Archive for Ste. Claire

2009 Haunt Season Preview

Posted in Hallowblog with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 12, 2014 by bluefall8

This entry served as the official kickoff to the 2009 haunt season and was originally posted on Friday, September 11, 2009. The song at the top of this entry is called “Bag- O’-Bones” and was included on a Halloween CD called Moans from the Mausoleum.

This entry briefly summarized the 2008 haunt season, but focused mainly on the attractions we were likely to visit in 2009.

As with many of these Hallowblog entries, many of the links that were included at the time no longer function and thus have been deactivated. 

Well I heard about this Monster Mash dance
bunch of creatures flailing around
Well listen up cause now’s your chance
to get spooky and get down

Do the bag o’ bones (bag o’ bones)
do the bag o’ bones (bag o’ bones)
Let the skeleton inside you dance around
Do the bag o’ bones (bag o’ bones)
do the bag o’ bones (bag o’ bones)
Let the skeleton inside you dance around.

Now get up on the bony feet
And give those bony hands a clap
Well then you move those bony knees
And give that funny bone a slap
And that’s the bag o’ bones (bag o’ bones)
That’s the bag o’ bones (bag o’ bones)
Let the skeleton inside you dance around
That’s the bag o’ bones (bag o’ bones)
do the bag o’ bones (bag o’ bones)
Let the skeleton inside you dance around.

I think you really outta be knowin’
wherever you might be a goin’
well there’s a skeleton walkin’ round
they ain’t just buried in the ground
Cause you’re a bag o’ bones (bag o’ bones)
You’re a bag o’ bones (bag o’ bones)
So let the skeleton inside you dance around
Do the bag o’ bones (bag o’ bones)
You’re a bag o’ bones (bag o’ bones)
So let the skeleton inside you dance around.

Whoa, you’re so creepy
I think you’re scaring me a little bit now

I saw the first true signs of fall today; a few leaves had fallen from their summer perch. I knew then that the time was ripe for the first edition of Hallowblog 2009. The 2009 haunt season is nearly here and yet the memories of last year are still so fresh in my mind, it’s hard to believe that the annual celebration of all things frightful and mysterious is so close. Ahhhh, a haunting we shall go indeed but first we have much news to discuss.

The 2008 haunt season was unparalled in scope, in fact the season was such a success it will be the focus of an upcoming edition of Hallowblog. Today however we gather here at this hallowed hearth for a glimpse not into the past, no today we look into the creepy things to come.

My fellow haunters will be excited to know that a majority of haunts have already updated their websites for the coming season one of the noteworthy few that has not is TerrorTown. It is with great anticipation that I await an update from those that provided such a memorable experience last year with The House of the Dead.

Like last year Pigman’s Lair in Chelsea will be dark and it doesn’t seem as if the operators have a definitive plan for the future either. You can amuse yourself with the legend of the Pigman though; I think it’s worth a read anyway.

Legend of the Pigman

While driving on Biddle in Wyandotte last week I made a sad discovery: the building that held 2007’s Hell’s Hospital and 2008’s Templin’s Night Terror has been demolished. I have yet to hear where the Wyandotte Jaycees will hold their attraction this year but you can trust that I’ll keep my eyes and ears open.

I don’t know about anyone else but I still long for a return visit to the Nautical Nightmare. The rug was pulled out from beneath us last year and it just wasn’t right my friends. The Haunt Trinity could have been cannibalized by famished hobos! I’ve emailed somebody involved with the restoration of the Ste. Claire regarding the possible return of the water bound haunt but I have yet to receive a response.

Zioptis will apparently initiate a new rating system for haunts this year. It states on their website that too many people were failing to understand the star system or more specifically for example how a mega-haunt such as Erebus could receive the same rating as a locally produced modular haunt. Well Zioptis clearly states that the ratings are a reflection of how well an individual haunt executes what it sets out to do. They are not meant to serve as a comparison from one attraction to the next. I’m not sure how people fail to understand that, retards. Zioptis also claims that the ratings have inadvertently pitted haunts against each other. The site isn’t exactly clear on what this new system will look like but I can assure you that Hallowblog will continue to grade haunts on the star system. I’ve always enjoyed the information that Zioptis displays and I think the star system is a fine way to rate haunts. If Zioptis is guilty of anything it’s granting far too many 5 star ratings. Too often the site fails to give in-depth details of any haunt and has a tendency to give glowing reviews to mediocre attractions.

The Fear Finder may be released as early as next week but realistically I look for it to flood the area the following week. When it does come out I and my fellows haunters will have some tough decisions to make. We visited a lot of great haunts last year but it’ll be near impossible to revisit them all this year if we also plan to hit some new haunts. The 2009 haunt season will have to be the most carefully planned to date if we’re to make this year as successful and entertaining as the last. Let’s take a look at a sampling of possible first time visits then shall we?

The first haunt that jumped out at me this year is The Haunt in Walker. It’s quite a drive from my apartment, clocking in at 2 hours and 45 minutes so that would obviously be a factor but I encourage all fellow haunters to check out each haunt and bring your own opinions to the table.

An Ohio haunt that has hit the Haunt Trinity radar is The Haunted Hydro. This haunt is located in Fremont which is approximately 30 minutes south of TerrorTown in Maumee. This pair of haunts could make for an adventurous night in the Buckeye State.

In Michigan I discovered a brand new haunt in Jackson called Jackson’s Underworld. I first came across this while looking at the Homer Mill’s myspace page, I’m unsure as to whether it’s operated by the same people or if the two haunts have simply formed an alliance. One thing is for certain if the folks at the Homer Mill are either endorsing or producing this new locale it’s worth checking out.

Also in Michigan is Darksyde Acres in Jonesville. Darksyde Acres features a number of attractions and is produced by Bodybag Entertainment, the same company that was supposed to produce the Nautical Nightmare last year. The sheer size of this place and the ambition of those involved makes this location intriguing but last years disappearing act at Hart Plaza, while not totally the fault of Bodybag Entertainment, has left a bad taste in my mouth. For the time being we’ll place this one in the wild card category.

And there’s plenty of potential first time haunts that we simply didn’t make it to last year like Haunted Farm of Terror in Lenox Township and it’s nearby neighbors Slaughtered at Sundown and Blake’s in Armada. There are also dark horse contenders to consider like The Deadland Haunted House in Davison, The Crypt in Burton, or St. Lucifer’s Haunted Asylum in Grand Blanc.

And then the waters really get muddied when you start to consider which of our favorite mainstays will have to sit on the sidelines during the 2009 season. Last year we opted not to visit The Scream Machine in Taylor or The Lab in Grosse Ile but where will the axe fall this year? I’d like to visit The Scream Machine this year although The Lab is up for debate. The Lab is changing things up a bit this year offering guests an opportunity to traverse the haunt in total darkness with nothing to guide your party but a single glow stick. This “Lights Out” feature will run at midnight every Friday and Saturday.

It has been suggested that perhaps we skip Pontiac’s twin terrors this season: Erebus and The Realm of Darkness. These two haunts have served as our biggest night out the last three seasons and excluding them borders on sacrilege…but if we are to maximize both our time and dollar it may have to be a sacrifice we’re willing to make.

One place that I definitely want to return to is Deadly Intentions in Warren. This haunt scorched our frontal lobes last Halloween and the recently released 2009 theme has set my horror juices a’ bubbling: City of the Living Dead. I don’t think I have to say any more than that to those who witnessed this balls out effort last year. Jason and Disco I ask you this, can the dynamics we experienced at this haunt last year coupled with the excitement of an apocalyptic zombie theme result in anything less than an all time classic? This is a dark alchemy not soon to be forgotten.

Nor can we simply forget about Extreme Scream in Taylor or The Realm of Haunted Minds in Romulus both put forth worthy efforts last year and we’d be remiss to dismiss them so easily. And there’s also Chainsaw Creek in Toledo which delighted us last season with a slew of tasteless characters. It also remains to be known whether or not Adrian’s The Haunting deserves a second chance after a relatively disappointing visit in 2007. I would also like to propose a possible visit to Cedar Point HalloWeekends which features two new attractions this year, one of which is called Happy Jack’s Toy Factory. Can you think of a more devilishly fun theme for a haunted attraction than that?! It’ll be like Chucky, Puppetmaster, and Goosebumps all rolled into one!

We have many decisions to make this season my haunt brethren, let us choose wisely.

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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

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.