This weekend was amazing. I celebrated my birthday in two parts. Saturday night I had a small group of friends over to carve pumpkins. I made mulled apple cider and butter beer and Shannon made a cake that looked like a pumpkin (pictures to follow) and James brought his guitar.
It wasn't huge, I didn't invite everyone I know. I only invited a cozy amount of people, enough to fill my kitchen. When I imagined how I wanted to celebrate it was the only thing I wanted. I've had enough loud drunken parties in my past and surely have a few more in my future.
As a result of the pumpkin carving festivities I have a ton of guts and seeds and so I have been spending this afternoon baking pumpkins.
Then... Sunday night after Gorefest rehearsal I met Laura, Scott, Rachel and Marcy and we all took a drive to Litchfield New Hampshire to go to NIGHTMARE NEW ENGLAND.
I can not overstate how much I enjoy haunted houses and scary hayrides. I mean, probably way more than a good Catholic girl should. Over the years I have been to many different scary adventure parks. Scott has too, and many of them we've done together since he is my go-to guy for this type of thing. Last year we did the U.S.S Salem . So we're kind of like... connoisseurs of shock-entertainment. The first thing we noticed was that the costumes of the people entertaining guests while we stood in line were extremely elaborate. Like, there was one character on stilts with cyborg components but a face like TreeBeard. Except, where he did look like TreeBeard he also had metal mandibles. And a futuristic eye patch, headpiece that lit up in places, reflecting on his bark. WHAT? Every character seemed to have a story behind his or her attire. Like the woman wearing a wedding dress, a gas mask, and carrying a black balloon. Also, a ton of awesome mask and stilt work combined with some puppetry stuff too.. so it wasn't all jsut teenage hacks looking for summer work.
The four main attractions with general admission are, in order:
A haunted house built into a barn meant to make you feel like you were trapped underground. We experienced some extreme claustrophobia. The ceiling got very low and you could hear people nailing nails as you were "buried." Actors *did* do the jumping out at you thing, but it was very well done, not over played and the costumes were amazing. One of the guys was dressed in leaves and completely blended in with this wall of leaves. Scott screamed "Legends of the Hidden Temple" and the guy yelled "Hidden Temple!" back at him like a parrot. We got squished in this hallway made from the stuff a bouncy house is made of that went on FOREVER. And it was tight. Really tight. That was scary. I'm ok in tight situations, but if Scott hadn't been holding my hand I might have lost it. It was hard to breathe, it was pitch black and the hall was only as large as your body mass made way for.
An open air cemetery/maze where we got chased around by zombies, a few of which resembled my ex boyfriends. One of them said "I AM your ex boyfriend," when I voiced this to Scott, which made us laugh and also made me very very nervous about who they are hiring at this place. Scariest part? not knowing which way to turn for exits, wooden shacks that nearly collapsed on us, and having to physically touch this hanging torso that was in the way of an exit that looked EXACTLY like the Harold the scarecrow from the "Scary Story" books.
3D Freak Show
This was in a tent, and we all had to wear 3-D glasses. The theme was "deranged circus," there were side show acts and of course clowns a plenty. It was more disorienting than scary. The whole thing was lit with black lights, and the glasses made some of the colors jump more than others. Some of the actors wore costumes and body paint so that they blended in perfectly with the walls which were crazily patterned. They never jumped out, they snuck around creepily, which gave the illusion that the walls were moving. It was the trippiest thing I have ever experienced to date. We walked through a room hung with rubber chickens with a woman screaming at us to NOT TOUCH THE CHICKENS which made me laugh way too much, and I had to apologize to a clown because I think I made the clown laugh too. The end is a large rotating hall that, with the glasses makes you feel so... sick and high. It was not scary so much as the most high you can get without drugs ever. We all rambled down the torch lit path a little bit dizzy until we met a GIANT clown with a face like a puppet and a body like a huge turkey. The clown was blind, the actor had two helpers guiding him. But it was late, and they were more fun than scary and the actor kept making the clown/puppet sing Stevie Wonder songs.
The final event is called SLEEP STALKERS
It takes place in a Mental Institution circa 1968. (My own estimate). I tried not to say anything when we were inside, but before we went in I voiced how mental illness is actually more sad to me than scary. Afterwards, Laura said, "Michelle you ruined Sleep Stalkers for me with your moral outrage."
True to prediction, this was the least scary event. Although, Scott pointed out, it's also the last one on the list so everyone's already been jumped at a lot all night, so guests probably aren't as fun. And the actors must be exhausted because it was like.. 12:30am.
Points for detail work. The details were amazing. The lobby smelled like a nursing home. And the patient rooms smelled stuffy. And the ice box smelled moldy. Patient rooms had details like patient belongings, books and headbands. There was a toilet overflowing with shit. We had to walk through the ice box and the cow carcasses that hung in the way ( a la Harold in the graveyard) were the worst part for me. I didn't want to touch them even though I knew they were fake. One was just weird enough to make you think it might be human instead of bovine. I gagged the whole way through.
The "patients" were typical. A man laughing at static on tv. Which... to be honest isn't scary to me, it's just sad. I wanted to pat him on the shoulder and give him some ice chips. Another girl screamed "They're everywhere I tell you!" It was the "I tell you" that made me want to laugh. Despite my moral "outrage" over the exploitation of our society's fear of mental illness I kept thinking ,"if only these actors had more idea of what can actually be scary about mental illness this would be a highly effective attraction. " But as it was it reminded me of the U.S.S Salem. The location was unbelievable, but sadly wasted on contrived acting and over done situations.
All in all however, the entire 's worth of adventures were satisfyingly creepy and scary. There was real fear (like being stuck in Buried Alive), fun fear when actors jumped and screamed, and moments of downright bizarre quality like the chicken lady. Worth it.