BY ALYSSA FISHER
There was blood everywhere. Dripping down the walls, stained on the picture frames, even on splattered along the floor. It was a horrifying site, and I couldn’t believe I was there to witness it.
On October 13, I somehow willingly entered the gates of The Village of Horrors at the War Memorial Auditorium in Fort Lauderdale. Based on true events, this Halloween Horror Nights-esque event is a nightmare come to life. It is everything the name advertises.
I should’ve known not to go after reading the website’s bold words: “Not recommended for anyone under the age of 13”. I may be 18, but I have the fears of an eight-year-old. Anything concerning masks, blood and creepy music makes me want to run for my life. Now I was about to be thrown into a meat house and expected to keep my cool. It was surely a night to remember, although I don’t really want to.
My night began with a backstage tour. There I met the people behind the terror and gore. I watched as they had their makeup applied, masks pulled on over their heads and blood sprayed onto their clothes. They were friendly and funny, not to mention a little creepy. That wasn’t so surprising coming from a group of people who get paid to chase after you with a chainsaw.
Once we left the brightly lit area, it was time to enter the dark gloom of the main attraction. The Village of Horrors is based on true events, much to my dismay. In the auditorium, there are two frighteningly realistic haunted houses, Condess Hall and The Culler Family Butcher Shop. The large wooden butcher shop lined with detached, bloody limbs is the first of the two you see. Upon entering, a whiff of burnt meat smacks you in the face. According to the story, The Culler Family Butcher Shop was one of the most successful full-service meat markets and slaughterhouses in the South, and also became the scene of a handful of mysterious disappearances.
It will make you never want to eat meat again. There was stained blood on every surface and there were dismembered body parts hanging from the ceiling. The hallways of the house were narrow, making you feel like you are stuck and will never get out of there alive. The actors were terrifying, even though I had just met them a few minutes earlier. They were so close, and the tight knit space with the strobe lights made me feel like I was going crazy. Behind each wall was a new shocking scene, making me feel anxious all the way through.
I finally ran out, gasping for air. I couldn’t believe there was another house, one that seemed to be much scarier. This was Condess Hall, which, according to history, was the scene of the killing of the McCrea family by the family’s father, Jack McCrea. After his suicide, Condess Hall was taken by the state and transformed into an orphanage, which became haunted, and then as an elementary school where the principal reportedly hung herself after her terminally ill daughter died from meningitis. In 1971, the house was boarded up and shut down for good.
The Hall was a creepy mansion with neat beds, school desks and empty baby cribs. Cut up baby dolls were attached the walls with blood splattered over them. It was a shocking sight that made me feel sick. There was an eerie vibe throughout the house as you saw picture frames of the deceased, cobwebs and skeletons. It all felt so real, and it didn’t help that a little girl with a gunshot wound on her forehead looked me straight in the eyes and squealed, “My daddy shot me in the head!”
While this was going on, there was loud, horrifying music to set the mood, even though it was masked underneath all the shrieking. I can’t explain how relieved I felt when I exited the auditorium and faced the carnival outside. The rides and cheap food added a fun vibe to the experience that was needed after the terror of the haunted houses.
For Halloween junkies, The Village of Horrors is the place for you. It was so realistic that I thought I was really going to be killed by bloody maniacs. If that’s your idea of a fun evening, I bid you good luck!
Village of Horrors information:
Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door and $20 for unlimited access to rides. The Speed Scare Pass is available for $30 and allows guests to beat the lines and have unlimited access to rides. Tickets are available through all Ticketmaster outlets or directly through the War Memorial Auditorium at (954) 828-5380. The War Memorial Auditorium is located at 800 NE 8th St. in Fort Lauderdale. For more information, visit www.VillageOfHorrors.com. Follow Village of Horrors on Twitter @VillageofHorror and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/VillageofHorrors.