HAUNTED HOUSE HOTLINE
A free public service from the
ZIOPTIS FOUNDATION in Detroit, The Haunted House Capital of the World.
WELCOME TO THE ZIOPTIS FOUNDATION HAUNTED HOUSE HOTLINE, your insider fast track to the HOTTEST HAUNTED ATTRACTIONS in Michigan and the whole nation! We attend as many haunts as possible each year, and post reviews that are archived for future reference.
Our mission is to give you an authentic feel of what each haunt is like, but without giving away too much. It's a challenge we're up to, because we don't want to spoil the experience for you!
Don't think of us as judges, but as storytellers. Every haunt has a story, and we'll bring it to life right here. It's almost like going to a haunted house without going to a haunted house!
You'll also find info on off-season haunt events as well as alternative entertainment, so stay tuned. Stuff like fireworks displays in the winter, free concerts, and where to see amazing automated Christmas light displays.
WE ARE INDEPENDENT AND NON-PROFIT. The website has large type and is dial-up friendly for maximum accessibility to all. Localities appear in red for easy identification. And the original, one and only Free ZIOPTIS DIAL-A-TRIP that started the ball rolling in 1986 is still available 24/7 at (313) 274-1111.
History - in the mid-90's, we started adding stories at the end of the Dial-A-Trip episodes in October about the coolest haunted houses we went to. So much interest was generated that in 1999 the decision was made to start a separate service, and the HAUNTED HOUSE HOTLINE was born!
NO ADVERTISING! NO COOKIES! JUST THE GOODS._____________________________________________________________________
AUGUST 11, 2022 THURSDAY 10 PM - TWO FOR ONE
We found out what happened with the STEVE AUGERI CONCERT, but too late for us to go or post the info either.
They did reschedule STEVE AUGERI for 6:30 PM on Sunday before the country concert at 8:30 PM.
So if you went, you saw both the original Saturday AND Sunday headliners in one night.
We went for the fireworks only on Sunday, having already checked out the rest of the festival Saturday. I also got some striking LIGHT PAINTING pictures of the Ferris Wheel and of course the fireworks on both nights. A new 18mm - 105mm zoom lens was the cherry on top, and my trusty NIKON DSLR has never been happier! Pics coming later, stand by my little monkeys!
AUGUST 7, 2022 SUNDAY 2 PM - SORRY ABOUT THAT!
Rats! Last night’s DEARBORN HOMECOMING HEADLINER STEVE AUGERI ( from JOURNEY) unexpectedly canceled yesterday. A staff member told us the band “was stuck in Washington.”
Will they play tonight? We don’t know, but this reminds us of another time they had to cancel fireworks due to rain. They rescheduled the fireworks about a month later, and a grand time was had by all.
We wouldn’t be surprised if a similar thing happens with the CANCELED STEVE AUGERI CONCERT. We’ll let you know when we find out.
However, RANDY HOUSER is still scheduled for tonight with fireworks following the show at 10 PM. The fireworks last night were excellent!
AUGUST 5, 2022 FRIDAY 2 AM - KABOOM!
There are two nights of FIREWORKS this weekend as part of the DEARBORN HOMECOMING FESTIVAL, which is back after a 2 year hiatus: https://www.dearbornhomecoming.com/
The festival has moved from Ford Field to the FORD COMMUNITY & PERFORMING ARTS CENTER at 15801 MICHIGAN AVE. which is at the corner of MICHIGAN AVE. & GREENFIELD.
The Saturday night concert headliner is STEVE AUGERI who was the lead singer for JOURNEY 1998 - 2006. The Sunday headliner features country music crooner RANDY HOUSER. Also of note on Friday at 6:30 PM is some old friends of ours SUNGLASSES AFTER DARK.
***EDITOR’S NOTE: This event somehow escaped our usually reliable friends at www.michiganfireworks.com ***
JULY 11, 2022 MONDAY 5 PM - BEHIND CLOSED DOORS
At this very moment many haunt operators are making decisions about their show for next season.
There are endless choices to make: what kind of sounds / music to use, story lines, actors, costumes / makeup, feasibility / logistics, concessions / merchandising, advertising / media, social media...wait a sec am I missing something?
What was it at BESTMAZE TRAIL OF TERRORS that TOTALLY WOWED US? What was it at THE REALM OF DARKNESS that took our breath away, many moons ago? What was it at TERRORTOWN that was the ENVY OF THE HAUNT INDUSTRY? What was it at EREBUS that totally freaked us out?
In every case above, it’s the “P” WORD.
So what exactly is the “P” WORD? No political sidestepping allowed here, the “P” WORD is PROPS.
A prop can be as simple as a paper bag and a flashlight, like I saw at my first haunted house (JAYCEE’S I think) in Dearborn many moons ago. Or it can be an artistic complex electronic masterpiece, like we saw last season with DEMON FURY at HAUNTED GARAGE PRODUCTIONS in GROSSE POINTE FARMS.
DEMON FURY was originally slated to be the center piece darling for DISTORTIONS at the 2020 TRANSWORLD SHOW, but it was canceled due to the worldwide Covid pandemic.
IF IT AIN’T BROKE DON’T FIX IT DUMMY
Every haunt would love to be able to completely re-invent itself every year with awesome props like DEMON FURY, but we know that’s not always possible. We never criticize haunts for not changing things up.
That said, we highly admire haunts that invest proceeds back into the haunt.
For those of you not familiar with DISTORTIONS, they’re a premiere source of highly distinctive haunt props. https://distortionsunlimited.com/
And JACKSON’S UNDERWORLD in JACKSON features some way cool DISTORTIONS characters that you can see in our FLICKR photostream: https://www.flickr.com/photos/45316911@N03/albums/72157650409830035
JULY 8, 2022 FRIDAY 4 PM - KA-BOOM!
Oh boy, there’s FIREWORKS TONIGHT! This time it’s with the long-running UNCLE SAM JAM in WOODHAVEN. Tonight’s headliner is GRAND FUNK RAILROAD. We looked at the band picture, and it looks like none of the original members are still with them: https://www.unclesamjamfest.com/
You’d probably still enjoy the show - many bands from long ago have gone this route.
UPDATE: Founding member of Grand Funk Railroad, Don Brewer, has tested positive for COVID-19 and the band will be postponing dates on their Some Kind Of Wonderful 2022 Tour. For updates go to www.grandfunkrailroad.com
NEW MUSIC SCHEDULE FOR FRIDAY:
6:45pm - 7:30pm Van Go Go
8:00pm - 8:45pm Wisteria
9:15pm - 10:00pm Levi R. Moore
10:30pm- 11:30pm Dave Hamilton Band
However, we do have a word of caution and it’s also why we decided to skip this event. The parking is in a large grass field, and we nearly got stuck in it one year that it also rained on event day. And they charged $5 for parking then, unknown about this year.
Here’s a LIGHT PAINTING PICTURE we took 10 years ago at the UNCLE SAM JAM: https://www.flickr.com/photos/45316911@N03/8352072641/in/album-72157632451342762/
JULY 2, 2022 SATURDAY 12:15 AM - KA-BOOM!
HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY WEEKEND! May your backyard cookout be juicy and delicious, and your fireworks massive and bombastic.
As always, for the latest and greatest fireworks listings check with our friends at www.MichiganFireworks.com
JULY 2, 2022 SATURDAY 12 MIDNIGHT - THE JOURNEY OF A LIFETIME
It’s been said that “The journey of a lifetime starts with a single step” and it’s hard to argue with that.
Recently we were driving on FORD ROAD in WESTLAND and saw SPARKS AUTO which was the original location of HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION. The haunt was an “add on” to their automotive business, with a RAD VINTAGE FORD MOTOR MODEL T in absolutely cherry condition in the front window.
Being an addition, HUSH only had so much room to work with. But they had ambitious creative plans, and made a KILLER HAUNT with what little they had to work with.
They kept their eyes open for opportunities to expand, and ended up acquiring a much larger space at the site of the former SKATELAND WEST also in WESTLAND.
Fast forward to today, and HUSH has become a PREMIERE MEGA HAUNT that continues to evolve.
But this isn’t the only haunt with such a fabulous success story.
Take for example EREBUS, which started as a trailer haunt called HAUNTED GALLERY. They eventually moved into a MASSIVE 4 STORY WAREHOUSE and even were crowned THE WORLD’S LARGEST INDOOR HAUNT by GUINNESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS!
THE MAKING OF THE NEXT PREMIERE MEGA HAUNT?
So last season we were anxious to check out a new haunt in BIRCH RUN called HYSTERIA HAUNT.
Sure enough, crowds had gathered and they put on an excellent show.
Later,we called them and talked further about things like where they’re at and where they envisioned going. It takes a lot of gumption and drive to actually put on a quality haunt, and we had some constructive criticism to offer.
We can’t wait to see what happens next season with HYSTERIA HAUNT!
Could this be the beginning of something that eventually becomes a behemoth that everybody is talking about?
We’ve seen that exact scenario develop time and again. So who knows? The day may come when HYSTERIA HAUNT has the biggest and brightest search light beckoning haunters from far and wide!
Anything is possible. And when it comes to haunted attractions, that is an absolutely fabulous thing!
JULY 1, 2022 FRIDAY 10 PM - UP IN FLAMES
OH NO! EL TOPO RESTAURANT in FENTON has been extensively damaged in a massive fire that burned 4 businesses in downtown Fenton a few days ago: https://www.wnem.com/2022/06/28/four-buildings-damaged-fenton-fire/
We went to this little gem several times ourselves during haunt season, and it was fabulous!
And at the rear of the restaurant was a “secret” hidden entrance to an old-fashioned SPEAKEASY. One resident in the above TV NEWS REPORT mentions it, and also the recent loss of the HISTORIC HOLLY HOTEL.
JUNE 22, 2022 WEDNESDAY 6 AM - UP IN FLAMES
OH NO! The HISTORIC HOLLY HOTEL has been extensively damaged in a massive fire, with firefighters battling through the night.
This reminds us of something they told us long ago at the HAUNTED OPERA HALL in HOWELL. They said one of the spookiest things about the place was the fact that it hadn’t burned down yet!
Other buildings were totally destroyed in this fire, and we are so sorry to hear this bad news.
JUNE 12, 2022 SUNDAY 7 AM - KA-BOOM!
Oh boy, it’s FIREWORKS IN MELVINDALE tonight as the MELVINDALE DAYS FESTIVAL wraps up Sunday night.
We usually park at the POST OFFICE on ALLEN ROAD and just watch the fireworks from there. It’s super close to the launch point, so the impact is excellent and a quick getaway is assured afterwards.
As usual, thanks to our friends at www.michiganfireworks.com for keeping us informed about all things pyrotechnic in Michigan!
JUNE 9, 2022 THURSDAY 4 PM - MAJOR BREAKING NEWS ALERT
BLAKE’S IS BUYING ERWINS!
HOORAY, we’ve been so concerned with what was going to happen with Erwin’s since they left the haunt market.
We previously had seen ERWIN’S in the local TV news, with talk of a possible new commercial development that drew ire from locals. Thank goodness that never happened! The new plan is in start contrast to former “horrible plans” (according to Trustee Sean O'Neil).
FOR HE’S A JOLLY GOOD FELLOW / WHICH NOBODY CAN DENY
Hats off to PAUL & PETER BLAKE for making this major much-needed move happen!
We totally understand why ERWIN’S retired, and can’t fault them in any way for calling it quits.
So what will Blake’s do? For starters, the orchard will be expanded by 12,500 square feet! The article does not mention haunted attraction aspects, but there could always be behind-the-scenes planning going on. We might have to wait until the HAUNT GUIDE & FEAR FINDER come out to find out!
Regardless of whether or not a haunt is in the future again at the site, we are SO HAPPY to hear this big news.
MAY 18, 2022 WEDNESDAY 5:30 PM - DO YOU BELIEVE IN PARANORMAL EVENTS?
Here’s an adventurous Michigan couple with an interesting Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/hauntedMichiganexperiences/?ref=page_internal
MAY 18, 2022 WEDNESDAY 5 PM - UNDER THE RADAR
Our apologies to FACTORY OF THE DEAD in SAGINAW for missing them on the announcement of haunts that were open on Friday The 13th last week.
They’re well known for hosting off-season events. We checked their website, but didn’t see anything so we e-mailed them and didn’t see the response until it was too late. Sorry about that! FACTORY OF THE DEAD is a killer haunt, with an incredible building to boot. https://factoryofthedead.com/
MAY 13, 2022 FRIDAY 5 PM - DRINK UP & GET DOWN!
If you go to any ONE OF THREE COOL HAUNTS OPEN TONIGHT*, be sure to stay hydrated. We suggest you refrain from indulging any OVERPOWERING URGE TO DRINK BLOOD and stick with water or Mango Avocado Smoothies.
* = See HAUNTS OPEN LIST here: http://www.zioptis.com/html/what_s_next.shtml
TO YOUR HEALTH - A TOAST OF TERROR
MAY 13, 2022 FRIDAY 4 PM - OF PLASMA AND PLEASURE
Plasma is the liquid portion of blood, according to Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_plasma
That means plasma is the part you can drink...but aren’t there laws about that?
Regardless, the issue of PLASMA BEING YOUR BEVERAGE OF CHOICE carries with it potential social stigma issues that also may cause permanent psychological stains that won’t go away.
That said, we now have additional exclusive evidence of SUSPICIOUS ARTIFICIAL WOLF REMAINS being found at an unspecified local haunted forest. Could it be this incident is only a SPECTACULARLY STAGED HAUNTED ATTRACTION GAG? Inquiring minds want to know...
These questions, and many more, will NOT be answered at this time for purposes of misdirection. For now we can only tell you there is strong suspicion that LOCAL HAUNT ICON RED REX is at the center of this CONFUSING CONTROVERSY. Shocking details to be disclosed later pending prudent legal advice likely to be ignored.
Also...stay tuned for a ZIOPTIS EXCLUSIVE INSIDER REPORT concerning A MAJOR AREA HAUNT - IT’S COLOSSAL!
MAY 13, 2022 FRIDAY 2 PM - AVOID DISAPPOINTMENT & FUTURE REGRET
HAPPY FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH, IT’S YOUR LUCKY DAY!
Take a look at this TIKTOK video: https://www.tiktok.com/@m_rex_b/video/7096678121050475819?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1
If above link doesn’t work try this: https://www.tiktok.com/@m_rex_b
HOLY MOLY! That’s some wild makeup, pro level for sure but it’s not from HOLLYWOOD. It’s from our friends at TERRORFIED FOREST in PINCKNEY, which is open tonight along with DERANGED in ROMULUS and PHRYTE VILLAGE in LAKE ORION.
NEWS FLASH - SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT!
“IT’S FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH & YOUR LUCK JUST RAN OUT” is what LOCAL HAUNT ICON RED REX allegedly shouted early this afternoon at a VISCOUS WOLF in an unspecified forest, according to an eyewitness who would speak only upon condition of remaining anonymous.
A brief confrontation escalated into a BLOODY BATTLE, with the shocking incident ending at an as-yet unspecified east side junkyard.
“It was brutal, it was bloody...she dismembered this unfortunate beast then licked her lips like it was VINTAGE DON PERIGNON,” said the shocked bystander.
This may speak to persistent rumors that RED REX IS A BLOOD DRINKER. Former rumors concerning RED REX HAVING A PET BAT were confirmed by independent sources familiar with the situation.
More gory details coming up! https://www.terrorfiedforest.com/
There are THREE HAUNTS OPEN TONIGHT, get out there or suffer DISAPPOINTMENT & FUTURE REGRET of missing out on a good time! (see list below)
MAY 12, 2022 THURSDAY 12 NOON - TRUE INSPIRATION THAT ROCKS
You’ve probably heard the phrase “DETROIT ROCK CITY” which seems to have been started by the band KISS.
There’s even a fun coming-of-age movie called DETROIT ROCK CITY, about some kids trying to get tickets to a sold-out KISS SHOW AT COBO HALL in DETROIT. (It was made in Canada.)
So DETROIT & ROCK ‘N’ ROLL go together like peanut butter and jelly.
And it was a DETROIT ROCK ‘N’ ROLL song that reportedly inspired legendary band SLAYER. Which song would that be? You’ve certainly heard of the artist, but still you might not recognize the EXACT SONG THAT INSPIRED SLAYER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcuE5a9l5Yc
Jam on, my little monkeys!
BTW, this song was not played on CKLW or WKNR yet was a staple on WABX, WWWW and WRIF. (The video accompaniment is “HELL'S BELLS, a Walt Disney Silly Symphony from 1929.)
MAY 11, 2022 WEDNESDAY 5 PM - FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH WITH THE WIZARD OF OZ
“Back in the day,” THE WIZARD OF OZ was shown on TV only once per year. It was a big deal and millions gathered around small glowing boxes, reciting favorite lines and shrieking at flying monkeys and such...
Also “back in the day,” certain haunts were epic standouts that were MUST SEE HAUNTS to us.
Randomly, here are a few: ERWIN’S ORCHARDS in SOUTH LYON, BLAKE’S in ARMADA, KRAZY HILDA’S in YPSILANTI, NIGHT TERRORS AT WIARD’S in YPSILANTI, THE SCREAM MACHINE in TAYLOR, TERRORFIED FOREST in PINCKNEY, SLAUGHTERHOUSE in FOWLERVILLE, THE HAUNTING in ADRIAN, REALM OF DARKNESS in PONTIAC, THE BONE YARD in STOCKBRIDGE, DEADLY INTENTIONS in WARREN, SINISTER in UTICA & TERRORTOWN in TOLEDO, OHIO.
Okay, so that’s 13 haunts we mentioned.
But ONLY ONE of them will be open this coming FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH which is TERRORFIED FOREST in PINCKNEY. This is a legendary haunt for many reasons. They recently had to actually turn down a request to be featured on the NATION WIDE TV show THE WORLD’S GREATEST on BLOOMBERG ION NETWORK TV due to logistics. This might still happen later!
One key factor at any haunt is costumes / makeup. It could be just some grease paint smeared on, or an elaborate involved procedure to rival the best HOLLYWOOD can dish out. Take a look at this COSPLAY pic from a member of the TERRORFIED FOREST team:
TERRORFIED FOREST boasts an amazing 98% RETURN RATE of actors, which also translates to a very high RETURN RATE of patrons.
The back story here is fabulous and can be found in Archive 38, under OCTOBER 3, 2020 SATURDAY 3 PM - HOW SOUTH CAROLINA SAVED HAUNTING in MICHIGAN, SORTA
MAY 11, 2022 WEDNESDAY 3 PM - SAND THROUGH THE HOURGLASS
FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH and HALFWAY TO HALLOWEEN? It sounds like cause to celebrate to us, and certainly to some haunt operators eager to dish out the madness!
We’ve got DERANGED HAUNT in ROMULUS, PHRYTE VILLAGE in LAKE ORION & TERRORFIED FOREST in PINCKNEY open FRIDAY MAY 13, 2022 and DERANGED also open on Saturday May 14th.
We predict all three of these haunts will deliver the goods!
Every haunt has its’ own nuances and artistic styling. Take for example this random photo we found on the Facebook page of TERRORFIED FOREST:
MAY 9, 2022 MONDAY 4 PM - A BIZARRE BAZAAR TO SHAKE THINGS UP
Here’s an item of interest, from our friends at the totally amazing ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY. It’s their FIRST ANNUAL BIZARRE BAZAAR, and it looks like big fun and big opportunity! https://facebook.com/events/s/rotten-manors-1st-annual-bizza/302319411979328/
ROTTEN MANOR has quickly become what many consider to be the PREMIERE DETROIT MEGA HAUNT, certainly no small feat considering that DETROIT IS THE WORLD CAPITAL OF HAUNTED HOUSES!
ROTTEN MANOR had another highly successful season in 2021, highlighted by the addition of their wild & highly artistic ROTTEN HAYRIDE. There seems to be NO LIMIT as to what this haunt is capable of doing!
MAY 9, 2022 MONDAY 3 PM - OH LUCKY DAY!
FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH will be a LUCKY DAY, as select haunts will be open including TERRORFIED FOREST in PINCKNEY. Stand by...
MAY 3, 2022 TUESDAY 2 PM - LET YOUR FINGERS DO THE WALKING
No, not the Yellow Pages. It’s the new video that dropped last month from THE DARKNESS in ST. LOUIS, MO. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FACO_06Kdtc
We’ve heard lots of crazy things about this haunt!
APRIL 25, 2022 MONDAY 2 PM - MAD SCIENTISTS AFTER MIDNIGHT
As you’re reading this, haunt operators are toiling in their secret workshops to create the next BIG WOWS that will thrill and delight the masses next haunt season.
It’s no easy task, but it’s a labor of love they’re driven to...thank goodness! Somehow they always find a way to up the ante and surprise us yet again, year after year.
And even some amateur yard haunts are busy planning for next season. For them “TRICK OR TREAT” might mean the kids get a trick as well as a treat. Here’s some fun suggestions from magician Rich Ferguson: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JZCAaO_QK
FEBRUARY 4, 2022 FRIDAY 11:11 AM - ENTERTAINING OR GROTESQUE - THE FINE LINE BETWEEN ART & INSANITY
When it comes to haunted attractions, everybody wants to know what the next BIG WOW will be...
The public has an insatiable appetite for thrills that dazzle and amaze, and we’ve seen this spill over to YARD HAUNTS too...speaking of which...
We finally made it to TILLSON STREET in ROMEO last season to see firsthand this LOCAL LEGEND that keeps evolving to new heights. Each and every house on both sides of the block is an adventure into another spooky scenario. The one exception was an undecorated house that had a sign saying they have the WORLD’S LARGEST INVISIBLE MONSTER!
The displays varied as much as day & night, but all pretty much conform to community standards. There’s an unspoken agreement it seems about production values and such. Thousand of families from other cities visit every year, so public relations is a consideration...porta-johns in place and such...
That being said, inevitably some will PUSH THE ENVELOPE* a little too far with their YARD HAUNTS like in this article that KS from DEARBORN sent to us...special thanks to her! https://www.boredpanda.com/extreme-realistic-halloween-decorations-police/?utm_source=com.google.android&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=organic
* = Who remembers FOUR BEARS WATER PARK in UTICA with their ill-advised STRIPPER CAGE ROOMS?
FEBRUARY 3, 2022 THURSDAY 11:11 PM - DON’T BE LEFT OUT / SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT
If you have a haunt (not listed below) that’ll be open for Valentine’s Day, email us right away at zioptisfoundation@gmail so we can add you to the list.
We always seek to have complete and accurate info, and speaking of which:
Special thanks to our buddy Joel at www.horrorlust.com for letting us know of a correction concerning the final fate of the legendary G.I.Y.R.A. HAUNT in GROSSE ILE.
After its’ controversial run as THE CHOP SHOP in 2005, the site hosted THE LAB from 2006-2009 and that was the last time a haunt appeared there. It now serves as storage for athletic equipment, which reminds us of PAPP PARK HAUNT in TAYLOR which was run by the local LITTLE LEAGUE BASEBALL.
PAPP PARK had a trailer walk thru haunt and an excellent hayride. One time we had a neophyte with us on the hayride, and she was horrified to see one scene featuring a newlywed couple decked out in (donated) formal wear having a horrible argument.
The husband won’t let her get a word in edgewise, and is borderline physically abusive. “How can they allow that?” our friend protested but we said to relax, there could be more to the story.
Sure enough, later the scene is revisited with the bride getting big revenge. She reveals an ax she’s been hiding, takes aim and swiftly decapitates her disrespectful sorry excuse for a husband! He falls down, and blood spurts out of his neck after his head falls on the ground. The scene was clearly carefully rehearsed, and performed with dead-on precision.
Now our friend was cheering with great enthusiasm. The intense juxtaposition image of the beautiful bride wearing a real top-notch wedding gown wielding an ax was absolutely fabulous! And it made an instant BIG HAUNT FAN of our skeptical friend.
FEBRUARY 2, 2022 WEDNESDAY 10 PM - A VALENTINE’S DATE FROM BEYOND
VALENTINE’S DAY is fast approaching, so it’s time to make special plans for that special someone in your life.
Dinner and a movie is okay, but why not CRANK IT TO ELEVEN with an unforgettable experience?
HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION in WESTLAND, PHRYTE VILLAGE in ORION TOWNSHIP and FACTORY OF THE DEAD in SAGINAW have special VALENTINE’S DAY SHOWS that promise big thrills. www.valentinehauntdetroit.com www.factoryofthedead.com www.phrytevillage.com
These are all PRIMO HAUNTS that we feel confident in recommending!
JANUARY 26, 2022 WEDNESDAY 1 PM - THE TRIUMPHANT RETURN, JUST BARELY
HAPPY NEW YEAR! Finally back in town after a longer than anticipated holiday season with my girlfriend. She came down with the dreaded COVID-19 VIRUS, but oddly I did not which had me playing nurse to a real life nurse!
DECEMBER 24, 2021 FRIDAY 2 PM - HO HO HO!
MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR in advance. We wish you the best!
We’ll be out of town for awhile, but be sure to tune in after the New Year for a SPECIAL REPORT you won’t want to miss!
DECEMBER 11, 2021 SATURDAY 11 AM - WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!
As promised, here’s the TOTALLY BONKERS GAG we mentioned earlier.
First, we’ll describe the gag then give the reveal:
Imagine you arrive at a haunt, and there’s a long line and people are running and screaming out the exit...
Finally, it’s your turn and you enter with no idea what’s ahead. There’s lots of black passageways mixed up with blinding displays and occasional MEGA STROBE blasts. The sound system is pro audio, CROWN power amps and EAW speakers. The bass shakes your tummy, just as it should.
SHAKEN AND STIRRED
No, it’s not a confused James Bond.
Eventually, you come to what looks like a small tunnel to crawl through. It’s roomy and designed for comfort with padded floor and carpeting. It should be a piece of cake, and the exit isn’t far ahead.
But after you enter the exit and entrance slam shut, and you’re trapped. Suddenly, the “tunnel” starts moving forward faster and faster. Finally, it slows down and stops and you expect the exit to open.
However the “tunnel” starts moving again, backwards! It gets better...
Now the entire “tunnel” starts spinning round and round clockwise whilst continuing its’ path across a large room that you never see.
Finally, the “tunnel” stops and you’re back where you started but the entrance and exit remain closed.
A very rapid forward motion resumes and then the “tunnel” starts spinning round and round but counterclockwise this time.
After this TRIFECTA OF MOTION MADNESS the exit finally opens and your journey continues. HOW THE HECK DID THEY DO THAT?
This PRIMO GAG was a custom creation of THE EXTREME SCREAM which was a long running haunt in TAYLOR, before they moved to WATERFORD and then disappeared.
The setup was custom made, featuring a straight metal track across a big room. The propulsion was manpower, with a dedicated crew that pushed and then spun this clever contraption! The “tunnel” could be pushed in a straight line, and also spun around while traveling as it was attached to a massive industrial pivoting mechanism.
We’ve seen custom contraptions at other haunts too, such as the DISAPPEARING EASY CHAIR gag at SLAUGHTERHOUSE in FOWLERVILLE and a spinning “room” at the long defunct HAUNTED THEATRE HOUSE in DETROIT.
One other spinning “room” was at a FLASH IN THE PAN HAUNT in MELVINDALE that resembled a merry-go-round.
We even saw a miniature ROLLER COASTER at the long defunct HERSHEY HAUNTED HOUSE in DEARBORN.
Who will be the next haunt to brainstorm and build an original WACKY PHYSICAL THRILL GAG?
Only time will tell. Haunt operators are at this very moment imagining new THRILLS & CHILLS, as well as FANTASTIC FANTASIES.
The incredible GINGERBREAD HOUSE at ROTTEN MANOR and their new ROTTEN HAYRIDE come to mind. Following the NURSERY RHYME THEME of the GINGERBREAD HOUSE, we saw a whimsical tribute to the 3 LITTLE PIGS in the ROTTEN HAYRIDE.
DECEMBER 7, 2021 TUESDAY 4 PM - WE’RE BAAACK!
Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving as we did.
Later we’ll tell you about a TOTALLY BONKERS GAG from a local haunt that shakes you up, spins you around (literally), and then spits you out wondering what the heck just happened!
Even if you went to every haunt in Michigan this last season, it’s guaranteed you didn’t see this.
Huh? Stay tuned, my little monkeys...
NOVEMBER 24, 2021 WEDNESDAY 3 PM - GOBBLE GOBBLE!
HAPPY THANKSGIVING in advance to everybody!
May your turkey be moist and your loved ones near.
Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother’s house we go...
Okay, it’s not grandmother’s house we’re going to. But we’ll be gone for about a week.
Lots more great stuff to tell you about when we get back!
And don’t forget that Christmas In Ida is coming soon, with a free country concert, fireworks, and a massive parade featuring HOLIDAY HOUNDS ON PARADE. It’s a hoot! http://www.christmasinida.com/
NOVEMBER 18, 2021 THURSDAY 5 PM - ONCE IN A LIFETIME / A CAUTIONARY TALE part 2
When we left our story, all was finally well with the new haunt that overcame every imaginable obstacle.
The FREE PIZZA GIVEAWAY at the exit was the icing on the cake, and the operation is the closest thing to a MONEY MAKING MACHINE short of printing it yourself.
The crew & actors are already excited about next year, and you start plans for the following season.
It should be a piece of cake, right? You’ve dotted all the I’s and crossed all the T’s. You’ve made contingency plans for every one of the things that went wrong, and even for others that went right.
The haunt season ends, and ZIOPTIS and others give you much deserved excellent reviews.
FINALLY, you’re part of the elite group of DETROIT MEGA HAUNT operators. The thrill of victory! Thanksgiving and Christmas take on a new level of meaning, as you give thanks for the many blessings that came only after working your butt off.
Winter gives way to spring & summer...the new show is coming together nicely...
Life is good. What could possibly go wrong?
RING! RING! It’s the property manager calling with bad news. Although you have a multi-year lease for the haunt, an “escape clause” in the contract is being invoked. It essentially says that you can stay indefinitely, as long as we still own the place.
Unfortunately, a big time developer has just bought the entire complex and has different plans for the property.
A FLASH IN THE PAN
Unbelievable! Just like that, all that blood, sweat, and tears...POOF!
A new location can’t be found. Without their new haunt to perform at, the actors have no choice but to find other haunts to work at.
Past this, we don’t know exactly what happened...and we’re almost afraid to find out...
Nothing man-made lasts forever, but it’s sad to see something like this happen to such a passionate haunt operator.
This reminds us of what happened with JOHNNY APPLESEEDS in MACOMB COUNTY. It was a rustic cider mill that had a haunt, until a developer bulldozed it down to make a strip mall. AARGH!
As horrible as these stories are, we have to remember what that smart guy Napoleon Hill said in “Think and Grow Rich.” It’s something like this: Every problem/setback in life also carries with it the seed of an equal or greater success.
Well, guess what? The guy who had the haunt at JOHNNY APPLESEEDS eventually came back BIGGER & BETTER when he launched the wildly successful SCAREFEST SCREAM PARK in LENOX TWP.
**SIDEBAR** SCAREFEST continues to perform a SIGNATURE STUNT they started at JOHNNY APPLESEEDS called “THE CHARGE!” It’s a once-per-night-only gag staged at opening time.
The entire cast lies in hiding behind a movie screen at the queue line area. A short movie plays, then the cast literally breaks through the screen to attack the crowd. A GIANT WINNER!
So you never know what can happen. Will the FLASH IN THE PAN haunt operator pop up with a deviously fabulous new master plan?
We can’t say, but this much we can promise: If he ever does another haunt, we’ll be among the first in line!
NOVEMBER 18, 2021 THURSDAY 2 PM - FIREWORKS TONIGHT
The WAYNE COUNTY LIGHTFEST kicks off tonight.. It’s a magical four-mile stretch of Hines Park, displaying nearly 50 animated themed displays and more than 100,000 lights.
The Opening Ceremony is from 6:00 - 6:30 PM, when a fireworks display will light up the sky at the entrance off of MERRIMAN ROAD in WESTLAND.
Admission is free tonight, after that it’s $5. https://www.waynecounty.com/departments/publicservices/parks/wayne-county-lightfest.aspx
NOVEMBER 15, 2021 MONDAY 11 PM - ONCE IN A LIFETIME / A CAUTIONARY TALE
Imagine for a moment that you’ve decided to create your own HAUNTED ATTRACTION, and that price is no object.
The hankering to make your own haunt has become an obsession, and you won’t stop until you make it happen.
Congratulations! You’re part of a very select group of people with a unique passion for WOWING THE MASSES.
You’ve already seen all the haunts in Michigan, so you go on a whirlwind tour visiting HUNDREDS of haunts across North America.
You go to HAUNTCON and TRANSWORLD, and visit SCARE FACTORY in OHIO.
A NICE PROBLEM TO HAVE
Pieces of a big puzzle begin putting themselves together in your brain.
You fill a warehouse with ghoulish goodies, and develop a story line that brings the whole kit-and-kaboodle together. You have enough cool stuff to change the show every year.
Searching far and wide, finally the perfect location is found. This is meant to be a long-term project, so you secure the property for several years.
The feasibility studies show the potential to be a NEW PRIMO DETROIT MEGA HAUNT.
It sound likes everything should be peachy, right?
What could possibly go wrong?
TRUE STORY - ONLY THE NAMES HAVE BEEN OMITTED
Lots of media coverage and advertising ensues, and the market is abuzz with great anticipation.
Opening Night is approaching. The finishing touches are made, and all the actors have been hired and coached where needed. Dress rehearsals confirm that the show is ready to hit the big time in DETROIT, THE HAUNTED HOUSE CAPITAL OF THE WORLD.
But then unanticipated problems delay things for Opening Night, and a frantic effort ensues until everything is back on track.
Finally, the new Opening Night date is announced and anxious haunters line up. At long last the doors open and the FANS EAT IT UP and come running & screaming out the exit...what a relief!
From here on it should be smooth sailing. It’s a well-oiled machine, cranking out happy patrons just as you planned. The worst must be behind you now, right?
NOT FOR THE SQUEAMISH
WORD ON THE STREETS about your haunt ends up bringing more customers than the advertising! Whew, right?
You notice a pizza joint within a stones throw of the haunt, and strike up a deal with them. You start GIVING AWAY PIZZA at the exit. FREE PIZZA is the next best thing to FREE BEER, right? This is some powerful publicity, and word spreads quickly.
Life is good. All that time & effort finally paid off. Everything that could’ve gone wrong already did. The equipment & props are working perfectly, and the actors have fine-tuned their performances. No worries, right?
EXPERIENCED PROFESSIONALS ONLY - DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME KIDS!
(Conclusion coming soon!)
NOVEMBER 12, 2021 FRIDAY 12:30 PM - THE LAST HURRAH
According to their website, FACTORY OF THE DEAD in SAGINAW is open tonight and tomorrow nights Nov. 12 & 13. www.factoryofthedead.com
We left voice mail for them, but have not heard back for confirmation. But this haunt has been reliable in the past, and has championed off-season events too so they should be good to go.
The giant building they have is amazing!
If SAGINAW is too far, don’t despair. ROTTEN MANOR in HOLLY will be returning soon with A BLOODY CHRISTMAS. We’ve been to this in past years, and it was fabulous! www.rottenmanor.com
NOVEMBER 11, 2021 THURSDAY 12 NOON - CRAZY COSTUMES
Oh you silly internet! Always more fun to find, like here: https://www.domesticatedcompanion.com/60-of-the-most-creative-halloween-costume-ideas/
NOVEMBER 11, 2021 THURSDAY 11:11 AM - ONLY TWICE PER YEAR
HAPPY ELEVEN ELEVEN ELEVEN ELEVEN!
NOVEMBER 11, 2021 THURSDAY 6 AM - FLY THE FRIENDLY SKIES OF GROSSE ILE
BANG BANG BANG! MR. ROOF is putting a new roof on the house today, so it’ll be a good time for me to run an errand at GROSEE ILE AIRPORT taking pics of an airplane we need to sell.
Ah memories of GROSSE ILE...anyone else remember the G.I.Y.R.A. HAUNT in an unused aviation building?
The final gag was a doozie! They showed a scary movie excerpt, and told you to hold on to a secure railing. Anyone ignoring this advice quickly changed their mind and complied when monsters popped out from the movie screen and the entire room started moving!
The “floor” was attached to a powerful hydraulic lift, programmed in a wild herky jerky sequence. This same concept is used at SLAUGHTERHOUSE with a “room” attached to a SKY TRACKER, an industrial machine designed to construct apartment buildings and such.
The G.I.R.Y.A. HAUNT also had up & down ramps to navigate, similar to the ones at ABANDONDED and later at AZRA.
Later, the building was the site of JOHN BURTON’S CHOP SHOP. They pushed the envelope...some said way too far...and they closed up shop after only one year.
THE ALPHA & THE OMEGA
And that was the last time the building was used as a haunt to our knowledge, another example that NOTHING man-made lasts forever!
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
(still being written)
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. It‚Äs t¬
OCTOBER 30, 2021 SATURDAY 7 PM -¬ AND WE‚ÄRE OFF
Time to head out...can‚Ät wait for yet another¬ GREAT NIGHT OF HAUNTING!
And¬ HAPPY HAUNTING TO YOU,¬ wherever you may roam...whether it‚Äs 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 ‚Äėem 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‚Äs 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‚ÄS RIGHT FOLKS, DON‚ÄT TOUCH THAT DIAL!
Be sure to come back after¬ NEW YEAR‚ÄS DAY¬ for an exclusive special report. And of course, we‚Äll be reporting off-season events of interest so stay tuned.
ZIOPTIS...it‚Äs not just for Halloween anymore!
OCTOBER 30, 2021 SATURDAY 3 PM -¬ ¬ BIG CITY SATURDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
BOO HOO! It‚Äs 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‚Äve made the decision to stay in¬ DETROIT¬ tonight. After all,¬ DETROIT IS THE WORLD CAPITAL OF HAUNTED HOUSES!
And that‚Äs 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.¬
and¬ ¬ https://detroit.cbslocal.com/2014/10/23/metro-detroit-called-the-haunted-house-capital-of-the-world/
**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 a¬ DETROIT HAUNT.
So tonight we‚Äll visit two¬ DETROIT HAUNTS¬ that won¬ MULTIPLE ZIOPTIS AWARDS:¬ AZRA CHAMBER OF HORRORS¬ in¬ MADISON HEIGHTS¬ and¬ HAUNTED GARAGE PRODUCTIONS¬ in¬ 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‚Ät believe it‚Äs already¬ Devil‚Äs Night!
There are just so many haunts we wish we could‚Äve made it to.
We had a blast in¬ Ohio¬ for sure, but now it‚Äs gonna be¬ DEVIL‚ÄS NIGHT IN DETROIT¬ for us...probably.
‚ÄúYeah right Zioptis...we remember all the times you had BIG CITY PLANS IN DETROIT for DEVIL‚ÄS NIGHT or HALLOWEEN and you ended up in some dinky little WEBBERVILLE that has like 2 traffic lights...maybe.‚ÄĚ
Ummm, you‚Äre 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‚Äs guaranteed you‚Äll get wet!¬ LOVED THE ALLIGATORS.
After¬ DISTRACTED¬ blows your mind with tons of great actors, suddenly¬ June Cleaver¬ welcomes you to¬ THE RECOVERY ZONE.¬ She‚Äs 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‚Äs often been said that¬ time flies when you‚Äre having fun,¬ and we agree.
As to whether or not¬ pigs can fly,¬ well we‚Äve seen that too!
When going to haunts, you never know what fantastic and whimsical kinds of things await. That‚Äs 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‚Äs what keeps the crowds coming year after year.
There‚Äs 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‚Äs 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‚Äre seeing in some¬ USA¬ YARD HAUNTS¬ is incredible!
Here‚Äs 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‚Äve 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‚Äs 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 ‚Äúroom‚ÄĚ at¬ SLAUGHTERHOUSE¬ that suddenly rises and shakes around at various angles! Nobody else has done anything¬ THIS EXTREME¬ (yet totally safe)¬ that we‚Äve 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 “roomÄ”Ě.
The ‚Äúroom‚ÄĚ 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‚Ät 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‚Äs the same upside down or right side up as well as forwards or backwards.
Some people think it‚Äs 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‚Äre about to¬ ‚Äúspill some beans‚ÄĚ 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‚Äs 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 ‚Äúelectronic music‚ÄĚ and¬ ORGANIZED SOUND¬ by¬ TOD DOCKSTADER.
Listen to this (from 1966) and imagine it‚Äs 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‚Ät make it to¬ ASHLEY, now home to¬ TWO HAUNTS!¬ TERROR ON 27¬ always delivered the goods, but we‚Äve 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 ‚Äúroom‚ÄĚ that suddenly goes herky-jerky and becomes airborne. It can rise as much as 20 feet safely!
JACKSON‚ÄS UNDERWORLD and DARKSYDE ACRES¬ would make a¬ POWER PACKED DUO¬ of haunts to visit.
THE HAUNT and SCREAM PARK...WOWSER BIG TIME!
BLAKE‚ÄS BIG APPLE, SCAREFEST SCREAM PARK, & NIGHT TERRORS AT WIARD‚ÄS¬ are all¬ KILLER ULTRA HAUNTS.
We could go on and on, but it‚Äs time to brew some¬ TRADER JOE‚ÄS PUMPKIN SPICED COFFEE...
OCTOBER 27, 2021 WEDNESDAY 10 PM -¬ UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN
Haunts come, and haunts go. It‚Äs just the nature of the beast...
You never know when the show you‚Äre seeing ends up being their¬ SWAN SONG.
It‚Äs brutal. But that‚Äs life. The best laid plans...don‚Ät always work out.
But it‚Äs more than the haunt we miss when this happens, because we‚Äre 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‚ÄS,¬ 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 ‚ÄėYA NICOLE PLEASE COME BACK!
Sometimes, haunts do come back from the grave and that‚Äs cause for great celebration.¬ THE SCREAM MACHINE¬ disappeared then came back, for example.
Can‚Ät 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 ‚Äúprops‚ÄĚ including real body parts from freshly slaughtered pigs! Also we loved your¬ GIANT DRIVE THRU BLACK HOLE¬ like we‚Äve 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‚Äs 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‚Äre friends. It‚Äs a long fabulous story!
We can‚Ät 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¬ ‚ÄúMOM‚ÄĚ¬ 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‚Äre 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‚Ät 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 we‚Äre brainstorming crazy possibilities for a new major feature...¬
So will¬ HAUNTED FARM OF TERROR¬ make a comeback?
We can‚Ät say.
But this much we can promise - if¬ HAUNTED FARM OF TERROR¬ ever comes back we‚Äll be among the first to show up and celebrate one of the¬ TRULY GREAT HAUNTS OF ALL TIME!¬ Miss ‚Äėya 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‚Äs¬ BONADEO FARMS FULL MOON MANOR HAUNTED HOUSE & FIELD OF SCREAMS CORN MAZE¬ in¬ HIGHLAND.
We haven‚Ät been to¬ BONADEO¬ for years, but they impressed us every time we went. Here‚Äs 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‚Äre persistent buggers.
Don‚Ät try to hide either, it won‚Ät do any good. If you have blood, they will find you.
And if you have candy too, they‚Äll find you even faster.¬ NUTRAGEOUS¬ and¬ SNICKERS¬ are preferred.
Don‚Ät 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‚Äs another top level recommendation from someone ‚Äúin the know‚ÄĚ 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‚Ät miss it.
We haven‚Ät been to this in quite some time, but if we can we‚Äre 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‚ÄS 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‚Ät been to¬ AZRA¬ since 2019 when they¬ WON THREE ZIOPTIS AWARDS!¬ They have 13 new rooms for 2021, and we can‚Ät 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 the¬ 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‚Äve 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‚Äs 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‚Ät 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‚Äs 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‚Ät purple. And it was actually a chicken, not people.
Every year, killer haunts come and go. It‚Äs just the way it is, fair or not.
Even putting together a¬ FIRST CLASS SHOW¬ is no guarantee you‚Äll 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‚Äs¬ 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‚Äve 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‚ÄT 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‚Ät hurt, but it‚Äs 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 FRIGHT 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 email@example.com
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=faceboo k&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.
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 Ä- 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.
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!
Rest In Peace, Adam T. Ladd
June 19, 1974 - May 30, 2014