For some, the month of October is the most important time of the year. It’s the time of horror movies, latex, blood, gore, girls feeling okay about looking like whores, too much candy, and last but certainly not least… haunted houses. I happen to be one of those people who cant get enough horror but, I have never had the good fortune to live in an area where the local haunts were worth the enormous price of admission. So, in order for me to really experience what an actual scary haunted house is like I had to embark on a long and arduous journey. It was a trip that took me from Massachusetts to the little town of Etna, Pennsylvania. It’s about 15 miles outside of Pittsburgh and it is home to the Scarehouse. This place will without a doubt scare the shit out of you.
The Scarehouse isn’t exactly what you would expect. It is a very unassuming building on the corner of a very unassuming side street. If you weren’t looking for it, you would drive right on by thinking it was an old factory building that in its hay day probably made paperclips or, something. What awaits you inside is anything but, forgettable. We happened to time it perfect, so we arrived right when the place opened and got a decent place in line. No joke, 10 minutes after we got there the line wrapped around the building 200 people deep. While we waited we were given a treat(well not my girlfriend) of scantily clad girls from the local roller derby screaming by on skates. That was an interesting way to start things off. Right? As the line inched it’s way to the front door we were startled by a decomposing zombie lumbering in and out of the mob of people. Screams followed by high pitched nervous laughter could be heard throughout the line as he snuck up on unsuspecting 14 year old girls. His makeup was holy shit awesome. This was better looking than some movie zombies I’ve seen. I actually was hoping he would target my girlfriend so we could get a better look at his face.(See the zombie in the above picture? Yeah that was him.)
Finally, we’re inside. We were ushered into a serpentine type line system. As the entrance to Scarehouse drew ever closer I found myself filled with so much anticipation that I couldn’t even be still. Behind us was a big projector screen playing old horror movie trailers. I don’t know if it was the excitement or what, but they were scaring me. Yes, I got scared by the Exorcist trailer. I was so into this that I even looked past all the boring silly uninspired makeup that all the people working in this room were wearing. It was typical contour shading skull faces, nothing special. Then a nice young lady asked, “Are you ready?” I nodded. The experience had begun.
Mind you, this isn’t 1 haunted house it’s 3. Except there is no break in between it is all back to back. So once you’re in you don’t get out until it’s all over. The first part was dark narrow hallways with people and tricks around ever corner. There were a lot of staple haunted house stuff in this part. Skulls, graveyard stuff, creepy looking animatronic monster shit were all present. It was the production value that sets it apart. There were things in this that I could swear on my grave were real but, it was just rubber. It was fucking sick. One thing I have to spoil is a couple of times these heavy rubber balloon type things filled the pitch black hallways until it became a claustrophobic’s nightmare. I paniced real bad, I thought I was getting trapped. It’s freaked the shit out of me. When you enter the gory yucky part of the first haunt there’s a John Wayne Gacy looking dude sitting at a dinner table. This guy was hands down the best actor in the whole thing, mainly because it seems like maybe he’s a little creepy in real life. Who Knows? All though the first haunt is very been there done that, it really was scary and done well.
Before you wander into the second part you are handed 3D glasses by yet another roller derby girl. 3d in these things seems to be the new craze so Scarehouse does it as well. This was the weakest part of the whole thing. It was all black lights and neon paint that seemed to come out of the walls. It was trippy as hell and awesome to look at but, with just a few jump out at you scares it wasn’t really scary. There were a couple of notable moments in this part. There is a certain point where you run into a neon orange muppet. He’s cute and saying all sorts of cute muppet things. That is until the 3D glasses make him look like he’s coming out of the wall. It was very jarring but, effective. By the end I was kinda disapointed a little with this part. I guess rave music and neon paint just isn’t my cup of tea.
The crowning achievement of Scarehouse was the last haunt entitled Rampage. You can tell this is where all the money was focused on. This was a Steampunk Revolution. The scenery and makeup was fucking nasty. It was as if we were cattle being herded to the slaughter. Machine gun fire echoed, propaganda videos blared about joining the fight, and gun toting soldiers screamed at us as we walked down narrow fenced in hallways. We were at the end of the line so we got extra shit for being cowards for not having the balls to be at the front of the line. I really felt like someone was going to hand me a gun at any point and tell me to kill someone. It was great. Tons of gore, tons of bodies, and hot chicks with gas masksed bolted to their face. What more do you need? At one point a dude scared me so bad I almost fell down. My friend had to grab my arm so I didn’t fall. I loved it. Then, just like that it was over.
While I wandered back to my car I began asking myself…Was It worth it? Yes. Yes it was. My only advice for those of you brave enough to make the long drive to Pittsburgh is, fill your tripp with more things than just Scarehouse. Catch a Steelers game, sight see, go hiking. If you rely on Scarehouse to make the tripp worth it, well it will probably let you down. From begining to end it will run you about half an hour. The round trip drive ran about 20 hours. You do the math. The ticket price is only $17.00 so another suggestion would be get two tickets and see it twice.
At the end of the day Scarehouse delivers the goods, and it will not disappoint anyone that is a fan of haunted houses. I highly recommend it! I can only imagine how fucked up next year with be… Bring it on!
Category: Nerd Culture