The American Scream
Wait! This isn’t a horror movie at all! Nope, it’s a documentary, about “home haunters”. That means people who build their own haunted houses at home. I thought it would be fun, and I was right. I like documentaries. This one covers 3 guys, all in the town of Fairhaven, Massachusetts, who build elaborate haunted houses every halloween. I have a real interest in this stuff. Halloween is my favorite holiday, and I love all the decoration and trappings.
It’s pretty much all the things you’d expect: the guys are obsessed, their families are exasperated, they’re going broke, their home is buried in Halloween stuff, and come Halloween, it all turns into a hugely successful show. That’s pretty much the story of all three families, to varying degrees. But it’s always interesting to step into their lives and see the problems they face and the little triumphs of making these fun creations and seeing people enjoy them.
Towards the end, one of the guys makes a point that I had never thought about before: He says that Thanksgiving and Christmas are family holidays, but Halloween is the only real community
holiday, where you don’t just come together with your family members, but with everybody around you, and you share fun with all these strangers and welcome them into your life in a way. I really like that. I’m even doing that in my own little antisocial way right here with these movie reviews. I toil quietly in obscurity on my games all year long, but every October I put myself out there (to the degree I am comfortable with...) to share myself with you readers.
4/5 Tubing Aliens.
My Movie Idea:
Not a movie this time! This is an idea I had a few months ago, I call it a Haunted Game. A normal haunted house is just a continuous line of people going in, seeing each scary thing, and coming out the other end (chased by a guy with a chainsaw, we presume). Well, a Haunted Game is a little less practical - you only let people in with their group of friends (maybe up to 6 or so people at a time), and everybody else waits outside, listening to the screams. Maybe you could entertain them with a traditional haunted house while they wait. Inside, you don’t have a linear ‘haunted house’, you have an actual house, though with more padding than a normal house for safety. The group of people are given extra-large plain white t-shirts to wear over their real shirts, and then they step inside the front door, it slams behind them, and they now have 5 minutes to escape from the house alive. Only a few rules: don’t break anything, don’t hurt anyone, and if your shirt gets bloody, you have to lay down and play dead until the end is called.
Of course, there’s a murderer in the house too. And a lot of secret passages. The murderer is armed with a plastic knife that retracts and splurts out fake blood, so he’s going around trying to murder you all, and he knows the house well, so it’s not easy to escape! There are several possible places you could escape from, but only one of them is unlocked on each run (in case you do it multiple times... keep it interesting!). If everybody dies, it’s over and you lose. If people get out, they win a prize (a discount on their next visit maybe? Definitely some candy). If the 5 minutes runs out, strobe lights come on all over and you are all dead from some ghost or something. So it’s just huge adrenaline-spiking fun, as you stumble over your friends’ dead bodies and try every window and door and listen for the murderer creeping around.
Oh, and there’d have to be lots of cameras set up so the operators would know if anybody got hurt and so they can tell when to call the game over. And maybe so they could guide the murderer to make it even less fair... but I kind of think that’s not needed. More fun to make it ‘real’! And ironically, this is a haunted house where you would be far better off splitting up than staying together. Hooray for horror tropes.