Dark, demented and totally creepy!
By NICOLE ALLEGREZZA
An alien species has taken over the Gateway and it is terrifyingly awesome.
The creators have outdone themselves for the ninth annual Haunted Playhouse, featuring a 30-minute walk-through with about 100 actors and over 70 locations completely created by the staff and crew of the Gateway. This year’s theme: Brookhaven Laboratory extraterrestrial invasion.
Not only was I scared, but also I loved it. It was interesting and told a story.
Sure, it’s easy to entice fear with a creepy clown, who is inherently scary, but deranged lab techs and aliens are a challenge that Gateway was surely up for.
I visited the haunted house on Saturday night. I sat in my car in the parking lot for a moment, took a deep breath and said, ‘I don’t want to go.’ But, I mustered up the courage and went in. Knowing how scared I was the last time, the first thing I did was beg for a Monster Protection amulet that basically tells the actors, “I scare easily,” and wards off the extra-scary creatures from following me through. It can be purchased for $10, and it works.
As we entered, I tightly gripped my boyfriend’s arm. We were “welcomed” by a man in a lab coat taking notes and observing the patrons waiting in line. One girl was marked with a green sticker — she tried taking it off, but was scared into keeping it on. There was also an eerie video playing, telling the story of how a meteor had landed at the Gateway and an extraterrestrial species was on the loose, putting the entire Brookhaven Lab under quarantine.
Once inside, it’s a self-guided tour, leaving you and your party to find your way through the maze. Not only are you there to be scared, but you also must participate to escape. You don’t just walk through; you are completely immersed in this world they have created.
As you walk through, you’re met by deformed lab techs, monsters, deranged people in lab coats and respirators, creepy children and, of course, the alien monster, which, despite being warned, is guaranteed to catch you by surprise. The noises it makes are almost more horrifying than its realistic looks. It’s dark, creepy and dark. He just blends in and — at any given moment — attacks.
Every time I caught my breath, someone was there to scare it right back out of me. The actors jump out at every corner, except for the ones you expect. Every room is different. There are areas where you have to push through body bags to escape, smell horrible stenches, make your way through fog, wet explosions and moving floors, and claw out of the hanging remnants of the aliens.
Afterwards I met with Michael Baker, haunt director. He said the theme was selected last year and kept quiet until opening weekend. It took a professional crew of about 35 people about two weeks to build and design the haunted house that engulfs the entire playhouse. Paul Allan, haunt producer, encourages those interested in coming to visit during off-hours and weekdays for a less-crowded experience. “Every group is different. The actors take pride in resetting their scares and giving everyone a unique experience,” said Baker.
My advice is, go. Even if you are scared, go. The Gateway’s production is amazing and, quite honestly, I am proud when I make it out alive. Be terrified for 30 minutes — you will not be disappointed. After all, it’s Halloween!
The Haunt continues: Friday-Sunday, Oct. 6-8; Thursday-Sunday, Oct. 12-15; Wednesday-Sunday, Oct. 18-22; Wednesday-Sunday, Oct. 25-29; Tuesday, Oct. 31, and Friday and Saturday, Nov. 3 and 4. Tickets are $25 online and $30 at the door. Hours are 7-11:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 7-10 p.m. on weeknights and Sundays. While you wait to enter, enjoy the beer garden, take a coffin ride or shoot some zombies in the midway attraction. Patrons are encouraged to purchase online at gatewayshauntedplayhouse.com.
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