Monday, December 17, 2012

Eli Roth's Goretorium (Review)

My travels took me to Las Vegas recently and aside from a big fight I attended and being a degenerate gambler I was able to check out the most talked about haunted house besides the one named Blackout. Eli Roth's Goretorium opened up on the Las Vegas strip in October and the premiere was as what you would expect. A who's who of stardom ranging from Roth's horror buddies to Justin Bieber. But what makes Goretorium different than a funhouse only in October is that it's year round attraction hoping to get the tourist dollar and Vegas horror fans to get their scare on.

Oddly located on the 2nd floor of mini mall, you can't help not notice the Goretorium as you walk from casino to casino on the strip. A bar is on the ready near the entrance and a horror soaked Christmas tree is ready for you to take some possible dead Santa pics. The gift shop is accessible to the masses and it's a mess of wicked Hostel themed props and propaganda. Limbs, legs, oddities and branded shot glasses are souveniers you can walk away with but the haunted house was on my radar from the start.

Clearly I should have had some liquid coverage before I went in as it would have added more to the horror high of attending a haunted house in December. As expected, there was not much of a line or crowd outside the entrance and I figured there wouldn't as people were more in a Xmas mood then a horror mood. But having met my PR contact Alex and a GM Matt, we talked briefly about what was to come. It seems I'd have to go through the HH with only Alex by my side. I should have arranged for some company but part of me wanted to have the Goretorium all to myself.

As we walked on through the entrance, it seems I had company after all in the form of a man obsessed with his phone. A bellhop explains the horrific history of a hotel and a rickety elevator starts our journey in. A fun gimmick of the evils of texting while attending a haunted house caught me off guard and I'll say it's a twist that could only come out of the mind of Eli Roth.

Roth had created a Hostel mini haunted maze for Universal Studios Haunted Horror Nights last year but Goretorium is clearly the uber amalgamation of Hostels 1 and 2 and a few more torture devices that were left on the cutting room floor. The rooms are full of the most elaborately constructed horror sets I've ever seen, equivalent to a "hot" horror set. I walked slowly from room to room hoping to take it all in and the fact nobody was in front or back of me made it 10 times better. Simple illusions were taken up a notch such as a decapitated woman's head being lifted and a torture device involving a wooden grinder machine activated by me seemingly showing a man get grounded into pieces. Lots of old school effects  had me doing double takes and I'll admit, I was dumbfounded trying to figure out how these were all pulled off.

The actors who I had thought would not give any energy in their performances were actually quite at the top of their game. They interacted with me to the fullest extent, answering my questions directly, and redirecting my sarcastic remarks with some of their own. This was amplified when I met a sarcastic bartender who kept spewing out dirty drink names with various combinations. As I pushed him to keep going, he was a Wikipedia of answers giving me Long Island Tea Baggers and such. It's the type of humor that breaks the monotony of jump scares.

The rooms were quite Hollywood-tastic. Animatronics are at a minimal and the CGI is useful where it should be. Chainsaws, body parts and all hub of torture devices are on display to get you to piss in your pants. Various women and men are in all sorts of levels of being eaten, killed and exterminated. This all climaxes at Vegas style wedding set in a chapel and reception. Walking through the aisle, I see a bride and groom on the cusp of saying their vows with a preacher when all hell breaks loose. Suffice it to say I was sprayed with some bloody arterial spraying. The reception was an orgy of zombie like actors feasting on wedding guests. The food covered in CGI maggots and it clearly was a satisfying climax to a haunted house that lasts about 20-25 minutes.

Aside from the HH, there is a great bar called the Baby Dolls Lounge that gives an awesome view of the strip. The drink specials all have horror themes such as Eli Roth's blood which I tried out. There is nothing like ending a haunted house acid trip with some yummy alcoholic beverages.

All in all, I'd have to say I had a fun time checking out the Goretorium. Roth and CEO Robert Frey have a pure home in Vegas and with an agenda of changing themes (be it Christmas, New Years and Valentine's Day)  it seems it will be a main stay for years to come. It's quite a challenge to be a year round horror themed attraction but Vegas could use some fear and scares along with their magic acts and death defying circus attractions.

With Roth's horror intellect, they have created a movie studio equivalent of visiting the sets that made Hostel memorable. If gore, torture and mind baffling effects are your idea of fun, the Goretorium is a must see. The actors I was told are true fans of the genre, who want to amplify the thrills and chills for every brave tourist who enters. From the macabre, to the freaks and geeks, to the horror fan everyman, Eli Roth's Goretorium caters to a variety of horror fandom. It's a gorehound's wet dream come to life, something Eli Roth probably had in mind.

The Vitals
Check out the trailer.


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