As if there weren't enough monsters on the Lower East Side, tonight a new set of creeps will join the neighborhood: Serial Killers. Director (and sometimes Gothamist-commenter) Timothy Haskell is opening "Killers: A Nightmare Haunted House," based on the crimes of real-life mass murderers.
Not surprisingly, dramatizing the brutal killings of victims' whose families are still alive is receiving significant flak. Parents of Murdered Children director Dan Levey told the Daily News, "It’s insensitive to victims and survivors of these horrendous crimes." Dorothy Straughter's son was murdered by Jeffrey Dahmer, a killer featured in the haunted house, and broke into tears upon hearing of the exhibit, saying "I don’t now why someone would do something like that."
Before being spooked by actors playing John Wayne Gacy, Ted Bundy and the Zodiac Killer, visitors will walk through an art exhibit featuring the killers' personal artifacts, such as David "Son of Sam" Berkowitz's crazed scribblings. The items are on loan from "a murder memorabilia collector who insisted on remaining anonymous."
Haskell, a seasoned director of New York theater and haunted houses, does not see the installation as offensive. "I don’t know what to say to those people,” he told the News. “These guys are mythological at this point.” Asked why he didn't stick to only historical killers and avoid offending victims' families, Haskell noted “I didn’t do anybody in the tri-state area.” A spokesman for the production also tells us, "Unlike the article in the Daily News, we are neither glorifying nor sensationalizing the monsters that are serial killers."
The house, located at the Lower East Side's Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center, will run from tonight through November 3rd and will cost $30-60 for the 25-minute tour. We'll be visiting the exhibit this weekend, so be sure to check back next week for the full fright report.