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Michigan Hidden Gems

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 19, 2015 by bluefall8

Halloween is big business in the Midwest and Michigan is no exception. The Mitten State is home to dozens of haunted attractions that stretch from Metro-Detroit to the edge of Lake Michigan all the way northward to the sparsely populated Upper Peninsula. Indeed, the October scene in Michigan is diverse, far-reaching and is truly a bubbling haven of haunted houses.

As the one-time holder of a Guinness World Record, Erebus has garnered a lot of national attention and is often ranked by numerous industry outlets as the one of America’s top haunted destinations. Wiard’s Night Terrors too has spent time in the limelight, one of Michigan’s oldest haunted attractions it was the subject of a HauntWorld article as recent as 2014 and is synonymous with all things that go bump in the night around these parts.

These highly visible haunts do our state proud, but Michigan is also fortunate to have a collection of volunteer haunts and other small venues that fly under the radar. These locations may not attract much media attention or possess a large advertising budget but what they lack in grandeur is compensated in heart, creativity and a certain charm.

Tonight, on Horrorlust, we explore the hidden gems of the Michigan haunt game.

A Nightmare on Elm Road – 2020 Elm Rd. Webberville, MI. 48892

A little advertised, smallish haunt situated on the edge of the woods. The low budget decor has just the right amount of grime and is complimented with old school fundamentals. A mixture of indoor and outdoor scenes will keep scare-seekers on their toes.

2012 Review: Elements Conspire but Erwin, Slaughter House Persevere (Beneath “Young Upstart Has Potential, Needs Improvement” Headline)

Krazy Hilda’s – 10340 Ford Rd. Ypsilanti, MI. 48198

Now at Panana Hills Farm, the old witch refuses to be forgotten after nearly two decades of brewing up scares. The Trail of Terrors is an atmospheric forest walk that will delight children and adults of all ages. The team is passionate, precise and can deliver a laugh alongside a scare.

2011 Review: Thrills & Chills Dominate Hilda’s, Feargrounds & The Boneyard!

2012 Review: Krazy Hilda’s Unleashes Spooks on Campground

2015 Review: Krazy Hilda’s Trail of Terrors Casts A Spell

The Psycho Path – 23984 Gibraltar Rd. Flat Rock, MI. 48134

A volunteer effort that has survived for more than twenty seasons, The Psycho Path is a testament to what can be achieved through hard work and creativity. The show is re-themed each year and suffers no shortage of live actors. In a throwback to every child’s nightmare fantasy the haunt is concealed by a patch of woods behind a church.

2014 Review: Psycho Path Sleeper Cell

Realm of Haunted Minds – 18910 Merriman Rd. Romulus, MI. 48174

Just one of the various activities at the quaint Huron Turkey Farm, Realm of Haunted Minds has been chugging along relatively unnoticed for quite some time. The country store where tickets are purchased has an excellent collection of horror movie icons in statue form and the outdoor area features an impressive array of miniature playscapes that lead to the haunted house. Realm of Haunted Minds itself is a blend of the old and new and will result in a fair amount of fun.

2008 Review: Realm of Haunted Minds & The Extreme Scream

2011 Review: Realm of Haunted Minds & Funeral Home a fitting pair for Windswept Outing

2013 Review: Elements & Ambiance Rule Realm of Haunted Minds

St. Charles Village of the Living Dead – 400 E. Water St. St. Charles, MI. 48655

An actor-driven, not-for-profit haunt that has extracted screams for 30 years. Dense fog and strobe lights combine for masterful distraction and disorientation techniques which are underscored with tactile sensations and challenging, claustrophobic sequences.

2013 Review: Village of the Living Dead Preys upon Victims with Classic Scares

Did I miss anything? Do you know of a hidden gem in Michigan? Leave it in the comments below and we shall discuss.

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Casual Haunter’s Guide

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2014 by bluefall8

Haunted attractions come in all shapes, sizes and styles and it can be difficult to decide which establishment is worthy of your hard-earned dollars and if you’ve procrastinated until the very night of Samhain itself then you are indeed in need of help.

My band of merry haunters and I have traveled to many lands over the last decade in search of fun and fright, and have on this Halloween prepared for you a list of our most favorite locations which we’re sure will delight and excite.

In no particular order…

Erebus, Pontiac, MI. – It may not be the darling of hardcore haunters but let there be no doubt that Erebus has stood the test of time and has never failed to deliver the goods. The army of animatronics and actor-controlled puppets featured at Erebus is unrivaled by anything in the Metro-Detroit area. Anybody who enjoys haunted attractions should tour Erebus at least once.

Terror Town, Maumee, OH. – House of the Dead can rival Erebus for mechanized monstrosities per square foot and features a number of special effects witnessed at precious few locations. The static props found throughout the bowels of House of the Dead are among the most frightening and lifelike on the market.

Exit 13, Mt. Morris, MI. – One of the most in-your-face, physical casts a haunted house can legally spawn. Quality design, near perfect pace and a blend of laughs and scares alike.

Hush, Westland, MI. – A young haunt with a lot of guts highlighted by some seriously killer scenes and top notch acting.

Bloodview, Broadview Heights, OH. – Staffed by the best troupe of actors a haunted house could possibly want; a group known as the Legion of Terror. The show is re-themed each weekend, the main building has one of the best designs we’ve ever witnessed.

Darksyde Acres, Jonesville, MI. – You never quite know what you’re going to encounter at Darksyde Acres. Come for the scares, stay for the vivacious haunt hotties.

Haunted Hydro, Fremont, OH. – Crazy Bob Turner is a class act of the industry and a true artisan of his craft, the old hydro dam is an excellent structure for a haunted attraction and the location exudes the very spirit of Halloween.

Slaughterhouse Adventure, Fowlerville, MI. – Most effective mix of story, illusion and comedy. Slaugherhouse features three attractions including a haunted barn, haunted corn maze and haunted hayride. Do yourself a favor and spring for the combo package.

Haunted Farm of Terror, Lenox Township, MI. – We’ve only visited The Haunted Farm of Terror once (2009) but to this day we have yet to witness a more electrifying and unique haunted hayride.

Other notable Michigan locations include St. Lucifer’s & 13 Feet Under (Grand Blanc), Wiard’s Night Terrors (Ypsilanti) Village of the Living Dead (St. Charles), The Realm of Darkness (Pontiac) and Dark Legacy (Wixom).

I encourage you to poke around Horrorlust for past reviews (use the drop-down window on the right hand side of the homepage) on all of these attractions and furthermore I welcome any feedback you may have regarding your own experiences.

Happy Haunting.

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)

The Gates of Purgatory will be Sealed in 2014

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , on September 4, 2014 by bluefall8

I spoke with Keri Kazz recently and he regretfully informed me that Purgatory’s Revenge will not be open for business this fall. He and his team had originally planned to open the gates to Purgatory once more but other commitments forced his hand. Keri is also a magician and it just so happens that he is currently on tour with The Danger Circus.

In 2013, Purgatory’s Revenge, along with Blake’s and Slaughtered at Sundown, won the Horrorlust Samhain Award which recognizes the most enjoyable night of haunting in a given season. Purgatory’s Revenge was also named the honorable mention to the Pulse Pounder Award which was ultimately given to St. Charles Village of the Living Dead. The Pulse Pounder Award recognizes the most intense or frightening haunted attraction of the season.

Although Purgatory’s Revenge will be missed during the 2014 haunt season, Keri did assure me that the haunt will return in 2015 at a new location with an all new show. For more details on The Danger Circus check out the troupe’s Facebook page.

And of course you can read the 2013 review of Purgatory’s Revenge right here: Bound in Purgatory

Or read a full list of 2013 award winners here: 2013 Horrorlust Haunt Awards

Haunting By Numbers: 2013 Haunt Season

Posted in Haunting By Numbers with tags , , , , , , on May 2, 2014 by bluefall8

Spring is upon us which means we have officially passed the half way point to Halloween; the countdown is on! With that in mind, let us pause and reflect on the notable numbers from the 2013 haunt season.

23: Total number of haunted attractions we visited last fall at 17 separate locations; this total ties our personal record first set in 2011.

7: Moonlit nights spent pounding the pavement en route to all breeds of haunted attraction.

6: New locations that offered up fresh haunting fun.

8: Counties we visited in our quest to tour Michigan’s best spooky places. We made stops in Genesee, Hillsdale, Jackson, Livingston, Macomb, Oakland, Saginaw, and of course, Wayne.

13: As in September 13th — our first night out of the season and now the earliest we’ve begun a haunt season, edging out our 2012 visit to Scarefest Screampark which took place on September 15, 2012.

858: Total number of miles spent on Michigan’s roadways seeking out that next haunt fix.

120: Number of miles traveled (one way) to the furthest haunt of the year; an honor that belongs to St. Charles’ Village of the Living Dead.

7: Consecutive years that we have visited the haunted offerings of the Wyandotte Jaycees.

3.39: Average overall star rating of haunted attractions in 2013.

2013 Horrorlust Haunt Awards

Posted in Awards with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 29, 2014 by bluefall8

The 2013 field was full of worthy nominees and after much consideration, I’m prepared to unveil the 2013 Horrorlust Haunt Awards.

2013 Horrorlust Haunt Awards Banner

Rotten Pumpkin – The Rotten Pumpkin award is given to the haunt considered to be the most disappointing of the season. Disappointment may be the result of an over hyped marketing campaign or the failure of the haunt to live up to expectations set forth in previous seasons. Whatever the case may be let there be no doubt that the haunt receiving this unwanted distinction truly dropped the ball, failing to provide a worthwhile show.

2013 Rotten Pumpkin: Scream Machine

Dishonorable Mention: 3-Story Haunted Barn (Blake’s)

The Scream Machine is now the first attraction to earn this undesired distinction twice; in consecutive years no less. It pains me to say that this selection was a no-brainer. The Scream Machine didn’t merely slip this year, instead the once respected haunt nosedived into an ugly downward spiral. The cast was unprofessional, listless and undoubtedly one of the very worst we’ve encountered. The design of the haunt was uninteresting, repetitive, and creatively bankrupt.

 

Eerie Vibrations – The Eerie Vibrations award is given to the haunt considered to exude the best overall atmosphere. Atmosphere is defined by the mood of the haunt itself but can also be fostered by immediate grounds or even the surrounding area.

2013 Eerie Vibrations: Village of the Living Dead

Honorable Mention: Terrorfied Forest (Terrorfied Forest & Manor)

Village of the Living Dead seemed to pulse with a special kind of energy from the moment we crossed the threshold of the haunt. The mixture of dense fog, orchestral music and subterranean passages produced a surreal, claustrophobic adrenaline rush.

 

Dark Horse – The Dark Horse award is given to the haunt considered to have the most potential for growth. Criteria for this award include the ability to deliver an entertaining show at a relatively small venue and at a reduced rate. Think of the Dark Horse award as the Horrorlust’s way of recognizing the little haunt that could.

2013 Dark Horse: Bloodbath on Biddle

Honorable Mention: Realm of Haunted Minds

The Wyandotte Jaycees took full advantage of the old City Hall building and in doing so, provided  guests with a lengthy trip through two levels of haunted rooms and corridors. Bloodbath on Biddle featured creative room design and a slew of warm bodies, actors who proved more capable than in previous seasons. Time and money are luxuries that Jaycees groups simply do not have to waste, the folks at Bloodbath on Biddle deserve a lot of credit for managing their resources wisely.

 

Killer Automatons – The Killer Automatons award is given to the haunt that best integrates animatronics into its attraction. When determining this award several factors are considered including timing, prop placement, realism, and sheer wow effect.

2013 Killer Automatons: Erebus

Honorable Mention: Jackson’s Underworld

House of the Dead’s four year stranglehold on this award has finally been broken as the old king returns to the throne. This is the second Killer Automatons Award for Erebus; the first came in 2008.

 

Monster – The Monster award is given to the haunt considered to have the best live actors of the season. In order to claim this award workers must display a certain level of intensity as well as a refusal to break character. Also crucial is the ability to improvise lines or actions when adapting to an individual guest or group.

2013 Monster: Sinister

Honorable Mention: Exit 13

This award proved to be the most difficult selection of the 2013 season as there were several deserving candidates. In the end however it was the unrelenting, improvisational impresarios of Sinister who grabbed the award for a second consecutive year.

 

Prop Master – The Prop Master award is given to the haunt considered to have best implemented props into the attraction. A prop may be considered a piece of furniture, a weapon, or a dummy. The haunt that claims this award will have paid special attention to placement, function, and realism.

2013 Prop Master: Hillside Mortuary (Terrorfied Forest & Manor)

Honorable Mention: Slaughter House (Slaughter House Adventure)

Hillside Mortuary earned this award in 2013 by offering haunters a trek through fully furnished rooms, complete with eerily posed mannequins. The motionless spooks were ominously frozen throughout the attraction, seemingly captured in moments of life that will live forever. The creepiest of the bunch stood expressionless next to an open casket — I got the chills just thinking about it.

 

Pulse Pounder – The Pulse Pounder award is given to the haunt considered to be the most intense attraction of the season. Intensity can be gauged by a number of factors including commitment of actors, gory or realistic scenes, and harsh or loud music and sound effects. However, the most important element when considering this award is genuine fear factor.

2013 Pulse Pounder: Village of the Living Dead

Honorable Mention: Purgatory’s Revenge

Reminiscent at times of our 2010 trip to Demonic Demons in Detroit, Village of the Living Dead toyed with the senses in various ways. Haunters were forced to crawl, climb, and grope their way through blinding fog and strobe effects. The overall effect produced a major spike in our heart rates.

 

Samhain – This award recognizes the most enjoyable night of haunting in a given season. A plethora of factors are considered when deciding this award but at the end of the season it comes down to the night of haunting that provided us with the most scares, laughs, and memories.

2013 Samhain: October 25, 2013 (Purgatory’s Revenge, Blake’s & Slaughtered at Sundown)

Honorable Mention: November 1, 2013 (Exit 13 & Village of the Living Dead)

We enjoyed a long night of haunting on October 25, when we managed to visit three attractions for the first time. Purgatory’s Revenge was a very good first time effort while the Nighttime Spooky Hayride at Blake’s was a feast for the eyes; meanwhile Slaughtered at Sundown offered classic fundamentals and engrossing scenes.

 

Haunt of the Year – The Haunt of Year award is given to the haunt considered to be the best overall attraction of the season. When deciding on this award several factors are taken into consideration including the timing and intensity of actors, the pace and length of the haunt, attention to detail, use of special effects, realism of props, and most importantly the lasting imprint left on guests.

2013 Haunt of the Year: Hush

Honorable Mention: Erebus

Quite simply, we were highly impressed with the overall effort from the rookie, Hush. The clever theme was leveraged well by Dr. Phineas Phun who highlighted an excellent cast that was full of energy. The scenes and scares varied in type and intensity and that approach produced a common thread of fun and fright that prevailed throughout Hush. It was a welcome surprise in 2013 that left us yearning for more and reminded us once again why we cherish this rite of passage each October.

2013 Horrorlust Haunt Award Nominations

Posted in Awards with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2014 by bluefall8

As the Transworld Halloween & Attractions Show rolls on in St. Louis; the time as come to recognize the best haunted offerings of the 2013 season. We here at Horrorlust present nine dreadful categories , the original seven include: Monster, Killer Automatons, Eerie Vibrations, Pulse Pounder, Dark Horse, Rotten Pumpkin and finally, Haunt of the Year. In 2011 we added the Prop Master and Samhain Awards.

Below are descriptions for each category accompanied by this years’ nominees. All cities listed in parenthesis are located in the State of Michigan unless otherwise noted.

Rotten Pumpkin – The Rotten Pumpkin award is given to the haunt considered to be the most disappointing of the season. Disappointment may be the result of an over hyped marketing campaign or the failure of the haunt to live up to expectations set forth in previous seasons. Whatever the case may be let there be no doubt that the haunt receiving this unwanted distinction truly dropped the ball, failing to provide a worthwhile show.

2013 Rotten Pumpkin Nominees: 

3-Story Haunted Barn (Blake’s – Armada)

Realm of Darkness (Pontiac)

Scream Machine (Taylor)

Eerie Vibrations – The Eerie Vibrations award is given to the haunt considered to exude the best overall atmosphere. Atmosphere is defined by the mood of the haunt itself but can also be fostered by immediate grounds or even the surrounding area.

2013 Eerie Vibrations Nominees:

Exit 13 (Mt. Morris)

Terrorfied Forest (Terrorfied Forest & Manor – Pinckney)

Village of the Living Dead (St. Charles)

Dark Horse – The Dark Horse award is given to the haunt considered to have the most potential for growth. Criteria for this award include the ability to deliver an entertaining show at a relatively small venue and at a reduced rate. Think of the Dark Horse award as our way of recognizing the little haunt that could.

2013 Dark Horse Nominees:

Bloodbath on Biddle (Wyandotte)

Hillside Mortuary (Terrorfied Forest & Manor – Pinckney)

Realm of Haunted Minds (Romulus)

Killer Automatons – The Killer Automatons award is given to the haunt that best integrates animatronics into its attraction. When determining this award several factors are considered including timing, prop placement, realism, and sheer wow effect.

2013 Killer Automatons Nominees:

Erebus (Pontiac)

Jackson’s Underworld (Jackson)

Realm of Darkness (Pontiac)

Monster – The Monster award is given to the haunt considered to have the best live actors of the season. In order to claim this award workers must display a certain level of intensity as well as a refusal to break character. Also crucial is the ability to improvise lines or actions when adapting to an individual guest or group.

2013 Monster Nominees:

Exit 13 (Mt. Morris)

Hush (Westland)

Sinister (Utica)

Prop Master – The Prop Master award is given to the haunt considered to have best implemented props into the attraction. A prop may be considered a piece of furniture, a weapon, or a dummy. The haunt that claims this award will have paid special attention to placement, function, and realism.

2013 Prop Master Nominees:

Bloodbath on Biddle (Wyandotte)

Slaughter House (Slaughter House Adventure – Fowlerville)

Hillside Mortuary (Terrorfied Forest & Manor – Pinckney)

Pulse Pounder – The Pulse Pounder award is given to the haunt considered to be the most intense attraction of the season. Intensity can be gauged by a number of factors including commitment of actors, gory or realistic scenes, and harsh or loud music and sound effects. However, the most important element when considering this award is genuine fear factor.

2013 Pulse Pounder Nominees:

Exit 13 (Mt. Morris)

Purgatory’s Revenge (New Haven)

Village of the Living Dead (St. Charles)

Samhain – This award recognizes the most enjoyable night of haunting in a given season. A plethora of factors are considered when deciding this award but at the end of the season it comes down to the night of haunting that provided us with the most scares, laughs, and memories.

2013 Samhain Nominees:

October 25, 2013 (Blake’s, Purgatory’s Revenge, Slaughtered at Sundown)

October 30, 2013 (Bloodbath on Biddle, Hush, Scream Machine)

November 1, 2013 (Exit 13 & Village of the Living Dead)

Haunt of the Year – The Haunt of Year award is given to the haunt considered to be the best overall attraction of the season. When deciding on this award several factors are taken into consideration including the timing and intensity of actors, the pace and length of the haunt, attention to detail, use of special effects, realism of props, and most importantly the lasting imprint left on guests.

2013 Haunt of the Year Nominees:

Erebus (Pontiac)

Hush (Westland)

Village of the Living Dead (St. Charles)

For awards from 2010-2012 consult the “Awards” category listed in the sidebar to the right. A comprehensive list of past winners will be posted mid-week with the 2013 winners being released one week from today.