Black Lake Haunted Asylum returns to Tacoma’s Freighthouse Square Oct. 10–31
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I freely admit: I’m a horror addict. Growing up in the 1960s and ’70s, I devoured (sometimes literally) horror comic books, like the classic Creepy and Eerie magazines (especially the ones with those iconic Frank Frazetta covers), and the horror-film “fanzine” Famous Monsters of Filmland. I loved the plastic Aurora models of the Wolf Man, Dracula, the Frankenstein monster and other Hollywood bogeymen. And I was deeply influenced – some say screwed up – by hundreds of movies aired on TV in the New York area on shows like “Chiller Theater,” “Creature Features” and “Million Dollar Movie.”
The last is significant: “Million Dollar Movie” (on WOR, channel 9), which didn’t run just horror flicks, actually showed the same film every weeknight for five days straight. Imagine the effect on my impressionable young mind from watching the original 1959 version of “House on Haunted Hill” five times in a row! (I used to go around quoting Elisha Cook Jr.’s ominous closing line, “They’re coming for ME now … and then they’ll come for YOU …” which freaked out a few of my women grade-school teachers.)
Imagine, too, when “House on Haunted Hill” was remade in 1999 and set, not in a manipulative millionaire’s weird faux Mayan/art deco fortress, but in a disused asylum with a nasty history. True, the remake gets a little silly toward the end, but the set design is passing nightmarish: dark, clammy cells, grisly lab specimens, pseudo-scientific antique medical equipment and sadistic restraining devices … (It’s even more unsettling when you figure that the screenwriters didn’t just imagine that stuff: A lot of asylums in the bad old days of unregulated medicine probably weren’t much different from the Bedlam depicted in the movie.)
Mad doctors and maniacs aside, it’s the demons inside our own heads that we “normal” folks love to feed when the night of pumpkin heads rolls around. So it’s with perverse delight that I can report that the Black Lake Haunted Asylum is unbolting its doors for the second Halloween season, from Sat., Oct. 10, to Sat., Oct. 31. Constructed in the basement of Tacoma’s historic Freighthouse Square – a place I’d be loath to spend the night alone, whatever time of year – the Asylum promises to be a hell of a lot more than just your typical un-scary amusement-park haunted house: Featuring the work of extraordinarily talented and equally twisted local artist Ben Isitt (www.bensartworks.com) and an all-new production team of extremely creative professional psychopaths, the Asylum is a huge, 12,000-square-foot interpretation of “a medical research facility gone horribly wrong” (according to the press release) and carries a PG-13 rating. (Parents: This may be your chance to scare your preteen away from drugs!)
The Asylum is also more than a seasonal spine-tingler: It’s a community-service event where the “patients” (i.e., the visitors) are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food donation to benefit My Sister’s Pantry Food Bank in Tacoma (www.mysisterspantry.org), which will get them a buck off the price of admission.
There are other strange things afoot at Freighthouse Square while the Black Lake Haunted Asylum is loosening some bowels:
- “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” enhanced with live performances. On Fri., Oct. 16, and Fri., Oct. 23, at 8 p.m. sharp, the Blue Mouseketeers of Tacoma will perform LIVE during showings of the cult favorite “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” which will be screened in its entirety. Prop bags for moviegoers are $1. Learn about the shows at www.tacomarockyhorror.net. Learn more about the Blue Mouseketeers’ home, The Blue Mouse Theatre in Tacoma’s historic Proctor District: Visit www.bluemousetheatre.com.
- Funky Monkey live broadcast. On Fri., Oct. 23, from 7 to 9 p.m., Funky Monkey (104.9 FM) will broadcast live from Freighthouse Square. Funky Monkey will also be giving away free pairs of tickets to the Asylum on their Web site from Oct. 8 to 17 and have an on-air ticket giveaway from Oct. 19 to 23, with one lucky winner winning the grand prize: An eerie evening for four that includes a chauffeured hearse ride for the evening; a complimentary meal for four at one of Tacoma’s best restaurants; two pairs of tickets to the Asylum and to another haunted house; promotional merchandise; and more. Get the scary details at www.funkymonkey1049.fm.
- Third Annual Pacific Northwest Hearse Rally. Herman Munster would love the Rain City Hearse Club, whose members will show off their classic hearses outside Freighthouse Square on Sat., Oct. 24, from 7 p.m. to midnight. Learn more at www.hauntedhearse.com or www.raincityhearse.org.
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The 2009 Black Lake Haunted Asylum at Freighthouse Square is open from 7 p.m. to midnight on 15 evenings between Oct. 10 and Oct. 31: Visit the asylum Web site at www.blacklakeasylum.com for the schedule. Admission is $13 per “patient” ($1 off the price of one ticket at the door with military ID). Tickets can be purchased at the The Giving Place in Freighthouse Square, online through Web site or at the door (cash only; an ATM will be available). Get a $1 discount per ticket by purchasing in advance (Oct. 1–9) at The Giving Place (also cash only).
Freighthouse Square is located at 2501 East “D” St., Tacoma. Visit www.freighthousesquare.com for more information and directions.
And by the way: Black Lake Haunted Asylum is partnering with Pierce County Little Caesars locations to offer customers the Haunted Family Combo Pack (two large Hot-n-Ready pizzas, an order of Crazy Bread and a two-liter Pepsi product) for just $14.50 and get a voucher to get $8 off a four-pack of tickets to the Asylum (offer good while supplies last; cannot be combined with any other promotion). Visit www.pizzapizzanw.com for store locations.
Visit Black Lake Asylum for show times: www.blacklakeasylum.com