(Photos by Kater Jayne Photography)
When Rob Zombie’s Great American Nightmare haunted house extended an invitation to Do312 our only response, aside from “thank you,” was, “Can we be there on the night of Insane Clown Posse’s concert?” The crowd watching alone will be worth the 40 minute drive out of the city, we reasoned.
It didn’t take long for our expectations to be exceeded.
Great American Nightmare expertly mirrors the same grotesque sensory overload that Zombie’s films are known for, right down to the noxious smells that are pumped into the maze-like chambers of its three main attractions.
Less like a traditional haunted house and more like the worst trip ever, we started in Captain Spaulding’s Clown School—now in 3D! A series of vulgar characters chased us through awesomely offensive scenes, past prisoners not meant for saving and down a nausea-inducing rotating walkway inside a spinning tunnel. What made our night extra special though was knowing these weren’t the only crass clowns we were going to encounter.
(Photo courtesy of Rob Zombie’s Great American Nightmare)
We survived the gunfire-filled world of Devil’s Rejects, stumbled through a dark meat locker, dodged another onslaught of creepy clowns in the final attraction “31” (needs more chainsaws!) and emerged from the haunted house portion of Odeum just as P.O.D. (the concert’s opener—yep, they’re still around) launched into “Boom.” This is when the real show started.
Masks and costumes are strictly prohibited at Great American Nightmare but if there’s one we thing we learned from our decent into the dark carnival it’s that won’t stop some juggalos.
“When you unzip my face, I’m a real clown underneath,” one man with an impressive makeup job boasted.
Another concertgoer wearing iris-erasing white contact lenses excitedly jumped at the chance to show us pictures of the vampiric teeth caps he’d been wearing earlier that night. The adhesive had worn off when he took a shot of whiskey, he explained.
“When you unzip my face, I’m a real clown underneath.”
There might have been more face paint in the crowd than there was in the haunted houses.
Say what you will about the juggalos—they’re a proud people, an amusing people—but they are also a friendly people, the batch that we encountered anyway. They also really, really freaking love Insane Clown Posse.
While we aren’t exactly fans of ICP’s music—we’ll be honest here—we couldn’t stop watching their live show. It certainly wasn’t short on props. Ronald Reagan masks, a band of clowns maybe even creepier than Rob Zombie’s, billows of fog and tons and tons of Faygo.
Four massive vessels lined the stage, all filled with dozens of liter bottles of the off-brand soft drink. If you ever wondered how far such a bottle would travel if you shook it and threw it into the air, look to ICP members Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope for your answer. (Really far.)
By the fourth song of the night the entire concert hall smelled like root beer. By song ten, the scent had drifted towards cotton candy territory. In between songs like “Chicken Huntin’” and “Juggalo Party,” the Detroiters took intermittent “Faygo breaks” during which literal buckets were poured onto the joyous audience.
“Aw man, I’m not getting any on me,” one ‘lo standing near us in our “soda safe zone” complained before running into the sticky mess of fans. You know how the age old saying goes: “If you’re not drenched in high fructose corn syrup by the end of the night, it wasn’t a good show.”
Rob Zombie’s Great American Nightmare is open in the Odeum Expo Center from now through Nov. 1!