This edition of Hallowblog Flashback details a 2008 visit to the Wyandotte Jaycees’ Templin’s Night Terror. It was our first indication that the quality of haunted attraction from the community group could vary wildly.
Also in this post is an account of our failed attempt to locate the Nautical Nightmare. It’s worth mentioning that I had the opportunity to speak to folks involved with the restoration of the Ste. Claire at the 2013 Wyandotte Street Art Fair. During that conversation one of the members revealed that the group was aiming for a 2014 return date for the haunted attraction, but alas, 2014 is here and I have heard not a peep.
This entry was originally written on Saturday, October 18, 2008.
Last Saturday Jason, Disco, and I visited Templin’s Night Terror this season’s haunted effort by the Wyandotte Jaycees, the same group that delivered the sleeper hit of last season under the moniker Hell’s Hospital. Last year the Wyandotte Jaycees had both an old house and a vacated mechanic’s garage to work with but the condemned house has since been torn down. Due to this the haunt is notably shorter but that in itself does not negatively impact the haunt. However, the overall effort did pale to last year’s show, coming up short in several crucial areas. First I’d like to focus on what Templin’s Night Terror does right.
This haunted attraction has a very cool theme (the name says it all) and succeeds in the traditional sense of a haunt by incorporating a healthy mix of darkened hallways and rooms. Templin’s Night Terror also avoids the pitfall of structural familiarity which plagues many haunted attractions. Two elements truly stood out here, the first was a room approximately halfway through the haunt decorated in the fashion of nightmare nursery. Rows of clothes hang from the ceiling, brushing against guest’s heads and faces, distorting their view. Meanwhile a pair of creeps skulk about the room harassing haunt goers in this creepiest of settings. The second high water mark occurred just prior to the end of the haunt when a vampiric ghoul leapt eight feet from the top of a wall to the concrete floor before our feet and then expertly crawled backward into the darkness as a strobe light staggered his movement. Visually, it was a neat sequence of events; you won’t find live actors leaping such distances at very many haunts. After rounding a corner the leaper as we came to call him gave me a legitimate scare when he suddenly appeared next to me. His face was illuminated in a dim blue light as he snarled in anger. I’m not an easy one to catch off of guard so TNT deserves points for that. Sadly, the rest of the haunt was distinctly without rhythm.
Upon entering the haunt guests walk toward a trio of doors displaying psychotic clowns. As haunt goers attempt to navigate the correct path a pair of clowns appear and proceed to engage each other, more so than the guests, in an overly jocular and inane line of conversation. I’m confident that this is not their typical routine but their inability to intelligently interact with guests while in character was disappointing. It was an omen I suppose as the majority of actors inside Templin’s Night Terror were simple poor, their timing and delivery were amongst the worst I’ve witnessed and that was particularly disappointing because small, old school productions rely heavily on the performance of its actors. It was through individual creativeness that Hell’s Hospital became last year’s much talk about dark horse. The actors seemed to be caught off guard, simply meandering about one room when we entered and then acting as if we should still be surprised. It was like watching Batista reset a series of moves after a blown spot; it’s just not exciting when you know what’s coming.
We could also hear a lot of the workers talking to each other as we made our way through the haunt and that is something that immediately turns me off. I can’t suspend disbelief when you’re telling me where you’re located. The actors however can’t be blamed for this, the haunt was oddly quiet and the implementation of a sound system would have done wonders to cover the noise of idle chatter.
At the end of the haunt a girl whispers a warning about “the white rabbit” and if history serves as any guide I’m sure Jason was fighting the urge to test his theory originally postulated last year during a visit to The Haunting in Adrian. Upon exit haunt goers are chased by a chainsaw wielding rabbit which I thought was a nice touch.
Templin’s Night Terror was disappointing especially when contrasted against Hell’s Hospital of last year but TNT has potential and with a few simple corrections the Wyandotte Jaycees should enjoy another successful year of haunting.
Rating: 3 stars
After leaving Templin’s Night Terror we were off to find the Nautical Nightmare which exploded onto our haunt radar during the 2005 season. I first learned of the Nautical Nightmare’s return to Michigan when I found a Myspace page for the haunted attraction in August. The page listed the haunt as being in the Detroit area and when I read an online article a few weeks later placing the NN at Heart Plaza the excitement grew over this rarest of haunts. We grew weary though as the Myspace page remained unaccessed since August 14th. Furthermore the company responsible for this year’s show, BodyBag Entertainment, provided no information on their website. Nor had the Nautical Nightmare appeared in any local haunt publications, we were suspicious but hopeful.
Jason insisted that we take Jefferson through River Rouge and then the shanty town of Del Ray which makes River Rouge look pleasant. Jason claimed that the route would add atmosphere to our trip and while it did generate a few notable comments John and I seemed to agree that the only thing this path did was raise our chances of being beaten and mugged.
We survived the trek and arrived at Hart Plaza only to find sleeping bums and the Detroit Princess (the boat that’s always on CW 50). After some brief tomfoolery near the fountain in Hart Plaza and aimless wandering we returned to the car and then decided to head to the park where the Nautical Nightmare was held in 2005. Back in Rouge we found the park vacant as our hopes of finding the magical boat diminished. The old Boblo boat was becoming a true ghost ship but I was determined to unravel the mystery.
During the ensuing days I searched the web for answers but the Nautical Nightmare’s Myspace page and BodyBag Entertainment’s website still contained no new information which I found particularly unprofessional and lame. I next visited bobloboat.com and found the following passage:
“I want to thank all the people who came out so far this year to help with the demolition. I originally wanted to do a haunt this year on the Ste. Claire, however, the demolition took longer than expected. I therefore decided to continue demolition throughout the entire 2008 season and get the ship ready for winter.”
This was posted by a Mr. Ron Kattoo who I can only assume is the owner of the Ste. Claire. I can’t say for sure but from the information I’ve gathered it seems he pulled the plug on the water bound haunt in mid-August which must have irritated and frustrated BodyBag Entertainment so close to the Halloween season.
“It smells as if everyone in the town gathered in an open field, bent over, and spread their ass cheeks in unison.”
-Yours truly commenting on the foul smell permeating Del Ray
“At least we won’t be attacked by mutants crawling out of open sewers.”
-Jason, detailing the relative safety of Detroit compared to the industrial wasteland of Del Ray