October, Weekend Three

Three weeks in, it feels like October is picking up steam.  I managed to read through my latest manuscript again, and today I’ll start working on the final draft.  I also managed to put up the Halloween decorations, check out House of Torment (comments on this below), and watch four horror flicks.  What did I watch?  Glad you asked!

DAWN OF THE DEAD (original): Let’s face it, some things just don’t age so well.  This is one of them.  I first saw this in college, and I seriously thought I was watching a comedy.  It features a zombie pie fight, for crying out loud.  Still enjoyable, but I’m not sure I’d call it “classic.”

FIVE ACROSS THE EYES:  Hmm.  The acting, direction, plot, and cinematography are all pretty bad (the acting borders on awful), but you kinda want to say, “Well done!” after watching.  This flick, shot entirely within the confines of a van over the course of nine days, managed to get a distribution deal and a spot in some festivals.  Not bad, when you think about it.  It’s certainly more than I’ve ever achieved.

FEAST: Fun.  Really, nothing else describes it.  This high octane monster-fest is just a silly, gross, fun movie.  Anything that features Henry Rollins in pink sweat pants and Jason Mewes getting his face eaten off (and actually acting beforehand) is worth a look. Plus, Navi Rawat… purrrr.

DAWN OF THE DEAD (remake): Still one of my fav horror movies.  Again, high octane and fun, with some solid acting and incredible action.

So, Saturday night Shawna and I hit House of Torment with Lee Thomas and his partner, John.  We had a great time. House of Torment is still the best haunted house in Austin, and their new online ticketing system really make the wait a short one.  Still, something didn’t sit right with me.

See, going back to that Jaycees Haunted House, I like my haunts to tell a story.  At Jaycees, they ushered a group of ten people into a room, and a scene played out.  Then they moved you into the next room and the next scene.  The experience lasted close to an hour, and it was terrifying.

By comparison, they send ten people into House of Torment without a tour guide, and you just walk.  You don’t stop for anything.  You keep moving, and actors attempt to scare you.  There is no story.  Even this years theme, Contagium, which was supposed to be a alien invasion/infestation sort of thing, didn’t provide anything resembling a story.  There’s an incredible main room showing a ruined urban environment, but you just walk through it while people yell at you.  And by the end you have a demonic clown dancing around in front of you.  There’s no real action, and there’s very little cohesion.

And I think that’s a shame.  Maybe it’s down to population.  The Jaycees were dealing with maybe a quarter of the paying customers House of Torment sees.  And I’m certainly not saying House of Torment puts on anything other than a great show.  I’d just love to see something with a story, a single thread that carries you from beginning to end.  Man, that would be great.