The Big Gap gabs about: USS Halloween Horror Nights 2012 – [Version: Junch]

On October 26th, intrepid bloggers Pearlyn and Junch head down to Universal Studios Singapore to experience the freaky-deaky event that is Halloween Horror Nights 2012.  We write in a lot of words below what we thought of it.  Read on, IF YOU DARE!  Here’s Junch’s account.

I can’t remember the exact moment when the concept of horror seized me for the first time.  I have faded memories of things I’ve watched, stories I’ve read, games I’ve played that scared the shit out of me.  I remember the It clown’s face.  I don’t remember if I actually watched the movie, I think I blacked out or blocked the traumatic experience from my memory.  Everyone or other’s got an irrational fear of clowns.  I think it’s the goddamn make-up.  Why do they have to use so much white?  I do remember the day I played Resident Evil for the first time, and the first zombie you encounter was the one sitting with its back to you in that swivel arm chair.  Then when it turned around, and started stumbling towards me, and I was like FUCK FUCK I DON’T KNOW THIS GAME’S CONTROLS!??!!  And then I died.  I remembered turning off the game and not playing it ever again – for like three months.

And that’s not counting all the freaky ghost stories I’ve heard from grandparents gleefully trying to scare the shit out of me – like the one about how my granddad felt this heavy presence on his chest preventing him from getting out of a hotel bed – or reading all the books like REAL ASIAN GHOST STORIES.  Books selling the faith that there really exist things out there that go bump in the night.  Ghosts like the Pontianak, a smoking-hot babe waiting on the side of the road to lure hapless men to her ghostly bosoms, only to turn friggin’ ugly and cannibalistic when you got too close.

When I lived in England, my supernatural education expanded.  The UK is practically a hotbed for scary ghostly shit.  I learnt of the Borley Rectory – the most haunted house in England, complete with its own epic hauntings.  Every time anyone sat by the bay window to read or chill, a nun would stare in at them through the window.  One of the ladies got slapped in the bathroom by an invisible apparition, and parts of the house had cold spots.  I was so mesmerized, and yet reading stories about this place was not a good idea when I stayed in my very own old-school house in the burbs of London.  Every time I heard floorboards creak, or footsteps on the staircase, I hid under the blanket like a boss.

You see, most sane people, when they are faced with such horror, they’d run in the opposite direction. But there’s a screw loose inside me.  I am compelled to run towards the horrific thing while my hands are covering my face in fright and my pants grow wetter from pee.  It’s like I’m a Lovecraftian protagonist, drawn to the horror that besieged my fragile mind.  My best friend says that it is silly to subject oneself to the thing that frightens us the most, and he makes a good point.  Why suffer unnecessarily?

Which was what I ended up doing when I went to the Universal Studios Singapore’s Halloween Horror Nights event a couple weeks back.

For $68, I could get myself scared shitless by people in costumes at a theme park.  Yeah, doesn’t sound that fun when I put it that way.  But it turned out to be a pretty good time actually – only because part of me wanted to be really frightened.  There were three haunted house type things, where you’d walk from point A to B along themed routes with people jumping out at you from behind hiding spots.  It’s like if you hid behind a tree as your friend walked by and you jumped out at them – yeah it’s what juvenile shit I’d get up to, except that I was paying to have it done to me by “professionals”.

The first haunted house we visited was The Sanitarium.  A freaky-deaky asylum like place, super dark with all manners of insane type people coming real close to your face.  I went with a group of my best mates, who in hindsight, I would not want to be caught in a zombie/ghost/monster apocalypse with – because they are just too damn chickenshit scared, and we just did our best impression of the Human Centipede, clinging to each other’s backs because we thought that would save us from the horrors within the place.  I should’ve bought the photograph of us doing the Congo line, except that our faces were buried into the back of the person in front.  That was how embarrassing we were.

The Insanitarium had dead people getting cut open on tables by insane nurses, people in strap jackets bursting out from hidden corners to frighten, and floating furniture.  The best part was the last bit when it got really frantic and you had to find the right exit from a choice of four doors, while the lights flashed something epileptic and a mad woman in the corner started creeping closer towards you.  We chose the right door from the get-go, thank god for my crafty friend, but I wonder what would happen if you went into the wrong one.  Did you die a horrible death, never to be seen by family and friends again?

Then there was the Alley of Death or whatever, can’t remember the name.  It was Chinese-themed, complete with cheongsam wearing zombie bitches and old school dudes in old school get-ups.  Yeah, more jumping out from corners to scare.  The best part was its use of Theresa Teng’s song about waiting for her love – if there’s anything that gives me the heeby jeebies, it’s certainly entering a spooky place filled with spooky undead courtesans with Teng’s languid love song playing in the background.  Had such a good time watching my best mate go through the haunted house waddling like a penguin, half-crouched, eyes covered half the time as if that would give him invulnerability to frights of the mind.

I think the scariest was probably the Tunnel of Damnation, which was full of torture implements and dudes with spikes sticking out of their faces.  I just kept thinking the entire night how uncomfortable it must all be for the scare actors wearing that stuff.  I quite liked the bit where you had to walk through narrow corridors, no choice but to get up close to some scary looking people, and there was a room full of hands sticking out of walls trying to grab you.  There was also a spinning room that was trippy as fuck.  Met up with intrepid co-blogger and mate Pearlyn for this part of our journey of doom, so we got to scream at everything together – including this one particular segment which had this woman being twisted in a corkscrew by a dude wearing a goat-mask.  Got to love the cultist-types.

Universal Studios Singapore has to be commended for the amount of work that went into realizing the event.  There was a lot of incidental detail that was really well done.  Whether it was Chinese painted signs, life-sized Iron Maiden torture coffins, or even just the woodwork that went into putting together these haunted houses.  It was very hard to find the seams and gaps.  When I wasn’t being frightened by scare actors, I liked to take the time to check out the sights and sounds.  I think the costumes were pretty spot-on for the most part too, the most memorable was a chick with one of those faces that came unzipped showing the skinless part underneath.  Gruesome definitely.

The rest of the night was a good time.  There were a lot of people out and about open to the idea of being scared out of their skin.  Lots of girls being unimaginative and wearing devil horns too.  Thank god there weren’t too many slutty nurse/angel/devil outfits.  I can’t stand those.  At least these devil horns glowed, all the more easier for the scare actors to single them bitches out easier to scare.

As I stood in hour-long queues waiting to go on the next 10-minute ride or experience the next 15-minute thrill, I contemplated why I put myself through such torture.  Not the long queues, causes no one does that on purpose, but the scares.  The conclusion I came to was that all this was training.

Training for the impending zombie/monster/horror apocalypse that would happen in real life.  What would I do if I really came face-to-undead face with a creepfest jumping out at me?  Would I really take a shovel to its head, or sock it in the kisser that seems so easy to do in a video game or in my head?

If my performance that night at USS was anything to go by, we are all doomed.  I wouldn’t be very good at defending my loved ones, family or friends.  I’d just try to press myself up against a wall and hope to god that they don’t take all the juicy bits out of my body.  And yet, perhaps I had no choice that night anyway seeing as one of the rules of the Halloween Horror Night was not to mistreat the scare actors.  Cause if it were really a free-for-all, I’d throw a Wing Chun rolling punch or two (yes, I’m cool for knowing Wing Chun).

Like it or not, the zombie apocalypse is shambling ever so slowly but surely into mass consciousness.  Just earlier this year, there was that one real story about a naked dude eating another dude’s face out on the highway somewhere in the States.  Not to mention, the US military is training for potential zombie outbreaks, and Walking Dead is one of the most awesome TV shows ever in existence right now.

Okay, so the last one doesn’t really matter much, but whatever.  Zombies, man.  They be cray cray.  So be prepared for that shit.  And perhaps head down to your local haunted house theme park, or to USS’ Halloween Horror Nights next year for some training.  Because you don’t want to be wetting your pants when the real thing hits.

But here’s the kicker.  In secret, I actually really want the zombie apocalypse to come true. I’ve played enough video games, read enough literature, and watched a ton of movies to know what to do if the undead hit the proverbial fan.  I’d like to shack up with my mates and family and scavenge for supplies, survive, and not have to think about things like getting up at 7.30 every morning for work, or pay bills.  But if I were really standing in front of a walker, with its rotting flesh and dangling guts, would I be able to do the right thing?

[Not enough masochism for you?  Read Pearlyn’s post here.]

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