Remember when the Soap Factory’s Haunted Basement seemed like a preposterous lark?
Just six years ago, we all heard that a bunch of artists and theater types were going to convert the legitimately haunted—and legitimately death-trap-y—bowels of the warehouse gallery into an avant-garde creepshow for Halloween. It sounded brilliant. And totally crazy. And not just to fussy, scaredy-cat arts writers: the city didn’t like it either. Four days after the launch of 2006’s inaugural run, the Minneapolis Fire Department shut the whole thing down.
Man, how far the event has come.
These days, the Soap’s Haunted Basement is hardly novel. Indeed, it’s now a bonafided annual institution. Over the last couple of years, it’s averaged 10,000 visitors over the course of its three-week run. It’s inspired similar events elsewhere. (The now defunct Music Box/Loring Theatre hosted an immersive art/horror experience in 2010.) And, perhaps the greatest sign of success, it’s inspired jaded dismissals from those who’ve been around the block.
What’s new this year? They ain’t telling. But we do know that the artistic director this time around is Noah Bremer, the guy behind the fearless, kinetic, and much fawned over Live Action Set. Special-effects makeup artist Kristen Leigh brings the freaky make-up, and the fine “smell engineers” from St. Croix Sensory will provide some olfactory offenses. We’ll be checking out opening night this Friday, and will be sure to report back.
As usual, two ‘Fraidy Cat Tours—a lights-on, no-scares walk through the basement—will be offered, on October 21 and 28.
The Haunted Basement
October 5—31, 2012
$22 | 18+
The Soap Factory, 514 Second St. SE, Mpls.