NEWS & Other Stuff
THE ZIOPTIS 2018 STATE OF THE INDUSTRY ADDRESS
2018 was a mixed bag of both great change and stability for the Michigan Haunt Scene, which is to be expected!
First, the stability. EREBUS remains as the MEGA HAUNT KING OF THE HILL in the Detroit Market. Other major haunts like SLAUGHTERHOUSE, BLAKE’S and WIARD’S also have retained their status as industry leaders.
On hiatus this year are KRAZY HILDA’S in YPSILANTI and ST. LUCIFER’S HAUNTED ASYLUM in GRAND BLANC. We look forward to seeing them back next year!
A major loss for 2018 was CLIO MANOR HAUNTED HOUSE in FLINT, which failed to appear without notice. But they were a first rate haunt, and hopefully will re-surface!
Sometimes the demise of a haunt has nothing to do with its quality of show, and that’s a crying shame.
Think THE BONEYARD a few years ago, when short-sighted neighbors complained about the noise...
And this year, shortsighted Westland city officials forced a premature shutdown of the brand new PANIC HAUNT on the very day we rescheduled our visit to them.
DUH! Don’t these same city officials know of HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION, also operating in their city???
So if they were issuing temporary permits for, say a Christmas event, would they come to them a couple weeks before December 25th and say, “Okay, show’s over...pack it up and get out now!”?
Changing gears, now to the REALLY BIG NEWS from GRAND RAPIDS with THE HAUNT...
We knew last year the lease was up at the Waldorf Building, but had no idea what good news that would end up being.
A new owner has taken the helm and moved the project, investing over 1.5 MILLION DOLLARS! Multiple Detroit area haunt operators have told us this is unquestionably the MOST AMAZING HAUNT IN MICHIGAN!
A haunt operator from a premiere haunt in Pennsylvania was brought in to help re-create THE HAUNT, as well as a veteran top-expert from the Detroit Haunt Market to help this become the best possible haunt.
Sadly, we couldn’t make it to THE HAUNT in 2018 but hope to next season.
Despite the abundance of mega haunts in Michigan, many smaller “mom and pop” haunts continue the proud tradition of haunt excellence. We consider these to be vital to long-term health of the haunt genre!
After all, they started the ball rolling once upon a time with trailer haunts like MUTILATION MANSION in MADISON HEIGHTS. To our knowledge, that was the very first commercial “Haunted House” anywhere, later to be known as “Haunted Attractions.”
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.
NOVEMBER 2, 2013 SATURDAY 11 AM - STORYTELLER TO STORYTELLER: THANKS FOR THE INSPIRATION!
A special thanks to CRAZY BOB at the HAUNTED HYDRO...but not for what you'd think.
I was struggling with the new pumpkin story mentioned earlier, and we haven't seen CRAZY BOB for too long who is a whiz of an impromptu storyteller/comedian.
So we get there and he has GIANT BOOKS twice as tall as me! It was like stepping into a library from ALICE IN WONDERLAND.
There's concepts-from-beyond stories flying left and right from both BOB and a wild movie they produced...mental medication/stimulation coming on strong...woke up this morning and DING!
It all came to me in a flash...time to get the fingers busy...stay tuned for "PUMPKINS & PIGTAILS - BLESSED BY A GOURD."
OCTOBER 23, 2018 TUESDAY 5 PM - MURPHY’S LAW ON STEROIDS
Unbelievable! Everything that could’ve gone wrong did over multiple efforts to regain ability to add new content to our website.
I hate computers!
Sometimes anyway, when they interfere with business as usual...
The last new posting before this was on December 2, 2017, made from a borrowed computer after the original XP computer running this site since 1999 finally died a sudden and tragic death!
It was an ancient XP contraption, and its replacement wouldn’t accept the Version 3 we used from the start. We then got Version 11, but it didn’t work on the 64 bit system so...
We had the new computer split into partitions - the original 64 bit and a 32 bit side...a computer with a split personality, if you will...or if you won’t...that only partially got us where we needed to be...Murphy’s Law was still in strict enforcement with mandatory compliance.
The info could not be transferred from Version 3 to Version 11, so it was all copied manually from the site online...problem solved, right?
Nope. Murphy is one persistent pest!
This just created a whole new global difficulty with capital letter A’s, with a funny mark on top, appearing after each and every FONT or color change. There’s thousands of these, so you may see a few that were missed during the tedious process of removing them.
And in ARCHIVES 6, we could not remove the A’s at all without messing up things horribly...you’ll see if you go there.
Okay, finally to upload / publish the site...it gets worse...
It doesn’t work like before, and the instruction manual is over 700 pages in tiny print.
Back to square one!
Life in the digital age...sigh...
THE ZIOPTIS 2016 STATE-OF-THE-INDUSTRY ADDRESS
This year's report will focus on industry changes and conditions.
Once again, performance levels were high across the board and awards would be pointless and counterproductive to our purposes. KUDOS TO ALL HAUNT OPERATORS!
As always, there are gains and losses every year which is to be expected.
First, the new entries to the market:
HAUNTED PLANET EXPERIENCE in TOLEDO, OHIO took big advantage of the MEGA HAUNT VACANCY left when TERRORTOWN closed up shop a few years ago. HAUNTED PLANET EXPERIENCE is run by the outfit that ran the HAUNTED PRISON EXPERIENCE in MANSFIELD, OHIO for an incredibly successful run of 15 years until their lease ran out in 2015.
Also new for 2016 was AWAKEN HAUNTED ATTRACTION in LESLIE, which unfortunately we did not visit.
THE SCREAM MACHINE in TAYLOR returned after hiatus in a new location on ECORSE ROAD. An old friend is back, as strong as ever!
Now the losses...and these are MAJOR.
The BIGGEST SHOCK was the unexpected closing of ERWIN'S BARN OF HORRORS AND TERRORFYING CORN MAZE at ERWIN ORCHARDS in SOUTH LYON.
But ERWIN'S had a crazy long run, and went out totally in class on top of their game. We have great admiration and respect for Linda and the entire crew there.
Other big news was the FORCED DEMISE of THE BONEYARD in STOCKBRIDGE (which we reported when we were given the green light last year).
Short-sighted complaining neighbors caused them to close in a major setback for the struggling little STOCKBRIDGE. The annual pilgrimage of happy haunters to THE BONEYARD was easily the biggest event of the year for this dinky little town, as well as a source of employment for many residents.
What a crying shame. Why did they complain?
Was THE BONEYARD loud? BIG TIME! Was it raucous and wild? YOU BET!
Which is to say they were doing their job and excelling. Their propane fire blasts are still burned into our mind's eye! (see reviews)
To our thinking, complaining about a haunt being loud is like blaming the night for being dark...it's just what they do. DUH! Sorry for existing...and for bringing lots of money and fun to Stockbridge...sheeesh!
Another MAJOR INDUSTRY LOSS was A NIGHTMARE ON ELM ROAD in WEBBERVILLE, which we fear suffered a proximity problem in being a little too far off the beaten path. There's no way it had anything to do with show quality.
It was a FIRST RATE HAUNT by all measures, and if they come back we will be among the first making a B-line for what had become our unofficial FINAL HAUNT OF THE YEAR to visit. Several times we blew off our MEGA HAUNT plans on Halloween Night to go here instead!
DARK LEGACY in WIXOM was absent this year, but it was a forced last-minute hiatus. The property they were on was sold, triggering an escape clause in the contract. We look for BIG THINGS in the future from this strong young haunt!
And another STRONG YOUNG HAUNT we see climbing up the ladder with the potential to reach the top is CLIO MANOR HAUNTED HOUSE. This year they made an INDUSTRY FIRST to our knowledge with a NASA TECHNOLOGY SEARCHLIGHT that seriously kicks butt using a fraction of the electricity arc units gobble. This thing is insanely bright....I think it's like 1.7 BILLION CANDLEPOWER!
BURTON HAUNTED FOREST and McCURDY'S REVENGE failed to appear this season. BURTON HAUNTED FOREST told us they sometimes go into a holding mode, as it's an all volunteer haunt so they may be back. McCURDY'S REVENGE had lost their buiding and had re-grouped for a re-opening previously, but currently has an unknown status.
Changing gears now...
Quick! Name TWO MAJOR MEGA HAUNTS IN THE MARKET RIGHT NOW...dum-dee-dum-dee-dum...dum-dee-dum-dee-dum...
Okay, the majority of you probably said EREBUS and THE HAUNT. That's cool.
But what we ask that same question a couple years from now?
This is a free-wheeling wild industry, where one of the few constants is change...so let us throw out a few predictions loosely based on what we've seen...and it's a LOT...setting the TIME MACHINE to the year 2019 now.
Quick! Name TWO MAJOR MEGA HAUNTS IN THE MARKET RIGHT NOW...dum-dee-dum-dee-dum...dum-dee-dum-dee-dum...
Okay, the majority of you probably said ROTTEN MANOR and HUSH. That's cool.
Back to the present:
ROTTEN MANOR is an amazingly elaborate MEGA HAUNT that started in 2015, and they have great ambition and great abilities on every level. They could easily TAKE OVER AS THE NUMBER ONE HAUNT and become the default haunt that media visits for Halloween theme articles and reports.
HUSH also has great ambition and abilities...and one more thing up their sleeve. They quietly acquired a secondary property (still in Westland) that's massive.
But what we ask that same question yet a couple years from there? Setting our TRUSTY TIME MACHINE to the year 2021 now...
Quick! Name TWO MAJOR MEGA HAUNTS IN THE MARKET RIGHT NOW...dum-dee-dum-dee-dum...dum-dee-dum-dee-dum...
Okay, the majority of you probably said DARKSYDE ACRES and HAUNTED PLANET EXPERIENCE. That's cool.
You get the idea...even the biggest of the big eventually sings their swan song so anything is possible! Speaking of which...
What IS the deal when a new haunt comes on the scene...has a killer first class show with great actors and artistic excellence...but then fails miserably when other haunts nearby do well?
The one we're thinking of this season is ABANDON HAUNTED HOUSE in MELVINDALE.
They had a dismal season, despite an expertly produced haunt with fabulous production values. HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN?
Meanwhile, two other quality Wayne County haunts (THE SCREAM MACHINE in TAYLOR and HUSH HAUNTED ATTRACTION in WESTLAND did well. What's the deal?
All three are worthy haunts, so all three should have been well attended it would seem on the surface...
This reminds us of a similar situation a few years back with SINISTER HAUNTED HOUSE in UTICA failing despite a first class presentation and critical acclaim from multiple haunt review/rating services.
It doesn't seem right, especially if you're the owner of one of these haunts...we totally get that.
But the haunt market is a fickle animal, subject to whims and whimsy's of emotionally charged haunt fans. Unexplainable pockets in the market can pop up anywhere.
On the other hand, there's market locations that have multiple quality haunts where both do exceptionally well. LENOX TOWNSHIP comes to mind, with both HAUNTED FARM OF TERROR and SCAREFEST SCREAM PARK bustling with record crowds.
And two major long running FARM HAUNTS remain strong performers with BLAKE'S in ARMADA (not far from LENOX TWP.) and WIARD'S in YPSILANTI(also home of KRAZY HILDA'S).
WORD-OF-MOUTH is bigger than even the largest ad in a haunt publication. In fact, some haunts even skipped advertising in the two major haunt rags in Detroit: THE HAUNT GUIDE and THE FEAR FINDER.
One last item...and this one affects us and the entire Michigan haunt community on so many levels: THE REALM OF DARKNESS in PONTIAC has changed hands, and when the sale is complete the haunt is MOVING TO MISSISSIPPI!
On the surface, this may seem a CRAZY BIG MOVE to make. But that's what industry giants do - BIG, BOLD THINGS.
Operator Denise says she will probably retire after REALM moves to MISSISSIPPI, but we don't believe it for a New York minute! Denise is one of the most creative and dynamic individuals we've ever met, all while maintaining the highest of ethics when others fell short.
The history behind REALM is the stuff legends are made of...but not "Urban Legends"...we're talkin' LEGENDS FOR THE AGES BASED ON REALITY. There were many REAL DOCUMENTED SUPERNATURAL EVENTS at THE REALM OF DARKNESS!!! (see various reviews and many articles in the Archives)
FEBRUARY 14, 2016 SUNDAY VALENTINE'S DAY - CAN OF IDEAS
Today on Zioptis Dial-a-Trip we're presenting a seasonal favorite for your aural pleasure at (313) 274-1111.
And now, for the first time ever, we also present a written script of today's episode:
Hi friends, and thanks for calling Zioptis Dial-a-Trip.
You know, Valentine's Day can be an annoying holiday. It's another one of those occasions where you don't count unless you're a couple.
But I'll tell 'ya what, even if you're alone on Valentine's Day... if you've got a roof over your head and you're able to call Zioptis and listen to me now, your problems are NOTHING compared to those of Fin-Tin the Dirt-faced Clown! Check this out:
FIN-TIN'S PANCAKE PRINCESS by ZIOPTIS
Fin-Tin's latest girlfriend is not exactly here,
she is a favorite breakfast treat, he calls her Pancake Dear
He draws a smile on her face, his pen is maple syrup
but something's wrong, she's not complete, he fashions an eye from a turnip
Her makeup's not from Lancome, or even Cover Girl
instead it's Aunt Jemima with a fancy frilly swirl
The first time that he met her he was staring at his plate
throwing caution to the wind he asked her for a date
But pancakes do not speak, you have to read their mind
don't look now, her soul revealed, beware of what you'll find
Her past it is tormented, he tries to understand
what would it take, it would be great, walking hand in hand
But pancakes don't have hands, except in Fin-Tin's brain
the waitress there at Denny's, convinced that he's insane
But who's to say what's crazy, when a pancake is your beau
it could be worse by only a little, if it were cookie dough
Cookie dough is usually, not considered romantic
but Fin-Tin's case is special, a love that's truly tragic
He feels as though he's cheating, lusting for the dough
but his passion is blind, they're sure to find a spicy afterglow
The cookie dough lights a cigarette, and Fin-Tin sighs in relief
a cross-species genetic nightmare, a life to follow in grief
Fin-Tin's private soap opera, a shocking tale to tell
a half an hour of happiness, an eternity of hell!
The guilt and all the shame of his deeds invades his mind
his Pancake Princess reveals, a most impressive find
That pancakes have a brain, and deep, complex emotions
he threatens if she leaves him now, that he will drink the oceans
Accomplishing this feat, is sure to take awhile
she yawns while sipping on her toddy, he should have tried the Nile
He finishes his lonely task, his bladder then explodes
she sheds her inhibitions, and tells him "Hit the road!"
Rejection is not exactly Fin-Tin's favorite cup of tea
he wallows in his self despair, oh what a sight to see!
True beauty is a fleeting thing, it's more than just skin deep
she's bleeding batter, what's the matter, a dirt faced clown now weeps
His last remaining friend is his shiny yellow trike
as far as Fin-Tin is concerned, the world can take a hike
A hike that takes humanity, beyond the edge of earth
only God is left to witness the Virgin Pancake's birth
SEPTEMBER 20, 2016 TUESDAY 11:30 PM - THE LITTLE DRUMMER BOY
Okay, maybe I'm not so little...but drums runs deep in my blood as many of you know. Anyways...Tuesday night I competed in the Guitar Center Drum Off Contest in Allen Park for a preliminary round, and won a spot to come back for the store finals next Tuesday Sept. 27th.
This was the 2nd preliminary round - 3 winners from two rounds come back to determine the store champion to go to quarter finals.
So here's your chance to hear Zioptis himself play the drums, next Tuesday 7 PM at the Allen Park Guitar Center!
We very seldom mention personal stuff here, but we're making an exception this time at the insistence of M.S.
NOVEMBER 12, 2015 THURSDAY 3 AM - The haunt referred to in the article below about the video shoot is THE REALM OF DARKNESS in PONTIAC. There's an amazing end to this story, to be revealed later!
NOVEMBER 4, 2015 WEDNESDAY 8 PM - There's a rumbling about a haunt that closed a few years ago which may be on the verge of STAGING A DRAMATIC COMEBACK! Can't tell you who yet, but as soon as we get confirmation we'll break the news.
OCTOBER 28, 2015 WEDNESDAY 3 AM - We were not the only video crew at the haunt last night as it turned out, so there's multiple productions in the works for this attraction!
OCTOBER 27, 2015 TUESDAY 2 AM - PAPP PARK in TAYLOR did not return our phone call, and the sign at Telegraph and Wick we used to see is gone. This was a first class hayride and a trailer haunt reminiscent of ANXIETY ALLEY in LINCOLN PARK that is still open in 2015!
SEPTEMBER 26, 2015 SATURDAY 2 AM - Get ready for more confusion, as we now have TWO haunts in Westland with oddly similar names! Hmmm...what's up with that?! HUSH has been around for three years on Ford Road and is excellent, but now we also have WHISPER HAUNTED EXPERIENCE on Warren Road.¬ (See not in FF/HG)
SEPTEMBER 25, 2015 FRIDAY 11 PM - Here's the corrected website address for ABANDON HAUNTED HOUSE in MELVINDALE. www.PlayAtlantis.co
SEPTEMBER 20, 2015 SUNDAY 12:30 AM - Unknown status for McCURDY'S REVENGE in CORUNNA which was back last year after a hiatus while they found a new building, but now has a non-updated website. Hopefully they will return in 2016!
We threw out the Candy Fishalot script that was planned as a zany wrap of the 2014 season - not all new creative projects work out the first time as you know.
Of course, at the same time, your BEST success will usually come only AFTER recovering from your WORST failure and we have NOT given up on Candy...just the script I wrote for her! haha
So CANDY FISHALOT will be back in a spectacular way with cross-promotion on the Zioptis Dial-A-Trip phone service which started the ball rolling back in 1986 and continues to bewilder, befuddle, and bamboozle the unsuspecting public 24/7 at (313) 274-1111. CALL NOW!
And yes, Candy still carries a fish in the back pocket of her Gloria Vanderbilt jeans - but until we can get a better script into her greedy little mitts we now present:
THE ZIOPTIS STATE OF THE INDUSTRY ADDRESS 2014
The awards seemed pointless this year.
Yes. For starters, it would have meant MANY DUPLICATE AWARDS.
The LEVEL OF EXCELLENCE ACROSS THE BOARD is astonishing!
And it's strange - we kind of just take that for granted because we just happen to be in DETROIT - THE WORLD CAPITAL OF HAUNTED HOUSES.
So just kind of informal this time - let's start with some GREAT NEWS that we were afraid was going to be another major loss to the industry.
McCURDY'S REVENGE in CORUNNA was back for 2014, after unexpectedly vanishing a few years ago after a FABULOUS RUN WITH A KILLER HAUNT.
Turns out they lost their previous building, and just needed to re-group with their GIANT ARMY OF VOLUNTEERS at the new location. A SURE WINNER!
Then we had the WORLD CLASS STEALTH CREATURE following us closely, BUT NEVER BEING SEEN at the HAUNTED FUNERAL HOME in INKSTER.
That could have easily WON AN ACTING AWARD, but then again so also could the new acting crew at THE REALM OF DARKNESS in PONTIAC. They were the SURPRISE BREAKOUT for 2014, hitting you with an amazing array of skills to take you on an emotional roller coaster. We busted our gut laughing our butts off, then just as quickly it got ULTRA CREEPY and then turned to breathless AMAZING PHYSICAL FEATS. A GIANT SUCCESS.
Thinking of more GIANTS IN THE INDUSTRY THE HAUNT in GRAND RAPIDS continues to raise the bar, and actually invented a MAJOR haunt industry actor tool with their FrightLite. Another innovation at THE HAUNT is their FABULOUS STAGE SHOW in the waiting area, with Hollywood grade lighting and dancers. STUNNING!
Closer to Detroit we really like HUSH, a dynamic young haunt on the move in WESTLAND that combines science and insanity in a way that leaves you wanting more - SMART MOVE.
The PHYSICAL THRILL FACTOR was excellent at ST. CHARLES VILLAGE OF THE LIVING DEAD in ST. CHARLES, which has the advantage of an army of volunteers to make new magic every year.
And the WYANDOTTE JAYCEES are still at it in WYANDOTTE, using a different building every year as they show up on the soon-to-be-demolished list the city provides them with!
BESTMAZE in WILLIAMSTON changed their show completely again, except for the black hole which all haunts usually keep once they have it because it's so effective. EACH MAZE IS AN ARTPIECE, and state-of-the-art maze techniques are used playing on natural human tendencies. CLEVER.
A haunt with standout creepy acting is REALM OF HAUNTED MINDS in ROMULUS. There's also a miniature city with various buildings, a pirate/ghost ship big enough to get on and sail away to fantasy land, and a train that can be boarded too making an EXCITING ADVENTURE LAND FOR KIDS!
There was MAJOR NEW BLOOD with the brand new massive DARK LEGACY in WIXOM, but we just lost THE SCREAM MACHINE in TAYLOR and THE EXTREME SCREAM which vanished without a trace a few years ago after its last run in Waterford.
Also gone was HOUSE OF FEAR in HAZEL PARK, a volunteer haunt that had truly incredible presentations - we loved the wooden radio that played old music backwards and the couch that got caught in a hurricane as soon as you sat in it.
On the other hand, also brand new for 2014 was BONADEO FARMS HAUNTED HOUSE & HAUNTED CORN MAZE in HIGHLAND which is off to a great start.
TERROR ON 27 in ASHLEY totally blew us away in 2014, with a triple feature freakout fun fest that also features a cool photo opp you stage yourself. Now that THE HAUNTING in ADRIAN is gone, we need a new haunt that's a little ways out to hit that REALLY DELIVERS THE GOODS and TERROR ON 27 has never let us down.
SLAUGHTERHOUSE in FOWLERVILLE has created their own special blend of hayrides and an amazingly creative haunt that mixes magic and comedy to great effect. The stories run the gamut, and are both engaging and incredible with visuals to match. A GIANT FAVORITE!
Another trip in that neck of the woods that's become MUST SEE for us includes A NIGHTMARE ON ELM ROAD in WEBBERVILLE, BONEYARD in STOCKBRIDGE, and SHAWHAVEN FARM in MASON.
KRAZY HILDA'S TRAIL OF TERRORS in YPSILANTI may have secured its long-term future with their new collaboration with PANAMA FARMS as their new site with amazing potential. With the right moves, they could easily become the BLAKE'S of the west side.
BLAKE'S in ARMADA is a giant of the industry that has already realized an amazing potential, but still continues to evolve anyways - because that's what leaders do.
Two other outdoor haunts that are also first class are in the same city of LENOX TWP. HAUNTED FARM OF TERROR and SCREAMFEST SCARE PARK are both thriving, and may seem like competitors but actually help each other by both delivering the goods in different ways and bringing mass traffic to the area.
OHIO is also jam packed with great haunts, but our faves are TERRORTOWN in TOLEDO, GHOSTLY MANOR in SANDUSKY, and HAUNTED HYDRO in FREMONT.
JACKSON'S UNDERWORLD in JACKSON opened up more of their giant building to great effect, and re-vamped the waiting area with DISTORTION'S figurines and a fun photo op that's also a clever promotional tool.
TERRORFIED FOREST in PINCKNEY will be changing hands after next year, and the previously encroaching development is no longer a threat. This is one of the ICONIC HAUNTS that just seems to us like it should always be there if the haunt industry is healthy.
On the other hand, no single haunt can define the industry either. Consider one of the BEST HAUNTS EVER that suddenly vanished, THE HAUNTING in ADRIAN. A world class master magician produced the show, but got snatched up by east coast television as he moved on to new challenges and horizons.
SCREAM PARK in NILES is probably the biggest overall multi haunted attraction in Michigan to our knowledge, but we missed them this season opting to hit GHOSTLY MANOR in SANDUSKY, OHIO instead which also was INCREDIBLE. (Reviews 2014_B) If you've never seen SCREAM PARK, you NEED to go see this extravaganza for yourself! Our first time was in 2013 - see Reviews 2013_B.
In the Downriver area PSYCHO PATH in FLAT ROCK totally changed their show, and PHANTOM FOREST HAYRIDES in GROSSE ILE cranked it to eleven this time!
The FLINT AREA is densely packed with haunts, so only the best survive. The big splash 2nd year new kid is EXIT 13 with their new owner that has massive plans, and another newbie we love is CLIO MANOR HAUNTED HOUSE. The makeup and lighting at CLIO MANOR are sublime.
THE CRYPT, ST. LUCIFER'S HAUNTED ASYLUM & 13 FEET UNDER are all going strong with excellent shows, but we still miss the LOCH LOMOND PROJECT forest walk which was across the street from ST. LUCIFER'S.
On the other hand, BURTON HAUNTED FOREST also in the Flint area is a FANTASTIC VOLUNTEER HAUNT, and has been approached by ABC-TV.
Successful off-season haunted events were staged by industry leaders EREBUS and REALM OF DARKNESS both in PONTIAC, as well as HUSH in WESTLAND and EXIT 13 in FLINT.
Lastly, we'd like to applaud the haunts where the owners are also actors in their haunts. We might be missing some, and if so let us know - but these special haunts are THE HAUNTED HYDRO in FREMONT, OHIO, HAUNTED FUNERAL HOME in INKSTER, THE BONE YARD in STOCKBRIDGE, and A NIGHTMARE ON ELM ROAD in WEBBERVILLE.
New reviews will appear here first, even as they're being written!
Also, special messages may appear here that will not show on the Main Page...like temporary lists, insider haunt info/concerns and an open forum for input from haunters and haunt operators, and replies to email questions. Most items from this section will be dumped into the¬ Archives¬ later.
Usually, we don't buy into superstitions. But this was not only the 13th of the month, it was a very fateful FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH for us. RATS!
FEBRUARY 19, 2015 - Unfortunately, we have experienced a major data loss of data that has affected several areas of the website. We're doing our best to remedy the situation ASAP!
November 6, 2014 Thursday - You've no doubt heard that fully identifing any given problem is at least half of solving it, right? Well, there's something I learned long ago at a weight loss / stop smoking seminar that the tobacco industry has somehow kept mostly under wraps.
This shouldn't be too hard to imagine, given they initially outright denied any health problems associated with their product. There even used to be TV ADS that proclaimed stuff like "4 out of 5 doctors recommend Winston brand cigarettes!"
Here's the "secret" Big Tobacco won't tell you:
If you're a tobacco smoker now, you're addicted to TWO things...not just nicotine...but also a BLOOD SUGAR RUSH TO THE BRAIN that is produced every time you light up. It dies down, and the urge to repeat the cycle takes hold...and you light up again.
Part of the curing process of tobacco leaves is spraying them with a solution to make the taste better. The main ingredient of that solution is sugar, and that's what causes the blood sugar rush to the brain!
But you can easily simulate that same blood sugar rush to the brain, and even have silly fun while you're doing it!
Ever seen those clever CARTOON CHARACTER PEZ CANDY DISPENSERS at the grocery store? Pick your favorite and buy extra PEZ CANDY tablets too...get the regular, NOT DIET. You need real sugar here, just like they coat the tobacco leaves with!
Whenever you have the urge to smoke, take a PEZ CANDY and put it underneath your tongue and let it dissolve there. There's a vein right there, giving what they call sublingual ingestion into your blood stream.
I never smoked to try this myself, but had the info verified in another way: I bought a stop smoking product for a friend once...think it was called Smoke Away. It was a two-part system, with herbal capsules to take daily and so-called "emergency pellets" to dissolve under the tongue for extreme cravings.
The "emergency pellets" were small pink tablets, and the first ingredient listed for them was...take a wild guess...yup, SUGAR...how about that?!
Pass the word...
November 11, 2014 Tuesday morning - Yup, it's the BIG DAY...ELEVEN-ELEVEN! And you KNOW what THAT means, right? It's party time in the hood and everywhere throughout the universe because ELEVEN-ELEVEN is well-known across the entire galaxy as being the day when whatever you want to do is OK!
November 2, 2014 Sunday evening - We went to Boughan's Haunted Hayride of Fright in Belleville to finish the season with a new haunt for us. (2014 is their 2nd year) Unfortunately, they closed up a little early this year...but we were able to have a nice talk with them and promised to try again next year!
November 2, 2014 Sunday afternoon - Our apologies for missing the Kentwood Jaycees Forest Of Fear last night as we arrived too close to closing time. They were willing to stay open...but it was already time to end...and the temperature was 26 degrees to boot! BRRRRRR....the cold monsters needed some hot spiced cider...we'll come back next year!
************************************************************** NEWS FLASH - Oct. 24, 2013 - Haunted Attractions are big business! Even FORBES MAGAZINE has a list of the 10 Great Halloween Haunted House Attractions Across The U.S.
Better yet, two local big guns made the nationwide list with GHOSTLY MANOR at number 7 and EREBUS at number 9. YOU GUYS ROCK, WAY TO GO! www.forbes.com/sites/larryolmsted/2013/09/20/10-great-halloween-haun ted- house-attractions-across-the-us/
BEHIND THE SCENES - Oct. 22, 2014 - Last year owner M.R. of Terrortown in Toledo area surprised his staff big time! After opening week went smoothly, he disclosed his departure for the rest of the 2013 season to Los Angeles to help Rob Zombie with his latest haunted house.
NOBODY but his wife knew it was coming!
If you've seen Rob Zombie in concert, you probably saw giant dancing robots. And M.R. is well known for making his own giant animatronics - this was likely a big factor in landing this gig with Zombie.
People have asked how it went with M.R. and Zombie? Quick answer: last year M.R. helped with ONE Rob Zombie haunt and this year he is helping with TWO Rob Zombie haunts, in Phoenix and Chicago this time. M.R. is taking care of the Chicago location. www.GreatAmericanNightmare.com
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CANDY FISHALOT PREMISE CONTINUED - Unfortunately, she is unable to leave the fish alone. In a misguided effort at committed companionship, Candy carries the fish with her at all times in her left rear pocket. She is relatively easy to spot because of this abnormality, that likely few others share.
Candy prefers perch, but will quickly adopt whatever whole fish she can land her greedy little mitts on when she needs a replacement "pet. She has been detained for shoplifting many times at local fish outlets, but never prosecuted.
She totally disarms all shop owners with her infectious smile and obvious enthusiasm and passion for life, as she gazes into their hapless eyes and issues her impassioned apology.
She uses the same phrase whenever she needs to plead for forgiveness: "I respect the Pink. I am sorry."
Fin-Tin the Dirt Faced Clown is totally beside himself as Candy is his only human friend. Fin-Tin does have one other friend actually. Unfortunately, it's his shiny yellow tricycle which also doubles as his sole means of transportation.
Fin-Tin can walk, but chooses instead to only to pedal enthusiastically around town on his special friend so he won't be lonely. ride the severely overloaded only pedal his way to social misfitdom.