Haunting By Numbers: 2014 Haunt Season

Posted in Haunting By Numbers with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 24, 2015 by bluefall8

2014 offered a haunt season not soon to be forgotten. Let us now ponder some pertinent numbers.

24: Number of attractions at 14 unique locations that we visited — this total topped the previous record of 23 first set in 2011 and then matched in 2013.

7: Spooky nights spent touring fright filled stomping grounds.

5: Never before toured haunted houses.

7: Counties in Michigan and Ohio where we braked for haunted house goodness; included were Genesee, Hillsdale, Jackson, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne in the Mitten State while Cuyahoga was the lone representative from the Buckeye State.

4: Separate locations with a total of six haunted attractions that we visited on the night of November 1, 2014 — a one night record.

320: Round trip miles racked up during the infamous Cleveland Turn N’ Burn which saw us tour The Fear Experience and Bloodview Haunted House.

10: Haunted attractions that were visited in a single 24-hour period on Friday, October 17, 2014 and Saturday, October 18, 2014.

863: Total miles driven during the 2014 haunt season.

2010: The year in which a haunted attraction last earned a 5 star rating.

2014 Horrorlust Haunt Awards

Posted in Awards with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 22, 2015 by bluefall8

2014 Horrorlust Haunt Awards

Rotten Pumpkin – The Rotten Pumpkin award is given to the haunt considered to be the most disappointing of the season. Disappointment may be the result of an over hyped marketing campaign or the failure of the haunt to live up to expectations set forth in previous seasons. Whatever the case may be let there be no doubt that the haunt receiving this unwanted distinction truly dropped the ball, failing to provide a worthwhile show.

2014 Rotten Pumpkin: The Haunted Funeral Home

The Haunted Funeral Home was the first attraction I visited last year, thankfully it was not an indication of things to come. Most of the cast delivered below average performances, several were even caught out of place. That was particularly unforgivable due to the fact that, at the time, we were the only group present. Little to nothing has changed here since an initial visit in 2011; this was uninspired and lazy haunting.

Eerie Vibrations – The Eerie Vibrations award is given to the haunt considered to exude the best overall atmosphere. Atmosphere is defined by the mood of the haunt itself but can also be fostered by immediate grounds or even the surrounding area.

2014 Eerie Vibrations: The Catacombs & The Rusthole (Darksyde Acres)

Honorable Mention: District 13 (The Fear Experience)

The former pig farm has presence and nowhere is it as oppressive as in The Catacombs & The Rusthole. What can I say? The story of a ghoulish spirit and mysterious third floor made an impact when I traversed the attraction all on my lonesome. This is the second time that The Catacombs & The Rusthole has captured the Eerie Vibrations Award; the first was in 2011.

Dark Horse – The Dark Horse award is given to the haunt considered to have the most potential for growth. Criteria for this award include the ability to deliver an entertaining show at a relatively small venue and at a reduced rate. Think of the Dark Horse award as  Horrorlust’s way of recognizing the little haunt that could.

2014 Dark Horse: Psycho Path

Honorable Mention: Corpse Barn Shock Haunt

For just $10 this hidden gem offered a serious bang-for-your-buck in 2014. The volunteer effort mixed a creative flair with haunted house fundamentals and struck the right balance of fun and fright. The facade was excellent and a surprise, introductory stage show served the narrative well. A brief stroll through the woods beforehand and a wagon ride after the fact further enhanced the atmosphere.

Killer Automatons – The Killer Automatons award is given to the haunt that best integrates animatronics into its attraction. When determining this award several factors are considered including timing, prop placement, realism, and sheer wow effect.

2014 Killer Automatons: Dark Legacy

Honorable Mention: The Realm of Darkness

Dark Legacy had a little bit of everything and in 2014 put to use their electronic baddies better than any other haunt in town. There were caged monkeys, a slick electrocution and even a massive mutation contained inside of a large shipping crate. Several actor-matronics were used to maximum effect as well.

Monster – The Monster award is given to the haunt considered to have the best live actors of the season. In order to claim this award workers must display a certain level of intensity as well as a refusal to break character. Also crucial is the ability to improvise lines or actions when adapting to an individual guest or group.

2014 Monster: Hush

Honorable Mention: Bloodview

The core group of characters at Hush are polished, professional and capable of giving the best that we’ve witnessed a run for their money. Led by the inimitable Dr. Phineas Phun, the cast of Hush featured a handful of unforgettable freaks and weirdos — from an android receptionist to the supercharged loonies who went bonkers behind a pane of glass to a lullaby singing doctor and her reanimated specimen. The key players each understood their role which was crucial to the central theme of the attraction.

Prop Master – The Prop Master award is given to the haunt considered to have best implemented props into the attraction. A prop may be considered a piece of furniture, a weapon, or a dummy. The haunt that claims this award will have paid special attention to placement, function, and realism.

2014 Prop Master: Centralia County Fair (The Fear Experience)

Honorable Mention: Dark Legacy

The scenery inside Centralia County Fair was detailed, thorough and impressive. The abandoned carnival theme was so immersive and striking that it overwhelmed my senses. Keep in mind that this was an attraction that featured relatively few live actors and it excelled in spite of that fact. The scenes and set dressing were so complete it was the one attraction to which I wished I could return for the sole purpose of documenting it through photographs.

Pulse Pounder – The Pulse Pounder award is given to the haunt considered to be the most intense attraction of the season. Intensity can be gauged by a number of factors including commitment of actors, gory or realistic scenes, and harsh or loud music and sound effects. However, the most important element when considering this award is genuine fear factor.

2014 Pulse Pounder: The Mind Shaft (Wiard’s Night Terrors)

Honorable Mention: Zombie Uprising at Braxton Estate (The Fear Experience)

The Mind Shaft got the heart racing through expertly tailored sound fx that helped drive the pace of the attraction. Like 13 Feet Under, Mind Shaft made it easy and fun for guests to suspend their disbelief — if a collapsing mine doesn’t put some pep in your step then what the hell will?! The attraction concluded with an exclamation point when a Sasquatch roared out of nowhere and delivered one of the best jump scares of the season.

Samhain – This award recognizes the most enjoyable night of haunting in a given season. A plethora of factors are considered when deciding this award but at the end of the season it comes down to the night of haunting that provided us with the most scares, laughs, and memories.

2014 Samhain: October 18, 2014 (Wiard’s Night Terrors)

Honorable Mention: October 30, 2014 (Dark Legacy, Hush)

2014 delivered a number of great nights of haunting but the plethora of attractions that comprised Wiard’s Night Terrors put it over the top. I was highly amused by the reactions of my sister-in-law, Madison, who provided me with the kind of valuable feedback only a fresh set of eyes can bring. Brandon Wiard was a most gracious host who allowed us the run of the place and engaged in great conversations about the ideas that fueled the haunted houses at Night Terrors.

Haunt of the Year – The Haunt of Year award is given to the haunt considered to be the best overall attraction of the season. When deciding on this award several factors are taken into consideration including the timing and intensity of actors, the pace and length of the haunt, attention to detail, use of special effects, realism of props, and most importantly the lasting imprint left on guests.

2014 Haunt of the Year: Exit 13

Honorable Mention: Hush

This was no easy choice; the number of top-notch attractions we toured in 2014 was unprecedented. After garnering several honorable mentions in 2011 and 2012 (in various categories) this is well deserved for the lovable loonies at Exit 13. An ambitious renovation delivered multiple new scenes in 2014 which served as the ideal playground for an in-your-face cast. The haunt utilized a wide array of scare tactics while it pushed the envelope with taboo characters, tasteless humor and physicality.

2014 Star Ratings

Posted in Star Ratings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 19, 2015 by bluefall8

This list is not meant to be used to compare one haunted attraction to another. The star system (1 – 5 stars) is merely meant to reflect how well I felt each individual haunt executed their particular show. Haunted attractions are a unique breed of entertainment and the quality of a show can vary from night to night, hour to hour and guest to guest for a great many reasons.

As you’ll notice, haunts are listed below in descending order. Where there are multiple haunts with the same star rating (and that happened often in 2014) those attractions are listed in alphabetically.

Again, this list should not be used to gauge which haunt is better than another. Primarily, I use these lists for archival purposes so that I can have a record of the haunted houses I visited and how those attractions performed in a given year.

2014 STAR RATINGS

1. Centralia County Fair – 4.5 (The Fear Experience – Parma, OH.)

2. Dark Legacy – 4.5 (Wixom, MI.)

3. Exit 13 – 4.5 (Mt. Morris, MI.)

4. Hush – 4.5 (Westland, MI.)

5. Bloodview – 4.25 (Broadview Heights, OH.)

6. Zombie Uprising at Braxton Estate – 4.25 (The Fear Experience – Parma, OH.)

7. 13 Feet Under – 4 (Grand Blanc, MI.)

8. The Asylum – 4 (Wiard’s Night Terrors – Ypsilanti, MI.)

9. Centralia Mental Facility – 4 (The Fear Experience – Parma, OH.)

10. House of Nightmares 3D – 4 (Pontiac, MI.)

11. The Mind Shaft – 4 (Wiard’s Night Terrors – Ypsilanti, MI.)

12. Psycho Path – 4 (Flat Rock, MI.)

13. The Realm of Darkness – 4 (Pontiac, MI.)

14. Alien Caged Clowns – 3.75 (Wiard’s Night Terrors – Ypsilanti, MI.)

15. Corpse Barn Shock Haunt – 3.75 (Napoleon, MI.)

16. Ultimate Haunted Barn – 3.75 (Wiard’s Night Terrors – Ypsilanti, MI.)

17. District 13 – 3.5 (The Fear Experience – Parma, OH.)

18. Hayride of the Lost – 3.5 (Wiard’s Night Terrors – Ypsilanti, MI.)

19. The Crypt – 3.25 (Burton, MI.)

20. St. Lucifer’s Haunted Asylum – 3.25 (Grand Blanc, MI.)

21. The Catacombs & The Rusthole – 3 (Darksyde Acres – Jonesville, MI.)

22. The Dark Abyss – 2.75 (Darksyde Acres – Jonesville, MI.)

23. Fō-bē-ə – 2.75 (Wyandotte, MI.)

24. The Haunted Funeral Home – 1.25 (Inkster, MI.)

Sinister Infusion Fuels Resurgent Realm of Darkness

Posted in 2014, Realm of Darkness, Review with tags , , , , , , , on August 16, 2015 by bluefall8

The midnight hour loomed large as we approached the entrance for The Realm of Darkness and the cold air seemed to bite down into our very bones. This would be our seventh trip through the wizard’s dominion and the final haunted attraction of the 2014 Halloween season.

Realm-of-Darkness

BOWBEE COME TO DWELL INSIDE HOUSE OF NIGHTMARES 3D

Our first order of business was to tour the 3D haunted attraction known as House of Nightmares which was also featured at this location in 2013 when it was called Carnevil 3D. With the name change I expected also a shift in theme but to my delight it remained that of a twisted carnival — one of my very favorite settings.

The 3D attraction seemed to have been expanded since 2013 and unlike most haunted attractions of this nature, the 3D artwork splashed throughout House of Nightmares really popped off the walls. Huge spiders dangled from webs, skulls floated through starlit space and neon-colored liquid even oozed from leaky pipes. This was easily the most impressive 3D artwork we’d witnessed inside a haunted attraction.

A few additional well-placed characters would improve the overall experience as the haunt was light on actors, but we were highly amused by a short female clown armed with a raspy voice who demonstrated the timeless classic known as the Truffle Shuffle.

As we neared the conclusion of House of Nightmares 3D, we were startled by a rotten torso that suddenly dropped from above the frame of a door and hung upside down just above our heads. It was a well-timed and effective use of an animatronic. It wasn’t long thereafter that we came to a brightly lit quarter of ultra-violence where Bowbee the Clown claimed another pound of flesh in a dramatic flourish.

Rating: 4 stars

REALM OF DARKNESS REIMAGINED, REINVIGORATED

The Realm of Darkness was as detailed and immersive as ever and while a small army of animatronics remained, it was the actors who stole the show and delivered a not soon too be forgotten experience.

We had barely entered the attraction when a mist of simulated zombie brains sprayed me directly in the face; to my right John shook with laughter. Once I had wiped the moisture from my face and eyes we plunged deeper into the haunt and soon found ourselves navigating a room stuffed with all manner of dolls. One in particular caught my attention, it was several feet tall with a bulbous, unnaturally large head, a rictus grin and bore more than a passing resemblance to Howdy Doody. I fixed the doll with a penetrating glare until we were clear of the room for there was malice in his eyes.

Soon we entered a cluttered kitchen which was inhabited by two of our old acquaintances — Bizarro Laura Ingalls and the hefty Squalaha. Bizarro Laura Ingalls was a frenzied ball of energy and as usual it was difficult to discern through her babble whether she was angry, amused or aroused. Meanwhile, Squalaha made his intentions perfectly clear despite the fact that he too possessed no ability to speak English; it would seem that no translation is required in the language of love. When the big guy wasn’t busy shoving me into a refrigerator Squalaha was found making overt sexual gestures in John’s direction. When John merely laughed off the offers Squalaha vigorously demonstrated his skills on an enormous, rampaging gargoyle.

Yes, the crazies had been unleashed upon The Realm of Darkness and if we were to survive the night we would simply have to play along with all of their twisted games and entertain their delusions.

Near the half-way point of our journey we were approached by an abnormally tall lady who wore an old fashioned white dress and donned a plain jabberwocky mask. Her gangly frame, swift mannerisms and high-pitched voice made for an unsettling combination. She seemed to flirt with me for a moment but I was suspicious that this trickster wasn’t what she claimed to be. When I voiced my suspicion that she was actually a he, the odd lady challenged me to prove my theory. I playfully began to lift the end of her dress and had my hand quickly swatted away. “I’m a lady,” shouted the character in mock offense. The exchange was a good bit of improvisation and the slap of the hand was well executed; the whole scene gave John and I a good laugh.

We ventured forward and were forced to play a game of blood-soaked Tic-Tac-Toe with a strange and hideous creature. When I defeated the lowly monster he seemed to grow agitated so we took our leave of him only to be confronted by a guy who claimed to be a doctor. The particular branch of medicine that he practiced was never made clear to us but he was adamant that a man named Ken (who neither John or myself could see) was an unrepentant asshole. I tried to reason with the animated medicine man and when that failed I thought I’d lighten the mood with a few jokes but that only caused the doctor to make crude, albeit humorous, sexual remarks before he ultimately brought the conversation back to the invisible Ken.

Onward we pushed and encountered a fidgety girl who brandished implements of torture but before her exact intentions were revealed a weird, human-sized rabbit entered the scene holding a knife. The rabbit just sort of stood in the corner and cocked its head from side to side as it considered us. The Realm of Darkness was definitely approaching a threshold of strangeness most can scarcely imagine.

We left the pair to their own devices and soon squeezed through an area that featured a conveyor belt of torsos. Did one of those torsos belong to Ken the Asshole? Elsewhere, we witnessed the electrocution of a gaunt, skeletal creature and were surprised when the wretch made a last minute dash for us just as we exited the room — the latest example of the burgeoning practice of the so called actor-matronics.

Our fun was almost at an end but not before we were accosted by the crotchety skeletal pirate known as Captain Sage who pursued haunters straight out of The Realm of Darkness with an impressive rendition of sea legs in which the angst-ridden Captain propelled himself using only his upper body strength whilst his legs dragged behind him as if lifeless.

Rating: 4 stars

Weird Mishmash Spurs The Crypt

Posted in 2014, Review, The Crypt with tags , , , , on August 11, 2015 by bluefall8

 

Chemco

The Crypt was just about to close up shop when we pulled into the parking lot which meant that John and I had the distinction of being the last people to pass through its hallowed halls for the 2014 haunt season. The Crypt, as we first discovered during a Halloween visit in 2011, held a strange mixture of scenes and scares comprised of garish props, clunky animatronics and odd actors.

The sojourn began with a slow but gradual descent through the perfect dark of a silent, extensive hallway, an effective an underutilized start to any haunted house. When the serpentine passageway finally yielded, we trudged our way through a series of cluttered, musty living spaces.

The actors in this area of the attraction were universally husky, each a physically imposing figure who took a twisted pleasure in dolling out scares. Also in this quarter of The Crypt, a pair of creepy organ players kept us on our toes, a well-timed clown in rocking chair provided a jolt and we were introduced to the rotten remains of one cretin’s dead mommy.

It seemed that the residents of The Crypt would love nothing more than to make us outsiders the main ingredient in a pot of homemade gumbo, so it wasn’t a moment too soon that we exited the hoarder homestead and entered a different section of the haunted attraction.

Here, we were accosted by an exceedingly tall harlequin who insisted that he was infected with Ebola but neither John nor myself was keen to stick around for the results of a blood test and thus pushed forward into the jarring dungeon that served as the latter half of The Crypt.

In this area we were assaulted from all angles by strobes, pneumatics and all manner of haunted attraction trickery — it was a veritable glut of sensory input. In one corner a modified Fischer Price car hurled toward us out of the darkness, driven as it were by a gaggle of diminutive clowns.

We were surprised on several occasions by actors whose costumes blended neatly with their surroundings and in one unforgettable instance, a stout and hairy man confined to an inaccessible room, treated us to the most unsettling dance number since Buffalo Bill cut a rug in The Silence of the Lambs. Finally, there was the family of animatronics humans gathered around a table that jerked and twitched in such a freakish fashion that I found myself momentarily frozen with fear; mesmerized by the bizarre abomination that was before me.

The Crypt was an old school spook house that eschewed polished eye-candy in favor of a more visceral, gritty experience. The attraction was of fair length and even stimulated the frequently neglected tactile sense. The placement of a few actors amongst key props and animatronics would heighten the overall scare factor and additional dialogue from the cast wouldn’t go unappreciated. But as it was, The Crypt served as an unusual and entertaining haunted attraction.

Rating: 3.25 stars

St. Lucifer’s Haunted Asylum, 13 Feet Under Form Formidable Double Feature

Posted in 2014, Review, St. Lucifer's with tags , , , , on July 5, 2015 by bluefall8

We rolled into the parking lot of Playland Park accompanied by an encroaching frost, but winter’s icy grip hadn’t discouraged thrill seekers who were lined up outside St. Lucifer’s Haunted Asylum. It was a heart-warming sight and the shot in the arm John and I needed in our quest for a record-setting night of fright.

While we waited in line we were delighted by a gruesome twosome who entertained guests with mild jump scares and a dash of humor. The first character was a sizable man in overalls and a cowboy hat and suffered from a curious condition in which a hog’s head protruded from his stomach. His cohort was a brightly dressed clown who carried with him a ventriloquist dummy with a punk rock style. The little guy sported multi-colored, wildly spiked hair, a vest, camouflage pants and a pair of black Chuck’s. His face too was painted as a clown. It was clear that these guys loved to mess with customers but to their credit they obliged any time somebody asked them to pose for a picture including yours truly.

Through my own set of Chuck’s my toes grew numb and after a short but pleasant conversation with the owner of the joint, John and I were admitted to St. Lucifer’s Haunted Asylum.

lucifers

Our journey into the madhouse known as St. Lucifer’s began in a box — an elevator to be precise, but this was no ordinary elevator. Even by haunted house standards this condemned transporter may be unique; fitted as it was with a peculiar sound system and one heart-pumping surprise. St. Lucifer’s spin on the so called Hellivator is an excellent way to send customers into the dark and served as one of the highlights of our experience.

Once free from the wild ride we pounded the halls of the haunted asylum and found that a slimy layer of frost had coated the floor throughout St. Lucifer’s. The slippery hallways and bone-chilling air created something of a surreal atmosphere; almost as if we had witnessed the ghost of the haunt season. The conditions put an odd thought into my head, that perhaps we weren’t allowed to be there, as if we had trespassed. Yeah, an early blast of winter will do some strange things to the mind of a hardcore haunter.

Determined not to be the next helpless souls permanently admitted to St. Lucifer’s and with a hearty fire that burned in our hearts we mustered the courage to forge ahead where we enjoyed an infinity hall created with the aid of light and mirrors and also appreciated a length of wall from which jutted numerous pairs of legs — storage for those who had expired within the confines of the haunted asylum.

It was obvious that the weather had sapped a lot of energy from the cast. Everyone gave an honest effort but it seemed the edge was off the performance and I couldn’t fault them because it was that cold. However, true to the spirit of the haunt season, there were those with thicker hides who dug down deep and delivered. There was a busty nurse who earned our respect simply because she wore a skimpy outfit in such conditions. There was also a short orderly who offered us some medication from her metallic tray and as we would find out, this particular pill could be administered rectally. Last but not least, there was Jimmy an unseen specter who engaged us in a spine-tingling game of hide-n-seek before we escaped St. Lucifer’s by way of an uber-tight womb of doom.

Rating: 3.25 stars

13feetunder

The wait for 13 Feet Under was much shorter and for that we were thankful. An armed guard decked out in military gear briefed us on the situation inside the area we were about to enter, but his instructions were cut short when the chained doors behind us began to sway from the weight of the infected that had amassed on the other side.

13 Feet Under utilized the concept of a military containment zone to further the story and drive the pace of the haunted attraction. It was a highly effective approach as it created an environment in which it was easy to suspend disbelief. We found ourselves actively slinking around passages in an attempt to conceal ourselves from the infected, varying our speed depending on the situation.

We came to a checkpoint near the halfway point of the attraction where another guard was stationed; in her left hand she held a chain. She rattled off a lot of information about the infected and how we should proceed if we planned to survive the ordeal but by attention was diverted by what was on the other end of the chain. A dark-haired infected full of sarcasm and a devil-may-care attitude grappled with the restraint and if I’m being completely honest, the diseased dame was making eyes at yours truly. I held up a gloved hand to test the veracity of the claims that were being made by the female soldier, besides I wasn’t so sure I didn’t want to be bitten by this particular infected as she possessed a dark allure. She locked eyes, leaned in slowly, bared her teeth and sunk them straight into my hand.

I was shocked and impressed and a little turned on (but not too turned on because it was freezing). She pulled back careful not to break eye contact, raised her eyebrows and flashed a devilish smirk. I turned to John and professed my disbelief as never before had a haunt actor taken the chomp test so far.

Stunned and more than a little enamored, John and I reluctantly trudged forward with my seemingly infected hand in tow. We ducked through open sewage pipes flush with grates that sent light from above streaming eerily through the slates. We rounded on a choke point and were intercepted by a wide-eyed survivor who advised us to halt for a moment before he noisily rushed us ahead. Before we had a chance to contemplate the need to hurry, a massive snake uncoiled from behind a wall and nearly took a bite of its own. In our haste we lost both the snake and the kind stranger.

In the distance, through a series of tall and winding wrought-iron fencing, we spotted a camper. Was it a safe haven from the infected? Was there medical personnel on hand that could deal with my love bite? Such thoughts were pushed aside when we forced to participate in an impromptu game of red light/green light. In our delirium, we may have applied a loose interpretation of the rules and then fled like insects when the chatting of a chainsaw chewed through the frigid night air.

Rating: 4 stars

“She actually bit me…hard.” 

-My stunned reaction when the dark-haired dame called my bluff.

Exit 13 Burns Hot during Frostbitten Finale

Posted in 2014, Exit 13, Review with tags , , , , , , on June 26, 2015 by bluefall8

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When John and I set out to make Horrorlust history last November 2nd it would be amidst some seriously frigid weather that threatened to sap the last burst of energy the 2014 haunt season had to offer, but as we were about to discover the lovable loonies at Exit 13 would have none of that.

Our adventure began when we were detained by Officer Hottie Pants, a tall and hairy 30-something male who attempted to intimidate us with the rules of the house. If his short-shorts weren’t enough, his moderately doughy gut exposed beneath his undersized tee-shirt suggested he would pounce on even a whiff of unlawful behavior and personally administer a full body cavity search. Neither John nor myself was in the mood to hear the cold snap of a rubber glove and as such we quickly agreed to follow all of the rules. Soon, free of the dubiously named Officer Hottie Pants, we descended into a crypt then through twin vortexes and into the raging horror show that is Exit 13.

There was a recurring bumpkin-gone-bad theme present at Exit 13, most notable was a tightly designed area lined with cornstalks that also featured the convincing facade of a humble hillbilly homestead. Outside the home and among the rows of corn were various clotheslines from which hung peeled and drying faces — an excellent touch. Elsewhere in the attraction was a spacious and painstakingly detailed general store that would’ve been right at home in Children of the Corn. And I would be remiss if I failed to mention the rotund redneck we encountered in one room who enjoyed a large pot of stew in which the key ingredient was dear old mom.

But there was more to Exit 13 than rural settings and scares, for instance, we were struck by the unsettling doll room that featured one life-like creature who’s howling, porcelain visage is emblazoned in my mind to this day. Once we were free of that threat we were surprised by an enormous reaper who emitted a bioluminescent glow.

As the attraction drew to a close we happened upon a mausoleum where I was bodily lifted from my feet by a stout but seriously strong creep who picked me up by my armpits and held me against a wall of the crypt. When he had relinquished his grip John and I scooted into the adjoining graveyard where Stout n’ Strong and one of his minions secured my arms and legs and attempted to serve me up to a couple of approaching zombies.

Exit 13 wasn’t quite finished with us yet, no before we emerged with hides relatively intact, we would be assailed by iron hulks, harassed by a gang of crazies who tickled us with buzzing chainsaws and my hat was even stolen momentarily when a prisoner in a plague masked snatched it from my head. And most of that took place while we marveled at a hot, sadistic nurse who tortured a wailing amputee! On top of that, we would later discover that the missing leg was no gag.

Exit 13 excelled on so many levels as a haunted attraction by successfully blending a variety of scenes and scares. The entirety of the haunt is highly detailed and filled with immersive environments. In addition it also featured a complimentary balance of blackout halls, descending pathways and interestingly textured walls. It’s a lengthy haunted house that managed to maintain an ideal pace, populated by a fearless cast who utilized every tactic available to scare actors.

As good as Exit 13 has been it still has yet to reach it’s full potential, and that is definitely a compliment. After talking to some of the key people behind the attraction it’s clear that they’re intent on expansion, and quite frankly there isn’t a haunted playground big enough for the supercharged psychos that call Exit 13 home.

Rating: 4.5 stars

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