Archive for The Asylum

The Horrorlust Brood

Posted in Horrorlust Radio with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 12, 2015 by bluefall8

The recent cool down in temperatures has come just as the hallowed hearth is lit for the 2015 haunt season. As such, I thought it appropriate to acknowledge all of those who decided to become a sponsor of Horrorlust Radio. I’m very excited for all of the possibilities that the program can bring to the Michigan haunt scene and the podcast, as presented, simply wouldn’t be feasible without the support of sponsors. I offer my sincere thanks to those of you who lent your trust and support; may we create many nightmares together.

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Wiard’s Night Terrors: The name Wiard is synonymous with Halloween in Michigan. Since 1984 the orchard has offered haunted attractions alongside other seasonal fare. Wiard’s boasts four haunted houses, each with its own theme, a haunted hayride and a zombie paintball event known as Splattertown. There’s also Scareyoke, a bakery and creatures who prowl the grounds.Wiard’s Night Terrors is located in Ypsilanti, Michigan and will be open to thrill-seekers September 25th – November 1st. For ticket options and other information please visit their website: Wiard’s Night Terrors

logo-07-02-14-19421Hush: Now in its third season, Hush burst onto the scene in 2013 with unbridled energy and an eye on the future. There is an emphasis on continuity here as the narrative has evolved year to year. If you have any questions about the history of the Hush Corporation, I’m sure that Dr. Phineas Phun, despite his recently deceased status, would be happy answer your inquiries. Hush is located in Westland, Michigan and will operate September 25th – November 1st. For tickets and other information please visit their website: Hush

 

Deadland PicThe Deadland: Inherited a great location when Deadly Intentions closed-up shop following the 2012 haunt season. Located in Warren, Michigan at the County Line Antique Trade Center, The Deadland will offer unlimited trips through the haunted house for just $10 during opening weekend (September 18, 19 & 20). The Deadland will operate September 18th – October 31st. For ticket prices and promotions please visit their website: The Deadland

 

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Slaughtered at Sundown: A staple of the Macomb County haunt scene for more than a decade, Slaughtered at Sundown features both a haunted house and haunted hayride. Located in Armada, Michigan, Slaughtered at Sundown will operate this fall September 25th – October 31st. For more information regarding ticket prices and other promotions please visit their website: Slaughtered at Sundown

 

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Dark Legacy: Burst onto the scene in 2014 with three haunted attractions housed under the same roof — Government Owned Haunt, Kensington Dentention Center and Fang Cemetery. Dark Legacy is located in Wixom, Michigan and will operate September 18th – October 31st this fall. For ticket prices and additional information please visit their website: Dark Legacy

2014 Star Ratings

Posted in Star Ratings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 19, 2015 by bluefall8

This list is not meant to be used to compare one haunted attraction to another. The star system (1 – 5 stars) is merely meant to reflect how well I felt each individual haunt executed their particular show. Haunted attractions are a unique breed of entertainment and the quality of a show can vary from night to night, hour to hour and guest to guest for a great many reasons.

As you’ll notice, haunts are listed below in descending order. Where there are multiple haunts with the same star rating (and that happened often in 2014) those attractions are listed in alphabetically.

Again, this list should not be used to gauge which haunt is better than another. Primarily, I use these lists for archival purposes so that I can have a record of the haunted houses I visited and how those attractions performed in a given year.

2014 STAR RATINGS

1. Centralia County Fair – 4.5 (The Fear Experience – Parma, OH.)

2. Dark Legacy – 4.5 (Wixom, MI.)

3. Exit 13 – 4.5 (Mt. Morris, MI.)

4. Hush – 4.5 (Westland, MI.)

5. Bloodview – 4.25 (Broadview Heights, OH.)

6. Zombie Uprising at Braxton Estate – 4.25 (The Fear Experience – Parma, OH.)

7. 13 Feet Under – 4 (Grand Blanc, MI.)

8. The Asylum – 4 (Wiard’s Night Terrors – Ypsilanti, MI.)

9. Centralia Mental Facility – 4 (The Fear Experience – Parma, OH.)

10. House of Nightmares 3D – 4 (Pontiac, MI.)

11. The Mind Shaft – 4 (Wiard’s Night Terrors – Ypsilanti, MI.)

12. Psycho Path – 4 (Flat Rock, MI.)

13. The Realm of Darkness – 4 (Pontiac, MI.)

14. Alien Caged Clowns – 3.75 (Wiard’s Night Terrors – Ypsilanti, MI.)

15. Corpse Barn Shock Haunt – 3.75 (Napoleon, MI.)

16. Ultimate Haunted Barn – 3.75 (Wiard’s Night Terrors – Ypsilanti, MI.)

17. District 13 – 3.5 (The Fear Experience – Parma, OH.)

18. Hayride of the Lost – 3.5 (Wiard’s Night Terrors – Ypsilanti, MI.)

19. The Crypt – 3.25 (Burton, MI.)

20. St. Lucifer’s Haunted Asylum – 3.25 (Grand Blanc, MI.)

21. The Catacombs & The Rusthole – 3 (Darksyde Acres – Jonesville, MI.)

22. The Dark Abyss – 2.75 (Darksyde Acres – Jonesville, MI.)

23. Fō-bē-ə – 2.75 (Wyandotte, MI.)

24. The Haunted Funeral Home – 1.25 (Inkster, MI.)

Jason’s Curse, Ohio Haunts Highlight Night

Posted in 2009, Hallowblog, Haunted Hydro, Review, Terror Town with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 3, 2015 by bluefall8

In this edition of Hallowblog Flashback, we relive a notable night of haunting in the Buckeye State. Originally posted on Sunday, October 25, 2009 this entry documented a rather interesting and amusing excursion to Terror Town in Maumee and The Haunted Hydro in Fremont.

Terror Town’s House of the Dead would go on to win the 2009 Horrorlust Killer Automatons Award, an award the vaunted haunt would claim four consecutive seasons from 2009-2012. 

To this day my brother, Jason, is still ridiculed for the events of this night and I suspect it ‘ll be some years yet before the rest of us let him live it down.  

Our haunt excursion on Friday the 16th was a memorable experience but perhaps just as memorable as the haunts was the dilemma in which we found ourselves that jeopardized the entire night. Jason, in keeping with his rich tradition of procrastination and tardiness, once again delayed the start of our night. However that would turn out to be the least of his infractions on this night. While driving La Pleasance Road en route to southbound I-75, Jason debated aloud the pros and cons of stopping for gas at the present or putting off the menial task for some time later in the night. Prone as he is to laziness and indifference Jason nonchalantly proclaimed that later suited him just fine.

Twenty minutes later the car began to decelerate and within a minute we were at a crawl and out of gas. I am convinced that the man is cursed. Richard and I decided to jump out and began to push the vehicle while we still had some momentum. So there we were, a couple of jackasses pushing a car down US-25 in Toledo several miles from the nearest gas station. Jason relieved Richard of pushing duties after a quarter mile at which time Richard thought it pertinent to document the proceedings by snapping a few pictures. We’d gone about a half mile when a car pulled up behind us, a bearded man asked if we needed gas; somewhere in the distance I swear I heard a banjo. Thankfully he had a gas can and even more than that nobody was raped or maimed; many thanks to Beardo the Kind. We proceeded to the nearest gas station which likely would have taken well over an hour to reach had it not been for the kind stranger. The night was back on track and Terrortown was in our sights.

Last year Terrortown’s House of the Dead earned the Haunt Trinity’s top honor as Haunt of the Year and so it was with great excitement that we returned to this location. This year the offerings at Terrortown include Toxic Terror in 3D, The Asylum, and of course the incomparable House of the Dead. After purchasing our tickets we headed to the entrance for the 3D attraction. It was evident upon entering the haunt that something was amiss as nothing about it appeared in 3D, in fact the structure was completely dark. We wandered about the maze like interior for a couple of minutes amusing ourselves before making our exit. Given the situation I don’t feel that it would be fair or accurate to rate this particular attraction.

We jumped in line for The Asylum next, held in the same building that housed Slaughterhouse in 2008. Asylum offers haunters a very unique feature at the beginning of the attraction. We entered the lobby and stood before a steel door, in the middle of the door was a window which flickered and revealed its true face as a video screen. A short video began; a woman in a white dress with long, greasy black hair stalked a row of abandoned prison cells. She dragged an ax at her side and her intentions became clear. She battered the window with the ax and the door began to dent as if something would shortly break down the door. We’ve never witnessed an effect quite like this anywhere else. I could only guess at the cost of such a prop. The only downside was the fact that the door was apparently not functional because no actor erupted from the door which would have set the tone nicely.

Asylum wasn’t a lengthy attraction but it accomplished quite well what it set out to do. The haunt was comprised almost entirely of dark, maze like passages which were periodically streaked with the flash of a strobe light. A series of highly creepy full size props ward haunters away from various dead ends and I do mean highly creepy. The props looked identical to the girl from the video, each of them armed with an ax. Due to the realism of the dummies we initially mistook them for live actors but even after concluding that they were props nobody wanted to get too close to these fierce bitches. It turned out that The Asylum was actually light on genuine fleshies which definitely would have helped push this attraction to the next level. Those that were present weren’t bad but they certainly weren’t great either. However, this attraction will without a doubt raise some goose bumps on every visitor, if the props and ghouls don’t do it the cold air certainly will. The building is very cold which is no doubt done on purpose as the operators at Terrortown are known for their penchant to assail the senses in nontraditional ways. It was an effective maneuver, by the time we exited the haunt our hands were like ice; an interesting ripple to a solid dark maze. The haunt concludes with the largest vortex tunnel you’re likely to see anywhere. Last season it stood as a solo attraction titled The Beast but it works much better in a complimentary fashion paired with The Asylum.

Rating: 3 1/4 stars

After staggering out of the vortex we headed to the entrance of the main event, House of the Dead. We must have caught Terrortown on a slow night because there was absolutely no wait for the feature presentation in contrast we waited well over an hour last year to gain entry. We stood in the lobby and were shortly greeted by the same middle aged creep that welcomed us to Dead House last year. He received us warmly and seemed to be genuinely thrilled that we’d come to “play with his children” as he put it. I like this character and I enjoy the demented patriarch shtick he runs, it’s a fun way to start the haunt. We packed into an elevator and descended into the bowels of the rotting estate. I will not mince words, House of the Dead just wasn’t quite the acid trip induced wet dream that we experienced last year, it’s still a fine haunt that much should not be questioned but the wicked juices that fueled last year’s mind fuck have abated a bit. The attraction is notably shorter and the infamous room of killer babies has been omitted which left us particularly disappointed.

Last year one of our few criticisms of this attraction was the lack of live actors, there are many more live actors this year but unfortunately most of them have less personality than most of the animatronics. But oh, how awesome these animatronics are! The first room of the haunt held about five animatronics alone, one man had a stream of blood issuing from his stomach while another struggled futilely against the restraints that held him aloft. We were attacked by an alligator and witnessed the aftermath of a gruesome slaughter of a unicorn by a pack of burly wolves.

One of my favorite scenes involved a prop I’ve come to call the Goliath Man, a massive crucified ghoul who lunges at haunters from his post. We came upon a hallway which had a long mirror on the wall to the left, a mixture of eeriness and vanity drew our gaze and then Goliath Man struck from the other side when a partition dropped out of the wall. Pay attention folks because this is a great blend of an old school technique (misdirection) and modern technology. Another great scene involving a member of Terrortown’s automated army came in the form of a feasting alien devouring the half eaten carcass of a young girl, classy.

Another aspect of House of the Dead that scores well with the Haunt Trinity is the attraction’s attention to detail. The operators play up the House angle well sending guests through a series of narrow passages and rooms designed to look just like somebody’s home, a deranged nutter’s home yes, but a home nonetheless. The hallways are decorated with freakish family portraits and the various rooms nearly all feature still props that could just as well be the stuffed remains of family members, I especially enjoyed the sinister looking children.

House of the Dead also commands recognition for its implementation of innovative techniques such as the use of holographic projections. Also of note are unique set pieces like the stairs that break under the weight of an unseen presence. And of course any mention of all things strange and bizarre at House of the Dead would not be complete without calling attention to the odorous decay that seems to permeate the walls within the manor. The foul smell nearly overwhelmed us when we entered a room full of dead animals. Thankfully this was a small room and before we could contribute to the overall stench of the place by unleashing the contents of our stomachs we entered an adjacent meat cooler. Inside the cooler hung the bodies of many a victim but we had no time for sorrow because the keeper of the shop had arrived with a chainsaw. During the ensuing melee I heard squealing and I thought that was an odd thing to hear in a room full of dead humans. It was then that I looked about and realized that the bodies hanging from the ceiling weren’t exactly human…they were some sort of pig people hybrid! The monstrosity nearest me was squealing incessantly and arching his freakish head toward my calf. We fled the meat cooler content in the knowledge that those pig people would soon be bacon on some lucky fellow’s plate.

House of the Dead is indeed an interesting and rare piece of work. Last year the attraction was an absolute hit with hardly any live actors at all and this year Dead House seemed to gain success in spite of the lackluster performance of said actors. I don’t believe we’ve ever come across any place or situation quite like this. I would obviously like to see the haunt return to its 2008 length but I dare say it seems counter intuitive to suggest that the operators scale back the number of live performers, but perhaps House of the Dead would be at its best with a few well placed warm bodies. The animatronics are simply the best we’ve witnessed; some really seem to take on a life of their own. The unique oddities inherent to this attraction add a layer to the experience and atmosphere that a lot of haunts just can’t touch. I hope the brain trust at Terrortown continue to evolve the idea of homestead gone bad because it has a lot of fun possibilities I’d love to see brought to life.

Rating: 3 3/4

We departed the Lucas County Fairgrounds and nearly forty minutes later arrived just in time to purchase our tickets at the Haunted Hydro in Fremont, Ohio. The adventure marked our first visit to this attraction and as with all first time trips we were eager to sample the offerings. There are two primary attractions here the crown jewel and namesake, Haunted Hydro and Industrial Mayhem; an outdoor attraction that truly exceeded all expectations.

Industrial Mayhem forces haunters through a long series of narrow paths bordered on both sides by chain linked fence. The attraction features a differently themed creature of the night each weekend; thus far it had been home to demons and nightmarish clowns but as fortune would have it our visit coincided with an outbreak of the living dead. Zombies littered the grounds and their jaws were a’ gnashing. The workers featured elaborately gruesome make up and some even donned those twisted contacts that warp the eyes. The actors were hard working and refused to be content with a single scare, several hungry ghouls stalked us through the gritty path and attacked us three or four times each. Much of the cast added to the genuine zombie appeal by refusing to break character responding to our usual hijinx with garbled grows and menacing snarls; these flesh eaters meant business.

The haunt featured two set pieces in particular which ensured that the repetitious setting did not become monotonous. The first was a boat and as we passed a starving zombie crawled from beneath the watercraft and began thrashing at our legs. Later the path led directly into the back of a hearse through which we were made to crawl. Midway through the dreary mobile a portion of the floor lights up, a ghoul trapped beneath a pane of glass pounds frantically in an attempt to procure the just out of reach delicacies.

Near the end of the attraction we came across a small junk yard that housed a hungry female zombie who was currently gorging herself on the neck of a once proud but now dead, stallion. She glared at us greedily as if the hardy meal she had already won wasn’t enough. The glint in her glossy eyes told us she had a zest for man flesh. Jason appeared a little too eager to oblige so we quickly pushed forward before he made a fatally embarrassing mistake. We wound our way into a burnt out dump, a revolting mutant wandered amidst the rubble. He wore construction gear and had a face that looked as if it had been washed in an acid bath. His skin was raw and tinged red, it looked like a lump of bloody hamburger. He entered a shack with shelves lined with grim trinkets; on one shelf a jar filled with orange slime contained a multitude of eye balls. He began pouring muddy, waste water from one barrel to the next offering us a drink as he did so. He also engaged us in a bit of tasteless humor involving one of our mothers.

We rounded the shack and attempted to exit Industrial Mayhem but we were chased away from the double doors by a deranged man who was very concerned about the damage we may cause his doors. Jason managed to escape on the first attempt barreling through the flimsy doors with wanton disregard. We had to retreat several times behind the mutant’s shack before making a run for it and escaping one by one. I was the last to breach the threshold; the little, angry man was still shouting about his doors.

Rating: 4 1/4 stars

We crossed the court yard and made our way to the entrance of the Haunted Hydro where the eccentric owner, Crazy Bob was entertaining some female patrons. Ole Bob rambled on for a bit about never forgetting a face and tried rather futilely to rattle Disco. Crazy Bob shortly relented and allowed us to enter the old hydro dam now home to a soggy army of ghouls and weirdoes. The building is an impressive sight to behold featuring a ceiling that towers far above the heads of its guests. We enjoyed Haunted Hydro but the haunt lacked a cohesive theme and that was disappointing because the structure would be quite believable as a medieval castle.

The first two scenes were highly detailed and would have felt at home at The Realm of Darkness. The first was a bedroom scene and the second a dining room, the latter scene offered up a hilarious worker who really pushed the envelope. After leaping out of a chair the portly ghoul offered us what he referred to as eyeball soup and then suggested that he add a special ingredient. He squatted slightly and began rubbing his hand on his ass; he then brought his hand to the bowl and proclaimed that the secret ingredient was “brown sugar.” We of course responded with bales of laughter and our sides nearly split when this repugnant wretch gyrated his hips and rubbed the personal concoction on his nipple. He responded promptly to our ribbing by wiping his fingers on my nipple which was actually quite surprising because haunt workers are not supposed to touch guests but I found the whole scene to be ludicrous and took no offense. Brown Sugar Man, I salute you!

We were lead shortly through a narrow hall filled with various clown props; the passage was lit by black lights and concluded when a simpering French clown provided a mild scare. The path took several more turns and we ended up in a security room, the walls lined with monitors, a woman occupied the chair behind the desk and our presence clearly disturbed her. She rose from the chair with great jerky movements and stalked our party to the end of the room.

Near the conclusion of the attraction haunters are treated to display both rare and bizarre in nature. A brightly colored, old fashioned puppet booth stood before us standing in surreal contrast to the dimly lit and grimy surroundings. A scrawny, high pitched male appears from behind the curtains holding a dirty teddy bear in his left hand. The bear would like to sing us a song and of course we agree to witness this odd side show. The puppeteer disappears behind the curtains and shakes the teddy bear about as he sings a dark rhyme about death. At one point the bear disappears behind the curtains and a large, clawed hand shoots quickly toward the guests functioning as a dovetail for the lyrics. When the song concludes the slimy puppet master cheers his own depraved lyrics and encourages us to do the same, we happily offer a round of applause and exit the scene.

We headed up an inclined path; a large shadow could be seen high upon a wall in the distance, another neat feature. The path turned and took us into a room with a deep pit, several nutters patrolled the room including a manic judge but to my disappointment the pit of despair held no captives. The path briefly led outside which afforded us the opportunity to appreciate the exterior of the Hydro. When we reentered we soon came to the conclusion of the haunt, a large graveyard setting that featured either a hopelessly drunk or helplessly insane pirate who blathered nonsense and begged us not to leave him.

The haunt concluded on a some what lackluster note but it did feature a lot of live actors most of which were quite good at what they set out to do. The unique features mentioned above were all welcome surprises and something I’d like to see the haunt build on. We had a lot of fun at the Haunted Hydro and I’d like to plan a return trip in a future season.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars

“Oh, I hope they’re not too old.”

-Richard responding to the House of the Dead patriarch’s enthusiasm when he expressed delight that we had come to play with his children

“(Strangled laughter) Your mother…(more strangled laughter)…douche.”

-The reaction of the construction mutant when I suggested that his filthy, barrel water had been used as a douche by Richard’s mom

Haunted Hexad Fuels Wiard’s Night Terrors

Posted in 2014, Review, Wiard's Night Terrors with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 15, 2015 by bluefall8

Map-of-Night-Terrors-2014

The air was dry, the sky was clear and the revelers were out in throngs to experience the haunted happenings that Wiard’s Night Terrors had to offer. Less than 24 hours ago I had been in the Cleveland, Ohio area to tour both The Fear Experience and Bloodview and now I stood in Ypsilanti, Michigan on the threshold of six additional haunted attractions.

The flurry of activity near the entrance of the thrill park was matched by the dizzying buzz inside my mind. I had attempted some ambitious haunt endeavors in the past but this schedule was a whole other beast. When combined, The Fear Experience, Bloodview and Wiard’s Night Terrors featured roughly a dozen haunted attractions and I was on pace to tour them all in little more than a 24-hour period! Was I mad?!! Had I lost my mind?!!! Was it even possible to enjoy the hallowed pastime of haunting at such a breakneck pace??!!! Would I be able to commit enough details to memory in order to draft a review???!!!

This blog isn’t called Horrorlust for nothing.

It was time to switch off the mental machine and simply soak in the energy that surrounded me. I had brought my teenaged sister-in-law, Madison, along for the night of frights as she had never before experienced a thrill park of this magnitude. I thought it would be fun to gauge her reactions in contrast to those of the more grizzled veterans who are usually by my side for these nocturnal horror shows.

We were shortly joined by Brandon Wiard, one of the operators here and the man who had extended us an invite. He had been making the rounds, snapping photos and when he arrived he had with him a camera which led us into a conversation about photography and another passion of mine, videography. When able, Brandon served as a tour guide throughout the night and the first attraction he recommended we visit was the Hayride of the Lost.

PROTECT IT WITH FIRE

Hayride of the Lost pulled us through the backwoods of Wiard’s Orchard where a gang of unruly moonshiners had set up shop. There was a frail old man who popped out of a window and issued a comical warning near the beginning of the woodland jaunt; I can only assume it was his kinfolk we encountered deeper into the woods.

The hayride was highlighted by several impressive fire balls, detailed facades and one flying, chainsaw wielding maniac who assailed us from above inside of a barn. The tour did suffer from a couple of lulls in the action and I would’ve welcomed a little more interaction — especially from the creepy but relatively stoic firemen who guarded the aforementioned barn — but on the whole the Hayride of the Lost was a fun experience capable of being enjoyed by all ages. Did I mention we were given cider and donuts at the conclusion of the ride?

Rating: 3.5 stars

Once we had disembarked and wolfed down our treats, we gleefully watched a fire juggler perform for the crowd. I always appreciate quality side shows with my haunted attractions, and this chap delighted us with his skillful fire play and timely wit.

When his act had concluded we reconnected with Brandon who led us to the entrance of Splattertown, a zombie paintball shoot. This was actually the first time I’d participated in such an attraction and I was looking forward to unleashing multi-colored mayhem all over some rotting enemies.

However, before we could fight the undead menace, we had to place headphones onto our ears and listen to some rules and strategy about safely defeating the oncoming uglies as they were called. Once that business had finished we got down to the task at hand as a wave of zombies shambled into view.

I took a few pot shots at a distant zombie and then keyed on the walker nearest my location and prided myself on head shots. It wasn’t long before my juvenile instincts kicked into overdrive and I sent repeated shots to that same zombie’s crotch, and it was evident from the splattering of paint in the region that plenty of other previous participants, like myself, possessed the maturity of a 12-year-old boy.

The whole affair only lasted a minute or two but it was fun and ludicrous. I appreciated that the creators of the attraction had decided to include the recorded instructions as it really added to the atmosphere and overall fun factor of the event. As we exited, I conferred with Maddie and she too had shamelessly peppered the private parts of some dim-witted zombie.

A LITTLE CIRCUS, A LITTLE SCI-FI

One of my favorite attractions of the night was Alien Caged Clowns, a short haunt that possessed a lot of charm and creativity. A series of stagecoach wagons served as the queue line to enter the attraction, a few of them featured colorful banners that advertised wondrous acts.

A metal pole was situated at the end of the stagecoach wagons and atop it sat a small alien spaceship that housed a single clownish occupant. It was aglow with various lights and exuded a kitsch, throwback style; it reminded me of something found at a county fair in days gone by.

The final stagecoach emptied into the interior of Alien Caged Clowns where a short passage had been decorated with large wooden crates and clown memorabilia. There was even a monitor that displayed a clown who creepily danced (sometimes with balloons) to old timey music.

We were greeted by a most curious ringmaster when we entered the attraction, the fact that his spinal cord was exposed did nothing to diminish his spirits as he lively regaled us with wordplay and silly puns.

As Brandon would later explain to us, the creatures inside Alien Caged Clowns weren’t necessarily clowns in the traditional since but instead a feral alien race. I thought that was an interesting wrinkle and a fresh, fun perspective on a tried and true haunted house troupe.

The haunt employed a heavy dose of fog and strobes which made navigating the maze-like passages quite a challenge and also provided ideal cover for numerous pop out scares. Unlike other attractions in this vein, Alien Caged Clowns did not use chain-linked fence or wooden planks to form the twisting path, instead the maze was constructed of white bars which allowed the bizarre creatures to grab at us along the way.

We were treated to another bit of fun at the end of the attraction when we were made to play a guessing game before we realized we had to crouch and exit through a concealed box.

Alien Caged Clowns was colorful, quirky, fun and has, in my opinion, plenty of potential for growth.

Rating: 3.75 stars

MIND SHAFT MAYHEM

The facade outside the Mind Shaft haunted attraction was easily my favorite — a collection of wooden beams and barrels, mining tools and even a small train. The interior of the structure was no less impressive — highlighted by immersive sets, heart-pounding sounds and a fun-filled, breakneck pace.

Several characters and areas of note included a grubby, beady-eyed miner who entertained waiting guests, also a second minor who was the victim of an unfortunate ,and rather creative, cave-in scene. Finally, I was delightfully surprised by a large, hairy, Sasquatch-like prop which sprung up from beneath a bed of fog near the conclusion of the attraction.

Mind Shaft was a well-balanced haunted attraction that was true to its theme and delivered timely jump scares mixed with moments of excitement and laughter.

Rating: 4 stars

A TRIP TO THE FUNNY FARM

The next demon to be slain was the formidable, Asylum. We entered the building with a group of strangers and were greeted by a Dr. J. Wiard who seemed anything but a competent medical professional. We found ourselves in a small reception area, several chairs lined two opposing walls. The maniacal medicine man didn’t seem in a hurry to be rid of us so most of us took a seat while a couple of people stood awkwardly.

Dr. Wiard eyed the group with what appeared to be a mixture of curiosity and contempt. The little room had grown silent and suddenly I was all too aware of a rising tension. It felt like something bad was about to happen, an impending doom inched closer. Suddenly, Dr. J. Wiard picked up a phone that hung on the wall and when his conversation was finished we were instructed to leave our seats and begin down a nearby hallway.

The Asylum featured a collection of highly detailed and memorable scenes which included an electrocution that so convinced Maddie of its authenticity that she slammed herself with great force against a wall when the condemned delivered a posthumous jump scare. I could be found hunched over in laughter just a few feet away; the expert timing of the actor combined with Maddie’s shocked reaction created one of the best electrocution gags I’ve ever witnessed.

Two other scenes of note occurred near the end of the attraction — in one we found ourselves inside a high-ceilinged room adorned with twinkling lights and festive Christmas decorations. A scrawny, surly Santa Claus bemoaned our presence although he wasn’t a complete grinch as we did exchange a couple of light-hearted quips before Maddie and I departed his dwelling.

The last scene of interest consumed us entirely in an oppressive fog that left me disoriented and with a sensation that this white nothingness stretched out endlessly across space and time. It was an odd and unsettling feeling, I stopped momentarily in an attempt to gauge my sense of direction. There was nothing but a thick swirl of white abyss before my face, I turned to say something to Maddie and when I turned back around I was startled to find myself nose to nose with a gruesome face. A hideous, hanging prop was mere inches in front of me and had quite literally appeared as if from nowhere. The distinct chatter of a chainsaw ripped through the whiteout and hastened our search for the exit.

Rating: 4 stars

IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF APPLE THIEVES

The Ultimate Haunted Barn is the oldest of all the haunted attractions at Wiard’s Night Terrors and as such is arguably the premier event. We entered the structure and were told to wait in front of a bank of monitors that all displayed the same bizarre sequence of flashing images. There were pigs, a laughing puppet and other unnerving oddities. It felt like we were being brainwashed in advance of some unethical psychological torture.

In the next room we were introduced to Curtis, a tall, lean young man with a hint of a southern drawl. Curtis spoke rapidly of his vast collection of goods which were displayed throughout the room. He intimated that he had amassed such a treasure trove by less than honest means but in the next breath stated plainly that any accusations of such would not be met with politeness. Curtis spoke with quickness and clarity; his voice possessed a mesmerizing cadence dashed with a pinch of wit. He was, without a doubt, the most well-rounded and fully formed character we encountered during our tour of Wiard’s Night Terrors.

The remainder of our trek through the Ultimate Haunted Barn was a mixture of humor, tension, jump scares and a bit of gore. In one darkened corner a grimy man appeared behind a window of chicken wire and sent a shower of sparks in our directions while he zestfully shouted, “Sweet Meat!” Although I fought the urge, the dark recesses of my mind refused to be denied and up to the surface swam a peculiar selection of banjo music accompanied by that infamous scene from Deliverance.

Other highlights from the Ultimate Haunted Barn included a crawling creep who popped out of a cabinet, a chainsaw-wielding nutter who swung above our heads and one seriously imposing butcher who momentarily assailed us before he returned to his twitching and bloody victim who had been hung from the ceiling. There was also a moment of separation where men and woman were forced to traverse different paths, a time-honored psychological ploy.

Rating: 3.75 stars

Wiard’s Night Terrors offered us an array of fun and diverse haunted attractions. It’s a full-fledged operation complete with concessions, bonfires, line entertainment and even Scareyoke. The atmosphere is festive and on a clear night the sky is beautiful. Wiard’s Night Terrors was a pleasure to tour and an ideal way to spend a night during the hallowed month of October.

Maddie and I capped off the night by posing for a picture with this fine gentleman.

Maddie and I capped off the night by posing for a picture with this fine gentleman.

Wiard’s Night Terrors, Corpse Barn Shock Haunt Primed to Titillate

Posted in Preludes and Nocturnes with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 4, 2014 by bluefall8

There is a certain undeniable excitement that accompanies the first big outing of each season; my mind is a frenetic mass of anticipation, nervousness and memories. Tonight those feelings seem more potent than usual, likely due to the somewhat delayed kickoff of the 2014 season. I’m brimming, jonesing, aching for a haunt fix! Tonight, I feed and sate my lust.

Our first stop will be a long-awaited visit to Night Terrors at Wiard’s Orchard where we’ll experience The Asylum, The Ultimate Haunted Barn, Alien Caged Clowns, Hayride of the Lost and Mind Shaft. Billed as “The Grandaddy of Gore since 1984” the name Wiard’s is synonymous with Halloween throughout the region and it’s time Night Terrors and Horrorlust become acquainted.

That’s a lot of haunting for one night — especially so early in the season, but portion control has never been my strong suit and I am chomping at the bit so if mother nature and father time are on our side we’ll springboard from Ypsilanti to Jackson. What’s in Jackson, you ask? Well, it’s actually what’s just outside of Jackson, in Napoleon to be exact, that has drew my gaze on this night.

Last September, after I had returned from Darksyde Acres in Jonesville and Jackson’s Underworld in the aforementioned Jackson I learned of another haunt in that neck of the woods and was aghast that we failed to realize that it was so close. That attraction is known as the Corpse Barn Shock Haunt and it has the look of a gritty, in-your-face, throwback. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — there’s a certain dark element that festers inside of barn haunts and I am drawn to it like moth to flame.

Here’s to the 2014 haunt season and endless spooky nights.