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 2012 - SWAMPED AND CONFUSED / CONFESSIONS OF A TURKEY KILLER
This is a turkey farm. You know what they do there, right?
So being around all that blood and guts is no big deal here, and "squeamish" is not part of their vocabulary.
The show starts in the ticket/concessions building with a fabulous collection of movie monsters, lots of them life size. There's a BIG emphasis on Frankenstein. Don't miss this!
WALK THE PLANK AND LIVE TO TELL THE TALE
On your way to the haunt, you'll encounter a mini-city that can serve as an instant backdrop for on-the-fly romps to fun land! There's small buildings of various sorts, but still big enough to actually enter. And AAAARGH MATEYS...there's a cool pirate ship that can be boarded!
The haunt's opening sequence features a fabulous Frankenstein. When he opens his eyes, you can feel his angst and sadness! The eyes are SO realistic, it's uncanny.
Doors can be tricky here, and our favorite example involves multiple-choices with different sized green doors. NO haunted house should have completely unmistakable paths throughout in our opinion. Hey, you're supposed to get turned around and/or lost sometimes right?!
The black hole here has a nice twist. You'll encounter a strange group of actors, but not from where you'd expect in a black hole. Very effective!
Also features a cool polka dot room, an excellent Pinhead guy surprise, and unique pink rope light usage.
Actors can make or break a haunt, and this haunt has two standouts.
First is a girl we've come to adore at this haunt, but is hardly noticed at first. Her strange eyes pierce your psyche with laser-like precision!
Our other favorite also makes a subtle entrance that increases the overall impact big time. It's a vegetation monster of sorts, and creepy is its middle name!
The exit of the haunt leads to a short maze to complete the haunt experience but don't stop there. You'll want to reward yourself for being so brave with some tasty snacks, homemade here daily! Cider and donuts are only the beginning, and your tummy will sing a song of satisfaction allllll the way home...wheeeeee!!!!
There's tons of pumpkins here too, so GIT 'YER PUMPKIN ON here dudes and dudettes!
PANIC AT PINE STUMP HOLLOW
6310 Gratiot, St. Clair, MI 48079
(810) 488-1086 or www.PanicAtPineStumpHollow.com
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2012 - YOUNG HAUNT SPREADS THEIR WINGS
They have SEVENTY acres. That's big.
This is their third year. That's young.
We predict a log history for this haunt, because they get it.
It starts with covered, heated waiting and ends in the forest with a bang you won't believe!
You'll want to do the walk-thru haunt first here...trust us!
The walk-thru gets real dark real fast, and we loved the owl taxidermy on the right with its giant wingspan.
All sorts of weird stuff suddenly comes to life, and confusion reigns big time here!
Excellent strobe light usage, a fabulous female half-torso, cool symmetry in the metal bar room, and we really liked the girl with her white face and white outfit.
The forest has a wide variety of scenes and weirdos, but in true show business style they've "saved the best for last." And THAT'S how you keep 'em coming back for more.
The Grand Finale here is a powerhouse slam-dunk combo that starts with a very special tent you make your way thru, and then to an excellent black hole to complete the Spin Cycle your body goes thru here!
No details other than 2 words: THRASH PIT!
You'll LOVE it. GO.
3319 Milan Road, Sandusky, OH
2.2 miles north of State Route 2
(419) 626-4467 or www.ghostlymanor.com
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2012 - VENTURESOME NOTIONS
Let's say you've already got an existing Mega Haunt, often considered to be one of the best in the country. It's wildly successful all on its own, so what do you do?
You add FOUR MORE HAUNTS on the same site!
Are they insane...or crazy smart?
At first it seems like overkill and oversaturation. C'mon now, FIVE HAUNTS ALL AT ONE PLACE?
But it works...like gangbusters!
Even seen like a Burger King open right next to a Wendy's and Taco Bell? It ends up bringing more total business of that kind to the area, and they all benefit and thrive even more.
Similar business model here. Now that's smart.
This principle works like gangbusters here, as the masses follow the giant eye on the sign out front that proclaims, "I Can See You!"
For starters, GHOSTLY MANOR itself has been re-done yet again with impressive results. The entrance is now to the far left of the amazing facade, and leads to the four other haunts as well.
FESTIVAL OF MADNESS INVADES SANDUSKY'S COOLEST HAUNT!
The new haunts have been brought in from all over the world! There's Darkmare, Caged, Quarantine and Eerie Chateau, each offering its' own unique experience.
This place is the busy parents dream! They can drop off the kids at the front door, and know they'll have hours of wholesome fun at a top-flight secured facility.
In addition to the haunts, there's the XD 4D theater, a roller skating facility, 3D mini golf, bounce houses, an awesome arcade, and a large horror-oriented gift shop!
ERWIN'S BARN OF HORRORS, CORN STALKERS MAZE & HAUNTED WAGON RIDE
61475 Silver Lake Road, South Lyon, MI 48178
(248) 437-0150, (888) 8-CIDER-7 or www.erwinorchards.com
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2012 - ONCE UPON A HUNGRY HAUNT
Once upon a time, there was a hungry orchard named Erwin's that lost all its apples when the blossoms froze.
So hungry. So sad.
Then a strange thing happened, but quite wonderful really...and now they're busier than a beehive just swiped by Pooh Bear himself.
DON'T PUT ALL YOUR EGGS IN ONE BASKET
A few years ago, a top-notch local artist teamed up with Erwin's to bring back their haunted attraction. All was well with the apple business, but haunting ran deep and passionately thru their blood. They knew what joy and excitement haunting brings, a shared experience unlike any other kids of any age can bond with.
Word spread quickly in the word-of-mouth community, which is hands-down the most effective advertising of all. Tons of blue LED lights were set up outside the Barn of Horrors that remain to this day. They are so cool looking, with ultra intense deep blue permeating your pupils like only LED lights can.
With the experiment's success came new plans for improvement to the barn, but also a whole new direction for a haunt and to our knowledge the first in the country to do this: Create an educational kid-friendly haunt that has good spookiness, but is strikingly beautiful with ultra vivid fluorescent paint glowing brightly throughout lit by a large network of ultraviolet blacklights.
The SPOOKY BARN was an instant wild success, with over 15,000 local schoolchildren attending to rave reviews from teachers and most importantly the kids it was designed for.
The SPOOKY BARN is available this year on a per-occasion basis, and still it gets better! Last year another kid-friendly educational fluorescent paint exhibit was created by the same exclusive, loyal artist for Erwin's. It's all about bees, and also features ultra-vivid colors and clever soundtracks. If you've got a big group of kids, this is ANOTHER SURE WINNER FROM ERWIN'S.
This is the very same orchard that was top-rated by AAA, and despite the horrible total crop loss this year Erwin's is thriving because they took a chance on reviving their haunted attraction.
You can still get the super fresh cider and donuts that are still sizzling this year at Erwin's, but we're not sure where exactly the apples came from. Well...who cares anyways...how many times has the Cherry Festival in Traverse City, Michigan had to import cherries from Washington? It's been a brutal growing season for Michigan orchards, and operators do what they have to do.
We didn't have time to do the maze, but we had a blast in the Barn of Horrors. The new final room is totally KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF WILD...well, actually not really socks...never mind what exactly! This way cool gag was custom made for Erwin's by an industry leader, and the results are spectacular.
After the wagon ride back to the main building, you can hang out at the bonfire and trade stories and laughs with other haunters. The jugs of apple cider are flowing, and their premium quality donuts are made with superior multigrain dough we haven't seen anywhere else so far.
Come for the haunt, but then share your experience and stories with old friends and better yet new ones too!
5010 Green Road, Stockbridge, MI 49285
(517) 937-4606 or www.scarenow.com
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2012 - RATTLE YOUR BONES AND ROCK YOUR SOUL AT THE BONEYARD!
Hundreds of smiling faces can't be wrong. Anytime we see large groups leaving a haunt, we try to ask them what they think of it. We had several opportunities for exit polling here, and got 100% favorable responses!
This is a double attraction haunt, featuring a walk-thru haunt that's mostly covered and a forest walk after a brief tractor ride on hay bales.
The walk thru haunt is way cool, and we really liked their choice of hard rock music like Godsmack.
One of our favorite rooms has a liquid sky display, featuring red and green laser beams galore with just enough fog to make the laser beams 3D. For many years, the only place you'd see a bona fide liquid sky was at major concerts at large venues!
LOOK BACK! To maximize your eye candy opportunity, be sure to look backwards as you reach the exit of the liquid sky room. A whole new dimension will pop out and grab your pupils!
STRANGE LITTLE CITY ON THE EDGE OF NOWHERE
The tractor ride out to the woods leads to a little city, with various stores and strange shopkeepers you won't see at the local strip mall!
Escaping the strange city only leads to more mayhem, as you try to find your way out of a deceptively difficult maze full of wild stuff! You can easily see where you want to get to...but how do we get there?!
A cool multi-experience awaits those who venture to THE BONEYARD, and we're sure glad we went again after having a blast there last year too!
THE SCREAM MACHINE
21207 Eureka, Taylor, MI 48180
(734) 309-0756 or www.thescreammachine.net
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2012 - SOLID EXPERIENCE SEALS THE DEAL
This is the only long running mega-haunt in Wayne county, and for good reason. Many others have come and gone, right in Taylor too several times. In fact, one year we counted a whopping SIX haunts in Taylor alone!
That year, we submitted an entry to the Guinness Book of World Records for the most haunted attractions in one city. They turned us down, but at least we tried! And then later, Guinness DID get on board the haunted attraction scene with another famous mega-haunt we KNOW you've heard of.
The Scream Machine has what you want in a quality haunt experience, and shakes and rattles you right from the get-go with a Hellevator sequence leading directly to an excellent black hole.
As luck would have it, when we arrived a group of about 50 youngsters from east Dearborn was finishing up their visit there. So of course we did our casual exit poll thing, and we got all kinds of wild descriptions of what had just happened to them.
Yes, this is an old stalwart on the haunt scene. But still they nailed it in the coffin big time for each and every haunt fan visiting here, including us!
SINISTER HAUNTED HOUSE
6991 Auburn Road, Utica, MI 48317
(586) 405-7660 or www.sinisterhauntedhouse.com
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2012 - UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE OF FEAR AND INSANITY PUSHES SINISTER OVER THE EDGE
All haunts make up their own gags, but this one goes it one better and makes up their own languages as well!
We heard lots of words from the outstanding actors here, but we recognized only a handful of them. No matter. Their meaning/intentions rang out loud and clear, right from the get-go with a girl wearing strange white makeup. She is clearly teetering on the edge of insanity, and wants desperately to bring you along for the wild ride. But then she flips out with a sudden identity crisis that has her crouched in an insect-like position and now speaking Insect!
Later a cook offers a fresh, hot serving of Maggot Soup that actually looks delicious...UNTIL you see what's in the ladle they're dipping in the pot...EWWW goes the squeamish girls!
Good spooky music, excellent surprises from unexpected places, and wild actors throughout!
Excellent gory scenes and props, and one of our favorites was the old electronic organ with the ghoulish organist. He starts by playing The Funeral March, and continues with a merry medley of death related tunes...until he too freaks out like almost everybody here!
The super high intensity final scene almost had us wondering if the "victim" was acting or not! Have you ever seen in the movies where a vulnerable young girl dies screaming bloody murder and ends up motionless with her eyes wide open?
Well, that's exactly what happens here. We won't say exactly how, but we will tell you that the girl in the final scene here ends up like that and does NOT blink! That's an autonomous function, but the actress is concentrating on being dead and it shows!
SOLID HIGH INTENSITY SHOW WITH QUIRKY EDGES!
DEADLY INTENTIONS THE FINAL CHAPTER
20900 Dequindre, Warren, MI 48091
(586) 222-6162 or www.DeadlyIntentionsHaunt.com
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2012 - WILD SWAN SONG IN WHACKO LAST HURRAH
It's all over.
The end of an era that originally began at a legendary trailer haunt many moons ago.
Once-upon-a-time a kid named Howie went to Mutilation Mansion in Madison Heights, Michigan and was so blown away that he ended up becoming a PERFORMER there the same night!!!
His mission became a burning passion that would not rest until he freaked out every kid that came to his haunt as much as Mutilation Mansion freaked him out when he was a kid.
He did it. He assembled the most whacked-out collection of unusual characters, ranging from demented to ultra silly and countless on-the-fly permutations.
One of our favorites was named Melvin, and his trademark thing was to always have a beanie-copter hat on. He said and did all sorts of hideous, bizarre stuff yet was dressed as a proper young schoolboy fit for boarding school.
But the main thing was always very simple at Deadly Intentions - shock 'em silly and blow their minds. NEVER for the squeamish, this is the haunt that raised many an eyebrow in their relentless pursuit to push the envelope farther than anyone else ever!
It just won't seem right next year, driving to the corner of good old 8 Mile & Dequindre and not seeing our old friend DEADLY.
But actually it's not over. Next year the torch will be passed to a new haunt operator. And they will then have their own chance to create another worthy legacy, all their own.
Nothing lasts forever. We can't wait!
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM ROAD
2020 Elm Road, Webberville, MI
(810) 429-9362 or www.nightmareonelmrd.com
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2012 - OUR HALLOWEEN TREAT TO OURSELVES
We must be crazy. Or maybe this place is addicting.
We've come here TWICE right on Halloween now, and this is only their 4th year. There's a walk-thru haunt and an outdoor cemetery walk.
It's not a mega haunt. No searchlights or Elephant Ears trucks.
We still don't really know where Webberville is, thanks to our talking GPS.
It must be that primal haunting urge that beckoned us to return, because no-nonsense, no-frills haunt scares are what you get here.
You can not tell where you're going...a whole bunch of times. It's totally pitch black, no open tops anywhere in sight. Love it.
A haunt should not be a breeze to sail thru!
The video intro to the haunt features a guy who looks a little like Einstein, but he's no genius!
After some door confusion, you're plunged into total darkness and must find your way thru some tricky navigating. Unsavory characters and unknown dangers are lurking, and strobe light attacks come fast and furious as well as slow and disorienting.
The walk-thru exit leads to the cemetery/forest walk, which also has excellent strobe light usage with varying speeds.
The rotten skeleton corpse creature was especially creepy, but there was beautiful eye candy too like a trail of purple and pink lights.
Multiple chainsaw attacks round out the experience at this young haunt with a bright future.
We took an informal exit poll here, asking "What did you think of the haunt?" The immediate consensus was "AWESOME!" 'Nuff said.
VFW Post at 6440 Hix Road between Ford & Warren
Â (734) 772-2443 or www.haunted-hallows.com
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2012 - TENACIOUS BELIEFS / CRAZY DREAMS REALIZED
This haunt believes they can wow the masses.
Being totally convinced of success ensures that's the only possible outcome of their hard work and passionate performances.
The show has changed again, but the basic hayride/walk-thru format remains and key features such as the high power dual strobelight staging area.
A short hayride on comfortable small carts takes you thru territory you're warned not to enter. But it's already too late, and the consequences come almost immediately as you make new friends that can not be un-friended with the push of a button.
Other hapless victims scream bloody murder with off-the-chart intensity, and we really liked the white makeup and the witch-girl hanging in a wooden cage.
The cart abandons you, and you're left to sink or swim your way back to civilization thru a wide variety of scenes and buildings. Sound effects and music styles change constantly, starting with a cool techno-groove type thing that gets your blood and your feet moving for an energetic start to your journey back to reality.
A mine shaft plunges you into a monster infested zone, and they would just as soon bring the whole place down rather than let you thru. After all, you were warned NOT to continue!
Not paying attention? Shame on you...that only provokes the relentless monsters in their ruthless quest to freak you out even more! It's your fault.
Each scene is essentially in a bubble from the previous gag, often going from outdoor settings to small buildings throughout your walk back to reality. This ensures the sound from each gag is isolated to its area, with little to no audio spillage.
Your final obstacle is a clever corn maze, small yet amazingly confusing. Finding your way out might not be so hard, if it weren't for the weirdos popping out of everywhere, and purposely misleading you thru the foggy strobe-lit madness!
This haunt is one lucky duck. They have a fabulous woods right behind their VFW post building, and it's not going anywhere.
The feel is perfect. The volunteers are passionate. It shows. GO.
1096 Biddle Avenue, Wyandotte, MI 48192
(734) 288-7024 or www.wyandottejaycees.org/hh
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2012 - INVASION OF THE HUNGRY HOUSE
Some haunts have elaborate facades to simulate various buildings, like an old residential house.
No need for that here.
This year's empty soon-to-be-demolished building for the Wyandotte Jaycees IS a bona fide old residential house! So the ambience is off-the-charts to begin with, and for some reason a large water wheel adorns the front right side of the house.
Amazingly, the CITY OF WYANDOTTE offers the Jaycees a list of buildings soon to be demolished and gives them their pick-of-the-litter! How's THAT for cooperation with city officials???
This year's choice is an old brick house complete with a large garage right off of Biddle, the main drag of Wyandotte. From Biddle you'll see a semi-tractor trailer that says "Jaycees Haunted House" on it, and you might be fooled into thinking this is a smallish trailer haunt.
The trailer is just for storage, and doubles as a billboard type sign to suck in their victims.
We fell victim to a sneaky monster almost immediately after arriving, before even emerging from our trusty Magic Bus! Then, in a flash, he slithered away under the trailer like a centipede on too many Red Bull's.
The haunt itself is more old school than high tech glitz and gore, and that pleases us to no end! Sometimes, less is more.
Innovation is great, but we need to keep the original values alive too. If the up-and-coming haunt operators won't do it, then who will?
KUDOS TO THE WYANDOTTE JAYCEES ON ANOTHER KILLER HAUNT!