My friend, Tristan Rampersaud, and I went to the Freddy Fright Fest haunted house at the Capital Exhibit Centre on Friday night.
The decorations in the waiting area were cheap inflatables, cheesy, unconvincing stuff from Spirit Halloween. It looked good, but the decor didn’t foreshadow an authentic horror experience.
Rampersaud and I wondered if this thing would be lame or if it would be worth the $15 per person ticket price.
He wasn’t wearing a costume but he looked like Marty McFly with diamond earrings and a St. Thomas University beanie.
We entered a claustrophobic tunnel. I had to duck under dangling black fabric and it was too dark to really see how the tunnel was built.
As soon as we entered, a cloaked man crept out from a hole in the wall.
He ducked behind my shoulders, pushing me with his fingers just above my waist. I wondered if the actors were allowed to do this. I wondered if he would do this if I was a woman. As a function of the haunted house, I was cautiously okay with it.
Initially, I thought I couldn’t be touched, so I had little to actually fear. The man pushed me forward, lightly — just with his fingers — but persistently, and I dreaded that he would push me along the whole time.
With a new fear that the actors would grab me, I was scared. To cope, I narrated all that I saw in a subpar Shaggy Rogers impression.
We crept across wood pallets, and I nearly tripped in the man-made fog and darkness. The walls were like mirrors, and I screamed at my own reflection. Rampersaud laughed.
We entered a zombie section. Mannequins and maybe actors grasped at a chain link fence on either side of this tunnel. Electricity snapped overhead. The fence rattled and something jumped and I couldn’t see it. As I descended into madness, I screamed about how this moment reminded me of the opening scene in Jurassic Park, where the enclosed velociraptor screeches and tasers snap at the cage.
We moved so quickly that I couldn’t really process what I saw. I held onto Rampersaud’s red puffer vest for dear life, anticipating horror around every corner.
We turned once more and there was a mannequin.
I greeted them cordially and said, “Hi, how are you?”
We turned again and there was a real person.
I screamed, “Hi! How are you!”
We entered the next room and a plastic, brown wolf sat on the floor, unmoving, and I screamed at it before I laughed at myself for being scared too easily.
We passed through a series of sections that paid great homage to classic spooky movies.
At first, Rampersaud and I thought the Star Trek section was Among Us. When our red-shirt guide was leading us to safety through the spaceship, I realized this was a Star Trek thing, and that our red-shirt guide would not last. Out of nowhere, an alien leapt through a wall and dragged our guide away.
We used her as a distraction and ran for our lives.
The Ghostbusters section was a highlight. A young Ghostbuster had their flashy pink ghost vaccuum gun trained on what looked like a giant floating booger with a face. Some dude dressed in Ghostbuster garb told us, unconvincingly, that we had to go get more of the Ghostbusters, none of whom I recognized, because they had the great booger monster trapped, but they needed more help to stop him.
The best and last section was from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
I don’t know how many people would notice what it was, but I loved it. First, there was an open fridge with some strange mass of gore dripping down its shelves. There was the old man in his chair, sitting at a table with dishes of rotten, fleshy things that were so well done I didn’t want to look at them.
I wanted to find Leatherface, because I knew something bad was coming.
Then, I could see the exit, the end of the haunted house, but I noticed a chainsaw on the table. I didn’t have enough time to warn everyone. Someone came quickly behind us. I grabbed Rampersaud and then I smelled the gasoline.
The chainsaw was deafening and Leatherface barreled around Rampersaud and I towards another lady in our group. I couldn’t see if the saw had a chain on it, but he got within inches of her face. I wondered how long he’d stay there, or how long she’d put up with it. I didn’t stay to find out.
Rampersaud and I left out of breath, our blood pumping, still on edge but laughing.