“Do you have asthma, epilepsy, or a history of seizures?”
So began this year’s “Hell in the Armory” erotic haunted house. The question was barked at us by a man pointing a flashlight in our eyes, and only once everyone had answered “no” were we allowed into a small fog-filled room with flashing strobe lights.
The haunted house on October 14 was the second such event put on at the Armory, the headquarters of internet pornography company Kink.com. Once again, it transformed its basement into a series of erotic dungeons, though this year’s event was more psycho than sexual.
“It was super twisted,” said Stephanie Diamond, who said she’s into “psychological mind fucks” and went through with her boyfriend. “My blood pressure and heart rate were for sure elevated — in a good way.”
“The dude who cut his dick off after binging off coke — that made me squirm,” said her boyfriend Danny D.
The coked-out man was one of the milder characters in the haunted house. After being led down to the basement in a group of five, we were handed surgical masks that had to be worn at all times and that inevitably fogged up glasses.
“Let me guess, your glasses fog up,” said the same man who had asked us about our medical conditions, again, not too kindly. “Deal with it.”
Deal with it we did, the mist on our lenses just one more layer of blindness in an already smoke-filled dungeon.
First came a leather-strapped woman who laughed hysterically and made us circle up, instructing us to remember a phrase — “We yearn what we fear” — before cackling further and leading us into a room full of chairs and plastic bags.
Another man lead each of us to a chair and sat us down, picking up the plastic bags on the floor and covering our heads with them. We were then walked, blind, into another room and made to hold onto a rope above our heads, pushed forward across a wet and uneven floor.
We were eventually stopped and had the bags removed from our heads. A woman sat sprawled on the floor in front of us, in tears and apparent agony, mumbling about her baby and asking for help. A man in a red-demon costume stood nearby watching our group.
Naturally I reached out, trying to pull her up onto her feet. Instead, she guided my hand down to her groin and wrapped it around something slightly moist — a plastic bag, it turns out, meant to be her baby, that I then yanked out and gave to the demon man.
He chased us out of the room and into an adjacent shower, where a naked woman huddled in a corner with a hood on her head. Again, I gingerly approached and removed her hood, waking her up: She screamed at our group and chased us down a dark hallway, prodding us to run faster and faster.
All semblance of plot disappeared after this: Over the next 20 minutes, there appeared a 50s housewife who took a family photo of our group before being yanked away by a man in a bear mask, who eagerly salivated over and sniffed our faces. And of course the coked-out man from earlier, who sat our group down in a bar and feigned cutting off his penis. He stroked our faces with the fake phallus before chasing us out of his establishment.
A particularly memorable character was the prisoner chained to the wall who invited us into his jail cell for a religious blessing. Wearing only a diaper, the man dug into his nether regions and produced fake feces, making a cross on each of our foreheads “in the name of the father, the son, and the holy shit.”
The phrase from earlier eventually came back in what was the most titillating part of the night. Two fully-nude women laid together on a bed in apparent bliss before approaching our group and stroking our bodies, teasingly asking each of us “What do you desire?”
One of the less-distracted members of the group remembered “We yearn what we fear,” and the naked women stopped their caressing and lead us out to end the tour.
In the lighted lobby, everyone agreed it had the desired effect.
“I was fucking scared,” said Diamond, who was in the group behind ours. It was more horror than sex, however, and Diamond said she had expected more explicit situations, a feeling shared by others.
“We thought there would be more kink involved actually,” said Lesle Lawrence, who was with her husband of three weeks. The pair flew in from Georgia to attend a friend’s wedding, and enjoyed their one night of freedom doing something unavailable in the South.
“You don’t get kink in Georgia.”
The haunted house will continue through Halloween, and tickets cost $40.