October 28, 2003

Haunted Houses Aren't Scary Unless They're REALLY Haunted

Last weekend, I stayed in the Twin Cities at Melissa's place. I like it there. I probably like it there better than I do my own little basement room here in Rochester. I think the only thing I don't like about her apartment is the perpetual drone of traffic outside. Her bedroom is positioned in such a way, and with enough of a window/privacy fence buffer that every car that goes by sounds like a muffled snow plow. It's very irritating, and the sound inevitably finds its way into my dreams.

Anyway, this weekend, Melissa really, really, really wanted to embark on the local Trail of Terror, a haunted house of sorts located on the same general grounds as the annual Renaissance Festival, and organized by the same group of people. It's basically a spook house, with the spookiest thing being the entrance fee of $15.95. Thankfully, I had a coupon for one free ticket, thus saving myself the true horror of shelling out over $30 to be annoyed by people dressed in crappy costumes.

But, before going to the Trail of Terror, we stopped to meet some friends of Melissa's who were going to join us for the "scary" event. One of the friends was Anthony (name changed), who is quite possibly even more gay than Jack's character on Wil and Grace. I've met Anthony before, and he's a nice, personable guy with a quick laugh, but the only way he could be more gay is if he had a twin. Even his face has a feminine quality, so it's no wonder that one of his favorite pastimes is to go out in drag. He's one of those gay guys you look at, and you can't help but envision him in the womb, and when the penis started forming, he started kicking and screaming "God damnit, NO! I don't want one! Make it go away!"

Stopping at Anthony's apartment, really, was the highlight of the evening, because this guy had the most elaborate and cool miniature Halloween village set up in his apartment. It was amazing, and it consisted of, at least, 17 small electronic Halloween-themed miniature devices. There was a miniature haunted house with flickering lights and a ghost twirling around the chimney, there was a miniature haunted fun house, there was a miniature haunted farm house. I really can't do justice to the whole set-up with mere written words. It was really just astounding, and it had to cost him a small fortune to purchase all the components. But, the "wow" factor alone almost made it all worthwhile.

The most amusing thing about Anthony's apartment, though, was his doll collection. He had a Barbie Doll/regular doll collection all encased in a glass-covered hutch. I stood there looking at the collection, and all I could think of was Waylon Smithers and his Malibu Stacy doll collection. Just a couple of glances around the apartment, and I was made painfully aware of just how out of touch I am with my feminine side. Me and my feminine side are on opposite ends of the globe compared to Anthony. He's not just in touch with his feminine side, he fondles it daily.

Anyway, once we finally arrived at the Trail of Terror, my lame sensors started going off immediately. Everything around me just screamed that I was going to leave with a "Sucker" label emblazoned on my forehead. And it all started with the hayride. Oh, wait, I mean the HAUNTED hayride, which basically consisted of a tractor, a rickety wagon, and a few haybales that were squashed to half their original size thanks to a multitude of asses plopped on them during the entire month of October.

Did I mention there was a 50 minute line waiting to embark on the hayride? There was a 50 minute line waiting to embark on the hayride. For 50 minutes, we stood in line during one of the chilliest evenings of autumn to that point. Shit, for awhile, it was SNOWING, for crying out loud. I wanted to be at a Thai restaurant, sipping a Taj Mahal beer and eating green curry. But, no, I was standing in line for a HAUNTED hayride in freezing temperatures.

The HAUNTED hayride was pretty much what I expected. As we sat there, inhaling the black smoke belched by the tractor, we jostled forth into the dark, occasionally accosted by folks in costume who genuinely seemed bored to be running from the dark to yell "AUUURGH!" for the 500th time that evening. I mean, it's like this: if I'm expecting people to jump out and try to scare me, I kind of build up a natural scare barrier. I'm EXPECTING people in bad costumes to jump out at me, so why the hell would I be scared when they do?

So, after a 50 minute wait in line, followed by a 10 minute HAUNTED hayride, we disembarked. I was not pleased.

But, we still had to do the Haunted House. I'm sorry we still had to do the Shock Assylum II! Of course, we had to wait in line for 20 minutes first, but that's beside the point. Boy, rereading this just now, I sure come across as a sour Sally but, you know, this only represents about 1/3 of the annoyed ire I felt at the time.

In defense of the Shock Assylum II, I must admit that it had potential. It was dark and disorienting and, dare I say it, somewhat fun once in awhile. But, again, there's something decidedly UNscary about people in costume emerging from the dark with plastic blades trying to scare me. Yes, yes, BOOOOOO and all that. Now, if you'll excuse me. . .

Maybe it's just me, but I think a spook house, particularly on the size scale of the Trail of Terror, could be a lot scarier without trying to sell the idea of a HAUNTED house. Rather than having a a maze that isn't a maze at all so much as a path that always leads out, I think a genuine dark maze that leads back onto itself and has trick doors and surprise slides and is dark, dark, DARK would be far more entertaining and scary. Sure, you could throw in the occasional costumed spooker, but they would also serve the eventual purpose of leading you in the right direction after you've become thoroughly confused and disoriented.

And, if you could afford it, you could have Michael Jackson hiding around a corner. That would be terrifying.

I would happily go through a house filled with the following hotties:

Namrata Singh Gujral. Cerina Vincent. Lauren Lee Smith. Tawny Cypress. Jayma Mays. Rose Byrne. Natalia Tena. Carice van Houten. Sonya Walger. Michelle Ryan. Alice Braga. Kristen Stewart. Katie Leung. Vera Jordanova. Mia Maestro. Ninel Conde.

Posted by Ryan at October 28, 2003 11:14 AM
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