Archive for home haunt

Fatal CikNis

Posted in CikNis with tags , , , , on October 26, 2014 by bluefall8

The CikNis proved to be a dizzying adrenaline rush of shrieks and laughs. Many of our guests expressed positive thoughts regarding their experience and as a member of the cast I can say that we had just as much fun as our hapless victims.

While I would’ve liked to have had the time to make several tweaks or added a few well-placed props, the rooms were highly detailed and from what I could gather the various design features of the structure produced the desired effect. We did manage to squeeze in one last minute addition that was a boon for the overall experience — a small hatched door leading from the second room of the haunt into the low-ceilinged dead end at the end of The CikNis. It turned out to be a great suggestion by Richard and, in my opinion, increased the interaction factor of the overall adventure.

There was a certain elegance to the simplicity of the sound system which provided an excellent atmosphere for The CikNis — it’s tough to beat a continuous stream of Nox Arcana’s mournful melodies.

The myriad lighting fixtures — from black lights, strobe lights and glow sticks to string lights, colored bulbs, and a police beacon — effectively cast an eerie, foreboding or even whimsical ambience. Once we had powered everything up for show conditions we didn’t experience a single issue with any electrical components and that in and of itself is a small victory for which I was thankful.

By and large, I thought our cast was brimming with energy and held nothing back in terms of vocalization and improvisation. In particular, from my vantage point in the doll room, I was impressed and highly amused by what I could hear coming from the opposite corner of the haunt where my brother, Jason, forcefully portrayed the wayward scientist responsible for the CikNis. I felt Richard, who was in the second room of the attraction, played the very special part of Gerald with equal zest. His bit with George, the hand puppet monkey, was particularly fun to play off of and reference when several groups entered my area with the monkey in tow.

I admit I was especially flattered by the reactions of guests as they entered my room which was filled with an eclectic mix of dolls and plush toys. Some people were tickled by the hanging babies with glowing heads while others seemed to appreciate the totality of the decor and then there were those stopped dead upon entering the room and professed a desire to turn back; the latter were my personal favorites.

It was intoxicating to unleash Gerkins with all of his exaggerated mannerisms, wild stories and creepy demeanor. He engaged guests with stream-of-consciousness dialogue, offered to add men and women alike to his collection of dolls and introduced some folks to Little Gerkins; among other memorable routines.

Another personal highlight for me was the ability of Cikalo and I to surprise guests with an ambush by floating back and forth to our respective areas when the need arose. In one instance a pair of male guests attempted to backtrack into the harvest room when they failed to find the hidden door inside the dead end hallway, but this was something Scarecrow and Gerkins would simply not permit.

There were some hiccups of course — we had to scramble to find a doorman, pace and communication was a work in progress and a few minor details were lost in the shuffle but the driving vibe was one of fun and fright and folks left with smiles on their faces.

Thanks are due to Stefani who whipped up some seriously spooky heads, my sister-in-law Madison (not to be confused with my other sister-in-law of the same name who’s previously been mentioned in Horrorlust) who dutifully controlled traffic flow. Thanks also to The Disco Devil, John, for all of his help during the construction of The CikNis. Many thanks to our cast Jason and Richard and Brian too, who not only acted in the haunt but also contributed several key props. And of course, thanks to Cikalo and Ashley who hosted the party and finally a token of gratitude to everyone who entered and survived The CikNis.

Horrorlust Radio Episode #003

Posted in Horrorlust Radio with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2014 by bluefall8

Wrestler, home haunter and haunted attraction enthusiast Mike Marvel serves as co-host for episode #003 of Horrorlust Radio.

In the third episode of Horrorlust Radio, Mike and I discuss the tradition of home haunting in all its various forms and then dig into the pros and cons of multi-attraction venues.

This episode also features the second installment of Lost to Time, a segment that highlights haunts now departed; you’ll also hear the birth of a new segment, Hosts & Hotties where we pay respect to icons of the industry from horror hosts to scream queens and everybody in between. The luscious Elvira, Mistress of the Dark is our inaugural honoree.

Mike and I also banter about the quality of haunted attractions during the month of September and even delve briefly into the crossover elements of professional wrestling and the haunted attraction industry.

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 003

SHOW NOTES

Mike Marvel isn’t just a wrestler, home haunter and haunted attraction enthusiast, he’s also the man behind the scenes at Michigan Haunt Central on Facebook.

Brandywine Cemetery, the prominent home haunt cited during this episode, is located at 2727 Brandywine St. Ann Arbor, MI. 48104. Brandywine Cemetery will be open Thursday, October 30 and Friday, October 31 in 2014. For more information visit their website here: Brandywine Cemetery

I’ve included a scan of The Lab’s 2009 ad from the Fear Finder. My scanner isn’t quite large enough to capture the entire ad but you can enjoy 95% of this colorful, eye-catching advertisement.

Fear Finder, 2009

Fear Finder, 2009

And for those of you who live under a rock, here’s a picture of the gorgeous Elvira, the first honoree in Hosts & Hotties.

She puts the lust in Horrorlust.

She puts the lust in Horrorlust.

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

1. “This is Halloween” by Danny Elfman (The Nightmare Before Christmas, 1993)

2. The Return of the Living Dead  Theatrical Trailer, 1985

3. “Living Walls” by Midnight Syndicate (The 13th Hour, 2005)

4. Trash from The Return of the Living Dead, 1985

5. “Born of the Night” by Midnight Syndicate (Born of the Night, 1998)

Where the Veil Ends: A Walk in Both Worlds

Posted in CikNis with tags , , , , , on September 20, 2014 by bluefall8

I once half-jokingly suggested to my wife that I didn’t just visit haunted attractions for fun — my nocturnal adventures to all things spooky was, as I told her, research. A lot of truth is said in jest and the truth is that a haunted attraction is something I’ve dreamt about building since I was a boy. My brother and I used to construct crude dummies to sit on our porch and on a few occasions we even talked our sisters into helping us build a miniature haunted house in the basement of our childhood home.

In June , a close friend approached me about doing something different for a Halloween party and by the end of the night we’d drawn up plans to build a haunted house inside of his garage — alcohol might’ve been involved. But it was a solid design that utilized nearly every square inch of space and we decided to go ahead with the idea and I’ve been excited ever since.

We began the build two weeks ago today and have thus far been pleasantly surprised with our progress and the lack of any major issues. I plan to chronicle much of our progress on Horrorlust leading up to the party and then of course share my thoughts on the impending results. There’s so much to consider when laying the framework for a haunted attraction but it’s been fun work. The structure is in place and painted; this weekend we’ll focus on the installation of lighting, sound and even a video element. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to construct a show that will leave our guests feeling just as I have on so many of those October excursions.

Prepare to witness The CikNis.