Archive for jackson’s underworld

Weird October

Posted in Preludes and Nocturnes with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 3, 2016 by bluefall8

It’s been several years since I visited so few haunted attractions during the month of October. The season started normal enough on Saturday, October 1 with a trio of stops at Shawhaven Haunted Farm, Awaken and Jackson’s Underworld. A pair of weeknight outings organized by the Michigan Haunters Association then brought me to Rotten Manor on Tuesday, October 11 and then Clio Manor and Exit 13 the following night.

Due to my budding love affair with SIN, an already streamlined haunt schedule was blown to bits by the second week of October. A return to the beloved Bloodview was dashed along with would-be maiden voyages to Haunted Elementary and Bates Haunted Saw Mill. Psycho Path was shutdown by the City of Flat Rock over safety concerns and was relegated to hosting a hayride — that put a serious damper on a night that included other nearby haunts, Woods of Darkness and Hush.

But perhaps it was all written in the stars, 2016 was a season of change. I found a second family at SIN and while I’m disappointed I didn’t get to visit a bunch of new and exciting places this fall, I don’t regret my decision to commit to SIN. It was a blast and I’ll cherish the memories.

The lack of trips did leave me hankering for some post Halloween fun and lo and behold an opportunity presented itself. Tomorrow night we’ll drive to Cincinnati for an overnight trip headlined by The Dent Schoolhouse where a most intriguing and timely event is set to take place — Lights Out: Clown Edition. If time permits we’ll then make a break for Middletown, home to Nightmare Manor and Land of Illusion Haunted Scream Park.

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Thunder & Lightning

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on October 2, 2016 by bluefall8

The weather did make for some challenging driving conditions last night, furthermore Shawhaven was forced to close Wagons of Fear and Dead Maze, but all things considered it was still a worthwhile night of haunting that began in Mason and ended in Jackson. Samara’s Boarding House at Shawhaven and Jackson’s Underworld were both enjoyable in their own right but it would be Awaken that captured my imagination and stole the night!

Samara’s Boarding House featured several captivating scenes inside of a curious series of buildings, my personal favorite was an intimate movie theater and a mirrored hall trimmed with red lasers. Awaken, the brand new haunted attraction in Leslie, Michigan, impressed us with a large cast and immersive scenes that included an ominous funeral parlor and riveting carnival! Jackson’s Underworld had excellent presence and scenery although most of the actors were pedestrian at best. The new secondary attraction, Psycho Vision 3D, featured awesome artwork and other visual splendor.

Thanks to Tammy at Shawhaven and the tandem of Rob and Brian at Awaken for being gracious hosts and all-around fun people to talk haunts with. Full reviews of each attraction will be posted soon.

Turn the Page, It’s October!

Posted in Preludes and Nocturnes with tags , , , , , , , on October 1, 2016 by bluefall8

The open road beckons as we commence the 2016 haunt season. If all goes according to plan and the weather is cooperative, we’ll visit three of Michigan’s scariest places for a total of six attractions.

First, we burn rubber to Mason, Michigan which is home to Shawhaven Haunted Farm. A trip here has eluded us in seasons past and I’m pleased to finally have it penciled in with priority. Shawhaven offers three haunted attractions — Dead Maze, Wagons of Fear and the headliner, Samara’s Boarding House. If time does us any favors we might just check out one of the Escape Rooms too!

Once finished there, we make the short drive to Leslie, Michigan where we will experience a tantalizing new haunted house called, Awaken. The website for Awaken is full of content and I appreciate the effort that has been made on social media to promote the attraction. The theme has remained something of a mystery to me — disparate photos on Facebook have revealed a funeral service, barbershop and the possible presence of a circus. Yeah, I’m sold. I can’t wait to see how it all blends together.

Our last stop of the night will bring us back to Jackson’s Underworld which we have visited twice previously, first in 2009 and again in 2013, each trip yielded very different results. I’ve heard nothing but great reviews since our last stop three years ago and now there’s also a second attraction entitled, Psycho Vision 3D!

I fully anticipate a highly satisfying night of haunting!

JACKSON’S UNDERWORLD: A RETROSPECTIVE

Disappointment Ravages Opening Night (2009)

Jackson’s Underworld Rising? (2013)

2016 Haunt Schedule: End of the Line

Posted in Haunt Schedule with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2016 by bluefall8

It’s been a number of years since I approached the haunt season armed with the knowledge that I’d be visiting less haunted attractions than the previous year, but such is the case in 2016. I’m at peace with that. The decision to tour less haunted attractions in 2016 was made for two reasons — the most prominent being my involvement with the Wyandotte Jaycees Haunted House, SIN. The other reason for the reduction is simply that I’ve been fortunate to visit so many haunted houses over the last decade; the State of Michigan is running low on spooky places I haven’t witnessed.

Another change this year is that I’ve ranked the nights below in order of importance. In an effort to tour new attractions I’ve prioritized those trips. There are of course other factors as well such as proximity to other haunts and that is reflected as well. The haunt season does of course offer surprises every season and for that reason the list below, although ranked in order of importance, does not necessarily represent a chronological order of events. Nor is this list meant to suggest that I’ll manage to get to each of these places. I’ve done this long enough to know that each Halloween season is a unique, wild creature.

THE HAUNTED OPEN ROAD

Night #1 – Jackson’s Underworld (Jackson), Awaken (Leslie) & Shawhaven Haunted Farm (Mason)

Notes: Shawhaven Haunted Farm has been on my radar for the last couple of seasons but the clock has always seemed run out on the season before a trip could manifest. It’s an hour and a half from my home but when Awaken recently opened in nearby Leslie, I knew it was finally time to make Shawhaven a priority. Then I realized that our route would take us right by Jackson’s Underworld, a haunt we haven’t visited since 2013. This was a harmonic convergence of direction and distance as each haunt is roughly 15 – 20 minutes apart from the last.

Night #2 – Bloodview (Broadview Heights, OH.) & Carnival of Horrors (Cuyahoga Falls, OH.)

Notes: An every other year pattern is emerging with Bloodview; frequent readers may remember that Bloodview is staffed by The Legion of Terror an improvisational group that showcases a new theme every weekend. We witnessed Zombie Apocalypse in 2012 and Witch Trials in 2014. This year I want to experience the Sinister Sideshow which will be held the weekend of October 7 – 9. Carnival of Horrors is located in Cuyahoga Falls, roughly 30 minutes from Bloodview in Broadview Heights. The distance itself isn’t prohibitive but the Carnival of Horrors does host four attractions and that could prove problematic if lines are long. Luckily, this region of Ohio boasts a number of haunted attractions that can serve as an alternate if need be.

Night #3 – Haunted Elementary (Bridgeport) & Bates Haunted Saw Mill (Millington)

Notes: Haunted Elementary is now enveloped by the Bridgeport Goregrounds and features three haunts including FrightSite (a 3D attraction) and Outbreak (an interactive zombie event). It definitely has the feel of a small Michigan haunt on the upswing. Bates Haunted Saw Mill offers two attractions and touts itself as being “old school creepy.” I do love me some old school. Bridgeport and Millington are just shy of 30 minutes apart although the drive from home will eclipse the 1 hour and 45 minute mark, a pair of new locations that collectively house five attractions seems worth the gamble.

Night #4 – Woods of Darkness (South Rockwood), Psycho Path (Flat Rock) & Hush (Westland)

Notes: Admittedly, these are all attractions I’ve toured before but my last trip through Wood of Darkness came during the 2011 season. Furthermore, the haunted house has been run by an entirely different team the last several seasons which could produce a significantly different experience than when last I came knocking. There was some fear that Psycho Path would cease operations after a crucial member of the team departed during the off-season but that concern was recently laid to rest when I received confirmation that the little gem would indeed be operational in 2016 with a Medieval theme. We have visited Hush three straight years, but off-season circumstances there facilitated a total rebuild that produced an intriguing New Orleans-themed attraction. The other prime factor with this night is the proximity to home which provides a lot of flexibility where dates and times are concerned.

Night #5 – Bonadeo Farms (Highland Township) & Rotten Manor (Holly)

Notes: Rotten Manor was named the 2015 Horrorlust Haunt of the Year and new for 2016 are Rotten Forest and Clown Barn. That’s plenty of intrigue to be sure but in a year with limited dates and an emphasis on new locations, I’m not sure that the haunted corn maze and haunted house at the somewhat obscure Bonadeo Farms is enough of a lure for this night. This has the feel of a wild card so I’ll leave it to the haunt fates.

Night #6 – Panic at Pinestump Hollow (St. Clair) & The Deadland (Warren)

Notes: Panic at Pinestump Hollow is similar to Shawhaven Haunted Farm in that it’s a place with more than one attraction that I’ve desired to visit for a few years now and have failed to get there. So why is it so far down on this list? Well, we’ve already visited everything else within shouting distance. We crossed off Blake’s and Slaughtered at Sundown in 2013, checked off The Fear Factory last year and toured Haunted Farm of Terror twice. We did visit Scarefest Scream Park in 2012 and only toured two of the four attractions so I suppose that might be an option as well. Had Salem’s Haunted Barn in Capac been operational this year, that pair would’ve moved this outing up two to three places on this list. I had also heard that the House of Fear in Hazel Park was going to reopen this year but the website for that haunt has out of date information. For all of those reasons I’ve paired it with The Deadland which provided a solid opening night show last year.

Night #7 – The Haunted Hydro (Fremont, OH.)

Notes: I last toured The Haunted Hydro six years ago in 2010. I love the place, it has atmosphere in spades. It has stood for 27 years, is operated by passionate professionals and is a true child of Halloween. But since the closure of Terror Town last year I’ve been unable to find anything to pair with The Haunted Hydro. It’s roughly an hour and half from my area and that’s something to consider for just one location; even one as excellent as The Haunted Hydro. I’m open to suggestions should anyone know of another haunt around the Fremont region.

OTHER HAUNTS OF INTEREST: THE TWISTED SIX

Corpse Barn Shock Haunt – Made a good first impression in 2014 and I have a feeling the gang here is capable of even better. It’ll be an ideal substitute should one of the haunts fall through on Night #1. Plus it’s a barn haunt. I love barn haunts.

The Dent Schoolhouse – Been pining to visit for a good five years now, would require an overnight trip. On the plus side, the Cincinnati region has several other haunted attractions that would compliment The Dent Schoolhouse quite nicely. I’m so very tempted to move this one onto the main list.

Darksyde Acres – Toured this unique locale from 2011 – 2014; one year layoff has me itching to get back. One of those post-Halloween 18+ Nights would work perfectly for me but a glance at the calendar suggests that isn’t likely this season.

Dreadlands Haunt of Davison – Research Labs was without question one of the most unusual haunted attractions I’ve ever toured and last year the operators even did a glow stick event which is hard for me to even comprehend at this haunt. I’d love to experience that myself but the routes outlined above make it unlikely.

Haunting in the Hills – A new haunt located in Onsted with three attractions, the most interesting of which is called Train Car of Terror. It’s kind of in no man’s land but might be worth checking out if something funky happens to the schedule and I suddenly have a free day. In fact, it wouldn’t pair up badly with Corpse Barn Shock Haunt or Darksyde Acres.

Slaughter House – Last visited in 2013, nobody mixes humor and illusion like Slaughter House. I liked what I read last year regarding several scene updates and a Purge theme for 2016 should keep things interesting. It could be paired with Trail of Terror at Bestmaze Corn Maze in Williamston or possibly something from Night #1 if the schedule goes wonky.

Pins & Needles

Posted in Preludes and Nocturnes with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 19, 2015 by bluefall8

I’m putting the finishing touches on plans for the night, we’ll either be heading west to tour The Boneyard and Jackson’s Underworld or shooting north in hopes of visiting The Deadland, Fear Factory and Haunted Farm of Terror.

Our one and only trip to The Boneyard in Stockbridge came during the 2011 season which proved to be an enjoyable night. Twice we’ve toured Jackson’s Underworld, we were disappointed with what we experienced in 2009 but then noted a considerable improvement during our most recent visit in 2013.

We’ve also toured The Deadland just once and that too was during the 2011 season. Despite the fact that it has been in operation for twenty years, this would mark our first journey to The Fear Factory in Mt. Clemens. And of course, how could I forget our excellent Devil’s Night adventure at Haunted Farm of Terror from 2009?

The decision will be made very soon and the open road will be ours. In the mean time, I encourage curious readers to experience all of the journeys mentioned above through the magic of Horrorlust reviews. Use the drop-down window on the right hand side of the screen to search by haunted house or year.

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.

Disappointment Ravages Opening Night

Posted in 2009, Hallowblog, Homer Mill, Jackson's Underworld, Review with tags , , , , , , on December 3, 2014 by bluefall8

This entry was originally posted Wednesday, September 30, 2009 and is the infamous chronicle of our highly disappointing journey to Jackson’s Underworld and subpar return to the Homer Mill.

I hadn’t slept much on the day in question and did experience a memorable hallucination as we drove home that night; as we approached an underpass on the expressway I witnessed a thick, hairy spider, much larger than our car, clinging to the underbelly of the bridge. It began to move slowly as we approached, flexing it’s legs as if to crawl topside.

I had the presence of mind to realize that it was merely a figment of my imagination caused by sleep deprivation but it was horrifying just the same; the thought of it gives me goosebumps to this day.

What was supposed to be an electric start to the 2009 haunt season was quite possibly the biggest disappointment in Haunt Trinity history. After making the one hour and twenty minute drive to Jackson we made a quick stop at Luke’s new apartment and then with Luke and Heather in tow we drove the short distance to Jackson’s Underworld.

The building was imposing; I had the distinct feeling that it used to be a school although nothing would ever confirm my suspicions. After purchasing our tickets (tickets we were charged $5 too much for, more on this later) we proceeded to the entrance of the haunt and divided into two groups. Luke, Heather, and John entered first. Jason, Richard, and I followed several minutes later after receiving instructions from a condemned animatronic freak featuring an amusing extend-o-neck in the fashion of Inspector Gadget.

Unfortunately it was all down hill from there. I wouldn’t say Jackson’s Underworld blew its load early; it simply had no load to give. Everything started off okay I suppose, a very creepy zombie couple waltzed as we entered one room, a two-faced corpse lurched from a casket in another but ten minutes into the haunt we had yet to come across a single live actor. The worn school house hallways would have been conducive to some quality scares but not a creep lurked and soon the eerily quaint setting gave way to black hallway after black hallway. Let me be clear, this was not an attempt at an old school haunt; in fact the hallways were only semi-dark. At times these halls meandered so long without anything happening that the whole experience took on the feel of a maze, a maze without the enjoyment of a challenge that is. This cycle of sterile boredom would become a theme throughout the haunt as a series of hallways gave way to an uninspired scene which would trail off into another series of hallways.

There was a decent sheet room and a dizzying vortex that threw me strangely off kilter for some time but it was painfully obvious at the half way point that this place just didn’t have it. We had caught up to Luke, Heather, and John by this point and it became clear that we were resigned to make our own fun. I turned my attention to scaring Heather as a collective sense of tomfoolery took hold of the group. Shortly, we came upon a “womb of doom” and Luke joined the prestigious ranks of those who have likened the experience to that of birth. We were coming to the end now and while I kept hoping to find some redeeming feature no such thing would manifest.

We did witness some first rate animatronics but nothing seemed to be integrated very well and it was all stuff we’d quite literally witnessed before at the Homer Mill. There were a few actors of note but they were only noteworthy due to their inability to produce a scare. I was amused by a child ghoulie who stood behind a set of bars wielding a knife. He seemed hungry so I extended my index finger and wiggled it near the bars as to solicit a chomp but the diminutive monster ignored the tasty morsel and instead slipped through the bars and once among us seemed merely bemused and bewildered. A short while later we came upon a gutted corpse lying on a slab but despite our lengthy provocations (threats that included a right squibbing from the JVD) the actress made no attempt to frighten us. The incident so piqued Jason’s curiosity that he later offered up what I’m sure he felt to be a succinct observation.

The greatest disappointment by an actor however was reserved for what was quite possibly the coolest room in the entire haunt. We entered what looked like a massive boiler room, to the left a man hung above our heads, a sickle stuck through his chest. To the right a body lie in decay, a dark path ran between bulks of machinery and something lurked in the bowels; a big scare was sure to come. A shrouded ghoul stumbled forward slowly and as it approached I wondered aloud what type of creature it could be. It was then that Heather made a remark that did not fully register until we had exited the haunt, as the ghoul grew close I thought to myself, “Surely she didn’t just say that.” The promise of a big scare was quickly evaporated as the rotting cretin turned and skulked away as slowly and silently as it had approached. A collective confusion gripped the room while a part of me wondered if Heather’s comment may have hastened the ghoul’s retreat.

Nobody will accuse Jackson’s Underworld of offering a short attraction but everybody should lament how poorly the space is utilized. The haunt takes approximately thirty minutes to traverse more than half of which is spent walking through scarcely inhabited hallways. The scenes are average at best offering little to no suspense or actor interaction. The few good areas that could have produced solid, creative scares yielded nothing which displays a lack of creativity and caring. Jackson’s Underworld excels in no area of haunting to call the experience mediocre would be a compliment bordering on outright exaggeration; Jason summarized it best by labeling Jackson’s Underworld anemic. An imitation of the Homer Mill would have been preferable to this bastardization.

“I think it’s a half-breed”

-Heather, speculating on the nature of the boiler room ghoul who was ironically portrayed by an actor that very well may have been a “halfie”

“She was probably just pretending to be a prop so that we didn’t have our way with her.”

-Jason, continuing his rich tradition of making compulsive, sexually deviant remarks while haunting

Rating: 2 stars

Luke and Heather headed back to their apartment while the rest of us pushed forward to the Homer Mill. Before we hit the dusty trail a stop at the liquor store was in order as Jason and Disco harbored a desire to get blind drunk which they did with amazing rapidity. Thirty minutes later the impressive structure of the Homer Mill came into view and our night of disappointment would continue.

As with Jackson’s Underworld we were once again charged $20 to enter the attraction despite the fact that both had been advertised as $15 during the month of September. We debated the point with an employee who claimed that the ad in the Fear Finder was a misprint. We paid the admission and proceeded to the entrance of the haunt where we were informed that the third floor of the haunt had been closed for the season. If you’ve never visited the Homer Mill it’s important to understand that the third floor is truly what separates this haunt from all the rest; it’s the reason Homer Mill was such a special experience last year and its removal was tantamount to castration.

Due to the omission of the third floor the haunt was considerably shorter which the operators compensated for with a healthy increase in live actors. The actors were well timed and displayed some heart; fundamentals that are always appreciated by the Haunt Trinity. The animatronics were great once more and a series of statically charged walls zapped our senses in an unexpected and unfamiliar way. There was also a brand new meat cooler featuring a hyped up, chainsaw wielding lunatic who thrilled us with his macabre charisma. Unfortunately a familiar layout sapped some of the punch from the commanding aura of the building.

We emerged from the haunt and were highly disappointed to find the Homer Mill’s unique restaurant closed. We proceeded to the bar where Jason, John, and Richard paid $10.50 for a pitcher of beer. Apparently it was the night of a thousand disappointments. The ridiculous prices and lack of food acted as a stimulus upon our departure. It was a long drive home; one filled with tasteless jokes, sleep deprived hallucinations, and plenty of discussion about the disappointing outing.

Rating: 3 stars