There was a time when Lon Chaney being unmasked in the original THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA was enough of a shock to cause audience members in the theater to faint, or even, reportedly, to suffer cardiac arrest. Today’s Horror fans are jaded. Nothing possesses the power to shock anymore. FACES OF DEATH came out over thirty years ago, and today anybody can find grisly footage of ANYTHING on the Internet in a matter of minutes, if not seconds. People no longer possess the ability to be frightened by entertainment. I attended a haunted attraction at Halloween a couple of years ago with a young woman, whose name I won’t divulge. (It was Lindsay.) The group we were with all had a grand time, but she complained constantly about how “lame” it was, how much it “sucked.” What would it take, I asked her, for such an establishment to receive a positive rating from her? Her response: It would have to be real.
I should confess that I am never “scared” by movies, haunted houses, or anything of the sort. I always root for the monsters and the killers in the films, and I spend the duration of my time at haunted attractions with a big goofy smile plastered on my face, as if I am ten-years-old again. I LOVE Horror; I am not frightened by it. Perhaps then I simply cannot properly comprehend the desire some people feel to be scared. Like, people CRAVE feeling fear, so much so that they seek out these new style haunted attractions where the players get to abuse you and you have to sign a contract promising not to sue them. They make like they’re kidnapping you, force you to eat disgusting things, get violent with you—and you are paying them to do it! Personally, if somebody at any haunted attraction were to hit me or try to make me swallow something nasty, Ima knock holy hell out’n ‘em. Besides, what they’re doing at these “extreme” haunts isn’t Horror; it’s cheap tabloid-style True Crime they are recreating. As I told that young lady a couple’a years ago, if she wants to pay someone to scream at her, tie her up, force-feed her rotten eggs, and smack her around, I’m sure there are guys willing to do it for much less money than these so-called “extreme” attractions charge.