Wednesday, October 26, 2011

31 Days of Halloween Day 18: Chambers of Horror

Note: I am going to do my best to not mention a certain other Halloween attraction in this review. I believe each event should be judged on its own merits and not compared to anything else.
Also, I am prepared to accept that any gripes I have may be the result of us being there on a Thursday night when business is not at its peak. I don’t feel like that’s any excuse when you’re charging the same to regular patrons Thursday night as you are any other night, but I am willing to believe that’s the reason behind certain things.

Evil showed up during the PCW main event, so there were five of us going to the Chambers of Horror afterwards. I had an absolutely ripping drunk on to the point where I tried to get shot outside:
Yeah. Good idea.
There wasn’t much to take pictures of around the Chambers of Horror and the employees were perhaps a bit more protective of things than they really needed to be. I understand wanting to get into the spirit of the attraction, but I only need to be told not to take photographs so many times.
As we approached the ticket booth the first thing I noticed was the large “No Refunds” sign. It’s an important sign, because it is the sole reason I ended up actually experiencing the Chambers of Horror. We bought our tickets and I feel it important to note here that we got a discount since we had just attended the PCW show. Normally admission is $17, but we got $5 off. Not too shabby considering PCW is free.
Evil went and bought a Newcastle and Hoffman got some other kind of beverage – there is a bar in front of the Chambers, but the selection is limited. Angry Matt is also Sober Matt and Rescue John had already enjoyed his requisite shot of tequila for the night, so they abstained. I just didn’t feel like walking the massive, 20-foot distance to the bar.
There are three different lines to get into the Chambers. First you are in a queue very similar to what you might find at a theme park or Dragon*Con registration. Then you move up to a series of bike rails that divide you into groups. Lastly you end up just mobbed in front of the entrance, where you watch a video featuring not-Monica Kaufman and her camera man investigating what is basically the place from Eli Roth’s Hostel movies, but in Atlanta. This was a neat little bit, but it would have been a billion times better if they had had a Japanese guy that looked like Takashi Miike walk by at some point.
Oh, the reason that “No Refunds” sign played such an important role is that once we got past the first queue a guy told me I couldn’t wear my mask in. So if any of you were wondering how much it would cost to get me to take my mask off in public, there’s your answer: $12. I’m a cheap bastard.
Also, you have to finish your beverages before the final waiting area, so Evil and I took turns chugging his Newcastle. This was a terrible, terrible mistake on my part. I have a bad history with Newcastle (specifically Newcastle at the Masquerade) that I did not remember until the next day. But mixing that eight or so ounces of Newcastle with the twelve or so Miller Lites that I had already enjoyed in the evening led to one sick fucking Troublemaker the next morning. Worst. Vomiting. Ever. And I kept passing out when I got home, which is why my Friday article didn’t go up until, like eight o’clock at night.
Once the video ends, you are escorted inside by a guide.
This was my first issue with the Chambers of Horror. All of the guides came off like bored college kids working at Six Flags for the Summer. Maybe they were going for “cool and detached”, but it didn’t work for me.
Once inside you wait in a little room where you meet your host. The host was the same guy that came out to the ring in PCW and he just didn’t work for me. Maybe he thought we were just jaded drunk dudes and playing it cool was a batter way to go, but we had heard about all kinds of crazy shit going on in this front room and all we got was Van Wilder telling us how hot blood-covered titties are. Well, duh.
So this guy didn’t do exactly what I thought he should, but I did like him. I totally buy that he’s awesome and creepy and charismatic other times.
And speaking of blood-covered titties, the first gag in the Chambers is a (mostly) naked chick covered in blood tied to a wall and screaming. I actually thought she was butt-naked at the time, but one of the guys swears she had flesh-colored panties on. Thanks for ruining the illusion, jerk.
As you go through the Chambers you’ll see different levels of human atrocity. Some of it is pretty effective, some of it underwhelmed. Again, I’ll buy that it was because we were there on a Thursday.
The setup of the place, however, was pretty awesome. The gags were spaced out a bit and as a result seemed a little sparse, but the space in between was well-planned. I just wish there had been some gimmicks in all those narrow, darkened corridors. I feel like maybe the guys who designed it avoided people popping out of walls or pressured air shooters to preserve the integrity of the whole “touring the facility” vibe, but it took a lot of the thrill out of things. If the story could be reworked so that the patrons are trying to escape the place it might be a lot more exciting. As it is, you never feel particularly threatened. You’re just hanging out with bros who happen to like some really sick shit.
Speaking of sick shit, none of the things that Evil, Darth Pete and myself were shown on our preview back in July were present and I’m trying not to consider that in my evaluation, either. Those were things that the general public never knew about, so it’s not fair to look at what wasn’t there. So while I was disappointed by the lack of shock sticks and assplay, I’m not critical of their absence.
One of the best gags was a room with two girls in it. One’s tied face-first to a rack and the other is in some kind of uniform and has a shotgun. Uniform Lady stuck the shotgun up the other girl’s ass – quite forcefully – and pulled the trigger. I want to say that something flew out of the vicinity of the tied-up girl’s head, but I’m not sure. Either way, she slumped in her restraints and looked pretty dead. Both girls were great in their roles, so this was already a Chamber of note. Things just got better when somehow or another Angry Matt ended up in the middle of the room. I can’t remember exactly what transpired, but somehow he got offered up to Uniform Lady, who bent him over a chair and stuck the shotgun up his ass. Not as forcibly, but well enough that I laughed so hard I think I might have peed a little bit. Who can tell in that place?
There’s also the dick gag. I’m not going to tell you about the dick gag because it has to be seen to be believed, but it is something. Be ready to have warm fluids spurted on your person in a way you have most likely never experienced before.
Okay, so now that I’ve written about our Chamber of Horrors experience I realize I look back on it a little more fondly than I first thought. I think the biggest problems were sticking so rigidly to the storyline and the whole Thursday thing. Also, I am thinking that I really am pretty fucking jaded, because we saw some sick shit and I just kind of shrugged it off.
Back in the first room that guy had made a point out of observing that we didn’t have any females with us and you know what? I think that’s important. A bunch of drunk dudes need a bunch of drunk babes to go through a haunted attraction. You need that element of clutching and screeching to really get into things.
And before all you io9 and Laura Hudson types get all mad at me for generalizing female behaviors, let me just say this: Don’t be so jealous of our penises. It make us not want to put them in you.
In closing, the flaws I initially found in the Chambers of Horror might actually be my own. It is definitely creepy and well-thought-out. The setup is good and all of the effects are quality. I’d like a bit more interactivity and sense of menace, but overall it was a fun time. It did seem a bit sparse in places, but where there was action the gags were solid. Worth twelve bucks on a Thursday, probably seventeen on a weekend night if it’s as much better as I suspect.
3 out of 5 Blood-Drenched Boobs
(Why only 5 total? Because the bastards cut one off of the third girl! Aaaaaah!)
If you’re downtown this Halloween weekend and want something fucked-up to do, this is it. I have a feeling it’ll be the very best time to be there, but be prepared to wait. It took us almost half an hour to get in and there was barely any crowd.
It was barely past midnight when we got out of the Chamber of Horrors. We wanted more party. Well, me and Hoffman wanted more party. Evil had to get home and I think Angry Matt and Rescue John were just sort of willing to do whatever. We weren’t sure what to do until Hoffman spouted out, “The Clermont’s right over there!”
Angry Matt and Rescue John have never been to the fabled Clermont Lounge, so this seemed like a great idea. We parked and headed to the entryway. It was seven bucks apiece cash to get in. We had a total of about sixteen dollars between the four of us. Truly a low point in my life – not enough cash to get everybody into the Clermont. But, as one wise lady put it – that was fate intervening. I can’t imagine how much worse that hangover could have been.
31 Days of Halloween vs. 31 Days of Halloween!
9:00 AM – 1:00 PM – Stephen King’s The Tommyknockers – Traci Lords is in this, so Jeffistopheles is probably watching it. No titties on SyFy, big guy. Sorry.
Halloween score – 3
Quality score – 2
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM – Valentine – So now they’re just showing last night’s thematically inappropriate movies but in reverse order. Nice.
Halloween score – -5
Quality score – 2
3:00 PM – 5:00 PM – My Bloody Valentine – Did you know that Jensen Ackles owns a Cockapoo named Icarus?
Halloween score – -5
Quality score - 3
5:00 PM – 7:00 PM – 30 Days of Night: Dark Days – Did you know that Jensen Ackles’ favorite midnight snack is animal crackers?
Halloween score – 4
Quality score – 2
7:00 PM – 3:00 AM – A Mélange of SyFy Original Shows – Did you know that Jensen Ackles’ favorite musician is Garth Brooks?
Halloween score – 4
Quality score – 2
3:00 AM – 5:00 AM – Wes Craven Presents: They - Did you know that Jensen is the most common surname in Denmark?
Halloween score – 4
Quality score – 2
5:00 AM – 8:00 AM – Paid Programming
Halloween score – 0
Quality score – 0
8:00 AM – 10:00 AM – Snake King – Stephen Baldwin is in this, which should make it “Must-See TV” for anybody.
Halloween score – 2
Quality score – 2
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM – Boa vs. Python – I love a terrible giant snake movie as much as the next guy, but I don’t fine this to be a particularly Halloween-friendly theme for the day. I’m going to be honest here and say that they’re better off with the shitty Ghost Hunters episodes.
Halloween score – 2
Quality score – 2

Until next time, stay creepy
-Phantom

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