Monday, September 28, 2009

The Travesty of Bush Gardens' Howl-O-Scream

I love a good scare. I enjoy ghost stories and most horror movies, knowing that they aren't true and cannot be possible.

There are different theories as to why many of us love to be frightened. I believe that we enjoy being faced with the absolute worst, knowing that we can still emerge into the comfort of our own homes. It gives us a sense of power (which explains why this genre is especially popular among teenagers).

But at what point does horror become horrible?

I refuse to watch anything that celebrates the depravity of humanity. This includes torture and sadism, and it's why I won't watch anything from the Saw series of movies. And I worry that when we go down that road as a society, there is no u-turn. It numbs us to the true horror of such actions and allows us to easily excuse what generations before us would never have excused.

That's why I won't go to Bush Gardens' Howl-O-Scream any more. The last time I went (three years ago), I saw things that should give anyone with a conscience nightmares for a lifetime.

But Howl-O-Scream is big business. And apparently the meat-grinder mentality never goes out of style. So, Bush Gardens is more than happy to continue to churn out tableaus that would make the most seasoned homicide detectives blanch.

To add insult to injury, they have peppered the Tampa Bay area with billboards depicting viciously evil vampires. Imagine the reaction of the vulnerable toddler who sees these billboards out the window as Mommy drives to the grocery store. That should drive the nightlight sales through the roof.

What recourse does a parent have? They can't blindfold their children. They can't make the choice to not expose them to this garbage, even though they can limit their television and internet experiences.

Bush Gardens has come a long way since their inception as a family-friendly park. Now families come dead-last to the almighty dollar, thanks to capitalism at its finest.

As their 2009 motto says, "Evil never goes out of fashion."


Dr. Deb said...

I don't like certain horror ghoulish things. It's too over the top for me.

But to each his or her own, right?

Ed said...

Glad to have you back Saur.

I never minded those kinds of things (graphic billboards) until I got myself a rug rat of my own. Now I understand what you are saying. For now until she is old enough to have a conversation about it, I just point to something imaginary in the opposite direction.

Angela said...

I have never been much a fan of scary movies, they just are not entertaining to me.

I do like a good Zombie movie every now and then, for the simple fact that I don't like my neighbors very much and wouldn't mind the opportunity to off a few of them, it sure is nice to dream.

I originally come from a state that does not allow billboards, (Vermont). Now that I am an adult I fully appreciate not having billboards, it is so nice to drive around my home state and have the beautiful unobstructed views.

I don't much like billboards in general and wouldn't mind if more, if not all states got rid of them. I have never purchased a product or service as the result of a billboard.


The Lazy Iguana said...

Zombie movies rule. I want to see Zombieland. Looks like my kind of zombie movie!

As for Bush Gardens being "family friendly" Ill partially agree. It has always been the amusement park of gut slinging roller coasters, and the brewery. All the advertising is for a beer company! Hey kids - lets go see how beer is made!!! YAY!!!

By the way, I rather enjoyed the brewery tour when I used to go there as a kid.

But I always liked Disney better. There was more for kids to do there. I still like Disney better to be honest. Don't get me wrong - Bush Gardens is cool - but it is in Tampa. I can go to Orlando and get the trifecta. Disney, Universal, and Sea World.

Universal also has the roller coasters and Halloween Horror Night by the way. Bush Gardens has to compete with that - and they do.

Anyway, the point is that while kids can have fun at Universal or Bush Gardens, I think both those theme parks are really for teens and young adults. Still family friendly, but not really aimed at young children. They want a different market segment.

So that is what their advertisements are geared for. The market segment they want to target.

Can't really fault them for doing what they do. It is all about money after all. Those parks provide a lot of good jobs for people - and in this shit we call an economy people are really glad to have those jobs.

daveawayfromhome said...

Never got the alure of the horror film, myself. Plenty of real evil around without needing to go and make some up.
Also find it interesting that the rise in movies like "Saw" and "Hostel", what I can only describe as Torture Porn, came at the same time as our government was making torture part of its foreign policy.

Uncle Joe said...

I'll be trying to protect my kids from the nightmares caused by horror films for as long as it takes.
Vampires are everywhere.
They're sexy too.

What's next?

Three Score and Ten or more said...

Makes me sad. Busch (Bush, I am not sure) Gardens was always one of my favorite places to take the kids. Sigh.

The Lazy Iguana said...

It is still a decent place. It just had to change a bit to find its niche.

There is still plenty of things to appeal to kids, but their target market is really more families with older kids (teens) and adults into thrill rides.