Archive 39

SEPTEMBER 13, 2022 TUESDAY 6 PM - HAZELNUT WITH CREAM & NO SUGAR

Mmmm, coffee isn’t just for breakfast anymore. That caffeine jolt can be just what the doctor ordered, until we can GET OUR HAUNT ON when haunts open!

OCTOBER 3, 2020 SATURDAY 12 AM - OF GUINEA PIGS & THE NEW ABNORMAL

So what is haunting like now? Things changed a lot since last season...in fact the world has gone crazy! We’re practically swimming in hand sanitizer and yet even the President of The USA JUST GOT INFECTED WITH THE DEADLY COVID-19 VIRUS!

“So Zioptis, if even The Donald isn’t safe, what makes you think I can be safe...going to one of those wild & crazy haunted houses? Aren’t you taking your life in your hands? I mean, Monsters breathing all over you...pus-faced Zombies, guts oozing, dripping blood...”

Listen up, that’s all fake news!

We know because we just went Friday night to a PREMIERE DETROIT MEGA HAUNT, and were as safe as milk from start to finish. You could say we made them our GUINEA PIG OF THE YEAR to dip our feet in, sampling what the new haunt season looks like... 

So with a multitude of choices for our inaugural haunt we finally decided to hit ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY, and yes the place was rockin’ big time... www.rottenmanor.com

We even survived what could have been an DEADLY ALIEN INSECT INVASION in the forest walk, which totally blew the mind of our neophyte guest!

***SIDEBAR  On occasion, we bring someone with us who has never been to a haunted attraction. It’s fabulous getting their reactions when they fall victim to staples like drop-panels, animatronic displays triggered with pressure sensitive floor switches and such.***

OCTOBER 2, 2020 FRIDAY 4 PM - DECISIONS, DECISIONS...

Tonight is opening night at HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION in WESTLAND, and we’re anxious to see what’s happening with them.

But we’re also anxious to check out ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY.

On the other hand, tonight should be fine for outdoor haunts...no rain and not too cold. Who knows what the rest of the weekends will be like this season? There’s no guarantees, so it could be time for Plan B.

DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE, DOUBLE YOUR FUN

No, not the chewing gum...it’s PINCKNEY which now has TWO way cool outdoor haunts!

TERRORFIED FOREST now has some very good company in PINCKNEY, with GHOSTLY MANOR taking up residence there last year.

As a new haunt last year, GHOSTLY GROVE was a priority for us and we were impressed with their opening. (see Reviews 2019_B)

OCTOBER 1, 2020 THURSDAY 3 PM - HAPPY OCTOBER!

Finally, October is here and many more haunts are opening this weekend.

Sadly, many haunts aren’t open this year due to the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic and we understand.

Just as many haunts are on hiatus, we’re scaling back this year with a less aggressive travel schedule.

Usually by now we’d have been to THE SCREAM MACHINE in TAYLOR for example, but they’re not open this season.

We encourage you to support the haunts that have stepped up to the challenge of safely opening this season. Remember, many haunts donate funds to charities like children’s organizations and animal welfare groups.

So much time and effort goes into putting on a haunt that the public never sees. But that’s okay, because the parts you do see provide the BIG SCARES AND WOWS that are the bread and butter of the haunt industry.

SEPTEMBER 25, 2020 FRIDAY 4 PM - A NICE PROBLEM TO HAVE

There are many other haunts operating tonight besides THE HAUNT!

ROTTEN MANOR www.rottenmanor.com in HOLLY is open tonight, as well as SCAREFEST SCREAM PARK www.scarefestscreampark.com in LENOX TWP. JACKSON’S UNDERWORLD www.jxunderworld.com in JACKSON, FACTORY OF THE DEAD www.factoryofthedead.com in SAGINAW, NIGHT TERROR’S AT WIARD’S www.hauntedhousemichigan.com  in YPSILANTI, and DERANGED www.derangedhaunt.com in ROMULUS.

We went to all these haunts last year, as well as THE HAUNT. We feel confident in recommending all of these as worthy efforts!

Things are different this year due to the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic, so be sure to check each haunt’s website before going.

SEPTEMBER 25, 2020 FRIDAY 3 PM - ONCE IN A LIFETIME

No, not the TALKING HEADS song...but that’s a great tune...

We’re talking about driving over to GRAND RAPIDS to hit the MEGA HAUNT GENERATING THE BIG BUZZ , THE HAUNT!

Which haunt?

THE HAUNT.

What’s it called?

THE HAUNT... that’s it... just “THE HAUNT!”

But what’s the name of the place?

Never mind...just get on I-96 WEST and fire up the cruise control and put on some jams...

**SIDEBAR** The Halloween Anthem Rock song “DRAGULA” by ROB ZOMBIE is based on the hot rod appearing in THE MUNSTERS TV show!**

THE HAUNT in GRAND RAPIDS OPENS TONIGHT -  FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 25, 2020   www.the-haunt.com

If you haven’t experienced this haunt, you’ll flip when you see what they’ve got! Their DETAIL & DECOR ARE OFF THE CHART FABULOUS! One of our favorites last year was a masterpiece of a miniature spinning MERRY GO ROUND. Hollywood grade makeup and actors round out the show at THE HAUNT.

In case you didn’t know, a new operator took over at THE HAUNT a few years ago. Amazing amounts of effort have gone into continuing the well deserved reputation of this PREMIERE MEGA HAUNT!

SEPTEMBER 24, 2020 THURSDAY 2 PM - FAQ’S CONTINUED

QUESTION: Hey Zioptis, you messed up! Last season, both HUSH in WESTLAND and ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY received the ZIOPTIS 2019 PRIME CHOICE HAUNT EXPERIENCE AWARD.

That sounds like the top award, so how can TWO haunts receive it?

ANSWER: First of all, there were actually THREE haunts that received this award. THE HAUNT in GRAND RAPIDS also received the ZIOPTIS 2019 PRIME CHOICE HAUNT EXPERIENCE AWARD.

Huh?

Many haunt rating services out there give a “HAUNT OF THE YEAR” award, and we have too in previous years.

This implies that the haunt receiving this was better than the rest of the contenders. But when multiple haunts reach a World Class Status with truly exceptional shows, saying one is better than the others is akin to saying oranges are better than apples.

In our opinion, HUSH, ROTTEN MANOR, and THE HAUNT were standout favorites last year. So to name only one of them “HAUNT OF THE YEAR” would be unfair to them and the public which looks to us for advice as haunt experts.

We believe this can be easily validated. Ask any haunt operator from these 3 haunts what they think of the other 2, and you will find mutual admiration and respect.

For example, the attention to detail and decor at THE HAUNT is staggering...and that’s just for starters. Just ask ANY haunt operator who has seen it! It’s totally worth the trip from Detroit.

**SIDEBAR** Another haunt that fits this situation is SCREAM PARK in NILES. We did not visit them last year, but trust us the place is totally amazing and any other haunt operator who’s being honest will tell you so. SCREAM PARK is a multi-attraction haunt that features unique self-draining outdoor carpeting throughout the grounds. Their main haunted house has many different possible pathways though! We had a behind the scenes tour; actually it was an ABOVE the scenes tour on the many catwalks above everything.

SEPTEMBER 21, 2020 MONDAY 6 PM - NOTHING BUT THE FACTS, MA’AM

QUESTION: Hey Zioptis, who made you guys the judges?

ANSWER: First of all, we do not “judge” haunted houses / attractions. Judging implies there’s faults to be found and penalties to be imposed. That’s not how we roll.

If we find a fault we bring it to the attention of the haunt operator, not the public. Maybe a fog machine ran out of fog juice, or an animatronic display isn’t deploying. There’s a thousand things that can go wrong, and eventually they will. But what good does it do anybody to tell the public these things?

As to who brought us to do this, it was the ZIOPTIS callers that motivated us to expand upon our haunted house reports that originally played after Dial-a-Trip episodes.

QUESTION: What exactly qualifies you to rate haunted houses when you never even ran one yourself?

ANSWER: First of all, we do not “rate” haunted houses / attractions. Rating involves numerical values applied to various categories, with deductions for each and every imperfection found.

We write REVIEWS which tell the story of each haunt, emphasizing the best qualities without revealing too much so we don’t “spoil” the surprise.

Once upon a time when we were young and foolish, we DID rate haunts on a scale of 1-5 STARS. We emphatically stated the ratings did NOT compare haunts to each other. Rather, they were intended to indicate how well a haunt accomplished what it set out to do.

That meant that a tiny haunt could get 5 STARS just like a major mega haunt, and that further confused the issue.

Even worse, this diminished the value of a 5 STAR rating on a major mega haunt that toiled all year, compared to a 2 week setup operation that also could theoretically receive 5 STARS.

Try as we might, our pleas fell on deaf ears and the “How many STARS? mentality persisted.

So in 2009 we abandoned the useless and counterproductive star ratings that were getting in the way of our purpose which was, and continues to be, promoting the entire haunt scene that we love so much!

With the focus shifted to each haunts story and strengths, we repositioned ourselves to a noncompetitive stance.

As to the question of us never actually running a haunt...

Well, actually we have...sorta.

It started when my dad converted the family house into an improvised haunted house on Halloween. He put giant speakers on the roof, and played stuff like Tod Dockstader’s Organized Sound “Luna Park”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hydIpd0RLw4

He turned the front yard into a blaze of colored lights, ever changing behind rotating wheels of colored gels. He rigged a homemade Frankenstein to “breathe” when the kids stepped on a mat hiding a pressure sensitive switch. We had the wildest house in the neighborhood, and the biggest crowds.

As I grew older, I started doing light shows for school dances and such. Having graduated to blacklights, strobe lights made from kits by Southwest Technical, and an EICO color organ kit I soon earned the nickname of “Strobe Man.”

Soon enough, I took over duties of converting our house into a Halloween fantasy land and the crowds grew and grew...

Then I bought my own house in 1985, and moved the Halloween show there. With a much expanded sound and lighting system things went from crazy to totally bonkers!

I brought in actors from the (now defunct) MAXWORLD haunt, and constructed an improvised rear-projection double screen. We used a white fabric suitable for rear projection called FELT which comes in rolls 30 feet long and 3 feet wide. We bought two rolls to create a screen 30 feet long and 6 feet high, placed in an outward V shape to make 2 projection surfaces and secured by wooden supports in the middle and both ends.

We used Kodak Ektagraphic dissolving slide projectors as well as strobes and 2 PEACOCK by SHOWPRO gobo projectors, all in rear projection. Sometimes the actors danced behind the screen, doing strange shadow dances with themselves.

The Halloween display took on a life of its’ own. One time we went through 700 pieces of candy halfway thru the show, and a trip to the store was needed.

Then came the 90’s, and we bought our first handheld GREEN LASER which was a big investment at the time. With 6 fog machines filling the area, we created the FIRST LIQUID SKY display at a yard haunt to our knowledge.

Waving it in a swirl creates a segmented series of beams, and the kids danced with glee as Dr. Plasmodius (from MAXWORLD) danced around in his white “clean suit” and hat made from a bunch of white Styrofoam cups lined with Xmas lights.

Later we added a lighting truss bar and DMX controlled scanners and moonflowers that were aimed at treetops, creating a massive LIQUID SKY DISPLAY in the air.

Finally, the police came and said to cool it. There was so much fog it hindered traffic, as mini vans and cars from neighboring areas came in to join the fun.

With this background, we found ourselves “talking shop” to haunt operators during our many trips to haunted attractions.

We were there at THE SCREAM MACHINE in TAYLOR when operator TL opened a box just received from UPS containing a brand new air compressor to replace a busted one. “Murphy’s Law” can strike anytime, and sure enough the brand new air compressor did not work!

We’ve spoken in private to many haunt operators about various difficulties, situations and such that arise...

So you could say we’ve come as close as you can to running a commercial haunted attraction without actually doing it!

Between my haunt partner and I, we have about 90 years of collective haunting experience. That’s NOT a typo or “alternative fact”...yup NINETY YEARS and still going strong!

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SEPTEMBER 17, 2020 THURSDAY 10 PM - SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT

The next few entries will answer the big FAQ’S (Frequently Asked Questions) swirling about the haunt scene this year:

First of all, will there be a FEAR FINDER this year? And what about THE HAUNT GUIDE?

The short answers are “NO” and “YES” but there’s a lot more to it, and we agree with both decisions...

THE FEAR FINDER established itself as the go-to comprehensive haunted attraction guide for Michigan and Ohio many moons ago. Preparation for this begins in the summer, and it’s released usually in mid-September.

So usually by now we’d all be eagerly thumbing through its’ pages like kids on Christmas Eve looking for new thrills and experiences that surely await...every year there’s new haunts as well as established favorites...so many choices, all of them good...

But this year THERE’S DANGER OUT THERE AND IT’S REAL, thanks to the COVID-19 WORLDWIDE PANDEMIC in progress as we speak...

Many haunts haven’t yet determined if they can open this season. So logistically, THE FEAR FINDER was simply impossible this year.

The story is a little different with THE HAUNT GUIDE.

For the same reasons, they were thinking of going on hiatus this year.

But sponsor / promoter PAPA ROMANO’S PIZZA couldn’t let that happen. They have a discount pizza coupon printed on the back cover, and large quantities of them were redeemed last year.

It’s a no-brainer, haunters love pizza...so a scaled-down version of THE HAUNT GUIDE is being distributed all over, including the discount pizza coupon of course!

Pick one up, and get a great discount on some super tasty hot fresh pizza dripping with cheese and near-endless varities of toppings...

SEPTEMBER 11, 2020 FRIDAY 6 PM - WILD HORSES

Doors open at ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY at 7 PM tonight! www.rottenmanor.com

We talked to them earlier, and there are changes from last year in both the MANOR and FOREST.

Family obligations including a birthday party are keeping us away, but we urge the rest of you to go. An awesome “haunt fix” awaits!

BTW, there are 2 phone numbers for them appearing on their website. Here’s the one to use: (248) 515-9041.

SEPTEMBER 10, 2020 THURSDAY 12 NOON - OFF TO THE RACES

Finally...after much anticipation, the haunt season starts tomorrow!

ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY opens Friday, September 11, 2020. www.rottenmanor.com

In case you’re just tuning in, ROTTEN MANOR won a whopping FIVE ZIOPTIS AWARDS last year including the ZIOPTIS 2019 PRIME CHOICE HAUNT EXPERIENCE AWARD!

If you haven’t yet seen ROTTEN MANOR, we urge you to go right away tomorrow.

This haunt is so amazing we actually went 3 times last year!

You might be sorry later if you don’t go to ROTTEN MANOR, because there’s a possibility the State of Michigan may impose restrictions on haunted attractions in the coming weeks.

LOS ANGELES has pulled the plug on Trick-or-Treating and haunted attractions for this season, and there’s no guarantees about Michigan which is still under a “State Of Emergency.”

SEPTEMBER 4, 2020 FRIDAY 7 PM - MAGICAL FOREST LIGHT SHOW

Special thanks to DN from LIVONIA for telling us about “something strange happening in the forest where a new type of creature has been spotted. It’s adorable, vibrant, and often mischievous!”

This looks like big fun: www.glenloretrails.com

AUGUST 26, 2020 WEDNESDAY 7:05 PM - IT’S HALLOWEEN, AGAIN!

Now playing - another HALLOWEEN EPISODE of a major TV show. This time it’s on COMET TV, the science fiction channel. The show is QUANTUM LEAP, with the episode “The Boogieman: October 31, 1964.”

The plot synopsis: “Sam is brought back to Halloween 1964 as a horror novelist who has his own share of scary experiences, including an encounter with the devil.”

AUGUST 9, 2020 SUNDAY 9 PM - TO HAUNT OR NOT TO HAUNT?

That’s the big question we’re hearing, as the Covid-19 pandemic rages on.

School openings have already been disrupted by virus outbreaks despite their best efforts. A bar in Lansing caused a “super-spreader event.”

So what about haunted attractions? Haunts are mostly designed to feature close-up encounters between performers and patrons, especially at indoor haunts.

Some haunts have already announced plans to be open or closed, while others are still deciding.

As the season grows closer more changes seem likely, but here’s an early look at the status from our friends at The Scare Factor: www.thescarefactor.com/haunt-blog/2020-list-of-haunted-houses-in-michigan-open-or-closed-for-covid-19/

AUGUST 9, 2020 SUNDAY 8:35 PM - IT’S HALLOWEEN!

Now playing on FOX TV - A Halloween episode of the animated show BLESS THE HARTS. We haven’t seen this show yet, watching it now.

JULY 23, 2020 THURSDAY 11 PM - ENCOUNTERS OF THE CLOSE KIND?

In Germany they already canceled Octoberfest, but they can’t cancel October!

Large events have been postponed or canceled due to the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic, and gatherings of more than 100 people are banned in many places in America.

Meanwhile...

Vietnam and many other countries with less resources than the USA have beat the pandemic, and are back to business as usual.

But in the USA, over 140,000 people have already died. And we’re still only in the first wave of this insidious thing! The virus sets its’ own schedule, not us.

So what will happen to the haunted attraction scene this year? Usually by now, the haunts have done lots of work getting ready for the upcoming season.

Does Vietnam have haunted attractions?!  ;)

Stand by...

MAY 10, 2020 SUNDAY 6 PM - TO BE OR NOT TO BE

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY! Thank you so much, for all that you do. A mother’s work is never done, but you always rise to the task.

Furthermore, we owe our very existence to you!

So without moms, there wouldn’t be any haunted houses because there would be nobody to create them!

And special blessings to moms not able to be with their kids today due to the Covid-19 worldwide pandemic.

Speaking of which, we’re sad to see that HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION in WESTLAND had to postpone their MURDER MYSTERY DINNER THEATRE event that was scheduled for later in May.

What a crying shame! Here’s a young, dynamic haunt on the move...adding a whole new dimension to their business model...everybody was anxious to see what they’d do...

And then out of the blue from China comes a virus that just doesn’t quit.

HIATUS HORROR SHOW / WHEN THE DANGER TURNS FROM FAKE TO REAL

Even worse, this puts the upcoming haunt season in jeopardy.

The very nature of the haunted attraction genre involves lots of close up interaction with actors.

We’ve joked in the past about being so close to the monsters we could smell their minty-fresh breath!

Will there even be a haunt season for 2020?

We’ll be calling a top haunt industry insider to ask that very question. Stand by...

MARCH 10, 2020 TUESDAY 5 PM - ALL EYES ON THE MITTEN

It’s hard not to think about politics today.  The nation is eager to see what happens with the Primary Election in 6 states, with 125 delegates up for grabs in Michigan.

We’re going out on a limb with a prediction. Actually, 3 of them:

1. Joe Biden will sweep Michigan.

2. Biden will get the Democrat nomination to run for President.

3. Biden will choose Kamala Harris as his running mate for Vice President. In case you don’t know, Harris is the Senator from California that was running for President until recently when she suspended her campaign.

WORD ON THE STREETS FROM DETROIT

Speaking of women in politics...

I had an encounter yesterday, waiting in the checkout line at the store.

An African American young woman, mid-30's I'm guessing, was in front of me looking real sharp. The conversation went something like this:

"Hey, I like your style...nice outfit!"

Thanks!

"Mind if I ask you a political question?"

No problem.

"Do you have an opinion of Kamala Harris?"

Who?

"She was running for President and had to drop out."

Oh, now I remember her...

"Well, the primary election is tomorrow and she just endorsed Joe Biden."

Hmmm...I was thinking of voting for Biden, but now I'm sure I will!

"You could help make history!"

Huh?

"If Biden gets the nomination, I predict he will choose Harris as his running mate for Vice President. And then we could have the first-ever WOMAN Vice President...and black to boot!"

Hmmm...an older white guy and a younger black lady...could be just the ticket!

"Goodbye, glass ceiling! Nice chatting with you, God bless you."

Do you think this gal told her friends about our conversation? There are literally millions of African American women that could vote President Trump out of office.

All eyes will be on The Mitten tonight, as we have the most delegate points of all the states having primaries today.

Will Biden walk away with the win? Will he choose Harris as a running mate if he gets the nomination? Only time will tell, but the clock is ticking loudly right now...

MARCH 10, 2020 TUESDAY 11:11 AM - OH LUCKY DAY!

No, not the Primary Election today.

It’s the LUCK OF THE IRISH coming next weekend starting on FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH at FACTORY OF THE DEAD in SAGINAW.

It’s CHAPTER V: SLAY PATRICK’S CURSE, an interactive ST. PATRICK’S THEME HAUNTED HOUSE SPECIAL EVENT!

If you think you have the Luck of the Irish to survive the ST. PATRICK’S LEPRECHAUN CURSE, click here: www.factoryofthedead.com

If any other haunts are having FRIDAY THE 13th events, please email us at ZioptisFoundation@gmail.com

FEBRUARY 28, 2020 FRIDAY 2 PM - AWARDS FINALIZED

The last of the AWARDS have been filled in now. Many factors went into much careful consideration.

But we would still like to commend haunts that didn’t receive awards, as ALL HAUNTS we visited did a great job!

Michigan is the most competitive haunt market, and you can’t survive without having a quality presentation.

And even if you do have a quality presentation, there’s no guarantee you will survive!

KRAZY HILDA’S in YPSILANTI, SINISTER in UTICA, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM ROAD in WEBBERVILLE, REALM OF HAUNTED MINDS in ROMULUS, THE BONE YARD in STOCKBRIDGE, PAPP PARK in TAYLOR, and ABANDON in MELVINDALE are but a few examples of high quality haunts that didn’t survive. 

 

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FEBRUARY 16, 2020 SUNDAY 4 AM - HEART FULL OF SOUL

Wow! The VALENTINE EVENT at HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION was a giant success.

1,400 happy haunters packed it out on Friday night, and Saturday looked on track to at least equal Friday’s crowd.

The actors were all totally on point, and the new dining room is fabulous! It’s like stepping into an elegant mansion from many moons ago.

It looks and feels totally authentic because it is authentic! HUSH made a smart choice in buying props from REAL MANSIONS up for sale.

We took some excellent photos, including the new dining room to be posted soon on the HUSH Facebook page and also on our Pro Flickr account.

Our apologies to the WYANDOTTE JAYCEE’S BLOODLUST for missing them.

FEBRUARY 15, 2020 SATURDAY 4 PM - AVOID FUTURE REGRET & DISAPPOINTMENT!

Tomorrow it will be too late.

If you don’t get off ‘yer butt and go haunting tonight, you will put yourself in the clear and present danger of wondering “What if?” and “What did I miss out on?”

But Zioptis, it’s cold and nasty out there! I don’t know...

Forget that. Your car is warm, and the HAUNTS ARE HOT & SIZZLING WITH WILD ACTION!

It’s the EXHILARATING FEELING OF DANGER & ADVENTURE, but without the risks they usually come with. That’s the MAGIC OF HAUNTING, don’t miss out...be there or be square!

FEBRUARY 15, 2020 SATURDAY 2 PM - TRIFECTA OF TERROR

There are THREE HAUNTS OPEN TONIGHT!

HUSH in WESTLAND presents a ONE-OF-A-KIND VALENTINE EVENT with 3 VALENTINE HAUNTS! You’ve GOT TO see the trailer for this: www.valentinehauntdetroit.com

FACTORY OF THE DEAD in SAGINAW has CHAPTER IV: REIGN IN BLOOD VALENTINE MASSACRE, and it looks like A SURE WINNER! www.factoryofthedead.com

And finally, THE WYANDOTTE JAYCEE’S PURGATORY HAUNTED HOUSE presents BLOODLUST. www.facebook.com/events/1232680000413737/

FEBRUARY 14, 2020 FRIDAY VALENTINE’S DAY 10 PM - BLOODLUST LIVE!

Whoopsie, we failed to list yet another SPECIAL VALENTINE’S WEEKEND HAUNT EVENT presented by a group largely responsible for the origin of the haunted house genre itself!

That would of course be THE JAYCEE’S, and the Wyandotte Chapter’s PURGATORY HAUNTED HOUSE proudly presents BLOODLUST on Feb. 14 & 15.

Click here for details and discount tix: www.facebook.com/events/1232680000413737/

We apologize for the late listing, shame on us! A thousand lashes with a wet noodle. It doesn’t hurt, but it’s awfully annoying.

FEBRUARY 14, 2020 FRIDAY VALENTINE’S DAY 7 PM - THE IMPOSSIBLE CHOICE

After much analysis and soul searching, we’ve come to a final decision about THE HAUNT OF THE YEAR AWARD.

There are 3 HAUNTS that, in our opinion, were obvious standout candidates for this award: HUSH, ROTTEN MANOR, and THE HAUNT.

ANY one of these haunts could be HAUNT OF THE YEAR, and the other two would not complain. We know all three haunt operators quite well, and know for a fact they have mutual respect and admiration for the others.

Of course, every haunt thinks they have the best haunt. And that’s as it should be - you can’t put on a world class haunt without believing you can!

That said, if we were to give any of these HAUNT OF THE YEAR AWARD we’d be essentially saying the others fell short of the award-winning haunt’s performance.

But that simply is not true. Each haunt accomplished exactly what they intended to in spades. Every haunt has its’ own mission, and all three of these nailed the coffin shut!

It’s like what if we asked, “Which is better, Golden Delicious or Northern Spy apples?”

So the decision was made that all 3 haunts receive the ZIOPTIS 2019 PRIME CHOICE HAUNT EXPERIENCE AWARD!

One more point of interest about these 3 haunts: ALL of them were assisted by the same premiere haunt industry designer / advisor. Her initials are DS, but we affectionately refer to her as the SCREAM QUEEN.

SCREAM QUEEN was the creator of the famed HOUSE OF NIGHTMARES in WARREN, and later THE REALM OF DARKNESS in PONTIAC. Both haunts reached legendary status, especially the REALM which had lots of GENUINE spooky stuff happen there. (see various city of Pontiac archived reviews)

This was verified by multiple paranormal investigators and even a prominent pastor of the rock & roll mega church METRO CITY CHURCH. They recorded a sermon there when video cameras caught paranormal action that caused major goose bumps! (see review in Reviews 2015_C)

FEBRUARY 14, 2020 FRIDAY VALENTINE’S DAY 1:30 AM - READ THE TRANSCRIPT!

Join us as we jump into THE WAYBACK MACHINE, and revisit a VALENTINE’S CLASSIC, “FIN-TIN’S PANCAKE PRINCESS.”

This previously released unabridged, fully unredacted document now appears at the top of the page in News.  ***WARNING!!***DO NOT READ, PERMANENT PSYCHOLOGICAL DAMAGE MAY OCCUR - WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE!

FEBRUARY 14, 2020 FRIDAY 12:45 AM - HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

Now we have FIVE HAUNTS WITH 3 AWARDS, with HAUNTED FARM OF TERROR and ROTTEN MANOR joining the list. Fabulous!

Also we have multiple haunts with 2 AWARDS EACH including JACKSON’S UNDERWORLD, SHAWHAVEN FARMS in MASON, THE SCREAM MACHINE, and NIGHT TERRORS AT WIARD’S. Wow! Not too shabby... ;) haha

FEBRUARY 13, 2020 THURSDAY 3 PM - AND THE WINNERS ARE...

At last, the first of the awards have now been announced! (click on Awards)

So far, AZRA, HAUNTED GARAGE PRODUCTIONS, and SCAREFEST SCREAM PARK are leading the pack with a WHOPPING THREE AWARDS EACH!

Additional details to be filled in later, and still a MAJOR decision to make regarding the HAUNT OF THE YEAR AWARD.

More coming tonight, stand by...

Coincidentally, for the last two years we went to AZRA and HAUNTED GARAGE on the same night. Travel time between Madison Heights and Grosse Pointe Farms is minimal, about 15 minutes.

AZRA and HAUNTED GARAGE are as different as night and day, yet both are truly world class presentations!

FEBRUARY 13, 2020 THURSDAY 2 PM - GETTING CLOSER TO TERROR WITHOUT GETTING LOST

It’s only 1 DAY AWAY FROM HAUNTING this weekend!

TWO PRIMO HAUNTS are open both Valentine’s Day Feb. 14th & Saturday Feb.15th in SAGINAW & WESTLAND. (see details below)

So like, Saginaw and Westland are about 100 miles away from each other...98.6 to be exact if what Mister Google says is right...travel time of 1 hour and 31 minutes...

How far would you travel to go to a killer haunt?

Or how about making it A SURPRISE JOURNEY for your sweetie?

One of my best SURPRISE JOURNEYS ever was a trip to a private tour of AMERICAN MUSEUM OF MAGIC in MARSHALL and then TURKEYVILLE for the dinner mystery theatre. Unforgettable.

So here’s your chance to create an unforgettable VALENTINE’S DAY SURPRISE EXPERIENCE! For the ultimate effect, use a blindfold so they have no idea where you’re going. You might want to prepare a small hand-written sign to show any concerned fellow drivers. Something like, “VALENTINE’S PRANK IN PROGRESS - GOING TO HAUNTED HOUSE!”

Just stick SAGINAW or WESTLAND in your GPS, and I’ll bet you find it’s not too far to pull this off and be the Valentine Bandit to their heart!  ;)

FEBRUARY 12, 2020 WEDNESDAY 10 PM - ULTIMATE DATE FRIGHT NIGHT

Here’s another FABULOUS HAUNT OPEN for Valentine’s Day weekend, Feb. 14 & 15.

It’s CHAPTER IV: VALENTINE MASSACRE at FACTORY OF THE DEAD in SAGINAW, and it looks like A SURE WINNER! www.factoryofthedead.com

We went to this haunt in 2019 and they blew us away! (see full review in Reviews 2019_B) It’s part of the SCARE SAGINAW TRIANGLE OF FEAR, and includes the legendary crew from the former BRIDGEPORT HAUNTED ELEMENTARY.

In other words, these guys really know what they’re doing...they put on an impressive slick show last October and then had a highly successful FRIDAY THE 13th off-season event too.

And one last thing about FACTORY OF THE DEAD...they have benches to sit on in the queue line area. That’s rare, but we also saw benches at THE HAUNT in GRAND RAPIDS.

FEBRUARY 11, 2020 TUESDAY 10 PM - BLOODY AWESOME ROMANTIC DATE

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, which begs the question of how do you  give your sweetie AN EXPERIENCE LIKE NO OTHER for the biggest day of romance on the calendar?

That’s simple. You just go to the MOST AMAZING HAUNT IN DETROIT!

Huh? Like don’t you have to wait until October for haunted houses?

Nope.

Okay, and it’s not actually in Detroit...but only a couple minutes away in Westland.

HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION is open for Valentine’s Day weekend! (Feb. 14 & 15)

HUSH IS HOLLYWOOD SLICK & DETROIT RAW!

You’ve GOT TO see the trailer for this: www.valentinehauntdetroit.com

This promises to be a ONE-OF-A-KIND VALENTINE EVENT with 3 VALENTINE HAUNTS.

If you’ve never been to HUSH do yourself a giant favor and do whatever it takes to get there.

Or even if you have, you should go this weekend...they’ve been busting their buns to create lots of new magic to unleash on the passionate and adventurous fun seekers out there!

Stand by for the awards...

JANUARY 9, 2020 THURSDAY 11 PM - DECISIONS, DECISIONS...

We’re still deliberating the Awards, thank you for your patience!

DECEMBER 31, 2019 TUESDAY 11 AM - NEW THIS YEAR

A new AWARD CATEGORY is being added: BEST JAW DROPPING GAG -

Who will it be for? It’s a no-brainer to us, stand by...

DECEMBER 30, 2019 MONDAY 2 PM - NO RUSH TO JUDGEMENT

In past years, we’ve announced the ZIOPTIS HAUNT AWARDS on the last day of the year which is tomorrow.

However, we’re running late this time and may have to delay until the New Year comes.

There’s just so many factors to consider, and we take seriously who gets what awards.

Stand by my little monkeys...

DECEMBER 30, 2019 MONDAY 1 PM - NEW PHOTOS JUST RELEASED

Now posted: pictures from HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION in WESTLAND - www.flickr.com/photos/45316911@N03/

DECEMBER 25, 2019 WEDNESDAY 1 PM - MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

Here’s hoping that SANTA CLODS still fits down your chimney, and that he doesn’t burn his buns in your fireplace!

And please remember to leave lots of tasty treats for him to enjoy. We suggest smoked salmon, chocolate chop cookies, and vanilla flavored almond milk.

DECEMBER 18, 2019 WEDNESDAY 4 PM - THE BIG TWO OH!

How long would you say a haunt has to be around until it’s considered to be an industry leader?

AZRA CHAMBER OF HORRORS in MADISON HEIGHTS is only in it’s 2nd year, but is making a very big splash! They’re young and highly motivated...many industry leaders are like that.

Or what about...

HUSH HAUNT in WESTLAND who stormed onto the scene in 2013, and took a giant step forward in 2019 to MEGA HAUNT status with their move from Ford Road to Cherry Hill in Westland...so that’s 7 years and running...

What about if a haunt makes it to TWENTY YEARS?

Well, next year that’s exactly what they’ll be celebrating at BESTMAZE in MASON! Hmmm...they must be doing something right...we went in 2019 and loved it! It’s a dual attraction haunt, with industry leading self-draining trails in the maze and their TRAIL OF TERRORS.

DECEMBER 16, 2019 MONDAY 2 PM - TIMELESS FUN

Last weekend was a GIANT SUCCESS, as AWAKEN, EXIT 13, FACTORY OF THE DEAD, and ROTTEN MANOR opened their doors to celebrate FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH as only world class haunted attractions can!

We don’t have the exact figures, but are confident attendance was in the thousands.

And it’s not over yet, as FACTORY OF THE DEAD in SAGINAW will be open next weekend too - Friday & Saturday Dec. 20 & 21. www.factoryofthedead.com

DECEMBER 14, 2019 SATURDAY 9 AM - THROUGH THE EYES OF A CHILD

We went to ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY last night and it was packed to the gills! That alone was awesome eye candy for us but it gets better...

We lucked out, and the couple next to us in line had never been to any haunt before! They’re locals, living about 2 minutes away who wanted to see what all the hoopla is about.

So we went through with them, and got to see first hand what happens when neophytes experience a WORLD CLASS HAUNT like ROTTEN MANOR. It was fabulous!

As usual, the entire show was spot on but with lots of CHRISTMAS THEME characters and story lines added. Kudos to WF and crew!

We got some excellent pictures with a DSLR too, stand by...

DECEMBER 13, 2019 FRIDAY 2 PM - HOLIDAY NIGHTMARE COMES TO LIFE

A BLOODY CHRISTMAS at ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY has attracted TV COVERAGE: www.nbc25news.com/news/local/a-bloody-christmas-is-a-holiday-nightmare-come-to-life

DECEMBER 12, 2019 THURSDAY 2 PM - KRAMPUS GOES KRAZY!

We just talked to the operator of ROTTEN MANOR, and we can’t wait to go to A BLOODY CHRISTMAS!

Lots of big fun with special goodies you didn’t see during the haunt season will be in action. Last weekend was a big success for them, with many attending for the first time.

A giant heated tent will keep the queue line warm, and more than one SANTA will make appearances. Everyone knows that SANTA CLAUS has helpers, but the likes of these helpers will NOT be found at your local mall!

Heaters are in place inside the MANOR so there’s no excuse not to go on account of the weather, which is actually looking better than today anyway.

In addition to THE MANOR, the midway will also be operating. One of our favorites there is the EXTREME 3D VORTEX, which takes the classic BlackHole effect to a new dimension with an optical illusion we’ve never seen before with this gag. www.rottenmanor.com

DECEMBER 12, 2019 THURSDAY 3 AM - CAMP CRYSTAL LAKE ACCEPTING NEW CAMPERS THIS WEEKEND

Tomorrow is FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH, and JASON IS BACK!

FOUR AWESOME HAUNTS will be open for FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH weekend.

AWAKEN in LESLIE presents the cleverly named Jingle HELLS - YULE DIE! www.awakenhaunt.com

And ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY will again open the doors to their own special breed of HAUNTED MADNESS & MAYHEM in A BLOODY CHRISTMAS. They promise to show “what happens when you end up on SANTA’S NAUGHTY LIST!” www.rottenmanor.com

EXIT 13 in MOUNT MORRIS is known for being a highly physical haunt, and here’s your chance to experience it without waiting until next October! www.facebook.com/pg/Exit13HauntedHouse/events/

Finally, FACTORY OF THE DEAD in SAGINAW will be open with their EVIL CHRISTMAS. From their website: This chilling event brings to life the story of a Christmas demon, known as Krampus, that helps Santa deal with anyone that is naughty. Visitors who loved getting spooked during Halloween can get scared all over again for this holiday season. The new attraction will also swap out Santa for photos with Krampus.” www.factoryofthedead.com

The weather is looking good too, as the forecast is significantly warmer Friday & Saturday with a high of about 43.

More pics of ROTTEN MANOR and also of HUSH coming...

DECEMBER 5, 2019 THURSDAY 3 PM - IT’S HALLOWEEN AGAIN!

Well, sort of...because ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY is open with A BLOODY CHRISTMAS this weekend! It runs December 6 & 7 and also next weekend December 13 & 14. www.rottenmanor.com

Don’t let the cold weather keep you away, as they have a heated waiting area.

Also this coming weekend is the 37th Annual CHRISTMAS IN IDA, a massive 3 DAY OUTDOORS FESTIVAL that’s the biggest event of the year there. www.christmasinida.com

There’s 2 free country music concerts on Saturday starting at 4 PM, fireworks at 6:30 PM and then an amazing parade that runs about 2 hours.

HOLIDAY HOUNDS ON PARADE is part of the parade silliness, with CANINES DECKED OUT IN HOLIDAY GARB by their shameless owners!

There’s more doggie fun on Friday too, with the POOCHES IN LIGHTS PARADE at 6:30 PM.

Also, on Saturday you can take a HELICOPTER RIDE or CARRIAGE RIDE.

There’s plenty of food trucks, but you can also get great chow on the cheap in the library building just to the right of the concert area.

NOVEMBER 30, 2019 SATURDAY 2 PM - GROWING UP IN A HURRY

Imagine for a moment that you have some friends with a child who is 4 foot tall.

A year goes by until you see them again, and now the child is 24 feet tall!

Well, that’s sort of what happened to HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION for the 2019 season.

And they’re still not done, with an incredible 40,000 square feet to work with. We can’t wait to see what they do, and for their MARDI GRAS STYLE PARTY coming up as they turn the interior of their brand new building into BOURBON STREET.

Coming soon: info on AN EVIL CHRISTMAS you won’t want to miss and much more!

NOVEMBER 28, 2019 THURSDAY 11:11 AM - HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!

TOM TURKEY SEZ: “Pardon me! Be thankful, and enjoy a delicious fish dinner today. Thank you. Very Much.”

NOVEMBER 24, 2019 SUNDAY 8:30 PM - Now posted! More pics of the amazing ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY - www.flickr.com/photos/45316911@N03/

NOVEMBER 24, 2019 SUNDAY 8 PM - ”THANKSGIVING OF HORROR”

THE SIMPSONS episode playing right now on FOX TV has halloween and sci-fi twists . IT’S ULTRA WACKY!

NOVEMBER 17, 2019 SUNDAY 10 PM - AND IT ALL STARTED IN WESTLAND

No, not HUSH.

We’re talking about a ranch style house in Westland from long ago, a replica of which now stands in downtown Detroit.

Huh?

PALM SPRINGS COMES TO DETROIT IN MIXED MEDIA MASHUP DELUXE

It’s a trip through a psychedelic carnival of the mind called ROBOLIGHTS, and they just moved from PALM SPRINGS, CALIFORNIA to DETROIT for 2019! www.desertsun.com/story/news/2019/03/08/robolights-2019-will-be-held-in-detroit-not-palm-springs/3107700002/

And here’s an article from the FREEP: www.freep.com/story/entertainment/arts/2019/10/25/detroit-robolights-mocad-lights-kenny-irwin-jr/4082738002/

This sounds way cool! We’re going soon...

NOVEMBER 15, 2019 FRIDAY 10 PM - THE 2019 HAUNT OF THE YEAR

If you had to pick just one haunt to be HAUNT OF THE YEAR, which would it be?

“That’s a no-brainer” many would say, “it’s the one where Little Johnny pooped his pants” or “Suzy Q peed on the clown” or “Freddie fainted when the tree came to life and attacked,” etc.

Is it even possible to say Haunt A is better than Haunt B?

These questions, and many more are swirling in our brains!

Be sure to check back at the end of the year...

Coming next: It’s PART HAUNTED HOUSE / PART CHRISTMAS DISPLAY and it’s right in Detroit!

But sadly, with the current state of affairs (including a change of work schedules) we’re unlikely to make it to as many haunts this season as we’d like. However, as always we’ll do as much as we can! Our sincere apologies to the many fabulous haunts we miss.

 

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