NOVEMBER 18, 2022 FRIDAY 2 AM - HOT DOGS, HOT CHOCOLATE, HOT NIGHT
The WAYNE COUNTY LIGHT FEST Opening Night was a spectacular success!
My partner wasn’t available, so I went with CANDY FISHALOT who was kind enough to leave her pet fish “Herman” at home. Actually, I had to insist...”Herman” usually takes his honored place in the back pocket of Candy’s jeans where he commands much attention.
OH CHRISTMAS TREE!
There’s an AMAZING CHRISTMAS TREE on Lehigh Street in DEARBORN HEIGHTS (off Telegraph & Annapolis).
DEARBORN HALLMARK COLLECTION https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYhRt9q4cBs 8:11
NOVEMBER 26, 2022 SATURDAY 7 AM - STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSES MOUTH
NOVEMBER 26, 2022 SATURDAY 2 AM - WHERE THE DEER & THE ANTELOPE PLAY
UNCLE SHIZZES’ RUBBER CADAVER
MONEY FOR NOTHING & CHICKS FOR FREE
NOVEMBER 25, 2022 FRIDAY 10 PM - RUN AWAY & JOIN THE CIRCUS
OF MAPLE LEAFS & HOSERS, EH?
THE GREAT NORTH TRUE & FREE
text coming later after ROOT ROOT ROOT ending...
NOVEMBER 11, 2021 THURSDAY 5 AM - THE FAT LADY DOES NOT SING
Believe it or not, there’s one more haunt saying they’ll be open this coming weekend!
Just to be sure, we’ll call them later before posting details.
Also, there’s more to the story with the SAFE AS MILK / A BUCKET OF PURELL article from Nov. 10th. Stand by...
NOVEMBER 11, 2021 THURSDAY 4 AM - THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME
HAPPY ELEVEN ELEVEN!
And Happy Veterans Day too, of course. Freedom isn’t free, many thanks to veterans for your service!
Eleven Eleven is a most versatile date / number, as we’ve mentioned before. You can flip it around or turn it upside down and yet it remains Eleven Eleven.
Some people say it’s a GATEWAY NUMBER to other realms. My girlfriend says it’s the NUMBER OF ANGELS.
Whatever your belief, have a great ELEVEN ELEVEN!
NOVEMBER 10, 2021 WEDNESDAY 2 AM - SAFE AS MILK / A BUCKET OF PURELL
Sorry to suddenly go silent, but we had to see how something played out before saying anything.
About 5 days after going to the last haunt I got a horrible sore throat and started running a fever. Next my sense of smell disappeared...UH OH!
We didn’t wear masks at the last haunts, was that a massive mistake?
COVID-19 stays with you for years, and only time will tell what consequences that might bring.
Rats! I have to get tested for that nasty COVID-19.
There are currently about 3 - 4 thousand new infections every day in Michigan, and there were COVID-19 DISCLAIMER STATEMENTS on the haunt websites...
What if I’m positive? That’s not the kind of thing we want to report.
Okay, drive thru at WALGREENS...results in 72 hours except for possible additional delays if sample collected on Saturday or Sunday. AARGH!
So I called my trusty partner, and she said tomorrow go to MEIJER PHARMACY for the RAPID TEST and get the results in ABOUT ONE HOUR. HOORAY!
Sure enough, about an hour after the test came the email from Meijer. Results: NEGATIVE. And confirmed later from Walgreen’s as well.
Whew! Just an ordinary cold apparently, and it’s going away.
Some of our friends (and my RN girlfriend) had cautioned us earlier in the haunt season, saying stuff like “What?! You’re going to haunted houses in the middle of a worldwide pandemic?! ARE YOU CRAZY?”
The pandemic has KILLED OVER 750,000 IN THE USA, including our beloved Webmaster Bill Godwin. R.I.P. BROTHER IN MUSIC & LIFE.
Granted there are potential dangers in ANY journey you take in life.
But this just goes to show that thanks to many additional safety efforts by haunt operators, we can still ENJOY THE FREEDOM OF HAUNTING IN THE USA. KUDOS TO ALL HAUNT OPERATORS FROM ZIOPTIS!
NOVEMBER 4, 2021 THURSDAY 5 PM - SAY WHAT?
Sometimes a haunt will advertise “LIGHTS OUT” or “BLACK-OUT” as seen below.
But what does that mean, some of you may be asking?
Here’s the deal. Many haunts disassemble themselves after the haunt season, usually starting with removing the lighting and sound equipment.
At this point, they can still put on a show...but stripped down. Just so you know what to expect!
NOVEMBER 4, 2021 THURSDAY 3 PM - GOOD TO THE LAST DROP
Select haunts will be open this coming weekend!
THE BLAST CORN MAZE - DEXTER open Friday & Saturday
ELOISE ASYLUM - WESTLAND open Friday, Saturday AND SUNDAY
EREBUS - PONTIAC open Friday & Saturday
FACTORY OF THE DEAD - SAGINAW open Friday & Saturday Nov. 5 & 6 ALSO OPEN Friday & Saturday Nov. 12 & 13
HEIDI’S FARMSTAND CORN MAZE - LOWELL open Friday & Saturday
HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION - WESTLAND open Friday & Saturday
JACKSON’S UNDERWORLD - JACKSON open Friday & Saturday
THE HAUNT - GRAND RAPIDS open Friday & Saturday LIGHTS OUT
THE SCREAM MACHINE - TAYLOR open Friday & Saturday BLACK-OUT
SCREAM PARK - NILES open Friday & Saturday
WICKED WOODS OF TERROR - CARO open Friday & Saturday
NOVEMBER 4, 2021 THURSDAY 2 AM - LAND OF A THOUSAND DANCES
NOVEMBER 3, 2021 WEDNESDAY 8 PM - A THOUSAND WORDS
Just saved all the haunt pics we took this season onto the computer, including gems from HAUNTED GARAGE PRODUCTIONS, TILLSON STREET, and HYSTERIA HAUNT. They’ll be posted later. Stand by...
NOVEMBER 2, 2021 TUESDAY 4 AM - DOLLY DEAR
We saw some fabulous creepy doll rooms this season at haunts such as HUSH and FRIGHT VILLAGE.
And just now we found another TOP TEN LIST you may enjoy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sP5aNm1bcXE
NOVEMBER 2, 2021 TUESDAY 3 AM - KING OF THE HILL
CONGRATULATIONS to EREBUS for making the list from USA TODAY for 10 best haunted attractions across the country, according to readers. https://www.usatoday.com/picture-gallery/travel/10best/awards/2021/10/25/10-best-haunted-attractions-united-states-2021/8538736002/
EREBUS came in 2nd place, and was the only Michigan haunt to make the list.
THE DENT SCHOOLHOUSE in CINCINNATI came in at 6th place.
PENNSYLVANIA scored high twice with FIELD OF SCREAMS in MOUNTVILLE at #4, and SHOCKTOBERFEST in SINKING SPRING at #3.
The #1 pick was CUTTING EDGE HAUNTED HOUSE in FORT WORTH, TEXAS.
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THE BIG WINNERS!
Local media also picked up this story: https://www.clickondetroit.com/news/local/2021/10/29/usa-today-names-pontiacs-erebus-no-2-us-haunted-attraction/
WAY TO GO, MR. HAUNTED HOUSE...YOU DO MICHIGAN PROUD!
NOVEMBER 2, 2021 TUESDAY 2 AM - HOORAY, BACK ON-THE-AIR
Finally...so glad to be back!
First of all, CONGRATULATIONS to EREBUS, HUSH, and FRIGHT VILLAGE for making the final weekend HAUNTED ATTRACTION RECOMMENDATION list from the WDIV-TV SHOW LIVE IN THE D. https://www.clickondetroit.com/live-in-the-d/2021/10/28/haunted-attractions-are-the-big-thing-happening-this-weekend/#//
Narrowing down the field to just 3 haunts is no simple task, with the abundance of FABULOUS HAUNTS IN DETROIT, THE HAUNTED HOUSE CAPITAL OF THE WORLD!
NOVEMBER 1, 2021 MONDAY 4 AM - BABY RUTH TO THE RESCUE
Halloween is big business, but it’s more than the scares, costumes, candy, haunted attractions and such...
Halloween is about tradition!
OCTOBER 31, 2021 SUNDAY 5 AM until 5 PM - WEBSITE PROGRAM CRASH
OH NO! At the worst time possible, we lost the entire main page (including the top intro) while trying to make room for new content.
We miss our webmaster, BILL GODWIN...r.i.p. We lost him to Covid last March, and depended on him when things like this happened.
It’s a massive task to reconstruct the website, and some articles will have to remain unfixed for now like different colors which are now all black and an annoying capital “A” appearing with a squiggle mark above it.
Sorry, no time to compile a list of haunts open tonight...getting ready for trick-or-treaters here in the neighborhood. We hope you are too!
Lots more good stuff to report, so come back later please. Thank you for your patience during this horrible mess!
OCTOBER 31, 2021 SUNDAY 3 AM - HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
Oh Boy, the BIG DAY IS HERE...and just so much to tell you...
So we hit HAUNTED GARAGE & AZRA Saturday Night, and they were both FABULOUS!
HAUNTED GARAGE has a primo new member of the family created by DISTORTIONS UNLIMITED, and an unbelievable variety of scary scenes.
OCTOBER 30, 2021 SATURDAY 7 PM - AND WE’RE OFF
Time to head out...can’t wait for yet another GREAT NIGHT OF HAUNTING!
And HAPPY HAUNTING TO YOU, wherever you may roam...whether it’s to THE ICONIC & MAMMOTH EREBUS in PONTIAC or the SMALL BUT MIGHTY HAUNTED FUNERAL HOME in INKSTER. www.hauntedpontiac.com
Big or small, we love ‘em all!
OCTOBER 30, 2021 SATURDAY 6:30 PM - FAKE NEWS AT ITS’ BEST
Getting people to believe something ridiculous is real can be remarkably easy!
LATE NIGHT PRANKSTER JIMMY KIMMEL understands this concept very well, as evidence here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kwNGQm6spaM
OCTOBER 30, 2021 SATURDAY 6:15 PM - LET THE SILLY SHINE
Here’s more comic gems about CRAZY HALLOWEEN COSTUMES from funny guy JIMMY KIMMEL. From 2019: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSp3gfomE0k
And from 2018: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojmem0K0_c0
OCTOBER 30, 2021 SATURDAY 6 PM - ELECTRIC DREAMS OF BLISS
OCTOBER 30, 2021 SATURDAY 5:30 PM - LATE NIGHT PRANKSTERS
No, not the ghouls lurking at haunts everywhere tonight.
It’s LATE NIGHT TV COMICS like JIMMY KIMMEL who is known for extreme silliness. Check out his COVID SAFE HALLOWEEN COSTUME PAGEANT from 3 days ago:
OCTOBER 30, 2021 SATURDAY 5 PM - YOUR LOOMING LUCKY DAY
ANNOUNCING - A NEW ZIOPTIS CONTEST is coming soon and YOU could be the victorious winner! Stay tuned my little monkeys...
FYI, you’ll have to put on your thinking cap for this, and please be advised the GRAND PRIZE may or may not contain actual fish or artificial fish product. Thank you.
OCTOBER 30, 2021 SATURDAY 4:30 PM - GAS ON THE CHEAP
If you GO TO OHIO for DISTRACTED HH & GHOSTLY MANOR / LAKE EERIE FEARFEST, plan to gas up in Ohio. We saw prices as low as $3.01 per gallon!
OCTOBER 30, 2021 SATURDAY 4 PM - THAT’S RIGHT FOLKS, DON’T TOUCH THAT DIAL!
Be sure to come back after NEW YEAR’S DAY for an exclusive special report. And of course, we’ll be reporting off-season events of interest so stay tuned.
ZIOPTIS...it’s not just for Halloween anymore!
OCTOBER 30, 2021 SATURDAY 3 PM - BIG CITY SATURDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
BOO HOO! It’s the last really big night of the haunt season. Yes, some haunts will be open tomorrow on Halloween and some even next weekend. Details later.
But for most tonight is THE FINAL HURRAH, and we’ve made the decision to stay in DETROIT tonight. After all, DETROIT IS THE WORLD CAPITAL OF HAUNTED HOUSES!
And that’s not just us tooting our horn: https://grandpashorters.com/haunted-attractions-make-michigan-the-halloween-capital-of-the-world/#:~:text=So%20Michigan%20earns%20the%20title,new%20ones%20added%20every%20year.
**SIDEBAR** By DETROIT HAUNTS we mean anything in the quad-county area including WAYNE, OAKLAND, MACOMB, and WASHTENAW.
The HAUNTED HOUSE HOTLINE is an international platform, and to let people know the basic area HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION, for example, is considered aÂ DETROIT HAUNT.
So tonight we’ll visit two DETROIT HAUNTS that won MULTIPLE ZIOPTIS AWARDS: AZRA CHAMBER OF HORRORS in MADISON HEIGHTS and HAUNTED GARAGE PRODUCTIONSÂ inÂ GROSSE POINTE FARMS.
Speaking of MADISON HEIGHTS, MUTILATION MANSION in that city to our knowledge was theVERY FIRST HAUNTED HOUSE in the USA, the original precursor to things yet-to-come. It was started by the Jaycee's youth group, and ran from 1966 - 2006. It was just a few trailers thrown together by a bunch of crazy kids, but it became the ROLLING STONE down a hill that turned into a MASSIVE BOULDER impossible to stop!
So DETROIT IS WHERE IT ALL BEGAN, BABY! Get out there and HAVE SOME BIG FUN!
OCTOBER 30, 2021 SATURDAY 3:45 AM - WHERE DID ALL THE TIME GO
I can’t believe it’s already Devil’s Night!
There are just so many haunts we wish we could’ve made it to.
We had a blast in Ohio for sure, but now it’s gonna be DEVIL’S NIGHT IN DETROIT for us...probably.
Yeah right Zioptis...we remember all the times you had BIG CITY PLANS IN DETROIT for DEVIL’S NIGHT or HALLOWEEN and you ended up in some dinky little WEBBERVILLE that has like 2 traffic lights...maybe.â
Ummm, you’re absolutely right. We did that, and might again except that haunt is gone. On the other hand, DARKSYDE ACRES in JONESVILLE is still around...hmmm...
OCTOBER 30, 2021 SATURDAY 3 AM - BUCKEYE BROTHERS
Friday was OHIO TRIP NIGHT, a piece of cake with GPS.
We went to GHOSTLY MANOR / LAKE EERIE FEARFEST in SANDUSKY and DISTRACTED HAUNTED HOUSE in BOWLING GREEN. https://lakeeeriefearfest.com http://www.feardistracted.com
BOWLING GREEN is just a little south of Toledo, an easy trip from Detroit.
SANDUSKY is a little farther, but for many still within range for a primo haunt journey.
We saw a new twist on the LIQUID SKY ROOM that turns everything around! Details later...
LAKE EERIE FEARFEST is a bona fide bargain at $25 for THREE HAUNTS. The new lead haunt is DEAD IN THE WATER, and even with the poncho they give you it’s guaranteed you’ll get wet! LOVED THE ALLIGATORS.
After DISTRACTED blows your mind with tons of great actors, suddenly a lady as nice as June Cleaver welcomes you to THE RECOVERY ZONE. She’s a kindly soul who offers you complimentary delicious hot chocolate (or water) and marshmallows to roast on the fire they have going just for that purpose.
Full reviews coming later, but in a nutshell both haunts DELIVERED THE GOODS! We strongly recommend both of them.
OCTOBER 29, 2021 FRIDAY 3 PM - TIME & PIGS FLY
It’s often been said that time flies when you’re having fun, and we agree.
As to whether or not pigs can fly, well we’ve seen that too!
When going to haunts, you never know what fantastic and whimsical kinds of things await. That’s part of the fun, the anticipation of unknown craziness about to hit the fan and splatter all over!
THE BIG WOW could be right around the next corner, or maybe sudden sensory deprivation. Haunts mix it up big time, and that’s what keeps the crowds coming year after year.
There’s not much time left - CARPE DIEM BABY!
OCTOBER 29, 2021 FRIDAY 3 AM - NEVER LET THE FUN END
Okay, this is the last BIG WEEKEND in the season...BOO HOO!
THE LAST HURRAH... OR NOT
Halloween falls on a Sunday, so come Monday it’s done right?
Nope. Select haunts will be open NEXT WEEKEND...stay tuned!
OCTOBER 29, 2021 FRIDAY 2 AM - ROTTEN APPLE 907
Seriously? The level of sophistication we’re seeing in some USA YARD HAUNTS is incredible!
Here’S a gem from BURBANK, CA - DEATH TRIANGLE HUGE HOME HAUNT BUILT IN THE FRONT YARD. **Check the awesome aquarium sequences and FABULOUS actors! The ship captain at the start is priceless.** https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpAGq9tyzkw
OCTOBER 29, 2021 FRIDAY 12:30 AM - DENT SCHOOLHOUSE VIDEO
We’ve heard many good things through the years about the DENT SCHOOLHOUSE in CINCINNATI, OHIO. Sure wish we could make it there...OHIO has tons of fabulous haunts...second only to Michigan, of course! haha ;)
In the meantime, here’s an interesting video with them BEHIND THE SCENES: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JL7QnUq2zsQ
OCTOBER 29, 2021 FRIDAY 12 MIDNIGHT - THE BIGGEST THRILL OF ALL
Just talking to my partner about PHYSICAL THRILL FACTOR at various haunts.
Earlier, we mentioned a special room at SLAUGHTERHOUSE that suddenly rises and shakes around at various angles! Nobody else has done anything THIS EXTREME (yet totally safe) that we’ve seen...except maybe MONGOOSE RACING in LANSING with their short-lived HAUNTED MONSTER TRUCK RIDES. Professional race circuit drivers pushed the limits in breathtaking thrill rides. See Reviews 2011_B or click here: http://www.zioptis.com/html/2011_b.shtml
But back to the “room”.
The room is a long rectangular chamber lifted by a SKY TRACKER. This is a high-end industrial tool typically used to construct apartment buildings and such lifting large objects / rooms into place. It can safely lift over a thousand pounds 20 feet into the air! They don’t take it that high, but they could...and safely too!
WHAT BIG THRILLS HAVE YOU HAD AT A HAUNT?
Physical or otherwise, tell us in an email you send to: ZioptisFoundation@gmail.com
Who knows? The best of them may qualify for SPECIAL ZIOPTIS AWARDS! Or maybe not. Thank you. ;)
OCTOBER 28, 2021 THURSDAY 11:11 PM - THE BEST TIME OF THE DAY
OHHH BOY, HAPPY ELEVEN ELEVEN!
Eleven eleven is a very versatile number. It’s the same upside down or right side up as well as forwards or backwards.
Some people think it’s a MAGICAL GATEWAY NUMBER to other realms!
But that sounds like just another CONSPIRACY THEORY to us. Never mind.
OCTOBER 28, 2021 THURSDAY 9 PM - EVERYBODY IS AN ARTIST
Ever wonder how giant murals are made? Did you ever wish you could draw a 10 foot dragon for your own display?
We’re about to spill some beans and give away a secret artists have been using for many many moons to make accurate giant drawings / paintings.
Using an OVERHEAD PROJECTOR opens up the possibilities for even those with limited art ability. Here’s one offering for your consideration: https://drawlucy.com/pages/meet-lucy?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIqoWS9Ljq8wIVFOsoBR1pygstEAEYASAAEgLALvD_BwE
OCTOBER 28, 2021 THURSDAY 8 PM - EVERYBODY IS A STAR
People from all walks of life are involved with making haunts.
And some people are wacky enough to actually try this at their own homes! haha
I actually used to be one of those wacky guys converting the front yard into a haunted display.
Like my dad used to do, we put giant speakers on the roof and played electronic music and ORGANIZED SOUND by TOD DOCKSTADER.
Listen to this (from 1966) and imagine it’s the late 60s, and you hear this coming from somewhere in the neighborhood: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zaSzHqVrLA or this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hydIpd0RLw4
More later perhaps about my yard haunt, but right now check out this impressive INSANE CLOWN display in California on EPIC HOME HAUNTS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDXBgsqInF4
OCTOBER 28, 2021 THURSDAY 2 PM - THE TICKING CLOCK
There are only 3 days left until Halloween, and there are just so many haunts we wish we could make it to.
But time, my cruel keeper...jerk!
We didn’t make it to ASHLEY, now home to TWO HAUNTS! TERROR ON 27 always delivered the goods, but we’ve never been to the newer HINTERLAND.
SLAUGHTERHOUSE in FOWLERVILLE is a very special haunt, that began as a neighborhood Halloween party and took off to become A MAJOR PLAYER in the haunt market. Magical illusions & comedy are big here, and the physical thrill factor is off-the-charts. Propane fire blasts freak out the hayride, and in the forest is a special room that suddenly goes herky-jerky and becomes airborne. It can rise as much as 20 feet safely!
JACKSON’S UNDERWORLD and DARKSYDE ACRES would make a POWER PACKED DUO of haunts to visit.
THE HAUNT and SCREAM PARK...WOWSER BIG TIME!
BLAKE’S BIG APPLE, SCAREFEST SCREAM PARK, & NIGHT TERRORS AT WIARD’S are all KILLER ULTRA HAUNTS.
We could go on and on, but it’s time to brew some TRADER JOE’S PUMPKIN SPICED COFFEE...
OCTOBER 27, 2021 WEDNESDAY 10 PM - UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN
Haunts come, and haunts go. It’s just the nature of the beast...
You never know when the show you’re seeing ends up being their SWAN SONG.
It’s brutal. But that’s life. The best laid plans...don’t always work out.
But it’s more than the haunt we miss when this happens, because we’re all friends in the haunt community...and now we MISS OUR MISSING FRIENDS who we fondly remember seeing year after year.
Friends like NICOLE from KRAZY HILDA’S, that we traded all sorts of incredible stories with...her mom made the little creatures that filled the forest...they had the BIGGEST WICKED PROP we can recall with a giant farm thrashing machine...masters of giant doors too...MISS YA NICOLE PLEASE COME BACK!
Sometimes, haunts do come back from the grave and that’s cause for great celebration. THE SCREAM MACHINE disappeared then came back, for example.
Can’t forget our pal TOM at REALM OF HAUNTED MINDS which is gone now, while the HURON TURKEY FARM in ROMULUS remains in business. Hi Tom! They usually have pumpkins here too. The front building is a MUSEUM OF ALL THINGS FRANKENSTEIN and much more including a bakery. This haunt won BEST CREEPY ACTOR ZIOPTIS AWARD several times.
Stepping even father back in the WAYBACK MACHINE...MICHELE, oh MICHELE, out there on the farm in ARMADA at HAUNTED HOLLOWS...can you hear me MICHELE?
You pushed the envelope (after screening the audience as we recall) with the hayride âpropsâ including real body parts from freshly slaughtered pigs! Also we loved your GIANT DRIVE THRU BLACK HOLE like we’ve never seen again, and the most comical actor gag we can recall: An actor dressed in all black picks a victim in your group and sneaks up on them after silently signaling what he’s about to do...the victim is totally unaware of the slithering ghoul while everyone else laughs their butt off...it was hysterical!
STUART MaCDONALD...we lost you to EAST COAST TV, but we still feel like we’re friends. It’s a long fabulous story!
We can’t forget RANDY at THE BONE YARD in STOCKBRIDGE...it was easily the BIGGEST & COOLEST EVENT OF THE YEAR in STOCKBRIDGE. They created the FIRST OUTDOOR LIQUID SKY DISPLAY to our knowledge using a dancing green laser. It was spectacular!
RANDY acted in the haunt too; it became a game for us to try identifying him. One time he clumsily carved MOM into his own forehead with his Swiss Army Knife! They had breath taking PROPANE FIRE BLASTS, once with a strange juxtaposition between THE DEVIL AND THE CROSS that was total genius!
And finally, the friend we’re missing the most right now has got to be CHARLIE from HAUNTED FARM OF TERROR in LENOX TWP. CHARLIE is a dog lover like us, and we also miss greeting his friendly German Shepherd at the family farm.
We never had to go looking for CHARLIE, he always spotted us and enthusiastically greeted us with a big smile. An accomplished welder, CHARLIE made his own giant hayride props, many from old farm equipment! There was a MASSIVE METALLIC SPIDER that suddenly attacked from above for a GIANT WOW! He made the forest come alive with thousands of GREEN FIREFLIES, and showed us feature horror movies on a big screen.
CHARLIE fed our soul, then fed our hungry tummies at the ROAD KILL CAFE. It was fabulous food at very reasonable prices. The TACO IN A BAG and the FRESH DAILY CIDER & DONUTS became a yearly tradition for us, along with trading impromptu lines with primo haunt actor RICKY.
Farm life for CHARLIE doesn’t including entertaining the masses at this time...but you know what? We remember him talking about tentative plans to construct a whole new building...next thing I know weâre brainstorming crazy possibilities for a new major feature...
So will HAUNTED FARM OF TERROR make a comeback?
We can’t say.
But this much we can promise - if HAUNTED FARM OF TERROR ever comes back we’ll be among the first to show up and celebrate one of the TRULY GREAT HAUNTS OF ALL TIME! Miss ya buddy, please come back Charlie...
OCTOBER 27, 2021 WEDNESDAY 9 PM - A THOUSAND LASHES WITH A WET NOODLE
Shame on us! All this BIG CITY TALK about BIG CITY MEGA HAUNTS.
And all the while totally neglecting a GEM OF A HAUNT hiding in plain sight right there in Oakland County, part of THE DETROIT HAUNT MARKET. Drum roll...
It’s BONADEO FARMS FULL MOON MANOR HAUNTED HOUSE & FIELD OF SCREAMS CORN MAZE in HIGHLAND.
We haven’t been to BONADEO for years, but they impressed us every time we went. Here’s part of their 2014 ZIOPTIS REVIEW:
All the moments and weather conditions came together perfectly, and we got a cool show and a stunning visual treat at the BONADEO HAUNTED CORN MAZE.
We were lucky enough to arrive when there was zero wind to hinder the fog machines, and the results were spectacular! It was amazing to see an overhead canopy of fog, like a smoke ceiling slightly above head level.
Even better, various light sources on the other side of the corn cut through the fog CREATING A LIQUID SKY EFFECT OF SORTS!
In the classic GREEN LASER LIQUID SKY using a stationary oval pattern or flat beam, air currents are clearly seen at the edges of the beams. You can drag your fingers thru the edge and see the disturbances... this same optic principle was at work THE NIGHT WE WENT TO BONADEO FARMS.
OCTOBER 27, 2021 WEDNESDAY 5 PM - THE BLOOD BATH EXPANDS
Just updated: Listings in not in FF/HG - click on tab to left or here: http://www.zioptis.com/html/not_in_ff_hg.shtml
OCTOBER 27, 2021 WEDNESDAY 3 PM - ZOMBIE OUTBREAK IN DETROIT
No sense trying to run away, they’re persistent buggers.
Don’t try to hide either, it won’t do any good. If you have blood, they will find you.
And if you have candy too, they’ll find you even faster. NUTRAGEOUS and SNICKERS are preferred.
Don’t be stingy, give the zombies and monsters what they crave on Halloween...or else!
OCTOBER 27, 2021 WEDNESDAY 2 PM - ADVICE YOU SHOULD FOLLOW
Here’s another top level recommendation from someone in the know big time, an actual haunted attraction operator who visited other haunts recently.
The word is that VILLAGE OF THE LIVING DEAD in ST. CHARLES has a great show & actors this year. The slide at the end is gone, but you won’t miss it.
We haven’t been to this in quite some time, but if we can we’re going this year! www.stchauntedhouse.com
OCTOBER 27, 2021 WEDNESDAY 7 AM - A NEW DIMENSION OF COLORS
Most of you are familiar with the GLOWING EFFECTS created by ultraviolet or BLACK LIGHTS in a dark room. Actors wearing fluorescent makeup / costumes literally glow for a dramatic effect.
POP GOES THE WEASEL & YOUR EYES
And entire rooms can be painted with special CHROMA DEPTH 3D REACTIVE PAINT, sometimes referred to as FIREFLY PAINT. When viewed with 3D glasses, colors can selectively pop out or recess!
BLACK LIGHT ROOMS have come a long way. We had JACKSON’S UNDERWORLD in JACKSON devote an entire attraction to 3D art. And more recently, THE HAUNT in GRAND RAPIDS brought in a trio of 3D HAUNT ART MASTERS including the legendary STU SMITH.
Closer to Detroit, we have AZRA CHAMBER OF HORRORS in MADISON HEIGHTS who have also featured EYE POPPING BLACK LIGHT ROOMS. We haven’t been to AZRA since 2019 when they WON THREE ZIOPTIS AWARDS! They have 13 new rooms for 2021, and we can’t wait to see them.
**SIDEBAR** AZRA CHAMBER OF HORRORS was awarded #1 MICHIGAN HAUNT by our friends at THE SCARE FACTOR! www.thescarefactor.com
OCTOBER 27, 2021 WEDNESDAY 2 AM - HOME IS WHERE THE HAUNT IS
Just released by EPIC HOME HAUNTS: What happens when a group of Carnies are shunned by the local town and forced to live on the edge of the city in The Devil's Bayou? Take a look and find out! First time haunter Ashley Miller has created a huge home haunt in her backyard in Orlando, FL called, "Carnies of Devil's Bayou".
This home haunt features excellent LIQUID SKY DISPLAYS (lasers with fog). You can see the air currents where the fog touches theÂ laser beams.
**SIDEBAR** To our knowledge, the first ever haunt to feature a LIQUID SKY ROOM was THE HAUNTING in ADRIAN many moons ago. In a foggy room was a powerful GREEN LASER BEAM in a fixed oval pattern creating the now familiar 3D TUNNEL OF LASER MAGIC. A fan placed behind the laser drew air towards the projector creating a swirling effect. Nobody had ever seen anything like this at a haunt, it was a major jaw dropper!
OCTOBER 26, 2021 TUESDAY 5 PM - CALIFORNIA DREAMING
We’ve seen some elaborate residential HALLOWEEN DISPLAYS like at TILLSON STREET in ROMEO.
But the craze for BIG HALLOWEEN FUN runs rampant nationwide. Check out this over-the-top GARAGE HAUNT: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icfXKCUcoag
OCTOBER 26, 2021 TUESDAY 1 AM - AND TO THINK THAT I SAW IT ON MULBERRY STREET
Here’s yet more cool media coverage from the local CBS TV WEBSITE: https://detroit.cbslocal.com/tag/haunted-house/
OCTOBER 25, 2021 MONDAY 11:11 PM - THE ALPHA & THE OMEGA
To everything, there is a season, turn turn turn...
A beginning and end to everything created by man, including the haunted house season. BOO HOO!
With the end of the season around the corner, hard decisions are coming.
As for our longest journey...we haven’t been to GHOSTLY MANOR in SANDUSKY, OHIO since 2014...but THE HAUNT in GRAND RAPIDS is beckoning too...and SCREAM PARK in NILES is incredible as well...
OCTOBER 25, 2021 MONDAY 10 PM - BUCKEYE BROTHERS IN ARMS
New listings of SELECT PRIMO OHIO HAUNTS just added to not in FF/HG. Click on tab to left or here: http://zioptis.com/html/not_in_ff_hg.shtml
OCTOBER 25, 2021 MONDAY 3 PM - A PIECE OF CAKE
Acting at a haunted house just comes naturally to some people, but even a TV NEWS REPORTER can learn the tricks of the trade.
Here’s an interesting look behind the scenes at ELOISE ASYLUM: https://www.fox2detroit.com/news/behind-the-scene-at-eloise-asylum-nightmare-on-alan-longstreet
OCTOBER 24, 2021 SUNDAY 11 PM - THE PURPLE PEOPLE EATER DISASTER
Okay, maybe it wasn’t purple. And it was actually a chicken, not people.
Every year, killer haunts come and go. It’s just the way it is, fair or not.
Even putting together a FIRST CLASS SHOW is no guarantee you’ll make a go of it - SINISTER in UTICA and ABANDONED in MELVINDALE come to mind...
SINISTER featured strolling performers from beyond, including their Trademark CRAZY CHICKEN MAN, who comes back to haunt us to this very day!
CANNIBALISM IS YOUR FRIEND
A strolling actor wearing an elaborate realistic chicken costume roams around, mimicking a chicken with uncanny realism. It’s DINNER TIME, and he proceeds to chow down on a FRESH COOKED ROTISSERIE CHICKEN from the local KROGER STORE.
It is indeed fresh & wholesome fowl, juicy & delicious...so he offers a generous portion for you to eat! We gladly accepted the tastiest treat we’ve ever seen at a queue line.
PERMANENT PSYCHOLOGICAL DAMAGE
It was a long time ago, but best as we recall he rambles about deleterious mental problems caused by unresolved CANNIBALISM ISSUES, and complains about mysterious mishaps of local psychiatrists who failed to help him. He insists he had nothing to do with it, while giving details only the perpetrator could know.
He takes frequent breaks to retrieve and eat more chicken, then scolds himself for such horrible behavior. After all, CANNIBALISM IS WRONG, RIGHT? Apparently not for the LEGENDARY CHICKEN MAN from SINISTER.
Inside SINISTER, the final room was a STROBE LIGHT ZEBRA STRIPE ROOM featuring an amazing acrobatic actor that appeared to FLY ACROSS THE ROOM!
We gave MULTIPLE AWARDS to SINISTER, and we were not alone. Across the board, multiple haunt rating services throughout MICHIGAN & OHIO gave TOP RATINGS to SINISTER.
And yet, they failed to be economically feasible and had no choice but to close up shop.
What a crying shame! One of the best DETROIT HAUNTS...gone...but not forgotten. Thanks for the memories, SINISTER.
OCTOBER 24, 2021 SUNDAY 2 PM - IN THE ARMS OF MORPHEUS
Tah dah! The results are in of our very unscientific study. HAUNTED HOUSES do not cause nightmares~!
We slept just fine, thank you. If anything, we slept even better than after a boring night of sorting pocket lint and staring out the window like usual. haha
Now the big question is: Will we be able to sleep tonight if we DON’T go haunting?
If we miss out on all the BIG FUN TO BE HAD TONIGHT at the many quality haunts open, we shall punish each other with a thousand lashes of a wet noodle. It doesn’t hurt, but it’s awfully annoying.
OCTOBER 24, 2021 SUNDAY 6 AM - NOW I LAY ME DOWN TO SLEEP
Do HAUNTED HOUSES cause nightmares? It depends...
I’ll let you know after I wake up later. ;)
OCTOBER 24, 2021 SUNDAY 3 AM - SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER
We got the fever!
And so do the MASSES OF MICHIGANDERS we saw haunting last night at THE HOWLING in FENTON and HYSTERIA HAUNT in BIRCH RUN.
We hit THE HOWLING first with a feeling of great urgency because Saturday was their final night for the season. We discovered this gem last year, from the fine people at ADOPT A PET who speak for animals with no voices in need of new homes.
THE HOWLING is not only a primo forest walk, but a night club too! Sorta...
They have tents with tables & chairs set up with beverages and munchies available...cool music jamming. One tent has a TWISTED KISSING BOOTH PHOTO OPP that had lots of people sharing their fun to the world on INSTAGRAM, FACEBOOK and such.
In short, THE HOWLING is a FIRST CLASS VOLUNTEER HAUNT!
OVER THE TOP & DOWN THE BLOCK
Next we were off to BIRCH RUN for the all new HYSTERIA HAUNT to see what all the buzz is about...the search light patterns in the sky...dancing & directing you to the OUTLET MALL where this haunt has set up shop.
The moment you enter HYSTERIA it’s a BLAST OFF TO NEVER NEVER LAND! Primo rock band SHINEDOWN set the mood on the PA during our visit, along with lots of special lighting and JUST the right amount of fog.
Of course, no amount of great tunes & technology alone can make a great haunt. You need great actors, with the creativity to mix things up on-the-fly to match wits with the sometimes witless patrons. HYSTERIA HAUNT hits the nail on the head in this department. VENUS was one of our favorites, with her dubious motives & obvious taste for the bizarre. GREAT STUFF!
It’s a clever setup at HYSTERIA HAUNT that’s given them the flexibility to stretch their creativity to the limits of their twisted brains! haha After all, you gotta be crazy to think that putting on a haunted attraction is a smart thing to do, right? haha
SO NEAR & SO FAR
Our apologies to FACTORY OF THE DEAD in SAGINAW and SLAY NIGHTS - DEADLY CHOICES in HOWELL for missing them Saturday night.
FACTORY OF THE DEAD has delivered the goods big time on every visit, while SLAY NIGHTS - DEADLY CHOICES is new this season. Rats! We just didn’t have enough time...ah, time...my cruel keeper...jerk!
OCTOBER 23, 2021 SATURDAY 9 AM - TRIPLE TREAT
Hooray! We made it to all 3 of our targets last night: ROTTEN MANOR, FRIGHT VILLAGE & TILLSON STREET. All 3 were jammin’ big time!
And we ran into an old friend at FRIGHT VILLAGE. We don’t usually give names here* but we have to make an exception for the very cool LEONARD PICKEL from HAUNTED ATTRACTION MAGAZINE who we last saw at HAUNTCON in DEARBORN. Great to see ‘ya, buddy!
LEONARD PICKEL is a familiar name to some of you out there...and if so you’ve probably heard of JOHN POE and KAREN MURPHY too...but that’s more than enough name-dropping...haha https://hauntrepreneurs.com/pickelbio/leonard-pickel-bio/
So our first stop was ROTTEN MANOR...what an amazing place this is! They now have THREE MAJOR ATTRACTIONS - ROTTEN MANOR, ROTTEN FOREST, and the all new ROTTEN HAYRIDE. www.rottenmanor.com
Much as we love ROTTEN MANOR and ROTTEN FOREST, we had to pass on those for this visit and just do the ROTTEN HAYRIDE. The MANOR & the FOREST can each take up to 45 minutes, and with two more destinations on our schedule we had to make this difficult decision.
ROTTEN HAYRIDE is an INSTANT HIT! It’s like taking a journey into an old time village with a General Store, Saloon, and much more. The design is top-notch, and despite being KID FRIENDLY is big on excellent scares.
With this addition ROTTEN MANOR joins the ranks of what we’re now calling an ULTRA HAUNT.
It was then a short drive to FRIGHT VILLAGE in LAKE ORION...WOWSER! The mere appearance of the massive building grabs you, and the quad searchlights let anyone nearby know something big is happening here.
The exquisite decor of the ticket lobby belies the many hideous scenarios that await you here in 3 indoor haunts and an outdoors journey. The lobby features giant skeletons and spiders, an absolutely beautiful chandelier, unusual photo opps, and some way cool LED HALLOWEEN MASKS for sale.
The FRIGHT VILLAGE actors seemed to be everywhere and were all spot on! This can make or break even the most sophisticated haunt. One of our favorites was the HIDEOUS BLOODY PIG MAN who strolls around, looking for the most vulnerable victims. GREAT STUFF! www.frightvillage.com
After a MASSIVE DOSE OF CRAZINESS, you can change gears totally and BUST A MOVE ON THE DANCE FLOOR in a nightclub-like setting and (responsibly) enjoy adult beverages.
Or you can enjoy your tasty beverages and trade stories with other haunters outside at a fire pit. This is one of the oldest haunting traditions, and the source of many evolving “urban legends” that usually start something like “Oh yeah? That’s NOTHING! I heard about this one haunt where they...”
One such legend, that’s not actually a legend, is the story of a small Michigan town where HALLOWEEN IS THE BIGGEST HOLIDAY OF THE YEAR!
You may already know we’re talking about ROMEO, MICHIGAN where TERROR ON TILLSON STREET has been WOWING HALLOWEEN FANS for many moons. And so this was our final destination for Friday night. More later about this, but in the meantime click here: www.terrorontillson.com
* = We generally only give people’s initials, i.e. DS from THE HAUNT.
OCTOBER 22, 2021 FRIDAY 2 PM - GOLDILOCKS’ PERFECT DILEMMA
Not too cold. Not too warm. And no rain.
Ahhh, the perfect night for OUTDOOR HAUNTS. And a slew of them to boot!
SLAUGHTERHOUSE in FOWLVERVILLE has a killer hayride & a haunted maze as well as their indoor haunt...
SHAWHAVEN FARM in MASON also has a wild hayride...
But of course so does NIGHT TERRORS AT WIARD’S in YPSILANTI...
BESTMAZE in WILLIAMSTON always comes through...
DERANGED HAUNT in ROMULUS is a young outdoor haunt on the move...
And we can’t forget BLAKE’S BIG APPLE HAUNTED ATTRACTIONS in ARMADA and SCAREFEST SCREAM PARK in LENOX TWP...
These are all quality shows we’ve been to in past years, and we wish we had time to hit all of them this season!
But there’s only 2 weekends left...and there’s outdoors NEW BLOOD awaiting at the new ROTTEN HAYRIDE in HOLLY and FRIGHT NIGHTS in LAKE ORION.
Decisions, decisions...but as they go this is a very nice problem to have!
OCTOBER 21, 2021 THURSDAY 4 AM - NEW BLOOD
We’re always anxious to check out new haunts, like ELOISE ASYLUM in WESTLAND which blew us away! See 2021 Reviews - click on left tab or here: www.zioptis.com/html/2021.shtml
And there are lots more new haunts: CARNIVAL CREEP SHOW in FLINT, FRIGHT VILLAGE in LAKE ORION, HYSTERIA HAUNT in BIRCH RUN, ROTTEN HAYRIDE in HOLLY, and SLAY NIGHTS - DEADLY CHOICES in HOWELL.
We hope to visit all of these new haunts, and to them we say WELCOME TO THE MITTEN!
OCTOBER 20, 2021 WEDNESDAY 10 PM - NEW LISTINGS
Just updated: the NOT IN FF/HG section. (FF/HG stands for FEAR FINDER & HAUNT GUIDE) Click tab on left or here - http://www.zioptis.com/html/not_in_ff_hg.shtml
OCTOBER 20, 2021 WEDNESDAY 4 PM - MINIMUM OVERDRIVE - VISIONS IN THE AIR
Before the haunt season started, we visited GLENLORE TRAILS in COMMERCE TWP. It’s an ILLUMINATED FOREST that changes stories / themes to fit the time of year. www.glenloretrails.com
We saw the PRE-HALLOWEEN SHOW, which was still spooky but not high intensity and no live actors. The actors all appear on rear-projected scrims which are screens made of gauze cloth that appear opaque until lit from behind.
Interactive scenes double as educational tools as well, which reminds us of a special KID FRIENDLY side attraction ERWIN’S ORCHARDS in SOUTH LYON used to have. MR. BEE’S ADVENTURE was an educational BLACK LIGHT FLUORESCENT FANTASY WORLD that was visited off-season by tens of thousand of local students.
Some haunts are just too intense for small children, but we still want them to join in the BIG FUN OF THE SEASON!
This year has a NEW KID FRIENDLY show with the debut of ROTTEN HAYRIDE in HOLLY on the grounds of ROTTEN MANOR & ROTTEN FOREST. Also, ROTTEN MANOR has announced A BLOODY CHRISTMAS which will be in December! www.rottenmanor.com
OCTOBER 20, 2021 WEDNESDAY 3 PM - MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE
Somehow we got talking about a FLASH-IN-THE-PAN HAUNT that ran for only 2 years in 2001 and 2002. THE HAUNTED THEATRE HOUSE on LIVERNOIS in DETROIT blew us away with some unique high intensity gags.
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER
We started recalling innovative details, including a DOG ACTOR that were not mentioned in the original review. They’re now added, click here: www.zioptis.com/html/cities_a_thru_s.shtml
OCTOBER 19, 2021 TUESDAY 10 PM - IMPORTED FROM NEW YORK
Looking through the website for FRIGHT VILLAGE in LAKE ORION, we learn this outfit has been haunting people in upstate New York for years.
Their decision to enter the DETROIT HAUNT MARKET wouldn’t have been made unless they were READY TO HIT THE BIG TIME.
FRIGHT VILLAGE has 3 indoor haunts, and a haunted forest walk. We can’t wait to check them out, NEW BLOOD is always welcome! www.frightvillage.com
OCTOBER 18, 2021 MONDAY 4 AM - BUCKEYE BIG TIMERS
Who remembers TERRORTOWN in TOLEDO? It was a PREMIERE OHIO MEGA HAUNT that quickly captured the heart of my partner becoming her FAVORITE HAUNT IN OHIO!
It was a multi-building haunt, with the biggest building reinvented every year.
One time they had you choosing a leader for your group, who then is handed a lantern to “guide your way.”
You enter the haunt, and it’s PITCH BLACK except for the light coming from your lantern. There are no lit displays of any kind. Random strobes and fog confuse things further.
Your lantern starts to flicker...then it goes out completely! Now it’s PITCH BLACK and monsters attack from out of nowhere...the lantern finally lights up again, but then it starts flashing like a STROBE LIGHT as monsters run across the room appearing in stutter motion...then it blacks out again...until just at the right moment a monster appears with a flash of your lantern...and so on...the timing is uncanny!
The lantern itself becomes both your friend and enemy, guiding you way...sometimes...until it feels like tormenting you again! They’re playing a WICKED GAME with you. HOW EXACTLY IS ALL THIS HAPPENING?
The “lantern” you’ve been given is anything but ordinary. It’s a HIGH TECH LED FLASHLIGHT, radio-controlled by the monsters on-the-fly insuring perfect gag synchronization. And the monsters are equipped with NIGHT VISION VIEWERS so you can’t see them but they see you! It is SO unfair...and SO effective...we’ve never seen anyone else do this.
TERRORTOWN also custom built their own GIANT ANIMATRONICS that were one-of-a-kind masterpieces.
TERRORTOWN also had a BURIED ALIVE GAG with a twist - everyone sits on a bench before the masses of small plastic balls fall down and fill the room / compartment.
But nothing lasts forever and eventually ROB ZOMBIE swallowed up TERRORTOWN...sorta. (details somewhere in the Archives - sorry don’t know which one if we find it we’ll post it later)
BACK TO THE FUTURE
The only constant is change, and one of the big ones we’re anxious about is what’s coming next from HAUNTED X in OHIO.
HAUNTED X is the outfit that blew our mind with the HAUNTED PRISON EXPERIENCE in MANSFIELD, OHIO. (See Reviews 2015_B) It was in a REAL FORMER PRISON at the massive MANSFIELD REFORMATORY building! **SIDEBAR** This is also where the movie THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION was filmed. The ambiance at this place was off-the-charts...super intense.
The prison is gone...and now there’s rumblings about the NEXT TOLEDO MEGA HAUNT to take over now that TERRORTOWN is gone. BOO HOO! (Miss ‘ya, MR...say “HI” to ROB ZOMBIE for us) haha
HOLY TOLEDO, BATMAN!
Wait a second, what if we nix the Batman and change it to UNHOLY TOLEDO??!! And what if it became an INSTANT HIT and the NEW PREMIER TOLEDO MEGA HAUNT?
Then we’d say that HAUNTED X accomplished its’ mission to create A NEW PLACE WHERE NIGHTMARES ARE REAL. We can’t wait!
Stand by, my little monkeys...pay no attention to the man behind the curtain...
OCTOBER 18, 2021 MONDAY 2 AM - DOUBLE THE PLEASURE / DOUBLE THE FUN
No, not the gum.
Just thinking... we have TWO MICHIGAN CITIES THAT HAVE TWO HAUNTS!
In ASHLEY we have TERROR ON 27 and HINTERLAND. Then in WESTLAND it’s ELOISE ASYLUM and HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION.
But there’s another major coincidence. Both HUSH & HINTERLAND are geared towards off-season entertainment.
You may recall that HUSH was previously ready to stage their first MURDER MYSTERY DINNER THEATRE...all the arrangements had been made, the actors knew all their lines, tickets announced...
Then SCREECH to a halt came everything, as a horrible worldwide pandemic caused extreme sorrow to all sectors of society regardless of class, creed, or color.
We were SO disappointed! All that time and effort from HUSH - what a crying shame to see it go unrealized.
You know, there used to be a wildly popular MURDER MYSTERY DINNER THEATER on the MICHIGAN STAR CLIPPER in WALLED LAKE. (It was often referred to as THE MYSTERY TRAIN.)
But nothing like this to our knowledge has been done in the DETROIT MARKET since then, so the market seems ripe for a new production in this unusual genre. HUSH was smart enough to see this and take action.
And there’s even more with HUSH that you’ll be hearing about later. It seems like it’s fate, because this property was formerly an ENTERTAINMENT MULTIPLEX called SKATELAND WEST.
Back in the day, this place was hopping year round! How cool to see it moving towards that direction again...there’s just so many good vibes that have accumulated here through the years...and many more to come based on what we’ve seen from this dynamic young haunt on a mission! www.hushdetroit.com
But HUSH isn’t alone in expanding into the off-season. Consider, Haunted Attractions are in the entertainment business...and people want to entertained year round, right?
Check this out: HINTERLAND first opened during the 2014 CHRISTMAS SEASON with A HOLIDAY FRIGHT to coincide with the Grand Opening of the VILLAGE OF ASHLEY COUNTRY CHRISTMAS which looks fabulous (and reminds us of CHRISTMAS IN IDA) https://www.facebook.com/villageofashley/
HINTERLAND is open on select seasons throughout the year with different themes and shows with high thrills, scares, and set detail around every corner. www.hinterlandhaunt.com
Also lest we forget, FACTORY OF THE DEAD in SAGINAW and ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY have staged off-season shows. KUDOS!
OCTOBER 17, 2021 SUNDAY 4 PM - STRONGER THAN A SPEEDING TORNADO
Imagine you’re a haunt operator, on summer holiday up north enjoying nature and whitefish dinners...
You come home, only to find that a TORNADO HAS DESTROYED the main building of your haunt! The biggest tree was ripped out of the ground and pulverized it.
You have no choice but to take a year off, then with dogged determination rebuild the place from the ground up.
This is the fateful story of HAUNTED GARAGE PRODUCTIONS in GROSSE POINTE FARMS.
This a haunt that has an unbelievable variety of haunt scenes, including a primo new addition of DEMON FURY by renowned DISTORTIONS UNLIMITED in COLORADO! www.hauntedgarageproductions.org
SERVING SUGGESTION - TRAVEL TIP DELUXE
As luck would have it, HAUNTED GARAGE PRODUCTIONS is only about a 15 minute drive from AZRA CHAMBER OF HORRORS in MADISON HEIGHTS. www.AzraHaunt.com
We’ve hit both haunts the same night several times, and it was a POWER PACKED HAUNT COMBINATION! Both haunts have great new stuff for 2021, we feel confident in giving THIS COMBO A VERY HIGH ZIOPTIS RECOMMENDATION!
OCTOBER 17, 2021 SUNDAY 3 PM - MORE MEDIA MAGIC
Thanks to GN from DEARBORN for letting us know about AZRA CHAMBER OF HORRORS in MADISON HEIGHTS being featured on WDIV TV-4’s LIVE IN THE D segment: www.clickondetroit.com/live-in-the-d/2021/10/13/have-a-frightening-good-time-at-this-award-winning-haunted-house/#//
We’ve been closely following this young haunt since their impressive debut in 2018, and we can’t wait to see the new show. They’ve added 13 rooms for 2021 including a 3D CLOWN ROOM!
BTW, we’re not alone in recommending AZRA. According to our friends at THE SCARE FACTOR, AZRA CHAMBER OF HORRORS IS MICHIGAN’S #1 HAUNTED HOUSE! www.thescarefactor.com
OCTOBER 16, 2021 SATURDAY 2 AM - COSPLAY ALERT!
MOTOR CITY COMIC CON is in full swing - www.motorcitycomiccon.com/ /
OCTOBER 15, 2021 FRIDAY 4 AM - IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER
Yesterday we gushed about THE HAUNT in GRAND RAPIDS, and rightfully so. The place is incredible, totally WORLD CLASS.
But you know what? WORLD CLASS comes in big and small packages and in all shapes and sizes.
WORLD CLASS is what won, for example, THE SCREAM MACHINE in TAYLOR its’ TWO 2019 ZIOPTIS AWARDS including BEST JAW DROPPING GAG.
We also earlier gushed about the natural ambiance being off-the-charts at ELOISE ASYLUM in WESTLAND. It’s so authentic you feel like you’re in a time machine, this truly is A SPECIAL HAUNT.
But so is the EDSON INCIDENT in BAY CITY. It’s a haunt literally BUILT ON A DESTROYER WAR SHIP so it too has natural ambiance off-the-charts. It also is A SPECIAL HAUNT.
Then we gushed about HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION in WESTLAND with its’ TOP NOTCH SCARES in exotically artistic settings. This too is A SPECIAL HAUNT.
But ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY also has TOP NOTCH SCARES with high artistic standards, so it too is A SPECIAL HAUNT.
We could go on, but the point is: THE BEST HAUNT IN MICHIGAN is the one you’re at! EVERY haunt is trying their best to DELIVER THE GOODS.
Just go to the closest haunt, and you should have a great time.
If you’re eastside in MACOMB COUNTY, we suggest SCAREFEST SCREAM PARK in LENOX TWP. and of course BLAKE’S BIG APPLE HAUNTED ATTRACTIONS in ARMADA.
Maybe you’re west of Detroit in WASHTENAW COUNTY...head to NIGHT TERRORS AT WIARD’S in YPSILANTI or a little farther west to DARKSYDE ACRES in JONESVILLE.
Are you in or near SAGINAW? THE FACTORY OF THE DEAD blew us away!
What about JACKSON? JACKSON’S UNDERWORLD...WOWSER!
Near the middle of the mitten? TERROR ON 27 also blew us away, and there are now TWO HAUNTS IN ASHLEY with the more recent addition of HINTERLAND.
Yes, it’s a highly competitive market and every haunt owner should be in the mindset that they are going to BE THE BEST HAUNT IN MICHIGAN...or OHIO...or PENNSYLVANIA, etc.
OCTOBER 14, 2021 THURSDAY 7 AM - THE BEST HAUNT IN MICHIGAN
Hold on, Zioptis! How in the world can you say that, after all the talk about NOT comparing haunts to each other?
Yeah, we get it. We’ve said that for years, but there’s an exception to every rule so listen up.
Never mind what all the RATINGS SERVICES say, we’re going to reveal THE BEST HAUNT IN MICHIGAN!!!
It’s a little off the beaten path, and we’re willing to bet most of you have not been there...
And we are actually not breaking our own rule of not comparing haunts to each other, as it was again another haunt operator that told us this.
Okay, now that we’re off the hook here’s the story. This goes back a few years, but we have full confidence this is still valid.
We were chatting with TL from a long running haunt, trading stories about haunts we liked and such...
He asked if we’d been to GRAND RAPIDS, and we said no. With great enthusiasm, he said we really should go there and check out THE HAUNT.
Yup, that’s the name of the haunt...just THE HAUNT!
Anyway, TL told us: “THE HAUNT is the best in Michigan!”
We just talked to DS, the operator of THE HAUNT and this year THEY’RE KILLING IT with numbers far exceeding last year...
It seems there was a CLOWN REVOLT that saw TINKLES fall from power, as the DIABOLICAL CLOWN FRENZY staged a coup and took over THE FAMILY CIRCUS.
FRENZY THE CLOWN went on an INSANE SPENDING SPREE and redecorated the place in 3D. Nothing but the best could satisfy the impulsive urges of the eccentric clown, and he brought in CUTTING EDGE 3D ARTISTS including the legendary STU SMITH, KYLE VEST, and JOSHUA NISLEY.
This is a veritable WHO’S WHO of the 3D HAUNT ART GENRE, with the end result goal being THE MOST HIGHLY DETAILED 3D DISPLAY AT ANY HAUNT!
BTW, other haunts have also recognized THE HAUNT as being A TRULY AMAZING HAUNT! One time we were talking with a local mega haunt operator about who had won the HAUNT OF THE YEAR AWARD from another unnamed haunt info service.
A neophyte small haunt had won the big award. In frustration, the mega haunt operator said “If we had lost to THE HAUNTING in ADRIAN I would understand. If we had lost to THE HAUNT in GRAND RAPIDS I would understand...”
THE HAUNT has essentially been in a class of their own. In their very first year, 37,000 happy patrons went through THE HAUNT. We’re confident that if you make the pilgrimage, you’ll be glad you did. www.the-haunt.com
OCTOBER 14, 2021 THURSDAY 12 MIDNIGHT - GPS TO THE RESCUE
Where the heck is LYONS, MICHIGAN? We know where Lyon TOWNSHIP is, because as home to ERWIN’S ORCHARDS it was a FAVORITE STOMPING GROUNDS when we were YOUNG & FOOLISH. Ah, memories...to be YOUNG & foolish instead of just foolish...
Anyway, here’s yet another haunt in Michigan we just spotted. www.facebook.com/TerrorOnBridgeSt/ No idea where that is yet...
WITH NO APOLOGIES TO BARRY MANILOW
The voice in our TOM TOM GPS unit belongs to a gal named MANDY. We often talk to her as if she was ALEXA, and sometimes we even serenade her with bad singing:
“OH MANDY, we’re so lost and you cost us a bundle,
Will you show us the way? OH MANDY, you came and you gave
Us directions telling when to turn right
(modulation up one key) OH MANDY, you saved us from going astray
Please never ever go away, OH MANDY,
You kissed us and stopped us from shaking, AND WE NEEEEED YOU!”
We used to get lost at least once every year, but no more THANKS TO MANDY!
There’s nothing like some kind reassurance as we forge new trails, sometimes on dirt roads with no street lights. To the ENDS OF THE EARTH we will go in search of NEW HAUNT EXPERIENCES!
OCTOBER 13, 2021 WEDNESDAY 11:11 PM - BEAM ME UP SCOTTY
CAPTAIN KIRK is in the news again, with some kinda BLUE ORIGIN space flight thingie. Live long and prosper, and all that stuff...
And science fiction is no stranger to haunting. We saw a UFO AND ALIENS at THE PUMPKIN FACTORY in BELLEVILLE with their hayride back as far as 2006. (see Reviews 2006) www.facebook.com/ThePumpkinFactoryBellevilleMI/
More recently we saw ALIENS AT ELOISE ASYLUM in a whole new way, unlike any haunt we’ve ever seen! The juxtaposition that it happens in such an old building is EVEN MORE MIND BLOWING! www.eloiseasylum.com
OCTOBER 13, 2021 WEDNESDAY 9 PM - DANCING IN THE STREETS
No, not the Motown song...it’s the GIANT HALLOWEEN PARTY in ROMEO, MICHIGAN on TILLSON STREET.
This annual event has become a legend in its’ own time! Check out the amazing pictures here: www.TerrorOnTillson.com
From their website - By Matt Ponke:
For those who are not familiar with Halloween on Tillson Street, here is some info. We are a dedicated group of homeowners that take Halloween to the next level, while providing a safe environment for children as well as an opportunity to give back to the community.
Romeo Michigan is a small, quaint village made up of historical homes dating back to the 1850s. Tillson Street has become the go-to Halloween destination for all residents of Romeo, as well as thousands of other visitors from the area. We have had visitors from all over Michigan, Ohio and as far as Mississippi to come and visit during Halloween. Each year, the crowds get bigger and bigger. Last year, each homeowner handed out over 2,000 pieces of candy to trick-or-treaters on Halloween. With about 30 houses that participate, that's over 60,000 pieces of candy in just a couple of hours. And that's just the kids who trick-or-treat on Halloween.
We’ve been hearing about this for many years! Maybe this is the year we finally see this for ourselves.
OCTOBER 13, 2021 WEDNESDAY 3 PM - BIBLICAL PROPORTIONS
No, not all the rain we’ve been getting...it’s the staggering amount of money being spent this year on Halloween. Americans will shell out over an estimated TEN BILLION DOLLARS in 2021, up from a measly 8 billion last year. www.usatoday.com/story/money/shopping/2021/09/22/halloween-costumes-2021-candy-decorations-spending-record/5816767001/
And it’s not just for humans. Cats and dogs are in on the action too! Check out these offerings from DISNEY: www.shopdisney.com/halloween-shop/costumes/pet-costumes/
OCTOBER 12, 2021 TUESDAY 3 PM - DEAD IN THE WATER
No, not all the rain we’ve been getting...it’s the new show at LAKE EERIE FEAR FEST at GHOSTLY GROVE THRILL PARK in SANDUSKY, OHIO.
Check out this video: www.facebook.com/BCSNErie/videos/266139672067405/
Rats, the right video doesn’t come up with this link. Time to investigate.
OCTOBER 12, 2021 TUESDAY 2 PM - BOW WOW WOW!
Attention DOG LOVERS - here’s an event that you and your four-legged friends can get behind. It’s the MUTTSTER MASH (no apologies to Bobby “Boris” Pickett) and looks like a lot of fun! www.clickondetroit.com/all-about-ann-arbor/2021/10/11/humane-society-of-huron-valley-hosting-family-friendly-muttster-mash/#//
OCTOBER 12, 2021 TUESDAY 4 AM - A MATTER OF TRUST
There are lots of people out there telling you go to this haunt, go to that haunt...
But who are they, and what makes them qualified to say which you should go to? Who can you believe?
Well, what if the person saying you REALLY must go to a certain haunt was somebody who owned another haunt? Now THAT is an opinion you should listen to, right?
STEPPING INTO THE WAYBACK MACHINE
Many moons ago we were at a (now defunct) fabulous haunt called THE HAUNTING in ADRIAN talking to the Master Magician Stuart MacDonald who created the place.
Stuart would perform an outdoor mind-blowing magic show, then twist your brain in the haunt with stuff that absolutely could NOT happen...but did! No other haunt has ever equaled this level of confusion to our knowledge.
Anyway...Stuart was eager to suggest that we should go to a competing haunt, GHOSTLY MANOR in SANDUSKY, OHIO.
We took his advice AND WOW! It became an ANNUAL MUST SEE for us, and for many years we made the BUCKEYE PILGRIMAGE. The facade is incredible...IT’S ALIVE!
“#1 HAUNTED HOUSE IN OHIO” - HAUNTED ATTRACTION MAGAZINE
Now GHOSTLY MANOR has evolved into LAKE EERIE FEAR FEST. There are 5 haunts and it’s $25 for to do everything. From their website:
Experience the #1 Haunted House in Ohio
Looking for the best haunted house in Ohio?! Lake EERIE Fearfest @ Ghostly Manor Thrill Center is the one haunted house in Ohio you don’t want to miss this haunted house season!
Find out why Haunted Attraction Magazine ranked us the #1 Haunted House in Ohio, Forbes Magazine lists us in its Top 10 Haunted Attractions in the country, and The Scare Factor rated us #3 Must See Haunts!
Located in Sandusky, Ohio, we’re just minutes from Cedar Point’s Halloweekends, Kalahari Waterpark, and the Great Wolf Lodge Hotel. We are located within an hour of other GREAT Haunted Houses: Seven Floors of Hell, Bloodview, Hauntville, Factory of Terror, Spooky Ranch, Haunted Hydro, Fear Forest, the Mansfield Penitentiary and soo many more!
Lake EERIE Fearfest is one of Best Haunted Houses near Toledo! Lake EERIE Fearfest is one of Cleveland’s Best Haunted Houses too!
Need a place stay this weekend? Stay nearby at the Econo Lodge Inn & Suites in Sandusky, Ohio. We look forward to seeing you this Haunted House season!
OCTOBER 11, 2021 MONDAY 3 PM - DOCTOR’S ORDERS
Trick-Or-Treat is back! According to Dr. Fauci, kids can hit the streets again this year for Halloween: www.nbcnews.com/now/video/dr-fauci-says-outdoor-trick-or-treating-is-perfectly-safe-this-halloween-123242053804
OCTOBER 10, 2021 SUNDAY 3 AM - SUNDAY, FUN DAY!
Lots of excellent haunts are OPEN SUNDAY NIGHT including:
AZRA CHAMBER OF HORRORS in MADISON HEIGHTS, BLAKE’S BIG APPLE HAUNTED ATTRACTIONS in ARMADA, DERANGED HAUNT in ROMULUS (18+ RAW NIGHT!), ELOISE ASYLUM in WESTLAND, EREBUS in PONTIAC, EXIT 13 in MT. MORRIS, HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION in WESTLAND, JACKSON’S UNDERWORLD in JACKSON, NIGHT TERRORS AT WIARD’S in YPSILANTI, ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY, SCAREFEST SCREAM PARK in LENOX TWP., and TERRORFIED FOREST in PINCKNEY
In addition to this, AZRA CHAMBER OF HORRORS in MADISON HEIGHTS is open every day of the month of October! Not only is it a killer haunt (WINNER OF MULTIPLE ZIOPTIS AWARDS), they have lots of other FUN STUFF like RAGE ROOMS, an AXE THROW and ESCAPE ROOMS. www.azrahaunt.com
OCTOBER 10, 2021 SUNDAY 1 AM - EIGHT THOUSAND WORDS
It’s been said that “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
If so, we’re about to save you eight thousand of them as we release 8 high resolution pictures from HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION in WESTLAND, taken last Friday Oct. 8: www.flickr.com/photos/45316911@N03/
This only scratches the surface of what you’ll experience at HUSH! www.hushdetroit.com
OCTOBER 9, 2021 SATURDAY 4 PM - HAZELNUT WITH CREAM
After a really late night, it’s JAVA TO THE RESCUE!
Our only regret last night is we couldn’t also hit DERANGED HAUNT in ROMULUS, a young outdoor haunt on the move. www.derangedhaunt.com
ROMULUS is very close to WESTLAND, and for that matter so are TAYLOR and INKSTER where THE SCREAM MACHINE and HAUNTED FUNERAL HOME are.
So we have A WHOPPING FIVE HAUNTS within a radius of probably less than 10 miles - DERANGED HAUNT, ELOISE ASYLUM, HAUNTED FUNERAL HOME, HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION, & THE SCREAM MACHINE. You can’t go wrong at any of these haunts!
OCTOBER 9, 2021 SATURDAY 4 AM - THE BIGGEST SLAM DUNK?
WOW! We had an INCREDIBLE FRIDAY NIGHT with THE NEW DETROIT DYNAMIC DUO of HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION and ELOISE ASYLUM.
If you go to either one of these haunts, you absolutely must go to the other! They are that good. They’re totally different, but totally fabulous too!
We started at HUSH & WHAT A RUSH IT IS! This place will scramble your senses in a one-of-a-kind artistic assault from a small army of TOP NOTCH ACTORS with incredible makeup.
The scares were all spot on, fast and furious yet dark and ghoulish. You can’t look away; each scene is expertly crafted to be visually compelling. One of our favorites is the STUNNING DOLL ROOM. (we have high resolution pics to be released soon)
Now throw in a PRIMO PHYSICAL THRILL FACTOR and you can see why many consider HUSH to be MASTERS OF THE CRAFT. www.hushdetroit.com
Next we traveled LESS THAN 10 MINUTES to ELOISE ASYLUM... *
There’s several amazing stories here, and one of them started in MANCHESTER, ENGLAND of all places! (details later in their upcoming Review)
Thousands of HAPPY HAUNTERS descended onto ELOISE ASYLUM...it was A GLORIOUS SIGHT!
Naturally, you want the NEW KID IN TOWN to do well and WOW DETROIT HAS RIGHTFULLY DELIVERED A GREAT WELCOME TO ELOISE ASYLUM!
First of all, the place is haunted. For real. You don’t want to know the details.
All you need to know is they worked their butts off starting last June to make this haunt, bringing in the HIGHEST TECH PRO LIGHTING EFFECTS EVER. We’re talkin’ SCIENCE FICTION MOVIE level stuff...wait a second this place is ancient yet I JUST SAW ALIENS!
The ambiance at ASYLUM is OFF THE CHARTS because much of what you see was ABANDONED LONG AGO and left to collect dust.
The scenes run A STUNNING GAMUT FROM MEEK TO MAMMOTH. One that totally knocked our socks off was the STUNNING CAVE SEQUENCE. www.eloiseasylum.com
* = There’s lots of free parking - USE THE HENRY RUFF ROAD ENTRANCE. It’s slightly confusing as the haunt address is on Michigan Ave. but the entrance is on Henry Ruff. Do not try to park on Michigan Ave.!
OCTOBER 8, 2021 FRIDAY 3 PM - THE MORE THE MERRIER
Here’s yet another resource for finding haunts! www.michiganhauntedhouses.com
OCTOBER 7, 2021 THURSDAY 11:11 PM - MAGIC DUST AND PIXIE STIX
Where’s my magic wand when I need it?
MOTHER NATURE is threatening to mess things up for the many fabulous outdoor haunts on Friday with rain in the forecast. SHAME ON YOU, MOTHER NATURE!
Sigh, scolding her won’t do any good.
Actually, if it’s just light rain no problem. And at BESTMAZE in WILLIAMSTON, they have a unique SELF-DRAINING PATHWAY they pioneered...
Probably best to wait until Saturday for outdoor haunts, and ANSWER THE CALL that’s been beckoning us big time Friday Night.
You guessed it - HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION and ELOISE ASYLUM both conveniently located in WESTLAND near DETROIT!
We’re like little kids on Christmas Eve, who just heard sleigh bells as we’re futilely trying to go to sleep. ***SIDEBAR*** This is something my own dad used to do. On Xmas Eve he’d drive around the neighborhood in the family station wagon, open the window and shake a set of sleigh bells to pour some gas on the fire of the SANTA CRAZE!
OH BOY...OHHH BOY! We can’t wait - between the NEW SHOW AT HUSH and the new kid on the block ELOISE ASYLUM we’re in for a FABULOUS NIGHT OF HAUNTING! www.hushdetroit.com www.eloiseasylum.com
OCTOBER 7, 2021 THURSDAY 10 PM - LEAVE IT TO BEAVER & MOM
Many of you are too young to know about an old black & white TV show called LEAVE IT TO BEAVER. It was set in another time and place, where telephones were mounted on the kitchen wall and the worst thing brought to school was a Chihuahua stuffed into a shirt.
But all of you have moms, or you wouldn’t be reading this now!
So HOORAY FOR THE MOMS out there, and especially the OAKLAND COUNTY MOMS who as it turns out are big-time haunt fans as well.
They’ve compiled a list of FAMILY FRIENDLY HAUNTS: www.oaklandcountymoms.com/kid-friendly-haunted-houses-metro-detroit-25214
The only thing we saw missing was the new ROTTEN HAYRIDE (at ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY), which is specifically advertised as being “KID FRIENDLY.” www.rottenmanor.com
OCTOBER 7, 2021 THURSDAY 9 PM - WHEN IRISH EYES ARE SMILING
Here’s an innovation for a haunt operating during a horrible pandemic that has killed over 700,000 people in the USA alone. *
It’s a DRIVE THROUGH HAUNT at HAUNTING IN IRISH HILLS in IRISH HILLS. They have 2 walk through haunts as well.
We checked this out for the first time in 2017, and they did a great job! We hope to visit again this year.
You can get a $5 discount if you bring a donation for the HUMANE SOCIETY from the WISH LIST on their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/traincarofterror/
* = Sadly, our beloved Webmaster Bill Godwin (R.I.P.) was one of the masses lost to Covid-19.
OCTOBER 6, 2021 WEDNESDAY 4 PM - OH WHERE, OH WHERE CAN THEY BE?
Yes, we’re excited about the MANY NEW HAUNT EXPERIENCES that await.
But we’re sad too. KRAZY HILDA’S is gone, along with HAUNTED FARM OF TERROR, SLAUGHTERED AT SUNDOWN, THE REALM OF DARKNESS, THE HAUNTING, ERWIN’S, DEADLANDS, DEADLY INTENTIONS, SINISTER HH, DARK LEGACY, THE BONEYARD, ST. LUCIFER’S HAUNTED ASYLUM, THE CRYPT, REALM OF HAUNTED MINDS, McCURDY’S REVENGE, and so many more...
To fully appreciate the haunt scene its’ core roots can not be forsaken. To see a comprehensive list of HAUNTS GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN click on the “Closed” tab.
OCTOBER 6, 2021 WEDNESDAY 2 PM - A SPOONFUL OF PUMPKIN HELPS THE MEDICINE GO DOWN
Yum...sipping on some TRADER JOE’S PUMPKIN SPICED COFFEE that my partner got for me. Any other JAVA FANS out there? haha A rhetorical question, of course.
Remember, you can ask questions by e-mailing us at email@example.com
THE BIGGEST OF THE BIG QUESTIONS
JL from TRENTON asks a loaded question. She says: “hey zioptis which haunt is better hush or the asylum??? and there not in detroit doofus FRIGGIN WESTLAND! git yer facts straight jack luv ya anyway idiot” (Editor’s note: the last word was changed to stay family friendly!)
Thanks for the question JL!
First of all little sister, I should scold you for misusing a homonym. haha It should be “and they’re not in detroit”
As to which is better - HUSH OR ELOISE ASYLUM?
Actually, we haven’t been to either one yet. We’re doing the “delayed gratification” thing. You should try it yourself someday.
But I can tell you without even looking into THE CRYSTAL BALL what the deal should be.
THE ULTIMATE EPICUREAN DILEMMA
Let’s say you go to the restaurant and the SURF & TURF looks fabulous!
The friendly waiter brings the FEAST ON A PLATE.
There’s STEAK & LOBSTER. What’s best? (the waiter is not one of the choices)
And so it is with your question, JL. HUSH & ELOISE ASYLUM are both HOLLYWOOD GRADE HAUNTS, but beyond that are dramatically different from each other.
But you know what? We’re thinking that just like the steak and lobster, they probably go best together! www.hushdetroit.com www.eloiseasylum.com
As to the city being “DETROIT,” we understand the confusion. And YES, you are correct. They’re really in WESTLAND just like you said.
Here’s the deal JL: the HAUNTED HOUSE HOTLINE is on an international platform. Haunted house enthusiasts and operators from all over are logging on.
To help them locate things “on the hand” when we say DETROIT we mean the Detroit MARKET AREA, which encompasses the so-called QUAD COUNTY AREA which is WAYNE, OAKLAND, MACOMB & WASHTENAW COUNTIES. Even WIARD’S in YPSILANTI can be called a DETROIT HAUNT by this thinking.
So we’re cool, JL?
Say “yes” or your pumpkin will explode. Thank you.
OCTOBER 6, 2021 WEDNESDAY 1 PM - A DEMON OF A DEAL - WHAT PRICE YOUR SOUL
Let’s say you had a big stash of money...in the 5 figure range...burning a hole in your pocket.
Most people would probably buy a house or a fancy car.
THE DEVIL MADE THEM DO IT
But what if you’re A MANIAC THAT LOVES HAUNTED HOUSES?
It’s a no-brainer. You call DISTORTIONS UNLIMITED in COLORADO!
That’s exactly what HAUNTED GARAGE PRODUCTIONS in GROSSE POINTE FARMS did, and they’re the proud new owners of DEMON FURY.
This is a haunt that has so many props your head will spin, but with this new addition takes it to a NEW LEVEL OF CRAZY! www.hauntedgarageproductions.org
HAUNTED GARAGE PRODUCTIONS has won MULTIPLE ZIOPTIS AWARDS in the past, and we can’t wait to see what they’ve done for this season.
This is a haunt that was on forced hiatus last year. Not due to COVID, but because of a FREAK SUMMER TORNADO that hit them in the worst possible spot. They were UP NORTH IN THE MITTEN when it happened. Can you imagine coming home to that? HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE!
But with dogged determination they rebuilt the place from ground up. The guy who runs this amazing place is retired GROSSE POINTE SCHOOL TEACHER G.W. who is giving back big time. WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL!
OCTOBER 5, 2021 TUESDAY 10 PM - THE BIGGEST OF THE BIG NEWS
Huh?! How can you say exactly what’s THE BIGGEST NEWS IN THE DETROIT HAUNT MARKET?
Sure, there’s lots of big haunt news this year in Detroit...and not just THE NEW SHOW AT HUSH & ELOISE ASYLUM!
Granted, ELOISE ASYLUM seems to have garnered the MOST DETROIT TV COVERAGE, and we understand. They have a TESLA COIL & COLD SPARK PYRO, some wickedly cool effects for a haunt!
BUT, hold on...there’s ANOTHER NEW KID IN TOWN THAT’S A MONSTER...it’s THE ALL NEW ROTTEN HAYRIDE at ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY. This is a haunt so good it’s critically acclaimed even by other haunts!
ROTTEN MANOR (& ROTTEN FOREST) stormed onto the scene in 2015 and quickly became the INSTANT STAND-OUT NEW DETROIT MEGA HAUNT. The operator here does things BIG & BAD...or not at all. Production values are off the chart!
2021 brings ROTTEN MANOR into A NEW DIMENSION with their ROTTEN HAYRIDE, a hayride that promises to be “KID FRIENDLY.” Don’t let that fool you, this will be anything but lame. All indications are that this is GONNA WOW THE MASSES who love hayrides! www.rottenmanor.com
We’ve lost 2 near-and-dear hayrides this year - HAUNTED FARM OF TERROR in LENOX TWP. has sadly closed and they had what many considered to be the PREMIERE HAYRIDE of its’ time. And PHANTOM TRAILS in GROSSE ILE has announced they’re done with the hayride, which was a KID FRIENDLY show with mostly original art that was exquisite.
The only constant is change!
Speaking of which, stand by for another ZIOPTIS SCOOP...soon we’ll tell you who got their hands on a new DISTORTIONS BRAND figurine that’ll KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF! You may recall that JACKSON’S UNDERWORLD also has DISTORTIONS figurines. You can see them on our photo collection of “Haunted Attraction Stuff” here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/45316911@N03/albums/72157650409830035
OCTOBER 5, 2021 TUESDAY 2 AM - WILD WEEKEND ROUNDUP
We had a great start to the season! There were many creative wondrous spooky adventures awaiting...
At TERRORFIED FOREST in PINCKNEY we saw the TABLES TURNED ON AN EVIL CLOWN who’s been secured in a dental chair. It seems his fate includes DENTAL SURGERY GONE SERIOUSLY AWRY. Clown haters will love this!
This truly is a MAGICAL FOREST! The amount of work they’ve put in is astounding! There’s zero lag in the action between scenes, and countless spooky creatures on trees and posts keep vigil. There’s a KILLER LIQUID SKY SWAMP & a UNIQUE CLOCKWISE/COUNTER CLOCKWISE TWIN SPIN BLACK HOLE, and so much more. You wanna see a KILLER HAUNTED FOREST? This is how it’s done! www.terrorfiedforest.com
Then we had our souls SHAKED, RATTLED & ROLLED OLD SCHOOL AT AN ACTUAL FUNERAL HOME! The House Director / Mortician greets you, impeccably attired in his finely tailored suit. But his pleasant demeanor is shattered moments later as a FREE-FOR-ALL FREAK OUT breaks out! https://www.facebook.com/The-Haunted-Funeral-Home-368707953461056/
Capping off Saturday was THE SCREAM MACHINE in TAYLOR. They’re baaack, with a vengeance! The setup is all new, and the many actors were spot on with tons of great scares. One awesome high point was near the end with an ESPECIALLY FABULOUS SCARE where...nope, sorry no spoiler-alert...you’ll just have to go yourself to experience this for yourself! www.TheScreamMachine.com
OCTOBER 4, 2021 MONDAY 10 PM - NOTHIN’ BUT THE FACTS MA’AM
THE HAUNT GUIDE and FEAR FINDER are looking sweet this year! THE HAUNT GUIDE is in print and online, and FEAR FINDER is online only this year, but with a PRINTABLE PDF FILE. www.fearfinder.com
THE HAUNT GUIDE sponsor is again PAPA ROMANO’S PIZZA, so there’s pizza coupons. PIZZA & HAUNTED HOUSES? Sounds like a winner-winner pizza dinner! www.thehauntguide.net
OCTOBER 3, 2021 SUNDAY 7 AM - THE APPLE FALLS AGAIN
Last Friday night we took a chance, chasing a NEW HAUNT THRILL. It didn’t work out, but it reminded us that sometimes taking a chance is the best thing to do.
It goes back many moons, before the HAUNTED HOUSE HOTLINE existed...
My partner and I were at ERWIN’S ORCHARDS in SOUTH LYON, getting our haunt on. This was an annual pilgrimage for us, and we SORELY MISS ERWIN’S. But as we noted earlier nothing man-made lasts forever.
Anyway, after the cider and donuts were gone it started raining...a torrential downpour! The rest of our group decided the night was over. But my partner and I borrowed a line from BLUTO and said, “Nothing is over until we say it is! There’s one more haunt we could probably make it to before they close. C’mon, follow us there.”
Our stick-in-the-mud friends missed out big time. We made it to THE GREAT FENTON BEAN COMPANY HAUNT in FENTON 5 minutes before closing time, and it was killer! They had a vibrating floor which we had never yet seen. And it was their Swan Song...it was the last performance before the haunt closed forever.
Nowadays, we have a loose unwritten rule that we don’t visit a haunt without talking to them first. And yes, we were breaking our own rule when we raced to get to this new haunt we hadn’t been able to reach. Even worse, it meant we didn’t make it to GHOSTLY GROVE in PINCKNEY. (We again apologize for missing them.)
But would we do it again? Probably. Being impulsive is part of our nature. Several times we canceled our BIG CITY HAUNT PLANS FOR HALLOWEEN to instead celebrate with A NIGHTMARE ON ELM ROAD in tiny WEBBERVILLE (which is sadly gone) and had the time of our lives.
Don’t be afraid to change your plans. It might be the best decision you ever made!
OCTOBER 2, 2021 SATURDAY 11:11 PM - DOUBLE SLAM DUNK!
The actors at both the HAUNTED FUNERAL HOME in INKSTER and THE SCREAM MACHINE in TAYLOR were on fire Saturday night!
Their passion for freaking out the customers shines on brightly, sometimes even in pitch black passageways. The timing of the gags was spot on throughout at both haunts.
Also at both haunts, the show starts before you even get in with special lighting and spooky music / sound effects blasting through unseen audio systems for primo ambiance.
Both haunts have been revamped too, keeping repeat customers from past years happy / scared poop less. It’s a fine line between the illusion of tranquility and sudden mayhem, straddled with ease by performers in perfect character right from the get-go of the season.
KUDOS TO BOTH HAUNTED FUNERAL HOME AND THE SCREAM MACHINE!
OCTOBER 2, 2021 SATURDAY 5 PM - DECISIONS, DECISIONS
It’s a nice problem to have! There’s so many incredible haunts in the area, and only so many hours they’re open...
We’re SUPER STOKED to see the new show at HUSH and then GO INSANE & BLOW OUR MINDS AT ELOISE ASYLUM!
PAPER BAG & A FLASHLIGHT
But you know what? We’re gonna wait...right now we got us a SERIOUS HANKERING FOR OLD SCHOOL...getting back to the ROOTS OF HAUNTING...I’ll never forget the FIRST BIG SCARE I EVER HAD at a haunt: Dad took us to a JAYCEE’S TRAILER HAUNT behind the Dearborn Recreation Center. In a dark passageway, an actor suddenly appears with a BANG! for a great gag. But it’s just some kid holding a flashlight and he pops a paper bag - total cost about a buck yet priceless!
Yes, we LOVE LASERS & LIQUID SKY EFFECTS...and MAN-MADE LIGHTNING is nothing to sneeze at...but we’re feeling nostalgic tonight...to make it even better let’s go to a place where DEAD PEOPLE...FOR REAL HAVE BEEN.
Yup, it’s a road trip to INKSTER for the HAUNTED FUNERAL HOME! This is probably the closest thing to the ORIGINS OF HAUNTED HOUSES OUT THERE. https://www.facebook.com/The-Haunted-Funeral-Home-368707953461056/
Then it’s just a hop, skip, and jump to TAYLOR for the much anticipated TRIUMPHANT RETURN OF THE SCREAM MACHINE!
Our anticipation to GET OUR SCREAM ON IS OFF-THE-HOOK, because they were on COVID HIATUS last year and we missed them sorely...
WE CAN’T WAIT to see the new show! They’ve won MULTIPLE ZIOPTIS AWARDS in prior years. (see Awards) www.TheScreamMachine.com
OCTOBER 2, 2021 SATURDAY 4 PM - WORD ON THE STREETS
Between printed media and radio / TV, every year we see and hear lots of advertising for haunted attractions. It’s not cheap!
But you know what? The hands-down most effective advertising doesn’t cost a dime because it can not be bought.
WORD-OF-MOUTH can be more powerful than all the radio towers and searchlights out there!
For example, SCAREFEST SCREAM PARK in LENOX TWP. actually stopped all media / broadcast advertising in recent years. With the money they save they can invest in more upgrades...SMART. Happy haunters are their best advertising, as friends tell other friends of fabulous haunt experiences! www.scarefestscreampark.com
That’s why we often conduct “clandestine” impromptu interviews with people we see at haunts, asking about their best haunting experiences. We don’t always reveal who we are, and if we do we wait until they’ve finished telling what happened.
OCTOBER 2, 2021 SATURDAY 3:30 PM - MORE NEW BLOOD!
Here’s another NEW HAUNT FOR 2021. It’s NIGHTMARES FROM HELL in IMLAY CITY which is near FLINT. Being a new haunt makes it a priority! www.nightmaresfromhell.com
OCTOBER 2, 2021 SATURDAY 3 PM - MOM TO THE RESCUE!
Make that MOMS, as in OAKLAND COUNTY MOMS who as it turns out are big time haunt fans too. They’ve done their homework, including research on the status of haunts that closed and much more! www.oaklandcountymoms.com
Also of interest is the Halloween section of the local TV News website from WDIV TV-4. www.clickondetroit.com/topic/Halloween
OCTOBER 2, 2021 SATURDAY 4 AM - A FOREST TOUR DE FORCE LIKE NO OTHER
We decided to start our tour this year at TERRORFIED FOREST in PINCKNEY. In a word it was...PHENOMENAL!
We’ve been going to this haunt for decades, and they’ve never failed to amaze us. The new show at TERRORFIED is a relentless, bonkers off-the-chart feast for the senses! (review under construction in Reviews 2021)* www.terrorfiedforest.com
From there we went to the ZUKEY LAKE TAVERN for proper haunting sustenance...soo yummy...NOW OFF TO THE NEW HAUNT, WHOOPEE!
G P S, HO!
Wait a second. Where’s all the cars? Shouldn’t there be searchlights and such beckoning us to a haunted paradise?
They paid for advertising, so here we are - ANXIOUS PATRONS ON A MISSION FROM GOD! Where is the haunt?
Bummer. We found it all right...but there’s nobody here...just leave a couple Zioptis cards for them to find.
Sheesh...ending with not even a whimper or whisper after a GANGBUSTERS START to the evening...never mind which haunt it was.
It doesn’t matter and like we talked about earlier, preparing for the first night of a haunt is no small task.
Making a haunt is something most people should never try! You’ll lose your money, you’ll lose your mind! KIDS - DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME - TRAINED PROFESSIONALS ONLY! haha Step right up folks, and have CRAZY BOB TURNER tell you all about it and tell your fortune too at the totally whacked-out HAUNTED HYDRO in FREMONT, OHIO. www.thehauntedhydro.com
Our apologies to GHOSTLY GROVE in PINCKNEY for missing them last night! We liked them in 2019 which was their first year - see the full review in Reviews 2019_B.
* = To access the 2021 Reviews you must select from the years listed on the LEFT SIDE. The BLUE TABS on the right only go to 2020 and I don’t know how to add more of them. Sadly, our Webmaster Bill Godwin died of Covid last March.
OCTOBER 1, 2021 FRIDAY 2 PM - AT MOTHER NATURE’S PLEASURE
In the article A PIECE OF CAKE below, we discussed factors that can affect indoor haunts.
But what if a haunt is outdoors as many are?
They’re literally at the mercy of Mother Nature.
She could decide to make it rain cats and dogs, or even to send rain so quickly it travels in horizontal sheets of liquid disaster.
What then? Closing down is often the only choice. With only so many nights to operate per season, it can ruin the balance sheet of expenses versus profits. ***SIDEBAR***BESTMAZE in WILLIAMSTON has a special self-draining pathway they pioneered!
And we saw one especially dismal season a few years ago when it rained every weekend in October.
CARPE DIEM, BABY!
But tonight is looking just right for outdoor haunts.
STRIKE WHILE THE IRON IS HOT
Tomorrow? Sure enough, some forecasts are calling for rain. We encourage you to support outdoor haunts...tonight!
OCTOBER 1, 2021 FRIDAY 3 AM - A PIECE OF CAKE
HAPPY OCTOBER! Our favorite month has finally arrived, and lots of haunts are opening tonight.
Haunt operators have been planning and toiling...many of them beginning last spring...all leading up to Opening Night.
There’s lots at stake. Social media chatter and countless phone calls between haunters will shape peoples opinions as to which haunt is the best.
And all eyes are on the NEW KID ON THE BLOCK, a monstrous high-tech marvel taking up residence in an actual former mental hospital where countless human atrocities occurred.
We’re talking of course about ELOISE ASYLUM in WESTLAND. They took an old building and converted it into a haunt with high-tech outer space level electronic wonders like a TESLA COIL and COLD SPARK PYRO...we can’t wait to experience them! www.eloiseasylum.com
***SIDEBAR - GIVING CREDIT WHERE DUE*** This will be the 2nd time a MICHIGAN HAUNT has featured a TESLA COIL. EREBUS in PONTIAC was first to debut this at a haunt. www.HauntedPontiac.com
THE MITTEN CONTINUES TO GROW & EVOLVE
Other new haunts such as PHRYTE VILLAGE in LAKE ORION, DEADLY CHOICES in HOWELL, HYSTERIA HAUNTED HOUSE in BIRCH RUN, and CREEPY CARNIVAL in FLINT are preparing for their Opening Nights too.
THE BEST LAID PLANS
Certainly every haunt is doing their best to be ready for Opening Night. After all, they’ve had a whole year to prepare for it, right?
Imagine for a moment that you’re the MASTER MIND YO-YO that decided putting on a haunted house would be a smart thing to do.
There’s only about a thousand items on the check list...
So what could go wrong?
OF MICE & MEN
DISCLAIMER WARNING - THE FOLLOWING IS A FICTITIOUS HYPOTHETICAL HAUNT - NOT DESCRIBING ANYONE ANYWHERE!
You worked your butt off, designing and constructing room after room...
The lighting angles are perfect in the LIQUID SKY DISPLAYS...
Sound and lighting tweaked for each room with optimum scene-to-scene isolation...
Fog machines are topped off...
The final walk through dress rehearsal went great. No worries, right?
It’s Opening Day with 3 hours until Show Time, and you’re sipping on a COLD REFRESHING DR. PEPPER.
MURPHY’S LAW COMES THROUGH
Oh no! The Stage Manager is on the talkie - it’s big trouble in the final room with the NEW BIG WOWSER GAG. The new centerpiece prop WENT POOF and isn’t working. What next?!
MURPHY’S LAW COMES THROUGH AGAIN
RING! RING! Your cell phone starts vibrating...got the MONSTER MASH RING TONE...
It’s the final room lead performers’ wife calling from the hospital ER. He tripped over the new family pet down the stairs and has a broken leg, sprained ankle, and dislocated shoulder.
RATS! Time for Plan B - call the back-up performer.
MURPHY’S LAW COMES THROUGH YET AGAIN
ADDITIONAL DISCLAIMER WARNING - THE FOLLOWING IS A FICTITIOUS HYPOTHETICAL HAUNT - NOT DESCRIBING ANYONE ANYWHERE!
RING! RING! The back-up performer has just tested positive for Covid-19!
You’d do the part yourself, except the costume is way too big...
MURPHY’S LAW COMES THROUGH YET EVEN AGAIN
KNOCK KNOCK! Who’s at the door? Just the over zealous city inspectors with “additional safety concerns.”
Or perhaps some key new equipment just can’t be shipped by Opening Night due to supply chain problems.
We could go on, but here’s the point: If you go to a haunt on its’ Opening Night and things seem off, don’t dismiss them or diss them on social media. There’s so many variables, it’s mind boggling! Consider going again later in the season, things can change.
Indeed, we’ve seen haunts fine-tune things as they go along.
And inspiration doesn’t always come before Opening Night. We saw one haunt develop a WHOLE NEW KILLER SCENE one mid-season at NIGHT TERRORS AT WIARD’S HAYRIDE in YPSILANTI. WAY TO GO, WIARD’S!
SEPTEMBER 30, 2021 THURSDAY 5 PM - NEW BLOOD
Here’s more new haunts for 2021. DEADLY CHOICES HAUNTED HOUSE in HOWELL enters the highly competitive MICHIGAN HAUNT MARKET. It’s located at CASTAWAY PLAY CAFE, 1800 North Burkhart Road in HOWELL. Opening night is Oct. 1, 2021. (517) 545-7386 or https://facebook.com/castawayplaycafe/
Also new for 2021 is CARNIVAL CREEP SHOW in FLINT. Every haunt has a story, and theirs is a doozie! It’s a troupe of carnival workers gone rogue who have a dubious new mission. We won’t “spill the beans,” but be advised you may be offered some SPECIAL KOOL AID! Opening night is Oct. 1, 2021 and the first 20 patrons will get in for half-price of only $10! After that, admission is $20.
CARNIVAL CREEP SHOW is located at 3166 Comer Street, Flint. (248) 535-9558 or www.CarnivalCreepShow.com
SEPTEMBER 30, 2021 THURSDAY 4 PM - WILD HORSES COULDN’T STOP THEM BUT MOTHER NATURE DID
It’s more good news / bad news. The good news is that HAUNTED GARAGE PRODUCTIONS in GROSSE POINTE FARMS is back in action for 2021!
The bad news is they fell victim to some especially vicious weather when a giant tree fell on their main building, causing massive destruction and a forced hiatus last season.
But with dogged determination and a passion for presenting haunted excellence, they’re baaack and we can’t wait to see them again! Opening night is Oct. 8, 2021. www.HauntedGarageProductions.org
SEPTEMBER 30, 2021 THURSDAY 3 PM - GOOD NEWS / SAD NEWS
ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY stormed onto the haunt scene in 2015, and quickly established itself as a PREMIERE MICHIGAN HAUNT. It became an INSTANT MUST SEE for us, and we’ve been there every year since...
Not one to rest on past laurels they’ve expanded yet again, adding THE ROTTEN HAYRIDE for 2021. They have FIVE tractors ready to go, and we can’t wait to see what these MASTERS OF THE CRAFT have come up with!
That’s the good news of course, but we have sad news too. Last Saturday night somebody stole a GREEN GOBLIN FACE wooden carving from them, part of a three piece set. Besides being part of their show, it has sentimental value.
A reward is being offered for info leading to its return, with NO questions asked. They don’t want to get anyone in trouble, they just want their beloved GREEN GOBLIN back! This is a custom-made one-of-a-kind art piece. PLEASE call or email them if you can help. (248) 930-2835 or RottenManor@gmail.com
SEPTEMBER 29, 2021 11:11 PM - KID IN A CANDY STORE
Holy moly! Here’s yet another new haunt for 2021 at CANTERBURY VILLAGE in LAKE ORION. It’s FRIGHT VILLAGE featuring 4 haunted attractions, 3 of them indoors and a forest walk to boot. www.frightvillage.com
The setup looks to be a big winner! Besides the haunts they have the C-PUB, an outdoor patio with fire pits, drinks, food & music. And indoors is their PHYRTE CLUB featuring crafted brews/spirits, dancing & food.
Parents could wait for their kids to go through the haunts, while enjoying themselves like in a nightclub! We predict this will be wildly popular, and ticket sales end soon...CARPE DIEM BABY!
SEPTEMBER 29, 2021 WEDNESDAY 4 PM - DESTINATION ASHLEY!
Here’s another Michigan city that just can’t get enough haunting. It’s ASHLEY, right in the middle of The Mitten with a population of only 563 as of the 2010 Census.
People are scarce there, but not so haunted attractions. TERROR ON 27 has been there for many moons, and now has a companion haunt with HINTERLAND. www.terroron27.com www.hinterlandhaunt.com
We visited TERROR ON 27 2010 - 2014 and they never let us down. (see archived Reviews) But we’ve never experienced HINTERLAND which makes it a priority.
Thank goodness for GPS! We used to get lost at least once every year, often on dirt roads with no street lights. Ashley is big enough to have street lights however, and if you go we’re confident you’ll be glad you did!
SEPTEMBER 28, 2021 TUESDAY 2 PM - DESTINATION DETROIT!
Every year, haunt fans travel far and wide to get their haunt on. It’s a pilgrimage, and nothing stops those on a serious mission to have the kind of BIG FUN THAT ONLY HAUNTING GIVES!
But with so many haunts to choose from, where do you go first?
Many times we’d start our season in FLINT, driving up and down DORT HWY. until we found the next haunt. ST. LUCIFER’S HAUNTED ASYLUM, 13 FEET BELOW, THE CRYPT, LOCH LOMAND TRAIL PROJECT. You just couldn’t go wrong at any of these. And then nearby to CLIO MANOR HAUNTED HOUSE and EXIT 13...
Sadly, EXIT 13 is the “last man standing” out of these haunts, a rude reminder that nothing man-made lasts forever.
And once-upon-a-time, there was a whopping SIX haunted attractions in TAYLOR. We actually made a submission to the GUINNESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS for the most haunts in a city (which was foolishly rejected).
Alas, the only remaining haunt in TAYLOR is THE SCREAM MACHINE which has been delivering the goods for many moons.
It seems the only constant is change in the haunt industry, which brings us to this season and our dilemma of where to start?
New haunts are always a priority, and we have some promising new entries like HYSTERIA HAUNTED HOUSE in BIRCH RUN and ELOISE ASYLUM in WESTLAND.
BURGER KING OR WENDY’S?
We’ve made this analogy before, but it’s worth repeating now:
Have you ever seen, for example, a BURGER KING take up residence next to a WENDY’S? It may seem crazy, but they end up benefitting each other by bringing more total business of that kind to the area.
And now we have two haunts in WESTLAND: HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION and the brand new ELOISE ASYLUM.
HUSH has established itself as a PREMIERE DETROIT HAUNT, and the ELOISE ASYLUM looks like a monster!
So which one will be best? It’s probably the old “apples and oranges” deal, where both are excellent choices.
Based on prior experience, we already know that HUSH will blow the roof off the place. And the ELOISE ASYLUM will have to deliver a world-class experience to compete with HUSH!
But are they even really competitors?
When haunters arrive from, for example OHIO, they’ll probably go to both haunts making them supporters of each other.
And these haunts may even arrange for actors to visit each other, as we’ve seen many times before with haunts like THE HAUNT in GRAND RAPIDS and NILES SCREAM PARK in NILES.
DETROIT is long established as being the HAUNTED HOUSE CAPITAL OF THE WORLD, so let the party begin! www.hushdetroit.com www.eloiseasylum.com
SEPTEMBER 27, 2021 MONDAY 10 PM - GOING TO THE DOGS
In a moment, we’ll tell you about a haunt that has gone to the dogs...literally!
We found this gem last year, and it wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for our four-legged friends. Many haunters are also dog lovers we’ve found, and we’ve even seen dogs “performing” at haunts going back as far as the HAUNTED THEATRE HOUSE on LIVERNOIS in DETROIT many moons ago...
So it’s no big surprise that a large group of dog-lovers would come together to create a killer volunteer forest haunt to benefit ADOPT-A-PET with THE HOWLING HAUNTED TRAIL in FENTON near FLINT. www.thehowlinghauntedtrail.com
“What are your greatest fears?” is the question posed, then answered in ghoulish scenarios galore with a promise to add more each year. This place was a giant party zone! They had a carnival atmosphere complete with a beer tent and tasty treats with crazy names like Crimson Chili, Wicked Wiener, Clamp Based Puppy Dog, Demon Chips, Batty Bottled Water, and Cadaver Cupcakes.
Clearly, these people are wacky which qualifies them to attempt such a convoluted creation as a haunted attraction in the woods! We can’t wait to see them again this year, and be warned it’s only for 3 weekends.
BURTON HAUNTED FOREST is gone, boo hoo! But HOORAY for THE HOWLING HAUNTED TRAIL.
Editors note: We are actually seeking to adopt a female Doberman to add to our family pack. If anyone can help, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
SEPTEMBER 25, 2021 SATURDAY 5 PM - BIG NEWS FROM MISS PIGGY
Nope, that’s not a typo. It’s MISS PIGGY with THE MUPPETS from the amazing world created by the legendary JIM HENSON (R.I.P.). For the first time ever, THE MUPPETS will celebrate Halloween as GONZO is dared to spend a night in the MUPPETS HAUNTED MANSION.
Will he survive? We’ll find out on Halloween, when the latest MUPPETS SPECIAL drops exclusively on DISNEY +. It looks like a sure winner! https://variety.com/2021/tv/news/muppets-haunted-mansion-halloween-disney-plus-1234968419/
SEPTEMBER 25, 2021 SATURDAY 3 PM - NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
We just had a great half hour conversation with the operator of the all new HYSTERIA HAUNT in BIRCH RUN whose Grand Opening is next weekend.
New haunts are always a priority for us, as new blood is spilled onto the unsuspecting public! The haunt is new, but the creator has extensive experience in the industry.
They have a small army of workers/actors, and spent a small fortune (in the 6 figure range) converting a 10,000 square foot building into a mayhem of madness and a feast for the senses. We can’t wait to check this out! www.hysteriahaunt.com
SEPTEMBER 24, 2021 FRIDAY 3 PM - A PERFECT COMBINATION
Some things just go better together, like fresh cider and donuts. So how about this - ALICE COOPER & MICHIGAN HAUNTED HOUSES?
ALICE COOPER had previously been involved with the now defunct HOMER MILL which burned down, then with JACKSON’S UNDERWORLD.
And yesterday the legendary DETROIT SHOCK ROCKER helped at the ribbon cutting ceremony at the brand new ELOISE ASYLUM in WESTLAND. Check it out: https://www.fox2detroit.com/news/alice-cooper-visits-eloise-asylum-experience-for-sneak-peek-at-this-falls-terrorizing-tours
SEPTEMBER 24, 2021 FRIDAY 1 PM - LET THE MADNESS BEGIN
OPENING TONIGHT: HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION in WESTLAND, THE HAUNT in GRAND RAPIDS, THE SCREAM MACHINE in TAYLOR, TERRORFIED FOREST in PINCKNEY, AWAKEN in LESLIE, PAST TENSE AFTER DARK in LAPEER, EDSON INCIDENT in BAY CITY, NILES SCREAM PARK in NILES, VILLAGE OF THE LIVING DEAD in ST. CHARLES, and WICKED WOODS OF TERROR in CARO.
SLAUGHTERHOUSE ADVENTURE in FOWLERVILLE opens tonight, but it’s the indoor haunted house only. They also have a killer hayride and maze opening later, but it’s worth going just for the walk through haunted house. SLAUGHTERHOUSE is an amazing haunt that will crack you up with comedic story lines and amaze you with illusions usually only seen in top-notch magic shows.
AZRA CHAMBER OF HORRORS in MADISON HEIGHTS also opens tonight, but FYI it’s a special “LIGHTS OUT SPECIAL EVENT.” The regular show opens tomorrow SEPT. 25, 2021. We’ve been following this young haunt since their opening in 2018 when they started with a bang, and instantly became A MUST SEE for us!
BESTMAZE in WILLIAMSTON opens tonight, but it’s the maze only. Their also highly popular TRAIL OF TERRORS opens next weekend. It may sound boastful to call yourself BESTMAZE, but it wasn’t their idea. Many highly satisfied patrons insisted that should be the name! BESTMAZE pioneered a SELF-DRAINING PATHWAY, meaning no more muddy shoes and slipping. Not only that, human psychology has been engineered into the presentation. The operator showed us some examples, all cleverly designed to enhance the experience.
Other primo haunts including ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY, SCAREFEST SCREAM PARK in LENOX TWP., BLAKE’S BIG APPLE HAUNTED ATTRACTIONS in ARMADA, EREBUS in PONTIAC, NIGHT TERRORS at WIARD’S in YPSILANTI, JACKSON’S UNDERWORLD in JACKSON, DARKSYDE ACRES in JONESVILLE, and EXIT 13 in MT. MORRIS have already opened for the season.
DERANGED HAUNTED ATTRACTION in ROMULUS opened last weekend with their “PREVIEW WEEKEND” and opens tonight full force!
You can’t go wrong at any of these haunts and the lines will only get longer and longer as the season progresses, so here’s your chance to save time!
SEPTEMBER 22, 2021 WEDNESDAY 5 PM - FOLLOWING THE LEADER
Earlier, we wondered what was happening with EREBUS in PONTIAC who many regard as the PREMIERE MICHIGAN HAUNTED ATTRACTION. Local TV news previously reported a possible real estate shakeup in Pontiac.
Well, we’re happy to announce that indeed EREBUS is operating this year! www.hauntedpontiac.com
Also, we’re relieved to report that THE SCREAM MACHINE in TAYLOR is back for 2021 after being on Covid-19 hiatus last year. They won 2 ZIOPTIS AWARDS in 2019, the last time we had awards. www.thescreammachine.com
SEPTEMBER 22, 2021 WEDNESDAY 4 PM - FALL IS HERE
Oh boy, fall is here! We’ll be seeing many Halloween / haunted attraction stories in the media as we enter the favorite season for many of us.
Here’s one we just spotted, about the new ELOISE ASYLUM we just talked about: https://www.fox2detroit.com/news/alice-cooper-to-help-open-eloise-asylum-a-haunted-house-in-a-haunted-house-in-westland?utm_campaign=trueanthem&utm_medium=trueanthem&utm_source=facebook &fbclid=IwAR2pHy7IR0n5x3VkKcxu_HRmxgJXe_kzUECqW-ILp_xPPu_4zs2QNp5yxaE
SEPTEMBER 22, 2021 WEDNESDAY 3 PM - HOLLYWOOD INVADES DETROIT... AGAIN
We’ve watched in wonder through the years as the state-of-the-art continues to grow by leaps and bounds in the haunt industry...
Haunts like ROTTEN MANOR, HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION, and AZRA CHAMBER OF HORRORS have been delivering HOLLYWOOD LEVEL PRODUCTION VALUES. And THE HAUNT in GRAND RAPIDS is a category of its own...
That said, there’s always new blood coming into the scene even as legends from the past continue to be told and re-told in countless conversations and queue line chatter.
One such “urban legend” revolves around what was certainly a truly scary place for many moons...and is now being resurrected in what looks to be a most impressive way.
We’re talking about the old ELOISE MENTAL ASYLUM HOSPITAL on MICHIGAN AVE. in WESTLAND. The facility was decommissioned long ago, and became a clandestine destination for thrill seekers.
It became an opportunity that couldn’t be passed up, and this year what looks to be a SPECTACULAR NEW ENTRY into the DETROIT HAUNT SCENE as ELOISE ASYLUM officially becomes a haunted attraction!
From their website: “Michigan’s newest, multi-million dollar haunted attraction emerges at Eloise!
Eloise has transformed. Now you can experience two walk-through, state-of-the-art, fully immersive haunted attractions at a truly haunted location! With cutting edge production technology, and over 30,000 sq ft of horror-themed immersion, Eloise is paving the way to the future for haunted attractions and Halloween events across the globe.
The professional team behind the new, multi-million dollar attractions at Eloise have spared no expense! The scare technology within this world-tour level production is astounding! Cold Spark Pyrotechnic Simulators, a Tesla Coil, Advanced Projection Mapping Technologies - Eloise Asylum is swiftly positioning herself as the Disney of Haunted Attractions!”
We can’t wait to check this out! www.eloiseasylum.com
SEPTEMBER 9, 2021 THURSDAY 10 PM - OH NO, NOT AGAIN / JUMP STARTING THE SEASON
This is crazy! Last year we wanted to check out GLENLORE TRAILS EXPEDITION in COMMERCE TWP. which is a mile long outdoor spooky trail with elaborate lighting displays. Somehow, we missed them by just one day and they were closed for the season.
Guess what? It almost happened again! This year they’re open only through September 12th. We’ve heard good things about them, and their reviews are excellent. CARPE DIEM, BABY! www.glenloretrails.com
Editors note: GLENLORE TRAILS is back with a new HALLOWEEN THEME. We enjoyed our visit to the earlier show, and hope to return for the more spooky presentation.
SEPTEMBER 3, 2021 FRIDAY 8 PM - DROPPING LIKE FLIES
We’re disappointed to report that the WEST HOLLYWOOD CARNAVAL has once again been canceled in 2021 due to Covid-19 pandemic issues. Many consider this to be the premiere Halloween event in the world.
If the world’s largest Halloween street party can get canceled, where does that leave haunted attractions? Some of them feature pint-sized actors below age 12, which is the minimum age to get vaccinated. They’re most at risk when in the presence of unvaccinated adults.
Will we see haunts only accepting vaccinated patrons? Some people are militant in their refusal to get vaccinated, falling victim to a plethora of misinformation.
One of the falsehoods running rampant is that the Messenger RNA vaccine changes your DNA, converting your body into a GMO or Genetically Modified Organism leading to “total vaccine rejection” resulting in sudden violent death about a year later.
Who makes this stuff up? Get the straight dope here: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/facts.html?s_cid=10506:does%20the%20covid%2019%20vaccine%20change%20your%20dna:sem.ga:p:RG:GM:gen:PTN:FY21
And if you don’t trust the CDC, ask your family doctor or Primary Care Physician. It shouldn’t matter who you voted for - this is science, not politics!
SEPTEMBER 1, 2021 WEDNESDAY 5 PM - GENTLEMEN, START YOUR ENGINES...OR DON’T
Rats! We were hoping that by now that pesky pandemic would be over and that we’d be planning to hit every haunt possible starting in a few weeks.
But the DELTA VARIANT threatens to make that impossible, with all 50 states reporting high community transmission rates of Covid-19 which took the life of our web master last March.
So many questions remain for the upcoming season. Will THE HAUNT GUIDE and the FEAR FINDER be published this year? Will THE SCREAM MACHINE, HAUNTED FARM OF TERROR and others that weren’t open last year be back? What about the iconic EREBUS? We saw on local TV news that a Downtown Pontiac real estate property shakeup was in the works there.
We could call them all and ask, but we’ve decided not to go this route and let the cards fall where they may.
Either way, we’ll do as much as we safely can! Stay tuned...
JUNE 5, 2021 SATURDAY 2 PM - A MILESTONE TO CELEBRATE
BLAKE FARMS in ARMADA is celebrating their 75th Anniversary this weekend, and it looks like a blast! www.blakefarms.com/event/75/
There’s live music, train rides, pig races, FUNLAND, cider & donuts of course, and FIREWORKS at dusk tonight, Saturday June 5th!
BLAKE’S has multiple facilities in Armada, and has been a haunt industry giant for many moons! HOORAY FOR BLAKE’S!
APRIL 5, 2021 MONDAY 3 PM - COVID-19 HITS HOME
We have sad news to report. Our wonderful webmaster, BILL GODWIN, passed away on 3/21/21 from Covid-19 after being on a ventilator for a month.
It’s intensely frustrating because the vaccine was in Michigan since at least January 2021, yet inaccessible to us.
Take this as a reminder of how serious this pandemic is, and to mask-up and get vaccinated ASAP. We’ll get through this together, but only if we take the steps needed as recommended by Dr. Fauci and CDC officials.
The full impact on the ZIOPTIS WEBSITE remains yet to be seen, as Bill took care of all technical/hosting issues. We’ll try our best, but there are no guarantees at this point.
OCTOBER 21, 2022 FRIDAY 6 PM - THE MONKEY WRENCH FROM HELL
I hope your weekend is starting better than ours.
IT’S ALWAYS SOMETHING
The plan WAS to hit Westland & Ypsilanti tonight for HUSH, ELOISE, & WIARD’S... what a FABULOUS TRIFECTA OF TERROR that would be!
LIFE GETS IN THE WAY
There’s never a good time to lose family members, and then our real estate agent was in a car wreck this morning. What should’ve been a half hour appointment this morning became a major all-day ordeal that’s still not over. CALGON TAKE ME AWAY!
I’m putting this away from the main page so my partner won’t see it and make her cry even more.
OCTOBER 20, 2022 THURSDAY 5 AM - IF LOVE COULD’VE SAVED HER SHE’D LIVE FOREVER
I can’t believe it. After having a premonition that something bad was going to happen during haunt season, it came true late last night.
DAISY MAE was the best “daughter” you could imagine. She’d always greet you with great enthusiasm, and showered us with unconditional love which is perhaps the highest possible attribute of any living creature. She also ate poop, and frequently pleasured herself in front of grandma.
DAISY MAE was faithful, playful, and loved to frolic with her “kid brother” ODIN.
THE EVER LOOMING JOURNEY OVER RAINBOW BRIDGE
As you may have surmised, our beloved DAISY MAE had four legs and a tail that wagged for over 13 years.
But last night, in an act of the ULTIMATE TOUGH LOVE, we took DAISY MAE to the 24 hour emergency vet clinic. Unable to give any more, it was now up to us to give her the peace her soul needed.
Do dogs have souls? We say YES. If you have any doubts, just look deeply into the eyes of any dog anywhere.
And this is the perfect time to give a special shout out to the fine people at THE HOWLING HAUNTED TRAIL in FENTON. It’s presented by ADOPT-A-PET.
Long ago I read an excellent book, JAMES HERRIOT’S DOG STORIES. Here’s a random review of it by MAMA KIMMBERLI:
“If you have any passion for animals at all, you will devour this book. It's so sweet and wonderful -- a masterpiece of 20th century literature.
Mr. Herriot was truly a gifted writer. His heart could be felt in every word -- he deeply cared for the animals he doctored over the years. Aside from the endearing tails (pardon the pun), he masterfully described the European countryside, the people who belonged to the pets, the pubs he frequented and his everyday astonishing feats of medical marvelry. Yet he was so humble and down-to-earth. His stories are either tear-jerkers or pant-wetters. More than once I found myself nearly crying during study period at college because I was laughing so hard.”
So here we are, in a jumble of mixed emotions. Those of you who also consider four-legged friends as family know exactly how we feel as we say farewell and good bye to DAISY MAE, faithful companion and “daughter” deluxe.
FEBRUARY 2, 2021 FRIDAY 2 PM - HEARTS ON FIRE!
Valentine’s Day will be here soon, and you could get some flowers for your sweetie and have a quiet dinner staring at each other...
OR, you can throw out the boring cookie cutter plans and have some BIG THRILLS instead!
HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION in WESTLAND, FACTORY OF THE DEAD in SAGINAW and PURGATORY HAUNTED HOUSE in WYANDOTTE are all having VALENTINE’S DAY EVENTS!
FEBRUARY 2, 2021 FRIDAY 1 PM - ON SECOND THOUGHT
After talking to just a few haunts, we’ve decided to skip the STATE OF THE HAUNT INDUSTRY report this time.
No sense sugar coating it, 2020 was an especially challenging season for the haunt industry. Hopefully, next season will find things back to normal. But even that is not guaranteed, as the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc.
DECEMBER 29, 2020 TUESDAY 4 PM - LOIS LANE & JIMMY OLSON
Be sure to tune in after the New Year for a special report on the STATE OF THE HAUNT INDUSTRY.
We’ll be putting on our news reporting hats, calling haunts shortly after January 1st to ask various things.
HAUNT OPERATORS: Be thinking of what you’d like to tell the public about your haunt. Perhaps you’re working on some new things that could be teasers. You can be specific or vague, it’s up to you!
As always, our goal remains to promote the entire haunt scene. We’re averaging about 700 hits per day right now.
DECEMBER 19, 2020 SATURDAY 5 PM - MAJOR MEGA HAUNT IN POSSIBLE REAL ESTATE SHAKEUP
The only constant is change. We’ve said this many times about the haunt industry, and this time it’s a doozie!
According to WXYZ-TV NEWS, the buildings that contain EREBUS may be sold to developers. (We have not yet independently verified this.) It was a short blurb, and here are the words that appeared on the screen verbatim: “EREBUS BUILDINGS MAY BE SOLD - OWNER OF HAUNTED ATTRACTIONS IN PONTIAC APPROACHED BY INTERESTED PEOPLE.”
Okay, it may be a typo that it said ATTRACTIONS as there’s just one haunted attraction in Pontiac to our knowledge and that’s EREBUS.
If the buildings are sold, EREBUS may move. And if that happens, we can’t wait to see what MR. HAUNTED HOUSE has up his sleeve! This is a guy who started with a trailer haunt (still in operation with a different name) and later created a haunt so giant that for years it was the largest walk through haunt with a GUINESS BOOK WORLD RECORD!
Whatever the future has in store for EREBUS remains to be seen. But we’ll be checking up to see, and reporting what we can. Sometimes haunt owners ask us to keep a lid on things, and we always honor those requests. On the other hand, sometimes they’re anxious to tease the public with thoughts of crazy new experiences yet to be had.
For comments and/or questions, email us at ZioptisFoundation@gmail.com
DECEMBER 17, 2020 THURSDAY 10 PM - HITTING THE BIG TIME
We just saw that tonight (at 11:35 PM) PRESIDENT-ELECT BIDEN and FIRST LADY TO BE DR. JILL BIDEN will be the guests on THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT on CBS TV. That’s not a political opinion, it’s just the facts.
It might be interesting to see how funny guy Colbert gets along with the NEW PRESIDENT & FIRST LADY.
Regardless of anything political, you have to admit you gotta be pretty cool to get on this show!
DECEMBER 12, 2020 SATURDAY 4 PM - FIRST LADY FREAKOUT - HUSH, NOT A WORD!
Pssst, over here! Don’t tell anyone...they might get mad or say it’s fake news. But America recently decided, on November 3rd to be exact, that it’s time for a change of leadership in the USA.
Essentially, America said “YOU’RE FIRED” to a guy who became famous largely for telling people “YOU’RE FIRED” on TV.
The incumbent candidate lost by 7 MILLION VOTES nationwide, and by 160,000 VOTES in Michigan. That’s not a political opinion, it’s just the facts.
“But Zioptis, what does that have to do with haunting?”
Patience, my little monkeys...listen up...
THE BETTER HALF - FIRST LADY FIRSTS
A new president also means a NEW FIRST LADY will soon grace our wonderful nation. Her husband is the MOST POWERFUL PERSON IN THE WORLD, so she has lots of clout too.
The outgoing FIRST LADY has some interesting firsts for the position she has most gracefully held for the last 4 years. She’s the FIRST FIRST LADY to speak with a heavy Slavic accent. And she’s the FIRST FIRST LADY to have POSED FOR NUDE PHOTOS IN A GIRLIE MAGAZINE. That’s not a political opinion, it’s just the facts.
The incoming FIRST LADY also has some interesting firsts, but they’re just a tad different.
Just as no two (unrelated) men are identical, no two (unrelated) women are identical either. You become what you think about, and no two brains think alike.
TEACHERS IN THE MITTEN SMITTEN WITH JILL
It just so happens that we know several teachers, and they’re thrilled that JILL BIDEN will be the FIRST FIRST LADY to continue working her day job as a school teacher!
IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE?
FIRST LADY TO BE JILL BIDEN is a doctor, but not like with syringes, spleens and such. She earned her Doctorate in Education, and this qualifies her to be addressed as a doctor.
ELLEN DEGENERES CONTRACTS COVID-19 AFTER REJECTING ZIOPTIS OFFER TO GO HAUNTING WITH HER!
This may seem like a gratuitous SENSATIONALIZE HEADLINE, but it’s technically true. Some time ago, we invited ELLEN DEGENERES to go haunting with us in MICHIGAN after years of haunting only in HOLLYWOOD. She foolishly declined our generous offer.
And then just a few days ago comes the announcement that Ellen has Covid-19.
***SIDEBAR***We sincerely wish Ellen a quick recovery. And my partner is a MASSIVE ELLEN DEGENERES FAN, with hundreds of shows on her DVR.***
So Ellen stiffed us on haunting and later got stricken with the virus. That’s not a political opinion, it’s just the facts.
Could history have been kinder to Ellen, if only she hadn’t so unwisely snubbed Zioptis? History does not reveal its’ alternatives, so we’ll never know...this will remain one of the many mysteries surrounding Zioptis.
THE FIRST FIRST LADY OF THE USA TO GO HAUNTING WITH ZIOPTIS?
The purpose of the ZIOPTIS HAUNTED HOUSE HOTLINE has always been to promote the entire haunt scene. And we’ve been known to use the press/media and whatever clout we can to make that happen. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. But persistence is a virtue, and good things come to those who wait patiently.
THE ZIOPTIS MASTER PLAN TO CONQUER THE UNIVERSE, CHANGE HISTORY AND HAVE FUN DOING IT
Here at Zioptis we’re always working on something new...something unique that you’ve never heard.
Okay, it was actually one of the teachers within the Zioptis Circle of Influence that suggested this one. Why not invite both ELLEN DEGENERES and FIRST LADY DR. JILL BIDEN to join ZIOPTIS for a fabulous night of haunting?
Will it actually happen? In all honesty probably not, but there’s nothing to lose by trying! If you don’t think big, you’ll never do big things and you become what you think about.
NOVEMBER 13, 2020 FRIDAY 11:11 PM - WALKING UNDER THE LADDER
Today is FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH, and some say that’s bad luck.
Sure enough...we had hoped to go to HUSH tonight for a special Friday The 13th Event but it was canceled in late October for safety’s sake.
We commend them for putting the well being of their patrons first.
COVID-19 INFECTIONS are out of control, with 140,000 new cases nationwide yesterday and almost 160,000 today.
But vaccines are coming, and hopefully next year the madness of haunting will be unencumbered!
NOVEMBER 11, 2020 WEDNESDAY 11:11 AM - ANY WAY YOU WANT IT
HAPPY ELEVEN ELEVEN ELEVEN ELEVEN!
The date is 11/11. The time is 11/11.
Eleven Eleven is a most versatile number. It’s the same forwards and backwards & upside down and right side up.
No matter how you spin it, Eleven Eleven is your friend just like ZIOPTIS!
So let’s celebrate, and also observe VETERAN’S DAY too. Remember, FREEDOM ISN’T FREE! You’ve got to pay a price, you’ve got to sacrifice, for your liberty.
NOVEMBER 1, 2020 SUNDAY 11:11 PM - THE THREE YEAR ITCH
What a difference just a few years can make in the often volatile haunt industry!
For example, here’s the list of haunts we visited in 2017:
1. CLIO MANOR HAUNTED HOUSE, CLIO
2. ST. LUCIFER’S, FLINT
3. 13 FEET UNDER, FLINT
4. HAUNTING IN THE HILLS, IRISH HILLS
5. JACKSON’S UNDERWORLD, JACKSON
6. ROTTEN MANOR, HOLLY
7. REALM OF HAUNTED MINDS, ROMULUS
8. HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION, WESTLAND
9. TERRORFIED FOREST & MANOR, PINCKNEY
10. SLAUGHTERHOUSE, FOWLERVILLE
11. HAUNTED FUNERAL HOME, INKSTER
12. NIGHTSTALKERS, SAGINAW
13. GOREGROUNDS / HAUNTED ELEMENTARY, BRIDGEPORT
14. WILD WOODS OF TERROR, KOCHVILLE TWP.
15. PHANTOM FOREST HAYRIDE, GROSSE ILE
16. THE SCREAM MACHINE, TAYLOR
17. HOUSE OF DAMNATION, MAUMEE, OHIO
18. HAUNTED PLANET EXPERIENCE, TOLEDO, OHIO
19. KRAZY HILDA’S, YPSILANTI
20. THE PUMPKIN FACTORY, BELLEVILLE
21. NIGHT TERRORS AT WIARD’S, YPSILANTI
22. THE HAUNT, GRAND RAPIDS
23. EDSON INCIDENT, BAY CITY
As you can see, a lot has changed since 2017. Which begs the question - what will 2021 bring to the ever-changing yet always enduring haunt industry?
Will we see, as we once predicted, a ROLLER COASTER incorporated into a haunted attraction? It was already done once on a small scale, at the long defunct HERSHEY HAUNTED HOUSE in DEARBORN. It was an insurance building temporarily fashioned into a haunt.
DING! There was another roller coaster of sorts at HAUNTED HYDRO in FREMONT, OHIO. They put you in a coffin that slid down a small hill on a mechanism! But you couldn’t see what was about to happen...you got in the coffin, they spun it around, and then down the hill on metal tracks. Another time the HYDRO gave haunters their own golf cart for part of the tour...
Oh yeah, GOLF CARTS were also used in CLARKSTON at the HAUNTED FOUNTAINS GOLF COURSE / BANQUET FACILITY. They won WACKIEST ACTOR for a silly clown who kept sticking her GIANT FAKE BOOBS in your face!
THE EXTREME SCREAM in TAYLOR had a strange coaster gag. They had you crawling in a large rectangular carpeted structure. Then, a crew of guys spun the whole thing around and around as it also travelled the length of the room on a metal track.
THE HAUNTED THEATRE HOUSE on LIVERNOIS in DETROIT had a final room that made for a great finale. They led you into a small circular “room” in the dark, directing you to hold on to hand rails. The entire room began to spin around, powered by an inverted golf cart drive mechanism while ghouls popped up and down in the middle of the cart waving flashlights sporadically.
Will we again see LARGE SCALE MIND BLOWING GAGS like THE HAUNTING in ADRIAN used to come up with? There was an amazing expanding room, that magically grew from a cubby hole to an auditorium in a flash! Or a room you simply could not avoid coming back to no matter which path you chose to go. It was truly WORLD CLASS! ***SIDEBAR*** Creator Stuart MacDonald was so good he got a lucrative EAST COAST TV CONTRACT he couldn’t refuse, and that was the end of THE HAUNTING. He also appeared on the TV SHOW PENN & TELLER’S FOOL US, where he DID fool Penn & Teller!
Or with the PHYSICAL THRILL FACTOR - will we ever again see anything as wild and intense as MONGOOSE MONSTER TRUCKS in LANSING when they produced what we think was the first MONSTER TRUCK HAUNTED EXPERIENCE?
The ultimate ever PHYSICAL THRILL FACTOR had to be DEMONIC DEMONS on WYOMING in DETROIT.
We went on a lark one night, trying to find any haunt still open. We paid no attention to the warning that is was only for “the most physically fit patrons.” My companion JT never made it past the first obstacle, which was a very steep metal surface to climb with pieces of cardboard on it.
They kept her captive in the first room totally pitch black until I made it out the end. This spooked her big time, but it was nothing compared to what they put me through. After finally making it to the top of the first obstacle, I found myself tumbling down an even steeper surface.
The rest of the journey was often pitch black with shrinking rooms galore. Occasionally, a slot in the wall would open up and you’d see a tiny red flashing light offering a glimmer of hope and then BANG, it was slammed shut!
Even all this was nothing compared to the final challenge: crawling back and forth your way up a large structure that eventually dumped you out of a window onto a steep slide at the top of this hell hole. I still can't believe I made it through - I was battered and bruised with torn pants and shirt by the end!
So who will create the next DEMONIC DEMONS-like haunt?
The future is wide open...
NOVEMBER 1, 2020 SUNDAY 5:30 PM - ANOTHER HAUNT OPEN TONIGHT
DERANGED in ROMULUS is open tonight, with their “18 + RAW” show.
From their website: “Not for the weak of heart, or for the easily offended. It’s the final night at Deranged Haunt and all hell has broke loose. Come and witness a haunt like no other. Scream, Laugh, and Gasp as you stroll through this unique forest and ask yourself, is this even a haunted attraction?!” www.derangedhauntedattraction.com
NOVEMBER 1, 2020 SUNDAY 5 PM - CREEPY RELICS FROM BEYOND
What’s the creepiest thing you ever saw at a haunt?
For us it was probably CROAKIE’S PARTY ISLAND in MONROE many moons ago, where a very special actor blew us away with a surprise reveal never since equaled.
It was a scene with a live human “prisoner” on a table, about to face his punishment of being sawed in half. A chain saw is fired up for the task, and a gleeful warden celebrates the ghastly deed as it rips through his torso spraying blood in every direction.
But instead of falling dead, the “prisoners” top half falls off the table and starts screaming and “running” towards you using his arms to propel himself. It’s a REAL LIFE AMPUTEE!
***SIDEBAR*** About a week after this, JT who was with us for this astonishing stunt was at Wyandotte Hospital. She was in the ER, and saw a forlorn looking patient waiting with NO LEGS. Was it the same dude? CREEPY IS AS CREEPY DOES!
So what’s the CREEPIEST THING you ever saw at a haunt? Email us at ZioptisFoundation@gmail.com
NOVEMBER 1, 2020 SUNDAY 4 PM - ABOVE AND BEYOND
Special thanks to all the awesome haunt operators for helping us accomplish our goal of promoting the entire haunt industry.
It’s been a difficult situation. You were given lemons, but turned them into lemonade.
You are literally THE STUFF THAT MAGIC IS MADE OF!
NOVEMBER 1, 2020 SUNDAY 2 PM - THE FAT LADY SINGS
WOWSER, HUSH was totally off the hook for Halloween last night! We can’t imagine a better way to have ended our 2020 haunt tour.
The new show with VOODOO BAYOU is a big winner, and has produced the biggest crowds we’ve seen this season. KUDOS TO HUSH!
If you haven’t seen HUSH yet this year, you have one more chance tonight as HUSH IS OPEN NOV. 1st! www.HushDetroit.com
A handful of other haunts are open tonight too, including NIGHT TERRORS AT WIARD’S in YPSILANTI. www.HauntedHouseMichigan.com
Also, AZRA has a special LIGHTS OUT EVENT tonight. www.azrahaunt.com
Our only regret from last night was trying unsuccessfully to squeeze in GHOSTLY GROVE in PINCKNEY too.
PINCKNEY now has TWO FOREST HAUNTS! We did make it to TERRORFIED FOREST earlier, and they had an excellent show.
***SPECIAL ATTENTION!*** The FRIDAY THE 13th EVENT AT HUSH scheduled for later this month has been canceled, so tonight is your last chance this season to see this exceptional haunt!
Another lock down has been announced by BORIS JOHNSON in the UK starting next Thursday, and Michigan’s Governor Whitmer has an upcoming press conference where she may be forced to enact more restrictions in Michigan due to COVID-19 spikes.
NONE OF THOSE SPIKES occurred as a result of haunting to our knowledge. KUDOS to all the haunt operators who stepped up to the plate and made safe haunting possible!
OCTOBER 31, 2020 SATURDAY 6 PM - SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT
Be sure to tune in again at the end of the year for an EXCLUSIVE REPORT you won’t want to miss!
OCTOBER 31, 2020 SATURDAY 5 PM - RANDOM REFLECTIONS
Who remembers THE REALM OF DARKNESS in PONTIAC? It’s the only haunt we know of that was ACTUALLY HAUNTED! Even verified by a major MEGA CHURCH PASTOR, Jeremy at METRO CITY CHURCH...REALM was among the first haunt to pay AMAZING ATTENTION TO DETAIL...
How about THE HAUNTING in ADRIAN? It was produced by a magician who eventually FOOLED PENN & TELLER. STUART MacDONALD was a specialist in creating MIND BENDING IMPOSSIBLE GAGS...
NAUTICAL NIGHTMARE was made from an old BOB-LO ISLAND BOAT, largely left intact with crew quarters just as they were for off the hook ambiance...
EDSON INCIDENT in BAY CITY is a fabulous SHIP HAUNT still in business!
ANXIETY ALLEY in LINCOLN PARK has been pit to rest permanently, as we reported last year. This was one of the oldest original haunts from the 60’s. It’s now part of a landfill, somewhere in NEVER NEVER LAND...
And what about THE REAPER’S DUNGEON in REDFORD? It was a modular trailer haunt that the YPSILANTI JAYCEE’S eventually bought...
SINISTER in UTICA amazingly was too good for their own good, critically acclaimed by multiple haunt services...
The list goes on and on... (also see “Closed”) Every haunt has a story. And every haunt has an opening night, and eventually their swan song...
So it is. So it will always be.
Special thanks to all haunt operators for making it happen, and of course all you haunters too who absorb THE MAGIC AND MADNESS OF HAUNTING!
OCTOBER 31, 2020 SATURDAY 4 PM - A BLAST FROM THE PAST
Here’s a Halloween story I came up with in 2013:
NOVEMBER 2, 2013 SATURDAY 2 PM - PULL UP A CHAIR...
PIGTAILS & PUMPKINS - BLESSED BY A GOURD by Zioptis
Inspired by Crazy Bob (Haunted Hydro in Fremont, Ohio) & adapted from a story by Bennet Cerf in “Chicken Soup For The Soul”
Melissa counted out the last pennies of her fare, on a small bus in rural Wisconsin in 1967.
She was 14, and it was the day after Halloween. The kids in front of the bus were still celebrating, bragging about how much candy their pillow cases held and such.
Near the back of the bus was mean Mr. Turner.
Nobody knew much about him, except that he used to give each Trick-or-Treater a small packet of candy on Halloween.
That stopped a few years ago, but a bright Jack-o-Lantern still appeared on his front porch every Halloween.
He sat on the bus with no expression on his face, and in his feeble hands was said Jack-o-Lantern.
The crudely carved crooked teeth in the pumpkin resembled his own, and his clothes were ragged with the shirt buttoned wrong.
Strangely, Melissa walked right past her friends, and sat down across from mean Mr. Turner who continued to look forward with an empty stare.
Then suddenly he spun the pumpkin to face her, with its' silly face as he yelled "BOO!" and went back to his empty stare.
Melissa shrieked just as she had the weekend before at the local Jaycee's Haunted House, but then grinned a grin like the Great Pumpkin Himself.
At the next stop, the not-so-mean-after all Mr. Turner got up to leave.
But he hesitated for a moment, and then thrust the jolly Jack-o-Lantern into the girl's hands. He said, "The pumpkin made you smile, I think my wife would like you to have it. I'll tell her I gave it to you."
The old man hobbled out of the bus...and just before he disappeared from sight, Melissa saw him walk through the gates into a small cemetery.
OCTOBER 31, 2020 SATURDAY 2 PM - IN WITH A BANG, OUT WITH A KABOOM!
It’s been an abbreviated season for us, so we had to choose wisely which haunts to visit.
Our first haunt this year was ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY. Last year, they won 5 ZIOPTIS AWARDS including the ZIOPTIS 2019 PRIME CHOICE HAUNT EXPERIENCE AWARD. ROTTEN MANOR blew us away so much, we actually went 3 TIMES last season!
So the question now is which haunt will we visit on Halloween this year?
It’s gotta be an absolute killer haunt, one that is a SURE WINNER. A haunt so good that in 2019, like ROTTEN MANOR, we visited it multiple times.
DING, it’s a no-brainer! So tonight we’re off to HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION in WESTLAND. Last year we went to HUSH early in the season on Oct. 5, and were so impressed we went again ON HALLOWEEN. Last year, HUSH won 5 ZIOPTIS AWARDS including the ZIOPTIS 2019 PRIME CHOICE HAUNT EXPERIENCE AWARD.
Years ago on Halloween nights, we found ourselves drawn to an out-of-the-way haunt in the tiny city of WEBBERVILLE, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM ROAD. We blew off our BIG CITY PLANS to spend our Halloween with them at least 3 times!
NIGHTMARE is gone now, but HUSH isn’t going anywhere and could easily become a NEW HALLOWEEN TRADITION for us. www.hushdetroit.com
OCTOBER 31, 2020 SATURDAY 1 PM - IT’S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN...SORTA
HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYBODY! It’s the big day, except not really...
With TRICK-OR-TREATING being officially labeled a HIGH RISK ACTIVITY by the CDC, many kids will not be filling plastic pumpkins, pillow cases and such with candy tonight. It’s so sad...
On the other hand, we’re so thankful that last year we did give out candy before going out haunting. We threw together an impromptu light show, and fired up the TOD DOCKSTADER on the Klipsch La Scala speakers and TA-DAH! Grab an earful of WATER MUSIC by TOD DOCKSTADER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zaSzHqVrLA
It goes to show you never know how good you’ve got it, until you don’t. Make the most of the moment, whatever that may be.
Our sincere apologies to AZRA CHAMBER OF HORRORS for missing them last night. This is a highly dynamic young haunt we’ve been following closely since Day One, and they won 3 ZIOPTIS AWARDS IN 2019!
OCTOBER 30, 2020 FRIDAY 2 PM - DEVIL’S DUE
Oh boy, tonight is DEVIL’S NIGHT and there’s lots of fun to have!
We’re going to a private party, and hopefully haunting as well if it doesn’t go too late.
OCTOBER 28, 2020 WEDNESDAY 1 PM - THE FINAL STRETCH
BOO HOO! It’s the last weekend coming up, and there are so many awesome haunts we’d love to visit. But those darned logistics are forcing some hard decisions...
Our wish list includes: AZRA CHAMBER OF HORRORS, BESTMAZE & TRAIL OF TERROR, BLAKE’S, DARKSYDE ACRES, DERANGED, EDSON INCIDENT, EREBUS, FACTORY OF FEAR, HAUNTING IN THE HILLS, THE HAUNT, HUSH, JACKSON’S UNDERWORLD, SCAREFEST SCREAM PARK, and SLAUGHTERHOUSE.
OCTOBER 27, 2020 TUESDAY 10 PM - SLIPPING THRU THE CRACKS
There’s a MAJOR MEGA HAUNT that we haven’t mentioned this season, yet was the very first haunt we visited last year on opening night.
It’s JACKSON’S UNDERWORLD in JACKSON, which changed hands and is now under new management. www.jxunderworld.com
Last year they added some major new gags, but they weren’t ready on opening night. We hoped to go again, but it didn’t work out. Rats!
We had gone for 10 years in a row! Alas, it’s looking like we’ll miss them this year. Sigh...
So much has changed this season, but we’re hopeful things can get back to normal next year after an effective vaccine is released!
OCTOBER 25, 2020 SUNDAY 2 PM - Just added: A new tab for Reviews 2020.
OCTOBER 24, 2020 SATURDAY 11 PM - PURE MAGIC
WOW, what a great Saturday night we had at NIGHT TERRORS AT WIARD’S in YPSILANTI! The crisp, clean air away from the big city...cider and donuts of course...people being way cool, keeping socially distant...
The hayride wagons have been re-vamped, featuring plastic barriers between every two spots to sit. But the show did not suffer at all, and there’s lots of new goodies.
And the walk through haunts have adjusted too, squeaky clean but still scary and spooky. KUDOS TO WIARD’S!
New roaming performers included an amazing swamp creature-like dude who is freakishly tall and a delightful fairy ballerina girl. PRIMO!
What a joy it was to bask in the glow of an AWESOME FALL EVENING WITH LOTS OF HAPPY HAUNTERS!
NIGHT TERRORS AT WIARD’S is OPEN SUNDAY TOO - Oct. 25th and Nov. 1st. www.HauntedHouseMichigan.com
OCTOBER 24, 2020 SATURDAY 5 PM - BIG FUN TONIGHT!
Tonight we’re off to NIGHT TERRORS AT WIARD’S in YPSILANTI. There’s just so much to do there, we actually went twice last year! (See Reviews 2019_B) And they won multiple ZIOPTIS AWARDS in 2019! (See Awards)
This is one of those iconic haunts, the stuff that legends are made of.
Last year they had a pair of special roaming performers hard to miss, as they were EIGHT FEET TALL! And they GLOWED, thanks to their LED bedazzled costumes. They had a Fairy Princess and a Knight in Shining Armor, both fabulous!
OCTOBER 22, 2020 THURSDAY 9 PM - LAST MAN STANDING
No, not the TV show. It’s EXIT 13 in MT. MORRIS near FLINT. There used to be so many haunts in the FLINT AREA, it took at least two nights to hit them all. Now only EXIT 13 remains...
The only constant is change, and eventually all haunts sing their swan song.
But that day won’t be anytime soon for EXIT 13, judging by their wild success! This is the haunt that made INTENSE PHYSICAL CONTACT a hallmark winning strategy. (See reviews in Reviews 2019_A and Reviews 2018_A.)
So what will they do this year, with the COVID-19 WORLDWIDE PANDEMIC RAGING? We haven’t spoken to them yet, but have every confidence they’ll step up to the plate and HIT A HOME RUN! www.exit13HauntedHouse.com
OCTOBER 22, 2020 THURSDAY 6 PM - MAKING HENRY HAPPY
That’s Henry FORD, as in the FORD MOTOR COMPANY that bought the MICHIGAN CENTRAL TRAIN STATION DEPOT which soon will feature a DRIVE THROUGH HALLOWEEN SHOW, on Oct. 30 & 31. https://www.mlive.com/life/2020/10/how-to-see-michigan-central-stations-halloween-drive-through-light-show-experience.html
It’s a FREE EVENT, but they want people to sign up on Facebook to estimate the crowds: https://www.facebook.com/events/339769673759219/?event_time_id=339769680425885
This isn’t their first HAUNTED EVENT. Check this out: https://www.mlive.com/news/erry-2018/11/c06834d2c97999/its-alive-detroits-former-trai.html
Meanwhile, $350 MILLION of renovations continue on the building towards making it a mixed use facility. HOORAY FOR THE FORD MOTOR COMPANY! And remember, as an acronym FORD stands for: First On Race Day !
OCTOBER 18, 2020 SUNDAY 5 PM - OF BOW WOWS & BASEBALL
Last night after THE HOWLING HAUNTED TRAIL we couldn’t help but reminisce about another haunt who had their SWAN SONG many moons ago, PAPP PARK in TAYLOR.
It was a hayride, and nothing like THE HOWLING HAUNTED TRAIL.
But still they had two big things in common: both being outdoors and volunteer haunts of exceptional quality.
PAPP PARK was created to benefit the local Little League Baseball, and THE HOWLING HAUNTED TRAIL benefits ADOPT-A-PET.
That just goes to show that whether you prefer BOW WOWS or BASEBALL, birds-of-a-feather flock together when it comes to that SPECIAL THRILL that only haunting can deliver!
OCTOBER 17, 2020 SATURDAY 11 PM - A HOWLING GOOD TIME
Wow, THE HOWLING HAUNTED TRAIL in FENTON is awesome! They have tons of actors and lots of great gags, all to benefit ADOPT-A-PET.
It’s an all volunteer haunt in their 4th year, yet every bit as slick as a top pro effort. KUDOS!
OCTOBER 17, 2020 SATURDAY 4 PM - THE 8 MILE WOW!
No, not the Eminem song and movie. It’s how far you drive to get from AWAKEN in LESLIE to SHAWHAVEN in MASON.
We started at AWAKEN last night, then finished with a BANG at SHAWHAVEN HAUNTED FARM which BLEW US AWAY with a new ethereal lighting effect in their walk through haunt and lots more action and goodies on their hayride.
SHAWHAVEN has significantly upped their game since last year, when they won 2 ZIOPTIS AWARDS! And they might have done it again this year, except for a decision we just made...
There will be no awards given this season.
Due to a variety of factors affected by COVID-19, we’re on an abridged schedule this year. Usually by now we’d have been to at least 15 haunts. Sadly, we might not even make a total of 15 haunts this year.
Giving awards wouldn’t be fair to haunts not even in the running due to OUR reduced schedule. The haunts aren’t letting up at all...it’s US that’s letting up on our usual aggressive touring schedule.
That means we probably won’t make it to what many people have called THE BEST HAUNT IN MICHIGAN...THE HAUNT in GRAND RAPIDS! If you haven’t seen this, you’re missing out. THE HAUNT WON 5 ZIOPTIS AWARDS IN 2019!
There’s some tough decisions to make. For example, SLAUGHTERHOUSE and HUSH have always been on our MUST SEE LIST...wait a sec’ can’t forget BESTMAZE, NIGHT TERRORS AT WIARD’S, SCAREFEST SCREAM PARK, AZRA, BLAKE’S, EXIT 13...just SO many FABULOUS HAUNTS IN MICHIGAN, THE WORLD CAPITAL OF HAUNTED HOUSES!
(So far this year we’ve visited AWAKEN, ROTTEN MANOR, TERRORFIED FOREST, and SHAWHAVEN HAUNTED FARM. They were all excellent!)
p.s. We miss you, KRAZY HILDA’S, REALM OF HAUNTED MINDS, ST. LUCIFER’S ASYLUM, and CLIO MANOR HH...and of course THE REALM OF DARKNESS & THE BONEYARD! For an extended list of Haunts that are CLOSED BUT NOT FORGOTTEN click on “Closed.”
p.p.s. The webmaster will be adding new sections for 2020 Reviews soon!
OCTOBER 16, 2020 FRIDAY 3 PM - CALL OF THE WILD
The woods are beckoning, and we’re off to the wilderness tonight to AWAKEN in LESLIE and SHAWHAVEN HAUNTED FARM in MASON.
These haunts are only about 15 minutes away from each other, and feature indoors and outdoors haunting.
AWAKEN is a relative newcomer, and SHAWHAVEN is an established haunt industry giant now in their 15th year. (See reviews for both in Reviews 2019_A)
OCTOBER 15, 2020 THURSDAY 6 PM - CHECKING IN
Just called AWAKEN and AZRA - left voice mail with AWAKEN but talked briefly with AZRA...and YES their AWESOME CLOWN ROOM has been tweaked! Other new goodies have been added too...
Both AZRA and AWAKEN are dynamic young haunts with sky-high production values...and next to each other alphabetically too, how ‘bout that? THEY ARE BOTH KILLER HAUNTS! www.azrahaunt.com www.awakenhaunt.com
OCTOBER 13, 2020 TUESDAY 11 PM - DOGGIE MADNESS!
Here’s a haunt in their 4th year we haven’t seen yet, making it a priority - THE HOWLING HAUNTED TRAIL in FENTON. www.thehowlinghauntedtrail.com
This one is right up our alley - animal lovers at ADOPT-A-PET volunteer to produce this 2 WEEKEND ONLY HAUNT. Oct. 9 & 10 was the first, so there’s only 2 MORE DAYS this coming weekend Oct. 16 & 17.
Weather permitting we’re going this weekend!
We’ve seen some TOTALLY AMAZING ALL VOLUNTEER HAUNTS through the years. Who remembers BURTON HAUNTED FOREST, HAUNTED HALLOWS in WESTLAND, or McCURDY’S REVENGE in CORUNNA?
OCTOBER 13, 2020 TUESDAY 3 PM - SUMMERTIME BLUES
Huh? Last summer something horrible happened to a haunt that was making our MUST SEE STATUS ever since we first saw them a few years ago...
HAUNTED GARAGE PRODUCTIONS in GROSSE POINTE FARMS suffered major damage during a violent storm that snapped a giant tree like a toothpick, landing directly on the main building.
This made the local TV news: https://www.clickondetroit.com/news/local/2020/10/12/popular-halloween-attraction-in-grosse-pointe-farms-closes-due-to-storm-damages/
But there’s a silver lining too, as this gives them more time to prepare for a major surprise next year!
We had developed a new tradition we sadly won’t be able to continue this year - going to HAUNTED GARAGE and then AZRA CHAMBER OF HORRORS HAUNTED HOUSE in MADISON HEIGHTS on the same night. They’re only about 15 minutes away from each other. www.azrahaunt.com
AZRA blew us away last year with all kinds of new stuff, racking up an IMPRESSIVE 3 ZIOPTIS AWARDS! One awesome thing they had was what appears at first to be just part of a wall. **SPOILER ALERT** But it’s actually a very special thin fabric, and suddenly a ghoul appears reaching out to grab you from the other side! It’s like a 3 dimensional rear projection of sorts, and the detailing is uncanny.
OCTOBER 10, 2020 SATURDAY 10 PM - TOUCH & GO / TESTING OUR FAITH
Dad had brain surgery today, still in ICU...
OCTOBER 9, 2020 FRIDAY 5:30 PM - WHEW!
We finally found my partner’s dad, and he said to go haunting tonight...
After missing GHOSTLY GROVE last weekend, we’re thinking of trying again. It’s only their 2nd year, and we always try to help new haunts in any way we can! (See their review from last year in Reviews 2019_B.)
OCTOBER 9, 2020 FRIDAY 5 PM - FAMILY PRIORITIES
I can’t believe it! My partner’s dad was rushed to the hospital from his apartment after they talked on the phone and she called 911.
When she got there, he had already been taken to the hospital. And now they won’t even tell her which hospital due to “HIPPA RULES.” WHAT???!!! After calling the 3 main hospitals in the area, we still can’t find him. He doesn’t have his phone with him.
Her brother is on his way from Ohio...looks like we’re taking the weekend off from haunting.
But the weather is perfect for outdoor haunts like GHOSTLY GROVE and TERRORFIED FOREST both in PINCKNEY and hayrides like at NIGHT TERRORS AT WIARD’S in YPSILANTI. We encourage you to go!
OCTOBER 7, 2020 WEDNESDAY 11:30 PM - DRIVE THRU MADNESS
FLASH! HAUNTING IN THE HILLS in IRISH HILLS has a drive thru haunt this year: www.facebook.com/traincarofterror/
OCTOBER 7, 2020 WEDNESDAY 11 PM - A HORSE OF A DIFFERENT FEATHER
We’re SO glad to be haunting again, but we can’t help but feeling sad that HAUNTED FARM OF TERROR in LENOX TWP. isn’t open this season. It was a MUST SEE HAUNT that had some new things planned. Rats!
Also, TERROR ON 27 in ASHLEY is closed for 2020 but says they’ll be back in 2021. And THE SCREAM MACHINE in TAYLOR is on hiatus this year.
But there’s good news too: THE HAUNTED HYDRO in FREMONT, OHIO is open for 2020, celebrating their 31st Anniversary! We were afraid that last year was their swan song, but CRAZY BOB is not done doing what he does best! If you’ve never seen this amazing haunt made from a hydroelectric plant, you’re missing out. Look for the monolith thingie with giant fire blasts spewing! www.thehauntedhydro.com
OCTOBER 4, 2020 SUNDAY 4 PM - BLOOD, SWEAT, & GUTS
WOW! So much has been added at TERRORFIED FOREST in PINCKNEY since our last visit in 2018 we hardly recognized it.
Full review coming later, but one new thing that we loved was an elevated illuminated jack-o’-lantern display that is to die for!
The new owners have put massive amounts of effort into revamping this legendary haunt, and it’s paying off big time.
Crowd reaction samples were overwhelmingly positive, although we didn’t talk to as many people as we have in past years due to social distancing.
So yes, haunting has changed this year...but TERRORFIED FOREST delivered the goods in spades!
Our apologies to GHOSTLY GROVE also in PINCKNEY- due to time constraints we missed them last night. But we still feel confident in recommending them, as they impressed us with their grand opening last year. (see Reviews 2019_B)
We were on schedule, but then our dinner plans changed when we arrived at WOOLY BULLY’S only to find a private party had booked them for the evening. So we hit the ZUKEY LAKE TAVERN instead which also was hopping. It’s always something...rats!
We hope to reschedule GHOSTLY GROVE later in the season.
OCTOBER 3, 2020 SATURDAY 3 PM - HOW SOUTH CAROLINA SAVED HAUNTING in MICHIGAN, SORTA
This is an unlikely story, but sometimes truth is stranger than fiction...and this one is a doozie!
It all started over 20 years ago when a now legendary haunt was thrilling the masses, and a boy in South Carolina was growing up who knew nothing about haunted houses.
At the same time, a little girl growing up in Livingston County, Michigan was a haunted house enthusiast. Her mom’s birthday is Halloween day, and every year she made costumes for her daughter to go trick-or-treating in.
Mom’s handmade costumes were so good that as she got older, the girl would dress up in them and scare people on her parents porch on Halloween.
She had the bug. She had just put on her own “haunted house” of sorts!
She went to as many haunted houses as she possibly could every year, and found herself paying close attention to the details that went into creating this experience that she and her friends craved so much.
The die was cast. This girl had haunting in her very blood and DNA.
Then a family friend moved to South Carolina, and introduced a guy from there to the girl still in Livingston County. They only spoke on the phone for a year, yet a deep connection emerged.
They started dating in 2008, with the boy in a program to become a Paramedic and the girl going to college in Michigan to become a graphic designer.
For 4 years they maintained a long-distance romance, until the boy moved to Michigan and they were married in 2012.
In 2014 with Halloween still in her blood the girl got involved in haunted houses, working behind the scenes volunteering with building sets and such.
She got so good at it that a local haunt operator invited her to create a Frankenstein’s Laboratory for them and it became a smashing success!
CUT TO THE CHASE
This is the story of the new operators of TERRORFIED FOREST in PINCKNEY! www.terrorfiedforest.com
Original owners Dean & Cindy have passed the torch onto Byron & Marie, and the proud tradition of this TOP NOTCH HAUNT continues to this day.
SEPTEMBER 26, 2022 MONDAY 4 PM - IS THIS THE STRANGEST HAUNTED ATTRACTION IN THE WORLD?
When it comes to haunted attractions, you’ll find some pretty weird things you won’t see anywhere else on earth.
Things don’t always make sense, as your new reality is molded by the imagination of some mad genius who decided creating a haunted attraction was a smart thing to do. As to how such a person gets motivated, we have no idea but thank our lucky stars they exist!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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?! ;)
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!"
"Mind if I ask you a political question?"
"Do you have an opinion of Kamala Harris?"
"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!"
"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.
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?
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.
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.