(Copyright 2001. The Tattoo. All rights reserved.)

Making a permanent impression since 1994

October 15, 2001

Grins in the Graveyard

By Sam Yosafi

Get ready to be spooked out of your mind and surprised by the undead, as the ridiculously cliched haunted house comes to strike fear in a town near you!

Yawn. Wake me up when this is over.

Sure, it's always fun going inside a dark alley of caskets and tombstones, but only when they're real.

The cardboard cutouts at the Haunted Graveyard don't cut it for me.

Knowing that a group of workers intend to bombard my mind with scary thoughts takes away from all of the pleasure of being scared.

I mean, is it really that frightening?

You know that skeleton is about to jump out at you once you walk around that mysteriously dark and eerie corner, so why scream out of sudden fright?

Expecting the expected doesn't suit my taste for entertainment, and walking through 30 minutes of pure predictability doesn't look so interesting either.

But then again with my standards of what is to be considered scary, just about every horror movie and amusement park ride wouldn't exist.

I suppose I am just hard to scare when I know what's in store.

Not to say that I never get scared, I'm just as paranoid and gutless as the next guy. I have a compulsive fear of heights, and couldn't for a second call myself brave.

While I hate to seem like a stuck-up fear-Nazi telling everyone who doesn't feel the same as I do, I think the only thing haunting at this haunted house was its old and dead tactics of trying to get a high-pitched squeak of a scream out of everyone.

I suppose it could be a little bit better if there weren't as many people inside the Haunted Graveyard (even though there wasn't an overwhelming number of people that showed up anyway on the cold evening we visited) while you are journeying through it. But it takes a lot of the surprise out of it when the not-so-scary monster jumps out at the guy in front of you, and then tries to rattle you, too.

The main reason why I felt so bitterly appalled while tripping over loose rocks and trembling feet in front of me is the abundant number of cliches I saw.

The Haunted Graveyard had no originality whatsoever.

Can you believe that they tried to scare us by yelling, "Boo!" I didn't think that word still scared people.

To top off this cliche spree, while spectators were waiting in line to pay a visit to this oh-so-anticipated toddler's nightmare castle, they had a magic show to entertain everyone.

Well, whaddya know, the magician made doves appear from his handkerchief. I've never seen that one before. Oh, and how could I forgot the whole make the chick disappear act?

Gag. I saw those tricks from a mile away, and at that moment I had a gut feeling of what was to come.

If you're going to take all the time and money to set something as extensive and detailed as the Haunted Graveyard, at least use some brainpower (don't hurt yourself!) and conjure up some good ideas to make your haunted house different from the rest.

Even a little twist from the norm would have made me crack a smile and look back on my experience in a positive way.

I mean, c'mon, during the 30 minute walk through the Graveyard I saw about 20 skeletons, 40 zombies with knives through a random limb, and about 30 idle gargoyles.

When I go into a haunted house, I want to be really freaked out. I want to see something like bonzai kittens planted into the walls, mannequins getting fried in electric chairs, some high voltage walls or floors to rattle your flesh while waiting for the next 'boo,' a demented jack in the box that pops up right from under your feet to really give your heart a jerk -- anything!

While some may find some of my ideas a little psychotic and out of the ordinary, need I remind you that Halloween is based around pure evil.

What really gets me into the Halloween spirit is being scared senseless by demented images that will burn in the back of my mind for a lifetime.

For example, I'll never forget the time when I saw my first Freddy Krueger movie, Nightmare on Elm Street.

The scene where Freddy Krueger turns into the bus driver all of a sudden and drives the students into a hellish lava pit area always repeated in my head when I got on my bus and thought about my evil bus drivers.

Making a haunted house better would, of course, require more lots of money, but if you're going to go all the way, might as well go with a bang.

Looking at everything that was done here, it did seem as though they spent a lot of time and ef-fort into putting together this program for the people. But with all that work, why didn't they bother to do anything special?

Although I felt the attempt to spook the crowd was weak, I must say it was still worth going through, which, I guess when it all comes down to it, is all that matters.

I can't say that my facial expression was set in stone the whole time I was there, because I was actually dying of laughter from predicting and foreseeing everything that was going to happen.

It gives you a macho feeling knowing that you went through something that is supposed to make you scream mercifully without a flinch.

So the Haunted Graveyard is worth going to, for the laughs.

Click here for more stories about the Haunted Graveyard

Click here for The Haunted Graveyard's web site

Click here for more stories about Lake Compounce


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