Tuesday, October 14, 2014

America's Most Metal Haunts

Ever since Black Sabbath named themselves after the Bela Lugosi film horror and metal have been a marriage made in hell.Both art forms trigger psychological reactions similar that of a drug user. A tolerance is developed and the user must seek out higher doses or in this case increased intensity. With metal it's louder , harder, faster ( or in My case darker), while fans of horror seek out films that are scarier, gorier of more twisted. Haunted Houses holding a similar demographic to horror fans, so they were bound to move in a more gruesome direction to keep pace with their on screen counterparts, that often provide the inspiration. Given the connection between horror and metal it's also not surprising that a movement of extreme haunts was started by a metal head.

The haunts web sit claims that the end is near for the House of Shock. If this is true then the  New Orleans haunt is sadly in it's  final season.  In the early days House of Shock was picketed due to it's satanic themes and New Orleans residence sought to shut it down. At first you might think a  city so steeped in voo-doo, would be more accepting of satanic themes, until you take into consideration it's even larger catholic community.

House of Shock derived it's name from a horror movie host Morgus the Magnificent.It all started in Jay Gracinette's back yard in 1992 with co - founder Phil Anselmo.The following year they moved it to the back yard of Jay's Grandmother's house, and were told by authorities they would have to move it to a commercial location. the following year found it at a warehouse on Baronne st and it became a New Orleans institution ever since. The room dedicated to the Church of Satan first caused the initial controversy. Ross Karpelman who plays Lord Belial, has upheld the dark tradition over the years by trying to steal the souls of  their patrons every October.

More than just a Haunt, it's an immersive night of entertainment, with a pyrotechnics show that is boasted by House of Shock as having  more fire in it's first five minutes than Kiss uses in their entire show. They also have metal bands playing afterwards. In the past such bands as Eyehategod and Crowbar have played house of Shock. This year playing the Haunt are Chicago's doom legends Trouble and Goatwhore who featured the Haunt in it's video for "Baring teeth for Revolt".

 If any haunt is destined to carry the torch for House of Shock it would be another haunt based in the South. Chambers of Horror in Atlanta, which has some similarities, though mostly taking  different route. Chambers of Horror got it's start as more of a torture porn themed attraction in the vein of Hostel or Saw.Located behind the Masquerade, the three story  venue in Atlanta's old 4th Ward District , that also hosts the bulk of the city's metal shows. In fact there is a long list of metal bands that have passed through Chambers of Horror ranging from Gwar to Queensryche to Mastodon. The haunt's  poster-child and  lead character Dr. Splatter,  or Dieter Von Splechter  is the mad scientist purveyor of Torture Co.  A war criminal from Nazi Germany, Splatter has seen various incarnations some more virile than others, ranging from the Dr. Being confined to a wheel chair like Grandpa from Texas Chainsaw Massacre to more mobile and getting his hands bloody in more feral manner.

After it's first couple of the years the creative direction of the Haunt took a shift, with characters becoming more developed. This expanded the story line expanded beyond the extreme BDSM dynamic of it's former torture porn vibe. Soon occult elements were introduced, but never dipped in the realm of supernatural. Satanic rituals and exorcisms occurred, but never materialized any actual demons or devils, staying in the blurred lines of science and magic. The past two seasons have seen the visual spectacle of  the Atlanta haunt flourish as it  has morphed into a post-apocalyptic nightmare focusing more on cyborgs than the dismemberment of sexual organs that marked it's earlier days.

With a story line that picks up where the previous season left off The back story is Torture Co. was a Hostel like institution where the wealthy went to maim and murder for a price, when they advanced the story line the ATF raided Torture co while patrons where left to get caught in the cross- fire, the story continued from there that in Haunt was burned down during the course of the police raid Waco style and then the survivors took their exploits down into the basements. This lead to an elevator being installed in the haunt received criticism for misogynistic due to rape like elements and despite the fact the torture was non-bias with male on male, girl on girl and every variation in-between. In on-line debates over if the haunt had artistic merit the fact was brought up that even opera has sexual undertones in it's violence

One of the main difference between House of Shock and Chambers of Horror is Chambers often dips into gore infused camp more like a Troma Film than remaining deadly serious through out the night. This year the Haunt has a Robot stripper among it's inhabitants. In the past it has featured almost Gwar like characters such Laser-Tits and Shark Dick. Overall the haunt has more scares than laughs. Chambers often scares many  patron so badly they beg to be escorted out by security staff. So if you have decided zombies and vampires are kids stuff and are ready to venture into one of America's most metal Haunted houses you now know where to find them.

http://www.chambersofhorroratl.com/ http://www.houseofshock.com/

No comments:

Post a Comment