For starters, I hate horror movies. Being blessed with a very good imagination and a strong sense of compassion, I ache after watching any movies with blood and gore. People don’t believe me when I say this and somehow I can’t explain it myself, but when I watch actual dissection of the skin or whatever disgusting thing is happening on the screen, I can feel it (or at least part of it) and I suffer physically.
However, I do enjoy a good suspense thriller, especially those involving courts and juries, like the Pelican Brief. Courtroom thrillers are probably the closest I can tolerate because the suspense is intellectual and exciting and not physical. The DaVinci Code sort of was in-between, because there were all those self-torture scenes, where I had to cringe and shift in my seat, much to the annoyance of the people sitting next to me in the theater. Now that I think of it, I don’t know how I managed to sit through Passion of Christ. I do recall that after seeing Old Boy, however, I got an upset stomach and had to draw blood (ew ew) from my thumb in order to stop the cold sweat.
Anyway, I wasn’t going to talk about my movie preferences for this post, but as always, I get sidetracked. This is rather about a fun experience I had at the Haunted House. I don’t even know if that is the real name, but it was a mansion where you enter and try your best to escape without getting killed. Of course, in SL you really can’t get killed, but there are ghosts that come at you with knives and it is not a pretty sight.
I stumbled upon the house while looking up events in the search tab. There was an event involving a maze race. First person who finds his way out of the maze wins a prize. I had always been fascinated by hedge mazes, so I went to check it out, although the time had already expired. The hedge maze turned out to be sitting next to the house, which was surrounded with tombstones and jack-o-lanterns. I decided to enter the house, just for fun…I didn’t realize what was in store.
The directions said to turn up the volume, which I obediently followed. It was night when I entered the house, and the terrible sounds inside the house were starting to freak me out. I started out with a cool head, avoiding the ghosts and trying to find the right doors and passages to the next room, but if you have good speakers and all these voices whispering in your ear, moaning, and crying, it drives you insane. The next thing I knew, I was losing it entirely, and blindly clicking on bookcases, trying to find exits- colliding into avatars sporting wicked smiles and daggers, and wishing I had never set foot in the house.
I should have just turned down the volume or shut off my speakers, but what can you say, I have too good an imagination, and as long as I was “in” that house, I was in that house and there was nothing I could do to improve my situation.
Fortunately, I rushed through the first floor and up to the second floor where I met two people. I couldn’t believe how relieved I was. “Do you believe in safety in numbers?” I asked. They seemed puzzled at my question. I then realized that we were playing an entirely different game. They were leisurely going through the house and checking out the details of each of rooms before moving on the next room.
From then on, I began to “see” some of the details and appreciate how much pain the maker had put into the house. In a kitchen with sinks overflowing with blood, all I could think about was leaving the place, because of the haunting voice of a woman who kept on calling out this man’s name (and she was holding up this huge knife for heaven’s sake). The other two, however, were playing CSI. “Oh look, there’s an eyeball here you can pick up.” “If you click on the cake, it gives you a piece.” I was thinking to myself, “I am NOT eating that cake, it was probably made from dead corpses for all I know.” but saved myself just in time from typing it into the chat box. I had to remind myself that this was not real. I’m not really going to eat the cake. Duh.
The final leg of escaping the house involves sloshing through some icky sewage that has some giant hamsters with fangs and other weird creatures. You can’t get killed, but if you run into them, your avatar will freeze for a second. My legs were bare and I felt like they were getting oxidized by the toxic water. And is it just me, or does something really stink? Darn, I have to keep telling myself this isn’t real.
Anyway, I survived, and though it was a bit scary, I admit it was fun. I do recommend, however, that you go with a friend and turn up the sound on your speaker. 5.1 channel surround sound system and a 21-inch LCD monitor, of course, adds a bit more “reality” into the cyber experience.