Archive for hazel park

Bound in Purgatory

Posted in 2013, Purgatory's Revenge, Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 5, 2013 by bluefall8

It was by a considerable amount of chance that we came to visit Purgatory’s Revenge in New Haven on October 25th. Originally, John and I had planned to visit House of Fear in Hazel Park but we discovered that Purgatory’s Revenge worked much better with our route for the night which included stops at Blake’s and Slaughtered at Sundown in Armada. As we are always on the lookout for new attractions, it seemed like a natural fit.

In several ways Purgatory’s Revenge put me in mind of Sinister in Utica, it’s constructed outside and must be completely dismantled once the haunt season has concluded. Secondly, it featured a dedicated, in-your-face cast. Several of the standouts prowled the grounds, stirring up scares. The ring leader was a strange creature indeed and can best be described as the result of a demon who had possessed the corpse of a deer. He may have walked upright but the creature displayed a marked animalistic instinct, his speech and actions were certainly something other than human.

The entrance of the attraction is well detailed and created the sensation that haunters had entered into a tomb. We would find out soon enough that Purgatory’s Revenge prided itself on basic haunt fundamentals, a strategy that served this location well. Thick patches of fog swept throughout many areas of the haunt and when coupled with strobe lights, created a highly disorienting effect that had us groping the air as we searched for a path — easy prey for any lurking deadites.

The haunt also utilized a good mix of pitch black hallways, an increasingly underutilized element in haunted attractions. Such perfect dark can wreck havoc on the psyche and has the added benefit of providing fertile ground for opportunities to launch a scare. In one such hall I received one of the best jolts of the season. As I blindly fumbled in the dark I was surprised when I felt my hand come in contact with some sort of barrier — mesh, perhaps fencing? Immediately an unseen actor lunged from within the structure and provided a quality startle.

The use of tactile sensation was yet another fundamental technique put to good use. In the area above, there was merely a change in the texture of the wall and as soon as my mind began to process that information the trap had been set. This tactic worked in rooms with greater visibility as well, for instance, one narrow path forced us to claw our way through a series of thick spider webs. As another example, various areas had thin veils that hung at odd angles from the ceiling — these too we had to push aside. Additionally, the veils served to block our line of sight which in turn created a mild sensation of misdirection; all of this forced us to carefully concentrate on the path.

All of this talk of tactile sensation, misdirection, and darkness may not sound too impressive but when used correctly these old school techniques will enhance any haunted attraction. Sure, a particular haunt may succeed in spite of such attributes — for instance, a great cast may collectively steal the show — but why deny such a cast the opportunity to ply their craft on an ideal canvas? The proper application of haunt fundamentals will always enhance the experience.

The final room of the haunted attraction also played upon such fundamentals, although here it was accomplished when those principles were turned on ear. Generally, haunted attractions will send guests through a series of tight passes which is a great method used to heighten a condition like claustrophobia, but what would happen if those same people were suddenly thrust into a very large space?

This was exactly what the final room put to the test and the result was a sudden sensation of exposure and vulnerability. Those small, narrow spaces do produce a particular kind of fear and suspense, but in such a limited area the inevitable scare has precious few options from which to originate — in an odd way it can almost begin to feel, safe. A wide open space has the opposite effect, suddenly patrons are naked  in the dark and highly susceptible to attack from all angles.

As I mentioned earlier, Purgatory’s Revenge featured several characters who treated the scare as an art form, and the first one that we encountered was the aforementioned Demon Deer.

When we first entered the haunt a strangled voice used bird calls to attract our attention and then beckoned, “Heeeere humans, heeeere humans.” The nightmarish abomination led us to a vacant church and after he had muttered what seemed to be mindless ravings, we were directed into opposite rooms. One was labeled “Men’s” while the other read “Women’s.” John and I briefly separated before the paths wound back into each other. It was a fun bit of interaction and an idea I’d love to see the operators expand upon in the future.

Another scene of interest was a detailed swamp complete with a bridge. Here, we were introduced to a miniature pet alligator and when I crouched to stroke it’s head, we were blasted by a spray of water. The owner bade us farewell (although he did so rather ominously) and we entered into the next room, a vibrantly painted area flush with disturbing depictions of Barney the Dinosaur aside children who bore, what I can only assume, were drug induced grins. The theme from the once popular television show echoed throughout the room, lending a distinctly perverse quality to our surroundings.

What the hell were we about to witness here? My mind ran wild. Would we find girls bound and gagged (Could we be so lucky)? Was a half naked Barney to be found waltzing with the corpse of Baby Bop? Or would we simply discover the purple dinosaur tweaked out on the floor with a needle in his arm? Yes, these are the things that run through my head; it’s a weird place.

Okay, none of the above came to pass, but we were attacked by a large dog with a purple head which gave John a fright, and a good startle is always worth a mention. Even though the bizarre visions in my head did not manifest, it is precisely these kind of creative ideas that keep us on the road chasing that next great haunt fix. The skewering of pop culture isn’t exclusive to late night comedians, it’s also prepackaged fodder for the haunt industry. When viewed through a particular lens just about anything can become creepy, surreal, or downright horrifying.

2013 was the sophomore season for the folks at Purgatory’s Revenge and it definitely didn’t seem to have suffered any kind of a slump. The team here is led by a mixture of seasoned veterans and bold, new blood. With a solid cast on hand, strong emphasis on haunt fundamentals, and plans to expand, it would seem that Purgatory’s Revenge has many souls yet to ensnare.

Rating: 4 stars

Advertisements

Dying Days Aglow with Haunts

Posted in Haunt Schedule with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2013 by bluefall8

The final week of the haunt season is always an exciting and exhausting period of time as the opportunity to visit haunted attractions is never more abundant. A multitude of haunts will be open every night through Halloween and because October 31st will fall on a Thursday this year many of those will actually welcome customers until Saturday, November 2nd.

What a great calendar 2013 delivered for haunters, with a Friday the 13th in September and Halloween falling late in the week the haunt season will be stretched to the absolute limit! Generally our final outing of the season will come the weekend prior to All Hallow’s Eve or if we’re lucky we’ll cobble together one last haunted adventure on Devil’s Night or Halloween itself. An extra weekend to explore haunted houses is a luxury; indeed a real treat.

So how will we spend our final outings? Well, there really is no other way to spend the final week of October except to embark upon a veritable haunt marathon! On Devil’s Night we’ll experience a trifecta of terror when we visit the Wyandotte Jaycees’ Bloodbath on Biddle, the relocated Scream Machine, and Westland’s newest haunted house, Hush.

On Halloween I’ll be participating in a home haunt with my in-laws and their neighbors in Lincoln Park, an event I’ll detail further in a separate post. As of now I don’t have any plans to visit haunted attractions that night but one can never be sure what might transpire once trick ‘r treating is complete.

Friday will likely serve as our final outing of the season and it has the potential to be a doozy. We’ll travel over two hours to tour St. Charles Village of the Living Dead, then back track to Exit 13 in Mt. Morris, and if time permits we’ll come to rest at House of Fear in Hazel Park.

We don’t currently have any plans to venture out on Saturday, but there’s definitely a chance that a trip may manifest. We haven’t yet made a trip to Ohio this season and it would be a shame if our current streak were to end — five consecutive years we’ve traveled to the Buckeye State for haunted attractions. Already I feel the lure of Terror Town in Maumee and Haunted Hydro in Fremont.

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.

The Walking Dead Sneak Peek, Halloweekends

Posted in Pop Culture, Preludes and Nocturnes with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 9, 2012 by bluefall8

The Walking Dead has a new sneak peek posted at AMC’s website of the season three premiere. It isn’t anything earth shattering but it’s still a zombie freebie and I’ll take those all day long. Season three debuts this Sunday on AMC at 9 pm Eastern. Anybody looking to catch up on the series should tune into AMC beginning Saturday at 10 am. The network will run a marathon of episodes spanning the entire series.

In other news plans for this weekend are beginning to take shape and it looks as if it’ll be another Friday outing. This October is a little too packed with non-haunt related obligations for my liking and as a result nailing down the haunt schedule has been made that much more complicated. Regardless, I think an epic trip is in store for this weekend — on the radar is Deadly Intentions in Warren, Sinister in Utica, and Exit 13 in Mt. Morris. If we can get an early start we may just be able to shoehorn in Hazel Park’s House of Fear. Aside from Deadly Intentions we have not yet visited any of the targeted haunts and new blood is what we’re all about this season. Lastly, my brother called today and informed me that he’s received a free ticket to Cedar Point’s Halloweekends from a friend. He plans to go on Saturday, unfortunately I won’t be able to attend (see prior mentioned obligations). Halloweekends seems to be packed with haunted attractions and scare zones — the long running Club Blood will be open — as well as Eerie Estate, Eternity Infirmary, and Eden Musee just to name a few. That last one is themed as a wax museum and as I’ve never experienced quite such a haunt it, in particular, has me wishing I could attend. Safe travels, brother — you know I’ll accept nothing less than a full review!

Updated 2012 Haunt Schedule

Posted in Haunt Schedule with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 22, 2012 by bluefall8

Listed below are various hypothetical trips, I’ve broken them up into two categories — main (the top list) and extra (the bottom list). I’m open to suggestions of course, but essentially the main category reflects what I feel are the top trips and therefore should be given priority over those in the extra category. Beginning Friday, September 28 through the end of October there are five weekends for haunting, typically we do a big trip on Devil’s Night or Halloween as well — so realistically that’s at least six nights out. There is also the possibility of hitting haunts twice in a week, say Thursday/Friday or Friday/Saturday, which is something we did last year on a couple of occasions. Anyway you slice it, October will be packed with haunted fun! Keep in mind that this list is not meant to be chronological  — I will determine dates for each trip once we coordinate schedules. Also, I’m still looking to find a third haunt on a few of these nights so if anybody has a suggestion make it know.

MAIN

#1: Erwin’s Orchards (South Lyon), Slaughter House (Fowlerville), A Nightmare on Elm Road (Webberville)

#2: Haunted School House and Laboratory (Akron, OH), Bloodview (Broadview Heights, OH)

#3: House of Fear (Hazel Park), Deadly Intentions (Warren), Blake’s Farms (Aramada)

#4: Exit 13 (Mt. Morris), Sinister (Utica)

#5: Darksyde Acres (Jonesville), Uncle Dickey’s Wrong Turn (Hudson)

EXTRA

#1: Krazy Hilda’s (Chelsea), The Boneyard (Stockbridge), Terrorfied Forest and Manor (Pickney)

#2 Scream Machine (Taylor), Realm of Haunted Minds (Romulus), Nightmare Sanctum (Wyandotte), Psycho Path (Flat Rock)

#3 Haunted Hollows (Westland), Westland Haunted Woods (Westland), Westland Jaycees (Westland)

Season of Fear Creeps Near

Posted in Haunt Schedule, Preludes and Nocturnes with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 10, 2012 by bluefall8

Today is one of those days when fall and the haunt season feel so tantalizingly close it’s almost painful. By this time next week the Fear Finder may very well be in my greedy little hands! And that is, of course, a very important document for myself and the Haunt Trinity. As much as I try and get an early start on planning our trips, prior to the release of the seasonal newspaper there’s a lot of guesswork. The status of several old favorites and former mainstays remains in question and probably will until I crack open the pages of the Fear Finder.

FIVE HAUNTS IN LIMBO

One haunt shrouded in mystery that we are interested in is Extreme Scream, after moving to Waterford in 2010 the treasured haunt didn’t run last season and unfortunately I’ve yet to see anything that suggests it’ll return in 2012. I don’t know why Extreme Scream didn’t run last Halloween season, but it does cause me to wonder whether or not things went well at the new location in 2010. Formerly located on Telegraph in Taylor, my great hope is that Extreme Scream returns to its roots this year.

Another old favorite that seems to have vanished is The Lab. The operators apparently lost possession of the building after the 2009 season and did not run in 2010. I spoke with somebody involved with the haunt prior to the 2010 season and she said they (the operators) were “optimistic” that the haunted attraction would return in 2011, alas it did not. Just today I discovered that the website has also disappeared. Until further notice I have no choice but to consider The Lab lost to time.

An Ohio haunt that may have experienced a similar fate is Chainsaw Creek. This multi attraction event last ran in 2009 and from what I can tell from their Facebook page it seems as if they had planned to operate in 2010 but for reasons unknown, did not. The website for Chainsaw Creek had vowed to return with a permanent location in 2011. Chainsaw Creek had formerly been located in the immense parking lot of Toledo’s Franklin Park Mall — it’s certainly possible that the relationship between mall management and haunt management went sour but I’m not certain. What I do know is that Chainsaw Creek did not run in 2011 as the website had claimed it would. Currently a very similar message can be found on the Chainsaw Creek homepage in regard to the 2012 haunt season.

Last year we paid our first visit to Krazy Hilda’s and found the experience quite enjoyable. Krazy Hilda’s has called a few places home over the years but in recent years has settled into a location in Saline, Michigan. After our visit last fall I exchanged a few emails with the operator who revealed that the haunt was staffed entirely by volunteers, a fact that impressed me greatly — most volunteer efforts do not display the kind of professionalism that Hilda’s had to offer. Unfortunately, she also informed me that business had been slow and that closing up shop was a very real possibility. I emailed the operator a few weeks ago but have yet to hear back. I hope that this doesn’t spell doom for Krazy Hilda’s.

The final haunt in question is the fabled Demonic Demons. We experienced this haunt just once but it was a trip that will live on in our memories forever. Demonic Demons was housed in a building on Wyoming Street in Detroit and in 2010 Jason, Brad, and I experienced a haunted adventure here straight out of our childhood nightmares. Sadly, when we attempted a return  trip last year it was to find the building foreclosed or condemned or both. According to Zioptis this particular haunted house is infamous for having a spotty history. It seems to pop up one year and then disappear for several only to reappear once more. I am hopeful for a resurrection but as of now no new information is available.

THE OPEN (HAUNTED) ROAD

In 2011 we hit a record nine new locations and in 2012 we’ll look to break that number once more. While this year’s list is not yet complete a few routes have been plotted. Fellow haunt brethren I encourage you to peruse this list and leave me some feedback. With your suggestions and the impending release of the Fear Finder, it is my hope that any voids will soon be filled. Keep in mind that the order in which these outings are listed is not meant to be chronological and in no way does it reflect the date on which we will make the trip — those decisions will be made at the next phase of the process.

Night #1: Erwin’s Orchard (South Lyon) Slaughter House (Fowlerville), A Nightmare on Elm Road (Webberville)

Night #2: Darksyde Acres (Jonesville), Uncle Dickeys Wrong Turn (Hudson), The Haunting (Adrian)

Night #3: Westland Haunted Woods (Westland), Haunted Hallows (Westland), Westland Jaycees (Westland)

Night #4: Haunted Schoolhouse and Laboratory (Akron, OH), Bloodview (Broadview Heights, OH)

Night #5: Wyandotte Jaycees (Wyandotte), Realm of Haunted Minds (Romulus), Psycho Path (Flat Rock), Scream Machine (Taylor)

Night #5: Deadly Intentions (Warren), House of Fear (Hazel Park)

NIght #6: Exit 13 (Mt. Morris)