Archive for flint

Exit 13 Burns Hot during Frostbitten Finale

Posted in 2014, Exit 13, Review with tags , , , , , , on June 26, 2015 by bluefall8

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When John and I set out to make Horrorlust history last November 2nd it would be amidst some seriously frigid weather that threatened to sap the last burst of energy the 2014 haunt season had to offer, but as we were about to discover the lovable loonies at Exit 13 would have none of that.

Our adventure began when we were detained by Officer Hottie Pants, a tall and hairy 30-something male who attempted to intimidate us with the rules of the house. If his short-shorts weren’t enough, his moderately doughy gut exposed beneath his undersized tee-shirt suggested he would pounce on even a whiff of unlawful behavior and personally administer a full body cavity search. Neither John nor myself was in the mood to hear the cold snap of a rubber glove and as such we quickly agreed to follow all of the rules. Soon, free of the dubiously named Officer Hottie Pants, we descended into a crypt then through twin vortexes and into the raging horror show that is Exit 13.

There was a recurring bumpkin-gone-bad theme present at Exit 13, most notable was a tightly designed area lined with cornstalks that also featured the convincing facade of a humble hillbilly homestead. Outside the home and among the rows of corn were various clotheslines from which hung peeled and drying faces — an excellent touch. Elsewhere in the attraction was a spacious and painstakingly detailed general store that would’ve been right at home in Children of the Corn. And I would be remiss if I failed to mention the rotund redneck we encountered in one room who enjoyed a large pot of stew in which the key ingredient was dear old mom.

But there was more to Exit 13 than rural settings and scares, for instance, we were struck by the unsettling doll room that featured one life-like creature who’s howling, porcelain visage is emblazoned in my mind to this day. Once we were free of that threat we were surprised by an enormous reaper who emitted a bioluminescent glow.

As the attraction drew to a close we happened upon a mausoleum where I was bodily lifted from my feet by a stout but seriously strong creep who picked me up by my armpits and held me against a wall of the crypt. When he had relinquished his grip John and I scooted into the adjoining graveyard where Stout n’ Strong and one of his minions secured my arms and legs and attempted to serve me up to a couple of approaching zombies.

Exit 13 wasn’t quite finished with us yet, no before we emerged with hides relatively intact, we would be assailed by iron hulks, harassed by a gang of crazies who tickled us with buzzing chainsaws and my hat was even stolen momentarily when a prisoner in a plague masked snatched it from my head. 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.

Exit 13 excelled on so many levels as a haunted attraction by successfully blending a variety of scenes and scares. The entirety of the haunt is highly detailed and filled with immersive environments. In addition it also featured a complimentary balance of blackout halls, descending pathways and interestingly textured walls. It’s a lengthy haunted house that managed to maintain an ideal pace, populated by a fearless cast who utilized every tactic available to scare actors.

As good as Exit 13 has been it still has yet to reach it’s full potential, and that is definitely a compliment. After talking to some of the key people behind the attraction it’s clear that they’re intent on expansion, and quite frankly there isn’t a haunted playground big enough for the supercharged psychos that call Exit 13 home.

Rating: 4.5 stars

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Haunts Ablaze Despite Frosty Day of the Dead

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 3, 2014 by bluefall8

There was an undeniable chill in the air this past Saturday when John and I set out to do something never before accomplished in Horrorlust history — tour four separate locations in a single night. It was so cold in fact that the previous night, Halloween, had been witness to an accumulation of snow fall throughout the Flint area; John and I saw the after effects with our own eyes, but as haunters we accept that adverse weather conditions come with the territory.

Our first stop brought us to Exit 13 which has shot up our list of favorite places in recent years and our latest trip served only to strengthen that notion. The haunt underwent a massive overhaul since 2013 with new scenes, scares and characters. Our journey was a lengthy one highlighted by an endless string of scares that fused both fun and fright. We even encountered an honest to God amputee — to the best of my knowledge a Horrorlust first.

We came next to Playland Park in Grand Blanc which boasts the double bill of St. Lucifer’s and 13 Feet Under each Halloween season. I was delighted to find a Big Bertha arcade game inside the main building prior to entering any of the attractions. What’s that you say; you’re not familiar with Big Bertha? My friend, you haven’t lived! No childhood is complete without a round of Big Bertha! But I digress.

13 Feet Under featured a fun theme that drove the pace of the attraction which was punctuated with several unique design characteristics such as the area with sewer tunnels and grates. Here too we experienced another Horrorlust first when an actor bit me! That’s right, I was straight up chomped. No joke. When I was informed of a certain haunt hottie’s taste for flesh I offered up my gloved hand as a tempting morsel and she quickly obliged with a genuine bite! Now that is commitment to the scare.

St. Lucifer’s Haunted Asylum was fun as well but boy was it cold! Kudos to the actors who braved the elements to give patrons a show. It was so cold that the floors of St. Lucifer’s were coated with a thin layer of frost in many areas. How can the patients sleep at night under such conditions much less make suitable specimens for experimentation?!

Next, we zipped down to The Crypt and I’m proud to say that we were the final group through for the 2014 season. The Crypt employed a number of physically imposing actors who taunted us in the first half of the haunt and then allowed the animatronics and props to take over during the back half of this hodgepodge madhouse.

The haunt fates had indeed decided to smile upon us as we were left with plenty of time to reach Pontiac and The Realm of Darkness where we were mightily impressed by House of Nightmares 3D. The length had been majorly beefed up since last year, several areas featured artwork that erupted off of the walls and floor and the conclusion was a vibrant, technicolored display of violence from that ever-hostile harlequin, Bowbee!

The Realm of Darkness itself was yet another long and immersive trek marked by colorful characters and unsettling scenery. The remnants of Sinister were alive and kicking and thrilled us with their signature blend of humor and horror. A few highlights include John being serviced in a most peculiar way (yet another Horrorlust first!), myself being admonished for dishonoring a highly suspect lady and a unique display of sea legs by the inimitable Captain Sage. The level of detail here remained impressive and served as an excellent playground for the Sinister crew to ply their craft.

A big thank you to everybody who welcomed us into their respective house of horrors on Saturday night and in the process helped to create a memorable night in the history of Horrorlust.

As always, full reviews will be posted as they are completed.

2014 Haunt Schedule: A Road Map to Horror

Posted in Haunt Schedule with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 30, 2014 by bluefall8

Never before has an October been so filled with a litany of events and that fact has made crafting the haunt schedule that much more difficult and tedious. In this never-ending quest to hit as many new haunted attractions as possible, things are set to be shaken up considerably. Below are listed a number of possible outings for the 2014 haunt season, but on which nights will we traverse those listed below? Of course, there’s also room for a wild card or an October surprise — there’s no telling where the haunts fates might take us.

In no particular order…

#1 – Corpse Barn Shock Haunt (Jackson) & Shawhaven Haunted Farm (Mason)

#2 – The Fear Experience (Cleveland) & Bloodview (Broadview Heights)

#3 – Hush (Westland) & Dark Legacy (Wixom)

#4 – Wiard’s Night Terrors (Ypsilanti) & Krazy Hilda’s (Ypsilanti)

#5 – Clio Manor (Flint), St. Lucifer’s (Grand Blanc) & Exit 13 (Mt. Morris)

#6 – Fear Factory (Mt. Clemens) & Salem’s Haunted Village (Capac)

#7 – Psycho Path (Flat Rock), Wyandotte Jaycees’ Fō-bē-ə (Wyandotte) & Woods of Darkness (South Rockwood)

9 of the 16 listed would be firsts for the Horrorlust team and yet old favorites niggle at the back of my mind. After five consecutive years of visiting Terror Town we skipped it last year and our last visit to the Haunted Hydro in Fremont, Ohio came some four years ago. Would this formidable duo not make for an enjoyable outing once more? Furthermore, the recent news from a friend regarding The Realm of Darkness has given me pause and now I find myself considering yet another trip to the aforementioned haunt and Pontiac’s other twin terror, Erebus. And what of my zany friends at Darksyde Acres?! It is times like these that I simply wish somebody would make these decisions for me.

Screwball Cast Ignites Exit 13

Posted in 2013, Exit 13, Review with tags , , , , , , , , on January 22, 2014 by bluefall8

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The final haunt of the season always brings with it a mixture of excitement, sadness, and a tinge of disbelief. For the better part of two months my companions and I eat, sleep, and breathe haunted attractions and when the season inevitably draws to a close there’s a lot of information to process. We believe in going out with a bang and we could think of no other place to be on the final night of the haunt season than Exit 13 in Mt. Morris.

Our first trip through Exit 13 came in 2012 and both John and I were very impressed with what we witnessed. Ownership of the attraction changed hands last winter but the iconic name stuck and the new crew set out to top their predecessors. John and I arrived past the eleven o’clock hour on a chilly, dreary night eager to inject that final haunt fix directly into our veins.

Our journey began in front of a black door, a narrow slot had been inlaid at eye level. Suddenly the slot was thrust open, a bushy handlebar mustache was accompanied by a pair of bulging eyes. After a brief exchange the door was opened and I couldn’t help but feel as if we’d just been sucked into some bizarre Wizard of Oz scenario. Once inside the wizardly wanna-be got a bit physical before he allowed us to continue on our trip.

As we delved deeper into the darkness of Exit 13 we would discover the ghastly cast to be energized, abnormal, and without restraint. We were attacked by a mustachioed, little man in a dress, accused of terrible acts during a forced confessional, and roughed up by a gruesome gal who wildly spun yours truly about and then pinned me to a wall (and she didn’t even charge!).

In other areas of the attraction we enjoyed some scenery and a few jump scares. While we traversed a dense woodland area populated by frightening tribal figures, one creep emerged from the brush to deliver an effective moment of terror. Conversely, we were also treated to some humor when we were violently admonished for ogling the mountainous breasts of a convalescing grandma.

However, Exit 13 had saved the best for last as John and I would soon find out. We found ourselves in a strobe-lit hall, in the shadowy distance a sinister shape lumbered toward us. As the figure drew closer the ghoulish features of its face came into full view — darkened eyes leered at us hungrily above a mouth full of jagged teeth. The whole hideous facade was caged behind a metal box that had been mounted to the freak’s head.

Moments later we entered a neatly constructed room that featured cornstalks, a scarecrow, and a murder a swirling crows. And just as we departed that inventive scene we found ourselves first inside of a crypt and then an adjacent cemetery where we were pursued by some famished zombies. We fled that nightmare landscape only to soon find ourselves surrounded by a pack of disturbed clowns who first threatened and then tickled us with buzzing chainsaws.

We were very impressed with the job that the new staff was able to do. The operators overhauled much of the attraction from 2012, in addition many of the scenes or gags that were left intact from the previous season had been successfully tweaked. But make no mistake, the heart and soul of Exit 13 was the lovable cast of loonies who displayed such passion for their craft. The gang here was a versatile bunch equally skilled in both fun and fright.

Once we had emerged from the darkness of Exit 13 we had a lengthy conversation with the owner and a senior staff member who has served as a helping hand at Exit 13 since its introduction to the Flint horror scene. As we learned from the tandem, in 2014 Exit 13 will undergo a complete overhaul and that is an exciting prospect.

With shades of old school, in-your-face aggression, and instances of tasteless, odd ball humor — Exit 13 has quickly become one of my favorite places to visit during the haunt season.

Rating: 4.25 stars

Big Weekend Brewing, Haunt Schedule

Posted in Haunt Schedule, Preludes and Nocturnes with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 24, 2013 by bluefall8

This Friday the original gang will be back in the saddle when the Haunt Trinity hits the road to experience a triple threat of terror. First, we return to Pontiac to conquer world famous Erebus and the Realm of Darkness. We last visited each of these during the 2010 season; both locations have provided us with many fond memories over the years including instant classics on Halloween Night 2006 and 2008. Each has earned Haunt of the Year distinction — Erebus did it in 2006, Realm of Darkness took the top prize the following year in 2007. These are two very different haunted attractions and each execute their particular blend of haunting very well. It will be interesting to see how each has changed since our last visit and just what is in store for haunters at Realm of Darkness’ new second attraction, CarnEvil 3D.

Once we have survived Pontiac’s twin terrors we’ll make the short drive to Utica where we’ll witness what’s sure to be another knockout effort from the excellent team at Sinister. Last season Sinister was nearly flawless and beat out a couple of very worthy competitors to be named Haunt of the Year. It was by no accident that Sinister blew us away either, remember this was produced by many of the same wonderful weirdos who put on one of the best haunted displays we’ve ever witnessed — I speak, of course, of Haunted Hollows in Armada circa 2009. It should come as no surprise that this twisted gang snatched the Haunt of the Year Award that year as well.

2013 SCHEDULE

I continue to tinker with the haunt schedule but with so many exciting new prospects and the unknown status of some locations it’s been difficult to nail down definitive dates and times. Listed below are a few possible trips, which as of now are in no particular order. All attractions are located in Michigan unless otherwise noted.

Night #1 – Terrorfied Forest and Manor (Pinckney), Slaughter House (Fowlerville)

Night #2 – House of Fear (Hazel Park), Blake’s (Armada), Slaughtered at Sundown (Armada)

Night #3 – Scream Machine (Taylor), Funeral Home (Inkster), Hush (Westland)

Night #4 – Exit 13 (Mt. Morris), Village of the Living Dead (St. Charles)

Night #5 – Bloodbath on Biddle (Wyandotte), Realm of Haunted Minds (Romulus), Psycho Path (Gibraltar)

Night #6 – Lake “Eerie” Haunted Hayride (Brownstown), Woods of Darkness (South Rockwood)

I’m open to suggestions for any of these nights and there’s various other places I’d like to visit as well. I’d be happy to return to the Haunted Hydro (Fremont, Ohio) this year but I’m unaware of a second haunt that we could hit that night. Usually I’d suggest Terror Town but I think I’m a bit burnt out on it after five consecutive years of visiting.

I also have interest in Dimensions of Darkness (Maumee, Ohio) which John and I experienced for the first time last year on Halloween. It had a very cool old school approach and put us in mind of the treasured Extreme Scream. However, I’ve yet to read whether or not it will be operating this season.

Finally, there is the decision to be made regarding an overnight trip. John and I have discussed the possibility of renting a room near Flint and carving up the local haunt scene. On the other hand I’ve been itching to see the Dent Schoolhouse (Cincinnati, Ohio) for a couple of years now; my fellow haunters and I will undoubtedly have a tough decision on our hands.

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.