Spooky season is in full swing, and what better way to get into the Halloween spirit than visiting a haunted house? Unfortunately, as we get older, spooky jump scares just don’t hit the same. That’s why we were so excited to learn that prestige film house A24 was throwing its hat into the haunt-attraction ring!
We visited this elevated haunt and while it never scared us per se, it left us deeply troubled! Here are the highlights:
30. The Line
Group entry is usually staggered in a haunt to prevent overcrowding, so the line is long. To keep the energy up haunts usually have scare actors walking through the lines, providing a creepy ambiance and the occasional jump scare. A24 brought its own unique spin to crowd work. Gone were the killer clowns and executioners. Instead, there was the distraught-looking 40-something stumbling from group to group confessing that she didn’t know how to be a mother. There was a man clearly just going through the motions in a conversation with his girlfriend. There were British club dancers with no script.
29. The Host
When we made it to the front of the line we were greeted by a man dressed in an academic-looking suit who was somehow lit by neon wherever he went. He approached each member of our party, and with a paternal energy bluntly expressed why they were a disappointment to him before ushering us into the first room.
28. Not Dracula
In a spooky old room with decrepit furniture and cobwebs everywhere (neon-lit) a coffin is opened by someone inside. The man who emerges is plain-looking and distraught. He wears a sign hung around his neck which reads “Not Dracula.” He approaches your group seemingly on the verge of tears and confesses that he doesn’t know how to be a mother. It is immediately clear that this isn’t you’re typical cheap-thrill spookehouse.
27. A Woman Receives A Horrifying Text Message
You enter a bedroom lit in a neon color palette. A young woman texts from her bed, seemingly bored and unaware of your presence. Suddenly, she looks distraught. She texts frantically chanting “No, no no…” until the phone drops from her shaking hands. A scream builds on her face but never comes out. If you ask what’s going on, the host puts a finger up to your lips and tells you not to embarrass him. This goes on for 7 minutes.
26. The Mummy’s Zoom Interview
Dispelling the notion that they’re too pretentious for good ole Halloween fun, A24’s next room features a Universal classic-style mummy, though he does not emerge from a tomb. He is seated at a laptop computer, interviewing for an events coordinator position with Sallie Mae. You can tell this job would be a game changer for The Mummy, and at first, he seems confident, but it just doesn’t go well. The Mummy grows alienated and despondent, barely able to muster a “thank you for your time” at the end, which is not reciprocated. He may be thousands of years old, but this Mummy clearly feels like an imposter in a world of adults.
25. A Steam Punk Cyborg, Jilted By His Small-Town New England Community
The setting is an Irish pub where everyone seems to know each other, and seems unwilling to interact with a Cyborg patron who moseys from group to group unable to penetrate conversations. Our host explains that the Cyborg was once a welcome member of the community, but was accused of an unspeakable crime, and though proven innocent, the stigma still follows him.
24. Zombies Sign Divorce Papers
The make-up is top-notch, matched only by the grounded, all-to-real performance of the two zombie actors, who feign amicability as they sign divorce papers. They congratulate themselves on being mature and able to maintain a friendship despite the breakup, but it rings false. One of them notices your group and suggests eating you. The other zombie mumbles some affirmative reply, but they don’t move. Clearly, there is too much unresolved conflict between them for the zombies to function, and they’re both in denial about it. Haunting stuff.
23. James Franco
Yes, the “Spring Breakers” star himself is there, and after a quick initial greeting, he will try to sleep with you. When rebuked, he will immediately claim that he only tried to sleep with you as a method-acting exercise for a role he’s preparing for and that he thought you were 18. When you tell him you’re actually older than 18 he will reply “Gross.”
22. A Wolfman Describes A Horrific Car Accident He Saw Once
The transformation uses movie-quality special effects, it’s really impressive, but then once he’s a wolf he just kind of goes shell-shocked describing an accident he saw that’s clearly traumatized him. He doesn’t howl or anything. He just keeps mentioning the empty baby seat he saw, and you really don’t know what to say to the guy.
21. Green Room
As fans of the movie, we were pumped to see a “Green Room” themed haunt. The place was made up like a dive bar and filled with people you didn’t want to mess with. Your host then impatiently tells you to get on the stage and do your set. We tried our best, but half of us had never even played an instrument before, and we felt real danger getting off that stage.
20. Someone Dying
Like, for real, it’s a hospice room with an actual terminal patient hooked up to a bunch of machines. His family is there and they can’t stop crying.
19. Art The Clown
You turn a corner and bam, Art The Clown from the Terrifieer movies jumps out at you. I guess they figured throwing some traditional haunted house scares in there would help satisfy everyone, but at this point, we’re all too despondent to react.
18. A Two-Way Mirror Behind A Gambler’s Anonymous Meeting
Witness the horror of real people discussing the lowest moments of their lives they were driven to by chasing the highs and lows of irresponsible gambling in what they believe to be a safe environment.
17. The Creature From The Black Lagoon Has A Therapy Session
Apparently, they were adopted and they are really hung up about it, which seems clear to everyone except the creature. Denial. Trauma. Neon lighting.
In the “Men” themed room every scare actor has had their face replaced with that of Rory Kinnear. It’s an impressive feat, and we can’t imagine how they were able to do CGI in real life, but the meaning of the face swap completely eludes us.