I had been curious about this Las Vegas attraction since it opened last year on the Strip inside the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood. My husband and I thought being scared out of our wits would be a pleasant pre-dinner experience so we got there around 6pm. There were no lines, and we went through the experience just the two of us.
The reason I had not been to this attraction earlier is, frankly, that I am a scaredy-cat. I was aware of Eli Roth’s filmography (Cabin Fever, Hostel) and that seemed quite enough for my delicate disposition. What finally convinced me to go was a Groupon, I can’t resist a bargain and whilst a $30 entrance fee might be quite reasonable for a tourist, the locals just do not pay that sort of price (I believe they do have a reduced fee for locals).
We did not wait in line and we were greeted by a not-at-all-scary young man who explained that we do not touch the actors and they do not touch us and if we freak out there is a safe word and everything will stop. Knowing this hugely improved my experience. It allowed me to be scared just the right amount. I knew I would never be out of control and that nothing too horrible would happen to me.
The story is that we are in a hotel (and casino – it is Vegas, after all) owned by crazy, murdering cannibals. We are told by the excellent actor who greets us that we won’t be going down to the blood-soaked basement (so you know straight away that you will) and after that all hell breaks loose. The element of surprise is what is so fantastic about something like this, so it is not fair to say exactly what happens, but I would say there are around 20 interactions with actors. I was mostly screaming/laughing/running away, so I cannot be sure, but I think some actors must play several roles. There are some gory props along the walk, but the real stars are these people jumping out at you and growling in your face (no, really, it is fun).
As fabulous as it was to experience this with just my husband, I would love to be a fly on the wall for an hour or so in this place, to see other people’s reactions. You can interact with the actors, although many of them are not too coherent since they are playing torture victims, ghouls, chainsaw-wielding nutters and so on. Acting on stage is one thing but to act right up close to members of the public and stay in character is really quite impressive and that is what makes this place so unusual.
I had never been to an experience like this in the U.S., but I have been to the London Dungeon, where I queued for more than an hour to be shuffled through a more theatrical-feeling attraction with a huge group of people. The Goretorium was much more fun than that. About halfway through it started to feel like a bit much and I wanted to pause the excitement for a moment, have a nice sit-down and a drink, but it is relentless, and you do not get a rest until the very end. The ultimate exit is through the gift shop, as tradition dictates, but this is Vegas, so first you must exit through the bar. We were done before 7pm so it must have been happy hour; my husband got a beer for $3, pretty good for the Strip with a lovely outside view, for which you usually have to pay premium prices.
I am truly amazed at how much fun the Goretorium was, I am a total wimp and I thought there was a very real danger of me wetting myself, but they somehow manage to hit just the right level of scary-fun. These people are hugely talented and entertaining and I even learnt something about myself there: I would be utterly useless in a zombie apocalypse situation. When the creepy murderers attacked us, I mostly just pushed my husband in front of me and cowered behind him.
Eli Roth’s Goretorium opens at 5pm and closes at midnight or 1am depending on the day.