Archive for gerkins

A Plague of Vermin

Posted in News with tags , , , , on September 26, 2016 by bluefall8

I’ve toured and reviewed haunted attractions for a decade now and the desire to cross the veil and become part of a haunted attraction is something that was always there just beneath the surface. I first felt the pull in earnest back in 2010 while working on a promotional video for the Woods of Darkness. I knew that my path would ultimately lead me there but at the time there was still many haunts to visit and the call of the open road had to be answered.

Slowly but surely the two worlds began to collide and in the summer of 2014, I agreed to help a friend build a garage haunt for a Halloween party. We emptied the 20 x 24 foot space, erected walls and designed scenes, installed lighting and props; we even integrated an elegant sound system. It was a substantial commitment and required the sacrifice of several nights that ordinarily would’ve been spent on the road.

In addition, I acted several nights with the Wyandotte Jaycees at Fō-bē-ə that season. Unleashing the carnival barker turned doll-man known as Gerkins was an infectious adrenaline rush to which nothing else could quite compare. I reprised the role, if only briefly, last year at Delirium and knew that the 2016 season would offer further opportunity. After so many years on the road, a flip through the Fear Finder or Haunt Guide revealed that I’d experienced most of what Michigan had to offer. There remain a few outliers to be sure and I’ll dutifully check those off the list but it won’t require as many nights on the road this season.

With that in mind I made the decision to make a bigger commitment to the Wyandotte Jaycees. Initially, I considered resurrecting Gerkins once more but after some thought he didn’t seem to fit the 2016 SIN theme quite like he should so I began digging for a new character and slowly, like a difficult birth, Vermin was unearthed. I hope some of you readers have a chance to meet him this October — no doubt Vermin will relish the opportunity to pontificate on the nature of life itself or perhaps he’ll shed some light on your own dark secrets.

SIN is located at 3131 Biddle, Wyandotte, Michigan.

Gerkins & Friends

Posted in News with tags , , , on October 26, 2015 by bluefall8

Sunday night capped off an excellent weekend of haunting when my alter-ego, Gerkins, joined his friends at Delirium — the 2015 Wyandotte Jaycees Haunted House. Last year I was fortunate enough to volunteer on several nights and was delighted to have the opportunity to work an area of the haunt referred to as the dollmaker’s keep. Last night, however, my services were needed elsewhere and so it was that Gerkins entertained waiting patrons inside the lobby and also stirred up odd conversations with folks on the sidewalk outside Delirium.

Gerkins played a subversive game in which he offered suckers to children and parents alike while he playfully proclaimed, “Candy from strangers is fun, you never know what you’re going to get!” And would you believe that most people happily accepted those dubious treats? But the carnival barker of old was not satisfied with merely stirring the pot, he slyly entered the haunt on occasion and offered a brief jump scare to some groups and for others was found on the outside of the building near the exit primed for one last bit of interaction.

Alas, Gerkins was not alone in such Halloween hijinks; he was joined on this night by an interesting harlequin known as Murray the Clown. Equipped with a nasally voice and the polished vocabulary of a simpleton, Murray told stories of his youth that drew both laughs and awkward glances. He and Gerkins were quite the pair as the duo reveled in all of their bizarre synergy.

It was another memorable night and a wonderful excuse to uncork Gerkins once again. Many thanks to Jon and Danielle who welcomed me back into the fold and allowed me to let loose as Gerkins, horrible Gerkins.

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.

The Strange Case of Gerkins & The CikNis

Posted in CikNis with tags , on October 25, 2014 by bluefall8

Gerkins, horrible Gerkins.

There is a certain nervous excitement that ensnares me whenever I am set to perform and slowly but surely, like an inevitable battle I am all too aware that it is coming. The board is set, the pieces are moving and tonight The CikNis will infect all who enter its cursed walls.

There are liars and mad men, creeps and savages who dwell therein and among them is Gerkins, horrible Gerkins. He is a beast unleashed, a one man lunatic asylum; hellbent on horror, mayhem and whimsy. His mind is a tattered tapestry of arcane nostalgia, carnivalesque urges and violent outbursts. He is as enigmatic as he is eccentric but not without a sense of humor. He is as deadly as he is merciful and will turn from friend to foe and back again in the blink of an eye. There is no rhyme or reason; there is only his twisted amusement.

Gerkins is a part of me — a fracture of my mind, a sliver of my personality — the Mr. Hyde to my Dr. Jekyll. His appetite is insatiable, his force inexhaustible and lest he scorch my soul from the inside I must release him for a time, and tonight he will be unbottled.

Gerkins, horrible Gerkins.

Witness the CikNis.

Witness the CikNis.

Horrorlust Radio Episode #005

Posted in Horrorlust Radio with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 16, 2014 by bluefall8

I’m flying solo without a net in episode #005 of Horrorlust Radio.

In the fifth episode of Horrorlust Radio, I talk about the haunted attractions I’ve visited thus far and those I aim to tour before the 2014 Halloween season is to end; I also answer a few listener questions.

This episode of Horrorlust Radio also features the second installment of Nightmare Fuel and the debut of Dead Files. In Nightmare Fuel, I recount several ghostly nights spent in Lovett Hall, a former high school now part of The Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village. Dead Files is a segment in which haunted house reviews are read in dramatic fashion and up first is an account from a 2012 trip to Bloodview in Broadview Heights, Ohio.

I also provide my thoughts on the season premieres of The Walking Dead and American Horror Story. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Gerkins’ appearance on the Chop Shop!

I’m actively seeking sponsors for Horrorlust Radio, if you own or operate a haunted attraction or are otherwise involved or connected to the haunt industry and are interested in such an opportunity you can contact me at the following email address: horrorlust@bluestarproductions.net

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

HORRORLUST RADIO: EPISODE 005

SHOW NOTES

Here’s a poster from Ed Wood’s Night of the Ghouls, the subject of the latest episode of the Chop Shop which featured my alter-ego Gerkins alongside Uncle Dead Guy.

A bizarre horror film with an even stranger history.

A bizarre horror film with an even stranger history.

Gerkins with Uncle Dead Guy, a match made in Hell.

Gerkins with Uncle Dead Guy, a match made in Hell.

Lovett Hall is a beautiful structure but it’s walls undoubtedly hold many secrets lost to time; by night certain areas, such as the ballroom and dormitories, are creepy indeed.

Lovett Hall originally opened in the late 1930's.

Lovett Hall originally opened in the late 1930’s.

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

1. “Bad Moon Rising” by Creedence Clearwater Revival (Green River, 1969)

2. Day of the Dead Theatrical Trailer, 1985

3. Unknown Song, Unknown Artist

4. Captain Rhodes argues with Dr. Logan from Day of the Dead, 1985

5. “Labyrinth of Dreams” by Nox Aracana (Grimm Tales, 2008)

Halloween Spirit Triumphs over Gloom

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 4, 2013 by bluefall8

The weather was determined not to cooperate on Halloween, but I was not about to let some rain dampen my spirits. We were forced to scale back our plans of  a multi-yard haunt and withdrew to the relative safety of the porch. Our disappointment with the weather quickly abated as we discovered we’d be able to adapt our act for this stage quite nicely; with the added bonus that we’d be able to keep ourselves dry.

The trick ‘r treaters were a mere trickle between 5 and 6 pm but as the annual rite entered the second hour the revelers began to multiply in number. A blue police beacon cut through the fading light, informing the masses that there was candy, and perhaps a good scare, to be had.

HALLOWEEN HORROR SHOW

The dreadful duo of Gerkins and Pere held court, using the initial wave of trick ‘r treaters as a warm up.  Children, teenagers, and adults alike were all made to ascend the stairs in order to collect their holiday treat; some were reluctant while others simply refused altogether. Once on the porch the unassuming rubes were subjected to a litany of strange behavior, the likes of which included passive aggressive threats, innuendo and word play, and a bizarre dance performed by Pere.

The gruesome twosome stared silently into the eyes of trick ‘r treaters for uncomfortably long periods of time and were often seen sniffing them as well. In one instance, Pere held her cane to the throat of a nervous teenager; not to be outdone, Gerkins repeatedly informed young children of his desire to keep their mommies.

In another memorable moment, Gerkins harnessed the power of the occult and correctly produced one young man’s name. When his name fell from Gerkins’ lips the boy’s eyes bulged from his head, he backed down the stairs and began to walk to the next house; all the while his face was a tapestry of bewilderment and fear.

THE FREAKS COME OUT

Nightfall had now fallen proper which afforded us more opportunities to scare and startle trick ‘r treaters, it was then that Gerkins unleashed the full force of his macabre cabal — a tall, stalking scarecrow and a statuesque harlequin with horror in her heart.

Intermittent blasts from a fog machine shrouded the area in a dense mist, a strobe light pulsed against the wispy vapors. The Scarecrow guarded the candy with a fierce greed, he often bellowed threats at those who dared indulge. It also gave him great delight to surprise individuals and groups from behind bushes, tombstones, and idle cars.

The Clown applied a more subtle technique in her attempts to spread fear. As a mute she had not the use of speech to intimidate her prey, but was able to use this handicap to her advantage. She sat silent and still upon the stairs that led to the porch, stirring disquiet and fear in the hearts of those who dared to pass. Expertly, she lulled them into a false sense of security and when they had passed she would deftly wrap an ankle in a stone-like grip.

GERKINS, HORRIBLE GERKINS

The moonlight served to intensify the actions of Gerkins, who memorably cornered one teenager on the porch. The girl shrieked and begged as Gerkins blocked her path, her gaze momentarily fell upon the porch rail and she contemplated the jump. Gerkins would eventually relent, but mere minutes after the departure of the girl’s party the barker of old decided that he wasn’t done. He called out to her, begging her to stay and play. The girl and her friends quickly piled into a mini-van but this did not stop a determined Gerkins who pawed at the vehicle and traced a smiley face into the rain water of one window.

The creatures of the night terrorized and amused the neighborhood until the last piece of candy had been claimed, and Gerkins made sure that the trick ‘r treaters worked for each and every morsel. He chased children, admonished a foul mouthed teenager, and regaled passersby with stories from the carnivale circuit which included a memory from the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, as well as a rather salacious tale that detailed his trysts with bi-sexual siamese twins.

REFLECTIONS AND PROGNOSTICATIONS

What began as a simple yard haunt mutated and took on a life of it’s own. Everybody seemed to genuinely enjoy the experience, regardless of age. It reinforced in me that desire to haunt and perform and bolstered the notion that somewhere in time I will produce a bona fide haunted attraction where guests will come to scream and be merry.

The Irrepressible, Pere.

The Irrepressible Pere.

Gerkins & Pere welcome you kindly.

Gerkins & Pere welcome you kindly.

Gerkins & The Nightmare Fuel Carnivale.

Gerkins & The Nightmare Fuel Carnivale.

Gerkins & Pere Cross the Veil

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2013 by bluefall8

If the rain shall relent, it will be a magical Halloween. Tonight I’ll be participating in a yard haunt with my in-laws and some neighbors. There will be a cemetery scene stretched across several lawns complete with tombstones, ghouls, and even a scarecrow!

Oh yes, there will be candy too for the young ones who can navigate the path through strobe lights and fog whilst festive music fills the air; but it shan’t be easy. A pair of seasoned creeps will be lurking, a duo of undead carnival castoffs who are eager to provide nightmare fuel. This terrible tandem is known only as Gerkins and Pere.

Gerkins is a carnival barker of old who delights in laughs and screams a like. He possesses a dramatic flair that sometimes erodes to reveal a bi-polar disorder. His faithful sidekick Pere is a youthful ball of energy prone to mischief and nonsense; she is often admonished by Gerkins for this but such condemnations do little to augment her behavior. Pere is afflicted with an insatiable sweet tooth and has an annoying habit of parroting Gerkins. Together, the two comprise an All Hallow’s Eve tour de force hellbent on fun and fright!

The only known photo of Gerkins.

The only known photo of Gerkins, date unknown.