5 Terrible Tragedies Exploited By Cash-Obsessed A-Holes
Everyone loves a good scary movie, but wouldn't it be great if you were actually living in a scary movie? That's the business model in play for some luminaries out there, who think you really want to relive some of history's most horrifying moments. They're convinced that the tragedy-junkie dollar exists, dammit, and they're going to get that green, dammit. So what've they come up with?
Haunted Houses Based On Real Serial Killers
People who go to haunted houses are getting increasingly jaded -- once you've chained live, naked actresses to the floor, there aren't many places to go -- apparently prompting the sort of people who design haunted houses to ask themselves, "What about actual murder?"
So, for the last few years, haunted houses have begun reenacting the real murders of notorious serial killers like Jeffrey Dahmer and John Wayne Gacy. One New York production even featured an exhibit of the creepsters' personal belongings, donated by a murder memorabilia collector who requested to remain anonymous. Let the speculation begin!
It's always the quiet ones.
If you haven't cottoned on to what's wrong with that, here's a hint: The victims' families are still alive! And lo, they aren't thrilled about jump-scare peddlers using deceased loved ones as props. (And at $30 to $60 a ticket, wildly profitable ones.) To really rub it in, some houses are specifically focusing on local killers, just to make absolutely certain that someone will stumble upon their worst nightmare.
For example, a Sacramento house tried to cash in on the local notoriety of Richard Trenton Chase. For those of you who didn't live through Chase's serial killing spree, the short version is that he killed six people.
Then he mutilated and ate them.
Among his victims was a pregnant woman whom he shot, killed, stabbed, sexually assaulted, and drank the blood of, in that order. And her husband was the one who found her when Chase was done. So you could imagine the husband's horror when he found out that 36 years later a local entertainer was selling tickets to staged re-creations of his wife's murder. The only good news to come out of this story is that the Sacramento house shut down their fun little show when the victims' grieving families complained.
Also, there's a warm seat in hell reserved for this newspaper layout editor.
And the only reason the horrific story above is considered "good news" is because Rob Zombie didn't have the grace to do the same thing after people complained about Rob Zombie's Great American Nightmare in Chicago, which featured a Gacy room.
When the Gacy victims' families complained about a haunted house room featuring a clown blowing up balloons while surrounded by child-sized dolls dressed as Boy Scouts, Rob Zombie said he thought the room was "funny." And in case you've forgotten John Wayne Gacy's shtick, it was raping and murdering at least 33 Chicago-area young men. To be fair, everyone who's seen his Halloween remakes knows that Rob Zombie is a renowned authority on comedy.
Finally, London recently opened a Jack the Ripper museum that -- not even fucking kidding here -- initially branded itself as a new "museum of women's history." The museum's press release invited visitors to experience Jack the Ripper's crimes "through the eyes of the women who were his victims," by which they meant "take selfies with their mannequin corpses."
No, really: "A picture with Jack in Mitre Square together with the body of Catherine Eddowes" was one of the advertised selling points. The museum's spokesperson insisted that the morbid selfie station was "done in a very respectful way," and those words somehow didn't sound like nonsense when he heard them come out of his mouth. In another statement issued by the museum, they explained that they just wanted women to "be able to experience the London of 1888 in the presence of Jack the Ripper." That's a good point -- where else could a woman ever experience the fear of violence just from walking down the street?
An Annual Nazi-Themed Christmas Party
In 2014, a Minneapolis newspaper received a photo of a literal Nazi party, complete with cheerful swastika flags hung between Christmas lights over a group of men in SS uniforms. The anonymous sender provided no other information, making it seem like a really vague and bizarre threat, but the newspaper's reporters eventually discovered that it was not, in fact, a Shining-style snapshot of a ghost ball but a group of historical reenactors partying like it's 1939.
After the local Jewish community issued a call to shut down the event, its organizer made a statement, insisting, "By no means do we glorify the edicts of the Third Reich," before pulling out the smelling salts in case he got a case of the vapors at the mere suggestion.
"We just like to get drunk and spend the evening heiling, like any fun-loving American."
This little group just likes to get together for a bit of wholesome Nazi fun every Christmas and hand out swastika T-shirts to the restaurant staff, that's all. Another partygoer explained, "Because they dress up like Germans from World War II, it's cool to go to a German restaurant, eat German food, and drink German beer." Dude, cultural appropriation is not the problem here.
As for why it was necessary to actually hang up Nazi decorations and give out Nazi party favors, they're, uh ... really into method acting? He compares it to "a Star Trek convention but for WWII enthusiasts," failing to grasp the galaxy-sized difference between those things. He may not win any awards for cultural sensitivity, but he gets first place in self-dug holes.
There Are Two New Titanics In The Works
Apparently, there are people who watch Titanic over and over for reasons other than Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, and the furious masturbation they inspire. Indeed, the ship that famously claimed the lives of approximately 1,500 people has enough fans that not one but two actual-size replicas are being built.
One will be a functional cruise ship that its commissioner, Australian billionaire Clive Palmer, fully intends to sail, because some people have no fear of irony. Of course, the construction of Titanic II will comply with modern safety regulations, and it's set to sail a completely different path. Don't wanna tempt fate too much.
Crewmen shouting, "Iceberg! 2,500 miles north!" while not exactly in great taste,
is a lot more reassuring.
The people building the other replica, however, are actually counting on it sinking. That's because it will be part of a "6-D" Chinese theme park where people can experience the sinking firsthand with a simulation featuring an orgy of special effects and/or go insane exploring the two dimensions beyond time itself.
The guy funding it excitedly gushed that visitors "will think, 'The water will drown me; I must escape with my life,'" unwittingly unmasking himself as a robot with no comprehension of the human concept of fun. Aside from the questionable judgment of using a tragedy as the basis for a freaking theme park, what is even the point of a Titanic simulation that doesn't include Kate Winslet's nipples?
A Reality TV Show Simulating Life In Nazi Germany
If you could travel back to any time period and experience how people lived in that era, what would you pick? The Ren Faire types might choose Renaissance Europe, the chemistry enthusiasts might choose the '60s, and so on. That covers both of our readers, which means none of you picked Eastern Europe in the 1940s. Huh, why might that be?
"OK, before we set up the time machine, who votes 'Hendrix concert'
and who votes 'Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia'?"
Even though everyone knows what life was like in that particular place and time -- to wit, super horrible -- that hasn't stopped those paragons of taste, reality TV producers, from bringing us The Real World: Nazi Europe. It was actually a short-lived series in the Czech Republic called, for serious, Holiday In The Protectorate. There was no time travel involved, just a modern family shut in a house with little food and period-appropriate accommodations while fake Nazi soldiers prowled outside, because they had a really weird idea of leisure.
"You have your Survivor, we have ours."
The global Jewish community wasn't impressed, namely because of one tiny anachronism that the director, whose stated goal was "to show life in another era while ensuring the highest level of authenticity," had absentmindedly overlooked: The very real threat of death, which claimed 82,309 Czech Jews. The greatest danger faced by this family, on the other hand, was a falling stage light. Luckily, that means there was an easy way for the producers to make everyone happy: Just abduct one member of the household every week, never to be seen by their family again. For some reason, they went in a different direction.
9/11 And Trayvon Martin VR Games
It's not a mind-blowing revelation that people like to play video games to live out fantasies, the most famous of which is pretending to be an Italian man who's addicted to psilocybin and tortoise murder. There are also all kinds of Counter-Strike maps that allow you to play out real events, like the Boston Bombing and the standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. They're taking some pretty massive liberties with the facts, however. For example, the setup for the wildlife refuge includes fictional hostages the terrorists never took.
Apparently, long diatribes about the Bureau of Land Management don't really work
in a first-person shooter.
We already base most of our shoot-'em-up games on real wars and the like, so that's only slightly below par for the course. Then there's the 9/11 virtual reality game.
The plot? You're not making a mad dash for survival. In fact, not dying isn't even an option. You start out in an office in the North Tower, where you receive a few commands to fetch files for your boss and things like that, but once the first plane strikes, you just go where the game takes you. Where it takes you, in fact, is to the office of a stranger who quickly becomes so distraught that he jumps out the window. Then you watch your boss call her mom to say goodbye before you both suffocate from the smoke.
That's it. Just 10 minutes of watching people cry, and then you die. It's bleak as shit.
In terms of sheer pointlessness, though, the winner is -- no, seriously -- the VR reenactment of the shooting of Trayvon Martin. The experience is reconstructed from the 911 calls placed by George Zimmerman and, later, members of the community from inside their homes. So that's the viewpoint we take. It's literally just a bunch of people on the phone in their living rooms. We never see or hear anything of the actual shooting except for a flash of gunfire and the boy's real screams for help. The designers insist that reenactments like these could be helpful to investigators, but failed to explain how animated phone calls starring the goddamn Sims tells anybody anything.
"We didn't see anything because we were drowning our kids in the pool."
Manna something something Twitter follow please.
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Ready to learn about some more incredibly dickish people? Then check out The 8 Most Shameless Attempts to Cash In On 9/11 and The 6 Most Clueless Assholes To Ever Exploit Tragedies.
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