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Summer Slash - Eloise Asylum

Summer Slash @ Eloise Asylum 30712 Michigan Ave Westland, MI 48186

Date of Event: 6/3/23 Reviewer: Lindsay


"It's time for me to strike again I'm coming back for you, my friend Tonight... It's a Hunter's Moon."

If you're not familiar with those words, they're from "Hunter's Moon", a song by the popular rock band Ghost. And I don't think there could be a more appropriate backdrop for a group of friends trying to escape the chaotic halls of an abandoned asylum, with the red moon rising high above, and where the inmates happen to be your worst nightmares from the silver screen... along with those the asylum itself has birthed... while praying we won't be among those they manage to hunt down.

I had heard many excited whispers surrounding Westland, Michigan's Eloise Asylum over the past year. The property opened in 1839 and offered multiple services, most famously psychiatric care, prior to that division's closure in 1982. Its centerpiece, the massive Kay Beard Building, was later acquired and partially converted into the haunted attraction it has become today (paranormal tours are offered as well). Every person I spoke with who'd visited this place seemed to have it in their top 10 - if not crowning the list. If haunt-goers loved it that much, I knew I'd have to see it sometime. I'd planned to save my visit for the regular season, but I ended up being graciously invited to a friend's birthday weekend in Michigan, the main event of which would be SUMMER SLASH, a horror movie haunt Eloise was hosting. Well, who could turn down an invitation like that? And so- when the summer came, and the first weekend of June was upon us- I found myself en route to Westland with my good friends from Team Zombillies at The Scare Factor.

Multiple ticket options were available for your Summer Slash experience, and you could select the time slot that worked best for you and your party. We opted for the VIP Survival Experience- $69 and an 8:00 PM time slot- which included not only haunt admission, but also a special escape room-style game. (More on this later!) As for parking, it was completely free on site, and they had plenty of space.

Summer Slash was a full scale event - in addition to the scary experiences guests could partake in, there was even more to enjoy outside. Several different vendors were set up and selling all kinds of neat stuff, including taxidermy art, crystals, jewelry, spooky candles, and of course- in keeping with the theme- tons of horror merch. Horror celebs were on hand to take photos and sign items for fans. Food was available at a BBQ truck. A band provided live music, and the haunt had iconic movie characters prowling the crowd. We encountered Mary Shaw (Dead Silence) shortly after arriving, and she was my favorite of the night - creepy, yet personable. Jason Voorhees' silent, imposing presence was definitely felt under the big vendor tent, and we also ran into Ghostface a little later. Those were just a few of the freaky familiar faces we noticed; we saw more later on. It was hard to keep track of them all!

Before entering Eloise's main haunt, we first took on the Survival Experience, where we grouped up with a couple of other teams from The Scare Factor (Team Terror Techies Haunt Reviews & Team Cleaverland Haunted House Reviews), along with a handful of strangers. There were three floors we had to beat, solving the puzzles while dodging the monsters who'd be after us the whole time. All of us wore belts bearing two flags each; we were informed these were our "lives", and once we lost them, it was game over. Anyone who made it out alive would win a ticket to return during haunt season.

Without giving all of it away, this part was a blast! The characters stalking us ranged from horror icons, like Michael Myers, to scary creatures like a small- yet enthusiastic- horde of zombies. Clues were challenging, as was keeping hold of your flags, and everyone seemed to be into it. I found the whole thing to be enjoyable, intense... and utterly hilarious, because our group of adults tore butt down the hall as soon as Myers showed up. So much fun, and such a unique experience - I have never seen another haunt do this before. (Shout out to Michael for taking a photo with our birthday girl! He's her favorite.)

When the night fully set in and the halls of Eloise darkened ominously, it was time to descend and enter the main haunt. There were two attractions: the first was a true asylum themed house, while the second felt more like a secret laboratory full of monstrous arachnids. I regret to inform you that this is one of those haunts that's hard for me to be too specific about when it comes to the scenes and set design - why? Because it is A LOT. Eloise pretty much smacks you in the face with the first room, and maintains a total assault on your senses from start to finish. Incredible visuals and insane special effects are consistently used throughout, along with some really crazy scares. Yet all the while, they maintained the asylum theme in the first house, with rooms featuring different forms of therapy, patient cells and such. This place had some of the best lighting effects I'd ever seen, too; I remember one scene where the lights flickered, then completely cut out, leaving us alone in the dark... with a scary person lurking. At some point, I was moved to the front of the group- because "Lindsay hasn't been to Eloise before"- and then it really got wild, for me anyway. Between all the chaos going on, actors coming at me, and having one life left, my nerves were completely shot.

Oh yeah... about that. If you participated in the Survival Experience, you weren't done yet - you also had to protect your remaining flags going through the houses! Not an easy task, at least for our immediate group... Joanna was already dead (thanks Michael), and Nora and I both lost a life as soon as we entered, while Tyler kept both of his flags for a while. But by the final scene in house one, we were ultimately defeated by a gang of deranged patients. Y'know what? I'm still proud we got that far.

A good sized cast was working the event, and I didn't feel there was too much dead space in either of the houses. Among the characters we saw were loads of movie monsters, some recognizable and others more obscure. We spotted Freddy Krueger throwing sparks in the Tesla coil room, Annabelle gleefully tormented us over our flags, Otis Driftwood (House of 1,000 Corpses) had some crazy "projects" going on, we saw a Killer Klown From Outer Space - the list just kept going. Every actor we met had crazy energy, and they were super interactive, usually responding if you spoke up or pointed them out. My personal favorite interaction was with Otis, he had loud music playing in his scene and I came in dancing. "Who told you you could dance in my room?" "Me!" I sassed. He gave me a look. "You open that mouth again and I'm going to sew it shut." What can I say? It ain't me if I don't talk a little sh*t.

They also toyed with us *hard* when it came to our lives - the women were especially cutthroat. I lost count of how many "no ma'am"s came out of my mouth while backing away from an evilly grinning (or angrily screaming) lady monster who wanted nothing more than to rip that last flag off my waist.

With how frequently they're used, I've always said: if you're going to do movie monsters, make sure you do them right. And IMO, Eloise Asylum pulled off their theme 100%. Summer Slash was not only a great summertime show, it was also a frightfully fun tribute to the horror movies so many of us know and love. It was so awesome to get to see this amazing haunt for the first time as well. Our group had a blast, and I think I can speak for everyone when I say we hope Eloise will consider having it again in the near future.

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