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Erebus lives up to reputation

by Gabriel L. Ouzounian

October 12, 2011

Zach Terebus and Dan Pysh have both been with Erebus since it opened in 2000. Photo by G. Ouzounian
Sometimes, after visiting haunted houses yearly for simply too long, the props, the acting and the themes can become predictable.

For veteran haunted house goers, or those simply getting too old to take the attractions seriously, there is a solution just inside of Pontiac. Erebus, located at 18 S. Perry Street across from the Phoenix Center, is a haunted house more than 10 years in the making and is likely the most elaborate such attraction in Oakland County, if not the state.

The mood is set the second visitors step into the cue, which at primetime can last as long as two hours. To avoid this, visit the house now, before Halloween grows closer - and later in the evening rather than earlier. Smoke machines fill the rooms up to the moment visitors enter the house proper. Then the lights go out.

What follows is difficult to predict, as all manner of spooks and creeps emerge from the darkness as visitors make their way through the ever-changing corridors. While the presentation is a little hard to follow, it seems patrons at Erebus have participated in a time-machine experiment gone wrong. Expect to see themes ranging from jungles to castles to futuristic environments with creeps to match.

Erebus features the usual actors in gruesome garb but the true star of the attraction is the environment. While it is usually clear what is happening, areas of the tour genuinely feel like walking through a swamp (minus the wetness) looking down an endless pit (minus the safety harness), riding an elevator or many other equally fear-inducing experiences. All the while actors find ways to hide in the smallest cracks or in plain sight, leaping out when visitors are distracted.

Staff will, as usual, fixate on the "weakest links" or those that appear the most frightened. While this house seems to do away with the typical "creep following closely behind the group" (likely due to the attraction's size), staff that sense weakness or who are "offended" will call ahead and relay who to scare, much to the hilarity of friends and others in the group.

Finally, those that have not yet experienced Erebus should take the lead despite apprehension. The house changes starkly every year, but the layout remains somewhat the same. Those that have been there before may recognize areas and inadvertently point out "threats" lying in wait.

Erebus is a Guinness World Record holder for its sheer size and is the most expensive haunted house in the county ($23), but with good reason as the production values would suggest. It is one haunted house that area residents should consider visiting, although it may not be appropriate for those under the age of 12.

Hours are 6 p.m. to 1 a.m., Fri. and Sat.; 6-11 p.m. Sunday; and 7-11 p.m. on weekdays.

For more information, or to purchase tickets online, visit hauntedpontiac.com or call (248) 332-7884. Cash only at door.