SCOTT'S HAUNTED CORN MAZE, HAYRIDE & ROOMS OF TERROR
5745 Seymour Lake Road, Oxford, MI 48371
(248) 408-0462, (248) 408-8037 or (248) 628-5841
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2015 - FROM HUMBLE BEGINNINGS COME GREAT THINGS
This is a giant success story in the making...and we're anxious to see it unfold!
It starts much the way some of the giants in the industry did, with a farm owned by a family that loves Halloween think SLAUGHTERHOUSE or BLAKE'S for example...
SCOTT'S is a 3 part haunt with a walk thru, a hayride and a corn maze.
The ROOMS OF TERROR walk thru is short but very sweet!
CALGON, TAKE ME AWAY
The scares and visuals are ALL primo, with some unique creative touches all their own. Right off we loved the bathtub for example, with two great unique flourishes we have not seen before.
We also really liked the giant clown dude who delivers the first big surprise with great authority. NAILED.
Excellent close-up action and misdirection pump the experience, and excellent usage of genuine old incandescent light bulbs -LOVE IT. No other bulb can duplicate the dimming and / or flicker of a real incandescent light bulb!
Consumers are discouraged from buying or using them now for everyday use, as CFL's are more efficient and we get that. But nothing else has that certain warmth of a tungsten filament glowing with that special electric goodness!
HOT PEPPERS AND HARD WORK
First of all, this is a family farm.
Their main crops are lettuce, tomatoes, and all kinds of hot peppers. You can get some right there in the ticket building, as well as hot spiced apple cider that comes from Blake's or Hy's - it was SO TASTY!
We didn't have time for the maze, but we did the hayride which showcases their star performer WOLFIE to great effect. After a few hundred yards of the hayride WOLFIE starts to run towards the cart.
His gait looks like a chimpanzee using his arms as legs the way they do when they're jumping around, and he has his own animal language that we loved!
ALL FOR ONE, ONE FOR ALL
Can one single performer make a haunt famous?
We think so, as WOLFIE has the stuff that can make legends.
We loved his parting shot too! As we were leaving we heard him howl so we looked back. He was posed like a 1940's pinup girl would, laying down on the porch of the ticket building. HILARIOUS!
THE REALM OF DARKNESS
37 Turk Street, Pontiac, MI 48341
(248) 338-0029 or www.TheRealmOfDarkness.com
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2015 - RETURN OF THE JEDI MASTER!
STU SMITH is a name many of you have heard. He's well established as the PREMIERE 3D HAUNT ARTIST, and his latest creation is being unleashed at the REALM this year. It's the HOUSE OF NIGHTMARES 3D, and it totally rocks! You're given special glasses to wear - be sure to keep them on until exiting.
HOUSE OF NIGHTMARES 3D has some stunning blue shades we've never seen before, but less greens and lots more reds. The red paint moves forward off the walls, and floats above the floor!
The wild creatures Stu creates are both disturbing and silly, but always remain captivatingly beautiful! You can't miss his trademark style - it's truly legendary haunt entertainment. Light and sound are
The main haunt has changed a lot yet again to great effect, and word of mouth is their best advertising. The result is masses of eager haunters in the queue line, so get here early if you can.
Lighting and sound are superb throughout, with amazing attention to detail! Excellent monster misdirection and interaction, with a playful element thrown in that we TOTALLY LOVED!
There's also a ZOMBIE SHOOTING GALLERY giving you a chance to get back at those horrible bad guys... just because they're horrible bad guys - so they must deserve it, right?
And besides, where else can you point a gun at someone, then actually pull the trigger and it's perfectly ok??
My partner is a Travel Channel Halloween Special fanatic and feels without a doubt that REALM rivals anything featured on their Halloween shows! HOW ABOUT IT, TRAVEL CHANNEL???
BONUS REPORT - Now verified by a major church pastor no less, here is yet more reliable evidence that the REALM IS HAUNTED! Select the video titled "Angels and Demons" from November 7, 2015 at this link: www.metrocitychurch.tv/media.php?pageID=134
5010 Green Road, Stockbridge, MI 49285
(517) 937-4606 or www.BoneYardHaunt.com
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2015 - IN A BLAZE OF GORY GLORY
HOT STUFF! THE BONE YARD heats things up big time, with the most numerous and varied giant propane blasts we've ever seen at a haunt! Clever story lines set the stage for some of them for even more dramatic effect. BONUS!
Our favorite was early on, and uses the natural persistence-of-vision of your eyes. First the DEVIL HIMSELF greets you, and commands you to look at a large cross on your right.
A giant but very brief propane blast goes off behind the scene, and then the devil tells you to "close your eyes." When you do this, you still see the cross - a symbol that's the very antithesis of the devil himself. INCREDIBLE JUXTAPOSITION.
But that's just part of the wild surprises and scares here...
The story behind this haunt is real creepy! Read it here -www.boneyardhaunt.com/Story.aspx
Things start with a A BIG WOW as you enter this strange land that reminded us of an old western mining village that became a ghost town, with stray souls still trying to find their peace after death...WATCH OUT they'll appear from nowhere and do their worst!
But there's silliness too, rounding things out nicely like with a YOGI BEAR ROUTINE that's hysterical and leads to an AIR POWER BLAST you will not be able to miss.
Excellent monster interaction and cool lighting throughout. One effect we especially liked produced HUNDREDS OF BLUE PATTERNS on the ground at a slight angle for a slightly off kilter symmetry that nails it!
Lighting experiments during a haunt's development stage are crucial to getting the right feel, and providing for misdirection, hiding of actors and such.
THE BONE YARD has done their homework, but also learns from experience along the way and the result is big crowds consistently flocking to this haunt oasis.
Great lighting is only part of the formula of course. For a haunt of this size, you also need a small army of actors that can deliver the experience, and they do!
They have clever lines rehearsed, but are quick with on-the-fly banter too. Great makeup instead of masks lets you see their facial expressions, and cranks the emotional transference for a more involving haunt experience.
One of our favorite characters, who seems quite pleased with himself, has a giant screw embedded into his head!
Fabulous sets and decor throughout, with many authentic Americana relics in the walk thru haunt that often induce an authentic old country town feeling.
Crowd logistics and flow have been expertly planned too. This place is massive and the crowds are big, so you'll be on your feet for awhile...but no problem! They break up the trip with a hayride in the middle to freshen up for the rest of the journey.
THE BONE YARD - THE SURE WINNER MEGA-FARM HAUNT!
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM ROAD
2020 Elm Road, Webberville, MI
(810) 429-9362 or www.NightmareOnElmRoad.com
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2015 - BACK WOODS HAUNT DELIVERS
You'll feel like you're a world away when you drive to this haunt, and yet it's really easy to find. Just take I-96 to the Webberville exit and follow the signs to this special place...
Something about this haunt calls us back every year, and we seem powerless to resist its allure and special flavor that grabbed us from the get-go!
It's a double attraction haunt, with new shows every year leading to plenty of repeat customers at this FIRST CLASS HAUNT!
HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION
34043 Ford Road, Westland, MI 48185
(734) 502-6026 or www.HushDetroit.com or www.facebook.com/hushdetroit
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2015 - FLYING INTO A FUTURISTIC NEVER-NEVER LAND!
It's a brand new show, even before you enter the haunt itself. Weirdos are roaming the parking lot and queue line. We really liked the hungry butcher boy and a blood spattered nurse.
She makes no secret of her obsession to INJECT YOU WITH ZOMBIE SERUM (we presume) with the hypodermic needle she wields. But the best wicked weapon of her trade is demented silliness!
At one point she and the butcher broke into a cat and mouse game with some unsuspecting people that were leaving, giving them even more than their money's worth.
ONCE UPON A TIME, MANY YEARS FROM NOW
Once inside the haunt, we find there's something funny with the elevator and we landed in a room that appears to be an automated welcome station at the since abandoned Hush Corporation.
What seems to be a human-looking female announces your species for reference as if an android, then launches into a pre-recorded message. But it gets stuck on the phrase "Begin your trip," and it repeats over and over like a broken record.
Crazy behavior and wild maniacal laughter abounds, but there's a method behind the madness as it turns out. The story twists and turns on a dime, accented awesomely at first by a synthesizer droning on a low note with some cool sound processing.
As for the ambient sounds to set the mood, they're almost exclusively provided LIVE BY THE ACTORS THEMSELVES which personalizes the experience and allows for adjustment if needed to fit the circumstances.
The last structure of the haunt has lots of customized cut-away ceilings and supports for actors to assault you from above. Special lighting and super-acrobatic abilities give the appearance of wildly flailing weirdos on the edge of insanity! But of course there's never any actual danger as the sure-footed actors are well rehearsed.
The last part of the haunt also displays an impressive new giant prop that's amazing! It's a massive shipping container hook, like you'd see attached to a crane at a shipping port. How in the world did they get such a monstrosity like that up so high in the air?!
If you can summarize a haunt into some wild sounding headlines like you'd see at the supermarket checkout in the tabloids, it should be a big winner. Let's see...how about:
ABANDONED SCIENCE LAB RE-ACTIVATED BY UNSUSPECTING HUMAN BEINGS IN CRYOGENICS MISHAP / CROSS-SPECIES GENETIC NIGHTMARE UNLEASHED ON HAPLESS PUBLIC AS 800 POUND SHIPPING CONTAINER HOOK LOOMS OVER OBLIVIOUS & UNCONCERNED SPASTIC ACROBATIC ZOMBIES
Wow, and that just scratches the surface.
But as to the rest of the story...our lips are sealed...HUSHHHHHH...you'll just have to go experience this for yourself! Be prepared to wait for awhile...word of mouth on this is creating long lines to get in.
EYE CANDY SUPREME / THE LUCKY ACCIDENT BONUS
The last thing we saw here was a surprise to the haunt as well as us, and we've only seen this once before at Haunted Farm of Terror years ago.
There was no wind on the night of our visit, so the fog machines were unhindered and fog spilling out of the haunt accumulated in their front parking lot. There's a giant tree at the edge of their property, and on the other side of that tree is a bright parking lot light for a business a few doors down.
So we've got a bright light source travelling towards the haunt, but interrupted by tree branches. This created a distinct moonflower effect, with many individual beams of light shining thru and creating a GIANT LIQUID SKY EFFECT of sorts. If there's no wind the night you go, you may get lucky too and see this awesome phenomenon!
BESTMAZE & TRAIL OF TERROR
3803 Noble Road, Williamston, MI 48895
(517) 521-2378 or www.BestMaze.com
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2015 - KING TUT RULES AGAIN!
This is a two part attraction, with their highly popular maze which is not haunted and the very haunted TRAIL OF TERROR.
The design theme for 2015 is KING TUT and it's a beauty! The maze changes totally every year, with aerial pictures to give a bird's eye view.
With extensive pathways and choices to make, you can be in there for quite some time! However, a series of strategically placed observation towers are staffed and ready to direct weary souls to an exit or to find the occasional lost child quickly.
The TRAIL OF TERROR is re-vamped, but we were glad to see the Egyptian Room still there which features a spectacular surprise and perfectly complements the King Tut maze theme.
The trail twists and turns through tall corn at times, but you won't get lost like in the massive maze. And that allows the monsters to pinpoint your location, as they toy with you and pop out of hiding spots you'll never see.
Unfortunately, some major new scenes for the TRAIL OF TERROR could not be presented this year due to supply house shipping problems. On the other hand, that means that next year will be expanded that much more and we can't wait to see the results!
Many haunt genres have an obvious leader-of-the-pack, and for the maze category BESTMAZE NAILS IT.
2133 Wixom Road, Wixom, MI 48393
(800) 219-0294 or www.MichigansBestHaunt.com
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2015 - NOT INSANE / EVERYTHING IS UNDER CONTROL OF THE GOVERNMENT...AND WEIRD SCIENCE!
There's lots new this year with mountains, a forest, and a cemetery where not everything is quite dead yet, but the first to greet you here is a United States Army Colonel, so he should be on the level...or is he?
He chides you for having "no brains" should you ignore his plea not to enter, but then runs thru the house rules and you're off...
All kinds of elaborate electronic equipment is set up for the staff to tinker with, and chemistry labs are conducting ghastly "research" where scientists laugh hysterically at the hideous results of their dubious efforts.
An alien autopsy is serious business, but the doctor doing it has uncontrollable fits of laughter and screams that "I'm NOT insane...I'm NOT crazy!" He quickly disproves his assurances and is totally oblivious to the seriousness of the situation.
Animal experimentation is akin to playtime here, and we absolutely loved the guy who gleefully plays with his very disgusting and very dead chicken. He reminded us of the guy at the end of that James Bond 007 movie where he jumps on the back of a train and laughs at you - think he was in a 7 UP ad too.
Another great moment is with a high flying actress in bed that has a green face...WOWSER.
But our hands-down favorite actor is a desperate victim of "medical research" who suddenly appears on the floor. When he finally stands up, his unique problem and impassioned plea delivers an intense emotional punch we haven't experienced since Croakie's Party Island in Monroe! (Croakie's was a 1 year flash-in-the-pan haunt). SLAM DUNK.
Another stand-out talent is the girl with long black hair and a white dress, spouting stories of mayhem and mental problems a mile-a-minute!
There's lots new this year with mountains, a forest, and a cemetery where not everything is quite dead yet! WILD STUFF.
A KILLER NEW SHOW FROM A NEW BIG PLAYER ON THE SCENE!
KRAZY HILDA'S TRAIL OF TERRORS - PANAMA FARMS
10340 Ford Road, Ypsilanti, MI 48198
(734) 550-2001 or www.KrazyHildas.com
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2015 - ALL IN THE NAME OF FRIGHT & FUN!
We first came to love this haunt because of its one-of-a-kind style, and their poetry is even cool...
But now we also love this haunt for reasons that have nothing to do with haunting, as its history is a touching, poignant family story and haunt people often feel like family to us.
It's only a short walk from the parking lot to the deep woods, so the ambience is off-the-charts to begin with and cranks up from there as the sound of cackling witches beckons you...
But first you must find your way into a door that's straight out of THE WIZARD OF OZ at the entrance of Emerald City. If you recall, it's the big door with a tiny sliding slot opening through which a rude sentry peeks out and demands that you give the password.
This is just the first of many large doors you must open yourself, forcing physical involvement that keeps you more invested into the journey...
An embroidery plaque warns us as Ray Bradbury might, saying "Something Wicked This Way Comes" and promptly makes good on its promise with a surprise encounter at a witches cauldron.
With a forest full of trees to choose from, they can find just the right ones to also serve as a showcase for various props and the results are impressive. We really liked the bride creature you'll see on your right as you walk over a bridge.
The cemetery has a giant surprise that floored us, and we really liked the circus room game, and the ultra-creepy doll girl and her baby in a carriage. TOP NOTCH WEIRDNESS!
There's no brick and mortar rooms with walls and such, yet somehow they maintain excellent sound isolation between scenes to keep each scare its own experience.
The final scene features a new GIANT PROP the likes of which we've never seen! It's a real massive farm machine of some sort, with various body parts stuck in its unforgiving metal structure.AMAZING.
They've moved a few times, but are now settled in on Ford Road in Ypsilanti at Panama Farms with beau coup room to grow and a landlord that's inclined to help that happen.
WE KNEW 'EM BEFORE THEY GOT FAMOUS!
Could KRAZY HILDA'S become the BLAKE'S of the Westside? They're both family operations on farms, and the journey of a lifetime starts with a single step. KRAZY HILDA'S has now taken that step, and is off and running towards what we can only imagine to be a VERY BRIGHT FUTURE FOR THEM.
We've been hearing so much about this haunt, we decided to ask Mister Google what he knows too and WOW! Check out these verified customer comments - www.groupon.com/biz/ypsilanti-mi/krazy-hildas-trail-of-terrors
KRAZY HILDA'S - A FOREST EXPERIENCE LIKE NO OTHER!
NIGHT TERRORS at WIARD'S ORCHARDS
5565 Merritt Road, Ypsilanti, MI 48197
(734) 390-9206 or www.HauntedHouseMichigan.com
ZIOPTIS SEZ 2015 - IN ALL ITS GLORY
We haven't been here in years, but it was EXACTLY as we expected it - JAM PACKED WITH HAPPY HAUNTERS!
WIARD'S is an iconic name in the haunt industry for good reason, and their apples are A SURE WINNER every time too.
The show starts the moment you enter, and we LOVED what happens at the building with corn stalks just past the entrance on the right.
Once you get your tickets, HAYRIDE OF THE LOST is the first stop of your adventure. They have two styles of carts available. One has tons of hay bales to sit on cross-legged style for a more rustic feel, and the other has bench seats to hang your feet over. We've never seen this choice before!
HAYRIDE OF THE LOST has lots of cool monster surprises and interaction, and we really loved a scene with fog and a wild creature with glowing red eyes.
After the hayride, they give you a donut and a cup of cider just to get you hooked. The store is right over there for later, and try dipping a donut in their creamy apple butter...yummmm!
Next was ALIEN CAGED CLOWNS. Your greeter is a way tall guy who spilled his guts, literally! Hysterical laughter fills the air, and a BLACK HOLE (spinning vortex tunnel) launches you into twisted encounters with the crazy residents here, most of whom have escaped from cages that are now empty. Short but sweet!
When you enter the ASYLUM, you land a waiting room where they ask you to sit down briefly. (a nice break after waiting in line) An old style telephone is ringing, but no one ever answers it...what kind of customer service is that?!
The patients in the ASYLUM are all highly agitated, and looking to take out their frustrations on anyone they see! We really liked the girl with her precious hideous facial deformities and long braided hair.
Sewing is usually a mild-mannered affair, but not here! The sewing machines here are being used to sew garments from skin freshly removed from hapless victims. FREAKY.
We also really liked the electrocution chair gag with a unique twist, and the highly disorienting white room with a powerhouse strobe light, flashing ever soooo slowwwwly. LOST AGAIN!
The MINE SHAFT was our last stop at WIARD'S, and features great sound effects and ambiance. The flashlight they give you to light the way doesn't work, so you're plunged into darkness to fend for yourself against the unknown. Others have already met with disaster and plea for your help and try to guilt-trip you, but it's clearly a lost cause and you wander on...
The final room features a SPECTACULAR LIQUID SKY ROOM! There's two projectors spaced out, both of which emit two green laser beams with a flickering action. The fog is just right, and it appears as though you've finally found a way out of the darkness that grips the lower bowels of the long abandoned mine. NAILED IT BIG.
THE SMART GUY WHO HAD IT ALL WRONG
There's a supposedly wise saying that says "YOU CAN'T GO HOME AGAIN."
But that's all wrong, because we just did it!
WIARD'S was a staple of growing up for me and my friends as kids in DETROIT, THE WORLD CAPITAL OF HAUNTED HOUSES.
To see it thriving so vibrantly and see so many awesome shared experiences in-the-making here gives us warm fuzzies all over again...
Our only regret was that there's just so much to do here that we didn't have time for THE ULTIMATE HAUNTED BARN and SPLATTERTOWN. But then again, that gives us the perfect built-in excuse to jump in the car...AND GO BACK HOME AGAIN TO WIARD'S!