Wednesday, July 21, 2010
The Terrifying and Ridiculous Haunted Attractions of Gatlinburg Tennessee
Gatlinburg, Tennessee is a perfect juxtaposition of the sublime and the absurd. Some of the most beautiful landscape in the nation, haunting views and smoky valleys, cradle silly, black light minigolf establishments and trashy motels. Old wood forests lurk just miles away from every manner of silly tourist attraction. Of course, I do love the tourist attractions and I'm not going to lie and say I've never played a round or two of black light mini golf, but I do appreciate the irony of situation as a play.
The haunted attractions in Gatlinburg are not so different from the town. Some are just terrible and silly, others are cheesy and fun, and some are real. The worst haunted attraction in Gatlinburg has to be a tiny hole in the wall establishment located in between a black light golf facility and a fudge shop. It is called Hauntings and terrible party city quality ghouls dangle from the front of this cheesy attraction. Once you go inside it isn't much better. You are quickly escorted back to a small room. The entire attraction is in this one room. The poor quality of the show is made worse by a little hope that you have that something more interesting may happen, but nothing does. I took my six your old with me to Hauntings and he got tired and fell asleep. If a ghostly attraction puts a six year old to sleep, it really needs to rethink itself.
On the other hand, The Ripley's Haunted House a few blocks a way is actually quite creepy. I've never really been afraid of the pretend kind of haunted houses. It's hard to be afraid of what you know is pretend. Even though it seems like a serial is chasing you with a chainsaw in your heart you know it is just some fool with a leaf blower. Ripley's Haunted House on the other hand did give me a few moments of pause. Maybe the actors just caught me unexpected, but I actually jumped a few times. One fellow came at me from the ceiling and I jumped like a little girl. I didn't expect that.
So if you like haunted houses and happen to be in Gatlinburg, Ripley's is definitely the best fake haunted house. Of course, if you want real ghosts I still think the Rocky Top Village in is one of the creepiest haunted places I've ever been to.