Last Call For Haunted Houses!!

Posted in holidays on October 27th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This weekend sees the last of the Halloween season of 2010.  I always try my best to do as much Halloween and fall-related things as possible; I just love the season.  This year I’ve been lucky enough to have gotten to try THREE haunted houses, and I will rate them here in case anyone has time to check any of them out.  I would really like to fit in a few more or even a repeat visit to one I’ve already been to, but I have a jam-packed weekend planned with other fun stuff like Halloween parties and Trick-or-Treating.

A few weekends ago, we visited the Chicago area and were able to get to two haunted houses, both in the area where we were staying – Aurora.  We would have liked to check out some other of the MANY haunted houses in the suburbs (as well as other entertainment offerings), but alas, we quickly ran out of time.  So the haunted houses visited were:

BASEMENT OF THE DEAD – 42 W. New York St. Aurora IL 60502 -This is by far the best haunted house that I’ve ever been to.  I’ve been able to visit here 2 years in a row, and it’s gotten better with time.  The makeup on the creatures is incredible – horror movie caliber –  and the characters waiting to scare people waiting in line are great.  They ALWAYS stay in character, which is very important, and they are creative in their scariness – much more than the typical  monster or “BOO!” yelling psychopath.  I tried to get video of the ultra-impressive 7+ foot tall monsters that hang around outside, but Basement of the Dead is located in downtown Aurora, so I had to help my husband navigate around the tricky one-way streets instead.  A MUST SEE for any haunted house enthusiast!  We will probably be making the trip next year, if not just for this haunted house alone; it’s that good!  4!’s for fright out of 4.

MIDNIGHT MASSACRE – 3440 Odyssey Court Naperville IL 60540 – Well, there really isn’t much to say about this lame attempt at a haunted house.  I don’t even think it was made less scary by our visit to Basement of the Dead before this one – it wouldn’t have been any better even if we hadn’t just visited a  spectacular haunted house first.  The scariest thing about Midnight Massacre was the hour and a half we waited in line, which was hidden from view when you buy your tickets.  We got a bad clue when we saw a snack stand in line – you know they won’t want you taking food or drink into their haunted house, so if they let you buy food and drink in line, you know you’re going to have a long wait.  And in this case, a long wait for what?  The haunted house was not scary.  This one did consist of actors (?) yelling cheesy things like “BOO!”  There was a guy dressed like Freddy from Nightmare on Elm Street, and his “scare” was jumping up from a bed and yelling “Freddy!”  We even had one actor apologize to us and say, “Hey, I tried.”  Talk about breaking character!  But in a haunted house as bad as this one, it didn’t really matter that he broke character, that wasn’t the only thing wrong with it.  The first part of if was a black light maze that was so obviously part of a lazer tag course – they didn’t even try to hide it.  But there weren’t any monsters in it or anything.  They had a couple of cool robots and animatronics, especially this one large dinosaur thing, but it was just a head, and they didn’t do anything to cover up the robotic looking body.  And the actors were terrible.  Enough said about this one, not recommended – well, maybe for a kid’s first haunted house.  One ! (for effort Iguess) out of 4!’s

Leader’s Family Farms – near the intersection of Ohio State Route 24 and Henry County Rd. 16 near Napoleon, Ohio – I got to go into this haunted attraction with one of my youth group girls, and she was a screamer.  It was a lot of fun, especially since the ghouls and monsters focused their attention on the screamer and left me alone!  We did not have the time to check out their new haunted attraction, PanDEMONium, but Screamacres was a nice haunted attraction as always.  3! out of 4! – Lots of the same old haunted house effects, but being outside and in the middle of nowhere certainly adds to the effect.  I should also note that Leader’s has activities for the entire family, every age group.  Great fall fun to be had here.

Well, there you have it – those are the 3 I’ve gotten  to this year.  If you have the time and are looking for a good scare, I highly recommend Basement of the Dead in Aurora Illinois or Leader’s Family Farm’s Screamacres in Napoleon Ohio.  I wish I had more time to visit more and get some reviews.  Maybe some day I’ll be able to get down to Columbus Ohio to go to Dead Acres Haunted Hoochie; it looks very scary and really cool!

Anyone else think haunted houses should extend their seasons into November for those of us who are very busy in October taking kids trick or treating and to fall parties, etc??  I sure wish they would!!!  Have a GREAT Halloween!!

Nightmare On… Elm Street?

Posted in Movies on May 26th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

We checked out the Nightmare on Elm Street remake a few weeks ago.  It was better than the Friday the 13th remake and the Halloween remake but not comparable to the Texas Chainsaw remake, which was very well done and better than the original, in my opinion.  Nightmare on Elm Street, not so much.  For starters, I don’t understand why the new Freddy Krueger was so short.  His burned face was much less scary than the original Freddy, and I have to say that having high school kids tower over him did take away some of the intended fright.  Also, Freddy’s back-story changed for the new version, which now includes allusions to child abuse of Freddy’s victims at a preschool rather than all of the terrorized kids being from Elm Street.  In fact, I don’t really know what Elm Street has to do with the new version of Nightmare on Elm Street.  Part of the reason we wanted to check this one out is because much of it was filmed in the suburbs of Chicago where we grew up, but we didn’t recognize anything, and my husband did not recognize which scenes were filmed in his former high school.  But not recognizing the filming locations was not what disappointed us most – the 2010 version of Nightmare on Elm Street is just not as scary as the original.  Sure, the special effects are better and the throwback and remakes of certain key scenes were done well and appreciated, but the movie just didn’t have the same effect.

We also recently took in the original My Bloody Valentine, the 1981 version, and it was a good horror movie.  I read afterward that much of it is actually filmed in real mines, which must have been really dangerous, and I wish I had known that before I watched the movie.  Many things were changed for the 2009 version, which I really enjoyed – probably my favorite modern day horror movie.  But to enjoy the original version was nice too.  We picked up the 2009 version on a sale at Walmart, and it came with both the 2D and 3D version and some glasses.  I’ve never had any luck with the old red/green 3D glasses technology, and this time was no exception – my vision is just too uneven, I guess.  It worked for my husband, but I ruined his fun because seeing everything in red and green was incredibly distracting for me.

We’ve also been watching the After Dark Horror Fest movies lately, and there have been too many to review, so I’ll just make quick lists of recommended vs. terrible ones for any horror fanatics reading my blog and looking for some opinions.

Good:
The Final
Kill Theory
Perfect Getaway (more thriller than horror, but good)
My Bloody Valentine 3D (2009) – especially if you can get the 3D to work for you at home.  The 3D for this one in the theater was amazing, and I really enjoyed my first horror movie 3D experience on the big screen when it came out.

Worth one viewing:
Dread
My Bloody Valentine (1981)
The Graves

Awful waste of time:
The Broken
Grace

And, I think I’ll throw this one out there separately since it’s not horror at all, but we also watched The Prestige again yesterday and it’s very good – especially the second time around.  It’s a story about two rival magicians that takes place in the 1890’s.  If you’re going to give it a try, pay attention!  Oh, and I would not look too closely at the imdb entry for it – there is too much that can be given away.  That’s all I’m going to say other than I highly recommend it, but again -it is in no way a horror film; we just watched it again recently which is why I put it in this horror-movie-laden post.

Nightmare On Alumni Street

Posted in Movies on April 28th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

As has been the trend lately, they are going to remake a popular horror movie from my youth – Nightmare On Elm Street.  When the movie came out in 1984, I was too young (and scared) to watch it, but the main character, Freddy Krueger, was everywhere.  Everyone wanted to be Freddy for Halloween, and just his picture was enough to scare me silly.  I think even people who don’t like horror movies know who Freddy Krueger is – a burn victim with a hideously scarred face who has knives for fingernails and invades the dreams of his victims.  We tried watching Nightmare On Elm Street as adults not too long ago, and it wasn’t scary – it just came across as dumb.  So maybe a remake IS in order.  I just hope it’s not horrible like Rob Zombie’s Halloween remake.  Actually, the Friday the 13th remake wasn’t so great either.  I did enjoy the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake though, and I really liked the remake of My Bloody Valentine – two movies that prove slasher films can be successfully remade.  So I hope this Nightmare on Elm Street is on par with the latter two I mentioned.

The reason I’m bringing this up is because I read an article about how they are going to be filming this remake in Chicago, with some scenes being filmed at the high school my husband attended.  The students had a surprise assembly on Friday, where they were told that their high school is going to be used to film a movie and that extras would be needed.  How cool of an assembly would THAT be?  The article mentions that the movie will be out April 16, but it doesn’t specify which year – I’m hoping they mean 2010 because I’m anxious to see it!  I just hope they don’t try to do any funky computer stuff for Freddy’s face or glove.  I think good old fashioned makeup is sometimes what makes things scarier!  Here is the article about the choosing of the high schools.  And just for fun, here is the trailer from the original Nightmare on Elm Street:

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