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October 23, 2008 - Image 12

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4B - Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

48 - Thursday, October 23, 2008 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

FRIGHTS
From Page 1B
1. PERY PONTIAC
OCT. 23-3 NOV.2- $20
There's a reason the line for Erebus stretch-
es around city blocks and can take hours to
get through. Not only is Pontiac's warehouse-
filling haunted lair certified by the Book of
Guinness World Records as the "World's Larg-
est Walk-Through Haunted Attraction," but
its four floors are packed top to bottom with
ornate props, effects and decorations that rival
Disneyworld in theme comprehensiveness.
Waiting outside in line, even the fagade of
the building beckons. Gargoyles, a giant spi-
der and a twitching, hanging dummy that's so
lifelike many patrons are convinced it's real
all loom overhead on the sidewalk of Pontiac's
Water Street. Upon reaching the interior queue,
video screens chronicle the botched time travel
experiment that gives Erebus its backstory.
After one final video introduction, patrons
are divided into small groups and sequestered

into cramped chambers before they're let loose
to traverse the gauntlet that is the haunted
world of Erebus.
Though the haunted house suffers from an
identity crisis that places it somewhere among
a sci-fi nightmare, a torture dungeon and
"Jurassic Park," its varied motifs only help to
reinforce the unpredictability and suspense
that wait around every pitch-black turn.
Chargingdinosaurs,greenmistswamps, fall-
ing floors, collapsing walls - every time Erebus
seems predictable, a new fright emerges. From
psychological spooks to good old-fashioned
sneak-up-on-you gags, Erebus always hits when
it's least expected.
To call it professional would be an under-
statement. With dozens of moving parts, light-
ing effects and detailed props and costumes, it
could hold its own as a real Hollywood horror
set.
At 20 bucks a pop, it's no neighborhood bar-
gain. But step inside, and it is all too obvious
why Erebus is worththe price of admission and
the wait in line. Creators Ed and Jim Terebus
have thrown in every scare imaginable.
No stone left unturned, no hair left unraised.
DAVID WATNICK

Christopher Mintz-Plasse trains to fight ultra-conservative preachers on the Diag.

Embracing the
nerdin all of us
Forever branded as McLovin, Christopher Mintz-
Plasse is actually more like us than you think
By Jonathan Hurwitz I Daily Arts Writer

Since the release of "Superbad,"
"McLovin" has become a household
name. Along with other quotable
movies such as "Old School" and
"Napoleon Dynamite," "Superbad"
has created a seemingly universal
jargon of new, sexually-laden phras-
es. "I Am McLovin" is a real part of
our lexicon.
But despite the universal sensa-
tion that has become "Superbad,"
what's still largely uncovered is the
man behind the ID. His name is
Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and he's
just like you.
Kind of.
Disregarding his fame and newly
burgeoning wealth, Mintz-Plasse
is a typical 19-year-old. He went to
high school, too, and lives with his
family (and dog) in L.A. He also
likes to laugh, watch movies (espe-

cially "Fight Club") and s
with friends. Some might
the world's best friends, is
was two of his high scho
who encouraged him to g
ing call for "Superbad."I
a few drama classes und'
and a headshot taken viah
phone, Mintz-Plasse mad'
pected jump into the lime
was cast in the role of Fo
McLovin was born.
Mintz-Plasse, who rece
an appearance in Ann Arb
mote "Role Models," his 1
ect, sat down to talk ab
phrases, being greeted b
UM students and of cours
bad."
"We didn'treallythink1
going to be huge," Mintz-P
"We were just improvising

pend time and we were actually telling our-
say he has selves, 'We can't believe we're actu-
n fact, as it ally making a movie because we're
ol friends havingso much fun."''
o to a cast- The fact that he held his own
With only among a cast of more practiced
er his belt comedians in "Superbad" is telling
his camera of his potential to become a respect-
e an unex- ed comedian in his own right.
light as he McLovin fans can catch the lov-
ggell. And able nerd in his next movie, "Role
Models," alongside Seann William
ntly made Scott ("Mr. Woodcock") and Paul
bor to pro- Rudd ("Knocked Up"). The movie
atest proj- follows Danny (Rudd) and Wheeler
out fame, (Scott) after they're sentenced to
y a ton of community service at a "Big Broth-
e, "Super- ers, Big Sisters"-like program.
Mintz-Plasse again assumes the role
that it was ofthe lovable geek,thistimethrough
lasse said. Augie, Danny's "Little Brother."
every day With the release of "Role Mod-
els" on Nov. 7, an important question
evolves: Will Mintz-Plasse become
Hollywood's go-to nerd? And more
importantly, will he allow this to
happen?
"When I read the script and I
knew (David) Wain (the director)
was attached - I was a huge fan of
'Wet Hot American Summer' - I
didn't really care what the character
was ...I really just wanted to work
with these guys."
Incredibly humble and ultimately
appreciative of his recent opportu-
nities to work with some of today's
finest comedians, Mintz-Plasse is
living the good life. He loves watch-
ing movies and now he's in them.
"You know, it's cool. It's pretty
/ overwhelming to come here and
walk into a theater of 300 kids and
they're all just cheering for me,"
Mintz-Plasse said. "It's really awe-
OF COLUMBIA some that I can bring laughter to all
you guys."

HAUNTED
From Page lB
Joe Oberlee, president of the Oakland County
Sportsmen's Club, agrees, and said people are
attracted to the forest for a couple of different
"People really like the unknown, and Hallow-
een is a last hurrah before snow sports season,"
Oberlee said.
Undoubtedly, though, Erebus is king. Named
by the Guinness Book of World Records the
Largest Walk-Through Haunted House in 2005,
Erebus has maintained the title, always expand-
ing and changing the frights to keep the house
fresh from year to year. Dragons, monsters,
mutant apes and people in gruesome makeup
line the 9,800 square feet of pitch-black - and
often cramped - hallways to create a truly
sweaty-palmed experience. Around 90 employ-
ees, from actors to security personnel, ensure
that the experience is always unique and fright-
ening. If you think you can't be spooked by a
haunted house, then you haven't been to Erebus.
The crew rips out about 30 percent of the house
each year, keeping some favorite elements and
consistently adding new ones. With balls that
swing from-the ceiling, simulated swamps made
of lasers and smoke, total body dismemberment
and simpletricks with glass floors and claustro-
phobia, Erebus never fails to disappoint.
Though Erebus seems out of place in down-
town Pontiac, nestled in among trendy clabs
like Tiki Bob's and indie concert venues like the
Crofoot, a warehouse that stood empty for 40
.years made for the perfect location for a haunt-
ed attraction, and the feelings of loneliness and
desolation is still apparent in many of Michigan's
abandoned buildings like the hulking Michigan
Central Depot in Detroit.
What started as a four-year plan for the
brothers has turned into an all-out obsession,
with Erebus expanding every year. Though Ed
knows they have the best in the state, they never
stop working toward improvement to bring the
scares to Michiganders.
"Right now, our show is decent. I've been
working for 28 years, and am I done learning?
Not even close," Ed Terebus said. "We're only
working at about 60 percent of our potential. Get
us up to 80 percent, and then you'll really wet
your pants."
Ed Terebus says expansion and the need to

keep people uneasy throughout the house is a
key component to getting people to come back
for more and keeping the industry alive. One
such trick (what Ed calls "Buried Alive") that
received strong support but isn't featured this
year drops thousands of plastic balls on a victim,
giving them the feeling of claustrophobia.
"If you have your hand in the air, it's staying
there," Ed Terebus said. "My ex-fiance didn't
realize she was claustrophobic until it hap-
pened and she was freaking out and crying and I
smiled, and thought, 'Look, you're freaking out!'
And that's why she's a former fiance."
It's not just Michigan's use of creativity and
work ethic that has sustained so many different
attractions for years now and what still fuels
the new houses that enter the market every
year. Halloween, unlike many other holidays, is
steeped in the tradition of escapism. Especially
in Michigan, whose economy has been strug-
gling since the 1970s, people need a (relatively
affordable) everyday escape from work and real
life without actually taking a huge, life-altering
risk. The haunted houses provide just the right
kind of catalyst for it all.
"Around Halloween, you can be whoever you
want, and no one will give you a second glance,"
Ed Terebus said. "Our h6use is a safe way to live
on the edge without actually jumping out of a
plane."
But what brings someone like Ed Terebus back
for more every year? It's not so much escapism
for him; it's this sort of jo and love for making
people uncomfortable t at keeps his house, and
others like it, alive.
"That I can scare people for a living makes
me giggle," Ed Terebus said. "To watch these
people, the way they jump, is just great. Every-
one experiences things differently. Listening to
people talk about the experience forever after it
happens just makes me smile."
There's a reason no other state in the coun-
try can sustain this sort of market. It may be
that Michiganders use their agricultural and
industrial backgrounds to create truly ghoulish
adventures, but it's that sense of escapism that
lets Halloween reallyflourishhere. Fromgetting
that little adrenaline rush to wanting to grab
your date a little closer in the eyes of a man in
a Freddy Krueger costume, haunted houses give
people something they can't get every day: a safe
break from reality. And with so many attrac-
tions as evidence, that's something everyone in
Michigan could, and should, get behind.

Christopher Mintz-Plasse as McLovin in "Superbad."

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