I’m really tired of getting shocked. With stinging, buzzing hands, I crawl toward the end of the tunnel, dust myself off, and prepare for the next bit of poking and prodding.
Wondering what will come next stokes a strange combination of irritation and dread. Even stranger, a wash of self-empowerment follows. Have I made myself better somehow for surviving this series of stunts?
There are far less provocative Halloween attractions, and surprisingly, there are some far more. But this is Fullerton’s The 17th Door, whose stock-in-trade is to push your buttons every step of the way through their sophisticated, high-tech maze. To invade your space. Challenge your sense of self, even. And as I look around to our group, others are clearly worse off than me.
One has skinned knees that are bleeding through her pants. Another appears angry and ready to snap, yet inexplicably won’t utter the safe word “mercy.” And still another seems to be missing. I guess I don’t feel so bad after all.
It’s nearly impossible to write about The 17th Door experience and not personalize it. That’s what this attraction is all about. So, while the attraction offers its own unique sense of Halloween entertainment, I need to remind myself that I’ve signed up for this.
The dark, twisted, multi-year tale of Paula and her odyssey through the hellish Perpetuum Penitentiary continues with a mix of women’s self-empowerment messaging and over-the-top gags designed to challenge the long list of health conditions and anxieties posted in giant black-and-white signs around the entrance.
What is left off the list is how you, the visitor, define scary fun. That question is entirely up to you. The 17th Door is not, nor ever has been, the Halloween maze for everyone. But business is good and considering the reactions it provokes, it is also extremely hard to top.
The 17th Door
1851 W Orangethorpe Ave.
Fullerton, CA 92833
Tickets available online: $25-$40