Wednesday, October 29, 2003
The back of the entrance ticket to "The Edge of Hell" had a standard Halloween warning: "Enter at your own risk!"
But in small type below that, the ticket had more specific warnings for people who are pregnant or who have pacemakers, fears of snakes, alligators and darkness, and it warned of a chance for electric shock.
The Web site further warns that if you have "serious phobias, then please stay home."
It should have also included this advice: Wear sturdy shoes and go with someone brave.
The unknown can be a scary thing, and the designers of The Edge of Hell bring a constant feeling of uncertainty to every element of the five-story walk through hell to heaven, and back. The quarter-mile trek seems much longer, taking about half-an-hour to complete.
Formerly an empty warehouse in the Bottoms neighborhood of Kansas City, The Edge of Hell is a Halloween technology haven, including impressively horrifying props that pop out (or down) at you. More than 40 character actors were also on hand, and the warehouse did have a 20-foot live Anaconda snake.
Adding to the uncertainty was the dangerously uneven floor and pitch-blackness in some sections. The floor was often slippery and sloped, and not recommended for anyone wearing anything but sneakers.
After a walk through the pits of hell on the lower floors, guests are guided up several well-haunted hallways and stairwells to the fifth floor, where they are welcomed to heaven. Squishy floors and eerie quiet in a room of stars brings a false sense of security.
The only drawback to the experience was the crowds - a sign of well-deserved success for owner After waiting in a half-hour line Thursday night, the inside of the house was so crowded there was little room to jump back in fear.
Though the tunnel slide at the end bringing you down into the pits of hell was certainly a bonus, the 5-minute wait in line to get onto the slide diminished that experience.
For $15, the warehouse tour is well worth the money and more creative in some ways than the more traditional haunted warehouse, The Beast and The Edge of Hell owner and operator should be applauded for his vision. But if you go, try to avoid late-October rush.