Archive for lockdown

2014 Wyandotte Jaycees Haunted House Location Revealed

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2014 by bluefall8

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The Wyandotte Jaycees annual haunted house will be located at 4560 Biddle this year. The building was originally constructed in 1970 and in recent years has been run as a bar and restaurant under several names. Each year the Jaycees is able to work with city leaders to obtain a building that is slated for demolition or otherwise vacant for the seasonal haunt. The nexus between the Jaycees and city officials is one that dates back to the late 1970’s which means that Wyandotte boasts one of the oldest haunted attractions in the entire country.

The current location will be a tough sell to the public because it isn’t conveniently located down town as it was last year. No, this year it’s situated near the fringe of the city south of Wyandotte Shores Golf Course just north of Pennsylvania. I hope the location doesn’t negatively impact attendance numbers. I’ll patronize the group as I have each year since 2007 and hope they can build off of the successes from the 2013 effort, Bloodbath on Biddle.

Below, I’ve posted star ratings and other pertinent notes from our trips through the Wyandotte Jaycees Haunted House over the years.

Hell’s Hospital (2007) – 4.5 stars: Held primarily in a mechanic’s garage, but also utilized an old house. Hell’s Hospital executed classic haunt fundamentals and thrilled us in the process.

Templin’s Night Terror (2008) – 3 stars: The old house was gone and the mechanic’s garage was a bit too familiar; one of the fews years the Jaycees utilized the same location consecutively. Templin’s Night Terror was a significant step back from the 2007 effort and would go on to win Horrorlust’s infamous Rotten Pumpkin Award for worst haunted attraction of the season.

Hellblock 13 (2009) – 3.75 stars: Bounced back in a big way with a lengthly trek through the old police station and courthouse; solid jump scares mixed with unsettling imagery.

Massacre Manor (2010) – 2.75 stars: Massacre Manor was held in an old homestead on Biddle which made for an excellent location although the production turned out to be a mild disappointment punctuated by missed opportunities and some amateurish acting.

Lockdown (2011) – 2.25 stars: Housed in a former bar, Lockdown featured a couple of enjoyable scenes but on the whole felt unprofessional and uninspired.

Nightmare Sanctum (2012) – 2.25 stars: Similar to 2007’s Hell’s Hospital, Nightmare Sanctum had the benefit of being held in a mechanic’s garage and a house. It suffered from the usual lows of a Jaycees haunt and can best be described as a mixed bag.

Bloodbath on Biddle (2013) – 3.25 stars: Held at former City Hall, Bloodbath on Biddle was easily the best effort by the Wyandotte Jaycees since Hellblock 13 in 2009. This haunt featured a lot of actors, creativity in design and a few visually impressive scenes. Bloodbath on Biddle went on to win Horrorlust’s 2013 Dark Horse Award.

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2011 Star Ratings

Posted in Star Ratings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 14, 2012 by bluefall8

As my small but faithful group of readers know I write a review for each haunt that I visit during the fall. In addition to that at the end of the review I assign the attraction a 1-5 star rating. It’s just my way of summing up the overall effectiveness/enjoyability of that particular haunted attraction. I take a lot of factors into consideration when I determine the rating things like — actors, theme, props, special effects, originality, and level of excitement — just to name a few but at the end of the night the rating comes down to my raw gut feeling for the overall experience. Below is a complete list of the haunted attractions I visited during the 2011 Halloween season ranked by their corresponding star rating. It’s important to note that the star rating isn’t meant to serve as a way to compare one attraction to another rather it’s a reflection of how well each individual haunt executed what it set out to accomplish.

A quick aside before we get to all those goodies though — once more I’ve had a dream about haunted attractions and the beloved Fear Finder. In this dream I was riding around Lincoln Park in a car with my dad and my two sisters when I suddenly realized that it was Halloween. I began to sweat knowing that I hadn’t yet participated in any seasonal activities and then I reached a full blown panic when it dawned on me that it wasn’t just October 31 but also kids were out trick r’ treating! My sisters were dropped off at a friend’s house or something else similarly boring. I apparently was going to do something with my dad (unrelated to Halloween) and that simply could not stand. My dad tried to calm me down but his words mattered not! How in the blue hell had I forgotten about Halloween?! I opened the door to the car, jumped from the vehicle, and ran into the night in search of Halloween fun.

Next thing I knew I had entered the lobby of a haunt which was strangely situated on the grassy median of what seemed to be Electric Street. I found a stack of Fear Finder and greedily thumbed through one to see what haunts I could possibly hit. I quickly decided their was no time for such planning, I would merely run about feverishly looking for the next available haunt once I’d finished at my current location. On the cover of the Fear Finder was a depiction of a hooded character similar to Ghostface from Scream. The hooded phantom had strings attached to its’ fingers as if it were puppeteering the letters that comprised the phrase ‘Fear Finder’ below. The background of the cover was strikingly designed as stained glass windows; all things considered I think something in this vein would make a pretty damn cool cover for the actual Fear Finder.

Suddenly I was joined by my fellow haunters, John and Jason but before we could enter the attraction I wandered into a bathroom. The walls separating the stalls were comically short and in no way provided a sense of privacy. The stall next to me was completely filthy with feces and toilet paper spilling over the sides of the porcelain throne. I ignored the mess and began to urinate and then I noticed a large window in front of me. I peered out the window and discovered the turret of a castle mere yards from my current position. I took it to be a second haunted attraction and for the first time in this dream I started to feel as if I could salvage the night. I was brought out of my reverie by the arrival of my cohorts and a man I assumed ran the haunted attraction. He made some comment about the filthy stall next to me and then proceeded to jam his hands into the disgusting mess. He yanked a jagged block of ice out of toilet — excrement and used toilet paper jutted out at odd angles. As John and Jason stood by watching the man then acted as if he was going to heave frozen fecal bomb in my direction. After a few moments of  anger and disgust the man relented and began to laugh, turned out that the turdsicle was merely a prank he used to rile up haunters. An odd and tasteless tactic perhaps but now I was excited to see what this haunt had to offer to its customers.

However, as is the case with cool dreams, that’s when I woke up. Does anybody find it strange that as a grown man I’m having a recurring nightmare about missing out on the haunt season? What an awful prospect that would be!

2011 STAR RATINGS

Krazy Hilda’s Barn of Doom – 4.25 (Saline, MI.)

The Catacombs/Rusthole – 4 (Darksyde Acres/Jonesville, MI.)

Chelsea Feargrounds – 4 (Chelsea, MI.)

Tent of Terror – 4 (The Boneyard/Stockbridge, MI.)

13 Feet Under – 4 (Grand Blanc, MI.)

The Haunting – 3.75 (Adrian, MI.)

The Deadland – 3.75 (Warren, MI.)

House of the Dead – 3.75 (Terror Town/Maumee, OH.)

St. Lucifer’s Haunted Asylum – 3.75 (Grand Blanc, MI.)

The Crypt – 3.75 (Burton, MI.)

Realm of Haunted Minds – 3.25 (Romulus, MI.)

The Dark Abyss – 3.25 (Darksyde Acres/Jonesville, MI.)

Scarecrow Hollow – 3 (The Boneyard/Stockbridge, MI.)

Barn of Blood -3 (New Boston, MI.)

Scream Machine – 2.75 (Taylor, MI.)

Deadwood Forest – 2.75 (The Boneyard/Stockbridge, MI.)

Papp Park Trailer – 2.75 (Taylor, MI.)

The Funeral Home – 2.5 (Inkster, MI.)

Woods of Darkness – 2.25 (South Rockwood, MI.)

Lockdown – 2.25 (Wyandotte, MI.)

Papp Park Hayride – 2.25 (Taylor, MI.)

Big Top Terror – 1.5 (Terror Town/Maumee, OH.)

Anxiety Alley – 1 (Lincoln Park, MI.)

Thursday Outing Leaves Something to be Desired

Posted in 2011, Review, The Deadland, Wyandotte Jaycees with tags , , , on October 16, 2011 by bluefall8

What had begun as an overcast October day turned to a dreary, drizzling night. On our schedule was a trio of haunts — Lockdown form the Wyandotte Jaycees, The Deadland in Warren, and the hell spawn of Detroit, Demonic Demons.

Demonic Demons was set to be our last stop of the night but when we arrived it was to find a sad fate. A foreclosure notice hung form the door accompanied by a large lock. Several decorations remained in their place from last year including the signature casket. The scene reminded me of an abandoned amusement park, one part spooky, one part sad. This marks the second consecutive year in which the Haunt of the Year title will be unable to be properly defended. Is the Haunt Trinity’s most cherished award possibly cursed?

The revelation that Demonic Demons was indeed closed for business was highly disappointing but before that discovery was made an evening of haunting was had — time to rewind.

EXPERIENCE THE HORROR OF YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD HAUNT

Jason, John, Cikalo, and I first stopped off at Lockdown where the usual issues that plague many volunteer efforts were out in force. Sound effects or music was scarcely implemented, most of the actors were young, inexperienced, and diminutive — costuming was often scant, a fair number of actors were merely dressed in street clothes. It’s really a shame that the same issues hurt the Jaycees effort year after year because what they do well is very enjoyable. The first room for instance showcased some vintage Jaycees haunting. A pastoral scene is painted on the wall, it looks like the kind of thing you’d find perhaps in a kindergarten classroom or at Sunday school — it’s innocent yet sinister. In front of it hangs a swing, in it sits a child draped in a raincoat, head bowed slowly swaying back and forth. Slowly the head is raised revealing one of those clear theatre masks, a moment later creepy, simpering laughter can be heard.

There were several other enjoyable scenes as well including the PG-13 torture scenes, the toxic wasteland complete with tubes carrying glowing liquid, and the pick-a-door room littered with clowns and jesters. Upon opening one door we found a clown sitting upon a toilet, each time we opened the door he fell victim to violent bouts of defecation — I opened the door no less than three times.

Even so these highlights weren’t quite enough to overcome Lockdown’s shortcomings — subpar interaction and timing on the part of the actors, an uninspired finale featuring a chainsaw wielding harlequin, and a middle of the road approach.

Rating: 2.25 stars

THE DEADLAND ON SOLID FOUNDATION

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t expecting a little something more from The Deadland but I’d be fooling myself not acknowledge the fine start it’s off to at its new location. The adventure begins with a long walk down a fog filled hallway, purple lasers cast an eerie light. Each room is elaborately detailed whether it be a graveyard or hellish kitchen. Many of the props and decorations that help dress each scene are either genuine household items that lend a level of realism to the attraction or gory, detailed dummies which expertly build tension and fear.

The characters at Deadland are intense and loud, possessing above average vocalizations and improvisational skills. My favorites included a psychotic clown who was on a search for victims to stuff in his oven. There was also a somber, middle-aged priest with a voice like a serial killer, and a slim, agile loony who attacked us from above.

The Deadland has promise, it’s clear that there’s dedication and professionalism from top to bottom but a few changes need to be made to truly put this attraction over the top. There were several dead spots (areas where it seemed an actor should’ve been), I’m not sure if this was done by design or the result of being short staffed but it’s one area that can easily be improved upon.

The Deadland is enjoyable as is yet despite the admirable performance of the cast and the elaborate scenes nothing truly grabbed me or commanded my attention. When comparing price to length the attraction could afford to be longer and it would dramatically benefit from a powerful finale. Still, the Deadland has a solid foundation and has the potential to become a fixture in the Detroit haunt scene for years to come.

Rating: 3.75 stars

Haunt Season Set to Explode

Posted in Preludes and Nocturnes with tags , , , , on October 14, 2011 by bluefall8

Last night was yet another fun night of haunting as Jason, John, Cikalo and I hit Lockdown in Wyandotte and The Deadland in Warren, expect full reviews later this weekend. Tonight we embark on a trip to three — count’em three haunted attractions! First up is Krazy Hilda’s Barn of Doom in Saline followed by the enticing Chelsea Feargrounds, we’ll end the night with a visit to The Boneyard in Stockbridge! This should be a good one!

A Glut of Haunts Dot October Waltz

Posted in Haunt Schedule with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2011 by bluefall8

This schedule is not finalized by any means, think of it more as a shifting blueprint of the season. The status of a few prominent haunts remain unknown, most namely Demonic Demons in Detroit and Extreme Scream which ran last year in Waterford. Situations such as this can always alter our haunt destinations as can a slew of other obstacles, but here she is so plan accordingly if you’d like to venture with the Haunt Trinity.

10/7 or 10/8 – The Haunting (Adrian) and Darksyde Acres (Jonesville)

10/13 – The Deadland (Warren), Lockdown (Wyandotte), Demonic Demons (Detroit)

10/14 – Chelsea Feargrounds (Chelsea), Krazy Hilda’s (Saline), The Boneyard (Stockbridge)

10/22 (Overnight Trip) – Dent Schoolhouse (Cincinnati) and Land of Illusion (Middletown) OR 7 Floors of Hell (Berea) and Haunted Schoolhouse and Laboratory (Akron)

10/27 – Combination of Downriver haunts

10/28 or 10/30 – Blake’s (Armada), Erebus (Pontiac)

10/31 – Undetermined

Several of these dates fall on Thursdays and that is because I have made special considerations for some long time haunters. I still plan to hit some haunts on the weekend of those same weeks, any interested haunters are welcome to join me.

New Blood Rising: 2011 Haunt Season

Posted in Haunt Schedule, Preludes and Nocturnes with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 23, 2011 by bluefall8

Well my haunt brothers and sisters, it is that time of year again. The kiddies have gone back to school, the air has adopted a crisper quality, and the leaves will soon burst into full radiance for this wonderful season of magic, fright, and laughter. Here I ponder the memories we’ve made and yearn for those yet to pass as I craft the blueprint for this latest season of screams.

The haunt season will officially kick off tomorrow evening when myself, the Disco Devil, and possibly others pay a visit to the formidable Scream Machine — a perennial stalwart of the Downriver haunt scene located in Taylor, Michigan. And if weather permits we’ll make our way to South Rockwood where we’ll enjoy the dark stylings of the Woods of Darkness. Oh October, how you roll in with such atmosphere and presence. Let us consider then shall we the haunted possibilities for the Haunt Trinity and friends this October 2011.

Jason and Disco have both expressed an interest in another overnight haunting experience. Last year we traveled to Columbus, Ohio where we soaked in the wild and outlandish show at Dead Acres: Haunted Hoochie as well as the farm fresh fear of The Haunted Farm. This year two trips vie for our haunt bucks but only one can be chosen. 7 Floors of Hell near Cleveland and The Haunted Schoolhouse and Laboratory in Akron both have been ranked by various industry publications as top haunts in America. However the Land of Illusion in Middletown, Ohio and the Dent Schoolhouse in Cincinnati have drawn similar praise. It’s hard to say at this time which of these two trips we’ll choose but I can say with confidence that when all is recorded to time it will have been one hell of a journey.

A bit closer to home a litany of first time visits loom on the fog swept horizon. In Chelsea horror has returned to the fairgrounds where Pigman’s Lair once resided. This year it will host a show most promising entitled Chelsea Feargrounds. I’ve thoroughly checked out the website and this one sounds Grade A. Here they have exploding zombie heads that reportedly shower guests with blood and guts, no joke. I’m sold. Not far from here in either direction lies The Boneyard in Stockbridge featuring three tantalizing attractions — Deadwood Forest, Scarecrow Hollow, and Tent of Terror — and in Saline, Krazy Hilda’s Barn of Doom which taunts haunters from the pages of the Fear Finder with the phrase, “Be there if you dare…my pretty.” Oh, how we dare Hilda!

Even closer to home there is of course the latest offering from the Wyandotte Jaycess — Lockdown. This year the community group has secured what looks to be a derelict bar just down the street from our old apartment on Ford Avenue. There’s also 2008 Dark Horse Award Winner Realm of Haunted Minds in Romulus, the temptingly obscure Psycho Path in Flat Rock, and a slew of others including Apple Charlie’s Barn of Blood and the Lincoln Park classic Anxiety Alley.

Rounding out the haunt season will be a mix of fresh locations and old crypts. The Deadland has come to Warren, in Deadly Intentions old stomping grounds to be precise, a great companion it shall make with Demonic Demons in Detroit for a night of hardcore haunting. If that isn’t enough of a treat for you then venture with us on our long awaited return to Adrian’s The Haunting, in addition experience the Haunt Trinity’s first look at Darksyde Acres in Jonesville. Also not to be forgotten is Blake’s in Armada and perhaps a return to the fabled monster in Pontiac known simply as Erebus.

There is no denying that a number of favorites will fall to the wayside this season — Realm of Darkness, Terror Town, and the Haunted Hydro to name a few — but the new blood refuses to be ignored. Stay tuned to Horrorlust for additional information while the season unfolds. As always my fellow haunt fiends, your thoughts and suggestions are encouraged and welcome.