Welcome One and All!

For all you Halloween Fanatics....this will be a review and links site of the Best Haunted Houses in the country that my wife Lisa and I have had the pleasure - or displeasure - of gracing....

I've been a *huge* Halloween and horror fan since I can remember...I dunno...it just brings the kid in me out...by the end of September, our place is suitably adorned and we await each weekend with anticipation of which haunts to hit next....

We've been blessed enough to be able to travel quite a bit around the country and see some wonderful attractions and the cities they lurk in...and we're hoping to pass on the fun we've had on to anyone willing to listen in....

Monday, May 26, 2014

Hail Thee and Farwell HAUNTCAST

...and so the curtain falls...

...and, with that, just a few parting thoughts to everyone out there regarding the show....

Just what did HAUNTACST mean to me?

I am quite sentimental about it, and here is why:

A lot of it stems back to December of 2010 and my becoming seriously ill and hospitalized...I'm not going to go into the gory details, but, suffice it to say, when you are handed a premature death sentence - even if it does turn out to be a false alarm - it will change your perspective drastically.

Flash forward about six or so months later, and I begin immersing myself in the online haunt community - websites, message boards, and podcasts....and what was the first one I ran across was, hmmmm? Three guess, first two don't count.

Flash forward once more to March of 2012, and, one phone call  and quick pitch to Mr. Baker later - and Viola! I'm part of the Scream Team.

To answer a few questions...

My all time favorite Haunts? That's easy.

It's a three way tie between the Akron, Ohio Haunted School and Lab, The Devils Attic in Louisville, Kentucky and Bloodview in Broadview Heights, Ohio - these are MUST SEE attractions - if your disregard everything else I've said here - and I am certain plenty will! - these are to die for and turn in your haunter's card if you don't visit them at least once in your life....or death, take your pick.  






Will I do another podcast?

Hauntcast was the perfect storm in a teacup for me, and, quite frankly, I don't think I'll find another talented - not to mention consistently inebriated - bunch like this again - in other words, no promises of  "yes, I'll be back, I'll be back!" - just a fond farewell and a wave goodbye. For me, this was one of those "blue moon" opportunities and I took to it with all the vigor I could muster. 

Now, if there is some HAUNTCAST post-mortem or one-offs reunions now and again, yes, I'm all up for that...but on a regular basis? Nah...not really.

Like everyone else, my segment had it's fair share of difficulties - how do you keep reviewing commercial haunts and make it interesting?

My biggest fear was becoming boring and turning everyone off in droves - face it, it's a pretty limited (and limiting) topic and you've only got so much wiggle room, but I'm thankful to Chris for giving me enough maneuverability to relate my own experiences in between the obvious pot holes.

Transworld 2013 was the biggie...meeting all the Scream Team minus one was terrific, and, despite Lisa and my abbreviated involvement, it was one of the highlights of that year and my time with Hauntcast. The last couple of Midwest Haunter's Conventions were pretty cool, too...hanging with Dick Terhune, Ed Gannon and Rev was great....

This Blogspot page *will* continue - and I want to thank both Daniel Craig Hoffman and Chris Tillman for their encouragement to do so...

Now granted, I probably won't be updating as frequently, yet, if something interesting comes to mind, I'm sure I'll put some extra posts up there - I'll also be adding articles from time to time regarding products and services that I find cool and noteworthy - and of course, there will the odd annoying autobiographical pauses as well....

By way of "thank yous" -

First and foremost, to Mr. Chris Baker - a man with whom I've had some lively discussions and equally lively disagreements with as well - thanks again for the opportunity and the creative freedom - I'll miss you chewing off my ear from time to time - best wishes to you and yours, and may all your business ventures bring you much success.

To the rest of the Scream Team - J.T. (thanks for all the leads on books and whatnot - we're going to make it out to the Bates Motel one year or another!) Rev (we'll catch you at any and all future Transworld conventions....and our cats miss you), Denny (we still crack up when we see you on Tanked!), and, in particular, Dick Terhune and Ed Gannon - thanks for the conversations, encouragement and input.

I have to give special thanks to these wonderful people for different reasons they all themselves know - Terra, Victor Beatreau, Chris Ainsworth, Jason Besseman, Marc Meader, Robert Santos, Stacy Fitz, Mike Jones and Jon Farmer - thanks again, keep in touch!

To all the minions who ever asked a question or started a conversation - and there are way too many to mention by name - thanks for making this all worthwhile....

Last, but not least, to my one and only Lisa for her encouragement, indulgence and gentle critiques - my love and thanks - and expect many, many more road trips to come!

Am I sad about the show ending? Yeah, I'd be lying if I said otherwise, but I suspected this would happen eventually...As the saying goes "All good things..." and that time has come.

Incidentally, Mr. Daniel Craig Hoffman made an interesting request of the Scream Team...paraphrasing a bit, he asked that we list our biggest influences in haunting in regards to books, TV, magazines, albums and a few other notables...

So, without further ado...

...here are mine:


(...can't name just one - the whole kitten kaboodle! Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, The Mummy, and on and on...)


1. Stephen King
Kind of a case of "durh!" - but when I was but a young whippersnapper, he was the Big Locust in the Stone lagoon - say for the classics like Shelley, Stoker and Bradburry...his best two (for my money) are 'Salem's Lot and The Stand...

2. Bram Stoker
Another obvious choice, but Dracula has a big effect on me as a young haunter - all vampires and castles and drama and swirling mists....can't beat it!

3. Richard Matheson
Matheson had a style I appreciated later in life, but I Am Legend, his vampire apocalypse masterpiece - the forerunner of George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead and all that followed - held me rapt from page one...

4. H.P. Lovecraft
His Cthulhu Mythos left me cold overall - never went in for that "Elder Gods" schtick - but The Color Out of Space was this wonderful blending of science fiction and horror, and this was long before I ever saw Boris Karloff in Die, Monster Die! Riveting. 

5. Peter Straub
Another author whose body of work I did not appreciate until older - just start Shadowland as I write this - but Floating Dragon is filled with some really nightmarish imagery and plenty of surprising plot twists that were novel for their day.

Just missed:

Edgar Allen Poe

He' a marvelous short story-teller - personal faves are The Cask of Amontillado and The Masque of the Red Death - a wonderful poet and almost single-handedly launched the entire Gothic movement...but his style really never affected me like the others....not my taste 100%...

Anne Rice

The Vampire Chronicles are marvelous, but her style gets too heavy handed and slow paced....aside from that, though, The Vampire Lestat was a terrific read.


First exposure I ever had to this sort of thing at a very young age - Herman scared the crap out of me a kid, but I learnt to adopt very quickly. The launcher of a thousand ships.....

Ahhhhh.....the Monster Movie of the Week, Saturday nights at 8....Dracula, The Wolf Man, House of Frankenstein, Godzilla, The Mummy, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein...and obscure gems like Kronos, Night Monster and The Mole People...life was good to me in the early to mid '70s...

It's no secret of my love and enjoyment of  Rich Koz's horror host spoofs - the show that relaunched my love of monster movies in the late '70s and launched a  thousand ships....

Sometimes referred to as "Kolchak's Monster of the Week" by critics, but to me? Sheer Heaven. Darren McGavin's seedy reporter stalking every form of ghost, ghoul and monster on the streets of Chicago.  utter bliss. 

Hey, don't laugh - lots of Haunters still watch this devotedly every year - it has a few creepy moments with Snoopy trying to get through the enemy lines - and it has a moral to it as well: Never Deprive a Young Woman of Her Tricks or Treats!


DC's take on the EC Comics of the '50s -  short stories that always got you thinking....


What can ya' say, really? Essential reading the in '70s....

What does the Web Head have to do with Halloween?

Plenty actually - characters like the Man-Wolf, Morbius the Living Vampire had a nifty supernatural  touch to them, and even regualr baddies like the Lizard and - in particular for me - the Green Goblin all had a tinge of  the Spooky Season attached to them.....

Then there were the multitude of books that flooded the market in the late '70s....can't comment on them all, so, I'll just let the pictures do the talking...



Uncle Forry's brilliant gift to the youth of Monster Land....'nuff said! 


A bit of a rarity in Chicago...was tough to find...but these things were like gold if you could get your hands on them....


I wasn't allowed to have this in the house much...grrr...but I *did* manage to sneak in a few copies...great short story stuff...


VERY tough to find, but an absolute treasure if you could!


THE definitive "spooky" record  - bar none! It didn't get any better than this back in the '70s, and, having caught up with a lot of what was available back then, seems I was right! Definitive haunting effects record.  

Never found out who  produced this, but this  little quickie packed a punch - cost me $1, and was worth every penny...side one was a tale of being trapped in haunted house with a blood banshee as the cast are picked off one by one, while the second side was a series of sound effects like banshee howls, werewolf cries and evil creatures prowling about....

What can I say that hasn't been said so many times before about this one...?
The Hitch hits all the right notes with this album, stories sppoky but not completely terrifying, designed to whet the appetites of the listnener for more...my favorites were always "The Haunted and The Haunters", "The Open Window"  and  "The Hitchhiker" ...
4, BLACK SABBATH "Mob Rules"

There are TONS of Metal albums out there that has all kind of horror and Halloween imagery to them, but this one definitely hit a chord with me lyrically and in terms of the imagery...added to that it was released close to Halloween that year, too (1981)...


I'll just close this reminiscence as I always have on the show, with Svengolie's exit tag telling you to brush your fangs, comb your face, drink your milk before it clots - I hope Lisa and I will see some of you again out on the Terror Turnpike, wherever that may lead...and always remember to stay scary.

HAUNTCAST may now be just a fond memory, but be watching, lots more to  come, including looks at  the 2014 Midwest Haunters Convention and an extra special visit to the Akron, Ohio, Haunted School and Lab...

Stay Tuned!