Throughout the month, we’ve found steampunk inspiring and thought-provoking, sexy and silly, but on Halloween in New York City, steampunk is going to be scary. Zach Morris and Third Rail Projects are presenting a steampunk haunted house at the Abrons Arts Center’s Playhouse on the Lower East Side, and I could barely watch the trailer. Granted, I am a well-known and well-mocked scaredy-cat, but just listen to this disclaimer:
The Steampunk Haunted House is a frightening, immersive experience that winds through the theater and catacombs of the Henry Street Settlement playhouse. It requires walking up and down staircases, and navigating tight spaces and twists and turns in the dark. There will be fog effects, strobe lights, loud noises, lots of dust, soot, dripping pipes, churning gears, rusty metal, and other things that will hurt you if you touch them. Visitors who have health conditions are strongly cautioned should check with their doctor before attending the event.
It’s a brilliant idea; steampunk seems uniquely suited to the haunted-house experience. The most effective horror capitalizes on the human anxiety over boundaries between natural/self and unnatural/other, and if any aesthetic offers a handy way to blur the lines between the living and the dead, the human and the machine, and especially the beautiful and the grotesque, it’s steampunk.
If this sounds like a good time, RSVP on the event page and let us know afterwards what you thought!
Megan Messinger is a production assistant at Tor.com, and she is not going within ten—okay, five—okay, two miles of the Steampunk Haunted House. Durn New York office.