Rob Zombie's Great American Nightmare is Not for "Pussies"

The entrance to Rob Zombie's Great American Nightmare
The entrance to Rob Zombie's Great American Nightmare
Photo: Hannah Verbeuren

Waiting in line at Rob Zombie's Great American Nightmare at the Pomona Fairplex is almost scarier than the massive indoor maze itself.

First there are the hecklers, all dressed in elaborate costumes based on Rob Zombie characters: an evil Ronald McDonald with an orange mohawk, a shirtless guy in a bowler hat who asks us to staple dollar bills to his body with a staple gun (what is this, a Juggalo convention?), and a thuggish pumpkin-head who tries to give us a wet willy.

Then, there's the staff hired to hock everything from professional photos to stickers and buttons for veganism (Zombie is behind the "flesh is for zombies" Peta campaign) to massive promos for G-Pens, the vaporizer company that supplied the fog throughout the fairgrounds. Oh, and then Andy Dick arrives. Now things are really starting to get freaky.

See also: Our slideshow of the haunted house

Want to staple a dollar to this guy's stomach?
Want to staple a dollar to this guy's stomach?
Photo: Hannah Verbeuren

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At the front of the line, a staffer informs us that we're about to have black execution-style bags placed over our heads. And if we object? "There's a pussy exit for you," he says, pointing to a door off to the side. "If you get scared, you can hold on to my dick," a clown offers. We decline.

See also: Rob Zombie Was A Childhood Carnie

The maze starts out in total blackness for what feels like hours -- until we're handed 3-D glasses and suddenly the atmosphere turns carnival-esque. Topless women dance in 3-D glow-in-the-dark body paint, the furniture becomes animated like in some awful children's television show, all the walls and doors are seemingly neon holograms, and there's even a gigantic inflatable vagina you have to walk through while a performer in go-go boots screams, "Push yourself into my pussy!"

Crazed Ronald McDonald character
Crazed Ronald McDonald character
Photo: Hannah Verbeuren

Based on House of 1,000 Corpses, the last part of the maze consists of a series of highly-crafted dioramas depicting satanic cults, religious fanaticism, polygamy, bestiality, murder, rape, torture, serial killers, and other scenes that take place in the horrifying white trash middle-America that Zombie portrays throughout his movies and music.

There's references to Manson (Charles, not Marilyn) and Hitler, loads of puppets and animatronics, dummies that look like humans and vice versa -- some are even half-dummy, half-human. "You look jittery, how about some pills?" a costumed-nurse asks in a room that resembles a mental institute. "Can I stick my fingers in your insides?" another crazed performer asks near a chain-linked trailer park set.

There are lots of sexual come-ons, the performers touch you, and the installations of violently-torn-open female mannequins are pretty gruesome to say the least, but somehow the high-production value and incredibly detailed sets -- right down to the light fixtures and wallpaper patterns in a kitchen crime scene -- make the sex and violence seem not entirely gross and gratuitous.

To be fair, the sign at the entrance reads, "If you're easily offended or scared, turn back now." But unlike some extreme haunted houses these days, I didn't sign a consent form. In fact, I'm not sure what I consented to at all, and a more prurient type than we might have found this to be a real American nightmare indeed.

See also: Our slideshow of the haunted house

Follow us on Twitter @LAWeeklyMusic, Jenn Swann @jenn_swann, and like us at LAWeeklyMusic.

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Pomona Fairplex

1101 W. McKinley Ave.
Pomona, CA 91768

909-865-4070

www.fairplex.com/fp

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