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One Nightmare You Don’t Want to Wake Up From: Rob Zombie’s Great American Nightmare in Scottsdale, AZ

The Great American Nightmare family on break from killing and terrorizing, photo courtesy of facebook.com/robzombie

The Great American Nightmare family on break from killing and terrorizing, photo courtesy of facebook.com/RobZombiesGreatAmericanNightmare




By Devildresseddown


sppoky event

Inside the brain of the master? Photo courtesy of facebook.com/RobZombiesGreatAmericanNightmare

It’s always been obvious that Rob Zombie, horror genius, has some damn frightening thoughts and visions stored in that brain of his ~ and apparently, not only is his mind a bottomless well of compelling macabre, it also gets bored easily and starts getting restless if it can’t create new ways to entertain those of us who share RZ’s penchant for the twisted, gory, terrifying unexpected, freakish (all with a touch of humor), and, well, just thoroughly signature Zombie.



A member of the welcoming committee, photo copyright 2014 by devildresseddown for FW

A member of the welcoming committee, photo copyright 2014 by devildresseddown for FW

Apparently 2014 was also a bore, what with only finishing up a tour in support of Venomous Rat Regenerator Vendor, embarking on the new film 3I, and writing and recording a new album on his To Do list, so faced once more with so much down time, Rob again enlisted Steve [Kopelman] and Andy [Gould] to take the “Great American Nightmare” on the road and spread some holiday cheer to Scottsdale, AZ (and to Villa Park, right outside Chicago).



Haunted house aficionados, like myself, live for this time of year. We are always looking for new and terrifying experiences and “The Great American Nightmare” delivers on so many levels of terror there may need to be some more circles added to Hell’s original 9.



The House, photo courtesy of facebook.com/RobZombiesGreatAmericanNightmare

The House, photo courtesy of facebook.com/RobZombiesGreatAmericanNightmare




Photo copyright 2014 by devildresseddown for FW

Photo copyright 2014 by devildresseddown for FW

Before entering the Haunted House itself, victims are treated to the “Bloody Boulevard,” a midway of carnage and oddities offering the most frightening animatronics since Disney’s “It’s a Small World” ride (those of you who have experienced the aforementioned Disney attraction know EXACTLY what I am talking about) ~ but all traumatizing Disney references aside, if you’re into demons ripping folks in half (How could you not be?) and giants impaling people on spikes (What’s not to love?  Really ~ what part of that image is not spectacular?) then “It’s a small world after all.” Refreshments and swag were easily accessible and all lead to one place…Hell’s front door.


Small groups were let in and guided through some interesting but not earth-shattering set-ups: actors warning of impending doom, some light frights, and even some scenes that caused chuckles rather than screams…mild fare, all lulling us into a state of unpanic, just as RZ planned, so that when you’re led to the entrance of the first of the three areas contained within the house, you are completely blindsided  by what lies within.



Hi Heidi!  Photo courtesy of facebook.com/RobZombiesGreatAmericanNightmare

Hi Heidi! Photo courtesy of facebook.com/RobZombiesGreatAmericanNightmare




“The Lords of Salem” is a blackout experience, and by “blackout” I mean “Can’t-see-a-goddamn-thing-in-front-of-your-goddamn-face.”  This is a claustrophobic’s worst nightmare. You are left to feel your way along narrow hallways to find the way out. There is no light, there is no help and there is only one way out. From time to time your hand brushes across something that almost makes you glad you can’t see what it is, but you must keep moving forward.


Photo copyright 2014 by devildresseddown for FW

Photo copyright 2014 by devildresseddown for FW

Eventually the room opens and lights point the way to the second of the three haunts, “Capt. Spaulding’s Clown School.” Before entering, you are handed 3-D glasses for the complete immersive experience and let me just say, the visuals and effects that artists can accomplish with paint are extraordinary. The rooms are vibrantly colored and people and objects pop out left and right. Although the least “scary” of the haunts (unless you truly fear clowns), it was definitely the best of the three. Interactive tunnels and perspective illusions kept the stepping interesting and sometimes challenging. You got a sense the “Lords of Salem” and “Capt Spaulding” attractions were derived from some very real fears/phobias of their creator, a mastermind hard to envision fearing anything.



Clowns are...fun.  Really!  Photo copyright 2014 by devildresseddown for FW

Clowns are…fun. Really! Photo copyright 2014 by devildresseddown for FW



If you survived the dark and the clowns, you were next escorted on to the Firefly estate, surrounded by Ruggsville police demanding compliance from the denizens inside. The re-creation of the dramatic opening scene of The Devils Rejects was extremely well done. The soundtrack in the background enhanced the experience as the actors played their respective roles masterfully throughout the climactic gun fight that ushered you into the Firefly family’s den of horrors.



Photo courtesy facebook.com/RobZombiesGreatAmericanNightmare

Photo courtesy of facebook.com/RobZombiesGreatAmericanNightmare



Photo courtesy of facebook.com/RobZombiesGreatAmericanNightmare

Photo courtesy of facebook.com/RobZombiesGreatAmericanNightmare

A more “traditional” haunted attraction, this third haunt took you directly into the madness of the family who terrified anyone who had seen House of 1000 Corpses and its sequel, The Devils Rejects. More an homage to the latter, the rooms and attractions were, gritty, unsettling and every bit as disturbing and its movie namesake.


Actors who fit seamlessly into the scenes were everywhere, some pleading for help, others focused on keeping us from straying from the rest of the victims. The blood- and-gore factor in this final installment were signature Zombie, and anyone anticipating a sleepless night and some very…unsettling…dreams for a while got exactly that.

 

The evening culminated in a live performance by the man himself under the Arizona sky, joined by Powerman 5000.  Read the review of the killer musical kickoff to the weekend here.


Photo copyright 2014 by devildresseddown for FW

Photo copyright 2014 by devildresseddown for FW



If the success of opening night and the creativity involved in building the entire horror haven that is Great American Nightmare is any indication as to the longevity of this unique haunted experience, then I believe no city is safe from the mind, fears and genius of Mr. Rob Zombie.


Y'all come back, y'hear?  Photo copyright 2014 by devildresseddown for FW

Y’all come back, y’hear? Photo copyright 2014 by devildresseddown for FW



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