ATTRACTIONS - THE NEW EXTREME?
We love a good
haunt, we always have. Even as kids, all of us here at
Halloween Online have loved getting the crap scared out of
us but in a fun, this is all fake kind of way. We've all
watched some of the grossest movies you can imagine, maybe
only once, but we've seen them. We love Halloween and we
love the scary part of it the most so don't get the
impression that we are all a bunch of wimps around here.
We've been underestimated before, much to the dismay of our
tormentors because we always have a plan better than theirs
as far as sneaky scares go. We like to scare the scar-actors
and we do it just fine, thank you.
attractions are a big part of Halloween, whether it's the
elaborate home haunt or the pro haunt that's been around for
years. The rise in pro hunts is tripled over the last few
years, going from around 1500 in 2006 to over 4000 in 2012.
This is fun, scary, Halloween entertainment at it's best.
But we've noticed a change over the past few years and as
far as we are concerned it's not a good change. Haunts are
devolving into what we consider to be nothing more then a
horror movie on steroids with you as the tortured victim,
unable to fight back. And that's what makes it wrong.
offer thrills and chills during October. Knott's Berry Farm
in California turns into Knott's Scary Farm during the night
hours of October as does Universal Studios and it's
Halloween Horror Nights. There have always been set rules
applying to conduct of the scar-actors with the public, like
the "No Touching the Guests!" rule, which seems to have
flown out the window over the past few years. There are
haunts all over the country that open during the Halloween
season and they each seem to be trying to out-do the others
for gore, scares and violence aimed at the customers. And
the customers are just loving every painful minute of it.
still holds to this policy, Universal Studios allows their
scar-actors, which is the actors hired to walk through the
park in full monster makeup and scare everyone, to touch,
grab and manhandle customers. I experienced this personally
in 1999 when an actor grabbed me and pulled me under his
cape and ran off with me. While I wasn't afraid and was
laughing the whole time, it was an inappropriate thing to
month we had taken some of the crew to a local haunt in a
near-by mall. We paid our entrance fees, and were ushered
into a seated waiting area. Suddenly a character was upon
us, trying his best to scare all of those who were waiting.
He was doing a good job until he grabbed the ankle of one of
the women that was with us and tried to drag her off the
seat and pull her away by the foot. Two problems here: She
hated being touched at haunts and wouldn't go through it
after that which ended up in complaints to management and a
refund and secondly, she has brittle bone disease and he
could have easily broken her ankle if we hadn't stopped him.
It ruined the night for all of us and we gave them a bad
review on the site we had set up for local Halloween Haunts.
No matter how
extreme a haunt wants to get they should never allow the
cast to touch the customers. It's a hard and fast rule of
haunts that has been around forever but something has
drastically changed over the past 10 years and not for the
better. These haunt owners, even though they post al kinds
of warning have no idea if someone has a medical problem
that may cost them their haunt or could lead to an
altercation between staff and customers. If you see a sign
at a zoo that says "Don't stick your and in the lion cage"
are you going to do it? Chances are you will and the zoo
ends up getting stuck for your stupidity. People don't
always heed warnings, ever!
This brings us
to the main objective of this article which is has society
been so desensitized to guts, gore, torture and pain that
they have a craving for it now?. Pro haunts and home
haunts alike have thrown out all of the old rules and changed to
fit our society, which as a whole has changed dramatically
over the past few years.
The younger generations that are
growing up are now what we call the "Who Cares" generation.
They see life s so futile that they don't really see a
future, at least not a good one, for themselves and could
care less if they live or die. They are now are adrenaline junkies that will do anything
shocking for a thrill and not take into consideration that
they may die. Worse still is that they don't seem to care if
they die or not. Where did this come from? The breaking down
of family life to the point that the parents work 4 jobs
between them and act like friends instead of parents to
their children? There us no family unit anymore, especially
in large urban areas. You see this less in the farming
states where families still stick together.
As we are more desensitized to gore,
violence and brutality in the world, haunts are adjusting to
fit what people want or what they think people want. We have
noticed a rise in haunts that seem more based on the
torture-porn horror genre and include paying customers in
the fun. And not so oddly, the customers are literally
eating it up. After all, we sit and watch it on TV every
day, see it in video games, hear it in music and read it in
books. I've never been one to
agree that those things cause violent behavior but I do
think that it may have an effect on a person that leans that
way to begin with.
Kinda makes you wonder about
the world we live in today. We just happened to be
watching some Halloween shows on the Travel Channel that
they've put out the past three years, The Halloween Crazy
series. It started out with 2011's
Crazier and to top it off, 2013's
Travel Guide. We hadn't seen the
one from last year so we all got comfy and started watching.
By the end we were just shaking our heads and had a long
discussion. Haunts have changed dramatically in just 3
years. Even the younger people in our crew thought that
some of the haunts that we had just seen were way too much.
It featured the two houses that we talk about below and to
be honest, we were all feeling like we needed to have our
brains cleaned when the show was over.
There's a new
genre of haunts now, like "Blackout
House" which started with one house in New York in 2011 and
then added Houses in L.A. and Chicago the next 2 years. For 2014
it's just New York and L.A.. If you look at these cities, it's not hard
to figure out why they do so well. You have large, diverse
groups of people that live a more thrill seeking lifestyle that's far
past the fringes of society. A trip through this house can only
be called a paid experience in humiliation, degradation and
torture, takes a person through their worst or maybe fondest
nightmares, each area more extreme than the last. The customer is
groped, molested, forced to come into contact with human
feces, and touching the private parts of the customers.
Their motto is "It's time to change the rules again".
Who's rules and why change them?
website for the L.A. House: "Please
note that you may encounter fog, strobe lights, complete
darkness, crawling, stairs, loud noises, water, physical
contact, and simulated sexual and violent situations.
Limited amount of tickets available."
From what we've seen the
simulated sex and violence isn't a maybe and it didn't look
fun or entertaining unless
you tend to be submissive, like to have a sheet of plastic wrapped
over your head, be forced up against a wall and threatened by a nude man,
be made to squat on a floor covered in human feces and have
it rubbed in your face by a nude woman. Check out the
videos for yourself, although they don't show too much, and
see what you think. It is for ages 18 and above, so you have
been warned, unless you like the whole S/M - B/D experience
and want to pay for a 25 minute session. Personally, we
aren't into it and don't want to experience it for
Halloween, thank you very much.
A home haunter doesn't have to
go by any rules like a pro haunt does and some of them take
a huge advantage of that. One of the home haunts featured on
the same show was like watching a bad torture-porn horror
movie like the Saw series, Hostel or Tourista.
McKamey Manor is located in San Diego, California. The
website says: "Be warned, this is not your standard (boo)
haunted house. This is an audience participation event in
which (YOU) will live your own Horror Movie. This is a
rough, intense and truly frightening experience. You must be
in GREAT HEALTH to participate. Last year's haunt was
absolutely nothing compared to the new MCKAMEY MANOR."
It also states that they can
come into physical contact with you but you CAN NOT touch
them. They limit it to groups of two to four people since
they take you individually and give you a good going over.
Each group lasts anywhere from 2 to 4 hours. We see
that they are now open year round on the weekends, by
appointment only. That means
people like it so much, his business is doing so well that a
lot of sick puppies want to go play the game all year long,
coming from all over the world. We've been
told that the McKamey's are the nicest couple you could
imagine when not literally scaring the crap out of people.
Admission to the house is four cans of dog food or one large
bag, which they donate to Greyhound Rescue groups.
The owner of the haunt, Russ
McKamey, who leads each group personally along with his four
helpers, start out by
having patrons handcuffed to trees and screaming in their
faces, throwing fake blood all over them until they are in
tears and begging to be let go. Inside, he grabs people from
the group, and pushes the person into a chair
which locks their head into a cage device that fills with fake
snakes, spiders and buckets of fake blood. In the show that
we saw. the poor guy is screaming to be
let out, that he'll be good, and so on. A woman is grabbed
and strapped into a chair that has a giant saw blade coming
at her while the man screams orders at her and questions her
like a POW under attack. It's not fun to watch yet when
interviewed after coming out most of the people seemed to
like it. What we don't understand is why anyone would like
it. It's like Third World style brutality.
That gets into the whole of
society and how we've become so desensitized to gore by
seeing it on the evening news, in horror films and in
everyday life. When you hear that someone was beheaded in
the Middle East, we used to be horrified. Now you hear about
it and it just goes right through you. If you have never
seen an actual beheading it probably brings up thoughts of a
guillotine type death but it's far worse than that. A human
head does not come off easily especially when it's being
sawed through with a large knife. It is not quick and
painless but long, drawn out and horrifying and if you see
one I can guarantee that you will never forget it.
So, to end this, how far will
society as a whole go on it's fall into decay, it's lack of
empathy and what was once called "The Dumbing Down of
Americans"? I guess time will tell. I can see a future where
we live in a real life world of Grand Theft Auto, we are
almost there already. Halloween will lose it's innocents and
kids won't remember what fun it used to be, of course the
kids of today have already missed out on that anyway.