The ghost of Edgar Allen Poe will be breathing down your neck as you walk through the halls of the X-Treme Scream Park, an 80-minute, interactive experience at the Wachovia Spectrum now through Halloween night.
The Spectrum, once home to local sports teams and a standard stop for big name concert tours, was known as “America’s Showplace.” But as Ed Snider’s sports complex empire expanded, the sports teams moved out and a whole new breed of Broad Street bullies moved in.
Now in its second year, the X-Treme Scream Park promises to make your heart pound and your pulse rise.
The brainchild of Sudden Impact! Entertainment Company, this daunting attraction includes nine chambers designed to defy most haunted house conventions and terrify its trespassers. Roderick and Madeline Usher, though mentally unstable, are the only members of the Usher family left to escort you through the House of Usher.
Their flight into delusion is chronicled in Edgar Allen Poe’s story, “The Fall of the House of Usher,” published in Philadelphia in 1839. For the fearless, the Freakshow in 3D is a multimedia maze where the walls seem to move and creepy creatures appear out of nowhere. In the hall of the Heads of State, the familiar faces from the pages of history are carved into pumpkins in a spectacular jack-o-lantern display.
Other highlights include the Horrorwood Theater, Tut’s Tomb and the Freezer 2, a returning feature that is truly bone-chilling.
The cost may seem frighteningly expensive at $30 on Friday and Saturday nights, but Erin Jones, a sophomore, said it is well worth the money. “The X-Treme Scare Park is definitely a bigger attraction.”
They have all kinds of money to make the park what it is, so the special effects are great. Other haunted attractions don’t have the big-money sponsors to have the best makeup artists and the best special effects,” she said.
Some of the other Halloween spectacles across the city cost about the same on weekend nights but have other fearsome enticements.
Ranked as the nation’s sixth scariest haunted house by AOL Digital City, The Eastern State Penitentiary presents “Terror Behind the Walls.”
“I was more scared at the Penitentiary, but it is an actual ‘haunted’ prison which just makes you more nervous,” Jones said.
The spirits that reside there, the ghosts of gangster Al Capone and bank robber Willie Sutton, subsist on these ticket costs. Most of the proceeds are put toward the preservation of the prison.
Nevertheless, the special effects and use of live animals, snakes according to Jones, make the X-Treme Scream Park one of the premiere pastimes for guests and ghouls alike this Halloween. “I still think the Penitentiary is the best scary attraction in Philly,” Jones said, “but the Spectrum comes in a close second most definitely.”
Tickets for performances on Sundays through Thursdays are $20. Tickets for performances on Fridays and Saturdays before 8 p.m. are $25 and tickets for Fridays and Saturdays after 8 p.m. are $30.
All tickets can be purchased in advance at the Wachovia Complex box office, at Ticketmaster locations throughout the greater Philadelphia region, online at ticketmaster.com, by phone at (215) 336-2000, or at the door the day of the event.
Special VIP packages and group packages are available by calling (215) 389-9543. More hair-raising information and a complete show schedule are available at www.NightmaresX.com.
Brooke Honeyford can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.