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Haunting Copy
10-21-2008, 05:11 PM
I hoped it didn't show. And I didn't dare ask anyone to check if it did. It was just a little bit, after all. But it's true: House of Torment made me lose control.


But let me not get ahead of myself.


If you wish to visit House of Torment, the place isn't difficult to find. Simply enter Austin city limits and follow the symphony of screams and deep, rumbling bass of a ScareFactory Slayer named "Goggath." Taking me - and many others - under his wings, Goggath flew in from Boston to warn us all of our impending doom, with a growl that shook the ground beneath us.


Without heed to Goggath's counsel, I followed the encouragement of owner Dan McCullough and fellow head honcho, Jon Love, and allowed myself to be escorted to the doors of "Contagium," the first attraction at House of Torment.


Now, in the interest of full disclosure, let it be known that I am an ambience junkie. Regardless, the encompassing, gorgeous distress work on the combination of contemporary and Classical architecture made for a wonderful, world-altering experience. As I waited to give myself over to the monsters, the amazing scene that surrounded me was so convincing that I began conjuring images of a people who had long ago struggled in vain to rescue their civilization from imminent destruction.


My reverie came to an abrupt halt, however, when I was ushered through two delightfully dismal-looking doors. Immediately I became unsure which way to go. It was now my turn to be distressed!


Running, er, walking through Contagium, I had the sense that it was like watching a favorite movie over and over, each time noticing something new to take delight in. Too bad I was pumped too full of adrenaline to take notice of anything but the fact that I was in deep doo-doo.


At times, the surprises that awaited were not only startling, but provocative, too. Take the actor in the Butcher Shop, for example, who stood - unmoving - directly between the next room and myself, creating a head-on challenge to my (lack of) courage. Bravo!


But since the guy was clearly intimidated by my superior handle on the situation, I succeeded in gaining entrance to the next room: the meat locker. The disturbing effect of this room didn't end with the revulsion of having to push aside a bunch of swine(?) carcasses. The constant sway of those bloody beasts created a suspense that was nearly unendurable. Movement distracted me from all points . . . over there! . . . and there! . . . and there! And what was that that just bumped into me?! My head couldn't spin fast enough.


Perhaps just as torturous were the props that weren't really props after all. One room after another, the question was: Is that guy real? How still those actors could hold themselves!


Upon exiting Contagium, having lost only some small measure of pee and every shred of pride in my possession, Jon once again kindly escorted me, this time to "Illusion Manor," House of Torment's second attraction.


Though I could not hope to choose a favorite between Contagium and Illusion Manor, I do have a favorite room within Illusion Manor. Ah, but you will have to accept my apologies, as I cannot reveal the secret. Dan has imposed a gag order that I am bound to obey. Sorry.


Illusion Manor also spotlighted another quality of House of Torment: its actors. Because the focus of Illusion Manor is on, well, illusions, its victims, er, patrons, naturally slow their pace to relish the show, giving actors the perfect opportunity to strut their stuff. From start to finish, these actors were on their game.


It's true that when an employee acts as if he or she enjoys his or her work, the positive difference it makes in the customer's mind cannot be overstated. Well let me tell ya, if the House of Torment actors were not having a great time scaring the hell out of me and hundreds of other people, they sure did a great job not showing it. The little ball of energy who guided customers into Illusion Manor could not have been more entertaining.


Judging by the spirit of the crowd control team at House of Torment, handling crazy crowds is something that is to be taken in stride. When I was wandering aimlessly around, unsure where to go, a smiling, friendly young woman gently shepherded me to the right spot; another helped me get a Coke when I was parched.


This may not seem like a big deal, until you consider the hundreds of reasons they could have had to be grumpy - all of them either lined up and acting stupid, or running around screaming in shock and fright from the sociable monsters on the loose, or simply just running around screaming. It's a job that must try one's patience. I was impressed.


But really, all of this pales in comparison to the kindness I was shown. Dan and Jon and the team were having their busiest night to date, dealing with an actor whose finger got broken, wearing double earpieces to handle employee questions, and who knows what else; yet they still took the time to talk with me, show me around, and even gather their monsters for a photo. (That's Goggath hovering above us in this photo: http://www.the-very-scary-library.com/Multimedia/Visuals/Other/Sarah_and_HoT_Monsters.html ) They made me feel like a princess - albeit in a horror movie.


There is but one regret: I forgot to pick up my own House of Torment tee-shirt. Dang. Guess I'll have to go back!


Thanks so much to the team at House of Torment!

Haunting Copy
10-21-2008, 07:33 PM
It sounds like great fun! I hope to make a trip soon!

It's a blast. You'll have a great time. :D

If you're able, take a camera and snap some photos of the outdoor monsters and Goggath!

Sarah

SpFXChic
10-22-2008, 05:32 PM
What a well-written review. You've got a way with words - made me want to go visit them! Sounds like the House of Torment was a great time!

Love the Silent Hill nurse in the photo!

Haunting Copy
10-23-2008, 12:09 AM
Aww, thanks y'all for the compliments! :D (Shameless plug: Keep me in mind when you need marketing materials written!)

Yeah, I was hoping *all* of Goggath would make it into the picture. :( He was so amazing! (Feel free to blame Dan for the photo, LOL.)

If y'all *do* make it to the area, send me a PM ASAP and we'll try to go together. I know, I know, you're busy with haunting and all that. :P

Haunted hugs,
Sarah

dr0zombie
10-27-2008, 12:39 PM
Based on the photos, this great review, and the luring of incredible Austin Bar-B-Q I suggest we schedule a HauntWorld gathering at the front door of House of Torment. Who wants to drive??

drfrightner
10-27-2008, 03:02 PM
On the America's Scariest Attractions 3 show I thought H.O.T. was awesome I really loved that suit that monster that charged down a hallway. Awesome!

I loved the control room that was something special.

Larry

UnDeRTaKer313
10-27-2008, 03:14 PM
good work guys show last night was amazing ! omg your haunt it rediculous! congratulations hope you have a great remaining season