Archive for haunt guide

Terror Tracker Scares Up Ads

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 16, 2013 by bluefall8

I mentioned previously in my review of the Wyandotte Jaycees’ Bloodbath on Biddle that while there I happened upon a haunted house publication called Terror Tracker. It’s published by Your Hometown Shopper and as Jon Dehring told me that night, the publishers hope to compete with the Haunt Guide and Fear Finder.

My search for additional information on Terror Tracker was fruitless — I have no idea when it was first published or what kind of circulation it has. The 2013 edition does feature four orange slash marks located on the upper right hand corner of the front page, perhaps that indicates that this was the fourth annual installment.

Featured inside it’s pages are the usual heavy hitters who run regularly in the Fear Finder or Haunt Guide such as Blake’s, Night Terrors, and Saint Lucifer’s just to name a few. However what’s more interesting are establishments such as Past Tense After Dark and Erwin Orchards which ran 1/8 and 1/4 page ads in the Fear Finder this season, but landed full page layouts inside Terror Tracker.

Terrorfied Forest & Manor in Pinckney had advertised in the Fear Finder for what seemed to be more than a decade, but disappeared from the its pages this year only to crop up in the Terror Tracker with a 1/2 page ad. Seventeen haunted attractions or events were listed inside Terror Tracker this year, by comparison the Haunt Guide featured the same amount while the Fear Finder advertised 46.

Personally, I welcome the new addition — anything that aids in the continued success of the haunted attraction industry in Michigan is good for all of us who celebrate Halloween around the calendar.

As an aside, I’m still in search of past issues of the Fear Finder pre-2006 — for that matter I’m now interested in obtaining past copies of Terror Tracker as well. I encourage anybody with copies to contact me via the comment section here on Horrorlust or at the following email: joel@bluestarproductions.net

Elements and Ambience Rule Realm of Haunted Minds

Posted in 2013, Realm of Haunted Minds, Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2013 by bluefall8

When I set out late two Fridays ago, it was to visit a pair of local haunts, and first on that list was the pride of the Huron Turkey Farm — Realm of Haunted Minds. Twice before I’ve visited this location (2008 & 2011) and I found each trip to be memorable and fun.

This time around I brought my sister-in-law Madison along, who’s a creep in her own right but inexperienced in the ways of haunting. Earlier this year she began reading Horrorlust; shortly thereafter I introduced her to the Haunt Guide and Fear Finder. She seemed fascinated by the images on the pages; I knew then I might have a budding haunter on my hands.

So there we were on a chilly Friday night as we soaked in the idyllic atmosphere of the Huron Turkey Farm. The county store was adorned with it’s usual lights, inside a ghoulish array of characters lined the walls. As we made our way to the haunted attraction we explored the miniature town scattered over the grounds, which is something of a playground for kids and big kids alike. The quaint structures provide an excellent place to stage a spur of the moment prank and can also be used for a unique photo op.

Once we had entered the queue area, we were asked to stand at the blood line. A quick glance at the floor indeed revealed there to be a blood soaked stain on the ground, but before we could ask any questions a ghoulish bust flickered to life and began regaling us with the rules of the house. This particular effect utilized a projection system and is immensely more effective and entertaining than having an exhausted employee recite the same rules to each group of patrons every night for the duration of the haunt season. I’ve always advocated that the show should begin before a guest even enters the haunted attraction and indeed Realm of Haunted Minds has put that philosophy to good use.

Realm of Haunted Minds isn’t the type of haunted attraction that’s going to overwhelm guests with high tech animatronics or eye popping props, that kind of thing is sprinkled in to be sure but the driving force here is simply old fashioned haunting. Realm of Haunted Minds successfully fused the mood of a fun house with the ambience of a classic haunted house.

Neon splattered walls and a robust sound system set the scene quite well, while the use of tried and true haunt troupes such as drop panels, misdirection, and hidden passageways further supplement the concept of bedrock fundamental principles. When done correctly, there’s simply no substitute for these time honored elements.

The attraction was of an ideal length and featured a fair amount of actors and if jumping and shrieking can be interpreted as enjoying oneself then Madison had a blast, I was amused to see a fresh haunter caught off guard by a bounty of techniques that are so familiar to me. In one early room a zipper-faced clown stood slightly slumped over, his wrists chained to a wall. As we turned our backs and began in the direction of the next room I waited patiently for the payoff and without missing a beat ole Zipper Face struck! Maddie, convinced the figure was a prop, nearly leaped out of her shoes.

Later, we were pursued by a tongue-wangling fiend who gave Maddie a serious case of the heebie-jeebies when he determinedly scaled the walls of his cage and began to crawl over the top of the structure. In another instance we traversed a narrow hallway and at the end, where the path took a turn to the right, tucked into the corner sat a stone skeletal bust a top a pedestal. I first encountered this gag last year while touring House of the Dead at TerrorTown — it startled me then and without fail it put a little pep into Maddie’s step.

The Realm of Haunted Minds is a good haunted house at a wonderful location and is suitable for all ages. I would suggest that fog and strobe lights be put to greater use as a means to disorient and confuse; the tight quarters would be very conducive to this effect and would serve to ratchet up the tension.

I also felt that the opportunity for a big scare was missed at the conclusion of the ghoul’s rules at the beginning of the attraction. There was a door to the left of us as we stood at the blood line, it bore something of a resemblance to an Iron Maiden. When our decrepit host had finished with his speech the doors opened automatically and we plunged into the attraction, but how wonderful would it have been if a chainsaw wielding nut, for example, had burst forth from the same structure and forced us to scramble around him?! The timing was perfect for just such a scare and what better way to keep haunters guessing than by turning a vintage staple on its ear?

Rating: 3.75 stars

Oddments and Reflections

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2013 by bluefall8

Seven years ago I began writing about Halloween, horror movies, and haunted attractions purely out of  love for all things spooky, creepy, and macabre. It’s something I developed a fascination with when I was a child. My family lived on London Street in Lincoln Park where my brother and I enjoyed creating dummies from our grandfather’s old work clothes and along with our sisters played haunted house in our basement. That love for the fall season has stayed with me my entire life and I consider myself fortunate for having the opportunity to have met and conversed with so many who share that same passion; and I owe much of that to the entries in this blog.

Inspired in part by Zioptis, this is something I began to do for fun. As time passed I began to get responses from haunt goers, owners, and actors who all enjoyed my writing. I found it rewarding to have that level of interaction. A few weeks ago, while flipping through the Haunt Guide, I discovered that Sinister had made mention of this blog in their ad. I got a real kick out of that and I’m not embarrassed to admit that it filled me with a sense of pride. Recently, after learning of this, my mother-in-law suggested I start promoting this blog in earnest and so I decided to have some business cards printed. I have no idea where this journey through monster infested corridors will lead me but I’ve enjoyed the trip thus far and have no plans to turn back. I can’t help but follow my heart, it just feels right.

Here I am mugging for the camera with the Sinister ad. As you may have surmised from the background I'm also a fan of the Detroit Red Wings.

Here I am mugging for the camera with the Sinister ad. As you may have surmised from the background I’m also a fan of the Detroit Red Wings.

 

A close up of the ad where you can actually see the phrase Horrorlust.

A close up of the ad where you can actually see the phrase Horrorlust.

 

The official Horrorlust business card. Coming soon to a haunt near you!

The official Horrorlust business card. Coming soon to a haunt near you!

Those of you with a keen eye may have noticed that beneath my name it says “Reviewer & Videographer.” I absolutely delight in video production and earned my Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern Michigan University where I majored in Electronic Media and Film Studies. I produced a promotional video for a haunted attraction, Woods of Darkness in South Rockwood, and would love the chance to work with others in the haunt industry. Here’s a link to that video: Woods of Darkness Promotional Video. If interested you can of course leave a comment on this blog, call the number listed on the card, or contact me at the following email address: joel@bluestarproductions.net

 

Friday Night Frights

Posted in Preludes and Nocturnes with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 2, 2012 by bluefall8

The 2012 haunt season will commence in earnest this Friday, haunt fiends! Our first stop will bring us to Erwin Orchards in South Lyon approximately one hour from my apartment. The main attraction at Erwin’s is the Barn of Horrors, an attraction that Zioptis has raved about over the years. What can I say? I’m a sucker for barn haunts. I’ve actually wanted to hit Erwin Orchards for a couple of years now, so I’m excited that a visit has finally materialized. Erwin’s also features a haunted maze called Corn Stalkers — tickets are $14 for the Barn of Horrors and $10 for the Corn Stalkers Maze, a combo ticket is available for $22. There’s also a $2 off combo ticket coupon available in the Haunt Guide.

Our next destination, and what I feel will be the crown jewel of the night, lies 40 minutes northwest down I-96 in Fowlerville where “Michigan’s Best Trifecta of Terror” awaits haunters. Grand River Corn Maze is celebrating 10 years of haunting this fall with Slaughter House, Haunted Maze, and Blood Bath and Beyond Hayride! I first became interested in this location when my brother mentioned that he had driven by it while training for a new job back in the spring (the haunt fates have strange ways do they not?). I have read overwhelmingly positive reviews about Slaughter House in particular and am eager to experience it for myself. Each attraction is appropriately priced at $13 but a combo ticket will net haunters all three for $30. Guests also have the option of purchasing tickets for any two attractions at a $3 discount — bringing the total to $23 for two of your choice.

If time is on our side we’ll depart Fowlerville and make the short ten minute jaunt to Webberville where we’ll visit the little known A Nightmare on Elm Road. I’ve made an effort to seek out off-the-beaten-path haunts this year and I’m hoping this one can deliver some intimate, old school scares. Admission is a mere $10 — The Sequel, a second attraction at the same location, can be had for an additional $5.

Happy Haunting!

What Horrors May Come…

Posted in Preludes and Nocturnes with tags , , , on September 28, 2011 by bluefall8

A veritable haunted house explosion takes place this weekend as the vast majority of dark attractions open their doors to the teeming masses. Where, oh where will the Haunt Trinity find themselves this weekend? Will we soak in the atmosphere of one of Michigan’s haunted farms or brave the oppressive corners of an urban slaughterhouse? Will we delight in the fright of a local production or be mesmerized by the lights of a mega-haunt? Truth is my fellow haunt fiends that even I’m not entirely sure. I await feedback from one of my partners in crime but fear not for by this time tomorrow all shall be revealed. In the mean time let us touch upon a few other items that will appear within the confines of Horrorlust.

Of course the 2011 haunt season begins in earnest this weekend, but before we forge a new season of shrieks we must look back at the season that was. On Thursday we’ll revisit the most memorable moments of last season when the Haunt Trinity unveils the 2010 Haunt Awards. The 2010 haunt season was filled with fun, fright, and yes even a little disappointment. This retrospective is a good way to get those haunt juices flowing and never fails to stir up heated haunt debates. On a separate but related note readers can also look for a post concerning the Haunt Trinity’s top five haunts of all time. As you can imagine this one will be jam packed with the absolute best haunts we’ve experienced.

I mentioned in my first post here that Horrorlust grew out of previous blogs — more specifically a seasonal entry I used to call Hallowblog. Another entry I used to enjoy writing was titled Word of the Week. Each week I’d find a word of interest and post its definition often times I’d include anecdotes or other commentary depending on the word. I enjoyed the entry so much that I weaved it right it the fabric of our favorite season with the catch being that each weeks word was some how related to the topic of horror or Halloween. I’m happy to announce that the tradition will continue here on Horrolust; you can look for those entries every Monday or Tuesday during the month of October.

Yesterday Melissa and I went out for a belated anniversary dinner. On our way there we walked by a series of shops and inside the lobby of one I spotted the freshly printed Haunt Guide. After I grabbed a few I was of course thinking about the great seasonal attractions held within but then my mind turned to food, more specifically what kinds of food or places compliment the fall season. What do you think haunt brethren? We ate dinner at R.P. McMurphy’s in downtown Wyandotte and I must say it would make a fine choice for any occasion including the haunt season. The building dates to the 1890’s and has a bygone charm about it — it’s darkly lit with a small lamp at each booth and exudes a warmth modern structures simply cannot duplicate. The food is both tasty and filling and it’s just the kind of place that you could believe is haunted.I’d recommend a visit any time of year.

Well haunters I’m almost out of stories for the night but before I succumb to the whims of the dream world I’d like to share a haunt related item I dreamt up just last night. In my dream I kept running across copies of the Fear Finder only the cover art was different from the current 2011 front page. Instead of a macabre circus there was a vast field dominated by an ancient tree in the background while a harvest moon hung far above in a inky midnight blue sky. In the foreground a massive creature stalked through the field, possessing a look that suggested it might burst right off the front cover. At first glance it looked like a Sasquatch but on closer inspection I found that it was what could only be described as a neatly detailed mud monster. An awesome cover indeed. I kept finding copies of it too only each one was slightly different. In one the mud creature had a gnashing mouth where it’s crotch should have been. I know, I know. Some obviously pyscho sexual things going on in my head but I remember laughing at it in my dream. Elsewhere in this Fear Finder laden dreamscape I even found miniature versions of the seasonal rag; pretty bizarre stuff. Who knows maybe I’ve unconsciously divined a future edition of the Fear Finder or even cooler –what I saw was the Fear Finder in a parallel universe!