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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.

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Horrorlust Radio Episode #002

Posted in Horrorlust Radio with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 24, 2014 by bluefall8

My brother, Jason, returned to co-host once more in episode #002 of Horrorlust Radio.

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

In the second episode of Horrorlust Radio, Jason and I discuss the evolution of horror in video games and also delve into the sometimes blurred line between extreme haunted houses and abduction simulations.

This episode also features the debut of two new segments — Nightmare Fuel and Serious Celluloid. In Nightmare Fuel, Jason recounts a personal account of an unidentified flying object he once witnessed in August 1997 and in Serious Celluloid I recommend a horror film to listeners.

We also discuss some of our earliest visits to haunted attractions — most notably a legendary trip through Lincoln Park’s Anxiety Alley and and eye-popping jaunt through a Monroe Jaycees haunted house during the mid-90’s.

More show notes and additional description information to follow.

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 002

SHOW NOTES

One Day at Horrorland was book #16 in the original Goosebumps series and was released in February 1994. It’s among one of my favorite in the entire series and remains one of the most popular Goosebumps books.

Horrorland, no whores allowed.

Horrorland, no whores allowed.

The HauntWorld Issue #37 article I referenced in our conversation about extreme haunted houses and abduction simulations was titled Abduction Simulations: The Coming Plague and was written by Ben Armstrong of Netherworld Haunted House.

A link to the GQ article also mentioned during our conversation, written by Drew Magary which details his experience with Extreme Kidnapping: Kidnapped (Just Kidding!)

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

1. “The Greatest Show Unearthed” by Creature Feature (The Greatest Show Unearthed, 2007)

2. “Shadows Fall” by Nox Arcana (Carnival of Lost Souls, 2006)

3. Kinski, Boone and Peloquin from Clive Barker’s Night Breed (1990)

4. “Music Box” by Nox Arcana (Darklore Manor, 2003)

HauntWorld #35

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 11, 2014 by bluefall8
Consummate the marriage? I'll pass!

Consummate the marriage? I’ll pass!

I found the latest issue of HauntWorld Magazine inside my mail box last week and after reading it, I thought it high time to interact with all of you wonderful creeps once more. If you want a little nostalgic eye candy, check out the Fright Props ad on page 5. The artwork and humor are reminiscent of that found in EC Comics; it’s spooky fun and very colorful.

Issue #35 featured articles on five haunted attractions — Hex House, Atrox Factory, Legends: A Haunting at Old Town, The Darkness, and Wiard’s Orchards’ Night Terrors. I found the articles on Legends: A Haunting at Old Town and Wiard’s Orchards’ Night Terrors of particular interest.

HAUNTED SANDBOX

Legends is based in Kissimmee, Florida and is open to guests not only during the Halloween season, but indeed the entire calendar year. Every Tuesday through Sunday the ghouls prowl the halls of Ashdown and Son’s Undertakers and any warm body willing to pay the price of admission can get themselves a scare.

Surely, such a breakneck schedule would lead to repetition and familiarity for visitors or burn out for actors. However, this isn’t the case because Legends employs an innovative approach to scareactor management, says co-owner Jim Shackelford, “We designed our show to be a playground. The haunt actors can, and do, go anywhere.”

That kind of flexibility is a crucial element to the success of haunted attractions. I’ve witnessed first hand how this strategy can positively impact the overall quality of a show. Actors should be granted the freedom to roam and to adapt their performance for different guests. Do you want your cast to unleash its full potential? Then provide the ultimate canvas onto which their nightmarish vision can best be painted.

The best firsthand example I have witnessed was the team at Sinister in Utica. During a visit there last fall I had the opportunity to talk to the owner/operator at length and he explained that this was something on which he placed a strong emphasis.

THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY

There simply aren’t many major haunted attractions that we haven’t visited in Michigan, but Wiard’s Orchards’ Night Terrors is one such location. Despite six attractions and an eye-catching ad in the Fear Finder, a combination of a mixed reviews and a hefty admission have kept me from penciling in Wiard’s for a visit. However, after reading the current HauntWorld feature, it may be time to reconsider.

Wiard’s first opened their marquee attraction, the Ultimate Haunted Barn in 1984, which according to HauntWorld is the oldest known barn haunt in the United States! 2014 will mark the establishment’s 30th anniversary, a fact that singularly suggests that the operators must be doing something right.  My interest is officially peaked and I’ll certainly do some research in preparation for a possible trip this fall.

Weekend of Milestones

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on September 15, 2012 by bluefall8

When I checked the mail yesterday afternoon it was to find the current issue of HauntWorld waiting for me. Today I hunted down a copy of the Fear Finder at a local Kmart thus making it the earliest I have ever obtained a copy. Finally, tonight myself and some veteran haunters are getting a jump start on the season with a visit to the Scarefest Scream Park — a trip that will set a mark for the earliest we’ve ever visited a haunted attraction! The current mark has stood for nearly three years, it was set on September 25, 2009 when we ventured to Jackson’s Underworld and the Homer Mill in what will always be remembered as an abjectly disappointing night. We’ll hope for better tonight as we make the trek to New Haven where we’ll experience Scarefest Scream Park’s Castle of the Dead and Hayride of Doom. These discounted September previews can often leave a lot to be desired but we’ve also made some great haunt memories on such trips, so there is reason for optimism.