Walter Mencken 3:39 p.m., June 18
Hey, kids. Count Floyd here asking the bone-chilling question, "Baby, why are you wet?" Is it because you've been doused in torrential flop sweat after visiting the blood-spattered Shutter Island room at The Haunted Hotel in the Gaslamp?
Nothing says Halloween quite like bringing the family to visit Scorsese's R-rated, Val Lewton-inspired mental institution. A call was probably placed to production designer Dante Ferretti for tips on how to spruce up the joint. Forget about nuanced art direction. Knees buckle at the very thought at the thought of someone having to spend their life with the first name Dante.
Oh boy, I tell you, kids, you had better bring a change of Depends for grandma and grandpa if they act as your chaperones to hell. A trip to Shutter Island is an even more pulse pounding experience that visiting Shelter Island. In fact, the only thing about the Haunted Hotel that isn't fear inducing is the residual check Marty will get in the mail!
It's definitely not for the faint of heart. The sight of what's going on underneath the bandage on Leo DiCaprio's head is enough to drive any sane person over the brink. Mark Ruffalo will buffalo you into thinking he's on your team but beware of shrinks in doctor's clothing. What about Max Von Sydow? He played chess with death in an Ingmar Bergman film. You don't think subtitled Swedes are scary?
Write this down, boys and girls: The Haunted Hotel is located at 424 Market Street. It's open for business every Friday and Saturday between now and Halloween. Admission is $15 if you purchase tickets ahead of time, and $17 at the door. A VIP Fast Pass will set you back an additional $10.
If you really want a dose of the unnatural, kids, check out what roams the halls of the Golden West Hotel on a Friday night after the bars close. Seriously, if you really want to witness sustained shock, wait until you get a look on the organizer's faces if I find out they're not paying a licensing fee and am forced to put in a call to Universal Studios.
Click for more information...if your nerves can stand it.