OCTOBER 10, 2011 2 AM - More reviews just added, and lots more on the way soon!
OCTOBER 9, 2011 6 PM -┬ THE PERFECT ENDING
How do you end a weekend that's been absolutely awesome? Sounds like a┬ PONTIAC TRIP┬ to me!!!
Just added: partial review of BLAKE'S from last night.
OCTOBER 9, 2011 1:30 AM SUNDAY -┬ AMAZING ARMADA DELIVERS THE GOODS AND SETS A NEW LOW, OR HIGH, OR...
You WON'T BELIEVE what we saw last night! We can still hardly believe it ourselves...and it was only 2 feet in front of us. Looking for something┬ TRULY NOT FOR THE SQUEAMISH? THIS IS┬ THE ONE,┬ HANDS DOWN.┬ (Details in a review coming soon)
OCTOBER 8, 2011 3:30 PM -┬ PEOPLE WILL TALK...
I was just talking to a haunt operator, and told him a funny thing that happened to me last Friday at the optical shop in Dearborn. I was getting new contacts and glasses, and the girl remembered me from last year so asked what hayrides we liked. I said "Kinda far from here, but I'd say┬ HAUNTED FARM OF TERROR and BLAKE'S..."
At the word┬ "BLAKE'S"┬ her face lit up, and we said IN UNISON:┬ "THEY HAVE THE BEST CARAMEL APPLES!"┬ We both laughed, and she explained she used to live out there and actually even knows the family that runs┬ HAUNTED FARM OF TERROR!┬ It's a small world, after all.
But back to the haunt operator: We're going to his haunt tomorrow, and when he found out we're going to┬ BLAKE'S┬ asked if we could please grab him a four pack of those awesome apples! He's going to "give them out for trophies." Could be interesting...and VERY tasty.
OCTOBER 8, 2011 1 AM -┬ BY THE LIGHT OF THE SILVERY MOON
WOW! A millions stars smiled on us, and thousands of other happy haunters Friday night in┬ LENOX TWP.┬ As you probably know, there's TWO fantastic haunts BOTH in┬ LENOX TWP.┬ Wait, make that THREE...but actually...it's even more than that! WHAT? (Reviews being written)
OCTOBER 7, 2011 -┬ WARM AND WILD WEEKEND!
No rain. No snow. No gale force winds. We might even wear shorts! This weekend is your big chance to catch some outdoor haunts with absolutely prime conditions! Next weekend? Who knows? All I know is, one October a few years ago it was HORRIBLE, RAINY weather EVERY weekend. It totally destroyed our plans, and we missed some of our favorites. Lesson learned...CARPE DIEM BABY!
OCTOBER 6, 2011 - Just added to "not in FF/HG":┬ BATES SAW MILL OF TORTURE┬ in┬ MILLINGTON┬ www.hauntedsawmill.com┬ Also added:┬ FEAR ITSELF AT LEGEND PARK,┬ MISHAWAKA, INDIANA┬ www.fearitself.tv
OCTOBER 5, 2011 11 PM - Just completed: 2011 review for┬ DEMENTIA AT HAMPTON┬ in┬ ROCHESTER HILLS.┬ Coming next:┬ DEADLAND!
OCTOBER 5, 2011 9 PM -┬ MY FRIEND, THE SUN
Hooray for the warm,┬ RAIN FREE FORECAST┬ this coming weekend! We'll be concentrating on getting to our fave outdoor haunts. It's looking like┬ LENOX TWP.┬ on Friday, then┬ ARMADA┬ or┬ WESTLAND┬ and┬ PAPP PARK┬ TAYLOR┬ on Saturday. Sunday is still TBA.
OCTOBER 3, 2011 6 PM - We got a very tempting invitation again this year from the┬ MORROW ROAD HAUNTED TRAIL┬ in┬ CLAY TWP.┬ They have 100 volunteers working this mile long haunt now in its fifth year. We hope to make it here this year!┬ www.morrowroad.com
OCTOBER 3, 2011 1 AM - We had a great Sunday at┬ THE DEADLAND HAUNTED HOUSE and DEMENTIA AT HAMPTON!┬ And at┬ DEADLAND┬ there's┬ A STORY AND A HALF┬ besides the actual haunt that will┬ GIVE YOU WARM FUZZIES IF YOU'RE STILL HUMAN.┬ (I know many of you have turned into Zombies and Monsters by now.)
Just updated - "What's Next," which now has a list of haunts we plan to visit this season.
OCTOBER 2, 2011 3 PM - Partial reviews now posted for┬ THE CRYPT and ST. LUCIFER'S HAUNTED ASYLUM.┬ It takes time to write a review that does proper justice to such excellent haunts! Patience, my little monkeys...
OCTOBER 2, 2011 2 PM - NEWS FLASH! We just heard from the┬ HOUSE OF FEAR┬ in┬ HAZEL PARK,┬ which WILL BE OPEN LATER THIS YEAR! They've earned our "BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK" Award in past years; more details soon.
OCTOBER 2, 2011 4 AM -┬ DORT HIGHWAY IS A GAS-GAS-GAS! BUT GOTTA CRASH-CRASH-CRASH NOW...
OCTOBER 1, 2011 SATURDAY NIGHT! -┬ LET THE FUN BEGIN!!!
The first review for 2011 is now posted. And we can't wait for tonight...we're off to┬ FLINT and BURTON. Have you even been on┬ DORT HIGHWAY IN FLINT?┬ It's unbelievable! There's usually at least 5 haunts along this┬ ONE highway thru Genesee County.┬ One year we counted like NINE! We saw one that was put on by a magic company once that was insane...wow...what was the name of that one? It's probably in "Other MICH"
BTW, there's some "growing pains" still happening with the transition to a new format and unfortunately the "Archives" are temporarily mixed up.
Just thought of this one that was a┬ CRAZY WAY TO END A CRAZY HALLOWEEN┬ back in 2002! It was the┬ DUNCAN STREET HORROR┬ in┬ TAYLOR┬ which was an out of control yard haunt.┬ (see Wayne Cty Cities T thru W)┬ It was like a big block party really. The only thing missing was the bar-b-que grills...oh wait...they DID have grills goin' now that I remember...oh, it was SOOO good...SOOO tasty...SOOO juicy...Halloween never tasted so good...
OH NO! This is our first big night out, I gotta make sure NOT to mention the (unofficial)┬ Ultimate Weiner Contest┬ to my partner. It got a little out of hand last time I indulged her with her silly little hot dog fantasy world, OK OK, a LOT out of hand! Mums the word, ok?
As long as I keep her distracted with Ostrich Sticks I should be OK.
SEPTEMBER 30, 2011 2 PM -┬ HOLLYWOOD IN OUR BACKYARD, SORTA
We just had a great talk with the awesome crew at┬ HAUNTED HILL ACRES┬ in┬ BELLEVILLE.┬ As you may recall, last year they ran an ad saying they'd be closed for the season because a┬ FEATURE FILM WAS BEING SHOT┬ on premise there. Although they're closed to the public again this year, it is NOT for lack of activity. The film is still being shot, in its final stages now.
If you've even been to this way cool haunt, you'll understand why it's such a perfect place for a creation like this. They should be open to the public again next year, and we'll be among the anxious haunters banging on their door! Who remembers the cool magic shows they put on in a garage turned mini-theater?
And there were kid friendly demonstrations, showing some behind the scenes stuff to ease the minds of little ones not quite sure about all this haunted hoopla. They took kids on a special tour of one of the buildings, and explained how many inexplicable things happened in the magic land of haunted attractions.
The family that runs this farm has 4 kids of their own, so they had the perfect reference point from which to operate one of┬ THE BEST FAMILY ORIENTED HAUNTS ANYWHERE!
They're throwing a big Movie Premiere Party soon, and we can't wait!
We'll have a link for a trailer soon for you too, so stay tuned as usual for the unusual...right here at┬ ZIOPTIS!
SEPTEMBER 29, 2011 -┬ HERE I COME TO SAVE THE DAY!
Remember Mighty Mouse? It was a cartoon about a super hero MOUSE that turned the tables on opponents many times his size with a silly flair. And the comic Andy Kaufman did a brilliant skit on early SNL using the theme song from the show. He plays the song on a record player, then stands there motionless with absolutely no expression...UNTIL the line in the song "Here I come to save the day!" He launches into a professional singer persona for only that line, and then goes stone dead again. Great stuff!
But what's that got to do with haunting? Nothing, or possibly EVERYTHING. Let me explain:
Once-upon-a-time there was a haunt in town that called itself the┬ HAUNTED GALLERY. It was a long series of semi tractor trailers, but unless you saw the whole thing from the outside you never would have known it!┬ IT WAS KILLER.
This haunt was built by top experts which meant they eventually would get too big for their britches at a trailer haunt, no matter how elaborate it might be. Sure enough, they eventually created the┬ GUINESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS WORLD'S LARGEST HAUNTED HOUSE┬ in a giant 4 story warehouse in┬ PONTIAC!
Unless you've had your head in the sand for years, you certainly know we're referring to the ever popular Mega Haunt┬ EREBUS.
Or how about this remarkable true story: A local haunt in a church parking lot in┬ Warren┬ decides to give much of its revenues to the local school special education program. All they had to work with was some of those portable classroom pre-fab buildings. But their production values, creativity, and attention to detail were thru the roof!
If you've been around the block a few times, you know we're referring to the legendary┬ HOUSE OF NIGHTMARES.
The lady running this haunt proved to be a Class Act, eventually even┬ HELPING COMPETING HAUNTS SUCCEED!┬ An ever consummate purist with an obsession for detail, she eventually created a Mega Haunt resembling a museum in an old Farmer Jack Superstore called┬ THE REALM OF DARKNESS.
Bet you heard of that one too. It's one of┬ TWO WAY COOL MEGA HAUNTS BOTH IN PONTIAC.┬ Every year thousands flock to these, and are both┬ MUST SEE HAUNTS┬ for us every year!
But back to Mighty Mouse.
Just today I happened to be driving down┬ INKSTER ROAD in INKSTER, and I saw some workers at the┬ HAUNTED FUNERAL HOME┬ so I stopped in to say Hi. They were working on a strange looking contraption; I had NO idea what it could be! I didn't ask, I want to be surprised when we go here this year.
We've gone to this haunt several years now, and their performances have often rivaled some of the early shows we saw at the┬ HAUNTED GALLERY┬ and┬ HOUSE OF NIGHTMARES.
So is this tiny haunt in┬ INKSTER┬ going to be the next Mighty Mouse that turns into a bona fide Mega Haunt? Only time will tell, but I'll tell you what - we went here last year and saw some customers who were┬ REALLY BAD LOOKIN' DUDES┬ shaking in their boots. Their girlfriends were staring in disbelief at how pathetic their guys looked, reduced to whimpering cowards.┬ NOW THAT'S SOME SERIOUS MONSTER IMPACT!
The spirit and the creativity are there. How it will expand and develop depends on lots of variables for sure. Most small haunts never make it to the Big Leagues. But we have a┬ strange feeling┬ when we go here...and THAT'S the stuff great haunts are made of, Mega or Mouse.
SEPTEMBER 25, 2011 -┬ HOW FAR WOULD YOU GO?
Every year, we plan at least one trip away from the┬ Detroit / Flint area┬ to visit outstanding haunts such as┬ THE HAUNTING┬ in┬ ADRIAN,┬ TERRORTOWN┬ in┬ TOLEDO area,┬ GHOSTLY MANOR┬ in┬ SANDUSKY, OHIO┬ and┬ THE HAUNT┬ in┬ GRAND RAPIDS. Make that 2 trips...I don't think we have EVER missed going to both┬ THE HAUNTING and TERRORTOWN!
So how far would you go to see something totally amazing? If you've never been to one of these haunts,┬ YOU'RE MISSING OUT BIG TIME.┬ Trust us folks,┬ THESE HAUNTS ARE KILLER...EVERY TIME.
We just heard from the cool people at┬ THE HAUNT┬ in┬ GRAND RAPIDS, and we have no doubt that as usual the UNUSUAL will treat all who journey here! New for 2011 is┬ TRAPPED and CLOWN ALLEY 3D.┬ It looks WAY COOL:┬ www.the-haunt.com
We won't say who it was...but we once had a MAJOR┬ Detroit area┬ haunt operator tell us┬ THE HAUNT was the best haunted house in Michigan!!!┬ Hmmm...that's some intense endorsement...the kind no amount of splashy advertising could ever hope to equal. Word-of-Mouth is the most powerful advertising anybody could hope for.
SEPTEMBER 23, 2011 -┬ GET READY, GET SET...GO HAUNTING!!!
Most haunts open in October, but some are getting the season started tonight! For haunts listed as being open tonight, go to "What's Next." We do suggest you call ahead to make sure, as there's only a few million possible things that can delay a haunt's opening!
SEPTEMBER 22, 2011 -┬ VISIONS OF VOLUNTEERS / EVOLUTION OF A LEGEND
Somebody was asking about volunteer haunts recently - the first ones that popped into our minds were┬ McCURDY'S REVENGE┬ in┬ CORUNNA┬ and┬ HAUNTED HALLOWS┬ in┬ WESTLAND. Both of these have new shows for 2011, and are on our MUST SEE list for this year!
Wow, we just noticed this year's address for the┬ SINISTER HAUNTED HOUSE┬ is┬ 37 TURK STREET in PONTIAC.┬ THAT TOTALLY ROCKS, because that's the SAME ADDRESS as┬ THE REALM OF DARKNESS. It's hard to imagine a better┬ double-destination for haunt excellence┬ as both haunts blew us away last year!
The Detroit haunt scene just wouldn't seem right without a┬ KILLER HAUNTED HOUSE at DEQUINDRE AND 8 MILE.┬ While we're sad to see┬ DEADLY INTENTIONS┬ leave the legendary location, we also think it's FABULOUS that┬ THE DEADLAND┬ is taking over there!
THE DEADLAND┬ has proven itself to be a┬ FIRST CLASS OPERATION,┬ and we have absolutely no doubt they will┬ CONTINUE THE PROUD TRADITION OF HAUNT EXCELLENCE┬ established long ago by┬ SLOBBER ENTERTAINMENT'S DEADLY INTENTIONS.
And who remembers the awesome mini magazine they had at┬ DEADLY INTENTIONS?┬ (See archived reviews in "Macomb Cty")
SEPTEMBER 18, 2011 9 PM - Recon report: no trailer on Telegraph. :(
SEPTEMBER 18, 2011 1 AM -┬ NOW YOU SEE IT, NOW YOU DON'T
Every year brings exciting new haunts, but unfortunately there are casualties too. The possibly MIA haunt we're thinking of right now is the┬ EXTREME SCREAM┬ originally in┬ TAYLOR,┬ not to be confused┬ with the Mega Haunt┬ THE SCREAM MACHINE┬ also in┬ TAYLOR┬ which is running full steam this year again. (Last year┬ EXTREME SCREAM┬ was in┬ WATERFORD.)
The┬ EXTREME SCREAM┬ is an old school haunt that stirred up way more than their share of controversy. We're not about to describe the unspeakable acts that led to this, some of you may be getting ready for a meal!
Let's just say they found some┬ renegade hard core haunt-freak workers┬ who were┬ more┬ than willing┬ to do the kind of stuff that leaves permanent psychological damage after only one viewing! This haunt was REAL, but this is the kind of stuff you'll hear┬ fake stories┬ about every year in haunt lines where Urban Legends abound and are stretched to new dimensions of absurdity with every re-telling.
Ever play the "Telephone Game," where a circle of people whispers a "secret" to each other one at a time until it goes all the way around? The first person writes the "secret" down, and compares it to what the final person says. It's NEVER the same, and the results can be hilarious.
Now multiply that concept┬ by several thousand┬ or so and you've got an idea of the levels this can reach. So we've got this ever evolving story about an elusive┬ Haunt from Beyond that doesn't even exist,┬ yet lives a life that cannot die!
We didn't see┬ EXTREME SCREAM┬ in the new┬ Fear Finder, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're gone either. We've seen this haunt take a year off here and there, and last year they were in┬ Waterford.┬ Tomorrow we'll conduct a┬ reconnaissance mission┬ to their original location on┬ Telegraph Road in Taylor, and hopefully see their familiar semi tractor trailer trucks in the parking lot. If not, we'll give them a call. We'll get to the bottom of this for you!
SEPTEMBER 17, 2011 -┬ FEAR FINDER HITS THE STREETS
WOW! The new Fear Finder for 2011 is awesome; we just found ours at the Saturn Grocery Store on┬ Van Born in Taylor┬ of all places. SO glad to see┬ Chelsea Fairgrounds┬ is up and running this year - that's where┬ PIGMAN'S LAIR┬ had been years ago.
And don't despair Mega Haunt fans, both┬ THE HAUNTING┬ in┬ ADRIAN┬ and┬ THE REALM OF DARKNESS┬ in┬ PONTIAC┬ are open this year. No biggie, they're just not in the Fear Finder.┬ www.myhaunting.com┬ www.therealmofdarkness.com
SEPTEMBER 17, 2011 -┬ SAD 'N' PROUD / THE CHANGING OF THE GUARDS
This is a bittersweet story that will explain a big difference you may have noticed in the new Fear Finder.
On page 15 there's a full page ad for┬ THE DEADLAND HAUNTED HOUSE┬ in┬ WARREN on DEQUINDRE ROAD. Wait a second, isn't that where┬ DEADLY INTENTIONS┬ is?
You may recall that in 2008 we awarded┬ DEADLY INTENTIONS 5 STARS┬ for their flawless display of┬ BRILLIANT INSANITY NOT FOR THE SQUEAMISH!
These guys were known far and wide for their outrageous stunts and amazing characters. One of our fave characters was Melvin with his beanie-copter hat, who now appears in the TV show┬ WOLFMAN MAC'S CHILLER DRIVE-IN.
Here's the part we were hoping we didn't have to report. We've known about this for awhile, but were hoping and praying it wouldn't come to this so held off saying anything.
Some background first: Do you remember when we told you about a haunt operator who got the bug when he went to his very first haunt, the legendary┬ MUTILATION MANSION┬ in┬ MADISON HEIGHTS?┬ He was just a kid going to the local┬ JAYCEES HAUNTED HOUSE┬ like thousands of others.
But he fell in love with haunting instantly and ended up┬ WORKING AT THE HAUNT THE SAME NIGHT!┬ Then he dreamed of someday creating his own haunted house. Thing is though, this┬ KID HAD A SEVERELY TWISTED SENSE OF HUMOR┬ and his fantasies cannot be described on a family website like this!
SO WHO WAS THIS GUY?┬ He took on a new name of┬ SLOBBER, which became synonymous with haunted house craziness but even more importantly a strong commitment to ethical business practices. His real name is Howard, and at the end of last season he told us he was hoping to make it to┬ A QUARTER CENTURY OF HAUNTED HOUSE EXCELLENCE!
Sadly, he will just barely miss that milestone due to health issues. Our best well wishes and prayers go out to Howard and his family. By coincidence my own grandfather's name was also Howard, and he too faced horrible health issue challenges when he was way too young.
My grandfather Howard was told he had┬ six months to live┬ with a cancer diagnosis.┬ Right then┬ his mind went into warp drive, and he ended up inventing the automatic transmission for passenger cars. There's probably one in your garage right now.
So we can only imagine┬ what similar feelings swirled in his mind when Howard from┬ DEADLY INTENTIONS┬ was told of his illness. But I'll tell 'ya what - they sure put on a┬ SLAM BAM, THANK YOU 'MAAM FREAK-YOU-OUT SWAN SONG┬ that will be remembered long after its amazing run at the┬ County Line building at 8 MILE & DEQUINDRE in WARREN!
Now rewind to 2007 when we first visited a new haunt in┬ DAVISON┬ near FLINT┬ called┬ THE DEADLAND. We liked it so much we returned in 2008 and in 2009 when they earned our┬ OUTSTANDING ACTOR AWARD.
Now fast forward. We were visiting┬ DEADLY INTENTIONS┬ and Howard asked us what haunts we really liked that season. Haunt operators can't see other haunts as they'd like to, and we're glad to share our best stories with them (but briefly please haunt operators). The first thing out of our talkative mouths was, "There's an awesome new haunt near┬ FLINT┬ we loved called┬ THE DEADLAND."
Howard's face lit up┬ immediately and he told us he had ALREADY been in discussions with┬ THE DEADLAND. Thus was born the seed that is now sprouting big wings IN THE┬ DETROIT AREA┬ at Howard's old haunt┬ DEADLY INTENTIONS.
THE DEADLAND HAS OFFICIALLY TAKEN OVER AT DEADLY INTENTIONS.
The circumstances surrounding this event bring tears to my eyes...where's my Kleenex...more later, gotta take a break.
(Tried to call Howard before posting this, # is not working)
SEPTEMBER 24, 2010 -┬ FROM OUR INBOX TODAY:
We're going BATTY!!!!
We're excited to announce that HAuNTcon 2011 will be held in Louisville, Kentucky
When:┬ April 27-May 2, 2011
Where:┬ Crown Plaza Hotel-Louisville
HAuNTcon features events including:
-Once in a Lifetime Haunt Tours
-And MUCH, MUCH More!
CLICK BELOW to SIGN UP for EARLY BIRD SPECIAL PRICING TODAY:
We look forward to having you as part of the HAuNTcon family!
Questions?┬ Visit┬ www.hauntcon.com┬ or email┬ firstname.lastname@example.org.
SEPTEMBER 23, 2010 8 PM -┬ SOUNDS LIKE A DEAL!
We got an email from THE HAUNTED BARN AND MAZE in┬ IMLAY CITY, and it sounds like they're on the right track. They moved and now have a package deal with a haunted barn, indoor maze, and a corn maze for only $12. 2010 will be their 16th year...they┬ must┬ be doing┬ something┬ right! Hey, give 'em a click right now at┬ www.hauntedbarnic.com
SEPTEMBER 23, 2010 6 PM -┬ READY, SET, GO!
THE SHOW IS ON AT TERRORTOWN IN┬ OHIO┬ FOR 2010!┬ The new website is just a little behind schedule, so relax! And then get ready for an experience du jour at one of the Leaders of the Industry. This year's concept sounds like a mind blower big time...but then again, they ALWAYS deliver the goods so we expect no less!
Instead of going thru multiple haunts, you'll now be challenged to survive a┬ SUPER-SIZED HOUSE OF THE DEAD!
Just saw the Cedar Point ad for Halloweekends, and it's really sharp. There's lots of splashy modern imagery, and it looks like they've tricked out a roller coaster with high intensity haunt action. Which coaster? They've got plenty to choose from because Cedar Point is the┬ ROLLER COASTER CAPITAL OF THE WORLD!
But the ad goes retro too. Immediately after they announce their latest creation "ASYLUM," they show an image of the "Electrocution Jack" guy getting fried, strapped into his electric chair. That's one of the oldest haunt gags out there, but it's still a winner. So far the best electrocution chair scene we've ever seen was at SLAUGHTERHOUSE in┬ FOWLERVILLE┬ a few years ago.
If you go to┬ SANDUSKY, OHIO┬ for Halloweekends, you definitely owe it to yourself to also check out GHOSTLY MANOR THRILL CENTER also in┬ SANDUSKY.┬ Do whatever you must to make it here too!┬ This place is AMAZING, and opens tomorrow night. The Manor is twice as big this year, and they added the brand new GHOSTLY GAUNTLET outdoor maze. And the new entrance facade is awesome. Trust us...you will NOT be disappointed.┬ www.ghostlymanor.com
SEPTEMBER 22, 2010 4 PM -┬ ALL THE WAY OR NOT AT ALL
We got another letter from Jared at DEADLAND, and they will not be open this year. But that's ok. Things got too hectic with the building rental, and one of the partners is getting married! They realized they wouldn't be able to construct the haunt to their high standards in time for the haunt season.
Some haunts would've made-do with what they could pull together just to pull in some cash, but not these guys. And it's that kind of balls-to-the-wall all or nothing attitude that earned them one of only a few awards for 2009! So rest assured, you┬ will┬ be hearing more about THE DEADLAND HAUNTED HOUSE in the future...and it will be Big News!┬
SEPTEMBER 21, 2010 1 AM -┬ MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR FROM BEYOND
Jared at the┬ World Class Haunt THE DEADLAND HAUNTED HOUSE┬ in┬ DAVISON┬ emailed us to let us know about an amazing haunt tour he's planning on taking this year November 12th and 13th. If you go, you won't be able to say "We're not in┬ Kansas┬ anymore" though because it┬ is┬ located in┬ Kansas!
And one of the haunts in the tour comes with the highest possible recommendation from a major player on the┬ Michigan┬ haunt scene! We won't say exactly who it is...but┬ she┬ once┬ told us (hint, hint!) THE EDGE OF HELL is the best haunt in the┬ USA!┬ www.legendaryhaunttour.com┬ or Jenny Braverman (847) 784-2409
SEPTEMBER 20, 2010 10 PM -┬ LETTING THE CAT OUT OF THE BAG / THE WHOLE TRUTH AND NOTHING ELSE
We've been asked if we inform haunts before we visit, and the answer is YES. That way we're assured of seeing their best gags, and we're then able to report on them accurately. A major gag component can break, malfunction, get accidently damaged, etc.
Here are a couple examples that have come up:
We once had a haunt operator install a brand new compressor...sealed, right out of the box. Not reconditioned either, but guess what? Yup, it did NOT work and they were depending on it to run the show! Would it be fair to review them then? That's not the show most patrons would see later, so we waited to visit them.
The fans themselves can wreak havoc too. In another instance a freaked-out, flailing fan took out a giant plastic two-way mirror that a major gag depended on. So we waited until it was replaced, and saw an amazing show that we wouldn't have otherwise...the┬ same show┬ everybody else saw for the rest of the season.┬ So that┬ more truly represented┬ what this haunt could do when not unfairly hindered, and the result was an accurate, fair review the public could count on.
Neither of these unfortunate occurrences were the fault of the haunt.┬ And it wouldn't┬ best serve the public's need┬ for accurate info to review them when they're not at their maximum potential.
We've seen some websites that send secret observers to haunts, and then grade them down numerically for imperfections in various categories. In our opinion this amounts to nit-picking, and is counterproductive to our mindset of focusing on┬ each haunts special strengths and quirks.
That's one of the reasons we dropped the numerical ratings in 2009 and went to highlighting special features/accomplishments of haunts. Also, we had stated┬ many times┬ that the numerical ratings did NOT compare haunts to each other. Rather, they were intended to judge how well each haunt accomplished what it set out to do.
But our pleas fell on deaf ears, and soon enough the "How Many Stars?" mindset permeated the fans and haunt operators alike. And it's very rare fortunately, but if we encounter a haunt that absolutely stinks we simply don't review it at all or talk about it either.
SEPTEMBER 20, 2010 8 PM - Just added: new┬ OHIO┬ listings for┬ COLUMBUS, PATASKALA, PHILO & PLEASANTVILLE!┬ (See "Ohio")
SEPTEMBER 18, 2010 4 PM -┬ RAINING ON OUR PARADE ALREADY
Oh no, not again! Yup, it rained quite a bit out west of Hell today in┬ STOCKBRIDGE┬ so we're delaying our trip to THE BONEYARD. But that's ok, because we got an email from another cool looking haunt in that area that we need to get back to - BESTMAZE CORN MAZE & TRAIL OF TERROR in┬ WILLIAMSTON.
BESTMAZE sounds way cool with some modern innovations like "The Vault Laser Challenge." Have you ever seen the movie where a master thief makes his way to the Crown Jewels thru a room with security laser beams? This sounds kinda like that, with alarms and penalties galore!┬ www.bestmaze.com
SEPTEMBER 18, 2010 2 PM -┬ HIT THE ROAD JACK!
We just got an email from Jared at the fabulous haunt THE DEADLAND HAUNTED HOUSE in┬ DAVISON┬ who scored one of ONLY A FEW AWARDS FOR 2009. (see "Awards") He's hoping to take a haunt tour that looks awesome, including THE BEAST and THE EDGE OF HELL in Kansas which we've heard many great things about thru the years. (Details coming soon)
SEPTEMBER 18, 2010┬ 1 PM -┬ FIRST BLOOD / DANCING IN THE DARK
The stage blood and fog juice are stocked up and ready to work their magic on the fans. We've been jonesin' for too long, and┬ finally┬ tonight we'll get our fix! We avoid going on opening night whenever possible, so we held off on going right away last night. And YES, the haunts are always informed in advance of our visits. There are different schools of thought on that, and we'll cover that in detail on Monday, September 10th.
There's other haunts open tonight too of course, so everybody get out there and dance like nobody's watching to some Rob Zombie or spooky music...even if it's only in your mind!
ALRIGHT! We just got an email from Mr. Haunted House to let us know the new Fear Finder is hitting the streets right now. But why wait? Download it right now! Just click here:┬ www.FearFinder.com
SEPTEMBER 16, 2010 -┬ FORGET CALGON...MANDY, TAKE ME AWAY!
Whoever invented the GPS system should get a gold star on their forehead! It seems like every year we'd end up lost on a dirt road somewhere in a city we've never heard of before, trying to check out haunts we hadn't seen yet.
Well, NO MORE. The voice we selected on our Tom-Tom GPS belongs to "Mandy," and her soothing voice has been blissful, sweet music to our ears many times!
And this opening weekend, Mandy will direct us once again to a haunt we've never seen - THE BONEYARD in┬ STOCKBRIDGE, MICHIGAN. We just talked to the operator and they've got the technical know-how to make some super intense giant scale "devices" (don't want to give anything away just yet) that should prove┬ ABSOLUTELY MIND BLOWING!┬ It should make an awesome first review for the 2010 Haunt Season!┬ www.boneyard-fx.com
SEPTEMBER 13, 2010 - Sad to see that FRENZY HAUNTED HOUSE in┬ ALLEGAN┬ won't be open this year. But check out their review from last year under "Reviews 2009."
However, NIGHTS OF FEAR and THE HAUNT in┬ GRAND RAPIDS┬ are open this year, so it's still definitely worth a trip over there! (see "Reviews 2009") And we want to get up to┬ TRAVERSE CITY┬ for GRIMFELL ASYLUM which we had many excellent reports about.
SEPTEMBER 10, 2010 1 AM -┬ THE NEW FACE OF OHIO
Yes, it's true that┬ Michigan┬ is #1 for haunts...BUT,┬ Ohio┬ is a VERY strong second! And one of our favorites in┬ Ohio┬ has a brand new look with an awesome new facade and double the previous size walkthrough. We're talking about GHOSTLY MANOR in┬ SANDUSKY, OHIO, first recommended to us by THE HAUNTING in┬ ADRIAN, MICHIGAN.┬ Kudos to THE HAUNTING for being cool enough to tell us this place rocks!
We missed them last year, but gave them 5 STARS in 2008. (see Reviews 2008) And their website rocks too!┬ www.ghostlymanor.com
And no mention of┬ OHIO┬ would be complete without TERRORTOWN and CHAINSAW CREEK both in the┬ Toledo┬ area. (See "Reviews 2009" and "Ohio" for archived ratings & reviews) note: CHAINSAW CREEK not open in 2010, should be back in 2011.
Unfortunately it's been awhile since we visited HAUNTED HYDRO and THE NIGHTMARE WITHIN, also in┬ Ohio.┬ And Bonniebrook Farms is beckoning us too...┬
SEPTEMBER 9, 2010 1 PM -┬ TAKIN' IT TO THE STREETS
My partner just called to let me know the first Haunt Guides have hit the streets. She got hers at Arby's, but the official sponsor is Papa Romano's Pizza. Also on board are Halloween City, 89X radio, and WADL-TV.
SEPTEMBER 9, 2010 1 AM -┬ PARANORMAL MAGIC SHOW FROM BEYOND
Just checked the website for THE HAUNTING in┬ ADRIAN...YES!!! The magic show is back! This haunt is the brain child of an acclaimed Master Magician that has blown us away many times.┬ www.myhaunting.com
SEPTEMBER 8, 2010 -┬ ONE HAND CLAPPING AND NOISY RHETORIC
Ok, we've been getting questions about the awards...why no Haunt Of The Year for 2009, best sound, best lighting, etc.?
We started the Haunted House Hotline in 1999, by coincidence the same year John Poe started rating haunts too with the Gore Guide. John eventually called it quits for mostly job reasons...he does┬ very┬ well where he works!
We're not about to quit anytime soon, so we need to evolve as conditions in the Industry change. Given the overall high quality of haunts here in the leading market, "rating" haunts numerically is pretty much pass├© at this point. They all offer cool experiences in many different ways!
So we're shifting to highlighting individual achievements instead of various categories. Those awards served their purpose, and now we're moving on.
And when you think about it, even with all the latest-and-greatest whizz bang effects, animatronics, props, scenes, etc., it's the┬ actors┬ that can make or break a haunt. So we decided to give awards to actors/actresses that made a lasting impression on us.
It's all about the┬ overall experience┬ when haunting, and it's the┬ people┬ behind the makeup & masks that make it happen...or not. The crew might seem like the little guy in the chain of command, but their abilities and performances are crucial to success!
SEPTEMBER 6, 2010 -┬ LABOR DAY AND THE PIGS WE LONG FOR
Happy Labor Day...hope you can take it easy today and have gourmet food prepared┬ for┬ you! We were invited to a pig roast up north at a private campground again this year...didn't go this time...we went to the Ted Nugent concert at DTE instead and it was seriously crazy!
Pigs? Crazy? A flood of memories comes back...PIGMAN'S LAIR...oh how you warped my mind deliciously...all those insane newspaper articles on the walls...CREEPY CLYDE kickin' out the jams...an experiment gone horribly awry...
From their website:
Unfortunately, for the 2009 season, the full Pigman's Lair Show will be dark. (not open) WE DO PLAN ON HAVING A "SORT-OF MINI PIGMAN'S LAIR" AT CHELSEAMAZE. We would love to eventually bring the full production back, but just not this year.
Although we will be closed, the Pigman is NOT DEAD! You will have the opportunity to run across some of the Pigman's Lair characters and creatures at another exciting Chelsea, Michigan Fall Attraction-Chelsea Maze. Be sure to check out the daytime Corn Maze and night time "Creepy Cornfield". We are bringing scenes from our old show over to the corn maze this year!
No word yet about PIGMAN's LAIR for 2010.
And whatever happened to the haunt that was at Crokie's Party Island in┬ Monroe?┬ It was an outdoor walk mostly, and they did a "saw the guy in half" gag that totally caught us off guard. After the fake chainsaw "cut thru" the upper half of the victim falls off the table onto the ground. At first it looks like they pulled off a really slick illusion...then the torso charges toward you propelled by arms only screaming weirdly! Whoa. Nellie. It's an actor that HAS NO LEGS! Ah, memories...
AUGUST 18, 2010 -┬ TURN OFF THE LIGHTS /┬ WHEN LESS IS MORE
Ok, jazzed out lasers and programmed LED lights┬ do┬ look really cool. They can be really spooky when used correctly, but sometimes less is more.
Case in point: THE HOUSE OF FEAR in┬ HAZEL PARK┬ had a killer room a few years ago, and the only light there was a single, flickering incandescent bulb. That's it. But it was┬ so perfect, it gave a whole different feel to the room. And everybody loved it!
Also, we just can't forget the feeling we got when we saw the Ghost Ship at THE REALM OF DARKNESS in┬ PONTIAC. It was deliciously dark, with the perfect fog rising slightly from the water...
Oh, the website for the REALM has been updated with the new address and map. Looks like it's right off Woodward, so it's probably easier to get to than the previous location.┬ www.therealmofdarkness.com┬
AUGUST 17, 2010 330 PM -┬ PUSHING SECRET BUTTONS / TWIDDLING MAGIC DIALS
We left off last time talking about the awesome "Liquid Sky" laser lighting effect. The original approach is to have the laser projecting a conical shape giving the classic spinning tunnel effect, with fog or haze turning the beams 3D in midair. Green lasers are most often used, as they cut thru much better than most red lasers available.
THE HAUNTING in┬ ADRIAN┬ was the first to WOW the crowds with the classic conical Liquid Sky years ago. Then EREBUS raised the bar, developing an ingenious Liquid Sky variation for their highly effective SWAMP ROOM.
So we can't help but wonder what Secret Buttons and Magic Dials are being manipulated by the Great Masters of The Haunt Scene at this very moment! What kind of┬ MAJOR NEW THRILL┬ will pop up this coming season? Will it go from zero to 60 in 3 seconds? Will it dazzle your eyes with eye candy you can't forget? Will it leave permanent psychological stains that won't go away? Only time will tell, but he's not talking right now...we'll just have to wait...it's right around the corner now!
AUGUST 17, 2010 3 PM - First awards for 2009 now posted!
AUGUST 10, 2010 -┬ PRIMO HAUNT OPEN NEXT WEEKEND / DANCING IN THE SKY
If you're reading this now, you're a die-hard haunt fan or a haunt operator...so this message is just for you! Here's your chance to get an off-season haunt fix next weekend at┬ Darksyde Acres┬ in┬ Jonesville, Michigan. Oh yeah, there's a little thing called NASCAR that's happening the same weekend too nearby in┬ Brooklyn┬ at┬ Michigan International Speedway.
But who cares about some guys driving round and round and round and round...when you could be haunting?!
This is a top notch haunt that's on a serious mission: to someday become the largest haunt in┬ Michigan!!!┬ They've got hundreds and hundreds of acres available, and the crew is a dynamic mix that could pull this off. Who knows, maybe they'll score their own Guinness World Record some day.
As you know, the incredible┬ EREBUS┬ already clinched their own┬ Official Guinness Book World Record┬ years ago! We can't help but wonder what other haunt will be able to pull off this amazing feat again.
And now that┬ The Homer Mill is gone┬ (see JUNE 1, 2010 entry), a new responsibility/opportunity is facing┬ Darksyde Acres. We have every confidence they'll step up to the plate and deliver the goods...BIG TIME.┬ www.darksydeacres.com
We went to┬ DTE Energy Music Theater (formerly Pine Knob)┬ a couple weeks ago for the┬ Pink Floyd LaserSpectacular, now in its 23rd year from Paramount Studios. WOW!!!┬ www.laserspectacular.com┬
Special lighting is a big part of haunting, so we're always curious as to what the current state-of-the-art lighting effects are. One especially impressive effect goes by the trade name "Liquid Sky," which combines laser beams projected TOWARD the audience and fog machines or hazers. Often a fan is mounted behind the laser facing away from it, which draws air towards the laser...it looks like a spinning tunnel from the audiences view. (to be continued)
JULY 18, 2010 -┬ BE THE FIRST ON YOUR BLOCK WITH A COOL HEARSE!
Hey, 'ya wanna really┬ arrive in style┬ at your local, neighborhood Haunted Attraction instead of just┬ showing up?┬ Well, here's your big chance... the always wild and crazy Bodybagging Entertainment has announced they're raffling off a┬ custom Cadillac hearse┬ that's been featured at Darksyde Acres.
One of you lucky haunters is going to win...why not make it YOU? Just click here┬ www.winahearse.com
And don't forget the big event coming the weekend starting August 14th at Darksyde Acres in┬ Jonesville┬ coinciding with the NASCAR race at Michigan International Speedway nearby. They'll have free camping, live music, a hog roast, a car show and BEST OF ALL their way-cool Haunted House! Click here and go to "Special Events."┬ www.darksydeacres.com