South speaks: Erebus and Scarefest prove overrated


Photos courtesy of Jessica Whitney ’16 (top) and the Scarefest Scream Park official Facebook page (bottom)

Erebus wows in disappointment factor

By Jessica Whitney ’16 | Staff Writer

Erebus is known as being the largest, 4-story haunted house in the United States. Around Halloween, hundreds of people come every weekend to Pontiac to experience the supposedly terrifying attraction, and I was one of them last week.

Here’s a little disclosure: I love everything scary. Horror movies are my favorite genre, and I’ve been to a fair share of haunted houses before. I have been to Erebus once before, and really enjoyed it, but each year the attraction is different. So naturally, I was super excited to go again.

In my group was my boyfriend Matthew Bergeron ‘16, and my friends Danny Palmer ‘16 and Hailey Murphy ‘16. Not going to lie, in my group I was probably the bravest and most excited to go the the haunted house.
We went on a Friday night, around 7 pm, and the lines were not bad at all. Compared to last year when I went on a Saturday and waited almost two hours, our wait time was only about thirty or so minutes. We only had to wait outside in line for about five of those minutes, so it wasn’t cold.
Inside, right before you buy your tickets, each group is brought into a room to take pictures. These pictures are available to purchase afterwards, but this is a pretty fun part of the experience.
In line only one actor was there to scare us, and did not do a very good job. We shouted Hailey’s name so that she would come and torment her, but all she did was get in Hailey’s face and say her name. We were separated into about 20 people and brought into a large dark room. We there had to watch a video with a mad scientist talking about how we were about to travel in time to Erebus. A loud boom and a wave of smoke entered the room, and that was probably the most thrilling part of the night.

From there, every individual group was set into their own line, leading into an enclosed area that holds the groups before entering the house, supposed to be a time machine.This area is a small space like an elevator, with two closed doors on each side. In this space a voice is softly heard, but hard to hear over the noise of people outside of the area. If you listen closely ,it says it is scanning your group for diseases and illegal contraband. The lights “scan” over you and test for these things.
This was such a disappointing way to start the haunted house because we kept thinking something scary was going to happen, and it never did. We just stood there in flashing lights, anticipating someone or something to jump out at us. We learned on our own this was not going to happen, and we could actually hear the actors talking to each other casually on the other side of the door. This ruined any effect they were trying to create, and we were all let down.
Several minutes later the doors finally opened, and we were allowed to start walking inside the Haunted House. I was the second in our line, and had my boyfriend lead the group because I was expecting to be scared. The first five or so minutes of the haunted house was spent turning around dark corners and feeling suspenseful. Every two or so corners we turned, either actors with creepy makeup on their faces or fake blood dripping on them would pop and and chase us to the corner, or mechanical props would pop out, like a fake hand.
These things spooked me, yes, but nothing like how I thought I would be scared. I would squeal every time something popped out, and walk faster, or run if being chased. But after a while, the squeals stopped and we just started talking to the actors, and laughing when things popped out. Anytime the actors spoke to us, we would make a joke back. I know that is our fault for ruining the effect of the spookiness, but it just was not scary anymore and joking with them kept the house at least fun.
After all the chasing, we caught up to other groups in front of us. This made the haunted house even less scary, because anytime something would pop out, the group in front of us would see it first and we would already know what was going to happen. Our group kept trying to slow down and separate ourselves from everyone in front of us in order to savor some of the fear. This never worked because every time we slowed down, an actor would purposely chase us to catch us back up to everyone. I think they did this so that the line outside the haunted house could move faster, but this ruined the experience. On their website, Erebus is described as being a 45 minute to one hour event, but because of all the running and being moved faster, our experience was 25 to 30 minutes at most.
Halfway through the haunted house, I moved my boyfriend behind me so I could lead the line. I literally never lead lines in haunted houses ever, but I thought maybe I would be more scared if I got to lead. This, again, was not the case, and I was technically still in the back because of all the other groups in front of us.
The best part of the attraction was when my group and three younger boys were lined up. We were squeezed into a very small room with two walls and two doors. It was pitch black, and all of a sudden the walls started closing in and squeezing us. Balls from ball pits filled up, starting from our feet, and went all the way above our heads.
This was so fun for me, and actually a bit scary because we couldn’t see. For Hailey, this was her least favorite part because she is claustrophobic. She was scared, but not in a fun way, but actually fearing for her life. This also wouldn’t be a good time for any germaphobes, because I’m pretty sure they have never actually cleaned those balls before, and they touch your entire body–including your face.
In all honesty, nothing else in the haunted house stood out to me. We just walked up and down a bunch of stairs, and walked and ran through it. When we reached the basement and the lights were on, I was incredibly disappointed. The haunted house was over and I was not scared, my adrenaline was not pulsing through my veins, and I felt like I had wasted my money. We walked back to our car and drove home talking about how bad the house was. Hailey, who was scared of the Brownell haunted house, talked about how disappointing Erebus was.
If you’re thinking about going to a haunted house, save yourself 28 bucks and go somewhere else.

Scarefest a major bore-fest

By Katherine Bird ’18 | Staff Writer

I’m not sure what was worse, the underpaid goblin running around with a chainsaw or being in such a small space I could hardly breathe. Neither of them really added to the “experience” at Scarefest.

Scarefest is a scream park that hosts two to four not so scary attractions: “Castle of the Dead”, “Carnival of the Dead”, “Terror Maze Zone”, and “Hayride of Doom”. Their names are pretty self explanatory. I can only comment on Castle of the Dead and Terror Maze Zone considering I didn’t want to pay anymore for their so called “terror”.

I giggled when I walked in the entrance and immediately saw a man dressed up as Harry Potter performing magic tricks. While he was pulling coins out of someone’s ear he would also be break dancing to electronic dance music.

Waiting in line wasn’t all that bad. It wasn’t terribly cold nor over populated so it was a very tolerable 15 minutes. Well, minus Harry Potter asking me once again to “Pick a card any card.”

The haunted house held the typical corny name, “Castle of the Dead”. It was hard to walk next to my friends because the walls were so cramped. Every time one of my friends got scared or was chased after I was literally smashed into the wall.

Actors inside broke character easily. As soon as I didn’t take them seriously they’d immediately try to make me laugh. I did not pay 15 dollars to have jokes thrown at me.

“The Corny Castle of the Living” took about 10 minutes to walk through which was a disappointment considering you’d like to be “scared” for longer than that.

I gave Scarefest one last chance to terrify me by going through the Terror Zone Maze.

The only point in that entire attraction where I was actually scared was the Fog Room.I couldn’t see out past my hand. Every once in awhile I’d hear a chainsaw behind me and begin to push my friends forward, motioning them to run.

Every single turn we made in the maze seemed to lead us to another dead end. None of the actors would help us out which was good because they weren’t breaking character (unlike the haunted house). On the downside, it took us a solid 45 minutes to find our way out of the place.

A major complaint of mine was there were employees smoking cigarettes on the property. There were multiple groups of people around I thought that was very unprofessional. It definitely took away from Scarefest since waiting in line for 15 minutes consisted of second-hand-smoke.

Next time I might just head to a cider mill instead because Scarefest Scream Park was a waste–waste of time, energy and definitely 30 dollars.