Web Design
2013_A

ASHLEY

TERROR ON 27

8691 South Bagley, Ashley, MI

(989) 838-2562 or www.terroron27.com

ZIOPTIS SEZ 2013 - DELIGHTFUL INSANITY...AND THE BEST EATS AROUND!

There are 3 attractions here with 2 walk through haunts, as well as the ANIMOSITY maze we didn't have time for. INSANITY and ENTANGLEMENT are the walk through haunts, mixing it up big time with totally different feels and themes.

The opening host of INSANITY seems harmless enough, with his frizzy beard and hair...but really he's just a decoy to trick you into entering a domain full of people who forgot to take their Thorazine.

After a surprise transition from a small chamber to a large garden with a really nasty Venus Flytrap, you'll encounter various weirdos that clearly have no idea they're insane...or do they?

It's a fine line between genius and insanity...be careful of what you say or you may just push these characters over the edge of reality into Never Never Land!

We really liked the forest creature dude who springs to life, amid a giant collection of stuffed toys of all things. Some of them think they're Linda Blair, and at least ONE of them has GOT to be real...

Another high point was the dude who never learned to speak using words of any language, but communicates clearly anyway with a strange array of guttural mutterings and facial expressions.

Other favorites were a creepy kid who has a living collection of cockroaches for his only friends, and the dental lab.

There are real looking dental X-rays with horrific dental abnormalities, and a dentist lady with long hair and glasses who clearly is Practicing Dentistry Without A License. Oblivious to the medical mayhem she's causing, she laughs hysterically at the end of every statement.

One thing we really liked about INSANITY is the ad-lib interactions between actors and also the haunters...not just yelling stuff at us. Yes, it's a rather loose story-line but that's exactly as it should be considering the name and theme of this.

The aptly named ENTANGLEMENT will find you tangled up with highly acrobatic weirdos who don't believe in gravity! A favorite moment was a screeching head (real) with bizarre makeup that suddenly appears immediately next to your head...UPSIDE DOWN!

A really tight Womb Of Domb...or some call it the Birthing Chamber...seals the deal, and spits you out of the building in classic haunt style.

Spooky music fills the grounds here, which are full of oddities like an old phone booth and fun stuff that you'll want your camera for.

Have you ever seen at a carnival side-show where they have those giant cut-outs you stick your head through for a silly picture? They've got those here too, and our favorite has TWO holes for you and your sweetie with the caption on the front reading "JUST MARRIED!"

Bring your appetite here too, because a wide array of awesome home-baked goods will fill your tummy with happiness for an amazing low price. The PUMPKIN LOG is to die for!

WARNING: The food concession table here SELLS OUT EVERY TIME so if you get there late, you miss out and your tummy will cry.

BELLEVILLE

NIGHTMARE ON HARRIS¬  STREET

48651 Harris Street, Belleville, MI 48111

(734) 461-1835

ZIOPTIS SEZ 2013 - THE GREAT PUMPKIN RIDES AGAIN!

The Pumpkin Factory in Belleville delivers the goods yet again, with their trademark Hayride and a walk thru haunt now in its' second year here.

The show starts with a really cool little house on your left as you approach the grounds from the parking lot. There's a spooky party going on inside, and you're invited to poke your head in to take it all in. Don't miss this!

The walk thru haunt has cool artwork on the exterior that reminds us of the bug-eyed RAT FINK cartoons from drag racing magazines. And the outside walls of the haunt have been painted with giant spooky murals. You can't miss it!

After all the haunting, you'll also want to not miss the Witch's Kitchen in the main building which is another show in itself!

Pumpkin Passion runs rampant here, and once landed them in the national press because of their incredible pumpkin pie.

But make no mistake - the main order of business now at The Pumpkin Factory is HAUNTING BUT GOOD!

Oh yeah...if you need a pumpkin there's thousands just waiting for a new home!

BROWNSTOWN TWP.

LAKE "EERIE" HAUNTED HAYRIDE

32481 West Jefferson, Brownstown Township, MI 48173

(734) 323-7153 or www.bpffu.org

ZIOPTIS SEZ 2013 - TRANSITIONS ARE TOPS IN SUPER SCENIC HAYRIDE

What a great setting for a haunt! This 17 year-running haunt is at Lake Erie Metropark, and is open for only 2 days each season. So an amazing amount of energy and people (over 100) goes into¬ just a 2 day blitz, and the end result is FABULOUS!

The 5 wagons sport real hay, with 2 rows facing inwards and room at both ends for a few more to make it cozy close...for each other AND assorted monsters and witches waiting in the woods!

Super effective use of music/sound effects mixed on the spot, and great makeup and mannerisms throughout! Sound snippets are many and brief, cranking the sensory input blast factor to great effect.

The show starts quickly with a BIG BANG in the first scene, which features the first of a series of "jump-cut" like transitions you'll see during the hayride. ("Jump-cut" is the motion picture industry term for a sudden transition to something dramatically different.)

The scene starts with subdued lighting from CFL blacklights and fog, but then an alarm clock goes off triggering mayhem and a classic special lighting effect from the OPPOSITE end of the spectrum. It's the green laser Liquid Sky display, accented properly with fog to turn the laser beams 3D midair. They've chosen a moonflower pattern for the laser, which works quite well for a moving audience. VERY WELL DONE.

The next sudden lighting intro comes from a bright strobe light, distracting you JUST enough for the next GIANT surprise on the left. It blended in SO well...this TOTALLY WOWED everybody on the cart! KUDOS.

The next scene would make PETA people squirm! A shocking display of meat-related ghastly stuff is accented by a sign that says "Hot Dogs Made Fresh Daily." To prove the point, an ultra-cute pug doggie has been placed in a meat grinder, with an overzealous operator cranking away for dear life. FABULOUS.

We just LOVE a haunt with a sense of humor, and this one had us cracking up over and over!

We really liked the zombie dance party that breaks out after an alien voice speaks, and then rock music suddenly blasts. The zombies have excellent makeup, and dance with strange herky-jerky motions.

More highlights include a GIANT chair that spews fire blasts from the top, authentic looking period costumes for the witch trial, and an awesome trio of witches with matching outfits. One of them has FABULOUSLY BAD TEETH, and yet still sports that minty-fresh breath for close-up action!

There are lots more, but we'll just mention one more favorite. It's the Haunted Circus tent that suddenly morphs from old to new IN A FLASH.

This is a MASSIVE, all volunteer haunt produced by the local Firefighters Union and benefits the Goodfellows too. Their gusto and passion in the project shines brightly!

We've been itching to check this out for years, shame on us... and now is looking like it's going on our MUST SEE LIST.

BURTON - (FLINT area)

BURTON HAUNTED FOREST

3495 South Center Road, Burton, MI 48519

(810) 701-7875

ZIOPTIS SEZ 2013 - FRIGHTFULLY SHINING!

This haunt has so many things going for it...where to start...for one thing it's very well lit in the right spots so you won't trip on a tree branch or the like. Plenty dark too, but also in the right spots where footing is the least of your worries!

In one section, there's a series of BRIGHT YELLOW LIGHTS mounted WAY UP high that light up in perfect synchronization to occasional thunder sounds. It's the classic "color organ" lighting effect that was one of the early light show tools in the 70's. Simple, but highly effective!

The experience starts the moment you walk across a wooden bridge, with an attack from a monster we fell in love with instantly! His head is glowing brightly in BLACKLIGHT ORANGE, and his wild finger nails are jaundicing yellow. But perhaps his best feature is that despite his disgustingly horrible teeth, he has MINTY FRESH BREATH!

Another thing we liked was way more subtle, as two angel statuettes on the left and right assured us that we would survive our journey into the unknown...

After opening an ornate large door with beveled glass, you're plunged into a series of strange attacks and scenarios. The first is a mystical mushroom farm, with eye-popping UV paint lit by blacklights. We loved the giant mushroom with a bizarre parasite creature attached to it, and the next jungle surprise that also is giant!

You'll meet one guy who has extreme separation anxiety, because he lost half of his body and "The other half is out there somewhere!" EXCELLENT.

The big barn is next, and features a fabulous actor who is seriously gravity-challenged! But then right away the situation reverses as scores of zombies slither towards you on the ground.

Two bright, piercing white lights face you, as if it's a car with those annoying super-bright headlights. This leaves you as an easy target, because ALL the zombies are hiding below the blinding lights facing you!

One thing we really liked wasn't exactly scary, but seems to be a nod to storytelling. It's a very large, colorful Mother Goose you'll see just after the hanging doll babies. The best haunts tell a story!

There's LOTS more, but we'll leave that for you to explore...except for one more cool thing we noticed:

There's a circus scene, with the big top made out of colored LED Christmas lights and mini trampolines to bounce and propel the monsters. On the ground is an old "disco-ball" with multi-colored beams coming out from all over.

If it's not too windy, the fog accumulates and the colored beams from the disco-ball become 3D. It IS the "Liquid Sky" effect so often sought, but a low-tech version that actually is WAY COOL. The beams are much wider and diffused than lasers typically used for Liquid Sky effects, but the full rainbow of colors, including BLUE, dances through the air!

NOTE: We did NOT notice the disco-ball Liquid Sky effect until we looked BACKWARDS at the scene. Any time you see unusual lighting effects in ANY haunt scene, make sure to look backwards when you reach its end!

This haunt began as a fund raiser for handicapped scouts, and we think it's no coincidence about the angels we saw here!

CHELSEA

KRAZY HILDA'S TRAIL OF TERRORS

8400 Loveland Road, Chelsea, MI 48118

(734) 550-2001 or www.facebook.com/krazyhildashauntedattractions.com

(Note: this haunt has moved to Ypsilanti for 2014, see "Not in FF/HG")

ZIOPTIS SEZ 2013 - SPIRIT & ELEMENT SHINE ON!

There's a certain special feeling to this haunt, wherever it goes. I don't know if it can even be reduced to mere words.

I have to at least try...let's see...WARM FUZZIES...SHOCK & AWE...those are the first that come to mind.

The first thing we noticed as we drove up was the deep, rich sound coming from the forest. There's no substitute for BIG speakers to produce BIG sound, especially outdoors! The impact of a high quality audio system compared to some guitar amps is quite dramatic.

Our favorite part of this haunt is the multitudes of haunted "dummies" that help guide your journey. Each is handmade by this family, so they're totally one-of-a-kind. And every one of them has a distinctly different personality.

One of our favorites is a pumpkin lady you'll see on your left, with wobbly eyes and a silly look on her face.

There are plenty of live actors too. But the one that WOWED us the most appears at first to be a prop, like one of those giant composite materials figurines from like the SCARE FACTORY for example.

I'm a big guy...6 foot 2, rather stocky...but this actor DWARFED ME TOTALLY. You won't be able to miss him! He pops up everywhere, as if he has body doubles to help but that's impossible... you just don't see people THIS MASSIVE very often.

BEAM ME UP, SCOTTY!

The new masterpiece for this year is actually a tree, but there's something highly unusual going on here. A poor alien creature has been embedded into the tree, as if materializing inside from a transporter accident.

And his spine looks like Paul Bunyan mistook it for a rubber band to shoot at the substitute teacher or something...it's messed up pretty bad...AWW...poor baby!

It's so bizarre...the weird surprised look in his highly expressive ALIEN EYES...you almost feel sorry for him. I mean, what a predicament...how would YOU like it...stuck inside a tree...all you see is these blinding strobe lights while hearing strange music and kids laughing at you!

The giant actor who is not stuck in a tree is an expert at not being seen, as well as suddenly becoming a highly imposing presence when you least expect it. He is OUR HERO!

So congratulations to KRAZY HILDA'S TRAIL OF TERRORS, for yet another HAUNTED ARTFUL TOUR DE FORCE!

DAVISON

DREADLANDS HAUNT OF DAVISON

10280 East Stanley Road, Davison, MI 48423

(810) 406- 2913 or www.dreadlandshaunt.com

ZIOPTIS SEZ 2013 - 2nd YEAR and GOING STRONG!

We love the history of this place! Cool haunt too, but we'll get to that shortly.

Last year, the local high school drama team put on a haunted trailer as a fund raiser. They had a blast, and then stayed in touch with bigger things in mind.

Then in March, they approached the main guy here and said they really wanted to do it again...but better.

They planned the themes, and developed a wacky story-line they would act out in roles suited to each of their appearances.

The haunt starts with "Amber" welcoming you to the Diagnostics Laboratory in her medical garb and sporting a very official looking stethoscope. She explains that "highly sensitive research" is being conducted, but "several patients have gone missing." All the while, bloody-murder screaming from other rooms continues incessantly!

A mad scientist conducts an unknown experiment, in a room full of old analog electronic equipment like you'd expect to see in a cheesy 50's sci-fi movie. LOVE IT!

Clever monster interaction, several unusual entrances, certainty of getting lost, and we really liked the aquarium that was NOT stocked from a local pet store!

Also features a unique Decontamination Chamber you are forced to submit to. After the sensory blast there, you're ejected into a different sort of what we call the "birthing chamber." Most use large, powerfully inflated bags to dig through. But we liked this variation, using giant stationary fabric structures with firm padding.

There's a lot more, but we'll let you find out for yourself.

So it's a cool haunt...BUT...for us anyway...the real-life story that's writing itself here is what really excites us...and reassures us too...that the Spirit of Haunting is alive and well and kicking right there in good 'ole Davison, Michigan.

EAST LANSING

CARNAGE CARNIVAL

542 Auditorium Road, East Lansing, MI 48824

(517) 355-6690

2013 dates: October 29 - 31. 8PM - 11:59 PM

ZIOPTIS SEZ 2013 - MSU DRAMA STUDENTS CRANK IT TO ELEVEN

This haunt is WIN-WIN totally! It's an annual fund raiser for the Michigan State University Drama Department, and a local favorite for very good reason.

But even more importantly, it's a chance for the MSU drama students to stretch out their acting chops...and hopefully find some new abilities they couldn't have discovered any other way.

Acting is all about telling different stories, and the haunt genre lends itself to wild tales whose only limit is the imagination of the show producers.

The show starts with a very long hallway, with a strobe light beckoning from the very end. The natural reverb of the hall itself is incredible, and the monsters use it to great effect. But even more importantly, it gives a unique lesson in the importance of good diction.

The opening scene character employs the "less is more" concept, with a pint-sized power punch that KO'd us totally! A small stature female actor stands dead center, and emits a menacing sinister energy that far exceeds her smallish frame. GREAT CASTING CALL!

The building is basically shut down for the month of October, so they can modify existing features of the four story building.

One example we really liked used nothing more than an old style gobo projector with a fixed red pattern. But its placement was perfect! They had it on the ground level and facing straight up to give a softened Liquid Sky effect, with more diffused beams than the lasers usually used for this.

Our favorite use of existing space was the giant marionette scene. A madman is perched sky high with his controlling strings, as he wickedly toys with the hapless girl on the wrong end of the ropes. FABULOUS.

DO THE BEST YOU CAN WITH WHAT YOU GOT

Another really cool part of the haunt uses 2 giant sheets of thick, translucent plastic sheets. They're positioned and maneuvered to form walls that seem to breathe while providing a thinly veiled cover for ghoulish goons galore. SMART SETUP.

This haunt flew under our radar until this year, but now is on our list of GREAT NEW HAUNTS we found! It runs for only a few days each year, which automatically affords the "eminent time close" element to the haunt public and ups the ante for each of the limited number of shows.

To sum it all up in 6 words: WIN WIN WIN! GO GO GO!

FLAT ROCK

PSYCHO PATH

23984 Gibralter Road, Flat Rock, MI 48134

(734) 782-0563 or www.facebook.com/ThePsychoPath¬ 

Open Saturdays AND Sundays in October.

ZIOPTIS SEZ 2013 - MR. SCIENCE NEEDS YOUR HELP

The story line at this haunt is way cool!

First, you board a "paranormal research mobile lab" that's been brought in all the way from New Mexico! Lots of impressive looking video equipment and two old-style oscilloscopes are in full view at the front of the fully covered "transport unit."

An official sounding "Dr. Savad" explains what it all does, and says he's been contracted to do a full investigation of paranormal activity in these woods.

During the journey to the woods, he tells a semi-plausible story with lots of impressive sounding technical jargon to prove he's on the level. His baseball cap has been hot-rodded with 3 LED lights in the front flap, which exaggerates his facial expressions.

He eventually fesses up that he actually wants you to do his work in a recently discovered "abandoned psychiatric hospital," and you're dumped off the cart into the woods to fend for yourself.

A fairy-tale version of "Good Cop, Bad Cop" greets you at the facade of an impressive looking 3 story building with an ominous silhouette at the top of a woman hanging by her neck.

First, there's the "Queen" straight out of Alice In Wonderland with her miniature crown and queen-like attitude and mannerisms. She's exceedingly polite, with a cheerful smile and bright colors.

Then a gruff-voiced monster dude saunters up, and hurls custom on-the-spot clever insults as if incessantly teasing his bratty little sister. Rude, and yet actually very playful in an almost loving way.

If someone can make you laugh despite yourself, THAT is truly funny. And when the victim/brunt of the joke actually laughs the hardest, that's even better! 2 samples: 1) "Yeah, there's always an incompetent one...they usually end up with wet pants!" 2) "Hey, we got Little Red Riding Hood in the back here!"

Upon entering, you're immediately faced with conflicting info about the door selection you must make. Just remembering that monsters often purposely deceive you won't do you any good here!

Getting lost is a certainty, and an ominous sounding wailing siren is heard in the distance frequently.

The journey is fraught with a wide variety of perils and weirdos, which is exactly what we're looking for!

We loved the fabulous trio of ghoulish nurses, with their matching caps decorated with a red cross, cool makeup, and bizarre looking eyes.

CHESHIRE CAT MEETS MONSTERVILLE

Other favorites were an excellent double-chambered polka-dot room, the girl with pigtails sporting a meat cleaver and a distinctive stutter-laugh, and the scene that starts with total darkness and ends with as many as 4 crazy white faces suddenly appearing brightly lit and then vanishing again.

This haunt is bursting with creativity and silliness as well as great haunt scares, and we look forward to going again to it every year if we can! 

FLINT area - GRAND BLANC

SAINT LUCIFER'S HAUNTED ASYLUM

5290 South Dort Highway, Grand Blanc, MI 48507 (at Playland)

(810) 695-8200 or www.michiganhauntedhouse.com

ZIOPTIS SEZ 2013 - SOLID PERFORMANCE FROM THE KING OF MADNESS, DR. KHAOS

Wow, this place is crazy!

Right from the get-go, it's clear you're in for a GIANT dose of delightful insanity. After all, their name includes the word "asylum" and it is "a working hospital," as the cute nurse in the opening scene says.

She almost sounds like a voice-over artist, with excellent diction and tonality. And the soundtrack for this opening sequence is FABULOUS, and to me is distinctly reminiscent of the early electronic music masterpiece "Luna Park" by Tod Dockstader.

The audio soundtrack for the entire haunt is primo and is critically important to the overall experience at any haunt, and to scary movies as well. For example, imagine Hitchcock's "Psycho," and instead of the screeching violins they play "Sugar Sugar" by the Archies!

The audio assault continues in a strange Hellevator-like room that magically sends you upon your way in an unexpected way, before plunging you into darkness. Way cool!

Also features an excellent black hole with see through bottom grating, mirrors on both ends, and strange observations from the resident weirdo who's preoccupied with aliens.

Great makeup throughout, and we really liked the wide variety of sounds vs. music in various sections of the haunt. Some sections had minor-key ominous sounding organ music for that classic spooky feel.

But the scene that FLOORED US THE MOST was in a doctor's office, where ghastly experiments on human beings are being conducted with great zeal.

A cute large girl with tattoos is the center of attention, and just wait until you see why. WOWSER! We have NEVER seen this at ANY HAUNT BEFORE.

With a few exceptions, the whole cast is new this year. And yet, they are ALL seasoned haunt performers! How did they pull that off? Never mind where they got this wild bunch, that's their secret!

Also new this year is ZOMBIE KILLERS PAINTBALL.

There's a lot more too...but we'll leave that for you to discover on your own...TRUST US, YOU'LL DIG IT!

note:¬ Debbie Rochon, one of the first Scream Queens will be signing autographs at St. Lucifer's on October 18th, 2013 7pm - 12midnight. Come meet the star of American Nightmare, Theatre Bizarre, Sick Boy, Slime City Massacre, and other silver screen Horror movies.

FLINT area - GRAND BLANC

13 FEET UNDER

5290 South Dort Highway, Grand Blanc, MI 48507

(810) 695-8200

ZIOPTIS SEZ 2013 - DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE WITH HILLBILLY HEAD-HUNTERS!

The guy who greets you here is dressed like a hunter, and has speech mannerisms reminiscent of the movie "Deliverance." There's a "Zombie Deer" head on the wall, and is top notch taxidermy.

True to the name of this haunt, you find yourself plunging down a "rabbit hole." Then, a quick bout with misdirection leads to a FABULOUS transition to the Tool Shop.

Lots of tricky twisty, turning pathways, excellent minimalist electronic music, and we loved the SUPER TALL TIED & GAGGED CLOWN!

Another favorite scene features a most unique fence, both for physical AND visual aspects...you'll see.

Good close-up interaction, which includes FRESH breath from the actors too! No problem here.

Another unique opener to a room we really liked was in the Butcher Shop, but don't let that distract you from inspecting the meat cabinet as we almost did!

One weirdo here speaks his own language, and asks questions that SEEM like they should make sense...but don't. A cool twist!

Another high point is a giant rattlesnake head with excellent detail...my oh my, what GIANT TEETH you have!

This place has "ZOMBIE KILLER CLUBHOUSE" painted on a dilapidated trailer, but when someone mentioned something about "trailer trash" the inhabitants went insane. Be warned, but feel free to ignore this warning!

FLINT area - MOUNT MORRIS

EXIT 13

6069 North Saginaw, Mount Morris, MI 48458

(810) 858-9768 or www.Exit13HauntedHouse.com

ZIOPTIS SEZ 2013 - ALL "HANDS ON" DECK AS NEW HAUNT SHAKES UP MICHIGAN HAUNT SCENE

Despite the same location and name as last year, this haunt IS brand new this year. A new owner has changed things completely, and the result has been a success story and a half!

The billboards for this haunt are everywhere, and the media ads are relentless. But we're willing to bet that good 'ole word-of-mouth had a big part too in the BIG lines we saw every time we went to Exit 13.

The disclaimer statement from the host at the entrance is unlike most haunts. He promised that we WILL be touched, poked and nudged by the monsters and immediately proved his point with a hands-on inspection of my chin!

The energy level is sky high, and the bass from the sound system is ultra deep as you approach a closed door at the end of a long hallway. After the "Shave-and-a-haircut, two bits" secret signal knock and four long horn blasts announce your arrival, you're officially fair-game for any of the local predators...you HAVE been warned!!

But first some really bright strobes start a sensory slam-dunk, featuring TWO black holes. The first rotates counter-clockwise and has green dots, and the second rotates clockwise and features spackled UV glow paints.

For an added-value twist of your own, try walking through the black holes without holding on to the railing while rotating your whole body. When it gets too weird, close your eyes for a moment and the sensation disappears!

Corn stalks are unusual for an indoor haunt, but Exit 13 uses them to good advantage accented with an unusual vertical strobe lighting arrangement and chasing patterns.

Chainsaw attacks are common at haunts, but Exit 13 FLOORED US with their clearly stated HANDS ON APPROACH to this gag. A BIG WINNER.

Excellent retro props, an excellent forest exhibit, ultra powerful air blasts, and we really liked the creepy "Eyes of a Demon" girl crawling near the disgusting bathroom.

Wild jungle animals roam here too, and behave just as you would expect them to...watch out!

One thing we noticed was the excellent timing of the gags and transitions throughout the haunt. One prime example was an animatronics-looking girl, who springs to life shouting "I smell sinners!" just as a fast strobe starts blazing from above.

Next year will see major expansion for Exit 13, as they construct a second floor on the existing building. And there's another interesting possibility, involving a cider mill down the block that's for sale.

Stay tuned...this haunt is GOING GREAT. And after talking to the highly dynamic owner here, we can't wait to see this Mega Haunt in the making!

FLINT area - BURTON

THE CRYPT

G-4247 South Dort Highway, Burton, MI 48529

(810) 742-2260 or www.TheCryptHauntedHouse.com

ZIOPTIS SEZ 2013 - CRYPT KEEPS ON KICKIN' - KILLING ME SOFTLY!

This haunt slam dunks you with sonic madness the moment you arrive with a concert quality PA system. The sound levels range from an ambient forest to thunderous bursts with deep bass response, an excellent first indicator these guys really know what they're doing.

An impressive variety of scenes and actors await, with excellent sound and lighting throughout. It looks and sounds like total mayhem, yet is actually a well oiled machine whose actors ALL hit their cues correctly during our visit.

A select group of actors have banded together to pull off a continuing theme stunt on the public that we absolutely LOVED. We're not about to give it away, except to say that these actors are specialists in NOT looking like actors. You'll see, and you'll LOVE it too!

Another thing we still can't forget is the guy who's so proud of his neglected disgusting bathroom that he offers you a special souvenir from it...EWWW!

We also liked the organ player in room with a big grandfather clock, a cool black hole, and the double-chambered polka-dot room.

There's LOTS more for you to discover on your own, but here's one more teaser that was one of our favorites here. It's an intricate wooden display on the wall of a strange character that looks like part of a very weird machine. WAY COOL.

Also on premise is a complete Halloween store, for one stop shopping of all your haunt needs!

FLINT area - BURTON

BURTON HAUNTED FOREST

3495 South Center Road, Burton, MI 48519

(810) 701-7875

ZIOPTIS SEZ 2013 - FRIGHTFULLY SHINING!

This haunt has so many things going for it...where to start...for one thing it's very well lit in the right spots so you won't trip on a tree branch or the like. Plenty dark too, but also in the right spots where footing is the least of your worries!

In one section, there's a series of BRIGHT YELLOW LIGHTS mounted WAY UP high that light up in perfect synchronization to occasional thunder sounds. It's the classic "color organ" lighting effect that was one of the early light show tools in the 70's. Simple, but highly effective!

The experience starts the moment you walk across a wooden bridge, with an attack from a monster we fell in love with instantly! His head is glowing brightly in BLACKLIGHT ORANGE, and his wild finger nails are jaundice yellow. But perhaps his best feature is that despite his disgustingly horrible teeth, he has MINTY FRESH BREATH!

Another thing we liked was way more subtle, as two angel statuettes on the left and right assured us that we would survive our journey into the unknown...

After opening an ornate large door with beveled glass, you're plunged into a series of strange attacks and scenarios. The first is a mystical mushroom farm, with eye-popping UV paint lit by blacklights. We loved the giant mushroom with a bizarre parasite creature attached to it, and the next jungle surprise that also is giant!

You'll meet one guy who has extreme separation anxiety, because he lost half of his body and "The other half is out there somewhere!" EXCELLENT.

The big barn is next, and features a fabulous actor who is seriously gravity-challenged! But then right away the situation reverses as scores of zombies slither towards you on the ground.

Two bright, piercing white lights face you, as if it's a car with those annoying super-bright headlights. This leaves you as an easy target, because ALL the zombies are hiding below the blinding lights facing you!

One thing we really liked wasn't exactly scary, but seems to be a nod to storytelling. It's a very large, colorful Mother Goose you'll see just after the hanging doll babies. The best haunts tell a story!

There's LOTS more, but we'll leave that for you to explore...except for one more cool thing we noticed:

There's a circus scene, with the big top made out of colored LED Christmas lights and mini trampolines to bounce and propel the monsters. On the ground is an old "disco-ball" with multi-colored beams coming out from all over.

If it's not too windy, the fog accumulates and the colored beams from the disco-ball become 3D. It IS the "Liquid Sky" effect so often sought, but a low-tech version that actually is WAY COOL. The beams are much wider and diffused than lasers typically used for Liquid Sky effects, but the full rainbow of colors, including BLUE, dances through the air!

NOTE: We did NOT notice the disco-ball Liquid Sky effect until we looked BACKWARDS at the scene. Any time you see unusual lighting effects in ANY haunt scene, make sure to look backwards when you reach its end!

This haunt began as a fund raiser for handicapped scouts, and we think it's no coincidence about the angels we saw here!

FOWLERVILLE

SLAUGHTER HOUSE - BLOOD BATH & BEYOND HAYRIDE

5781 West Grand River, Fowlerville, MI 48836

(517) 223-9140 or www.SlaughterhouseAdventure.com

ZIOPTIS SEZ 2013 - JACK & HIS BEANSTALK PUT TO SHAME

Hang your head in shame, Jack.

THIS hayride corn is real, not like in Jacks' silly story. THIS corn is the TALLEST IN MICHIGAN to our knowledge, with most stalks being 14 FEET TALL. You get dizzy just looking up at it, and it's taller than the tractor that tows the hayride!

The hayride tells a series of stories staged by a total of 140 employees this year!

The cart has hay bales stacked to form rows to sit on, with all the rows facing forward. This allows everyone to easily see all scenes.

The tractor driver seems confused at times, slowing down and stopping occasionally for no apparent reason, and switching the headlights on and off.

An ominous looking giant eyeball is spying on us, but that's the least of our worries as the area is prone to attacks from clowns in polka-dot suits...for starters...

The "Gravemaster" delivers a stern warning with excellent diction and volume. Then he says he takes an "artistic approach" to his work, recently digging up his mother and father to "frame them so beautifully."

His most recent addition is "Cousin Billy," whose head is pulled out of a box. That's the tame part. The surprise that follows is hysterical!

Real torch lights highlight the pathway, and we really liked the "Living Large" trailer-trash scene, the chainsaw attack from a location we've never seen before, and the mayhem that ensues when the tractor driver ignores the "Water Over Road" sign.

Also features an excellent Hatfield & McCoy Feud scene, with the two families living on opposite sides of the cart. The girl is easily offended, and starts a gun battle with you caught in the middle!

Another great scene features a snake oil salesman-type guy at the "little shop in the woods." He says that he sells "elixir from the fountain of youth" and asks if you'd like to be "a little bit younger." A teenage girl is duped into drinking the stuff, and a startling transformation takes place that is fabulous!

The Grand Finale is a science fiction romp that will KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF! A mad scientist with a white lab coat is busy working, but finally notices us and says he "just got back from Area 51." He's dissecting an alien, and has a "real live alien too."

An authentic looking flying saucer ascends higher and higher, with a realistic looking alien looking out the dome. He gestures wildly with his metallic, silver hands before he gets vaporized by a giant propane blast. WOW!

The walk through haunt this year has a disturbing theme. But like a guilty pleasure, it's a joy to behold and you'll find yourself laughing almost as if in the movie "Pulp Fiction" where a blood bath becomes a comedy.

That's no accident, because this haunt combines the talents of comedians and magicians to incredible effect. The illusions are expertly performed, and are often as funny as they are amazing. It's a powerful storytelling mix, and nobody else has this quirky edge that we've seen!

The theme comes into focus as a series of innocent people are wrongfully accused of dastardly offenses. Their cries for mercy fall upon deaf ears, and they are swiftly judged to be GUILTY and punished in ghastly ways.

Punished by death? He was the LUCKY ONE, you don't want to know what happened to the rest of them. But just like torture scenes in "Pulp Fiction," you can't look away!

One of our favorite scenes here was custom made on premise, and features 2 chairs that do things no chairs should! I was invited to sit in the chair on the right, which I thought was the normal one. But NO....way cool!

The final scene is really strange, and juxtaposes old and new with a unique lighting strategy that scrambles the visuals big time!

This haunt started with a neighborhood barn party at Halloween, but has evolved to new heights they probably never imagined were possible!

FREMONT, OHIO

HAUNTED HYDRO DARK ATTRACTION PARK

1333 Tiffin Street, Fremont, OH 43420

(419) 307-6985 or www.TheHauntedHydro.com

ZIOPTIS SEZ 2013 - CRAZY BOB HITS THE BIG TIME

There's an imposing, monolithic appearance to this haunt as you approach. Giant walls are lit with various colors, and massive clouds of fog were pouring out all over when we arrived. PERFECT.

Crazy Bob is your host here, and is a self-described mixture of Alfred Hitchcock, Walt Disney (but without the budget), and Red Skeleton! He's a storytelling prankster, and now a MOVIE STAR too!

A makeshift movie theater has been constructed, using auditorium bleachers from a local junior high that was being demolished. How's THAT for recycling?

The movie is a retro-styled romp through the 1950's, reminiscent of black & white school scare films but presented as being a current-day production.

Various classic Ford vehicles are depicted as having been the scene of gruesome crimes with hapless victims galore, maggots and such, but the cars themselves are spotless clean as if still glistening in the showroom!

The main walk-thru haunt can be overwhelming with its' sheer size, starting with the entrance which appears to be a library from Alice In Wonderland!

The books are super-sized, dwarfing any humans that are adventurous enough to enter after being entertained, teased, chided, and having tall tales made up about them on the spot by the illustrious Crazy Bob.

GREAT STUFF, but that's just the first of many encounters with all sorts of ghouls, monsters, and silliness mixed in to scramble your emotions as you make your way through this amazing structure.

Bring your camera for some great photo opportunities, so you can show your friends WHAT A COOL HAUNT THIS IS!

This was written just after visiting Haunted Hydro in 2013:

NOVEMBER 2, 2013 SATURDAY 2 PM - PULL UP A CHAIR...

PIGTAILS & PUMPKINS ‚Ä“ BLESSED BY A GOURD¬  by Zioptis

Inspired by Crazy Bob & adapted from a story by Bennet Cerf

Melissa counted out the last pennies of her fare, on a small bus in rural Wisconsin in 1967.

She was 14, and it was the day after Halloween. The kids in front of the bus were still celebrating, bragging about how much candy their pillow cases held and such.

Near the back of the bus was mean Mr. Turner.

Nobody knew much about him, except that he used to give each Trick-or-Treater a small packet of candy on Halloween.

That stopped a few years ago, but a bright Jack-o-Lantern still appeared on his front porch every Halloween.

He sat on the bus with no expression on his face, and in his feeble hands was said Jack-o-Lantern.

The crudely carved crooked teeth in the pumpkin resembled his own, and his clothes were ragged with the shirt buttoned wrong.

Strangely, Melissa walked right past her friends, and sat down across from mean Mr. Turner who continued to look forward with an empty stare.

Then suddenly he spun the pumpkin to face her, with its' silly face as he yelled "BOO!" and went back to his empty stare.

Melissa shrieked just as she had the weekend before at the local Jaycee's Haunted House, but then grinned a grin like the Great Pumpkin Himself.

At the next stop, the not-so-mean-after all Mr. Turner got up to leave.

But he hesitated for a moment, and then thrust the jolly Jack-o-Lantern into the girl's hands. He said, "The pumpkin made you smile…I think my wife would like you to have it…I'll tell her I gave it to you."

The old man hobbled out of the bus, and just before he disappeared from sight out the back window, Melissa saw him walk through the gates into a small cemetery.

GRAND LEDGE

SUNDANCE HAUNTED HAYRIDE

9250 Nixon Road, Grand Ledge, MI 48837

(517) 627-5500 or www.SundanceRidingStable.com

ZIOPTIS SEZ 2013 - A HORSE OF A DIFFERENT COLOR

Horses rule here, starting with mounted patrols in the parking lot. Then you walk through an indoor horse riding arena to get tickets, popcorn, cotton candy and such.

This place is CRAZY BIG, with hundreds of acres available! The hayride covers a decent chunk of it, and not using all of it is a very nice problem to have.

The hayride cart is towed by a tractor, and has two seating rows both facing inward.

We loved the white costumed creature that rode up to the cart, then became concerned as we noticed the tractor driver was no longer sitting in his chair. He was FULLY STANDING for no apparent reason, which is certainly NOT the manufacturers' recommended driving position!

Even after being distracted by several wacky scenes, the driver was STILL standing as tall as he possibly could. HUH?

The wild forest provides endless hiding spots for the monsters, which are used often with great results.

And in the wild forest, many strange plants and flowers can take root, like one we saw develop in front of our very eyes! But Mother Nature goofed this one up, and the result is a field of GIANT evil sunflowers with skull heads that spring to life! Awww, what an adorable cross-species genetic nightmare.

We also loved the witches, chanting and cackling in perfect unison while tending their giant cauldron. As we approached, they took on the job of feeding us "goblin eyes" and "dragon drool" (donut holes & cider). THE PAUSE THAT REFRESHES.

Real flame torches and bonfires adorn the trail, enhancing the experience as only real fire can!

A real forest also is the home of predator beasts that traverse tree tops with ease, so beware!

We also liked a strange pumpkin attached to a tree about 1/3 the way up. During the approach, it looks like an average Halloween pumpkin. But on its' side is an intricate OWL CARVING!

We also loved the headless forest Grinch lady, who is quite anxious to get some "new heads for my collection," the angry king with an official-looking crown and wand, and a strangely melting ghoulish projection.

The room for expansion is ridiculously massive here, but only the future will tell how much bigger their haunt visions are!

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