Archive for river rouge

Templin’s Night Terror & Nautical Nightmare’s Vanishing Act

Posted in 2008, Hallowblog, Review, Wyandotte Jaycees with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 30, 2014 by bluefall8

This edition of Hallowblog Flashback details a 2008 visit to the Wyandotte Jaycees’ Templin’s Night Terror. It was our first indication that the quality of haunted attraction from the community group could vary wildly.

Also in this post is an account of our failed attempt to locate the Nautical Nightmare. It’s worth mentioning that I had the opportunity to speak to folks involved with the restoration of the Ste. Claire at the 2013 Wyandotte Street Art Fair. During that conversation one of the members revealed that the group was aiming for a 2014 return date for the haunted attraction, but alas, 2014 is here and I have heard not a peep.

This entry was originally written on Saturday, October 18, 2008.

Last Saturday Jason, Disco, and I visited Templin’s Night Terror this season’s haunted effort by the Wyandotte Jaycees, the same group that delivered the sleeper hit of last season under the moniker Hell’s Hospital. Last year the Wyandotte Jaycees had both an old house and a vacated mechanic’s garage to work with but the condemned house has since been torn down. Due to this the haunt is notably shorter but that in itself does not negatively impact the haunt. However, the overall effort did pale to last year’s show, coming up short in several crucial areas. First I’d like to focus on what Templin’s Night Terror does right.

This haunted attraction has a very cool theme (the name says it all) and succeeds in the traditional sense of a haunt by incorporating a healthy mix of darkened hallways and rooms. Templin’s Night Terror also avoids the pitfall of structural familiarity which plagues many haunted attractions. Two elements truly stood out here, the first was a room approximately halfway through the haunt decorated in the fashion of nightmare nursery. Rows of clothes hang from the ceiling, brushing against guest’s heads and faces, distorting their view. Meanwhile a pair of creeps skulk about the room harassing haunt goers in this creepiest of settings. The second high water mark occurred just prior to the end of the haunt when a vampiric ghoul leapt eight feet from the top of a wall to the concrete floor before our feet and then expertly crawled backward into the darkness as a strobe light staggered his movement. Visually, it was a neat sequence of events; you won’t find live actors leaping such distances at very many haunts. After rounding a corner the leaper as we came to call him gave me a legitimate scare when he suddenly appeared next to me. His face was illuminated in a dim blue light as he snarled in anger. I’m not an easy one to catch off of guard so TNT deserves points for that. Sadly, the rest of the haunt was distinctly without rhythm.

Upon entering the haunt guests walk toward a trio of doors displaying psychotic clowns. As haunt goers attempt to navigate the correct path a pair of clowns appear and proceed to engage each other, more so than the guests, in an overly jocular and inane line of conversation. I’m confident that this is not their typical routine but their inability to intelligently interact with guests while in character was disappointing. It was an omen I suppose as the majority of actors inside Templin’s Night Terror were simple poor, their timing and delivery were amongst the worst I’ve witnessed and that was particularly disappointing because small, old school productions rely heavily on the performance of its actors. It was through individual creativeness that Hell’s Hospital became last year’s much talk about dark horse. The actors seemed to be caught off guard, simply meandering about one room when we entered and then acting as if we should still be surprised. It was like watching Batista reset a series of moves after a blown spot; it’s just not exciting when you know what’s coming.

We could also hear a lot of the workers talking to each other as we made our way through the haunt and that is something that immediately turns me off. I can’t suspend disbelief when you’re telling me where you’re located. The actors however can’t be blamed for this, the haunt was oddly quiet and the implementation of a sound system would have done wonders to cover the noise of idle chatter.

At the end of the haunt a girl whispers a warning about “the white rabbit” and if history serves as any guide I’m sure Jason was fighting the urge to test his theory originally postulated last year during a visit to The Haunting in Adrian. Upon exit haunt goers are chased by a chainsaw wielding rabbit which I thought was a nice touch.

Templin’s Night Terror was disappointing especially when contrasted against Hell’s Hospital of last year but TNT has potential and with a few simple corrections the Wyandotte Jaycees should enjoy another successful year of haunting.

Rating: 3 stars

After leaving Templin’s Night Terror we were off to find the Nautical Nightmare which exploded onto our haunt radar during the 2005 season. I first learned of the Nautical Nightmare’s return to Michigan when I found a Myspace page for the haunted attraction in August. The page listed the haunt as being in the Detroit area and when I read an online article a few weeks later placing the NN at Heart Plaza the excitement grew over this rarest of haunts. We grew weary though as the Myspace page remained unaccessed since August 14th. Furthermore the company responsible for this year’s show, BodyBag Entertainment, provided no information on their website. Nor had the Nautical Nightmare appeared in any local haunt publications, we were suspicious but hopeful.

Jason insisted that we take Jefferson through River Rouge and then the shanty town of Del Ray which makes River Rouge look pleasant. Jason claimed that the route would add atmosphere to our trip and while it did generate a few notable comments John and I seemed to agree that the only thing this path did was raise our chances of being beaten and mugged.

We survived the trek and arrived at Hart Plaza only to find sleeping bums and the Detroit Princess (the boat that’s always on CW 50). After some brief tomfoolery near the fountain in Hart Plaza and aimless wandering we returned to the car and then decided to head to the park where the Nautical Nightmare was held in 2005. Back in Rouge we found the park vacant as our hopes of finding the magical boat diminished. The old Boblo boat was becoming a true ghost ship but I was determined to unravel the mystery.

During the ensuing days I searched the web for answers but the Nautical Nightmare’s Myspace page and BodyBag Entertainment’s website still contained no new information which I found particularly unprofessional and lame. I next visited bobloboat.com and found the following passage:

“I want to thank all the people who came out so far this year to help with the demolition. I originally wanted to do a haunt this year on the Ste. Claire, however, the demolition took longer than expected. I therefore decided to continue demolition throughout the entire 2008 season and get the ship ready for winter.”

This was posted by a Mr. Ron Kattoo who I can only assume is the owner of the Ste. Claire. I can’t say for sure but from the information I’ve gathered it seems he pulled the plug on the water bound haunt in mid-August which must have irritated and frustrated BodyBag Entertainment so close to the Halloween season.

“It smells as if everyone in the town gathered in an open field, bent over, and spread their ass cheeks in unison.”

-Yours truly commenting on the foul smell permeating Del Ray

“At least we won’t be attacked by mutants crawling out of open sewers.”

-Jason, detailing the relative safety of Detroit compared to the industrial wasteland of Del Ray

Advertisements

Fear is Here

Posted in Hallowblog with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 19, 2014 by bluefall8

This is something of a follow-up to the previous Hallowblog entry and was originally written Saturday, September 20, 2008. In this one I wrote about finding the 2008 Fear Finder and kicked around possible haunt visits.

After several dreams about the seasonal rag I do indeed now possess the 2008 Fear Finder. Last weekend Jason called me and proceeded to taunt me with the news that Disco had procured a Fear Finder from a small restaurant in Monroe. I frantically searched my usual online haunts for any information that would confirm such news and each came back without fruit. Zioptis had not a post about the Fear Finder’s release; furthermore FearFinder.com itself had yet to be updated. Next I called local carriers to check if their supply had yet arrived but again I was left at a dead end without the coveted Fear Finder. I wanted to believe that Jason and John were full of shit but their voices held no syllable of deceit and alas I was left with no alternative than to accept the truth.

While at work on Tuesday I began talking about haunted houses with my co-worker and he also mentioned that he had already obtained a Fear Finder, I was beginning to feel insulted. We happened to be parked directly across from a CVS and, now on a mission, I marched right over and there it was…I eagerly snatched up a copy and felt both excited and relieved. And now that it’s here we shall get down to some fine haunting business.

First I need to amend a few of my previous statements from an earlier edition of Hallowblog, it seems some of the information I obtained last month was incorrect. I cited a freep.com article that listed prices at a few haunts, one of those was Erebus which the article claimed would charge guests a $19 admission, the actual price as listed in the Fear Finder is $20. The same article also incorrectly stated that the Realm of Darkness would charge haunters $18 for admission when in fact the price will be $20.

Jason, Disco, and I have selected the Homer Mill as our first haunt of the season. Like last year we decided to kick the season off with a haunt none of us has previously visited. The Homer Mill is located in the village of Homer and will take us roughly two hours to reach. It’s a long drive but we’re hoping it’s worth it. We’re also interested in the bar/restaurant connected to the haunt which, according to Zioptis, exudes a Halloween-like atmosphere.

We have a lot of haunts in mind that we’d like to visit but as of now the rest of the haunt season schedule has yet to be determined. It’s probably a safe bet that a trip to Erebus and the Realm of Darkness will manifest in fact Jason and Disco should note that the infamous B. Mo has expressed interest in joining us on such a trip. We’ll also surely make a return to the much ballyhooed Nautical Nightmare which has returned to the Detroit area for the 2008 season. In 2005 we were so impressed with the Nautical Nightmare that it was without a doubt the haunt of the year and in my mind it ranks as one of the very best haunting experiences I’ve ever had. It was so original, the ambience so eerily natural, that I don’t hesitate when I say that this endeavor was as memorable as my first trip to Erebus or our visit to the Realm of Darkness last year. If you’re a casual haunter be sure that the Nautical Nightmare is on your short list. The recent history of the boat suggests that it may not be in the area next year; the owners of the boat didn’t originally buy it to make a haunted attraction out of it so you never know when they might decide to stop.

A number of haunts open this weekend but the vast majority will hold their premiere opening next weekend. My fellow haunters should keep up to date with Hallowblog posts as I’ll post important information which will help us craft our haunting schedule as we go forward.

On a final note I found it to be extremely disappointing that the Scream Machine hiked their admission from $12 to $15! I enjoy the Scream Machine but let’s face the facts, aside from the introduction of the Hellevator TSM has been putting on a very similar show year after year. Unless they’ve made some significant additions then the price jump is quite unwarranted. Nor does TSM plan to offer a special preview weekend as they did last year. Last year haunters could visit TSM on the last weekend in September or November 1-4 and pay just $10 for both attractions, the second attraction being of course the 3D exhibit The Carnevil of Lost Souls. These moves are distinctly lame.

Halloween Companion Number 2

Posted in Hallowblog with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2014 by bluefall8

This would be the final entry of the 2006 Halloween season; as with the first Halloween Companion, it too highlighted a film and monster. I also waxed nostalgic with a timeline of Halloween past. This was originally posted on Thursday, October 26, 2006. 

Last week I went on at length about zombies, most of you will find comfort in the fact that I do not plan for the second entry of the Halloween Companion Series to be nearly as long. I will feature another Halloween ghoulie and another recommended flick but I also have something else. When I first conceived the idea of a companion blog to the Halloween themed Word of the Week I mentioned that such a blog would include recollections of Halloween past; tonight I plan to deliver.

Before I get to any of that however I have a small note worth mentioning. Stating the obvious here, I’m a huge fan of haunted attractions and before the season is up I plan to share this year’s experiences with you fine folks. With that in mind I’d love to hear about any haunted attraction stories you might have. Alright then let’s get to it, shall we?

I’ll begin with the recommended film which was added to the Halloween lexicon not so long ago. The film became one of my favorites when I first viewed it at the age of eleven or twelve. I speak of the stop motion animated gem that is Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. I was intrigued by the dark imagery and the notion that a town’s sole purpose was to celebrate Halloween. It was a fun story with catchy, darkly humorous songs. Over the years I have caught myself either singing the tunes of Halloween Town or putting my own nonsensical lyrics to the same beat. The fat kid in the striped shirt never ceases to amuse me; fat little, weird lookin’, bastard. Bottom line: a fun, modern day Halloween classic in my book, should be watched by any and all Halloween or stop motion animation enthusiasts.

See that wasn’t so bad was it? Not nearly the length of my Night of the Living Dead tribute, was it? But now we need ourselves a creature, which to choose? I could go with one of the classics, a witch, werewolf, or vampire? A mummy perhaps? Or will it be a goblin, demon, ghost, or mad scientist? No, I think I’ll choose something to satisfy my carnivalesque urges. Yeah that’s right, I have carnivalesque urges. Therefore the featured monster is a clown. No, not those happy, juggling, dumb sons of bitches; I’m talking about those evil, demented, bloody knife wielding freak shows. You know the ones, when you see them you involuntarily shit your pants. The bulging, crazed eyes, shockingly bright, wild hair, and a grin so wide it can’t possibly mean anything aside from sinister intentions. Any clown is creepy but evil clowns can peer into a soul and devour it from the inside. Despite all of this inherent depravity I applaud them for the twisted element of fear they’ve brought to Halloween. Anyone interested in getting familiar with these strange creatures can read Stephen King’s It and watch the film based on the book. Such individuals may also be interested in the 1988 cut-rate horror flick, Killer Klowns from Outer Space. The Nickelodeon series Are You Afraid of the Dark featured an episode titled, “The Tale of the Ghastly Grinner” that may also interest said parties. In fact there is a wealth of horror fiction that features murderous clowns; most of it is designed to frighten but some will undoubtedly elicit laughter. As long as you steer clear of the Insane Clown Posse you’ll be alright; if you’re a douche bag you can run right on in.

I was unable to decide on just one Halloween memory so instead of one in-depth recollection I offer in its place several short Halloween snippets.

Halloween 1995: Mike Blackwell and I pounded the streets of Lincoln Park amassing an impressive haul of candy. Our path would lead us to Coney Island on the corner of Dix and London where we would inquire about free Halloween Coney dogs, we received Better Maid original flavor potato chips; what a rip.

Halloween 1997: I was fourteen and it would be the last year I went trick-or-treating. I had moved from Lincoln Park the previous fall but returned for Halloween night with my cousin John. We visited Craig’s house and were promptly informed by Craig that we were too old to be trick-or-treating; he reluctantly gave us some candy. We also stopped by Mike Blackwell’s house; I hadn’t talked to him very often since I moved. Mike gave us some sort of liquid stink bomb which John would later throw at a house on Pagel Street.

Halloween 1998: An eccentric 15-year-old dressed up like a devil and performed disco dance steps while passing out candy from the newly moved into Applewood house. The legendary Disco Devil may have been born but this was otherwise an uneventful and disappointing Halloween. To add insult to injury the Wings were thoroughly beaten by the Stars.

Halloween 1999: One of the all-time memorable Halloween nights. Whatever was lacking a year prior was made up for ten fold on this bizarre, fun-filled evening. On this night a bright 16-year-old with a penchant for mischief led a rag-tag team of vandals into his old stomping grounds. Trick-or-treating was shelved in favor of the more attractive trick-or-thieving. It was a night filled with theft, vandalism, and laughter. Rachel, John, Luke, Stu, and JVD, you’ll all be joining me in Hell.

Halloween 2000: Arguably worse than ’98, utterly boring. I spent the evening with the girlfriend at the time passing out candy and regretting that I wasn’t out doing something fun with my friends. The night was saved when our gang of usual suspects joined forces with another unit of wayward bandits and together TP’ed the Jefferson administration building.

Halloween 2002: The second time around at the Applewood house fared much better. My hair was jaggedly spiked in all directions and shaded a healthy blue. I dressed as a zombie and frightened kids by acting like a dummy inside of a casket. Halloween music blared from within the house as a strobe light haunted the atmosphere and a fog machine sent intermittent spurts of mystery into the night. My brother and his girlfriend were among my guests as well as good ole Barry Dotson and the one and only Devil Douche, Branden Morrison. Jason’s girlfriend had also brought some semi-skanky friend of hers who, despite our endless harassment, refused to lick Branden’s swollen nipple commonly referred to as Swowwen Nippo. Following trick-or-treating we hit the Scream Machine haunted attraction at Heritage Park, a well rounded Halloween.

Halloween 2005: The holiday itself was lackluster as I was stuck working the calendar kiosk at the Southland Mall. I was however permitted to dress up and pass out candy as the mall participated in some such thing; I made the best of it. The season overall was pretty good. My brother, Disco, and I hit two solid haunted attractions: The Chop Shop in Grosse Ile and the Nautical Nightmare located in River Rouge. Both featured a number of memorable moments but perhaps the best came from the Chop Shop. We made our way down a dark hallway when a voice began to call out, “I hope you’re hungry!” We turned a corner and entered a small room; the walls were splattered with blood. Against the far wall a guy was hunched over a toilet with his face buried inside when he raised his head he was eating ferociously. He offered us some and when we declined he pulled a bloody tampon out of the toilet, began licking it and proclaimed, “This, your old ladies.” Damn, how we laughed.

I’ll be back again with a special entry on Halloween night. Until then.

Horrorlust Haunt Awards: A History

Posted in Awards with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2014 by bluefall8

The haunt awards, like Horrorlust itself, are the result of an evolution. The 2013 crop will be the sixth annual edition for most of the awards — Rotten Pumpkin, Eerie Vibrations, Dark Horse, Killer Automatons, Pulse Pounder, and Monster all debuted following the 2008 haunt season. The Prop Master and Samhain Awards were both added at the conclusion of the 2011 season, thus making this the third consecutive year for those respective distinctions.

The oldest award that we recognize is of course, Haunt of the Year. This award predates Horrorlust, indeed Haunt of the Year goes back even further than Hallowblog, the predecessor to this blog. Not long before I began chronicling all of these wonderful haunted adventures my merry band of travelers and I would simply agree upon the best attraction of the Halloween season. And so you’ll notice that in the annals of Horrorlust, that the Haunt of the Year Award is officially recognized as having originated in 2005.

As an interesting aside, it’s worth noting that these awards were initially called the Haunt Trinity Haunt Awards. If you delve into the depths of past Horrorlust posts you’re sure to come across such a phrase. The Haunt Trinity was a nickname I fashioned once a upon a time for a frequent trio of haunters. The group was comprised of myself, Jason (my older brother), and our good friend John who is sometimes referred to in these posts as the Disco Devil or simply, Disco.

I used to get a kick out of the name; I even spun spur of the moment rhymes about it and haunted attractions but mostly I think it merely served to annoy everybody else. After a time, it was rarely just the three of us participating in the beloved haunt excursions; a half a dozen or more friends and acquaintances regularly rotated in and out on any given night. My brother began to joke that the nickname Haunt Trinity was a misnomer.

A couple of years ago he found work in a new field and his schedule changed drastically; allowing him to partake in the haunted festivities only a time or two per season. This roughly coincided with the advent of Horrorlust and so it has been since 2011 that the annual awards have shared the namesake of this blog.

Readers, if you need a refresher on any of the awards please refer to the other posts under the “Awards” category, where full descriptions are posted. As a historical footnote, it’s worth mentioning that we began to recognize an honorable mention for each award in 2009 although those are not listed in this post. Interested parties are referred to the aforementioned entries found under the “Awards” category.

Fun Fact: No haunted attraction has ever been named Haunt of the Year on more than one occasion. In fact, there exists just two haunted houses that claimed the same award in multiple years. House of the Dead (Terror Town) won the Killer Automatons Award four consecutive years from 2009-2012. Deadly Intentions secured the Monster Award in back-to-back years during the 2008 and 2009 haunt seasons.

 

Rotten Pumpkin

2008: Templin’s Night Terror (Wyandotte Jaycees)

2009: Jackson’s Underworld

2010: Leo’s House of Horror

2011: Anxiety Alley

2012: Scream Machine

 

Eerie Vibrations

2008: Homer Mill

2009: Bowbee’s Nightmare (Haunted Hollows)

2010: The Haunted Farm

2011: Catacombs & The Rusthole (Darksyde Acres)

2012: Bloodview

 

Dark Horse

2008: Realm of Haunted Minds

2009: Extreme Scream

2010: Woods of Darkness

2011: Krazy Hilda’s Barn of Doom

2012: Dimensions of Darkness

 

Killer Automatons

2008: Erebus

2009: House of the Dead (Terror Town)

2010: House of the Dead (Terror Town)

2011: House of the Dead (Terror Town)

2012: House of the Dead (Terror Town)

 

Pulse Pounder

2008: County Morgue (Chainsaw Creek)

2009: Bowbee’s Nightmare (Haunted Hollows)

2010: Demonic Demons

2011: Catacombs & The Rusthole (Darksyde Acres)

2012: Slaughter House (Slaughter House Adventure)

 

Monster

2008: Deadly Intentions

2009: Deadly Intentions

2010: Realm of Darkness

2011: Catacombs & The Rusthole (Darksyde Acres)

2012: Sinister

 

Prop Master

2011: Tent of Terror (The Boneyard)

2012: Barn of Horrors (Erwin Orchards)

 

Samhain

2011: October 14, 2011 (Krazy Hilda’s, Chelsea Feargrounds, The Boneyard)

2012: October 12, 2012 (Erwin Orchards, Slaughter House Adventure, A Nightmare on Elm Road)

 

Haunt of the Year

2005: Nautical Nightmare

2006: Erebus

2007: Realm of Darkness

2008: House of the Dead (Terror Town)

2009: Bowbee’s Nightmare (Haunted Hollows)

2010: Demonic Demons

2011: Catacombs & The Rusthole (Darksyde Acres)

2012: Sinister