the splashback from any potential spew.”

On the overall flavor of the Gore House at Bloodview, 10/17/14

“The Gore House was a galleria of gross-outs and no trip is complete without passage through the one-of-a-kind vortex tunnel near the end of the structure, a vortex tunnel with the color and consistency of molten flesh.”

On an inimitable creep who inhabited Baby Doll Island at Bloodview, 10/17/14

“I couldn’t decide if he was a vampire, demon or merely the town pervert but he elicited a response and looked good doing it.”

On the aftermath of Splattertown at Wiard’s Night Terrors, 10/18/14

“As we exited, I conferred with Maddie and she too had shamelessly peppered the private parts of some dim-witted zombie.”

On an excellent bit of interaction inside the Ultimate Haunted Barn at Wiard’s Night Terrors, 10/18/14

“Curtis spoke rapidly of his vast collection of goods which were displayed throughout the room. He intimated that he had amassed such a treasure trove by less than honest means but in the next breath stated plainly that any accusations of such would not be met with politeness. Curtis spoke with quickness and clarity; his voice possessed a mesmerizing cadence dashed with a pinch of wit.”

On the eye-popping finale of Hush, 10/30/14

“My eyes darted from her to the frosty fellow inside the chamber. Had I just saw it blink? Was the equipment about to malfunction?! Just as she reassured us of the stability of the machinery, the cryogenic freak lurched forward and secured a meaty paw around the throat of our loquacious host.”

On a superb illusion at Dark Legacy, 10/30/14

“Static filled the screen for a moment but then a shape began to emerge from the white noise, a human face forced itself from the snow-driven abyss!”

On a particularly wild scene at Exit 13, 11/01/14

“And most of that took place while we marveled at a hot, sadistic nurse who tortured a wailing amputee! On top of that, we would later discover that the missing leg was no gag.”

On a fearless haunt actress at 13 Feet Under, 11/01/14

“She locked eyes, leaned in slowly, bared her teeth and sunk them straight into my hand.”

On a waltzing weirdo at The Crypt, 11/01/14

“…and in one unforgettable instance, a stout and hairy man confined to an inaccessible room, treated us to the most unsettling dance number since Buffalo Bill cut a rug in The Silence of the Lambs.”

On a large, freakish doll at The Realm of Darkness, 11/01/14

“One in particular caught my attention, it was several feet tall with a bulbous, unnaturally large head, a rictus grin and bore more than a passing resemblance to Howdy Doody.”

2015 Haunt Schedule: Never is Enough

Posted in Haunt Schedule with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 17, 2015 by bluefall8

The haunt schedule can be a restless beast — there are time restraints, geographic considerations, unexpected vehicle maintenance and of course the threat of inclement weather. The 2014 schedule was made all the more problematic when some friends and I decided to produce a home haunt for a Halloween party. The CikNis was held on Saturday, October 25, 2014 but the build began in early September and as it was quite an undertaking, the project limited the number of haunts I visited that month to exactly one.

In addition I acted in the Wyandotte Jaycees haunted house on three or four nights in late October and unfortunately several of my Friday nights were effectively wiped out because I was needed at work. Don’t get me wrong, both The CikNis and the opportunity to act with the Wyandotte Jaycees were worthwhile and fruitful experiences but my participation in each did eliminate potential nights from the road schedule.

This year there is no home haunt to consider and I have yet to determine whether or not I’ll reprise my role as the irrepressible Gerkins with the Wyandotte Jaycees, so with that said the haunt schedule will feature more flexibility this fall. Although, a number of my Fridays will once again be hampered by work responsibilities. But, over the years I’ve learned to roll with the punches and leave it in the hands of the haunt fates.

Below, in no particular order, are possible outings for the 2015 haunt season.

HIGHWAY TO HELL

Night #1 – The Deadland (Warren), Fear Factory (Mt. Clemens) & Panic at Pine Stump Hollow (St. Clair)

Night #2 – The Dark Box (Pinckney) & The Boneyard (Stockbridge)

Night #3 – Jackson’s Underworld (Jackson) & Shawhaven Haunted Farm (Mason)

Night #4 – Heck of A Haunted Barn (Monroe) & Haunted Hydro (Fremont, OH.)

Night #5 – Past Tense After Dark (Lapeer), Scott’s Rooms of Terror (Oxford) & Tunnel of Terror (Rochester)

Night #6 – Haunted Elementary (Bridgeport), Clio Manor (Clio) & Exit 13 (Mt. Morris)

Night #7 – Wiard’s Night Terrors (Ypsilanti)

Night #8 – Rotten Manor (Holly), Bonadeo Farms (Highland) & Dark Legacy (Wixom)

Night #9 – Abandon (Melvindale), Hush (Westland) & Krazy Hilda’s (Ypsilanti)

Night #10 – Woods of Darkness (South Rockwood), Psycho Path (Flat Rock) & Delirium (Wyandotte)

Night #11 – Slaughtered at Sundown (Armada), Haunted Farm of Terror (Lenox Township) & Scarefest Scream Park (New Haven)

I paid special attention this season to attractions that Horrorlust has never toured; there’s 13 listed and Krazy Hilda’s has relocated since our last visit in 2012. Once I identified some fresh blood I sprinkled in some old favorites that we haven’t patronized in a few years. I like that there’s wiggle room in the schedule to allow for unexpected circumstances, for instance, we could easily slot Shawhaven Haunted Farm alongside The Dark Box if need be.

I also wanted to be sure to hit each of the sponsors for Horrorlust Radio and furthermore limited the number of locations toured on any given night to just three. John and I did manage to hit four separate locations on November 1st last year but it was a breakneck pace that did suck some of the enjoyment out of the experience. Admittedly, some of the haunts listed are wild cards but we’ve gambled before and come away with enjoyable experiences.

OTHER HAUNTS OF INTEREST

Bloodview – One of my all-time favorite places. A different theme each weekend is a tempting prospect indeed. I wish it weren’t so damn far from my home.

Bates Haunted Saw Mill & JC’s Axe House – If Haunted Elementary or Clio Manor don’t pan out for any reason this Millington haunt could fit the bill.

Corpse Barn Shock Haunt – Enjoyed it last year, confident an even better show is possible. Plus, it’s hard to pass up if we’re near Jackson.

Darksyde Acres – The old pig farm has become a staple in recent years and it’s hard to resist that wild, unpredictable cast. It’s a haul though without much else in the area.

Dreadlands Haunt of Davison – Might be placed into rotation during trip to Past Tense After Dark if limited dates render lesser knowns unlikely.

The Haunt – I was once told by a veteran haunted house owner that, “If you haven’t been to The Haunt, you haven’t been anywhere.”

Realm of Haunted Minds – It’s close to home and has a throwback charm; I like to visit every couple of years.

7 Floors of Hell – That’s a lot of floors and I need that much haunting in my life. Plus, I love my overnight Ohio trips; especially those that give me an excuse to hit Bloodview.

2014 Horrorlust Haunt Awards

Posted in Awards with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 22, 2015 by bluefall8

2014 Horrorlust Haunt Awards

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.

2014 Rotten Pumpkin: The Haunted Funeral Home

The Haunted Funeral Home was the first attraction I visited last year, thankfully it was not an indication of things to come. Most of the cast delivered below average performances, several were even caught out of place. That was particularly unforgivable due to the fact that, at the time, we were the only group present. Little to nothing has changed here since an initial visit in 2011; this was uninspired and lazy haunting.

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.

2014 Eerie Vibrations: The Catacombs & The Rusthole (Darksyde Acres)

Honorable Mention: District 13 (The Fear Experience)

The former pig farm has presence and nowhere is it as oppressive as in The Catacombs & The Rusthole. What can I say? The story of a ghoulish spirit and mysterious third floor made an impact when I traversed the attraction all on my lonesome. This is the second time that The Catacombs & The Rusthole has captured the Eerie Vibrations Award; the first was in 2011.

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  Horrorlust’s way of recognizing the little haunt that could.

2014 Dark Horse: Psycho Path

Honorable Mention: Corpse Barn Shock Haunt

For just $10 this hidden gem offered a serious bang-for-your-buck in 2014. The volunteer effort mixed a creative flair with haunted house fundamentals and struck the right balance of fun and fright. The facade was excellent and a surprise, introductory stage show served the narrative well. A brief stroll through the woods beforehand and a wagon ride after the fact further enhanced the 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.

2014 Killer Automatons: Dark Legacy

Honorable Mention: The Realm of Darkness

Dark Legacy had a little bit of everything and in 2014 put to use their electronic baddies better than any other haunt in town. There were caged monkeys, a slick electrocution and even a massive mutation contained inside of a large shipping crate. Several actor-matronics were used to maximum effect as well.

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.

2014 Monster: Hush

Honorable Mention: Bloodview

The core group of characters at Hush are polished, professional and capable of giving the best that we’ve witnessed a run for their money. Led by the inimitable Dr. Phineas Phun, the cast of Hush featured a handful of unforgettable freaks and weirdos — from an android receptionist to the supercharged loonies who went bonkers behind a pane of glass to a lullaby singing doctor and her reanimated specimen. The key players each understood their role which was crucial to the central theme of the attraction.

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.

2014 Prop Master: Centralia County Fair (The Fear Experience)

Honorable Mention: Dark Legacy

The scenery inside Centralia County Fair was detailed, thorough and impressive. The abandoned carnival theme was so immersive and striking that it overwhelmed my senses. Keep in mind that this was an attraction that featured relatively few live actors and it excelled in spite of that fact. The scenes and set dressing were so complete it was the one attraction to which I wished I could return for the sole purpose of documenting it through photographs.

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.

2014 Pulse Pounder: The Mind Shaft (Wiard’s Night Terrors)

Honorable Mention: Zombie Uprising at Braxton Estate (The Fear Experience)

The Mind Shaft got the heart racing through expertly tailored sound fx that helped drive the pace of the attraction. Like 13 Feet Under, Mind Shaft made it easy and fun for guests to suspend their disbelief — if a collapsing mine doesn’t put some pep in your step then what the hell will?! The attraction concluded with an exclamation point when a Sasquatch roared out of nowhere and delivered one of the best jump scares of the season.

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.

2014 Samhain: October 18, 2014 (Wiard’s Night Terrors)

Honorable Mention: October 30, 2014 (Dark Legacy, Hush)

2014 delivered a number of great nights of haunting but the plethora of attractions that comprised Wiard’s Night Terrors put it over the top. I was highly amused by the reactions of my sister-in-law, Madison, who provided me with the kind of valuable feedback only a fresh set of eyes can bring. Brandon Wiard was a most gracious host who allowed us the run of the place and engaged in great conversations about the ideas that fueled the haunted houses at Night Terrors.

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.

2014 Haunt of the Year: Exit 13

Honorable Mention: Hush

This was no easy choice; the number of top-notch attractions we toured in 2014 was unprecedented. After garnering several honorable mentions in 2011 and 2012 (in various categories) this is well deserved for the lovable loonies at Exit 13. An ambitious renovation delivered multiple new scenes in 2014 which served as the ideal playground for an in-your-face cast. The haunt utilized a wide array of scare tactics while it pushed the envelope with taboo characters, tasteless humor and physicality.