Since I was sixteen, I’ve been keeping haunted house journals. It might be the nerdiest thing I do, but I imagine there’s a chorus somewhere caroling, “That’s debatable.” So at the end of every September, I dust off my dork tome and begin penciling in my haunted house calendar. (I know, I really need to take up ant farming or something.)
I had the opportunity to add a new entry to my current Goosebumps diary when my new friend Niffer asked if I wanted to hang out, perhaps go to one of those haunted casas I’m so hot for. Christina happened to be visiting as well, so I deemed it the perfect night to go to my all-time favorite haunted house, Victory Haunted School in Elizabeth, PA. Two reasons: 1. I only like going to that one with at LEAST two other people because it freaks me out that badly; 2. I wanted Niffer’s first haunted house as a Pittsburgh resident to be really fucking supreme.
On the thirty minute drive, we embroiled ourselves in talk of men perfumed with the stench of cigarette rolled in dog shit, and Christina pumped Niffer for all kinds of pertinent information to ensure she wasn’t KGB. I made Christina ride in the back because that’s where bitches belong, and she kept popping her head between the seats like an attention-starved seven-year-old riding to the strip club with her parents.
Eventually, the strip malls, car lots, and chain restaurants became more and more sparse and the road became less lit. We turned onto the road where Victory lives and began our descent into the hollow. I’ve always thought that the last mile to get to Victory is nearly as scary as the haunted house itself and I always try to guess how many prom dates have been murdered in those woods. Because what else is there to do in Elizabeth? I mean, other than watch their sucky high school football team?
Victory’s website hadn’t been updated for 2008, but all of the haunted house listings swore that it was open. WELL THEY LIED. I mean, I never expect a crowd when I pull up, but I do expect that the front door will at least not have a board nailed to it. It was most certainly closed, nailed up tighter than Jesus. I stared at it for a few seconds, mouth agape, refusing to accept it. This was the longest-running haunted house in Pittsburgh! For thirteen motherfucking years I was harrassed and heckled in those pitch-black corridors. I went there while I was pregnant, even, no fetus was going to hold ME down. (I was only two months pregnant, chill.)
This was the place that had unrelenting chainsaw action. One of my friends fell running from him up basement steps and he showed no mercy. She was crying her fat face off and I laughed and laughed because I could run faster. The scariest part was that most of it was squeezing through cramped hallways, hands held out as feelers. You’d always end up groping one of the monsters and then they’d snarl in your ear and you’d pee your granny pants and shout “OMFG LET ME OUT.”
My favorite memory of Victory was from 1999 when I was nineteen. I had gone there with my friends Brian and Heather, and after a traumatic run-through which featured Heather very dramatically dry-heaving from the overly ambitious fog machines in the basement (the basement, might I add, made the basement in Blair Witch Project look like Candy Land), we had a horrific run-in with two chainsaw guys in the parking lot. The lot is a small gravel area across from the haunted school, at the base of a wooded hillside. As we approached my car, one of the chainsaw guys came barrelling at me from the woods, and the other had come from across the street. Brian and Heather had already got in the car, and of course they thought it would be fucking hysterical, a real lovely story for the hobos in the soup kitchen, to lock me out of the car. So I’m running around this dark, mostly empty parking lot, punching myself in the crotch to keep from panic-pissing, two chainsaws buzzing against my billowing hair. Brian actually had a change of heart and unlocked my door, but showed no mercy in ridiculing me.
Angry at Brian and shaken up by the chase, I tried to make a hasty exit. Unfortunately, the parking lot is poorly lit and I didn’t notice the car that was parked perpendicularly behind me. I sure noticed it after the sickening crunch it made as my bumper violated its side, that’s for sure. And of course, it would belong to one of the chainsaw guys, who happened to witness the whole thing. His chainsaw dropped and he flung his mask onto the gravel, then stood in front of my car, furiously miming for me to get out. The next hour was spent waiting for a cop to come (he insisted on having a report filed), me sobbing and repeatedly asking if I was going to jail, and being reamed out by a very pissed off car owner. At one point, the other chainsaw guy sat with me in my car, consoling me by saying, “Don’t let him get to you. He’s a mother fucker to everyone. He made me feel better and if Heather wasn’t in the backseat, I probably would have given him a handjob for his effort.
But last Saturday night, there were no other cars in that dark gravel parking lot for me to batter. I blame all these big commercial haunts that are popping up. The ones that herd you through like cattle in groups of fifteen and just aren’t scary.
Luckily, one of the fire departments in a neighboring town has been putting one together in the basement of a school gym for the past three years. It’s a little too short, but it has promise and some legitimate scares (NIffer almost had a heart attack because not only were there clowns, but a midget one at that), some horrific encounters with Freddy Krueger and Leatherface, and a robed man with a needling eastern European accent of some sort that kept reappearing to heckle us.
Christina and I went to this same one last year and I seriously was near-tears because the whole thing made me feel uncomfortable and they literally have you walking through small rooms in this damp cement basement and I kept shouting WHAT IF THIS IS REAL AND WE DON’T MAKE IT OUT OMFG DID I TELL CHOOCH I LOVED HIM BEFORE I LEFT??
Unfortunately, there was no Michael Myers.I have recurring fantasies of a chase ending with an erotic rape romp so my thighs quake subsequently every time I see him. Michael left me with a wet hot memory at Cheeseman’s haunted hayride two weekends ago, at least, when he had me pressed up against a wall in an empty hallway and we were face to Shatner-mask. He kept trying to shoo Janna away and I really believe that a child could have been conceived that night if Janna had left. Either that or the knife that was so dangerously near to my cheek was real and Michael and his friends would be dining on Erin Appledale flapjacks the next morning.
Anyway, I really hope whoever was behind that mask was at least of legal age, because his jock bumped against me several times and I had urges, mighty urges, to cup his ballsack. Scandelous.
And that’s how I like my haunted houses.