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Bloodview Burns White Hot with Witch Trials

Posted in 2014, Bloodview, Review with tags , , , , , , on January 8, 2015 by bluefall8

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Our return to Bloodview Haunted House last October felt, in some ways, like a homecoming. Just two years prior we had embarked on our maiden sojourn to the Butcher of Broadview Heights and had come away spellbound. This time around we found ourselves at the threshold of terror on a cold and wet Friday night. As we passed through the gates of Bloodview that unmistakable and unique aura of horror permeated the air.

BEST QUEUE LINE ENTERTAINMENT IN THE BUSINESS

Zealous preachers barked hellfire and brimstone from all corners of the land while angry townsfolk demanded confessions and repentance from the poor souls who found themselves in the middle of a war between the righteous and the wicked. As John and I entered the queue line a scrawny man with an unkempt beard was engaged in an act of self-flaggellation. He wandered the area and muttered to himself, his eyes a matching set of vacant pools as he lashed his scarred back.

Elsewhere in line, some menacing witch hunters questioned and harassed a group of squeamish teenagers. A burly male hunter with long, dark hair rubbed his blade over the hair of one female guest who visibly shook with fright and then expressed concern that she would both wet herself and vomit from the fear of it all. I was convinced by her body language that her statements weren’t merely for dramatic flair and I thus stepped back a few paces in order to avoid the splashback from any potential spew.

GRISSLY GORE HOUSE

The first leg of Bloodview sent us through the small but powerful Gore House where an overpowering scent invaded our nostrils and set the stage for the foulness to follow. Almost immediately we were confronted by an imposing figure who wielded a blade and wore what looked to be a crown of thorns. I wasn’t sure if he was aligned with the holy rollers or a practitioner of witchcraft; whatever the case his eyes gleamed with malevolent triumph.

He dubbed me “Bigguns” and proceded to make a series of ominously suggestive remarks. Big Boy, as I referred to him in my private thoughts, had a coarse laugh and seemed to get great enjoyment from his interaction with John and I. Soon thereafter, inside of a room filled with hanging corpses, we encountered a special friend of Big Boy’s — a drooling husk of flesh caught somewhere between zombie and mongoloid. This deranged creature followed us for a spell and as he stumbled forward a gossamer of saliva hung from his mouth and then splattered onto the floor.

The Gore House was a galleria of gross-outs and no trip is complete without passage through the one-of-a-kind vortex tunnel near the end of the structure, a vortex tunnel with the color and consistency of molten flesh. John and I crossed the sickly threshold and emerged from the Gore House and descended a ramp to an earthen path that led to the eerie landscape known as Baby Doll Island.

ISLE OF THE DAMNED

Baby Doll Island is a wooded area littered with out-buildings, a small maze and a recently added cemetery; like the queue line it too was populated by those embroiled in the ongoing witch trials. I was impressed by the number of characters that had been dedicated to Baby Doll Island and noted that the actor’s enthusiasm hadn’t been sapped by the cold or rain.

One peculiar creature drew several laughs from us for his use of raunchy humor and cheap Ray Rice quips. He appeared to be a stout, middle-aged man and his manner of dress was interesting indeed. His fingers either sported long, sharp nails or had been adorned with gothic armor, his mouth featured a frightening array of dagger-shaped teeth and the whole of his being seemed to be filled with a wild, untamable malice. I couldn’t decide if he was a vampire, demon or merely the town pervert but he elicited a response and looked good doing it.

Near the end of the trail we encountered another interesting character who seemed to be out of her mind with paranoid delusions. She was bushy-haired and bespectacled — we could do nothing to ease the pain she obviously felt she had suffered at the hands of some unseen tormentors. Despite our offers of help she believed with all of her will that the world, and all who dwell therein, had betrayed her. We departed the trail and left the sad sack to mope, it was time to face the third leg of the Bloodview experience which just so happened to be the most substantial of our visit.

BURN BLOODVIEW BURN

The key to success for Bloodview’s main attraction is a combination of classic haunted house design infused with the energy of a weird, outlandish and spirited cast. The floor plan wound us through claustrophobic passages and uneven hallways that tilted left and right and up and down. Near the entrance of the haunt we encountered a malicious prankster who worked a lever that caused the floor beneath our feet to lift and lurch forward.

John and I were impressed by the physicality of several actors who pushed past us in narrow halls while they snarled and offered thinly veiled threats. The first occurrence of such happened nearly as soon as we entered the haunt when a foxy creature of the night lured us forward with a game of hide-n-seek. One moment she rushed forward and then slunk back to the shadows only to reappear again to cut off our path. She made sure to display her mouth of razor-sharp teeth several times and ultimately forced us to brush by her which was indeed threatening but not without a touch of eroticism.

There were absurd scenes as well such as a filthy bathroom that featured a thoroughly clogged toilet, a mound of excrement was in danger of eclipsing the rim but this fact did nothing to deter one mute character from mounting the porcelain throne. Elsewhere, within the walls of Bloodview, we interacted with a group of characters who had been trapped in a series of large cages, the largest of which contained several captives.

A diminutive blonde girl crawled forward and offered several meek meows, doe-eyed and adorable I offered her a couple of sympathetic pats on the head, in turn she handed me a small, fluffy fur ball which I would later pawn off on a pair of crazies at a deli counter. Another notable prisoner was a toe-headed youth who wore a pair of shorts and a button-down eagle scout shirt that he had long outgrown. He sat and stared at me as if he was completely content with his exposed pudge and when questioned about his attire he responded that he was forced to dress as such. He reminded me strongly of Chunk from The Goonies and I fought the urge to request a performance of the Truffle Shuffle.

Bloodview aslo featured a blackout maze that functioned both as psychological terror and a great false ending. Next, we roamed a few rooms which might’ve seemed warm and welcoming if not for the homespun horrors that peered at us from every corner and crevice, one such example included a pair of old-fashioned dolls who sat a top a shelf and blankly stared.

As we neared the conclusion of the haunted attraction we walked into an argument in progress as a mother-daughter duo engaged in a heated verbal spat. The source of the family feud was unclear although given the larger situation one might assume that someone was being accused of witchcraft. Our presence did little to stem the angry shouts as the two argued unabated. I did defend the daughter as she seemed the more reasonable of the pair which earned me a brief hug before she launched into another round of shouting with her mother.

The finale of Bloodview presented us with a seasoned witch hunter who sported a large gash on one side of his face which extended from where his eyeball used to be down across his cheek. In a Scottish accent he and an acolyte of sorts urged us to move forward lest we rouse the fury of a warlock the pair held captive. Indeed, along the far wall was chained an imposing figure, head covered by an animal skull. The animated witch hunter warned that this warlock was particularly fierce and indeed was the cause for the severe wound he himself sported. Following some lively debate, angry admonishments from the acolyte and a near escape of the warlock; we exited Bloodview.

Bloodview is a unique stop on the haunted highway and one that holds a special place in my heart. The Legion of Terror is comprised of passionate scareactors whose attention to details such as costuming, make-up, improvisation and even accents did not go unnoticed or unappreciated. This is a great location with some throwback appeal, fleshed out with a versatile cast who love to entertain. Bloodview is home to some true sons and daughters of Halloween.

Rating: 4.25 stars

“I think you’d have an easier time with those girls in front of me.”

“How do you know what I like, Bigguns?”

-An exchange with Big Boy inside the Gore House while he held me at knife point.

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Adults Only at Darksyde Acres A Must See

Posted in 2012, Darksyde Acres, Review with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 9, 2013 by bluefall8

Darksyde Acres is a haunted attraction not quite like any other. You won’t find an army of flashy animatronics here, nor is the show exactly old school — hell, it really isn’t anything in between either. Darksyde Acres is entirely something else. Having visited the location previously in 2011 I knew my group and I were in for an unforgettable night of haunting on November 3, 2012 — the night Darksyde admitted adults only.

A phrase like that can produce a lot of images for a reader and prospective customer, and that’s precisely the point. I’m not going to give away all the surprises either but suffice it to say, you’ll see and experience things on this night that you aren’t likely to see at many other attractions. I know I haven’t and I’ve visited a lot of haunted attractions. By and large the cast and crew at Darksyde Acres is deranged, energetic, and willing to take the act just about as far as any given patron is willing to push it. Oh, I’m not kidding — go ahead, push it.

After purchasing our tickets we headed first for the new maze, The Labyrinth! This attraction isn’t haunted but it was actually a lot of fun and likely the hardest maze we’ve encountered at any haunted attraction. Without the occasion ghoul to correct your path it’s easy to become a bit disoriented — when we initially arrived at the entrance a couple who had been lost inside for half an hour was just emerging. Although truth be told that may have been due to some spur of the moment hanky-panky and when I jokingly presented that possibility to them it was meet with giggles. A young guy dressed as a panda was the gatekeeper here and we had numerous and interesting conversations with him throughout the night — Richard somehow mistook him for a girl, revealing this to me during a conversation while we were lost in the maze.

“She smelled good,” he said. As I peered about the maze for an available opening I turned to him and replied, “Who?” He answered with, “The Panda.” I looked at him quizzically, wondering if he was making a joke but he seemed completely genuine. We both paused, momentarily forgetting that we were lost in a maze. He left me with no choice but to matter-of-factly state, “That was…a guy.” There was an awkward pause and then Richard said, “Oh…well…he smelled good.” Just one of those little things that only seem to happen when you’re out haunting with friends.

THE CATACOMBS AND RUSTHOLE SET TO TITILLATE

As we approached the main entrance we saw a sexy girl performing various eye-catching moves with a hoola-hoop, meanwhile a split-tongued fellow with a blue mohawk beckoned us to enter inside the feature presentation.

Beyond this door is a large queue area dotted with a variety of scenes guests must first wind their way past, and oh what a trek it was. It was here that we came across the first of many haunt hotties to populate the attraction. One dressed as a bunny (a really hot bunny) was full of pep, her counterpart was a dead school girl (a really hot dead school girl) who acted innocently enough but held deliciously devilish deeds in her eyes. The pair accompanied us to the front of the line, entertaining us the whole way — they even made Cikalo dance under the threat of entering the haunted house by himself. Soon he and I entered the long hallway that transports guests into the belly of the beast. I soaked it all in knowing that this was the final night of the 2012 haunt season.

Within the confines of the Catacombs and Rusthole there were certainly some scares but what truly fueled this attraction on adults night was humor…and the transfixing sexiness of the female cast. It all added up to a frenzied night of fun and laughs. In one area a young man assailed us in nothing more than what can only be described as a nugget pouch and he was quite proud of this fact — gyrating his hips and pelvis before turning his backside at us and bouncing backward down a passageway chanting, “Boo-ty, boo-ty, boo-ty, boo-ty. Boo-ty, boo-ty, boo-ty, boo-ty.” It was ridiculous, but bless his heart he was determined not to let the girls have all the fun.

In another area we pushed our way through a series of hanging sheets, familiar music could be heard faintly in the distance. Something told me we would soon encounter the untamed harlequins known as Bubbles and Pickles. However, when we emerged from the jungle of sheets we found before us an interesting site indeed. A large, bushy haired woman stood before us, a  serene smile on her face. She was topless save for the miniature tortured faces that covered her breasts. She was very happy to see us, she spoke as if she knew us and as she did so the horrifying reality began to sink in — she thought we were the fathers of her children! So delighted by our return she flung open the door to her right and urged us to go meet our bastards. The room was bathed in the glow of a black light, neon-colored paint jumped out at us from every direction. The sounds of Creature Feature’s The Greatest Show Unearthed blared throughout the room — now I was positive that Pickles and Bubbles were near!

A curiosity to our left attracted our attention — it seemed to be a mannequin sitting a top a large box, one leg stretched out above it’s head. Surely this was a dummy of some sort. However it looked strangely alive, but no person could sit so still in such a position. Suddenly, she sprang to life. Yes, it was a she and a scorching hot one at that. Her petite frame moved with a creepy grace as she bobbed around us, ponytail swaying as she went. She wore a frilly skirt and little else, her barely covered breasts were the best instrument any hypnotist could ever ask for. Her face was painted white and beneath the black light the effect was both startling and alluring, like something from a vibrant nightmare. Obvious observations aside she was one of the most unique characters I’ve come across in all my travels to haunted attractions. As she spun and slunk her way around the room she was joined by her brother, the wise cracking Bubbles.

Bubbles however didn’t arrive alone — in his hand was an extra large member…not his own (geez, get your mind out of the gutter) but he threatened us with a good time all the same. All of a sudden a buzzing sound whooshed through my ears as I felt something tickle my hindquarters. The pale-faced beauty had snuck behind us and was engaging in her own brand of fun aided by an electronic baton. As we made our way through the rest of the room we encountered the youngest of the clown clan who seemed a bit more shy and nervous than his elder siblings, and finally there was Pickles. As we exited the room he followed us out where we again encountered the woman who had spawned these children, but before she could confront us for child support Pickles grabbed her from behind and began…well, pickling her. She cried out in ecstasy, we could only howl with laughter at this absurd example of incest.

Soon thereafter we encountered a tall and portly man who wore only a diaper and bore a striking resemblance to Sloth from The Goonies, given his stature and possible state of mind I decided it was best not to point out this particular observation. The path forward descended into complete darkness as the Rusthole took hold. There was a lot of groping, grabbing, and feeling about in this area…because it was so dark (my goodness, leave it alone you perverts)! We would encounter a couple more of Darksyde’s femme fatales before exiting the Rusthole including Casey the resident pole dancer.

I’ve experienced this attraction during a normal operating night (normal being a relative term to describe Darksyde Acres, of course) and now on a night when only adults were welcome and I can state without hesitation that both live up to expectations. I’ve come away both times with only a couple of complaints, the first being that a few more actors would’ve fleshed out the attraction nicely. There are a couple of areas where a scare would keep haunters on edge particularly while fumbling their way through the blacked out Rusthole. My second wish is that the attraction is expanded. I noticed a number of doors leading to various rooms that seem to be ripe for terror. And after what I’ve described above, who wouldn’t want to spend more time in this haunted house?!

Rating: 4.25 stars

DAMNED MARINERS, LUSTY WENCHES PROVIDE HAUNT ROMP ABOARD THE DARK ABYSS 

The Dark Abyss is a noticeably shorter haunted attraction than the lethal combo of The Catacombs and Rusthole but it’s filled with the same wanton spirit of raunchiness and unrelenting tomfoolery. The buxom wenches aboard this once sea fearing vessel possess a sharp wit and shaper weapons. Armed with acerbic attitudes and ample attributes they’ll entertain any wayward sailors with the stones to keep them company. Mind your tongue though or you might lose your head (and not the one between your shoulders). One feisty lass was affronted by our cheek and let it be known that the cleaver she held wasn’t just for show. One mysterious lady near the end of the attraction was so kind to show us the Captain’s bountiful treasure — and my word did he have a lot of treasure!

Rating: 3.5 stars

Darksyde Acres isn’t perfect; there’s room for improvement as well as expansion but it is like no other show you’ll see. The interaction here is so far above and beyond what the vast majority of haunted attractions have to offer — the cast is dedicated, friendly, and wonderfully weird. It was nearly closing time when we exited the final attraction and we made a pit stop near a large bonfire to warm up. A number of Darksyde’s denizens were gathered around as well and much laughter and craziness ensued. Memorable stories were swapped, the hoola-hoop hottie teased, and one freak in a kilt challenged a customer three times his size to a wrestling match. The good natured man accepted and the results were hilarious and wild. Darksyde Acres is a special outpost on the haunted landscape, one untouched by the traditional rules of the industry and unhindered by common societal mores.

Don’t Adjust the Channel

Posted in Pop Culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 7, 2011 by bluefall8

As any reader of Horrorlust knows October brings with it an irrepressible army of the scary and macabre — from haunted attractions to spooky home decor, costume parties to Halloween itself — this month is a celebration of all things that go bump in the night. And if all of that isn’t enough for you, consider the killing fields that flicker across the boob tube this time of year. Many networks feature horror, haunt, or Halloween related programming during this, the season of the witch and with the popularity of the holiday at an all time high, there’s no doubt that viewers will be ensnared by a variety of spine tingling specials.

Among some of the best programming in my opinion is Fearfest on AMC which runs October 16-31. Fearfest debuted on AMC in 2008 and is precisely that, an around the clock horror marathon that lasts for sixteen calendar days. The event will kick off this year with the Season 2 premiere of The Walking Dead. ABC Family also features a block of seasonal programming entitled 13 Nights of Halloween which runs from October 19-31. As you may have guessed from the name of the network, the type of shows you can expect are family oriented — The Addams Family, The Goonies, Beetlejuice, and The Nightmare Before Christmas is what you’ll find here.

FX debuted a new show last night called American Horror Story. It was strange, perverse, and over the top — certainly not a classic but a fun, twisted watch. American Horror Story airs Wednesdays at 10 pm.

Anybody around my age will certainly remember the Goosebumps phenomenon that took place during the 1990’s. Well, if you find yourself craving a fix of R.L. Stine’s particular brand of storytelling then I’d suggest The Haunting Hour which airs on the somewhat obscure Hub network. An episodic horror anthology in it’s own right The Haunting Hour is quite obviously steeped in the same storytelling that propelled Goosebumps to such staggering heights a generation ago. It airs on the Hub network, Saturdays at 8 pm.

If all of that isn’t enough to sate your seasonal yearnings then allow me to suggest a few of my personal favorites which include The Twilight Zone, Halloween, Return of the Living Dead, Paranormal State, A Haunting, and of course George A. Romero’s zombie classics. And I’d be grossly out of line if I didn’t mention another childhood favorite, Are You Afraid of the Dark?.

I came home from work yesterday and had one of those wonderfully relaxing October evenings which consisted of lying in bed watching spooky movies. I hadn’t caught 2001’s The Others before and despite the sometimes plodding narrative and the often criticized end twist I found myself enjoying it. Who knows, maybe I just like Nicole Kidman. Following that I watched The Exorcism of Emily Rose which I’m ashamed to say was the first I had ever viewed the film. This was an expertly produced horror film featuring truly frightening scenes, superb acting, compelling storytelling, and a great original score — a must for any horror fan especially those with a taste for realism, it certainly put me in mind of The Exorcist.