Archive for zioptis

Zombies Everywhere, Haunt Schedule

Posted in Hallowblog with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 30, 2014 by bluefall8

This installment of Hallowblog Flashback was originally posted Friday, October 9, 2009. In this entry I wrote about some horror and science fiction of the day; there’s also a dash of haunt schedule speculation included for good measure.

In addition to that, this entry detailed our plans for a fateful night of haunting, plans that were altered in a most historic way. You can read all about the results from this trip when it becomes the focal point of Hallowblog Flashback in just two weeks.  

It’s a Friday night in October which means The Haunt Trinity is set to lurk about the state hitting Michigan’s finest haunts. It’s a wet, dreary evening but that will do nothing to deter us haunting fanatics. Tonight we have two very exciting visits; the first stop will find us at Deadly Intentions the winner of the 2008 Monster Award for best live actors. Deadly Intentions delivered a smash mouth, high intensity show last year when we visited on Halloween night and this year’s theme has us frothing at the mouth: City of the Living Dead! Zombies, man! Fuckin’ zombies!!! A whole haunt packed full of my favorite flesh eating dead heads! Listen to this description from the ad in the Fear Finder:

Though the infection has only been spreading for a few weeks almost the entire city has been affected. Will you be able to make it through town without becoming a victim of this terrible outbreak? Can you escape the City of the Living Dead?

HOLY. FUCKING. SHIT. I have been waiting for a haunt like this since the first time I saw Night of the Living Dead. I’ve dreamed us this day since I discovered the brilliance of Dawn of the Dead. I have hoped for this since I first experienced the wonderful horror of Resident Evil 2 back in February 1998! I’m not kidding when I say that this has the potential to be the greatest haunted attraction that I have ever witnessed. My friends at Deadly best not disappoint!

If I some how manage to survive the sheer horrible awesomeness of this event we’ll continue north to the Haunted Farm of Terror in Lenox Township. This place has drew my gaze for several years now and I’m very excited to finally experience the much ballyhooed hayride which Zioptis says is a spectacle to behold. There are also some zombies to shoot with paintball guns which will no doubt afford a gander from us fine fellows in the Haunt Trinity.

The usual slew of horror films has hit theaters just in time for Halloween a few of particular note include Zombieland, Paranormal Activity, and Saw VI. Zombieland opened October 2nd and devoured an estimated $25 million on opening weekend. The previews reveal it to be more in the spirit of Shaun of the Dead than Day of the Dead but that’s just fine with me. I enjoyed the off the cuff, devil-may-care humor on display in the trailers and I like the possibilities inherent to a carnival atmosphere. I’d like to catch this one as soon as possible. I’ve only seen teaser trailers for Paranormal Activity but it looks interesting. I did a bit of reading and discovered that it’s actually a 2007 mockumentary that has played at several film festivals. I won’t rush to the theater to see it but I’ll definitely give it a view when it’s released to DVD. Saw VI premieres in theaters October 23 and like Paranormal Activity I’ll wait for it on DVD. The last two films have swept the story into some fairly convoluted territory but I like the Saw movies; it’s the first series to carve out a legitimate niche in the horror lexicon in some time and for that it deserves recognition. Can you think of a more recognizable new face on the horror landscape than Jigsaw’s puppet over the last decade?

I absolutely love Fringe. I got into the series when it premiered last fall and I’ve grown to like it more and more as time has passed. The premise has an obvious correlation to The X-files which naturally appeals to me but more than the absorbing story arch I find the main characters fascinating. Has there ever been a more deeply conflicted eccentric genius in television history? He’s wonderful when playing the mad scientist but equally compelling as the flawed and broken father. There’s a redemptive quality about Walter which is appropriately underscored by much of his tragically poetic wisdom.

Below is a rough schedule for the remainder of the haunt season:

Friday, October 9: Deadly Intentions (Warren) and Haunted Farm of Terror (Lenox Township)

Friday, October 16: Terrortown (Maumee, OH) and Haunted Hydro (Fremont, OH)

Friday, October 23: The Haunting (Adrian) and Darksyde Acres (Jonesville)

Friday, October 30: Undecided, although we’re contemplating a visit to either Armada or Genesee County area haunts. We’re also debating a return to some Pontiac area haunts; a selection from all three locations is also a possibility.

We’ve also kicked around the idea of hitting additional Downriver haunts on a Saturday.

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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.

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.

Haunt Updates, Haunted Dreams & Haunting Films

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

In this entry, from Monday, September 8, 2008, I recall a vibrant dream about the Fear Finder newspaper. In the years since I have had several similar dreams in which I get a nocturnal sneak peek at the seasonal treasure; my brother believes that it may be an indication of an unhealthy obsession.

There’s also a few tidbits regarding various haunts contained in the second half of this post; originally I provided several links to the websites of a few attractions but those for the Homer Mill and The Haunting no longer function and thus the links have been removed.

The Homer Mill was destroyed by fire in the early morning hours of May 16, 2010. The Haunting, which was held at the Lenawee County Fairgrounds, entertained the public for 18 Halloween seasons. The Adrian mainstay closed up shop following the 2011 haunt season; owner and magician Stuart MacDonald now resides in Raleigh, North Carolina where he works for a television station.

Terror Town is still going strong, although the link below will actually take you to an old version of the attraction’s website. I think it’s an interesting bit of Internet archeology.

Last week I had a very lucid dream in which me and Cikalo were gleefully rampaging through the streets of Lincoln Park. We drove recklessly, attempted to exploit ignorant youths by selling them over-priced stolen goods, and utterly neglected the duties of the classroom in which we were both substituting. It was great fun and some would suggest that’s it’s not too far off the antics that will some day undoubtedly be printed in my autobiography.

So after all these shenanigans we found ourselves at some type of strip mall. At this point I lost track of Jason and while I stood against a wall I noticed a man walk by me holding the 2008 edition of the Fear Finder. I suppose some may view this as an unhealthy obsession with Halloween and perhaps if I wasn’t so amused and intrigued by the nocturnal meanderings of my subconscious, I’d be concerned too. But to hell with that, check out what the latest version of the Fear Finder apparently looks like in some deep recess of my brain.

It happened very quickly, some non-descript, average Joe walks by nonchalantly and unfurls the Fear Finder. The paper resembles less its usual magazine style and appears more like an actual newspaper. I have an unhindered view of the entire front page which features a brightly colored backdrop; swirls of blue, red, green, yellow, and orange spring from the page. In the foreground and this is most peculiar, stands a leprechaun sporting a maniacal grin with his arm spread wide aloft his head. Yeah, I also got the sense that it was indeed the evil leprechaun from the series of Leprechaun movies. Fairly wacky stuff. Of course from here I embark on an epic quest to obtain a Fear Finder but just as I spot a CVS (a supplier of the FF) I’m intercepted by some former Borders co-workers. I awoke shortly after, having never obtained the prized haunt guide and reflected on what a truly bizarre dream it was.

In the waking world the 2008 Fear Finder has yet to be released but as one of the operators of the Scream Machine informed me, it should find a Taco Bell near you around the third week of September. Yeah that’s right, I sometimes call haunt operators. What? I also learned that the Screamatorium will not be operating this year and that it was indeed a one time shot in 2006.

I also called the Realm of Darkness where an up beat man ensured me that the show will indeed be under way this season. It’s all new and features over 30 rooms.

It seems every store I enter now has Halloween supplies on display; this makes my ghoulish heart smile. The Halloween USA located on the corner of Dix and Eureka in Southgate is also open and hopefully I’ll be working there part time again this season.

Zioptis has begun posting updates and recently visited the Homer Mill in Homer, Michigan. The haunt has garnered some glowing reviews and certainly sounds appealing. Apparently there is a Halloween themed bar and restaurant attached to the old mill that has a great natural ambience. This past weekend marked the haunt’s grand opening and it seems to be a frontrunner for an early season visit. Tickets are $15 during the month of September and then $20 throughout October. My fellow haunters would do well to check out the Homer Mill website here: The Homer Mill Extreme Haunted House

A few additional haunts have updated their websites, most notably TerrorTown in Maumee, Ohio and The Haunting in Adrian, Michigan. Interested parties can view those pages at the links below:

TerrorTown

The Haunting

I finally watched Romero’s Diary of the Dead and I very much enjoyed the style of his latest project. It’s an obvious departure from the style of each of his previous entries in the Dead series but the desired effect is achieved. It’s a fun, engaging story highlighted by some creative shots, inventive deaths, and a few truly grisly visuals. One unforgettable tidbit is Samuel, an elderly, deaf Amish man who doesn’t put up with zombie bullshit; he’s the kindest, cut throat bad ass ever. There are a number of striking visuals as well, my personal favorite may be the pool laden with the living dead.

Haunting Season Begins

Posted in 2007, Hallowblog, Review, The Haunting with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 2, 2014 by bluefall8

This was originally written September 29, 2007 and was the first official entry under the Hallowblog banner. In it, I waxed over film, television, and general haunt news but the bulk of the text covered a visit to The Haunting in Adrian, Michigan. This entry has particular importance to me; to the best of my knowledge this is the first full-length review that I ever wrote for a haunted attraction. This trip as you will soon read, also marked the beginning of a long running joke after my brother, Jason, made a rather tactless and dubious observation.

Fall has arrived with all its radiant majesty and for us Halloween enthusiasts the magic of the season is poised to erupt. I have a multitude of topics I’d like to cover in this inaugural issue and I’d appreciate, no prefer, feedback.

On that note I’d like to state that I’m looking for a more intriguing name to brand this Halloween column with other than the generically crafted Hallowblog. I won’t say I’m holding an open contest (due to the lack of a prize) but any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I’ve come up with a few ideas of my own and if I don’t receive any quality submissions I’ll simply settle with one of those; this is just one small way in which I thought I could make this blog slightly interactive.

The Halloween themed Word of the Week returns this Monday, October 1 and like last year will run the duration of the month of October. Also, like last year, each week’s entry will be accompanied by a companion blog featuring other Halloween related content. Last year’s format was rather simple, each week I featured a monster and a horror film, I also provided a list of Halloween highlights past. I do aim to continue in the same vein this year but new content will also be added.

Yesterday I watched a horror movie called Demonic which really isn’t worth mentioning. Tom Savini played the role of some nutter living in a forest infested with naked female demon types. Yeah, that’s primarily it. The film offered no other redeeming qualities; not exactly a horror classic. What is worth watching however is Dead Like Me. Missy and I have been watching the first season on DVD, it compliments the season well.

To my great delight I obtained a copy of the Fear Finder last Tuesday and plans for the haunting season began to take shape. Each October I excitedly anticipate visiting haunted attractions but it seems that I never make it to enough of them. Last year I didn’t get started until the middle of the month, visiting The Scream Machine and The Screamatorium on the 13th. Jason, Disco, and I next went haunting on Halloween night in Pontiac which was a trip to be remembered as Erebus and the Realm of Darkness proved to be among the best haunts I’ve ever visited. It was the most I’d visited in one season but still I was left unsatisfied. So this year I wanted to be sure to have a plan in place to cover all my haunting desires.

Originally we (Jason, Disco, and I) planned to start the season with a visit to The Scream Machine in Taylor which has become something of a staple over the years. September 27-30 marks the opening weekend for The Scream Machine and tickets are a mere $10 for both attractions. We ended up changing our plans though due to the fact that few attractions have yet opened and as Jason pointed out we could hit downriver haunts anytime. My original plan was to hit The Scream Machine and then head down Dix where we’d explore Anxiety Alley for a mere $5 but Lincoln Park’s annual modular haunt doesn’t open until October 12.

The Haunting in Adrian has an enticing full page ad in the Fear Finder and after reading a five star review at Zioptis it seemed that we might start the haunting season off with a bang. Zioptis by the way is a great source for seasonal fun, interested parties can familiarize themselves with Zioptis here: Zioptis Foundation

The Fear Finder ad touted a $20 combo package that included admission to the 13th floor and 3-Dementia haunted houses, ghost tour, manic maze, two items from the concession stand, coupon to the gift shop, an illusion show, and a souvenir photo with a zombie. It seemed a damn good deal for twenty bucks, the photo with a zombie was particularly enticing to me. But we didn’t end up paying $20, nope, Jason spotted a deal on their website, for just $10 one was granted admission to both haunted attractions, the ghost tour, manic maze, and the illusion show. No, it didn’t include the zombie photo but I figured the difference would more than balance out in our favor if indeed we still decided to get a picture with a flesh-eater.

So the trio was off to Adrian, a trip through the sticks that was interesting in and of itself; the small towns we passed on our way there had all the markings of a B-rate horror flick. We arrived at the Lenawee County Fairgrounds and I was surprised by the lack of crowd, lights, and music. I reminded myself that it was early in the season and we were on a rather sizable chunk of land. We made our way to the entrance of the main attraction and still the crowd was sparse, and really that’s how it would remain.

Two zombie-looking chicks with spooky white pupils sat at a bench statuesque holding a guitar, staring resolutely in our direction. They were a nice touch and I’ll admit that they freaked me out a bit. They did such a good job of remaining still that I wasn’t sure if they were props. The Haunting was a bit of a let down, after so much fanfare I expected an attraction on par with the top of the class. It wasn’t necessarily bad but nothing gave it a unique feel. I’m going to give the whole affair the benefit of the doubt and chalk the lowlights up to the fact that they may still be working out the quirks this early in the season.

Although some very elementary mistakes were made, for instance, at several points in the first attraction it seemed that sections of walls had to be missing because we had an unobscured view into the greater building which wasn’t being used for the attractions. At several points I even saw what looked to be members of the technical team just standing in plain view as if they wanted customers to spot them. That nonsense should never happen as it greatly diminishes the haunting experience.

The Haunting employed a theme centered on the 13th floor of a hotel run afoul. I enjoyed the entrance which included a ghastly looking attendant and the butchered bell hop who directs guests to their rooms. Next patrons are loaded onto The Haunting’s version of the Hellevator which vastly pales in comparison to the one that The Scream Machine used last year. The Haunting blew its load early offering up a scene in which the victim of some terrible medical experiment lies writhing in bed while entrails issue forth from their torso. We’ve witnessed the gag before but it never gets old as the victim pleads for your help. The remainder of the attraction was less than stellar but the fat lady with the butcher knife managed to elicit some laughs when she leapt at us and proclaimed, “Meat! I looooove meat!” I decided against the obvious jokes and continued into a room that resembled a meat cooler full of disembodied human parts. The last item of interest was an immensely large man who sat upon a bed gnawing at a brain. I wasn’t quite sure why anyone would fear this as I harbored serious doubts that he could so much as heave his gelatinous form from the space he occupied. I was brought out of my reverie by would be creepy laughter if only it hadn’t been so seductive. A dead looking chick dressed as a maid emerged from the corner and stalked us from the room. Jason would later make a rather dubious observation regarding this particular incident.

We exited The Haunting shortly and came to the entrance of the 3D attraction known as 3-Dementia. I’ve gone to just one of these prior (The Carnevil of Lost Souls) and I was disappointed then so my expectations weren’t exactly soaring as I entered 3-Dementia. In fairness it was better than The Carnevil of Lost Souls but that isn’t saying much. I think attractions like this have potential and with some time and innovative ideas can serve as a quality side attraction at various haunts. As it stands however they are merely add-on filler.

Well we each openly voiced our disappointment upon exit and soon learned that the photo with a zombie would follow suit. I had hoped for and even expected a live actor but what we saw were two props that could scarcely be called zombies so we declined the photo. We hurried over to the illusion show which was short but did add a nice ripple to the whole experience.

The Ghost Tour was next and was designed to be more campy than scary but the effect was pulled off nicely by the clashing personalities of our tour guides, Gabriel and Gregory. Gabriel played the part of the traditional, spooky tour guide, attempting to instill fear in the guests with ghost stories about the grounds; each story would of course climax in some small scare. Gregory was a slightly hyper ghoul with a penchant for off beat, well timed comedy. The Ghost Tour ended where the Monster Maze picked up. Absent were any actors or props but the maze did give us the opportunity to run around like idiots attempting to frighten other, unsuspecting guests. At one point John and I became separated from Jason and attempted to reunite using our patented “Aweel” call.

Overall I’d give the experience 3 out of 5 stars and am left to believe that The Haunting was firing on all cylinders when Zioptis came calling, otherwise there is no way they would have been awarded a top rating. I wouldn’t mind heading back later in the season to confirm my suspicions but with so many other haunts to visit I doubt we’ll find the time.

It wasn’t a bad start to the haunt season; the atmosphere was rife with the intoxicating scent of fall and that intangible magic unique to the Halloween season.

I plan to post whatever pictures I can from our various visits this season so be sure to check that periodically. Keep in mind that I have to be some what careful when taking these pictures as not all monsters or operators are exactly fond of the practice. I’ll leave you with the following quotes from our endeavor:

“If we get lost out here we might as well rape and murder ourselves…save the locals the trouble.”   -Joel

“Sometimes I just want to grab one of those girl workers. It’s almost like they want you to, do you know what I mean? I mean I would never do it but I think if I did they’d just let me.”   -Jason

Oddments and Reflections

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2013 by bluefall8

Seven years ago I began writing about Halloween, horror movies, and haunted attractions purely out of  love for all things spooky, creepy, and macabre. It’s something I developed a fascination with when I was a child. My family lived on London Street in Lincoln Park where my brother and I enjoyed creating dummies from our grandfather’s old work clothes and along with our sisters played haunted house in our basement. That love for the fall season has stayed with me my entire life and I consider myself fortunate for having the opportunity to have met and conversed with so many who share that same passion; and I owe much of that to the entries in this blog.

Inspired in part by Zioptis, this is something I began to do for fun. As time passed I began to get responses from haunt goers, owners, and actors who all enjoyed my writing. I found it rewarding to have that level of interaction. A few weeks ago, while flipping through the Haunt Guide, I discovered that Sinister had made mention of this blog in their ad. I got a real kick out of that and I’m not embarrassed to admit that it filled me with a sense of pride. Recently, after learning of this, my mother-in-law suggested I start promoting this blog in earnest and so I decided to have some business cards printed. I have no idea where this journey through monster infested corridors will lead me but I’ve enjoyed the trip thus far and have no plans to turn back. I can’t help but follow my heart, it just feels right.

Here I am mugging for the camera with the Sinister ad. As you may have surmised from the background I'm also a fan of the Detroit Red Wings.

Here I am mugging for the camera with the Sinister ad. As you may have surmised from the background I’m also a fan of the Detroit Red Wings.

 

A close up of the ad where you can actually see the phrase Horrorlust.

A close up of the ad where you can actually see the phrase Horrorlust.

 

The official Horrorlust business card. Coming soon to a haunt near you!

The official Horrorlust business card. Coming soon to a haunt near you!

Those of you with a keen eye may have noticed that beneath my name it says “Reviewer & Videographer.” I absolutely delight in video production and earned my Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern Michigan University where I majored in Electronic Media and Film Studies. I produced a promotional video for a haunted attraction, Woods of Darkness in South Rockwood, and would love the chance to work with others in the haunt industry. Here’s a link to that video: Woods of Darkness Promotional Video. If interested you can of course leave a comment on this blog, call the number listed on the card, or contact me at the following email address: joel@bluestarproductions.net

 

Blackout Haunted House a different Breed

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on October 11, 2012 by bluefall8

Yesterday, I wrote briefly about the fabled Demonic Demons and the possibility that Zioptis had found a worthy successor — the news, as far as Michigan haunters are concerned, will undoubtedly be disappointing. The haunt in question is located in New York City, firmly outside most haunters seasonal bounds. The attraction is called Blackout and from what I’ve read it’s more in line with psychological theater than it is a traditional haunted house. Haunters must be over the age of 18 to enter the attraction and are required to sign a waiver, the real kicker however is the fact that guests are required to brave the darkness alone. That last fact is certainly an intriguing twist but I can’t help but to wonder if such a strategy would ultimately hurt the bottom line. A large draw of haunted attractions is the shared experience, it’s fun to go on an adventure with friends and have stories of laughter and fright to kick around for years to come. But as I’ve already mentioned, Blackout is not a typical haunted attraction.

The website for Blackout warns of physical contact, sexual and violent situations, water, and crawling. Apparently haunters are provided a flashlight and a medical mask that must be worn, guests are instructed to shout “safety” if they feel overwhelmed and wish to end the journey but other than that no speaking is aloud. The premise is raw and from the reviews I’ve read the experience sounds primal. A couple of reviewers commented that the experience were as if they had become a participant is a sick game straight out of Saw. The website does state that guests will engage in certain scenes where participation in disgusting or uncomfortable activities is required.

The whole affair certainly sounds interesting and darkly seductive. I can’t say for sure whether or not I’d go to an a attraction such as this if there were one close to home but I’d definitely consider it. Blackout does indeed sound as if they’ve taken the approach employed at Demonic Demons to another level, as Zioptis first suggested.