It was advertised that Rob Zombie’s Great American Nightmare had three haunts. The first space that we entered was… unique. I don’t think it was considered a “haunt, as it shouldn’t have been. We entered a room and we were thrown dark canvas bags by cloaked actors. We were told to put them over our heads and keep moving. So we moved, and we kept moving…and we kept moving, through the dark with bags over our heads, all while getting yelled at to keep the bags down and keep moving. The floor was not flat through the whole thing, so I almost tripped at one point. At that point, I had had enough and I lifted my hood just enough to watch my step. This lasted 2 and a half minutes; far longer than what would have been even remotely entertaining or scary. We were yelled at to return the bags and we then found a very long descending path of spinning tunnels. Finally, we ended up in a waiting area decorated with vintage wallpaper.
Captain Spaulding’s Clown School :
We went right from the wallpapered hallway into a brightly lit room, where, again, we were yelled at by one Captain Spaulding to put on 3D glasses. The actors here had a system wherein people lined up to get glasses and people lined up after they had their glasses on, and if this system was not practiced quickly enough, the actors got mad and vulgarly insulted their guests. The school itself consisted of flawless black light paintings and props. I didn’t see anything that was really amplified by the 3D glasses, but it was all still very aesthetically pleasing. A majority of the clowns within the school, ironically, could have used a little more schooling on haunting. They giggled and shrieked as people passed through. There were a lot of twists and turns wherein I met with the same actor twice, but I was ignored the second time around, due to the continuous stream of other customers. There was a lot of profanity, so much so that it all seemed overly scripted. There was little to no improvisation or startles. And I won’t even elaborate on the questionable scenes. The feeling they were going for, it seemed, was a “what the …. did I just watch?” feel, which they definitely accomplished.
The Devil’s Rejects:
We were confronted with a giant façade of the Firefly family house, right out of this horror movie. Sheriff’s deputies with drawn rifles were outside yelling at us to “Let’s go, go, move!” This haunt was extremely detailed and contained similar scenes to ones from the movie. I was incredibly psyched to see Baby and Fishboy! I personally felt that there were too many actors playing victims, and not enough actors threatening to make customers the victims. We caught a couple of actresses calmly resume their discussion between themselves before we had left their murder scene, and they were completely oblivious that we had caught them chatting. Despite the gore-geous scenes of ghoulish slaughter, nasty scents and spot-on details, this haunt was not as intimidating as I had hoped for. It was almost exactly like walking through the movie, which is not a bad thing. I had just hoped for more intimidation and scares from the actors.
I’ve been looking forward to this upcoming Rob Zombie film for about a year and a half now. I was anxious to get into this haunt and get a glimpse into the mind of its creator. Now I’m anxious to see the movie so I can figure out what the haunt had to do with the story. As the story goes, a few carnies were kidnapped and given 12 hours to survive a game called “31” while being watched by a group of evil clowns.
We approached a giant façade of rusted old water tanks. Once inside, there seemed to be a mix of industrial, farming and circus themes. We walked through a room filled with barrels, a meat locker, and a boiler room. We entered a huge circus tent with a very large man-operated monster; except said man was not hidden at all. This haunt seemed more designed for actual scares, and the actors seemed to be a little more interactive than the ones in the previous two haunts.
After exiting the last haunt, we were caught in a clump of people that were looking for the professional pictures they had taken earlier in the evening. There didn’t seem to be a line, so people were just gathered and blocking the exit. I thought it was a silly place to have this set up. Once we got past, we exited into the arena and proceeded to the concert floor, where we got to be about 12 feet from the stage.
Ginger Fish, former drummer for Marilyn Manson and current drummer for Rob Zombie opened with a DJ set. As an obsessed Manson and Zombie fan since the mid-nineties, I was ecstatic to see him so close. He was fantastic. And of course, Zombie was amazing. Even his lovely wife, Sheri Moon, made a quick appearance for the crowd. Having the opportunity to see so many personally influential people in such a close proximity all in one evening was indescribable.
In conclusion, I fear that my admiration of Rob Zombie for the past twenty years, or the hype of his haunted event, or a combination of both, may have heightened my expectations of this event. In traditional Zombie form, the artwork was spectacular; the scenes, costumes and makeup were all on point. However, the intimidation or scare factor was just not present to me. I didn’t see many places for actors to hide, and if such places were there, they weren’t being utilized. There was one actor through all three haunts that hid and startled me. Everyone else just watched us walk by. To be honest and completely fair, I cannot testify as to how the performances would differ on a non-concert night. But with prices ranging from $25.00 up to $60.00 on a non-concert night, I would certainly hope the show would be improved. Overall, I enjoyed walking through the scenes, but I wish there had been a few less victims and a few more actors threatening to make the customers victims.
To find out more about this