Japanese drive-in haunted house by Kowagarasetai frightens horror fans amidst coronavirus

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Because apparently the world isn’t scary enough right now, there are those in Japan who’d still like it kicked up a few notches. Sadly for them, though, the haunted houses and other Halloween-inspired shows that have rapidly risen in popularity there are understandably closed due to coronavirus. We haven’t consulted a medical professional about this, but it sure seems like shouting “boo!” at someone seems like a great way of passing along airborne pathogens. 

Alas, a Tokyo haunted house design company called Kowagarasetai, or “a squad wanting to scare,” has come up with an ingenious and apparently surprisingly effective solution: the drive-in haunted house. 

More accurately, it’s a haunted garage that paying customers drive into. As the back story goes …

“This is a garage where a horrible incident occurred long ago. Now people say that if you park your car inside and honk your horn three times, something will happen.”

As the photos can attest, Biggie Smalls doesn’t materialize. Instead, as the Kowagarasetai website describes, courtesy Google Translate, “A large number of dead people attack your car.” Don’t you hate it when that happens?

Besides the visuals provided by the actors and lighting effects, story details and other sounds play through your car’s radio, much as they can at a drive-in movie theater. Producer Kenta Iwana told AFP in a feature about Kowagarasetai that the new drive-in format can actually be more frightening than their normal set-up since there’s really no escape. 

“At the drive-in haunted house, guests are confined in a car so they can’t escape the horror until the end,” Iwana told AFP. “It makes it even more scary for them.”

According to the website, “We will make your car bloody if you wish. You can take a commemorative photo after the event! Furthermore, the staff wipes the blood off the car.” Then in small print, “*Blood cannot be completely wiped off. Makes the road clean enough to run without problems.”

Well OK then. Nothing like coming home to discover the neighbor’s Daihatsu kei car has been doused in blood. 

According to SoraNews24, the admission price of 8000 yen or about $75 is paid by the car, and should you not own a car (a strong possibility in Tokyo), an additional 1000 yen will let you sit in a provided car with up to three other people. The car is then disinfected between sessions since, well, what could be lurking inside is ultimately far scarier than the horror show happening outside. 

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Saurabh Shukla

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