OCTOBER 26, 2016 WEDNESDAY 10 PM - TRUST ME, I'M A DOCTOR
Here's something cool on the WDIV Channel 4 news tonight at 11 PM - it's one of their medical segments with that Dr. Frank McGeorge.
The teaser says something like, "What really happens to you when you go through a haunted house? Are they safe?" So they're going to equip this guy with various monitors and send him through EREBUS to see what happens.
I don't think it's going to be a big surprise, though.¬ We can tell you right now what's going to happen in all likelihood.
He's going through EREBUS, which means he will fall prey to a small army of custom made hand controlled monsters hiding in special crevices.
(This is one of the really cool exclusive things about EREBUS as most of you already know. We're not ones to "spill the beans" and spoil any big surprises for people and this article will vanish from the main page after the news piece plays.)
Okay, as he goes through EREBUS his blood pressure and heart rate will likely rise when the monsters get him... but not dangerously. And this doctor is in good physical condition himself, as of course should anybody be that expects to go through an amazing haunted house which is specifically designed to mess with you big time.
It's actually good for you to get your heart rate up frequently anyway. And that's exactly what happens when people come barreling out the exit of a haunt being chased by a madman with a running chainsaw!¬ We've seen this hundreds if not thousands of times and yes they might be flustered, but certainly they're happy and healthy.
So Dr. Zioptis says haunted houses are good for your health! Indulge frequently and with great passion... and don't be afraid to face your worst fears... because they're certainly lurking and waiting for you... at your neighborhood local haunted house!
OCTOBER 30, 2016 SUNDAY 3:45 AM - Partial review for WOODS OF DARKNESS in SOUTH ROCKWOOD now appears...and WIARD'S coming soon too...our apologies to REALM OF HAUNTED MINDS and NIGHTMARE ON HARRIS STREET at THE PUMPKIN FACTORY for missing them Saturday night...RATS!
OCTOBER 29, 2016 SATURDAY 7:45 PM - AND OFF WE GO!
This is probably the SINGLE BIGGEST HAUNT NIGHT OF THE YEAR.It's gonna be killer!
NOVEMBER 11, 2016 FRIDAY 2:30 PM - JEDI MIND MANIPULATION
Okay, here's the devious trick REALM played with the disgusting insect snack that stood between contestants and a thousand bucks. The "serving suggestion" they used made the meal look like a disgusting mess. But in fact, these food items were just purchased from a high-end confectionary specialty store! Chocolate dusted grasshoppers, for example...looks like somebody pooped on it and let it dry...ewwww!
NOVEMBER 11, 2016 FRIDAY 7 AM - HAPPY ELEVEN ELEVEN / VETERAN'S DAY / REMEMBRANCE DAY! (for all you Canadian Hosers out there)
NOVEMBER 6, 2016 SUNDAY 2 PM - BUGS... IT'S WHATS FOR DINNER!
There's a bowl of dead insects in front of you. It's dinner time, and¬ you signed a waiver.
With spoon in hand, you close your eyes.
There's $1000 on the line... do you gobble the gruesome mess in front of you... and just as important, can you keep it down once you do? If you toss your cookies you're disqualified. Several others already did...
This is but one of many challenges people faced at the DEVIL'S NIGHT CHALLENGE at THE REALM OF DARKNESS for a SPECTACULAR ENDING to the haunt season and quite possibly the ULTIMATE SWAN SONG IN HAUNTED HISTORY.
The waiver they drew up for this bad boy is in itself a LEGAL MASTERPIECE, and sent one couple running for the hills in a scaredy-cat tizzy... but all the others had the time of their life!
And they really did give out prizes of $1000 and $500... but for legal reasons the money was given by local radio station 89X from Canada.If we said it once, we've said a thousand times... but we'll say it again... haunted houses are not legally allowed to give cash prizes! Anytime you hear a story about a haunt supposedly doing this, it's a fake.
There's just so much more about the dinner including a surprise reveal about the insects... and yes they were REAL... but we'll save that for later.
For now, we'll plant a seed in your fertile imagination... on the morning of this wild event REALM went to the Eastern Market to buy some special meat items that cannot be bought anywhere else... GOAT TESTICLES for example... but wait it gets even better... stay tuned my little monkeys! :P
NOVEMBER 5, 2016 SATURDAY 11 PM - CASH ON THE BARREL
OMG, YOU WILL FREAK when we tell you all the wild stuff people did at the DEVIL'S NIGHT CHALLENGE at THE REALM OF DARKNESS to WIN A THOUSAND BUCKS! And the runner up team won $500...not too shabby a reward... but they had to SPEND THE WHOLE NIGHT IN A REAL HAUNTED HOUSE! (see details in Awards 2015, articles below on main page, and Reviews 2015_C)
But before we get into the juicy details...and there's LOTS of them trust us...take a look at this previous entry to prep you... it's the lowdown on these haunted houses that supposedly give you your money back if... you can poop out of your mouth... or perhaps blow your nose to the melody of "HOME ON THE RANGE"... maybe MELTED BATHING CAPS are an unhealthy obsession of yours... or... whatever... we hear all kinds of wacky stuff people make make up... and NONE of it is true! (but it does make for fun story telling¬ of course)
BATTEN DOWN THE HATCHES, HERE WE GO... HOLD ON TIGHT & DON'T FREAK OUT... PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN...
OCTOBER 27, 2015 TUESDAY 1 AM - DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THIS ONE HAUNTED HOUSE WHERE_____________________________? (fill in the blank)
Ever play the "Telephone Game," where a circle of people whispers a "secret" to each other one at a time until it goes all the way around?
The first person writes the "secret" down, and compares it to what the final person says. It's NEVER the same, and the results can be hilarious.
Now, imagine a "Telephone Game" on steroids where the "secret" is about an outrageous haunted house where all sorts of disgusting stuff is going on.
So every year there's FAKE HAUNT STORIES that are stretched to new dimensions of absurdity with every re-telling.
Multiply this concept by several thousand or so, and you've got this ever evolving story about an elusive HAUNT FROM BEYOND THAT DOESN'T EVEN EXIST, yet lives a life that cannot die!
And no matter who you talk to, nobody can tell you exactly where this haunt is and invariably they have not been there themselves. It's always a friend, or a cousin, or your mother's brother sister's parrot that swears this place is real... and they certainly would never lie, right?
So the details vary widely, but there's always one thing in common with all of these amazing stories - nobody can ever tell you exactly where the haunt is. Why?
It's simple. It's only an urban legend.
But in peoples' minds...ah, that's a whole different animal that's highly susceptible to suggestions and emotional appeals.
There, in peoples' brains, it mutates itself and can easily slay even the most rugged He-Man that eats pit bulls for breakfast.
As far as we know, the first version of this story goes something like this:
"There's a haunt that costs $100 to get in, but there's 10 rooms and you get back $10 for every room you make it thru.
But unspeakable things happen there and each room is progressively more vile and disgusting, and three people already went insane.
In fact, NOBODY has made it past the third room! The dark secret is that the last room is designed to give you a heart attack with defibrillators jerry rigged to deliver lethal shocks.
It's put on by a frat house in Ann Arbor that got banned and kicked out of U ofM.
The crazy haunt from hell includes renegade Medical Students who got booted from U of M MED SCHOOL for stealing body parts from cadavers and sending them to rude politicians.
They performed hideous experiments, and decided to see what they could get away with before being SHUT DOWN BY THE POLICE!
The first room is filled with 6 inches of water, and you must remove your shoes and socks. (They do promise to return them later when you exit.)There are hundreds of snakes slithering around your feet and in between your toes, but all non-poisonous so they can't get sued.
The second room is totally pitch black. As you make your way to a hallway end, you feel gooey slimy stuff on the wall. It's human remains, mixed in with turkey guts to completely fill the wall.
You get blood all over your clothes. It smells like death, and everybody gags and throws up.
The third room is only 25 feet square, but has 500 live rats. You still have no shoes or socks, so they go to town on your feet and ankles.
But to avoid lawsuits all the rats have been de-teethed so you don't actually get bit, just gummed." (end of FICTIONAL story - do NOT repeat this to anyone!)
But here's the thing... no matter who you talk to, nobody can tell you exactly where this haunt is and it invariably they have not been there themselves. It's always a friend, or a cousin, or your mother's brother sister's parrot that swears this place is real... and they would never lie.
NOVEMBER 1, 2016 TUESDAY 3 PM - YOU ARE THE BEST!
Special thanks to all the haunt operators for all your kind hospitality, which makes possible accomplishing our mission of promoting haunts!
No matter what kind of haunt, we find the things we like best and build a colorful enticing story based on that.
The season just ended, but there's lots more coming soon... we'll be reviewing recordings... embellishing and completing reviews... stay tuned...
NOVEMBER 1, 2016 TUESDAY 5 AM - GOVERNMENT GONE BONKERS / POLITICIANS GO INSANE!
Politics just got even weirder.
No... not the kid using the media as a selfie stick.
It's Wyandotte City Hall, which was taken over by goons and goonettes pretending to be running a so-called "haunted attraction" ... this is a renegade group of dynamic youngsters... as a clever diversion tactic they call themselves THE WYANDOTTE JAYCEES... it was horrific... it was dark... it was SIN!
We went to SIN on the FINAL NIGHT... so don't ask us if you should go... just ask yourself... DO YOU WANT TO SIN?! (review coming soon)
THE FINAL HURRAH / REDEMPTION IN A HOOPTIE
So we left SIN behind on Halloween Night... crusin' along in our POWDER BLUE FORD PINTO STATION WAGON... gas tank running low... tires fair... we just gotta make it to¬ WIARD'S for the last hayride to close out the season with a BANG... c'mon Bessie, don't stall out now... WHAT'S THAT SOUND...
STAY TUNED FOR THE THRILLING CONCLUSION!
OCTOBER 31, 2016 MONDAY 5 PM - SPOOKING REACHES NEW HEIGHTS
Just saw on the WXYZ-TV NEWS that annual spending on Halloweenhas reached $8.4 BILLION DOLLARS...whoa, that's a LOT of greenbacks by any measure!
OCTOBER 31, 2016 MONDAY 4 PM - It was such a bittersweet experience last night at THE REALM OF DARKNESS... so many memories, feelings and emotions... and now here it is the last day of the season... we seem to always go the spontaneous route on Halloween Day... several times we'd gone to NIGHTMARE ON ELM ROAD in WEBBERVILLE to celebrate Halloween but sadly they're gone now.
BACK TO BASICS / GETTING IN TOUCH WITH YOUR ROOTS
Hmmm...the WYANDOTTE JAYCEES are open tonight with this year's SIN HAUNTED HOUSE which we hear is located at the old City Hall.
So they turned loose an army of zombies and monsters on City Hall? Are they nuts?
We may need to investigate... it may require some NUTRAGEOUS BARS for that primo tasty sugar-induced madness to counteract the soul-stealing ghouls the WYANDOTTE JAYCEES have knowingly unleashed on the unsuspecting public... and with the blessing of the local authorities no less. Each year, they present a list of structures to the Jaycees that are slated for demolition but still suitable for a last hurrah as a haunt.
Imagine that...location/building overchoice as a haunt logistics problem! As problems go, that's a nice one to have, although it certainly does present special challenges too. But that's good, as it also helps build skills for other situations later in life. (The Jaycees have a 35 year-old cutoff age.)
OCTOBER 31, 2016 MONDAY 4 AM - HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
We had a great Devil's Night in Pontiac, visiting both THE REALM OF DARKNESS and EREBUS. (Both haunts are also open today for Halloween!)
RATS! We were a few minutes too late for the last show at EREBUS... but we still had a cool talk with MR. HAUNTED HOUSE himself... and we must say he is looking great... very healthy and vibrant... as usual ... but hey the shear amount and weight of props, equipment that's involved in a production of this scale is enormous... physical fitness is key.
Oh yeah... at REALM we got a look behind the scenes at their workshop, makeup stations, prop storage, and such and it was MIND BOGGLING!
OCTOBER 30, 2016 SUNDAY 3 PM - THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT ON SUNDAY!
So here we are... it's Devil's Night tonight... and it's Sunday... don't see any rain in the forecast...
That's all fine and dandy... but what haunts should we hit tonight? Our first stop is a NO BRAINER for us, because...
The REALM OF DARKNESS is moving to Mississippi - see this Masterpiece now while you can! www.TheRealmofDarkness.com
OCTOBER 30, 2016 SUNDAY 6 AM - WILD TIMES AND STRANGE STORIES EMERGE FROM RURAL DETROIT FOREST
We had a fabulous Saturday night at WOODS OF DARKNESS in SOUTH ROCKWOOD and NIGHT TERRORS at WIARD'S in YPSILANTI!
Our apologies to REALM OF HAUNTED MINDS and NIGHTMARE ON HARRIS STREET at THE PUMPKIN FACTORY for missing them...RATS!
The WOODS OF DARKNESS weaves their own magical blend of stuff that makes you go WOW ... this could be one of Detroit's best kept secrets... until now that is... silly us for taking so long to make it to this haunt...they've been at it for 10 years now and going strong with a big-time community presence and top notch show.
Sigh... still we can't help but wonder if the BURTON HAUNTED FOREST will re-emerge ... but that's okay because now we found a NEW OUTDOOR FOREST FIX! Every fall, it's natural to crave that special mix of being outside in the crisp cool air with your friends and some CRAZY GOBLINS ON A MISSION OF MADNESS!
THE WONDERFUL WIZARDS OF WIARD'S
NIGHT TERRORS at WIARD'S has taken the art of the LIQUID SKY DISPLAY to a new level in THE MINDSHAFT final room. It's positively stunning! Green lasers project to form a flat surface, but it's not a flat beam. Instead, it's 16 individual beams fanning out to form a really bad boy spectacular lighting display!
Even better, a WONDERFULLY WACKY CREATURE has made this room his own private playground... and YUP... YOU are his plaything ... GOTCHA! A GIANT WINNER.
Isolation from room to room was excellent, so you didn't see this amazing presentation until the last second... hey it's standard procedure at haunts to save your big guns for last... that's always been a winning formula and smart haunt operators know it. You always get your BIGGEST WOW at the end... it's the best way to "leave 'em wanting more!"
WIARD'SIS OPEN TODAY & HALLOWEEN!
OCTOBER 29, 2016 SATURDAY 4 PM - AND TO THINK THAT I SAW IT AT KROGER LAST NIGHT
Okay, it was actually two nights ago... 11:30 PM and time for an EMERGENCY TURKEY HILL RUN TO KROGER before they close at midnight...some employees were already ALL DECKED OUT in their HALLOWEEN BEST COSTUMES.
Of course I had to tease them like bratty younger siblings... so as items are being scanned... "Wow, jumping the gun a bit for Halloween are we? What kind of candy are you giving out?" haha giggle giggle "OH NO! I NEED A NUTRAGEOUS RIGHT NOW." (I start fake sobbing and she responds with an obvious lack of sympathy)
"Nope, you're out of luck on that one." "Sigh...you mean to tell me...so you're this big time cashier here...hundreds of thousands of dollars running through your greedy little mitts...but how much of that do I get?" "NOTHING!" "Why can't I get my cut? My fair share should be at least a couple G's don't you think?" haha giggle giggle
"HAPPY HALLOWEEN YOU SILLY GIRL, carry on and don't forget to support your local, neighborhood haunted house or The Great Pumpkin himself will hunt you down like a dog and remove your limbs." "REALLY? The Great Pumpkin?" "I have connections...I shouldn't tell you this but I'm with the ZIOPTIS HAUNTED HOUSE HOTLINE." (handed her a Zioptis HHH card)
OCTOBER 29, 2016 SATURDAY 4 AM - TALES FROM THE DARKSYDE
WOW! We barely recognized DARKSYDE ACRES since we last saw it in 2012, and it's all good...we loved the snarky, creative actors...and their makeup and costumes are all top flight!
BIGGER, BADDER, BETTER!
JACKSON'S UNDERWORLD has a new 3D full length attraction, painted by the owner's son! A clown theme provides the backdrop for some really wild and REALLY LARGE artwork that FLIES off the wall and floats in the air. It's an eerie feeling that's bursting with bright, happy flourescent colors glowing brightly under scores of blacklights...
OCTOBER 28, 2016 FRIDAY 4 PM - A HORSE OF A DIFFERENT COLOR
We just had an excellent long talk with the show manager at WIARD'S ORCHARDS NIGHT TERRORS in YPSILANTI and you won't believe what they just did!
First of all real quick...we truly admire how many haunts are able to reinvent themselves year after year and that's great... but check this out...the WIARD'S HAYRIDE has just been revamped midseason!There's new makeup/characters, new scenes, new lines, and new audio soundtracks. So essentially...even if you saw it before, you ain't seen nothin' yet! www.HauntedHouseMichigan.com
CARPE DIEM, BABY!
After getting feedback from people as they're leaving the hayride WIARD'S started brainstorming how to CRANK THE CRAZINESS TO ELEVEN... everything starts as an idea after all... oh and check this out one of the main new scenes this year in the hayride was thought of just a couple days before opening day of the season... it was nip and tuck but was finally ready five minutes before show time! For you haunt operators out there...does any of this sound familiar? Haha
OCTOBER 27, 2016 THURSDAY 3 PM - Just looking at the website for DARKSYDE ACRES, and their blog is hilarious! Humor goes great with haunting, check this out - www.darksydeacres.com/blog
OCTOBER 26, 2016 WEDNESDAY 5 AM - IT MUST BE A SIGN
It's happening again.
We keep hearing about a certain haunt we haven't been to and it's making us think there's got to be a very good reason why.
Last year it was the HAUNTED PRISON EXPERIENCE in OHIO...after hearing about it from haunters all over we went...and lucky us it was their last year...
This time it's DARKSYDE ACRES in JONESVILLE...the girl at the CVS Drug Store...people at various haunts...a guy who wrote to us that moved to Michigan from Pennsylvania said he was going there...had also already been to ROTTEN MANOR and loved it BTW...
There's only one more weekend...rats we didn't make it to THE HAUNT yet...oh no TERROR ON 27 and SHAWHAVEN are beckoning too...JACKSON'S UNDERWORLD is totally insane and reminds us of the old HUDSON'S DEPT. STORE in DETROIT...SCREAM PARK in NILESis 44 acres packed with primo stuff...REALM OF HAUNTED MINDS at the TURKEY FARM in ROMULUS is a trip and a half...NIGHTMARE ON HARRIS STREET at THE PUMPKIN FACTORY is down the block in BELLEVILLE...and then of course WIARD'S in YPSILANTI...and OH NO it's the last year for BRANDYWINE CEMETARY also in YPSI...that's gonna be off-the-hook...decisions, decisions...hey Stewie invent me a TIME MACHINE to make some MORE HAUNTING DAYS PLEASE...we're still stoked for the adventure with great GUSTO & PASSION!
OCTOBER 24, 2016 MONDAY 4 AM - KILLER KLOWNS SLIM, SHORTY AND FATSO SPOTTED AT BURGER KING IN GRAND RAPIDS!
Oh wait, never mind... that was Elvis...let's make that SPOTTED IN BIG SPLASH AT LOCAL TOLEDO MEGA HAUNT DEBUT!
Okay, here's the deal...our film friend from New York was in town over the weekend, and we had really hoped to take him to WIARD'S on Sunday as the weather was unseasonably warm.
Alas there was other business to attend to, and that didn't work out. But he also asked about haunts we had seen since his last visit here that he might like, and right away I thought to show him the pictures I took on my point-and-shoot at HAUNTED PLANET EXPERIENCE in Toledo last Friday night.
They have an amazing mini museum of movie madness memorabilia at this haunt! There's original movie theater posters, as well as masks and models created with the original motion picture molds from such classic movies as KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE and CRITTERS.
I handed him the camera to flip through the shots...HE STARTS FLIPPING OUT...said it reminded him of PLANET HOLLYWOOD in FLORIDA where he saw original movie set pieces from GREMLINS and the original face from THE FLY movie in the 1950's.
So here's the "NEW KID IN TOWN," HAUNTED PLANET EXPERIENCE, with a brand new Mega Haunt in Toledo...and the guy from New Yorkonce again is talking about how there's nothing like this there...or Cardio Drumming either! Hmmm...
OCTOBER 23, 2016 SUNDAY 9 PM - THE MUD-FILLED STROKE OF GENIUS
As most of you know, we LOVE talking about our favorite things at various haunts to whoever is there. So it follows we also love ASKING whoever is there what their favorite things were at haunts they've been to.
So we're talking haunts to this girl in line with us at BONADEO FARMS Saturday night, and she says they went to EREBUS in PONTIAC. So of course we asked what her favorite parts were there...she gets all excited and said something like "...we had to walk down into this pit...it looks like water that's alive with all this green, yucky stuff but you don't actually get wet. It was really weird... I've never seen anything like it before!"
I winked at my partner. Ah yes... another hapless victim falls prey to THE SWAMP, a brilliant EREBUS ENGINEERED LIGHTING EFFECT that is the first of its kind at any haunt to our knowledge.
It's actually a variation of the classic liquid sky lighting effect, using flat beam green lasers strategically placed throughout the area with just the right amount of fog. As you plow through these inflated bag type things on either side of you, it simulates the sensation as if you're walking through a swamp. Brilliant!
Playing along as usual, I said something like... "So here EREBUSforced you to walk into a swamp full of HOT FUNGUS or COLD ALGAE or who knows what...but still you plowed your way through and survived to tell the tale? Wow, quite the trooper you are!" Remembering the big fun she obviously had at EREBUS, she starting giggling and getting silly...and after all...we're all just about to enter FULL MOON MANOR at BONADEO and check out yet another excellent haunt.
Great fun, bantering with all you happy haunters out there! haha ;)
OCTOBER 23, 2016 SUNDAY 7 PM - REELING FROM THE REALM
Okay ...we've seen some amazing things this year, and had our minds twisted every which way you can imagine...
But for sheer variety and quality of sets, depth of experience, and amazing artwork that just blows your mind... for us last night at the REALM was definitely the one that takes the cake.
One of the few things we recognized from last year was the Mad Hatter, and he was even more silly and madder than before!
It's rare for us to go to the same haunt twice in one year, and we've already done it once this season... but there is just so much awesome new stuff at REALM this year that were going again for sure.
Wild horses couldn't keep us away, but the only thing that surprised us was why wasn't there a giant line at this place last night? Without exception, we saw all highly positive reactions from people exiting.
It's like people that live in Dearborn that have never been to Greenfield Village or Henry Ford Museum...sometimes people tend to take for granted amazing things in their own backyard... and this amazing thing in our own backyard is about to jump ship to Mississippi.
The acting is superb. The sets are second to none. There's a cool story. It's a highly crafted emotional roller coaster. And REALM is the only place in Michigan where you can see the new Stu Smith 3-D artwork.
That this place is struggling is a travesty... they pay all their actors promptly even when they have to dig deep into their own pockets...they actually help their competitors whenever possible... name me one other business where they do that...just sayin'... www.TheRealmOfDarkness.com
OCTOBER 23, 2016 SUNDAY 4 AM - THAT VOODOO THAT YOU DO SO WELL
For a moment, imagine that you run a local mega haunt that's been around for say like 40 years or so.
Every year, people are expecting new stuff and new ideas, directions, and plots twists from you. How do you re-invent yourself year after year after year?
EVERYTHING INCLUDING THE KITCHEN SINK
We still have no idea how they do it, but that's exactly what THE REALM OF DARKNESS in PONTIAC has once again accomplished! And the new show starts before you even enter the building, as you stroll through a village from the old west.
Now imagine being thrust into a 3 dimensional futuristic world of evil creatures and hideous clowns. Oh yeah...there's all kinds of stuff FLOATING IN THE AIR AND POPPING OFF THE FLOOR too. BOOM, you just experienced the latest 3D art from industry leader STU SMITHand only REALM has it. And that's just for starters before you even get in the main haunt! www.TheRealmOfDarkness.com
OCTOBER 22, 2016 SATURDAY 4:30 PM - THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA / THE CYCLE CONTINUES
Every year we gain haunts, and lose some others. It's the natural order, and even when it hurts, in the end it's all for the best.
For example, we lost TERRORTOWN to Rob Zombie of all people, but it worked out for the best anyways because Toledo just scored a fabulous new mega-haunt with HAUNTED PLANET EXPERIENCE.
But now the ending we never wanted to see is a done deal, with THE REALM OF DARKNESS closing up shop in Detroit and moving to Mississippi of all places. The only uncertainty is the timing of the departure.
THIS COULD BE THEIR LAST YEAR IN DETROIT, but we're sure hoping for a slow transition...and if that happens NEXT year will be their last.
We just don't know yet...and honestly we're afraid to even ask...we just always thought that as long as there's such a thing as a haunted house in Detroit (which should be forever!) that we'd be able to go and visit our longest-time friend in the industry Denise.
She was the first operator we can remember that championed the cause of giving back to charity through her haunt originally at THE HOUSE OF NIGHTMARES which took place in the parking lot of a church in Warren, right across the street from a public high school with a football field.
But that's another story, perhaps best laid to rest forever...but then again it made front page news in the local press so that may be impossible...
Let's just say that this haunt showed unbelievable resilience in the face of adversity after adversity. But ultimately, it's how you respond to those adversities that defines you as a person.
And in the end analysis, DENISE IS A SHINING STAR of a human being who exemplifies THE GOLDEN RULE in every dealing with even her staunchest competitors. www.TheRealmOfDarkness.com
OCTOBER 22, 2016 SATURDAY 2 PM - SAY IT AIN'T SO, JOE...SAY IT AIN'T SO!
Got the pumpkin spice coffee goin'...and lots of incredible memories from Ohio last night to create awesome stories for their reviews...but there's an important phone call we have to make...
OCTOBER 22, 2016 SATURDAY 3 AM - BUCKEYE BLASTOFF!
There's finally a new reason to go to TOLEDO, and you're gonna love it~!
It's the brand spanking new HAUNTED PLANET EXPERIENCE, and it couldn't be any easier to find. Right off I-75 South, as soon as you hit Toledo, take the Alexis exit and BOOM a few miles down and there you are. www.hauntedx.com
Sheesh...we used to get lost like EVERY TIME (before GPS of course) trying to find that illusive KEY STREET at Lucas Cty. Fairgrounds for TERRORTOWN back in the day...it was SO embarrassing! (But Mark the human GPS was always such a pal, explaining over our flip phones where we went wrong and how to get there.)
NO MORE...we could find our way to HAUNTED PLANET EXPERIENCEwalking backwards blindfolded now...it's so easy and totally engrained into our brain cells now...wait a second, I think they may have infected us in their BIO LAB X...aren't they supposed to take some kind of precautions?
What if people go insane there? For all we know, there could be permanent psychological damage after only one exposure to this¬ TOTALLY OFF-THE-HOOK TRIPLE THEMED HAUNT!
This is their first year, which is hard to fathom...the attention to detail, the incredible sound throughout...and WOW these actors are agile both physically and mentally to mess with you big time!
Hmmm...they're WAY more experienced than first year performers...HEY WAIT! There's some strangely familiar characters here...WHOA NELLIE... these are some of the BEST CAST MEMBERSfrom the crew that used to WOW US at TERRORTOWN!!! HOORAY!!!
So here we are in Toledo...my partner has her TERRORTOWN jacket in tow for the Ohio trip...kinda weird...they say you CAN'T GO HOME AGAIN...but in a sense we just did and it was fabulous!
Even better, once you're in Toledo it's not far to another great haunt that's so successful it's still going strong after 27 years! That would be THE HAUNTED HYDRO in FREMONT, OHIO. We had not been there since 2013, so we finally redeemed ourselves and went to EXPERIENCE CRAZY BOB IN PERSON AGAIN.
He is delightfully wacky, and spins all kinds of hilarious tall tales on the spot. CRAZY BOB has a way of finding something unique about anyone, and using that knowledge to build a short story that often ends with the "victim" laughing at themself.
THE AUTHENTIC REAL DEAL
Getting people to laugh at themselves on-the-fly despite something silly or stupid about themself is actually one of the highest forms of true humor. So when you think about it, CRAZY BOB is indeed performing at a WORLD CLASS level. In less than a minute, he can invoke more genuine belly laughs than an entire evening of network sitcoms pumped full of canned laughter.
THANK YOU, BOB! And yes...although we can't help but gush about Bob...the haunts and Escape Rooms at the HYDRO are excellent!www.TheHauntedHydro.com
OCTOBER 21, 2016 FRIDAY 3:30 PM - GET OUT THE VOTE!
No, not for those silly politicians.
Get your butt in gear for some FABULOUS HAUNTING TONIGHT, and make your choices known!
Almost all haunts are open tonight, and there's just so many choices. Decisions, decisions...but it's a VERY NICE PROBLEM TO HAVE.
OCTOBER 21, 2016 FRIDAY 1 AM - JUST BEFORE THE GLOVES CAME OFF
Shortly before the POLITICAL COMBAT last night, we had a great talk with the creator of OHIO'S NEWEST MEGA HAUNT. HAUNTED PLANET EXPERIENCE in TOLEDO which opened this year. We can't wait to check it out! www.hauntedx.com
This is the same crew that just finished a 15 year run at the HAUNTED PRISON in Mansfield, Ohio.
And lucky us; we went during their final year in 2015 at the prison and saw an amazing show from a well oiled machine. Their operator won multitudes of awards, many of them for the best soundtrack. Sound and lighting can make or break a haunt!
Now that TERRORTOWN is gone Toledo really needed a new mega haunt and this is it!
FYI, the haunt in Mansfield is open this year under a different name of PARANORMAL PENITENTIARY, but it's a brand-new crew and this is their first year. They had no choice but to open right away to maintain the grandfathered fun house status of this property.
We do hope to visit the prison again someday, after they've settled in and had a chance to fine-tune things.
In the meantime, we're totally stoked about HAUNTED PLANET EXPERIENCE and also we're way overdue to see a LONG TIME OHIOFAVORITE of ours in FREMONT, OHIO where CRAZY BOB runs the HAUNTED HYDRO. Our last visit there was KILLER! www.TheHauntedHydro.com (see Reviews 2013_A)
OCTOBER 17, 2016 MONDAY 1 AM - THINKING OUTSIDE THE BIG BOX
Okay... we've been gushing over some of the big guns in the industry and rightfully so. These are some amazing productions, and it's some superhuman stuff to pull this off. We've seen Sky Trackers, cranes, and all sorts of amazing machinery used in haunts.
But the big gun haunts are only part of the picture, so now it's time to gush about two haunts that very likely did not have thousands upon thousands of visitors last Saturday night.
You might say these are more like your mom and pop haunted houses, yet they can be counted on to deliver the goods. Even better, they're both in Western Wayne County and make an awesome two-fer haunt journey.
We're talking about REALM OF HAUNTED MINDS in ROMULUS and NIGHTMARE ON HARRIS STREET at THE PUMPKIN FACTORY in BELLEVILLE.
REALM OF HAUNTED MINDS has an amazing miniature city on the grounds, and can be the source of many adventures all on its own. There's a ghost ship that can be boarded, as well as a train and much more.
And the haunt? IT'S KILLER...EVERYTIME. Not only that, but FRANKENSTEIN HIMSELF has taken up residence here. What better endorsement could you possibly hope for? (see various archived reviews)
The ticket booth building at REALM OF HAUNTED MINDS is a show in itself, and also sports some amazingly tasty vittles that you won't be able to stop eating once you start! Here's their info - 18910 Merriman Road, Romulus, MI 48174 phone # (734) 753-9187
NIGHTMARE ON HARRIS STREET is celebrating¬ 40 YEARS IN BUSINESS!!! Hmmm...they must be doing something right. ;)
The main feature at NIGHTMARE is a hayride with lots of original artwork and some really cool twists. As you make your way onto the grounds, you get an inkling of what you're in for, because the resident witch lives in a small house there. Step right up and look closely inside if you dare, but please be advised she is authorized to maim and kill stalkers and Peeping Tom's.
Oh yeah... THE PUMPKINS! There's hundreds if not thousands of them!
And their main building has a really cool store as well as world class food served up at a great price. Hey, vigorous haunting requires proper sustenance! One awesome entry we never would have expected was stuffed cabbage soup to rival that of any Polish restaurant!
But back to the pumpkins. This is a pumpkin farm after all...you can find the one that's just right for you and your jack-o'-lantern plans. And their pumpkin pie is to die for fabulous and brought them nationwide recognition in a major magazine article about Michigan!
There's no fancy website or social media accounts, but who needs spinning graphics when you're already going strong at 40 years running?! Here's their info - NIGHTMARE ON HARRIS STREET, 48651 Harris, Belleville, MI 48111 phone # (734) 461-1835
OCTOBER 16, 2016 SUNDAY 3 PM - THE MASTERS TOUCH
OMG! I just looked at the photo gallery on the website of THE REALM OF DARKNESS...WOW... the colors... the designs... the astonishing makeup...the widely varying emotions invoked... the theatrical quality sets...the ridiculously insane attention to detail. You see new things every time you go through! Lookie here - http://therealmofdarkness.com/gallery/
If you've never been to a top-level professional haunt of this caliber, you owe it to yourself to get your butt over to THE REALM OF DARKNESS. You might even win a thousand bucks (or $500 for 2ndprize) if you go on Devil's Night...and this is for real...NOT an Urban Legend thing! www.TheRealmOfDarkness.com
In case you didn't hear, in the biggest haunt news of the season, the announcement has been made that THE REALM OF DARKNESS is moving to Mississippi (possibly as soon as next year but for sure by 2018)!
So time is of the essence, if you want to see this masterful creation from not only one of the most creative, but nicest people in the business! Denise has even helped competitors slay their own dragons of all shapes, sorts, and sizes through the years in an impressive display of THE GOLDEN RULE at work!
And it was Denise that told us we simply HAD to check out SCREAM PARK in NILES which we finally did. We actually received a kind invitation from¬ SCREAM PARK for a return visit recently...decisions, decisions...RATS! We missed THE HAUNT last year...we need to get back to DARKSYDE ACRES too...then there's the NEW MEGAHAUNT in TOLDEO called HAUNTED PLANET EXPERIENCE from the creator of the now defunct HAUNTED PRISON EXPERIENCE in MANSFIELD, OHIO.
Whoops...gotta run to CARDIO DRUMMING...stay tuned my little monkeys...
OCTOBER 16, 2016 SUNDAY 5 AM - CITIES AFLAME IN ROCK AND ROLL / FREAK OUT IN A MOONAGE DAYDREAM, OH YEAH...
Okay, it was actually LENOX TOWNSHIP last night, as both HAUNTED FARM OF TERROR and SCAREFEST SCREAM PARK had the largest crowds we've ever seen at either haunt!¬ Fortunately, both of them are set up to handle thousands upon thousands of happy haunters and things were running smoothly all around.
The moon was shining brightly, and at times unusual cloud formationspassed through it to produce stunning visuals no man could ever create! Hmmm...could you call that GOD'S LIQUID SKY? haha ;)
HAUNTED FARM OF TERROR had a radio remote broadcast going from Channel 955 WYCD and SCAREFEST SCREAM PARK featured a live rock band that really kicked out the jams, with fabulous sound quality to boot.
At HAUNTED FARM OF TERROR, we saw the coolest cat ever! Look for him on the left at the entrance to the Road Kill Cafe.
SCAREFEST SCREAM PARK has a one-of-a-kind spinning artwork piece that combines fire and geometry in a most unique way. You won't be able to miss it!
Our only regret from the night was there's just so much to do at both haunts that we simply didn't have time to do everything. But we made sure to do the hayrides and walk-through haunts at both places, and they delivered the goods in spades.
Hey, they pretty much have to because this is the most competitive market on the planet seeing as DETROIT IS THE WORLD CAPITAL OF HAUNTED HOUSES!
OCTOBER 15, 2016 SATURDAY 7 PM - HAPPY SWEETEST DAY!
Why not give your sweetie a big thrill, and go to your local neighborhood haunted house tonight?
The weather is unseasonably warm, so the outdoor haunts will be prime tonight! You could even wear shorts, and of course it's also the perfect excuse for the girls to wear their most skimpy haunt garb. We personally authorize this type of behavior, subject of course to local jurisdiction which we would never suggest you ignore.
OCTOBER 15, 2016 SATURDAY 5 PM - HEROES AND ICONS
OMG! You will NOT believe who we ran into last night at SLAUGHTER HOUSE in FOWLERVILLE...
We have no idea how they pulled this one off! Check out who the special guests are this year at SLAUGHTER HOUSE - no less than Hillary Rodham Clinton and Donald Trump themselves!
THE GLOVES COME OFF
You think you saw some fireworks between the presidential candidates during the debates? That's peanuts as The Donald would say, and he proves it big time when he makes his special appearance exclusively at SLAUGHTER HOUSE in thieir new show THE PURGE - ELECTION YEAR. You better get your butt over there, real quick before The Donald digs his own grave and jumps in it face first. www.slaughterhouseadventure.com
OCTOBER 15, 2016 SATURDAY 4:45 PM - POISON DARTS & DOWN-A-CLOWN
No, it's not The Donald's latest rantings about foreigners or Democrats.
It's two of the new carnival games at THEATRE BIZARRE this year, which for the first time takes place over two weekends this year.
HALF A TON OF CANDY CORN FROM THE ROCKY PEANUT COMPANY!
This thing is off the hook insane crazy! Last night was opening night and it was totally sold out, but you still have one more chance next week. It takes place at Masonic Temple in Detroit at a building that's a whopping 250,000 ft. And there are 1,037 rooms, many of which have not even been explored yet!
This event spans eight floors and is built to accommodate 4500 guests! 750 staff members make it all work like clockwork for this 16 year event, which got its start first at the Michigan State Fairgrounds as a risquť one night only carnivalesque party for friends and family around Halloween.
The guy who put it together was famous for saying "No one was going to tell us no!" But sure enough, the city DID tell them "NO!" in 2010, and that's when they moved Theatre Bizarre to Masonic Temple. www.theatrebizarre.com
This year's theme is HAIL ZOMBO, and take a wild guess what Zombo is? YUP he's a clown and in fact, the chief mascot of Theatre Bizarre. One of the key installations this year is a giant shrine to Zombo including a 213-figure motion controlled diorama that took them three years to make.
There was an excellent front-page article yesterday in the Detroit Free Press about Theatre Bizarre, and it takes you behind the scenes for an inside glimpse of this wildness - http://www.freep.com/story/entertainment/2016/10/13/theatre-bizarre-2 016-detroit-masonic-temple/92017008/
One really cool thing that sets this apart is that it's a costume mandatory masquerade, and as such is the largest of its kind in the world!
So there's another awesome world record for Detroit!
OCTOBER 14, 2016 FRIDAY 1 PM - We're getting excited for a WILD WEEKEND! Many amazing adventures await those who burn with passion for that crazy unique thrill that ONLY comes from haunting in DETROIT - THE WORLD CAPITAL OF HAUNTED HOUSES!
OCTOBER 14, 2016 FRIDAY 3 AM - WORD ON THE STREETS 2016 / EPISODE #1 (conclusion)
First to recap: So I'm waiting in line at a CVS DRUG STORE in DEARBORN a couple days ago, and the girl just ahead of me was wearing a T-shirt from HALLOWEEKENDS AT CEDAR POINT in SANDUSKY, OHIO.
I asked her if she had gone to the haunts at CEDAR POINT. She said it was like five years ago, and heard that it had gotten a lot better since then. That's been our understanding too, and honestly we do want to try the haunt at Cedar Point someday.
Only problem is that every time we get to Sandusky, we can't resist going to GHOSTLY MANOR instead which has always blown us away! (see various archived reviews)
Then I invited her to talk about haunts in Michigan. She had not yet gone haunting this season, but last year she tried two and especially loved one of them.
"Cool! Which haunt was it?"
Whoops, she couldn't remember the name, there's just so many of them. No problem...with minimal prompting and hearing that it was "out past Ann Arbor," we quickly determined that she had been to DARKSYDE ACRES in JONESVILLE.
We missed them last year, but always had a blast in previous seasons.
They have one really unique building they use to fabulous advantage. It's a really long rectangular building, with a super long continuous hallway that goes right down the center of the building.
You can see all the way through the building from beginning to end. But what you can't see is all the crazy things lurking in the rooms to the left and right of this super long hallway.
And we've seen DARKSYDE ACRES bumper stickers around town too. It must be an omen or sign that we need to get our butts out there again ASAP. Leave the lights OFF for us, RJ!