Do you like horror movies or novels? Have you ever been to one of those haunted houses that pop up around Halloween? How scared were you? How far would you be willing to go in a quest to be terrified for fun?
In “Business Is Boo-ing! The World of Extreme Haunts,” Nicole Pajer writes about the horrors participants subject themselves to in the underground world of immersive horror shows:
On a recent Saturday night, ten anxious individuals were blindfolded and taken to a secret location in the desert, 40 minutes outside of Los Angeles. They were told that they would each be playing the part of a futuristic criminal who had been lobotomized and summoned to help investigators identify two bodies discovered on the grounds.
Upon arrival, one of them, Taylor Winters, 33, a research and development engineer from Santa Ana, Calif., was ushered into a dusty RV. After a quick examination by an on-site emergency medical technician, he disrobed and was placed in a contamination suit. A disembodied voice boomed through a walkie-talkie, instructing him to trek into a hazy compound, warning that “movement had been detected” and he might not be alone. For the next 45 minutes, a shaky Mr. Winters followed the voice’s lead, eventually being advised to “take refuge” in a fog-filled tent.
But there was little peace there. A creature stampeded through a cloud of dust: lifting and relentlessly tossing Mr. Winters’s helpless body. As he struggled to gain his bearings, hands enveloped Mr. Winters’s neck, squeezing tightly. He was stalked throughout the haze, knocked down, and stripped from his suit as claws raked across his skin. The unrestrained being vomited onto his bare chest and dug into his flesh.
“Jesus Christ!” Mr. Winters cried out.
The event concluded with Mr. Winters stripped to his boxers and curled in a fetal position, caked in mud, straw and simulated body fluids.
His first words, once regaining composure, were: “That was awesome.”
This is the 44th time Mr. Winters has done something like this as a reprieve from his high-pressure job designing lifesaving heart valves. While wiping fake blood from his eye, he said that this occasion, for which he’d paid $150, was as petrifying as the first: “I was absolutely terrified!”
Every Halloween, theme parks like Universal Studios come alive with actors who are paid to startle attendees. And in recent years, elaborate haunted houses have gotten more popular each fall. But these seasonal events are merely child’s play compared to what is happening year-round in the underground world of immersive horror.
Its leader might be Heretic, a Los Angeles-based experimental horror experience run by a man who goes by Adrian Marcato (a reference to the son-of-the-devil character in “Rosemary’s Baby;” his real name is Guy Michael) and his wife, Jessica Catherine, a.k.a. Jessica Murder. The company, which was in charge of Mr. Winters’s most recent experience, is part of a growing group of horror attractions known as extreme haunts. These shows put their participants, typically a single member at a time, in intense physical and psychological situations, placing them inside their own real life horror film. A safe word is issued (Mr. Winters’s was “parsons”) as their only means of opting out.
Students, read the entire article, then tell us:
— What is your reaction to this article? Would you be willing to participate in this kind of immersive horror? Why or why not?
— Heretic, the experimental horror experience described in the article, has buried people alive; flipped guests upside down in immersion devices; pushed people off balconies (they landed on an airbag hidden below); and tricked attendees into thinking their heads would be ignited in flames. One customer says she subjects herself to experiences like this in order to “feel alive.” Another takes pride in being “fit” enough to handle it all. Can you understand those points of view? Can you see benefits to taking part in experiences like this?
— Even if you would not like to be a customer of a show like this, would you enjoy being a “scare actor” or stuntperson for one?
— Many of these shows are custom-created around the participants’ real-life fears. What elements, scenes or experiences would someone add to an immersive horror show that was intended to totally terrify you? Why?
— What will you be doing this Halloween? Will you seek out a scary experience and, if so, what? To what extent do you enjoy being scared in general?
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Source :The Learning Network