Kansas City Connection

Sunday, October 6, 2013

For several weeks already, the West Bottoms neighborhood has been filled with the sounds of blood-curdling yet good-natured screams emanating from a handful of haunted houses —basically giant warehouses converted into spooky amusement parks. With October officially underway, let’s take a quick look at some of the most interesting of these unique-to-KC attractions.

The grandfather of area haunted houses is The Edge of Hell, a converted five-story warehouse with a slide at the top that takes you all the way to the fiery furnaces below. The Edge of Hell, 1300 W. 12th St., has been frightening people for three decades now, and reportedly features a giant live snake named Medusa.

Sister operation The Beast, 1401 W. 13th St., is even larger, famous for its labyrinth and werewolf forest. For those who prefer a literary twist, visit The Chambers of Edgar Allan Poe, 1100 W. Santa Fe, or slide down the 40-foot bat pole at the Macabre Cinema, 1222 W. 12th St.

Tickets for these haunts cost $27, though combo tickets are available. The haunted houses are open Friday and Saturday through September, Thursday through Sunday in October, and every day from Oct. 24 through Nov. 2.

On Oct. 11, two high-profile sports events will take place in Kansas City, if only for a one-off visit each.

Kansas University basketball fans can cheer on Mario Chalmers, along with his teammates LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade, when the Miami Heat plays a preseason matchup with the Charlotte Bobcats at the Sprint Center. The tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. and tickets cost $18 and up at sprintcenter.com.

A month after securing their bid to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the U.S. Men’s National Team will face off against Jamaica in a 5:30 p.m. matchup at Sporting Park near the Kansas Speedway. Tickets for that game are only available on Craigslist and Stubhub, but the game will be nationally broadcast on ESPN, and a free-to-the-public training session will be held at the stadium on Oct. 9 at 5:30 p.m.

“Kansas” and “international film” don’t often appear together in the same sentence, but you’d be amazed at the wealth of cinematic offerings in this year’s Kansas International Film Festival, now through 10 at the Glenwood Arts Theatre in Overland Park, 9575 Metcalf. The KIFF focuses on documentary, narrative and animated films, and the lineup is full of features that take an unflinching look at serious issues, such as protest and democracy in America (“4 Days in Chicago”), the influence of money in government (“Citizen Koch”), anti-homosexuality legislation in Africa (“God Loves Uganda”), and the traumatic legacy of boarding schools for Native American children (“The Thick Dark Fog”), to name just a few.

Along with these documentaries are provocative and entertaining films from Canada, Bulgaria, Russia, India, Pakistan and several other countries. You’ll get the most bang for your buck on Tuesday at 7:35 p.m. with the presentation of KIFF digital shorts, which includes 14 animations from eight countries totaling 90 minutes.

A pass good for admission at all films is $60, and individual tickets may be purchased for $8.50 ($7, seniors over 60), or matinee performances for $6.50 ($5 for seniors). View a full lineup and read about the history of this impressive festival at kansasfilm.com.

Concert-wise, the big draw this week is Brooklyn-by-way-of-Ohio rockers The National, along with Australian guests Tame Impala, a catchy, psychedelic outfit in the vein of the Flaming Lips. The bands will be performing Friday evening at Starlight Theatre. Tickets are $36 and available at kcstarlight.com. Gates open at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m.

Also on stage this week is Vampire Weekend, who were originally scheduled to play back in May (all tickets from the original engagement will be honored). Tickets cost $36 for this Tuesday night show at the Midland Theatre, though opener Sky Ferreira’s appearance is uncertain. More info at midlandkc.com.