Archive for terrorfied forest and manor

Horrorlust Radio Episode #014

Posted in Horrorlust Radio with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 30, 2015 by bluefall8

horrorlust radio

In this installment of Horrorlust Radio, I present thoughts and reactions following the second outing of the haunt season. Enjoy interviews and snippets from Krazy Hilda’s Trail of Terrors and Terrorfied Forest and Manor. In addition, get familiar with the dark history of the Haunted Farm of Terror as told by the mysterious Larry. Finally, find out which haunted attractions will be opening their doors for the first time of the season this weekend.

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 014

SHOW NOTES

Thank you to our latest sponsor, Corpse Barn Shock Haunt!

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I wonder if my wife will let me dress our 8-month old son as a little Ghoulie for Halloween? Yes, toilet and all.

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The songs and audio clips featured in this episode are listed below in chronological order:

“House of the Rising Sun” by Lauren O’Connell (Covers, 2012)

Ghoulies Theatrical Trailer, 1985

“Horny in a Hearse” by The Nekromantix (Life Is a Grave and I Dig It, 2007)

Ghoulies in the Pond from Ghoulies, 1985

“Who Killed the Cheerleader” by The Nekromantix (Return of the Loving Dead, 2002)

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Moonlight Delight at Krazy Hilda’s, Terrorfied Forest & Manor

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2015 by bluefall8

The veteran cast of fellow haunters were all busy with work or prior engagements last night, so I went to the bullpen and invited my friend Mark to experience a night of haunting. It always does my heart good to convert mere mortals into haunters and I think that may be the process currently taking place with my Mark. He hadn’t visited a haunted attraction in years but with some prodding I convinced him last winter to accompany me on a trip through 50 Shades of Phun, the Valentine’s Day event held at Hush in Westland.

Since then, Mark and I have had numerous conversations about haunted attractions and so it was with great interest that we set off into a majestic September night to experience Krazy Hilda’s Trail of Terrors and Terrorfied Forest and Manor. One could not have asked for a more ideal night to stroll through the haunted trails located in Ypsilanti and Pickney, respectively.

Krazy Hilda’s once again showcased how the passion of dedicated volunteers can capture the whimsical magic of the Halloween season. Here we were enchanted by a devilish brew of excellent jump scares, quintessential scenery and a cast of scareactors who know how to have fun. The witch and her brood have faced adversity many times throughout their two-decade run but old Hilda always seems to spur her undead army ever forward. Now at the ideally located Panama Hills Farm, Krazy Hilda is primed to stir her cauldron into the future.

It was an interesting ride to Terrorfied Forest and Manor, but wrong turns and missed road signs only make life on the open haunted road that much more intriguing. After a few course corrections we arrived to find Terrorfied Forest and Manor bathed in the hue of silver moonlight. Bubbles’ Funhouse had the charm of a fun narrative working in it’s favor as well as a handful of neat design features, perhaps most notably was the slide that took us into the basement. The haunted trail radiated ambiance and offered patrons some serious bang-for-the-buck with more than a half-hour of woodland scenes and shrieks.

We are much obliged to Nicole at Krazy Hilda’s and Dean from Terrorfied Forest and Manor for not only being such affable hosts but also for providing such excellent interviews to be featured in Horrorlust Radio. Thank you also to the respective cast and crew of Krazy Hilda’s and Terrorfied Forest and Manor for providing us with our latest treasured memories.

Call of the Witch

Posted in Preludes and Nocturnes with tags , , , on September 26, 2015 by bluefall8

The schedule shifts and slides, ebbs and flows but so it goes in the month of September. I did have a pleasant conversation with the head witch out at Krazy Hilda’s and it would seem that the old girl is craving some souls for the keeping. We had memorable visits to Krazy Hilda’s in 2011 and 2012 when the witch had set up shop in Saline and Chelsea respectively. This time around Krazy Hilda and her minions of the night have taken up in Ypsilanti and I have no doubt the gang will leave us spellbound once more.

Past Reviews on Krazy Hilda’s

Thrills & Chills Dominate Hilda’s, Feargrounds and The Boneyard! (2011)

Krazy Hilda’s Unleashes Spooks on Campgrounds (2012)

Only one question remains — what other attraction shall we hit tonight? The field has been narrowed to just two — either the brand new, two-story Abandon in Melvindale or Terrorfied Forest and Manor in Pinckney. Both are tantalizing in their own right but the edge may go to Terrorfied Forest and Manor because earlier today I learned that the Manor has been themed as a funhouse — Bubbles’ Funhouse to be precise! It would seem that Bubbles was long ago abandoned by his traveling carnival and I just can’t see how I can pass that up!

Past Review on Terrorfied Forest and Manor

Mixed Results at Terrorfied Forest and Manor

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.

Terror Tracker Scares Up Ads

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 16, 2013 by bluefall8

I mentioned previously in my review of the Wyandotte Jaycees’ Bloodbath on Biddle that while there I happened upon a haunted house publication called Terror Tracker. It’s published by Your Hometown Shopper and as Jon Dehring told me that night, the publishers hope to compete with the Haunt Guide and Fear Finder.

My search for additional information on Terror Tracker was fruitless — I have no idea when it was first published or what kind of circulation it has. The 2013 edition does feature four orange slash marks located on the upper right hand corner of the front page, perhaps that indicates that this was the fourth annual installment.

Featured inside it’s pages are the usual heavy hitters who run regularly in the Fear Finder or Haunt Guide such as Blake’s, Night Terrors, and Saint Lucifer’s just to name a few. However what’s more interesting are establishments such as Past Tense After Dark and Erwin Orchards which ran 1/8 and 1/4 page ads in the Fear Finder this season, but landed full page layouts inside Terror Tracker.

Terrorfied Forest & Manor in Pinckney had advertised in the Fear Finder for what seemed to be more than a decade, but disappeared from the its pages this year only to crop up in the Terror Tracker with a 1/2 page ad. Seventeen haunted attractions or events were listed inside Terror Tracker this year, by comparison the Haunt Guide featured the same amount while the Fear Finder advertised 46.

Personally, I welcome the new addition — anything that aids in the continued success of the haunted attraction industry in Michigan is good for all of us who celebrate Halloween around the calendar.

As an aside, I’m still in search of past issues of the Fear Finder pre-2006 — for that matter I’m now interested in obtaining past copies of Terror Tracker as well. I encourage anybody with copies to contact me via the comment section here on Horrorlust or at the following email: joel@bluestarproductions.net

Mixed Results at Terrorfied Forest and Manor

Posted in 2013, Review, Terrorfied Forest & Manor with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 22, 2013 by bluefall8

We arrived in Pinckney with little time to spare; a full moon was suspended high in the sky as the midnight hour approached. The wooded landscape upon which Terrorfied Forest and Manor resides immediately put me in mind of Krazy Hilda’s Camp of no Return last year in Chelsea.

We sought out the ticket booth where the man who sold the tickets directed us to a Chester Van off to the left where the trail to the manor, began. The man seemed to find a certain humor in our upcoming plight, a point that Cikalo deftly countered with his own brand of perverse and salacious wit.

We hit the trail and began the short trek to the entrance of the manor, as it turned out we did not cross paths with the keeper of the van who was perhaps preoccupied at the moment. We didn’t afford him the opportunity to meet our acquaintance either as we shortly came upon the door step and plunged into the manor.

A MOST MACABRE MANOR

As soon as we crossed the threshold of the manor we were assailed by a musty odor, and this was no manufactured scent, this was the genuine article. The structure resembled that of an old house or cabin and we were allowed to roam through the abode quite freely — it put me in mind of both The Funeral Home in Inkster and The Crypt in Burton.

As we entered into a large room, we heard the roll of thunder and witnessed a simple yet effective lightning effect just outside a series of windows to our right. Posed mannequins were spread throughout the house, one dressed as a cop was beside a casket; his face stoic an expressionless. My mind was brought to select scenes from House of Wax (an underrated horror flick in my opinion). I enjoyed this approach and wouldn’t mind if it were used to even greater effect here or at other attractions. It lent a creepy tension to each scene, it was almost as if we had been pulled into an old photograph. Let’s face it, mannequins — like other inanimate human impostors (such as dolls),  possess an evil quality.

Unfortunately their live counterparts didn’t offer much in the way of vocalization or improvisation, much of what we encountered was poorly timed scares and generic threats. It wasn’t an awful cast by any means but the effort was far from inspired.

Business would soon pick up however as we were shuttled down a long slide into the basement of the manor. I’ve always enjoyed features such as this in haunted attractions; slides are just fun and I’ve never quite seen one used to transport guests from one level of a haunt to another, typically a slide will serve merely as an exit.

The ghouls in this area were more energized than their peers on the first floor. First, a long haired nut in a straight-jacket pursued us with gusto and at the finale of the attraction we were treated to an electrocution. The actor in the chair gave a convincing performance and when we inquired about the contents of his drawers (we had to make sure he was dead) the executioner played along and confirmed that the deceased had indeed soiled his undergarments, which he confirmed with a good old fashioned thumbs up.

The Manor had its moments and certainly has potential to be improved, but there was a lot left on the table both in terms of acting and storytelling. In the end it concluded all too briefly.

Rating: 2.75 stars

MIDNIGHT STROLL THROUGH TERRORFIED FOREST

The natural ambience of a forest walk simply cannot be beaten, the path at Terrorfied Forest offered a half hour of scares through hills, valleys, and various outbuildings. The trip began with a descent into a mine which set us on our path to the forest, a string of dim red lights guided us on our journey.

We traversed a parcel of land that resembled a farm and then passed by an eerily placid body of water, the perfect place for a killer scare or monstrous prop and although we witnessed nothing of the nature, it’s just too perfect an opportunity for the operators to pass up in the future. The wooded path did feature a fair mix of live actors and props; some of the props were even animated such as the miniature wolf boy which gave me a quality startle scare.

Like those inside the Manor, many of the actors along the pathway provided sub par performances — the scares weren’t bad but they did lack a certain passion and creativity. This was no more evident than in one outbuilding where the severed body of a girl lie on a table, her captor was armed with a saw. As we entered, the actor buzzed his saw for just a moment and then placed it on the table and silently approached us. I thought perhaps we had caught him a little off guard so I encouraged him to saw her properly. He obliged as any good scare actor should but as the female actress on the table was just about to reach the peak of her scream, the shriek abruptly ended. She turned to us and snottily snapped, “You can go now.” I can scarcely blame the male actor for breaking character at this point as he was perhaps embarrassed by her unwarranted rudeness, but break character he did by asking if there were any groups behind us.

As a customer at a haunted attraction I expect the actors to be just as engaged in the show as I am, sometimes that requires a little improvisation and creativity. These actors weren’t threatened, we used no profane language, we simply engaged them as the characters they were portraying. This was amateur behavior in what was an otherwise professional haunted attraction and it’s precisely this type of behavior that continues to proliferate negative stereotypes about the haunt industry. I know that if I were the owner of a haunted attraction I would not tolerate an employee who displayed such distain toward paying guests.

Fortunately, there did happen to be some worthy characters as well such a muscly clown who blocked our path — his frame and chainsaw made for quite the imposing sight. This same area was also home to a few of his harlequin pals — dummies that held ominous signs which read, “This is the last time you’ll see me” and other similarly strange statements.

I particularly liked the sideshow themed area where it looked as if a carnival of old had once broken down on the side of the road and simply decided to stay. It is here that we met Torso Girl and later passed by a colorful wagon which contained a massive gorilla. As we stared through the protective bars the tune of classic circus music began to play, I hoped that upon its’ conclusion the beast would move to attack but it turned out to be a prop. This area concluded with a similarly themed outbuilding — it had both the feel of a fun house and a big top tent. Inside, a costumed actor ran to and fro erratically, his oversized clown arms swung comically. We exchanged pleasantries and even brokered a handshake.

The Terrorfied Forest ended with a trip through a pitch black maze, one of the best such structures we’ve ever encountered. Despite the various shortcomings here, we found it quite enjoyable. With a couple changes in personnel and the addition of a few prime scares, the Terrorfied Forest will send haunters scattering through the woods.

Rating: 3.25 stars

“I sure hope he has big fingers.”

-Cikalo’s jesting exchange with the ticket seller who warned us of Chester the Molester.

Local Haunts a Welcome Old Hand

Posted in Preludes and Nocturnes with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 18, 2013 by bluefall8

Another beautiful Friday evening in October is soon to descend upon us and the distinct scent of fun and fright is in the air. I do have a prior obligation to attend first, but once that has concluded I’ll don the old hat and set out into the black night. I’ll be staying close to home tonight, hitting some combination of Realm of Haunted Minds in Romulus, The Funeral Home in Inkster, or The Scream Machine at it’s new location in Taylor.

For those keeping count — I have yet to post my reviews from last Friday’s visits to Slaughter House in Fowlerville and Terrorfied Forest and Manor in Pinckey. Patience kiddies, patience. A complete review of Slaughter House will be posted tomorrow; Terrorfied Forest and Manor will follow shorty thereafter.