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Dread Central hopped a flight to Las Vegas, Nevada, on Thursday, October 3, in order to cover the opening of the haunt attraction Fright Dome at Adventuredome at Circus Circus, and we came back with not only a celebrity-filled gallery from the black carpet but also a report!
Arriving to the gusty Fright Dome carpet, we were beset by a menagerie of scare actors hired by Fright Dome creator and owner Jason Egan, who in true Tod Browning fashion had employed (among the requisite clowns and chainsaw-wielding madmen) individuals with actual physical anomalies, which were accentuated by entirely professional makeups. In addition to the duo of Johnny Eck-like young women with truncated torsos (who were made up as zombies and dashed about the carpet using their hands as locomotion), another actor sported a gruesome facial makeup which served to highlight his entirely empty optical orb (the result of sinus cancer, I was later told), as did the green chemical light which had been unnervingly inserted inside.
Of the celebrities attending the carpet, Chromeskull: Laid to Rest 2 actress and Motley Crue back-up singer Allison Kyler made an appearance, as did Motley Crue frontman Vince Neil, who seemed generally enthralled with the oddities about him. Joining them were actor Sid Haig (The Devil’s Rejects), Playboy’s 2011 ‘Playmate of the Year’ Claire Sinclair (airbrushed to undead vamp’ish perfection), Guns N’ Roses lead guitarist Dj Ashba, rock star artist Michael Godard, comedy hypnotist Marc Savard, comedian Matt Black, celebrity magician Murray SawChuck, Fright Dome head Jason Egan, Circus Circus President Don Thrasher, and the belles of the ball, The Collector and The Collection director Marcus Dunstan along with series co-writer Patrick Melton.
Joining them were series lead Josh Stewart and The Collection co-stars Emma Fitzpatrick and Randall Archer, as well as camera operator (and director) BJ McDonnell, FX artist Adrienne Lynn, and producers Brett Forbes and Patrick Rizzotti of Fortress Features, all there to celebrate the attraction’s maze recreations of their films (‘The Collector’ haunted house is based on the 2009 film of the same name, and ‘Hotel Argento’ the 2012 flick The Collection.)
General admission tickets start at $32.95, and fast pass tickets are available for an additional $15 to $20, which allows express line entry for all six haunted houses. For more details and to purchase tickets, visit Fright Dome online.
With the carpet wrapped, we entered the sweeping, fog-filled 250,000-square-foot facility and were happily marauded by monsters the second we stepped in. (Did I mention the level of makeup expertise on hand? If not, let me be clear: It is stellar.). Following a VIP reception and open bar (which served cleverly named concoctions based on The Collector film series) with the filmmakers, we set off with Dunstan, Melton, Kyler and crew to partake in the mazes offered.
First off was ‘The Collection,’ and if Dunstan and Archer’s giddy response was any indication (it was unsurprisingly an absolute joy for them to venture through the physical recreation of their cinematic effort), park-goers can indeed expect a similarly thrilling journey.
‘Hotel Argento’ (based on The Collection) was the maze which intrigued us the most, however, given its ‘enter it alone’ motif, and we quickly made our way there. Gathered outside, we enjoyed watching the CCT feed on the suspended flat panel above us of other attendees as they made their way alone through the maze, but not nearly as much as we did venturing into it ourselves. With effects supplied by the series’ FX lead designer Gary Tunnicliffe, the ghastly production design of ‘Hotel Argento’ and the scares subsequent lent to an entirely chill-inducing journey into the cinematic killer’s lair.
A tour through the maze ‘Clownophobia 3D’ was next, and once again we were met with a lengthy, engaging and fear-inducing excursion. The maze was so long, in fact, that if seemed an endurance test, particularly for this writer. At one point the words “FML, I need a drink,” came from my lips, to which Dunstan responded by magically producing a cold beer from his suit jacket. (I’m still not sure how you did that, Dunstan, or what a ‘three-legged Clydesdale’ means, but thanks!)
While we didn’t hit the other three mazes (‘Camp Chainsaw,’ ‘Zombie Quarantine’ and ‘Thi3teen’), we did take an adrenaline-fueled ride on Adventuredome’s roller coaster ‘Canyon Blaster’ (it’s a short trip but an entirely effective one, with two back-to-back loops sure to please coaster enthusiasts). Hopping into a limo afterward, Dunstan and I and The Collector crew closed the night out at a whiskey bar over drinks and conversation, much of which centered on the entertaining experience we’d just partaken in.
Said Dunstan regarding Fright Dome, ”I expected to be scared, and Fright Dome delivered that in spades, but what I didn’t expect was to get choked up! The attention to detail was astounding! There was a moment in the middle of the ‘The Collector’ and ‘Hotel Argento’ mazes where Brett, Rizzotti, Patrick, Emma and Josh and I all looked at each other with beaming smiles, thrilled to see our collaboration come to life. Our parents and siblings were there to make it a traumatizing family affair to boot! It was a marvelous experience.”
Writer’s note: I’ve hit the majority of haunts in SoCal this season, and while I haven’t had a bad time yet, Las Vegas’ Fright Dome was the most enjoyable by far.
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