Sunday, October 30, 2011

Forsaken, Last Cleveland area haunted house review for 2011

Oh, I am sad.  Another fun season of haunted houses is over with.  But, it was a good one.  Lots of good houses and fun with friends. 
And they took our photo for free!

This week we went to Forsaken in Mentor.  And we had coupons again! Talk about a discounted halloween, I think we had coupons for like half of the houses we went to this year.  Score.  Anyway...

This one was really good.  For a first year haunted house, they have really dumped a lot of money in this one.  It's all indoors (even the waiting in line, except for the buying of tickets) and the atmosphere is super awesome from the first step into the houses.  It boasts a larger size than it should, saying it's got 30000 sq ft of scariness, but they are counting the big open courtyard where you can mill about, buy snacks or wait in line.  It was nice, that at this house you could choose which order you wanted to go into the houses.  I think this really helped the flow of people through the houses, instead of corralling people like the herd of cattle to slaughter that they are.  We barely had to wait in line at all.

Also, there were lots of actors working and they were all pretty good.  The props and decorations were high class, I don't think we saw a production value this high in any other house (though the factory of terror was a close second to atmosphere). 

This isn't my favorite of the season but I think we all agreed it was the best house we went to this season, except maybe for Conneaut Lake Park.  But that was so far away it lost some points from the crew. 

This is a house I hope sticks around, we will be coming again next year!

Forsaken gets 9 out of 10 headless statues.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Factory of Terror, Canton Ohio, Cleveland Haunted House reviews, week 4

This week we went to Factory of Terror, Guinness Book of World Records holder for longest Haunted House in the WORLD!!!!  Yeah...

We went here last year, too, and it had been heard that it was rearranged this year so that they could continue to hold the longest title.  It was rearranged in some places, but it was mostly the same as last year.  The areas where it was rearranged were not beneficial to the haunted house, it just made it seem...tedious.  Like the area with the chain link fence.  If you've been here, you know what I'm talking about.  Just tedious. 

Overall, though, this house is pretty good.  It's def one to visit, though I heard that Saturdays hold an impossibly long wait time.  We go on Fridays and we only waited for a little bit. 

So, what's good about it?  Well, it is long, and that can be good.  It has really good atmosphere (as long as you don't have dumb girls behind or in front of you) and the props are really good.  I think they depend on hydraulics a bit too much but, as my brother said, if they had the staff to work the house they could use that as a good distraction for a good scare.  That brings up my main beef with this house.  It was pretty understaffed when we went.  There were some parts where you just walked around and...nothing.  There was no one there.  But, the actors that were there were pretty good.  They have these two huge guys who work there...well, they are freaking huge.  And creepy.  And did I mention huge?  Also, Satan is my favorite actor in the house.  These actors, they have character.  It's pretty cool.

Other good stuff about it?  There was a pre-house before you even made it to the actual line for the haunted house.  Pretty awesome.  And the mirror maze.  It really is pretty kick ass.  The mirror maze was actually better this year than it was last year. 

So, other than some parts of tediousness and the lack of actors, this is a solid house worth visiting.  Make sure you get the $2 off coupon for max discountage and go on a Friday or Sunday night to avoid the lines. 

Factory of Terror gets 7 out of 10 industrial disembowelments. 

Next week is the last week, which is kind of sad.  We are either going to Forsaken, in Mentor, or we might entertain going to Clay's Park, probably forsaken, though...

Monday, October 17, 2011

I wish that Joan of Arc wouldn't hang around the park

Hello.  This is just an update on life kind of post.  A mishmash of stuff.  And yes, I am aware that I still owe you a nerf war post.  I promise, as soon as I get the photos up I will, it's just the computer dying has put me behind on pictures, you know?  You know. 

 First, we made sauerkraut yesterday. Me and Ry and Asher, and Martin came to help for a bit, too. We made two buckets, 45 lbs of cabbage each. We were on a roll. Here's some photos of Asher helping for you to enjoy.

It was fun, even if there were 60 mile per hour gusts all day and it was pretty chilly.  You make it outside, unless you really like having a huge mess all over.  Cause it's messy.  We still have more cabbages left, too.  I guess we bought to many when Asher, Katya and I went to the farmer's market in Edinburg (I know it's far away, but their cabbage is so huge and cheap at 1.50 for a 10lb head).  So, the kraut is fermenting and in a month I'll be canning it with my mother.  
I am thinking about making a third bucket and selling it by the jar.  I wonder how much people would pay for it and if people would want to buy it...I don't know, really.  I mean, I love kraut, and fresh kraut is always better than that store garbage...but I don't know if many people share my love for kraut.  
In other news, I just discovered recently a character flaw of mine.  I over react.  I was kind of surprised when I realized it, and then knew it to be true.  I asked my friends about it and they told me that, yes, in fact, I do over react.  At first I was a little upset that no one told me.  I mean, isn't that what you should do when your friends are being crazy psychos?  But, as my hubby pointed out, a good friend would just accept you for your faults and tolerate you, or just avoid you when you were crazy (if your friends are guys) and hang out with you when you weren't, but would never tell you when you were being a crazy super psycho bitch.  
So, I'm gonna work on my over reacting. No promises, because often I don't realize I'm doing it until after the fact, but I'm going to try.   

Anyway...not much else to say right now.  Have two Halloween events on the same day next weekend, so that will be a challenge...I don't know, I need to talk to JJ...

I should probably get to work.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Haunted Houses week 3, Ghost Lake at Conneaut Lake Park

We went to Ghost Lake at Conneaut Lake Park this week.  What a drive.  I was under the impression that it was near Conneaut, Ohio.  Which, if I had just looked at a map I would have realized that this was a false interpretation of it's proximal location.  It's not really close to Conneaut, Ohio.  It's much closer to Conneaut Lake, PA.  Meaning that it's in Conneaut Lake, Pennsylvania.  Either way, after our 1 hour and 45 minute drive into the middle of nowhere PA, we get there and park in the largest mud pit in which you might have the pleasure to park your vehicle.  I was gonnna drive this week, and it's probably a good thing I didn't cause I think the mud would have sucked my car into it's dark depths, but I had a flat tire.

My aunt gave us coupons, so that was rock on awesome.  The park boasts 9 haunted houses which take you more than 1.5 hours to complete, if you dare...  We dared.  So we pay and enter and...walk around without much idea of where we are going.  I kind of thought that the park would be operating rides, since it's an amusement park.  I guess I kind of figured it'd be like it was when we went to Geauga Lake when it was still around, you know, amusement park is operating and haunted houses are going.  No biggie, honestly, I was just saying. And apparently there was some type of fall festival going on in the daytime, all the tents were up and covered from the rain in the main concourse. 

We walk around kind of aimlessly for a few until we see a booth selling tickets to the dodgem cars turned into Karney horror freak show ($2 extra) and ask and she points us in the right direction.  Which we might not have found otherwise, because as we walked in the indicated direction, we were kind of leaving the park.  Or so it seemed.  As we walked by the Kiddie Park (which they really missed out on the scare factor, the giant bulbous clown head mounted above kiddie park is purely the stuff horror movies dream of recreating) we were slowly entering into a residential block.  And then, there it was, the first condemned building, I mean the first house.  I think I was more afraid I would fall through the floor or down the steps or off the bannister than of anything else in the house.  My fears of tetanus and caving floors would become a common theme throughout the night.  Since I didn't actually fall through the floor or get tetanus (that I know of, I did get splinter), it was good for the pump of adrenaline. 

We finished the first house and it was pretty fun. Found out really quickly that Pennsylvania haunted houses are very touchy-feely.  I got grabbed, touched, chainsawed, punched in the head (accidentally?) once and generally haunted house groped.  It was cool with me, it makes things creepier and fun.  Hopefully no one tries to punch out an actor, though, I think there's a reason that they don't allow that kind of stuff in haunted houses...Needless, to say, that shit wouldn't fly in Cleveland.  But, I liked it.  I think it's fun.  We dump out on the same street and...follow the block, passing houses where people are living, a Halloween/fall bonfire in the back yard of one, some guy sitting in his patio, people watching TV.  It really felt like we were trick or treating, which made the whole thing kind of surreal in a way. 

It was a nice change of pace from the normal haunted house recipe that seems to be commonly followed.  We proceeded to go into Conneaut Hotel, under the beach house/boardwalk, into another condemned house, a maze in a barn made of hay, into an arcade and a storehouse.  All the houses were inside, which was nice, since it was raining off and on, so we only had to be in the rain while waiting in line or walking to the next house. 

The last "house" was just riding the blue streak "ghouler" coaster in the dark.  Which was pretty awesome.  I really like riding a new roller coaster for the first time in the dark, you don't know what's coming and it makes it even more awesome.  Also, I am a sucker for wooden roller coasters, maybe it's my nostalgia from the Big Dipper.  I don't know.  Either was awesome. 

I really liked this house, even though it was really far away from our base of operations.  The whole night (all 9 haunted houses) cost only $20.00, if you find the coupon, available at Arbys in the Youngstown market, you get 2 bucks off.  It was an awesome deal. 

I give this house 8.5 out of 10 crazy chainsaw guys.

I'm giving it such a high score because of the 'trick or treat' feel it had, the value, and the overall charisma of the place and the actors.  I'm not saying the actors were great, but some of them were, and most all of them were having fun.  You can tell these things.  And it makes a difference.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Cleveland area haunted house reviews, week 2

We only went to one house this weekend, Cornstalkers in Hinckley.  We got a Groupon for buy four passes for $8 each, which is the only reason we went to this one (honestly I hadn't heard of it before and it didn't come up on my searches when I was looking...).  Which ended up being an awesome deal, because admission was $20.00 a person normally. 

Anyway, I definitely recommend this one.  Even if you are paying full price (suckers...).  It was the longest house we have been to so far this year, it took us an hour and some change to get through all three parts.  It's all outdoors, so keep that in mind if you do go.  We had a perfectly beautiful night for it, too, in the lower 60s. 

What made this house good without details that ruin it? Hmm...well, it was long and interesting.  That's always a plus.  And some how they got their corn impossibly tall.  I swear it was 10 feet tall.  Genetic engineering nowadays.... but it was nice because corn haunted houses where you can see over the corn are kind of lame, no offense.  The props and created scenery were a little lacking, but this house is all about ambiance and actors.  We had some pretty good actors, even though they were few and far between. It wasn't that busy so they were able to double back on us and get us repeatedly, but if it were busier they might have been spread too thin. 

Sometimes not having a lot of theatrical props and hydraulically operated monsters in a house is old school and fun.  Ambiance means a lot in a house and sometimes bigger haunted houses rely too much on gizmos and rubber masks and not enough on the basics.  I'm not saying this is the scariest haunted house I've ever been to, but it has the basics down, which is refreshing. And it was fun.  The actors had fun, we had fun, it was a good time.  Could they make improvements?  Definitely.  But were they a decent and sound haunted house which provides a good time that lasts longer than 15 minutes?  By far. 

My score for the Hinckley Cornstalkers Haunted House:  7 out of 10 legless zombie girls.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cleveland Area haunted houses week 1 review

So, this past Friday we went to North Olmsted's Fear Experience and Elyria's Hauntville (in that order).  Originally we were going to go to North Olmsted and Hinckley but the Hinckley house is all outdoors and we are currently in our fall monsoon season so it was closed due to weather.  So, here is my personal review and opinion of the houses. 

The Fear Experience, Haunting a strip mall near you...

We had a groupon for this and got VIP tickets for the same price as regular tickets so we could have gone through the houses again for free as many times as we wanted (all except for martin who had to buy a regular ticket) and we wouldn't have to wait in line.  That would have been good later, but this early in the season we didn't have to wait in line anyway.  Oh well.  Still, it would have been nice.  This groupon we had to buy for a specific day and they were only offering them for the first few weekends anyway, so they had our number.  Honestly, we weren't even gonna go here, it was the groupon that saved us when Hinckley fell through. 

They also tried to upsell us on this ride where they put you in a hydraulic coffin and shake it around like you are being buried alive.  I passed on that, too.  Not a fan of being put in a box and shaken around. 

These houses were pretty good.  Nothing amazing but they weren't disappointing, either. The actors were okay, the makeup was good, the effects were normal haunted house fare.  I mean, nothing jumped out at me and said, hey, this is super duper cool or scary.  So, nothing left a major impression.  They were fun and amusing and that's all one can really ask for from a haunted house in a strip mall.  I mean, the ambiance is lost a little when the whole second house smells a little like the Chinese restaurant next door.

My overall score: 6 out of 10 mallrats.

Hauntville, stripmall spooks second set....

So, this one was a little harder to find, since the sign was small, unlit and located out in front of a strip mall just like it was a "vote for Hauntville for mayor" sign in the grass.  Lucky for us there was also a giant searchlight above it or we probably would have driven past it again the second time. 

Surprise!  This one is also in a strip mall, conveniently located next to Halloween City, just in case you needed to go get some fake blood to look adequately mangled after your housing experience. 
This was supposed to be three haunted houses but really it was just one house with three separate themes located inside.  We always had a guide show up at the entrance to the next area to tell us we were entering the next area.  The beginning of cell block 13 was interesting but then after the beginning it was all kind of just black hallways and a few rooms, and even fewer actors.  The second one, psycho manor, had a little more decorations and actors happening and the third "house" (if you can call it it's own house...) the dark abyss was kind of swampy but nothing spectacular.  I will tell you, I've been through the vagina tunnel (if you are a haunted house you know what I has nothing to do with an actual vagina nor does it look like one), they surprised me a bit with this one.  That's all I'm going to say about it. 

The website and the banner at the location claim this is "Ohio's Scariest Haunted House!!!" I politely disagree.  It wasn't bad, it was kind of understaffed and a little dull in spots but it was pretty average for a haunted house.  I had fun but I wasn't convinced on the "Scariest Haunted House" part of the self proclaimed review. 

My review: 6.5 out of 10 vials of fake blood at 20% off retail value.

These houses weren't great but they set a good start for the Halloween season.  I'll see you back again next week with our first Pittsburgh reviews. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Zombipocalypse, 2011

So, this weekend was the first ever Zombipocalypse.  It rained.  It happens.  I mean, zombipocalypses could potentially happen at anytime so, it makes sense to be prepared.  Here are the photos and some quick little side notes.  First is the preparation.  I made zombie fingers.  Basically I used the fresh bacon from the CSA and wrapped it around rod pretzels and securing them with toothpicks, then baking them in the oven for about 20 minutes.  I was worried when they first came out because the bacon had made the pretzels soft.  I let them cool off before I coated them in chocolate, though, and they hardened right back up.  And were amazing.  I should have gotten a second pack of bacon, but I was worried they wouldn't turn out and I would ruin all that bacon. 

Zombie fingers...

pre-zombie fingers...

Bear helped mama with her costume.

So, day of party photos now.  Mostly just chilling.  Since it rained all weekend we ended up hanging in the house and the garage.  We put up a sheet over the garage door and projected movies and music, it was pretty boss.  Ry was diligent and actually got a fire started, too.  So we had that, though it was cold cold cold and I didn't spend much time outside because I didn't want little bear outside.  Oh, did I mention I let him stay up til 11?  We were going to let him go til he dropped but he refused to drop so we eventually put him to bed.  He had a blast.  I think it's safe to say we all had a great time. 

I did makeup for ry, myself, bear, tom, the shig and Brittany.  I got better as I went on, my makeup (which I did first) was considerably the worst.  Rachel's makeup, which she did her self was pretty awesome, and Jess pain did a pretty good job, too.  Honestly, most of our zombie compatriots were pretty excellently made up.  I should have made Rachel do all of our makeup, though. She was much better at it than I was. Oh well, practice makes more zombies. 

 JJ brought these lovely treats, which I'm going to pretend she made with CSA eggs as well:

Deviled eggs level 2, eyes of the damned.

Zombie casual hour.  Just chilling and mixing. 

Keef of the dead and his lovely zombie drove all the way from
Maryland to hang with his undead companions.

Silly survivor.  It's only a matter of time before you are one of us.

Zombie hoard smells brains. 

Hey, I can see you out there...

We even had a zombie Chell.  She made her own glow in the dark companion cube and leg braces.  Awesome.

What zombie party is complete without the second coming of Christ?
And his beautiful prom queen of the damned, of course.

I always feared my child would be the death
of me...