Monday, October 26, 2009

there was a hole here (EDIT at end)'s gone now.

If you got the reference immediately, you will enjoy this entry; if not, you might want to back away slowly because HARDCORE SILENT HILL FANGIRLING awaits.

Several weeks ago, I found an article on Kotaku about a Silent Hill haunted house in Brea, CA. After biting on my fist to keep from screaming with glee (I was at work), I e-mailed the link to G. I don't remember exactly what the rest of the e-mail said, but probably something like "OMG can we go please please please I'll pay for the tickets but we gotta go please". G, knowing how much Silent Hill has eaten my soul for the last decade---yes, literally!---agreed, although being a chivalrous sort, he argued over my paying for the tickets. I insisted, though, since Brea isn't exactly around the corner and he'd be driving. Thus settled, I went online, bought the tickets (and paid extra for the "Scream Pass" option, which wound up being a sound investment, as you'll read), and tented my fingers together with anticipation.

Saturday was the big night. We hit some ungodly traffic on the way there, so we were both pretty cranky by the time we got there. We had a quick dinner at Denny's and then headed over to the maze. I didn't bother bringing my camera because pictures weren't allowed in the maze, but when I saw this sign, I handed G my cell phone and asked him to take a picture.

(Notice my Alessa Gillespie shirt, which I wore because I'm a Silent Hill OG.)

We found the entrance and waited behind a velvet rope, trying not to catch the eye of the 50+ people waiting in the other line. Yes, our Scream Pass entitled us to not only visit both the Silent Hill and Fear mazes, but it also allowed us to go straight to the front of the line. (Every time someone gave us the side eye, I wanted to say, "Um, you could have paid the extra $10 too, asshole!") We still had to wait for several minutes, though, because they were changing out the cast members. They played a snippet of the Silent Hill theme, which is also my ringtone, so I had a Pavlovian reaction and reached for my phone until I realized what was going on.

Finally, we were allowed to enter, and was it awesome? Was it worth the 2-hour drive and the horrendous traffic and a particularly stank Denny's bathroom?

God, yes. If the Silent Hill maze had been a pasta dish, it would have come smothered in BOSS SAUCE.

First up, we posed for a picture with a crucified Order member. (I did buy a copy afterwards, but won't be posting it here because I look like a fucking potato.) Then we walked into the Midwich Elementary School bathroom. I thought they should have had a crying child in one of the stalls, just like the first game, but the nasty child-molesting Janitor monster from the movie lurked in the corner.

As we continued through the maze, creatures ranging from Order members to the bizarre toothy vagina face monsters from Silent Hill Homecoming menaced us. I screamed my ass off and nearly dislocated G's shoulder as I dragged him along. At one point, we went through the wrong door and a Toothy Vagina Face stopped us and said, "Oh, you were supposed to turn left back there."

"Oops, sorry," I said, and TVF said, "No problem, man," and crouched back down to scare the next visitor.

Getting directions from a Toothy Vagina Face is probably the most surreal moment I'll have all year.

I can't remember everything we saw, because I was alternating between freaking out and being a colossal nerd, but some of the highlights included Pyramid Head's knife slashing through a door (though the scare factor was lessened when we could see the mechanical arm behind it), the apartment hallway (including Henry's chained up door!) from SH4, chain link fences, a graveyard, the Borley Haunted Mansion from SH3, a very detailed recreation of Henry's bedroom, Robbie the Rabbit, save points on the wall, and best of all, a hospital waiting room with zombie nurses standing around a staticky TV set. As we walked through the room, two of them began staggering towards us, and I seriously almost ruptured a vocal cord. It was fucking SCARY AS SHIT.

Finally, we walked through a freezing tunnel with "ice" and posters for Silent Hill: Shattered Memories on the wall, and then we were back outside.

"Jesus, those nurses!" G said. "That was intense."

"I know!" I cackled. "That was awesome!"

There was a booth where you could look at masks used in the maze, and the guy let me try on Pyramid Head's helmet. I think I know why the only PH appearance in the maze was a mannequin: that thing was heavy as hell. I thought my neck would snap like a twig! I posed with G for a picture, but it didn't come out.


The next maze, Fear (no relation to the video game of the same name), had probably 200 people in line, and we meekly walked past them and handed over our passes. This one was quite a bit scarier than the Silent Hill maze, largely because I wasn't too busy fangirling to be completely scared. One room was totally black, with tiny red dots of light all over the walls, and as you walked through it, people dressed completely in black peeled away from the walls and ran after you. All I have to say is that I'm glad the performers weren't allowed to touch you, or I probably would have shit and/or pissed myself at least once during the maze. When we reached the end, a clown with a chainsaw came rushing at us and I tore out of there like my ass was on fire.

Good times, good times!

The mazes are going on through Halloween, so if you live nearby and you're one of us (gooba gobba), you HAVE to go. And if you do, tell Toothy Vagina Face I said hi.

EDIT: I can't believe I forgot to mention one of the absolute creepiest moments of the night! Parts of the Fear maze were obviously inspired by the Saw movies; for example, at one point you had to sit on a bench and your partner (I guess they assumed no one would go through alone) sat on the other side of you, and you had to press down on these pedals in the floor at the same time. Then a "sledgehammer" swung down inches away from you, and when you got up, a light came on and you could see blood spattered all over the backs of the benches.

But that's not the part that utterly freaked my shit out.

There was an area where you turned a corner and written on the wall was something like "You stand here [arrow pointing down at an X on the floor], you go there [arrow pointing to the left]". So G stood on the X and I went over to the left, and there was a small TV screen with "LOOK!" scribbled above it. So I looked, and there was G standing there, with a FUCKING MONSTER creeping up behind him. I'm going to sound like the biggest wuss-puss of all time, but I was so scared I couldn't even scream for a second. It was straight out of one of the survival horror games I cherish.

Oh, and when we were waiting in line for the Silent Hill maze, we were talking to a worker and he said two possibilities for next year's mazes are Resident Evil and 28 Days Later.

Pardon me while I paste 'em.