Saturday, October 6, 2012

Paranoia Haunted House 2012

                Truly a great thing to see a haunt that we have visited, rated, and spoken with coming back for another year and expanding.  Paranoia Haunted House in Roswell, Georgia has done just that.  Last year we visited them on their opening night and discussed our opinions with them before we left.  We were lucky enough to find the time to return later in the season to see what they had done with their ideas.  It was on that second visit that we rated them at a solid four severed heads.  This year we didn't show up on opening night, though it seems that they were ready and expecting us to be there.  We didn't wait long though, and showed up on their second night.  It is our pleasure to tell you that they didn't disappoint and earned another stellar score from us.

                It is out with the old and in with the new at Paranoia as they enter into a rental agreement for this haunt season in a 40,000 square foot retail space, which they are using 20,000 square feet of in the haunts.  Yes, that's right, they have opened a second attraction for their fans and can't wait for you to walk through their darkened halls and scream.  In keeping with the concept of being paranoid you have to enter the haunt and even purchase your tickets after walking down a dark alley between two buildings in a retail shopping center.  This entrance route is definitely unanticipated and has its own way of messing with your head.  After you purchase your tickets you can go next door to the box office and get in the queue line for their Trauma attraction.  Even the waiting area for your triage is dark and stormy, with thunder and lightning and can jolt even the most fearless of visitors at unexpected moments. 

                It feels as though it is a rare occasion when we visit a haunted attraction that has gone to the trouble of creating original characters, but we found many unique individuals amongst the doctors and patients.  Even during our wait time we encountered some individuals who seemed to have had a rather difficult night and were in need of the doctor's help, or perhaps had already been the victims of horrible malpractice.  Many haunts today seem to choose the classic horror movie characters to haunt their halls, but Paranoia is one of the ones that chooses to stand out as having creativity and passion for their design and theme.

                Paranoia's creators have become skilled at finding ways to let you get to know all of those things that go bump in the night by immersing you in darkness that many other haunts can't achieve.  Most of the time in a haunted house you are placed into dark situations within tight spaces that are designed to terrify you, but Paranoia has decided that sometimes there is a different approach to be taken.  Their unique approach to taking a walk through the dark adds an unexpected twist to your evening and will probably find you taking baby steps as you move forward.  Shadows of dark against dark will mess with your mind as you attempt to figure out where that next step should land.

                Paranoia Haunted House has several staff members who were once a part of Creepers Haunted House, another local haunted attraction.  Though Creepers has been closed for several years now we were pleased to see a small tribute to them in the set of a wooden bridge through a lush green area where rain cascades over the space.  A very similar set once impressed us immensely within Creepers, and we are very pleased to see such a beautiful tribute done for fellow haunters.  Though this doesn't demonstrate how haunts can work together to cross promote and help each other with ideas it does show a caring atmosphere between haunts that is appreciated.

                Without giving anything away we can say that on Friday, October 5, 2012 we witnessed a passion for haunting that those who view it only as a money maker are missing.  The staff at Paranoia longs to leave you with chills and desperately wants to know what you think.  They listen attentively to your thoughts and take them seriously.  You may be surprised at the number of ideas which they later implement based on conversations with visitors.  This year's combination of attractions was so large that we can hardly remember everything that we went through, even though we were taking notes as soon as we hit the parking lot.  We do, however, remember talking with the owners for quite a while after we exited the second haunt.  Their energy and passion for what they do excited us even more about our experience.  We know that Paranoia isn't going to be quite what anyone expects when they go in, but we're confident that you will almost jump out of your skin at some point during your time with them.  We are also confident that they would love to hear about it, and so would we.  This year we are rating Paranoia Haunted House with a bizarre 4.13 severed heads out of a possible five. Why such a crazy number?  Well, this year we are blending the heads to make energy smoothies so that we can keep traveling from haunt to haunt, so you get an average between our two opinions.  Check them out and let both us and them know what you think.