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 2011 - A GREAT FAMILY ADVENTURE WHERE FANTASIES COME TRUE!
This is a killer haunt for sure. But there's SO much more here for kids of all ages, including a ghost ship you can board. Now you're a pirate, ready to explore! There are miniature buildings of all sorts too, but not so small you can't actually get in them and jump into all sorts of fun role playing.
And sometimes the wackos here pop up in these buildings, and then it really gets crazy!
A slightly haunted kiddies playground is styled to look like a castle, and features a slide exit. It's really clever, and a sure winner with little ones too afraid of the main attraction. Look for the lit up skull to the right of the walk thru haunt.
Be sure to fully explore the ticket sales building. It's also a mini museum of haunted goodies and a source of some incredibly yummy, custom decorated cookies and baked goods that melt in your mouth.
Check out the life size Dracula on the left side of the building. It is SO realistic, especially the eyes. You almost expect him to jump out at you, like a frozen actor that lunges at just the right moment for "GOTCHA!"
The main attraction is the REALM OF HAUNTED MINDS, which is a walk thru haunt in a permanent structure.
Life's games have many boundaries. In football there's a line of scrimmage. In tennis, there's the singles and doubles lines. In hockey, there's a....whatever zone.
Or ever hear of drawing a line in the sand, as a warning not to come any further? Well, they don't have any sand here. They use blood! They have a "BLOOD LINE" you are commanded to stand behind.
But that's OK, because it gives you an up close view of an awesome opening sequence featuring the BIGGEST AND MOST REALISTIC FRANKENSTEIN we've seen!
There's some delightfully zany analog electronic equipment twists too, with meters to indicate Megavolts, Gigavolts, and even ZIGAVOLTS! Wow, we've never seen it go that far before. They must have watched the Spinal Tap movie where the guy cranks his guitar amp to ELEVEN.
Frankenstein is sleeping when we enter, but he's a light sleeper and soon wakes up. When he sits up and opens his big brown peepers, it's like looking into a sad puppy dog's soul. You can't help but feel sorry for him, but then he starts barking orders and issuing warnings. His voice is deeper than Lurch from the Addams Family. Perhaps he's just a misunderstood sweetheart of a guy. Or more likely we should heed his warning that we're about to enter the "GATEWAY OF YOUR DEEPEST FEARS."
Throwing caution to the wind as usual, we ignored the warnings and proceeded with reckless abandon. There's so much crazy commotion we can hear ahead, we just have to see what's causing it all!
But then right away we can't see at all, and our pupils open wide. Now we're an easy target, vulnerable to unseen monster's whims. We still hear goons everywhere, and there's left over body parts hanging. That can't be a good sign.
If we had any sense we'd run out that emergency exit. But that's for chickens, and we feel like hawks tonight. Maybe even vultures. You've got to fend for yourself when you encounter rough characters! Just don't TOUCH any of them though, ok? And they're not supposed to touch you either like at all haunted houses.
Also features an excellent black hole, a cool shrinking room, and we absolutely adored our new friend that slithered along with us! She had a green face, and the most bizarre looking eyes. Strangely seductive, yet alarming too as things unfold further. Whoa... she shoots an arrow into your soul with her blazing, piercing gaze...BULLSEYE!
Another favorite actor here shows it's not impossible to escape from a straitjacket after all. He's screaming at the top of his lungs, but his voice is hindered slightly by the cage on his head which is locked tightly shut!
So we've got this wild man flailing about with a cage on his head, horrible insects galore, a birthing chamber to squeeze thru...ahhh, that's the life!
Also features a short maze after exiting the haunt to complete your journey into the Realm of Haunted Minds!
And there are tons of pumpkins in the front yard, which is beautifully decorated and has tons of those deep colored LED light sets. As you're driving up to the lot here, the kids will start to ooh and ahhh!
SAIL THE HIGH SEAS TO TURKEY FARM TERROR at REALM OF HAUNTED MINDS!
3319 Milan Road, Sandusky, OH
2.2 miles north of State Route 2
(419) 626-4467 or www.ghostlymanor.com
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2011 - SANDUSKY'S BEST KEPT HAUNT SECRET FROM MICHIGAN!
Ask your average haunt fan from Michigan about haunts in Sandusky, Ohio and they'll probably tell you about a place best known for some really fast, really tall rides. If you go there, that's cool.
But if you do go to Sandusky, you'll be selling yourself seriously short if you don't check out GHOSTLY MANOR too. Trust us. You'll see. And if you're a parent, you'll see plenty of other contented parents here too. Content that their kids are having so much fun in so many ways, all in the comfort zone of one expertly planned facility.
MAJOR EXPANSION WITH NEW SHOW FOR 2011!
The new setup has the haunt line forming outside where a giant tent protects patrons in case of bad weather. They added BLACK LIGHT MINI GOLF inside this year too, so this is a great new diversification for them!
The new first part of the haunt takes some minimalist approaches that are a total departure for them. Our favorite is the simple, but highly effective gag where a single actor armed only with a single LED flashlight WOWS you! We actually saw a seminar at the HauntCon in Dearborn on this exact gag. Sometimes less is more. Awesome.
Subdued lighting and a dirt floor drive home a primal tactile experience that no commercial haunt prop could ever deliver. Also features good actor voicing's, ominous minor key music, great low frequency gurgling animal noises, a really tight and long birthing chamber, way thick vegetation to dig thru, TONS of body bags, slow strobes, and we really liked the special floor that makes your feet HAPPY! Whew. And we're JUST GETTING STARTED...
This place is so massive, they need lanes. Sorta. They have big arrows on the floor at strategic spots to help the masses find their way. After all, it's brand new this year and even the employees could get misdirected!
The skeleton room is fantastic, and features SLOW strobe lighting for a more intense feeling. As you may know, strobe lights can flash as many as 20 times PER SECOND. That gives a jittery stop-motion effect, often used commercially to observe fast moving equipment.
Then we saw that distinctive beautiful multi-colored carpeting we remembered at the previous starting spot of the haunt. And our memories of incredible amounts of gags and actors overloading our sensory capacity came back in a flash too!
One of our favorite rooms features a doll house mounted SIDEWAYS on the wall, reminding us of the Dutch artist M.C. Escher.
We won't even start to describe most of the rest here, but one room absolutely needs to be shouted about from roof tops everywhere!
It's the Confusion Room (our name for it) that greets you with super bright strobe lighting. Then a multitude of voices from many directions starts asking and telling you which way to go! There's speakers mounted in every possible nook and cranny the room has to offer, and they're all barking orders with wild voices and processing! WILD. Great stuff! In fact, THE BEST OF ITS KIND WE'VE EVER HEARD!!!
THE GAUNTLET throws down its challenge for you to find your way thru the newest addition to the arsenal of haunted goodies here. It's basically a maze, but it keeps changing it seems and the fence keeps getting in the way. Slow strobes add to the uncertainty of how to proceed, but if you follow the arrows you'll probably make it out alive!
The main building interior is a mini city of fun! There are people skating, kids whizzing by on scooters, a pizza stand, Skee Ball, movies, and the new black light mini golf.
Take the whole family, and let the kids play until they drop! Sleepy tight tonight children...
ERWIN ORCHARDS BARN OF HORRORS, SPOOKY BARN, 3D BARN & HAUNTED CORN MAZE
61475 Silver Lake Road, South Lyon, MI 48178
(888) 8-CIDER-7 or www.erwinorchards.com
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2011 - THE SECRET WEAPON THAT SNEEZED
This haunt has a secret weapon. It's actually one person. A woman. Someone who has chosen to be loyal to this haunt. And she sneezed.
Did we mention we admire loyalty big time?
It's like in The Shawshank Redemption...you always know your true friend will somehow come thru for you when it's down to the wire all or nothing do or die.
Ok, maybe it's not quite that intense. I don't know their exact arrangement, but I know this haunt has an exclusive on a brilliant artist. For years, she did their makeup. Oh yeah...she has purposely NEVER gone to another haunted attraction! This gives her a unique perspective, and a distinctive edge all her own you will see on the many and varied actors appearing in the BARN OF DOOM.
Yes, the barn has been re-vamped this year and is way cool!
But there's another story brewing here that may someday dwarf the others told here, around bon fires sipping cider and munching on donuts.
The loyal friend at Erwin's (we'll just call her D) has evolved into a multi-media artist, first creating the SPOOKY BARN at Erwin's and NEW THIS YEAR the 3D BARN.
Both are designed to be "happy feelings" friendly for even the youngest toddlers, but are captivatingly beautiful and even impressed teens who gave comments like "Cool!" and "awesome."
The SPOOKY BARN is next to the BARN OF DOOM and is haunted but in a playful, whimsical way. You'll see lots of smiles, but no apprehension anywhere in here. The displays are all done in ultra vivid fluorescent paint, lit with multitudes of safe long-range ultraviolet black lights. With the 3D glasses on, it's eye popping!
The new 3D BARN is packing 'em in at this haunted attraction. But it's not really haunted at all. In fact, you could say it's a cleverly disguised nature lesson. After all, if they're having fun it's not a chore like boring geology lessons, right?
Various displays depict bees and the many ways they help the world go 'round. It's fun to look at, and the colors are SO deep and SO bright. Oh yeah, it's educational too! Who would've imagined a HAUNTED HOUSE would come up with something like this?
D did. Then she made it happen. Dreams do come true.
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2011 - ERWIN'S 3D BARN IS A SURE WINNER!
SOUTHFIELD'S HAUNTED NURSERY
24620 West 9 Mile Road, Southfield, MI
(248) 361-5945 or www.hauntednursery.com
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2011 - GHASTLY GREENHOUSE ACTION GALORE AT HAUNT WITH A CAUSE
If there's one thing I love, it's when we arrive at a haunt and the action starts IMMEDIATELY. At this haunt, it started before we could even open the car doors! Some wacky girl is wildly flailing about and being exceptionally silly. AWESOME.
This whirling dervish spun around the crowd weaving her web of zaniness...then suddenly she starts a dance party with some serious looking booty dancers ready to bust a move!
Next thing we know, this amazing crazy girl whooshed the whole group of us onward and out of the tent...then locked arms with my fearless partner and skipped away with her like little girls on their way to hop scotch singing, "Lou, Lou, Skip to my Lou...Skip to my Lou, My Darling..." Wow, she's an instant time machine too!
Is there ANYTHING this incredible imp CAN'T do? That remains to be seen, as she still runs rampant here last we heard. You will NOT be able to miss her, trust us.
But that's just the opening sequence! You have quite a journey waiting for you here as you make your way thru 9 green houses. Each has a different theme, and a wide variety of weirdos, monsters, and questionable characters galore in many questionable circumstances.
It's almost like nine mini haunts all wrapped up in a giant haunted adventure sure to please!
5010 Green Road, Stockbridge, MI 49285
(517) 937-4606 or www.theboneyard-fx.com
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2011 - STRONG YOUNG DOUBLE FEATURE HAUNT ON ITS WAY UP!
We lucked out big time. It was raining lightly when we arrived here this year. Huh?
They have a new green laser gobo projector, mounted near the top of the ticket booth facing towards the woods you end up in later. The droplets of rain, illuminated into thousands of little 3D sparkles in the sky were breathtaking! You've probably seen green lasers indoors, with fog to turn the beams 3D which is the so-called "liquid sky" effect. But with rain instead...WOW!
With a wild mood now set, we ventured into the walk thru haunt here first. We could hear the song "Stone Cold Crazy" playing in the distance. Hmmm...stone cold like dead? Crazy like that weirdo lurking in the darkness? What happened to Rob Zombie? Could be trouble.
If we had any sense we'd turn back. Then again, if we had any sense we wouldn't drive thousands of miles every year going to as many haunts as humanly possible either. So we foolishly keep going, despite being warned from the get-go we're at a "Boneyard." Maybe it's not human bones.
Right away we noticed they live dangerously here. They left the refrigerator door open, don't they know about the perils of spoiled food? But one look at the weirdos here, and we realized bad food is the least of their problems.
Bad food and bad manners seem normal to them. Ripping off legs is ok too. And they're laughing hysterically, like they just saw grandma slip on a banana peel and break her hip.
Good variety of spooked out scenes and characters, cool old feel, and blind passageways. We especially liked the swamp creature that suddenly emerged from thick vegetation, and the super tall crazy clown dude stalking us.
One of our favorite rooms features a black hole like feel, created by spinning lasers beams instead of the giant cloth tunnel. Red and green laser beams spin in a multi moonflower type of pattern, with just enough fog to turn the beams dramatically into 3D midair. When you get to the end of this room, LOOK BACKWARDS! You'll see a whole new dimension to this effect, with even more intense 3D action with hundreds of tiny beams of laser light. They're low power, as with all lasers used at haunts so stray beams won't damage your eyes.
We also really liked the giant Jack-In-The-Box, the weird Yoda like creature, and the pirate who finally found a treasure chest full of riches beyond belief. Maybe he can pay off our credit cards. Maybe he will make us walk the plank instead. Maybe we should get out of this crazy house! Just follow the chasing strobe light tubes that lead into this room...that's shrinking.
At this point, I'm not really sure what exactly happened. I followed the strobe lights into the shrinking room, but somehow my partner ended up on a slide instead! I somehow caught up to her just before the monsters could escort her to the disrobing chamber. Whew! That was a close one.
Having escaped certain death or worse, we continued our journey to the haunted woods. A cart holding about 20 takes you on a hayride to the woods. You can see lights flashing thru the corn, and the green laser on the ticket booth dances clearly in the sky with geometric designs racing wildly! At this point, you're looking towards the projector and that's when you catch the best liquid sky type effects.
The corn field is huge, and as you approach the woods entrance there's a whole bunch of giant mounds looking like dirt that's been dug out to make graves! WHAT are they preparing for?
Porta-Johns are available just before you enter the forest, highly recommended for the squeamish. We've seen pictures at some haunts of silly girls who ignored this prudent advice, and you don't want to be one of those!
A log cabin house leads into a strange little ghost town of sorts, and features a real estate offering you'll want to pass on. The house is cheap but the girl in lace there had her bottom torso ripped off, probably by the guy with scissors for hands. Her intestines are showing, how embarrassing! Don't stare...it's rude.
Later we saw proof that the name of this haunt is no accident. There's some leg sized glow-in-the-dark bones strewn about that never got buried with the rest of whoever they came from. It's almost like they're trying to find their way into the grave, to finally find peace and closure. They're out of luck. This place is anything but peaceful, and closure won't come until all the plastic diapers in the world's landfills decompose.
Also features a bottomless pit cauldron illusion that's quite effective and we liked the cave formations before leaving Ghost Village.
At the "Lucky Saloon" you'll be lucky to find your way out! Doors aren't necessarily doors here, and the slow strobes dispense their disorientation in a lazy fashion. They don't care about your plight. Do you get lost easily? Even if you're a human GPS, you will get lost!
If you make it out, you're not out of the woods yet. Not by a long shot. The corn maze is next...what's the deal with that weird bicycle up there? Much corn maze confusion will befuddle you, with sensory assaults of all kinds thrown in for good measure.
It looks like they mowed a path, but its direction is strangely skewed. At first it looks like you're heading away from the woods back to the entrance area. But then it looks like you're headed back to the woods again! You can see a giant tree you need to reach, but getting there is illusive.
Don't listen to what the ghoul wielding his chainsaw says. Anyone holding you at bay with a chainsaw at your neck should not be trusted to have your best interests at heart. He probably doesn't even have a heart. Beware.
Just before you finally make it out of the maze, you'll be asked if you know what happens to snitches who rat on monsters and others who misbehave on purpose. The answer is delivered in a highly dramatic fashion that will literally engulf you!
After the woods experience, we sat around a bonfire with the locals trading stories and sipping cider. Yum. Hey, did you hear about that one haunt where...
8266 West Baldwin Road, Swartz Creek, MI 48473
(810) 407-3035 or www.spookytrails.com
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2011 - ZOMBIE HUNTERS PARADISE
How accurate is your aim? Are you a bona fide Sharpshooter? This haunt offers an unusual hayride where these questions and more will be answered.
They have a conventional hayride with a giant cart filled on both sides and the middle, with happy feet dangling over the edge. It's way long, and nature lovers will appreciate the beautiful unspoiled setting of this farm. It feels for all the world like you're way "UP NORTH," but you won't find any "Fudgies" here!
The other hayride has a different mission, in fact it's like a big game safari and YOU are the hunter. The game? Zombies. The living un-dead. Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to convert the Zombies from UN-dead to just DEAD.
You'll be equipped with the latest and greatest in Zombie Hunting Gear, a gun fully loaded and ready to shoot 'em up! The projectiles? High intensity paint blasts; it turns out that Zombies are highly susceptible to this kind of attack.
HAUNT PROVES SIZE MATTERS
Ever heard "good things come in small packages?" The walk thru haunt at Spooky Trails is the "Saw Mill" which proves this old axiom when you come face-to-face with a pint sized actor that has a 20 foot attitude and fabulously bizarre makeup. Awesome!
The fast strobe outside the building lures hapless haunters inside where THEY are in control of what you see, hear, and experience in one compact journey.
Right away, my partner quickly made "new friends" with a strange looking dude with great makeup. Chamo-netting gives an outdoors feeling, and the music/sounds keep changing to reflect the new environments. First we hear the banjo opening strains of the song from the movie "Deliverance." Just those 9 notes conjure images of inbreeding that went WAY too far...what's coming up here?
Suddenly you're alone with thousands of cicadas chirping their distinctive songs of desperate passion. It's foggy...there's a choir ahead singing ominously...we can't find our way...we're lost again...FLASH! A BRIGHT STROBE LIGHT PULSATES ON OUR PUPILS, then suddenly we're plunged into darkness again.
We also really liked the taunting children's rhyme singing, some unusual pipes and valves, and the girl that has a horribly ghastly suggestion of what you should play with! As usual, I went along with the madness...to the cries of "ewwww!" from my usually resilient partner. There's an exception to every rule, right?
SHORT BUT SWEET, SMALL YET MIGHTY!
THE SCREAM MACHINE
21207 Eureka Road, Taylor, MI
Â in shopping plaza next to the Gibralter Trade Center, directly across from Hooters
(734) 309-0756 or www.thescreammachine.net
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2011 - DOWNRIVER MEGA HAUNT WITH POWERHOUSE SHOW & GREAT 3D
PAPP PARK HAUNTED HOUSE & HAYRIDE
In Papp Park, 1/2 mile west of Telegraph. Take Telegraph to Wick Road west, go approximately 1/2 mile to Westlake and turn left. Entrance will then be on the right.
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2011 - PAPP PARK HITS HAUNTED HOME RUN WITH POWERHOUSE HAYRIDE
This was our first haunt of the evening, and we arrived before the first cart went out. Everyone was milling about casually; unaware the show had already started. It was just a matter of time until someone realized it. And when that happened, all bets were off!
There are lots of trees in this area, so nobody noticed at first. But an imposing FREDDIE dude was standing motionless next to the biggest tree. The girls started shrieking, but still he remained frozen in time like a marble statue. It must be a dummy. It's totally motionless, and makes no sound whatsoever. It's OK after all.
Then one of the girl's brave boyfriends makes a mistake. He wanders into Freddie's personal space, and he suddenly springs to life! He starts his ominous approach, walking deliberately but very slowly.
He is armed and ready for action. His pace never varies. The people scatter like frightened rabbits scampering to mommy, but Freddie does NOT speed up his pursuit. If anything, he's SLOWED down a bit. But still he comes. GREAT STUFF!
Once on the comfortable hayride wagon with both sides facing inwards, the announcer makes a disclaimer announcement that's completely OPPOSITE of what we've heard at all the other hayrides! What's the deal? Are they rewriting the rules to their own liking?
The strong tractor speeds us thru muddy trails as multitudes of demented behaviors are joyfully displayed. The attacks are loud and up close and personal, with monsters jumping on and off the cart like ping-ping balls in a Chinese competition.
And one dude is crawling...BUT he's also BENT OVER BACKWARDS while doing it! "DOUBLE PLUS GOOD CREEPY," as George Orwell would say.
We really liked the "No More Mr. Niceguy" electrocution scene, the "Gates of Evil" sequence with the pinhead guy, and "The Ring" tribute with a scraggly haired girl emerging from the well.
At "Ronnie's Play House" you get your chance to clown around with clowns who love to clown around. Sorta.
Later, abduction is attempted by Michael Meyers on a hapless girl. He yanks her off the cart by a leg, but her friends grab her arms just in time to stop him. But Michael is not letting go. Neither are her friends. What a predicament! Here she is, being stretched out like saltwater taffy in the hot sun by multiple sets of hands. Whatever will she do?
The volume level of the hayride patrons often exceeded that of the monsters and the modest boom box sound system on the cart which played different soundtracks at each stop along the route. That's actually the only weak spot with this hayride, and has been on their "to do" list we know based on previous talks with them. We have a serious soft spot for this haunt because they benefit the local Little League Baseball. Maybe a powered Mackie speaker would do the trick...
GREAT SHOW FROM BEGINNING TO END!
This haunt also has a modular walk thru haunt that we liked in previous years. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to include it in our visit this time.
TOLEDO, OHIO area
at Lucas County Fairgrounds, 1406 Key Street, Maumee, OH
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2011 - BUCKEYE MASTERS WOW THE MASSES & PREPARE FOR ULTIMATE HAUNT WRAP-UP PARTY!
When your haunt is REALLY KILLER, word gets out. In the end, word-of-mouth is THE most powerful form of advertising. And when that happens, your parking lot fills up. Quick.
It takes a LOT of planning and work. And at Terrortown, they'll start work on NEXT year's show in a few months! That's commitment. That's drive. And that's why this haunt should be on your haunt destination list, if you haven't already been here.
NEW FOR 2011 - "BIG TOP TERROR," A FABULOUS NEW 3D DISPLAY BY INDUSTRY LEADER STU SMITH!
How do they do it? This haunt is never the same! This time there's yet another expansion AND a brand new 3D display by industry leader Stu Smith.
BIG TOP TERROR brings a new dimension to a familiar theme in haunts - KRAZY KLOWNS. You'll see eye popping exquisite 3D everywhere, INCLUDING the floors! Are you afraid of clowns? Entrancement could easily override any such silly phobias here, for a moment anyway. But after that, it's an all-bets-off-free-for-all with you know who in charge of your sorry fate.
Where's Bozo when we need him? Now THERE was a clean cut, decent clown...never made a girl pee her pants in his life...the kind THESE clowns chew up and spit out like tobacco juice from a professional baseball player, whose mouth is shown on camera full frame on worldwide TV.
Gross. You'll see. If you don't chicken out, that is.
Chicken out. Don't risk it. They are not responsible for permanent psychological stains that won't go away.
This haunt has some deep roots. The owner's uncle ran the JAYCEES IN TIFFIN, OHIO years ago. Who remembers THE NIGHTMARE WITHIN?
The main haunt here is an amazing journey, with tons of great actors and animatronics galore. Some of our favorites were a massive muscle man and a giant hand that WILL get you!
Also features the LONGEST BLACK HOLE to our knowledge! Actually, it's SIX of them placed end to end. They're all in perfect synchronization, and give the most dazzling experience ever in one of these optical illusion beauties!
The Black Hole effect (sometimes called a vortex) is supposed to give a feeling like you're in outer space spinning towards infinity. With a standard length of 20 feet, one black hole has a hard time accomplishing this task. But SIX of them all lined up perfectly? YES. That's IT.
But don't get 'yer panties in a bunch if you're afraid you'll lose it and get so dizzy you'll fall down. Since it's a visually based illusion, if you CLOSE YOUR EYES the motion sensation will instantly disappear!
The outdoors graveyard has been revamped and expanded as well, preparing you for the last leg of your journey into never-never land!
Are you afraid of snakes? We saw a Boa Constrictor ready to hug his new friends who stay too long. Better move along, he has the HUG THAT KILLS.
The animatronics are totally off the hook here! And you won't see anything like them anywhere else either. They didn't come from the Scare Factory. They didn't come from any store. The dude here MADE THEM HIMSELF.
WARNING: TERRORTOWN IS HIGHLY ADDICTING, EVEN AFTER ONLY ONE EXPOSURE.
THE DEADLAND HAUNTED HOUSE
20900 Dequindre Road, Warren, MI
(248) 376-3459 or www.thedeadland.com
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2011 - AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT!
This haunt is completely new, because a whole new crew put the show together this year! And next year, they'll assume full ownership and take full control to complete the transition here.
A whole new feel awaits you now, and there are some intricate details you'll want to savor. And they mix it up big time, ranging from the most subtle possible minimalist lighting to blazing attacks from zooming things assaulting your senses when you least expect it. YES!
We could hear some strange wailing animals ahead...whoa...now they sound human...WHAT is the deal? Did some hapless patrons get trapped in this madhouse?
One highly psychotic character insisted I was a bird. Never mind why, or what he intended to do when I complied...I'm just too ashamed...I can't talk about it now.
Why do some people laugh at people caught in embarrassing situations? Endless, maniacal laugher is rarely polite...get over it already. Man up. Or get out. Hey, they'll be more than happy to show you the chicken's way out - every haunt is required to have emergency exits! But if you do, get ready for even MORE laughter as the girls point at you and giggle.
Excellent decor and props throughout. We really liked a certain cabinet full of dolls, and right nearby was a nod to a favorite fantasy classic in the form of a copy of "The Wizard of Oz." It looked WAY OLD, could be an antique.
But our ABSOLUTE FAVORITE antique prop was a mint condition original Victrola record player. Anybody remember 78 RPM records? Round things, spinning real fast...a needle is placed on the disc and scratchy sounding music emerges. Even just the LOGO for this product is legendary, and was used for the RCA Records label for eons. It shows a dog bending his ear towards the Victrola record player with the slogan "His Master's Voice."
The crew is new this year...but one trademark this location had become famous for remains intact. You will come face to face with this realization when you meet Mookie. Never mind the details. Let's just say that once again the proud tradition carries on...and the ENVELOPE HAS BEEN PUSHED...AGAIN!
The cycle is complete. Old becomes new...
GOD BLESS THIS MESS!!!
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM ROAD
2020 Elm Road, Webberville, MI
(810) 429-9362 or www.nightmareonelmrd.com
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2011 - ACTION PACKED HAUNT DENIES INVOLVEMENT IN HEWITT FAMILY DISAPPEARANCE
Before we even got inside this haunt we saw some weird and disturbing stuff. Like a guy sitting whose head is flashing like strobe lights at the disco.
Hmmm...I guess that shouldn't concern us because there's a scene close to the haunt entrance featuring a large circular saw. And it's big, like the kind used to rip thru trees fresh out of the forest. But it's not a tree that's ready to be cut. And the guy holding the handle is a CLOWN.
After several groups of haunters ran out the exit screaming, we knew we were at the right place on Halloween to see a haunt new to us!
Once inside, we see a television "newscast" about an unsolved mystery the Travis County Police have been stumped on since 1973. It seems there was a family named Hewitt that suddenly vanished without a trace...right there in Webberville!
Moments after the video, everything vanishes and we're plunged into total darkness and a room that's shrinking! Tight passageways abound, and horrible things can be heard happening ahead.
The worst is a would-be "sheriff" who loads his gun right in front of you, then starts yelling about how he will "BLOW 'YER HEAD OFF!" Based on the number of body bags hanging, he's bagged more than his limit. But who's going to prosecute him? After all, HE'S the sheriff.
It just goes to show you can't fight city hall. Or a sheriff with a shotgun at your head.
Features excellent modern sounding weird music with lots of cool keyboards, surprise pathways, good monster interaction, and we really liked the girl that slithers up from the floor with hair all over her face!
Then the journey takes you outdoors, down a small hill to "Camp Crystal." Frankenstein is hanging out here, I'm not so sure we should. The fast strobe gives a herky jerky stutter-motion vision, like an old time 2 cent talkie machine.
Then we're herded into another building, only to find ourselves twisting, turning, and fenced in for the amusement of the local monsters. We can understand that, but one thing did puzzle us. In one scene, a stove is featured with a bass drum placed next to it. Huh? I happen to be a drummer myself, but my pleas for explanation fell upon deaf ears.
With the cool music getting louder as we continued, we had an assault from a different kind of actor. A miniature monster if you will, about 4 feet short but TALL on attitude. He stalks us, then suddenly freezes in his tracks, screams "1, 2, 3...TOMMY!" and freaks out. The obligatory chainsaw attack seals the deal, and you're sent on your merry way.
VFW Post at 6440 Hix Road between Ford & Warren
Â (734) 772-2443 or www.haunted-hallows.com
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2011 - NEW SHOW, NEW FEEL AT PREMIER VOLUNTEER HAUNT!
This haunt has reinvented itself again, with new sets and a whole new feeling. You still take a short hayride first. But it's darker and creepier now, with new gags, monster wise cracks, and taunting.
Right from the get-go, you'll notice the new feeling this year. The pretty, sparkly pumpkins are gone. The high flying strobe is gone. We didn't miss them at all.
Hey, have you ever heard of a "hole shot?" My oldest brother showed me this long ago in his Boss 302 Mustang, built to the gills to eat Corvettes and Camaros for lunch. It's where you get your tires on something slick, and then FLOOR IT! Well, the tractor driver here must think he's my brother back on Telegraph...waiting impatiently at the red light for the green OK to light 'em up!
The haunters are secure in the comfortable cart, unaware of the driver's wild side about to erupt. Or the horrible predicament he creates head on with you stuck in the middle.
With no warning at all, he FLOORS IT and your wild ride starts thru a new collection of characters and scenarios sure to please even the most discerning Michigan haunt fan where we proudly sport the distinction of being the WORLD CAPITAL OF HAUNTED HOUSES.
A clever story line sets the stage for the mayhem about to ensue. Many of the same actors have taken on new roles and personas. The guy eating a hand is especially creepy, and what the heck is that poor girl stuck in? Don't try to help her, or you could find your life turning on a dime and ending up like her. Or worse. I wouldn't risk it. In fact, skip this place altogether. Don't go.
If you are still reading this, you've been wise enough to ignore my silly advice. Good job. You've passed the first test.
Your next test comes after they dump you off the wagon in the recesses of their private forest full of stuff you have nightmares of but hope to never see in real life. You will see them. And they're quite convincing, because the actors seem to actually believe that they're not human anymore.
We were half expecting the little witches to don their broomsticks and fly off to never-never land. That would have been impressive, but what they did INSTEAD.....gasp!
And the woodsy mood went thru the roof when suddenly we heard choruses of cicadas, chirping their little hearts out for us.
Have you ever had a recurring bad dream? One that you hope never comes true? I used to have one where I had to find my way thru a descending cave like path that eventually was JUST BARELY big enough to get thru. I can't remember why I had to do it, in fact I had pretty much forgotten all about that nasty nightmare. Until now. Thanks a LOT, Haunted Hallows.
The rest of the walk back to civilization will find you encountering a wide variety of scares and ambiences. And be sure to believe everything the monsters tell you. Right. Don't end up like we did, you should question everybody and everything here.
What's with that weird bubbling, water music? I don't see a stream...is something drowning? Or are they cooking something down? These questions and more will not be answered as you forge your way thru this monstrosity of mayhem and twisted realities.
We really liked the new MAD PROFESSOR ROOM, but aren't professors supposed to teach things actually based in fact? But remember, one man's fact is another's folly so watch yourself here. Actually, don't bother. It's not gonna do you any good.
In many scenes the actors provided the only sounds you hear, and some of them have turned into hideous animals. But you'll also hear an excellent blend of wild, spooky sounds and ominous music, bell tolling and other oddities.
One last piece to advice to help you survive your perilous journey here. When you get to the NOODLE ROOM with tons of those soft poles hanging and fast strobe lighting, DO NOT look up.
The warnings have been given. Will you heed the plea, or be foolish and crazy? Since you're a haunter, we already know your answer.
Go here. Go crazy. Go...have the time of your life.
Also on premise at this haunt is the "ASTRO GLIDER," a cool space ride simulator that will thrust you into outer space!
CRYPT OF CARNAGE - WESTLAND JAYCEES
1645 Wayne Road, Westland, MI 48185
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2011 - NEW CREW WITH FRESH FREAK OUTS!
The Jaycee Youth Club supplied the new actors this year, and WOW are they energetic! A non-stop barrage of twisted weirdos will challenge you with concepts from beyond, sometimes following you closely to deliver their impassioned pleas to join their quest into mayhem.
Some of them are kept safely behind bars, but even bars can't prevent them from infecting your mind with bizarre possibilities just waiting to be realized.
One especially wild sequence has a dubious doctor type asking you to assist in a horrible ghoulish "surgery" on a hapless girl that screams upon deaf ears for mercy. You will be commanded to obey the doctor, but doing so will only encourage him so we suggest you ignore him.
Also ignore the monsters when you get to the room where you must choose a door to your future. Failure to follow this advice may result in temporary insanity, so watch yourself. They are not responsible. You are. It's your fault for getting yourself in such a fix. You'll have to figure out a way to get out of it.
And what's the deal with the creepy girl watching TV? There's no picture, only static. Her mutterings only hint at what SHE sees on the screen as she hallucinates stuff you don't want to ever see in real life.
The show continued right until the moment we sped away from this haven for horrible creatures, with Michael Myers looming dangerously close.
Next year this haunt is hoping to have a new building to use, and that could easily propel this haunt into a new dimension of dementia!
KUDOS TO THE JAYCEES for developing character and community minded youth, while encouraging their crazy sides too! Don't ever forget that the haunt genre itself owes a big debt to Jaycees groups. Their early era shows largely created the big interest enjoyed by haunts to this day.
LOCKDOWN - WYANDOTTE JAYCEES
936 Ford Avenue, Wyandotte, MI 48192
(734) 288-7024 or www.wyandottejaycees.org/hh
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2011 - PRAISE THE LORD AND PASS THE AMMUNITION
This haunt has a special advantage each year. It also has a special disadvantage each year. Huh?
On a usually annual basis, the awesome city of Wyandotte supplies the local Jaycees with a choice of empty buildings about to be demolished to use. Whoopee! A whole new haunt every year! Oh no! We have to start from the ground up every time.
This is exactly the kind of challenge the Jaycees thrive on. Their mission to build character and business savvy in youth manifests itself in many ways, preparing them to achieving their life's dreams and aspirations.
This year's building used to be a motorcycle club! Taunting that "You won't get out" fills the air, but we ignore the warnings and are quickly plunged into total blackness.
But there's lots of crazy talk ahead, and crazy people often need restraining. Sure enough, they're safely locked in cages. And the name of this year's show is Lockdown, glad it's them instead of us!
But the journey is far from over. There's girls screaming bloody murder nearby, and a gruesome shower scene reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho" shows you why.
Good misdirection, chainsaw attacks, radioactive goons, and we really liked the creepy girls imploring us to "Stay with us!" No thanks, they belong in a freak show...not in public.
The show continued right until the last possible second, when a monster in full costume literally jumped right in our magic bus as we prepared to leave!
Great stuff! THANK YOU JAYCEES.