A Cut Above

A Cut AboveThe wide-eyed, hyper-alert, sweaty-palm appeal of horror has not been mine to enjoy. A haunted house named Brigantine Castle on the New Jersey shore took that away from me. I walked in tall--a strutting 6-year-old--but I walked out a whimpering, shivering shell of a boy. More than two decades would pass before I would try again and reclaim my right to fright. Oh, the date opportunities I have missed!

With nervous reluctance I accepted an invitation to go haunted housing. I tried to back out of it when the day grew closer. Then, in a tough-love voice-mail message, a friend all but called me a baby. It was time to face the music, and it so happened that the music to greet my entrance (along with a bloodied, masked, and agitated body builder) to Cutting Edge Haunted House was Bauhaus' "Bela Lugosi is Dead." I did a nervous dance, a familiar beat calming the fear of the unknown.

The Barnum-like claims such as "biggest," "scariest," and "bloodiest" are as common as skulls and fangs at haunted houses. Cutting Edge may not be the largest one in the world, as it claims, but it may be contained inside the most colossal and intimidating building. Contained in an abandoned building south of I-30 in downtown Fort Worth, the entrance is marked by a club-wielding demon arising from the bowels of hell.

To its credit, gore is not part of the scenery. Cutting Edge relies more on darkness, disorientation, and anticipation for suspense. If that is not enough, Cutting Edge also contains "The Pit," a maze built on 30,000 square feet. Those who make it through in the allotted time are eligible for a trip to Cancun.

I didn't come close to completing the maze, but so few others do that I hardly feel ashamed. In fact I was quite happy, no closer to the beaches of Cancun, but far from the shores of New Jersey.

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Mark Hughes

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