I’ve written before on this new trend of “extreme” haunted attractions, where people will pay good money to be slapped, kicked, tied up, forced to eat disgusting things, cursed at, and otherwise maltreated by employees of the “attraction.” Some people are masochists. I get it. Some people are really, really, stupid. We’ve all heard the old saying about a fool and his money. That’s none of my business. The problem, though, with this kind of “entertainment” (I sure am using a lot of quotation marks in this article, I’ve noticed, but they’re warranted) is that it’s only a matter of time before somebody somewhere takes it too far and actually kills somebody. Have you seen the movie THE HOUSES OCTOBER BUILT? That movie WILL become a true story, if this trend continues.
As I am someone who organizes a yearly haunted attraction myself, in Huntsville, Alabama, some readers might be tempted to argue that I’m just afraid of a little competition. I assure you, I’m not. McKamey Manor, which has a location in Huntsville, will not appeal to general haunted house attendees. My actors may touch patrons, may sneak up on them and try to scare them silly, but they don’t assault anybody. People who want to be assaulted will choose McKamey Manor, but they’re a slim minority.
McKamey Manor has three “campuses” (more quotation marks!): one in the town of Summertown, Tennessee–where its neighbors are trying to force it out–another in Nashville, and the “big daddy” attraction “at an undisclosed location” in Huntsville. (The last two phrases wherein quotation marks are used denote direct quotes from the owner of McKamey Manor, Russ McKamey.)
I believe in freedom. I don’t want this attraction to be shut down by the authorities because I or anyone else finds it distasteful. I DO find it worrisome. I DO hope they are kept under scrutiny from the police. Not because they’re going to steal my customers. They won’t. Not because they’re going to disturb the peace; the “undisclosed location” is, according to McKamey, remote, unlike his attraction in Summertown. Not because I think they’re bilking stupid people of their money; frankly, I don’t care about that. I worry because, as we all know all too well, all it takes is ONE nutjob and the “illusion” (one last use of quotation marks!) of living in a Horror movie becomes irreversibly real.