October 28th, 2006


Blood Manor (Ka-Cheww! Ka-Chewwww!)

I love haunted houses. I always have. My favorite ride in Walt Disney World is the Haunted Mansion, and all I did on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls is go to haunted houses. There are a small number of them in New York City every Halloween season, but I'd never been to any of them until last night, when Dave "Monster Island" Wellington and I went to Blood Manor (ka-cheww! ka-chewwww!).

I've decided you have to make thunder and lightning noises every time you say Blood Manor (ka-cheww! ka-chewwww!). It's like the Frau Blücher thing.

After standing on the Long Line of Terror, followed by the Neverending Staircase of Waiting, the Blue Hallway of Doom and the Red Hallway of More Waiting, I began to wonder if maybe they would just take our tickets and shove us through a door, and then we'd find ourselves outside again with some guy going, "Thanks and come again!"

But once we finally got in, Blood Manor (ka-cheww! ka-chewwwww!) kicked ass. They managed to squeeze a lot into what's really a very small space. It was a succession of themed rooms, each one with its own characters and implied story. My favorites included the zombie in the meat locker, the cannibal family at the dinner table, and the possessed little girl who also seemed to be doing something cannibalistic in her bedroom. There was a lot of cannibalism on display at Blood Manor (ka-cheww! ka-chewwwww!). The guy in the Michael Meyers mask was just kind of phoning it in, though. Dave liked the zombie strippers (I know, you'd think that would be my favorite too, but no, there was something a little too lazy and obvious about it) and the crazy chef guy with the chainsaw who chases you out of not one but two rooms. There was a cool 3D maze where they give you glasses and the murals all pop out of the walls, but neither of us could quite figure out why the actors in that part were dressed as Otis and Baby from House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil's Rejects. I don't remember a 3D maze in those movies.

Throughout, I was more excited and happy than scared. One ghoul actually yelled, "Stop clapping!" I was a kid in a candy store, grinning like Sardonicus and probably annoying the actors for saying "Cool!" instead of screaming.

Some of the actresses were cute, and I wanted to stay and talk to them, but they keep you moving so that the next party doesn't have to wait a long time. It takes about ten, fifteen minutes to get through the whole thing. Just as you're beginning to feel like it's going on too long, it's over, and suddenly it feels like it went by too fast. Dave and I are definitely going back next year.

After Blood Manor (ka-cheww! ka-chewwwww!), we got some yummy BBQ for dinner and then hit the Tempest Bar on 8th Avenue for drinks. Turns out they have a room in back where you can sit with your drink and smoke like a civilized human being instead of being forced to stand out in the wind and rain like a bad dog. It also turns out that the Tempest Bar is a big F.I.T. hangout, and we spent most of the evening in the smoking room with Heather, Courtney and their friends. Who doesn't love drunk college girls?

"You can totally get Heather," Dave told me, and it was kind of true, as Heather was drunk and attentive.

"I can get anyone," I replied because I'd had five pints of Killian's Red. Then I remembered that I'd basically been dumped by email just a day or so before. Apparently I can get anyone except the one I actually like.

Anyway, it was all just harmless flirty fun, but it became decidedly less so when I found out Heather and friends come to the Tempest Bar because they don't card F.I.T. students. Sorry, but if you're not old enough to drink yet, you're too young for me, even for a one-nighter. I have to have to draw the line somewhere.

More Doctor Who Nerdery

Frickin' Cybermen!

Of course, they give away the big reveal at the end of the episode, the first in a two-parter, by calling it "Rise of the Cybermen". Then again, Doctor Who isn't really known for its clever use of episode titles ("Gee, this episode is called 'Dalek' - I wonder what that weird thing in the secret room is gonna turn out to be?"). The original series had the same problem. There's no suspense in the bad-guy reveal when your episode is called "Resurrection of the Daleks".

Or "Rise of the Cybermen". Still, I like that it's a whole new origin story for them, taking them off the planets of Mondas and Telos and giving them an Earth-bound genesis, even if it is an alternate universe Earth.

I may have to duck out of World Fantasy next Friday to see the second part!