I do enjoy a good haunted house

It’s really a shame I just now found out about the Haunted Basement in Minneapolis. And I had to find out about it in the New Yorker!

Housed directly beneath the Soap Factory galleries, in the building’s grimy, raw underground space, the Haunted Basement consists of a series of rooms, or scenes, each created by an emerging artist. Despite (or perhaps because of) its highbrow origins, it’s generally agreed to be the freakiest haunted house in town—only adults are allowed in, dressed in closed-toe shoes and a protective face mask, and armed with a safe word (“uncle”), just in case. Visitors enter in groups but often get separated as they move through the twelve-thousand-square-foot space; they can expect to crawl, climb, and run, to get covered in gore, and, in 2013, to be stuffed into a coffin by a toothless man in an orange jumpsuit. The entire experience lasts a brief but intense twenty minutes, though nearly a hundred people bailed out early this year by crying uncle.

OK, next year. This year we did go to a haunted house in North Augusta, which wasn’t bad — it had some really good and rather disorienting optical effects that made it different. The Haunted Basement’s unique feature seems to be odors, which have the potential for some major gross-outs.


  1. Tigger_the_Wing, asking "Where's the justice?" says

    …they can expect to crawl, climb, and run,…

    So not very disabled-friendly, then?

  2. Matrim says

    Very few haunted houses are. Tend to have lots of tight spaces, uneven floors, and dead ends. They also tend to be unfriendly for people with light induced seizures.

  3. Dark Jaguar says

    True, but not sure what else could be done. This is one of those rare situations where making it available to everyone, such as the disabled, those with heart problems, and children, would make the experience incredibly bland (like just about every other haunted house out there). Imagine some parent bringing their kids in, running ahead and talking to the actors playing monsters to “try to take it down a notch” for their toddler, thus resulting in the ridiculous spectable of monsters running around trying to avoid a 2 year old (which as a result makes that two year old seem terrifying, like Anthony or something).

    Basically the only option would be to build a second haunted house specifically catering to those demographics. The haunted house, like the tanning salon, is unfortunately “naturally” discriminatory.

  4. says

    They do have guided tours of the event, without all the requirements. A lot of haunted houses do that — we used to go to the Haunted Farm in Salt Lake City every year, and they had a special daytime event you could go to in which they’d drive you through the exhibits in a cart.

  5. gussnarp says

    Let me just jot this down on my little list of things never to do.

    Yeah, I’m a wimp. I don’t like to scared.

  6. Dark Jaguar says

    Well the haunted houses around here are about one step above those gassy vampire cutouts that rush at a cart on a track, so I suppose I lack the experience with these “one step short of outright assault” haunted houses that are all the rage these days. The ones around here have basically only one “mode”, but I suppose if the building itself allows for having special times with special tours for special people, that’s a good compromise.

  7. inflection says

    @4: I might actually be able to handle that. For some reason, haunted houses are an irrational fear of mine — that is, I know fear is the point! — I just mean that I literally have not been able to willingly set foot in one since I was a small child. I know it’s actors in masks spraying fake blood all around. I just can’t bring myself to cross the threshold.

    The closest I’ve gotten as an adult was a Scooby-Doo themed ride at Fiesta Texas where you got a ghost blaster to point at little targets. I have to admit, although I absolutely hate guns in real life, the prospect of having a weapon to hand during the experience was remarkably calming, and this toy scenario actually made me think about how people who own guns feel about them.

  8. dianne says

    I don’t know…If I want to see scary looking people screaming at me, unidentified bodily fluids squirting in random directions, and completely nonsensical things happening at random intervals, I can just go to work. Why do I want to pay to have the same experience on my off hours?

  9. says

    I can imagine a haunted house where you get strapped into a wheelchair and have to navigate that way. Makes for good scare tactics as well, since you can just wheel people off.

  10. Crimson Clupeidae says

    I couldn’t do this because I have bad reactions to people and things grabbing me that tend to result in those people getting hurt.

    If it’s all just props and stuff, then maybe, but someone grabbing me and trying to stuff me in a coffin would end badly, and I’m not particularly claustrophobic.