DEMENTIA AT HAMPTON
2600 Club Drive, Rochester Hills, MI 48307
(248) 852-3250 or www.dementiaathampton.com
2010 ZIOPTIS SEZ - DYNAMIC NEW EFFORT NAILS IT!
This is a new haunt from some top pros in the Industry that already have 4 other haunts under their belts.
Excellent mix of music to match the different feels of various parts of the haunt. Cool rock music, then a famous opera segment that's got that giant, majestic feel to it. Later we were treated to a strange audio juxtaposition in the form of some awesome rock music, but with a singer you would imagine is on a stage at an opera hall in Italy. High and clear...perfect vibrato...then things go crazy as you turn the next corner and everything changes again in a flash!
Excellent makeup and clever use of LED lights. Weirdos eating things they definitely shouldn't, good surprises, and we really liked the dog creature that never got the rabies shot it desperately needs!
Why are some people afraid of clowns? One of them here lost his head, and there could be trouble...BIG trouble.
Features lots of awesome actors that impersonate statues with uncanny precision, and great special lighting effects to enhance the experience.
Next year they're hoping to expand into the giant barn also on the premises. And THAT could be an even more amazing story, waiting to be told some day at a bon fire with hot apple cider and donuts and good friends...
SINISTER GLOW HAUNTED HOUSE & MINIATURE GOLF
48886 Van Dyke, Shelby Twp., MI
Southeast corner of Van Dyke and 22 Mile Road
SPECIAL OFF SEASON SHOW!
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2010 - This haunt has some big ambitions, one of which is to provide haunted madness to the masses AFTER the last of the Snickers and Clark Bars have disappeared! We went on Saturday, November 13 of 2010.
There are lots of goodies here, including video games and awesome black lighting artwork galore. And the decorations have a unique flair; our favorites were the Jack-O-Lantern tree and the tall wolf creature.
Also featured is a painting of a barn of theirs that burned down in Armada along with 4 others in only 2 days!
Some of the other artwork reminded us of the Eastown Theater in Detroit, who along with the Grande Ballroom presented some of the most amazing early Detroit concerts by bands such as Pink Floyd, Elton John, and the Who.
One game that looked cool was a variation on the "Skee-Ball" game using a golf putter. But the owners have games of their own in mind too, like having a scavenger hunt for adventurous types.
The plan is to operate the haunt about twice a month, offering an evening of widely diverse entertainment and tasty treats.
The walk thru haunt is chock full of strange ambience, amazing attention to detail, and awesome retro props. Our fave was a super old telephone that seemed as a hot line to ghostly maniacs that suddenly sprang to life. It was like an insane asylum, with weirdos popping out from all over. Their crazy ranting quickly reveals a wide variety of disturbing mental disorders!
One of our favorites was a girl struggling in a strait jacket. She makes it painfully clear why she belongs in a strait jacket, describing horrible things she could do if only she could break free! GREAT STUFF.
Another highlight was an almost indescribable actress that materializes out of blackness on the floor. At first, you can't tell what the heck it is. But then it starts to take form and develops into a writhing blob of pulsating spookiness. ULTRA CREEPY.
This haunt also features a BLACK HOLE with the see-thru walking surface. Also, we really liked the dolly room with a real live doll creature girl with long blonde hair and a special chair that defies the laws of physics! WAY CLEVER.
This haunt is actually a secondary effort from the team at Haunted Hallows in Armada, which also impressed us this season.
GREAT OFF SEASON CHANCE TO SATISFY YOUR HAUNTING JONES!
REALM OF HAUNTED MINDS
Huron Turkey Farm, 18910 Merriman Road, Romulus, MI 48174 (corner of Sibley, entrance on Sibley)
(734) 753-9187 or www.myspace.com/huronturkeyfarm
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2010 - AMAZING MINIATURE WORLDS TO EXPLORE BEFORE KILLER HAUNT!
A miniature world onto its own awaits you here. Actually it's TWO of them! The first is in the ticket/food building. Be sure all of your group goes inside. An impressive array of full-sized and miniature characters demand close-up inspection. And they seem to have a serious man-crush on Frankenstein as you'll discover here, and then later in a most dramatic way!
Later as you make your way to the walk thru haunt, you enter the second mini world...
Miniature buildings of all sorts form a small city, complete with schoolhouses, etc. and even a jail which is new this year. At first it looks like the buildings are too small to be functional, but a battle erupts INSIDE the jail with horrible freaks of nature that should've been sentenced to death long ago. They stage a successful jail-break unlike any other you've seen!
The walk thru haunt offers a wide variety of haunt feels and types of physical gags. The actors are relentless and creative. Our favorite showed up again slithering about the floor, and suggesting all kinds of deliciously demented stuff - you won't be able to miss her trust us!
The walk thru leads to a short maze that's trickier than it initially looks like, don't get lost!
This is a turkey farm, but they have tons of pumpkins too! They're all lined up symmetrically and pretty, waiting for new homes! Won't you please adopt one of these worthy gourds? You'll feel better, and save a pumpkin from an explosive ending inside a pumpkin launcher. Can you imagine what that would feel like? You don't want that, do you? Or maybe that excites you, eh? Only your hairdresser knows for sure!
KRAZY HILDA'S BARN OF DOOM & COLEMAN'S CORN MAZE
12758 Jordan Road, Saline, MI 48176
Krazy Hilda's (734)¬ 550-2001 or www.krazyhildas.com
Coleman's Maze & Farm (734) 429-1212 orwww.colemanscornmaze.com
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2010 - HAUNT WORLD'S BEST KEPT SECRET REVEALED!
Bring the whole family! If the BARN OF DOOM is too much for the kids, they can have fun feeding small horses alfalfa cubes. Seems like an awesome equine gig to us, and they sure looked happy!
There are goats too, and they were dashing around and bleating their message of "feed me too"! Good photo opportunities abound, bring your camera.
The BARN OF DOOM has lots of basic tools of the trade, and they're handled very well. But what really sets this haunt apart from the others is the amazing variety of hand made/painted ghoulies. They've become a family tradition here, and are exclusive to this haunt!
But there's innovation too. One of our favorites is a room that's lit by a flashing ultra-violet blacklight that will throw your sense of perspective to the wind! In years past, blacklights never flashed because they were long, tubular fluorescent lights using a ballast.
And one special effect we've never seen before is a special fog machine. You won't be able to miss it on your right, as it spews its magic stuff in a most unique manner!
And one awesome strobe lit room casts its spell using a recycled mundane everyday object that takes on a whole new light!
Of course, all the props in the world don't mean diddily-squat unless you've got the actors to deliver the goods. Some of our favorites here were the wolf creature dude and the seductive vampire girl. Ohhhh boy!
If all this is too intense for the kiddies, no problem. Stick 'em on the hayride, which is not haunted. Saline is far away from the Big City lights that usually ruin star gazing. And looking up it seemed there were millions of stars to choose from, for making wishes that will surely come true!
Or bring the kids on Saturday or Sunday from 12 Noon until 4 PM for Friendly Monster tours.
Also on premise is Coleman's Corn Maze, which has 5 miles of trails encompassing 15 acres. We didn't have time to check it out, but we could hear lots of commotion!
3319 Milan Road, Sandusky, OH
2.2 miles north of State Route 2
(419) 626-4467 or www.ghostlymanor.com
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2010 - GIANT BREATHING WALL BECKONS YOU TO WALK ON THE WILD SIDE!
You won't have to look too hard for this haunt from the street, because a GIANT EYE will find you and grab your attention. Thanks to the wonder of LED lights, a giant video screen displays a single eye full frame that surely belongs to a mad man! It darts around as if paranoid, then locks into your gaze with sinister precision. You can't look away...even though you know you should!
When you get to the parking lot, the really big shew starts. The new facade is a monstrous structure, and it seems to be breathing! A long series of white floodlights flashes rhythmically with the music like the classic "color organ" of yesteryear.
That's all we're revealing about the facade, but trust us friends...it's awesome!
The haunt has been re-designed yet again, but their trademark touch of having LOTS of action in every room remains! It all happens SO fast, and there's SO much to take in.
But they're also masters of the subtle art of dark spookiness and anticipation. The skull room is to DIE for, and it seems several hapless patrons have already risen to the task!
Will YOU be their next victim? Either way, get ready for a BLAST OF AN EXPERIENCE AT GHOSTLY MANOR!
ERWIN ORCHARDS BARN OF HORRORS & HAUNTED CORN MAZE
61475 Silver Lake Road, South Lyon, MI 48178
(888) 8-CIDER-7 or www.erwinorchards.com
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2010 - BACK IN THE SADDLE NEVER FELT¬ ANDTASTED SOOOO GOOD!
Most farms/orchards have a barn, right? Well, this one's got some doozies and you'll see some towering structures that seem like they could belong to Paul Bunyan & Babe. But really they belong to a mild-mannered, very kind woman of average stature.
Haunted Attraction Masterminds come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and yes...genders too! Hey, this is the land of opportunity, right?
A short cart ride will take you thru the grounds as you get a glimpse into what makes an Apple Machine like this work. One barn seemed to extend as high as we could see due to the perspectives involved. Almost makes you dizzy looking up...
Horrible sounds and fog spewing out of the exit give only a clue to the intensity of what's going on inside.
5010 Green Road, Stockbridge, MI 49285
(517) 937-4606 or www.theboneyard-fx.com
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2010 - OMINOUS SIGNS LEAD TO STRANGE JOURNEY THRU FREAKED OUT FOREST
Virtually all haunts involve some kind of disturbing imagery. Lots of it is made in professional facilities like the Scare Factory. Yes, they offer high quality stuff, but some of the most effective gags/stunts we see are made by the haunts themselves.
And if you run a farm, you've got some totally unique chances for amazing gags just waiting for you to figure them out! Blake's, Slaughterhouse, and Haunted Farm of Terror have championed that cause for years with fantastic results, but now there's a new kid in town with THE BONEYARD.
You first take a short cart ride with about 25 people to the edge of the forest entrance, but as you approach you see giant mounds of dirt. There's like 20 of them about the size of a car! Why so many big holes being dug? Are they preparing graves for the victims who don't make it out?
Horrible, ominous signs this big can't be ignored...but as you get closer you see it's really giant piles of pine tree chippings/shavings! How's that for creative recycling? Leave it to those mad farmers!
The cart drops you off, and then you'll throw yourself at the mercy of the forest dwellers, such as they are. But the wide trail is well lit with good footing, so you should be safe. Physically, that is. Mentally? No promises.
Maybe you'll want to stop at the saloon for a brewski, it's only a ghost town ahead. But I wouldn't advise stopping...there's creepy stuff starting to happen left and right! The tour guide is useless; he's in cahoots with the monsters. I think he disappeared anyway...all I can see is that bright strobe light, flashing OH SO SLOW AND PERFECT!
Too fast of a strobe rate gives you the old time movie jitters. That can be amusing but it's usually comical in nature, out of character at a haunt in general.
After you get waylaid and endure all sorts of mayhem, you'll hike across a big field to the corn maze. Getting lost is a given, especially with those blinding strobe lights consuming our eyes! Cool.
The walk thru haunt is shorter than the forest walk, so it's a good way to wind down the evening here. When we were there, the monsters were cranking Led Zeppelin at one point. We still like Rob Zombie mind you, but this was a nice musical departure and a nod to one of the classic rock bands of all time. Rock on!
Good monster surprises, ambience, and we really liked a unique use of strobe light tubes.
This haunt rounds out the whole package with some super tasty food, provided by several venders. The homemade soup was fabulous!
TOLEDO, OHIO area
At Lucas County Fairgrounds, 1406 Key Street, Maumee, OH
(419) 897-7242 or www.terrortown.net
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2010 - HAS THE BIGGEST BLACK HOLE (aka Vortex) WE'VE EVER SEEN! It's actually SIX of them placed end-to-end for a total of 120 feet of spinning madness!
Special note: Unfortunately, the bands will not be playing here as planned due to city regulations. Next year it should be taken care of though.
This is a Mega Haunt that never disappoints. It was the first we know of to use a sort of crazy Smell-O-Vision system. Aromas of all sorts complete the illusion of being almost anywhere you can imagine!
They also pioneered a unique lighting system that puts the ONLY source of light RIGHT IN THE HAND of your groups' leader.
And they developed an improved "Buried Alive" gag that cut the number of faintings, involuntary bowel movements, and freak-outs by 50% as compared to the original highly claustrophobic version. Haha
(2016 disclosure: instead of standing in a special hallway this has patrons sitting on a bench while the plastic balls drop)
The feel here is somewhat reminiscent of a carnival midway, with all sorts of crazy stuff beckoning you in a multitude of delicious ways.
IT'S A GIANT, SPOOKY PARTY - GO!!!
20900 Dequindre, one block north of 8 mile in Warren
(248) 797-0676 or www.deadlyintentionshaunt.com¬
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2010 - DEADLY HAUNT GETS YOU NOW...AND LATER WHEN YOU LEAST EXPECT IT / MONSTERS ON A MISSION CRANK IT UP TO ELEVEN IN HANDICAPPED ACCESSIBLE HAUNT
We're reminded of an old movie we really like, actually a so-called Rockumentary by Rob Reiner entitled " This Is Spinal Tap." It's full of rock-star excesses and absurdities, and of course scantily clad girls.
At one point the guitarist is being asked how he gets his special guitar sound. He proudly shows off his special amplifier with a volume control that goes up to ELEVEN instead of ten! When asked why not have the same control divided into TEN increments instead, he says sometimes you need to go past the limit so this amp goes up to eleven!
Does that make any logical sense? Nope, and it's that same kind of convoluted mixed-up madness the monsters here are committed to deliver with a passion. And there's a scantily clad girl that helps a lot too in a way you would never expect!
The monsters here have a special motivation this year, cleverly designed to separate the brave from the wussies! You can buy two different tickets to this long-running haunt, the more expensive of which offers a refund of 10 bucks IF you can make it all the way thru the haunt!
But they'll do their best, or worst as the case may be, to freak you out so bad you'll run for one of the clearly marked "CHICKEN DOORS." They steadily increase their assault on all you know to be safe and decent as you make your way thru this bona fide Looney bin! And yes, they'll CRANK IT UP TO ELEVEN every chance they have to go past the limits of sanity as you previously knew it.
There's lots of disturbing imagery involved, but even more worrisome is the monsters willingness to embrace and promote evil adventures that society says are just plain wrong!
One of our favorite scenes involves 3 TV sets playing a video tape made by a troubled teenage dork. He's clearly insane, but he doesn't see it that way at all. To his thinking, his way of helping out is easily justified...but it all depends on your point of view. Hey...Jeffrey Dahmer was convinced he was a good guy helping the world out in his "own special way." And no, that's not like in the Genesis song!
One innovation we really liked will test your willingness to put certain appendages at risk after you take a leap of faith, "stepping up" to the occasion. You'll see...if you make it that far!
Courageous or cowardly? You will be exposed for what you really are at Deadly Intentions. It's not a test you can study for either...so good luck, you're going to need it!
SPECIAL NOTE: Despite the wild insanity here, DEADLY INTENTIONS is now fully HANDICAPPED ACCESSIBLE! If you're in a wheelchair, the only problem you might have is with your brain processing the barrage of bizarre behavior!
THE EXTREME SCREAM
4724 Dixie Highway, Waterford, MI 48329
Next to the OverTyme Grille 'n' Tap Room
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2010 - CREEPED OUT OLD SCHOOL POWERHOUSE HAUNT IN NEW DIGS
This haunt has a new home this year in Oakland County after being in Taylor for many moons. The full impact on scores of affluent youngsters won't be known for years, but we have a rough idea based on the reactions of people streaming out of here!
Yes, this is a high-intensity blow-yer-mind haunt. But of course, they are not responsible. It even says so right on the disclaimer sign at the entrance. If you choose to ignore the warnings...well, you'll see!
One mysterious room does things no room could possibly do! And another seems to have many ways thru you'll need to try...what happens if we get stuck in here forever with these weirdos???
"Back To The Basics" has never been so powerful a presentation as you'll experience here. The darkness and the sound are deep...sooo deep! But fabulous sound quality must be matched with fabulous content to seal the deal, and THE EXTREME SCREAM ACES IT.
VFW Post at 6440 Hix Road between Ford & Warren
¬ (734) 536-3651, (734) 751-4312 or www.haunted-hallows.com
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2010 - PINT SIZED ACTORS PACK A POWERFUL PUNCH
This awesome all volunteer haunt has expanded yet again!
Amazingly, right in the big city of Westland with all its shopping centers, restaurants, mad scientist labs, etc. there still remains at least one awesome woods area untouched by the concrete jungle.
It's right behind the VFW on Hix, so it's doubtful it'll be swallowed up by a strip mall. That's what happened to the old Johnny Appleseed's in Washington Twp. if you recall.
The show starts right away at the ticket booth bedecked in awesome sparkly pumpkins you can't miss! Then you'll take a short hayride in a small but very comfortable cart. Good variety of scenes, creatures popping out of everywhere, and excellent lighting.
Some of our favorites in the hayride were the cat creature girl, a really young monster we first thought was a prop, and the super tall witch attending to her cauldron.
It just so happened that on the night we were here, the cicadas were singing big time. It was awesome, and with the 700 watt strobe flashing at about 2 flashes per second high up in a tree it gave a totally unique ambience!
After the hayride, you'll walk back thru a wide variety of scenes and buildings. We really liked the "water music," and what's the deal with multiple graveyards? Why do they need more than one?
Be sure to look backyards often, as you'll see a whole new perspective and keep your eye out for dubious strangers anxious to make new friends. You'll see some amazing transformations, and when you're told where to look you'll see something breathe that should not breathe!
You'll get lost more than once, and be subjected to ghastly gags galore. We heard tons of screaming girls almost the whole time in the groups ahead of us, a very good sign!
Other faves were the Dracula dude with his weird accent, the butcher boy with his outrageous impromptu explanations, and the three smallest actors that delivered the biggest WOW of the whole sha-bang!
After you find your way out of the smallish corn maze, you can take an optional ride in the Astro-Liner which has a new show for 2010 "Monster Planet." We didn't have time to try it this year, but we liked it in the past.
There's even more to admire about this haunt, because it's an all volunteer effort whose biggest benefactor is the Veterans Hospital in Ann Arbor. We just can't find anything we don't like about this haunt!
THRILL KILL / WESTLAND JAYCEES
1645 Wayne Road, Westland, MI 48185
South of Ford Road, behind the Wayne Ford Civic League
Never forget: the haunt genre owes its very existence to community service organizations like the Jaycees!
BESTMAZE & TRAIL OF TERROR
3803 Noble Road, Williamston, MI 48895
(517) 521-2378 or www.bestmaze.com
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2010 - PICTURE PERFECT MAZE PACKS 'EM IN & THROWS 'EM TO THE WOLVES!
Can an intense haunted attraction also be a work of art? Travelers from many states besides Michigan know the answer is YES and make their way here every year!
Hey, even fine art can be twisted and deranged...is that why Van Gogh cut off his own ear in real life?
This Triple Threat Haunt proudly displays its new maze every year with FULL AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHS so what you see is what you get! And it's impressive, as you'll see in the pictures on their website and at the ticket area.
We've seen some fly-by-night mazes pop up occasionally, crudely constructed in a haphazard/discombobulated manner. And you won't see pictures either because there's nothing to be proud of. These "efforts" only tarnish the genre, and their creators didn't listen to their mommies when they were told "Don't try this at home kids, leave it to the professionals!"
So, how professional is BESTMAZE? Check this out: To our knowledge, they were the first outdoor haunt to implement a unique ridged design that automatically drains the pathway during rain! Remember a few years ago when it rained horribly during every weekend in October? To scores of other haunts it was curtains, but here was only a blip on the radar! Now THAT'S planning ahead in an innovative way.
This was our first time here, but certainly not our last.
WAY TO GO, BESTMAZE!
MASSACRE MANOR / WYANDOTTE JAYCEES
2324 Biddle Avenue, Wyandotte, MI 48192
(734) 284-FUN1 or www.wyandottejaycees.com/hh
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2010 - We often wondered how it is that the Wyandotte Jaycees seem to come up with the perfect building, year after year after year. It's always a building or house that's slated for demolition in the near future. There was a furniture store, a movie theater, abandoned houses...
Turns out these guys have it made in the shade Big Time. Every year, they're essentially handed a site on a golden platter by the very people that make things so difficult for countless other haunts - THE CITY GOVERNMENT!
And it makes so much sense too. And it's simple.
EVERY city has buildings that eventually must go, and the WYANDOTTE JAYCEES have their pick of the bunch. This not only ensures they'll have a great building, but also means the basic layout is never the same so it's always new again every year!