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30 Moments From the A24 Haunted House That Didn’t Scare Us but Forced Us To Confront Trauma

15. Harmony Korine’s Huff Rag

Imagine our delight when the next room featured a celebrity cameo, eccentric director Harmony Korine, spraying a rag with an unmarked aerosol can. After a few spirited huff he offers you the rag, which you half expect to be a scented prop. Nope. Noxious chemicals. Your mind is on fire, your fingertips feel like they’re breathing and you hear bells as you are ushered into the next room barely able to stand.

14. Naked Guys

The next room is pitch black save for the odd beam of neon blue light here and there. In each beam of light is a naked man. The men make no movement toward you, but they are there. Each wears the seasoned grin of a lifelong satanic hedonist, and in the throes of Korine’s inhalant high, it’s particularly unsettling.

13. Florida Dance Party

You follow the sound of horrible house music to a large underground dance hall, neon-lit, with hundreds of actors in dayglow swimwear dancing and presumably drugging. You can hardly believe the things you hear as you shuffle through the crowd. “I have no moral compass!” shouts a girl in a bikini no older than 20. “I want to marry ketamine!” shouts another. Suddenly you turn and another bikini girl shoves the barrel of a gun in your face shouting “Instagram!” Eventually, you are fully consumed by this anarchic bacchanal. Before you make your way to the next room hours have passed, you’re high out of your mind, and you have face tattoos.

12. Pitch Meeting

That’s right, in the next room sits 2 actual A24 executives ready to hear your pitch for what their next film should be, and then tear it to shreds. One by one our ideas were dismissed as tryhard nonsense, and we were told we just weren’t a good fit for the brand. We were shamed for smelling like a Florida Dance party and reminded we would never have this opportunity again. As we regroup, broken and coming down off of god knows what, our host mockingly pops in some plastic vampire teeth and cheerily reminds us that more rooms of fright await us.

11. The Multiverse

Crestfallen, we are guided to the “Everything Everywhere All At Once” room. I walk by myself as a cowboy. Then as a famous movie star. A war hero, a martial artist, a great American novelist. I see myself nailing that A24 pitch meeting and shaking hands with Ari Aster. Finally, I see a version of myself unworthy of note, a version that is not special in any way. It is a mirror, and I realize that I am the worst possible variation of myself.

10. An Actual Nightmare

We are led to a room full of cots and told to turn in for the night. We should have a lot of questions, like why has this haunted house gone on for 8 hours, and how could they possibly turn a profit here, but we’re tired and the drugs are wearing off so we just comply. We spend the night waking each other up with our screams.

9. Midsommarvvitch

We awaken in some kind of hut. Confused and disoriented we emerge into a bright summery field populated by a mix of Midsommar people and Vvitch people. They seem to coexist despite being from different cultures and eras. None of us can remember how we got here, or who we are. I know there was a “before this” and that we are strangers here, but the details of my life up until now elude me. We are told that we must gather kindlesvvitch for the sparkenheiser. We busy ourselves gathering small twigs, hoping thats what that means.

8. Day 3

We are quickly adapting to the Midsommarvvitch way of life. I am apprenticing under a blacksmith, and I must confess, have become quite smitten with his beautiful daughter, Hidelga. Tomorrow, after work, I intend to ask her father’s permission to call on her, a request I believe he anticipates, and I hope will approve. The rest of my group have found other trades to learn, and seem to be flourishing. We were a group, that much we remember, but a group of what? From where? It is unsettling, all the not knowing, but maybe none of that is important.

7. Day 96

Hidelga and I have been married for less than a moon, and already she is blessed with a child. I should be happy. I am happy. But I am also distressed. There are strange sounds at night. The augur says the sky is filled with troubles. Someone from my group remembered the word “Twitter,” and while we can’t remember what it means, it fills us with dread. At night, in her sleep, my wife speaks of a witch in the wood.

6. Day 103

Some strangers arrived in the village today. One of them, a funny-looking older man with glasses, calls himself Don Knotts. The others call themselves The Harlem Globetrotters. They claim to be here to help us solve the mystery of “the spooky old witch.” that word, “spooky,” it sounds so familiar to me. Is that what I was, before coming here? Is that what I was doing? Something spooky… but like… elevated spooky? I suppose it doesn’t matter.

5. Day 107

The ominous dread permeating our village has cleared at last. By sacrificing the interloper Don Knotts, the witch of the wood’s bloodlust has been appeased, and my Hidelga sleeps peacefully through the night. The Harlem Globetrotters are adapting well to their new lives. I’ve even taken Curly on as my first apprentice. He does this thing where he’ll take one of the buckets and make like he’s going to splash me and I’m all like “No, don’t!” but then when he splashes me a bunch of confetti comes out instead of water. It’s amusing, but I’ve warned him not to display such sorcery to the elders. I don’t want him to end up like Knotts.

4. Day 365

Today marks one year of my new life as a Midsommarvvitchian. It also marks the birth of my son. He has 10 perfect fingers, 10 perfect toes, and an adult man’s face mysteriously cgi’d onto his own. When Hidelga asked me what we would name him, the first thing out of my mouth was “Actor Rory Kinnear.” I’m not sure why, but I’m done questioning things. I am at peace.

3. 16 Years Later

My eldest son, Actor Rory Kinnear, is 16 years old today, and in the tradition of our people has been allowed to visit the city for the first time. I confess now that I secretly hoped the bustle and bright lights would frighten him, but he has fallen in love with Western life. He has particularly been taken in by the movie houses. He speaks of nothing but A24, a company he says distributes the greatest films. I worry he will be pulled away from this, but I know my protest will only make the problem worse.

2. The A24 Haunted House

After weeks of bickering, we have relented to Actor Rory Kinnear’s wishes. He dreams of going to America and visiting the A24 haunted house. The prospect gives me an ominous feeling, but I look into my son’s strange, artificial adult man eyes and my heart breaks. How can we deny him something he’s so passionate about? Strangely, the journey feels like a return somehow.

1. Time To Die

I am home. We are here, at the A24 haunted house, and it has all come back to me. My former life as a blogger, Twitter, the divorce zombies, everything. I look up at the crowd in line, and they bow to me. Horns swell. My wife and children kiss me goodbye, and I am led to the top of a cliff overlooking the haunt. My time is done, and there is nothing left to do but return to lord Paimon with my faculties and dignity intact.

The A24 Haunted House: 4.5 out of 5 spooky skeletons.

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