Tucked away in a nondescript strip mall in Tustin, California is one of the most intense and unique haunts in Southern California. Entering it’s Sophomore year, The 17th Door once again opens its many doors to the thousands of willing victims to go through the terrifying experience.
Last year we met Paula, the main character of The 17th Door, and this year her story continues where we last left her, in the asylum after her suicide attempt. Traveling through her past, we see the horrible events which turned Paula into the psychotic mess that she has become. As you travel from one room to another, scenes of implied abuse, sexual, physical, and emotional, show the horrors of her life, but now she finds herself pregnant.
The haunt is unique in that the rooms are timed, and the doors are locked. There is no escaping the horrors found at Gluttire University, unless you speak the safe word, “mercy.” Last year saw over 3,000 calls for mercy, and with this years additions, that number may just grow.
There are a lot of intense scenes within the walls of Gluttire University, including allusions to child molestation, rape, abuse, abortion, bullying, and a particularly intense school shooting scene. There is a large banner showcasing the many warnings that lie within The 17th Door, so anyone with emotional triggers might not want to enter. That said, non of the events appear gratuitous within the haunt, as the story calls for each horrific scene.
The 17th Door, while not apparent, has quite the cultural commentary on rape culture and how women are perceived and treated. Traveling through the traumatizing childhood of Paula, the many men we see have human faces, but as she becomes older, their faces turn into that of a pig. This slight change, while most likely intended to scare, really shows how men treat women in our society.
Paula is a product of her upbringing. From Room 0, which depicts a child pornography scene in which the guests are the children, to the shower scene where images of rape are insinuated, it’s no wonder that Paula becomes the psychologically disturbed woman we see throughout the haunt. There are even a few scenes in which her friends call her a slut, and her boyfriend who impregnates her refuses to claim the child, calling out that any of the many visitors could be the father seeing as she would sleep with anyone that moves. She is inadvertently blamed for her abuse, even by her female “friends” who, let’s be honest, are terrible friends. By the end we see Paula at home with her child, in the pit of despair that is her life and home.
While there are several extremely violent and intense scenes, the underlying message of rape culture are loud and infectious. Leaving The 17th Door, there is an overwhelming feeling of pity for Paula, as her life has turned for the worse, not by her own fault, but rather by those surrounding her.
We recommend The 17th Door for those who are looking for a more intense experience than those found at traditional haunts, especially if you hate the conga lined mazes commonly found at theme park events across the country.
The 17th Door is running now through Halloween, and tickets start at just $22. Now get your ass to class!