Mona Shield Payne
Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012 | 2 a.m.
Piles of severed limbs. Hair and brain matter splattered on the walls. Corpses hanging from meat hooks.
Welcome to Eli Roth’s Goretorium, a year-round haunted house that opened Sept. 27 on the Strip.
Sounds fun, right?
Well, here at the Sun, we wanted to see just how fun it would be for some of the toughest guys in town: members of the Las Vegas Wranglers.
You might think professional hockey players would scoff at fake blood and guts, given the nature of their jobs.
“I’m completely not excited about this, whatsoever,” Geoff Paukovich, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound center, said outside the Goretorium just before he and five teammates walked through the haunted house designed by horror film director Eli Roth. “I’m just hoping to make it all the way through."
Sean Wiles, a 6-foot-3, 203-pound forward, scoped the Goretorium out online and worried that the attraction would be scarier than any haunted house or horror movie he has seen. He had no qualms admitting he might duck out partway through the tour and escape into one of the Goretorium’s “chicken hallways,” exit routes for people who can’t handle the gore.
“I don’t really enjoy being scared," Wiles said. "It’s not fun for me.”
Mike Madill, a 5-foot-11, 195-pound defenseman, recalled seeing a preview for Roth’s film “Hostel,” in which a man’s Achilles tendon gets sliced in half.
“It drove me away from seeing any of those movies,” he said.
Some of the players looked forward to the walk-through.
Nolan Julseth-White, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound defenseman, said he doesn’t mind horror movies or getting scared once in a while, though he noted he hadn’t been to a haunted house in about 15 years.
Bretton Stamler, a 6-foot-1, 203-pound defenseman, said he was excited about the Goretorium, even though he’s also not typically a fan of haunted houses or horror films.
“I want to see the reaction of some of my teammates,” he said.
And perhaps not surprising to Wranglers fans, Adam Huxley was the most excited player in the group. The 6-foot, 200-pound left winger is arguably the toughest Wrangler of the bunch. Before the team's 2012-13 season, he had accumulated a whopping 1,719 penalty minutes in 454 regular-season professional games — or nearly four penalty minutes a game. (Players get a five-minute penalty for fighting.)
Huxley, who has a wide scar up the left side of his chin, said he wanted to bring his 5-year-old daughter to the Goretorium but was told it wasn’t suitable for someone so young. He also said he’s watched numerous horror films and is a fan of Roth.
The Goretorium is set in the Delmont, a fictional 1960s-era hotel where guests are tortured, murdered and dismembered.
The Wranglers spent about 15 minutes walking through the haunted house, and it was a bloodbath at every turn. Corpses and body parts were strewn all over. Blood seeped down walls.
At one point, a woman was being tortured by a man holding a machete. She cried out and pleaded for help: “Please don’t leave us here!!”
Throughout the tour, the hockey players yelled in fright, laughed out loud and shouted profanities. Right after it ended, they were asked what they thought.
Madill: “That was very scary. I don’t want to do it again.”
Paukovich: “I will not be back, and I probably won’t sleep tonight, either.”
Huxley: “I think it was awesome. I could see how someone who doesn’t watch a lot of horror movies might be a little bit disturbed, and it was definitely disgusting.”
Stamler: “I enjoyed it. I strategically picked my spot so I wouldn’t get scared as often.” (He was third back, letting him see what happened to the two guys in front of him.)
Wiles: “I got scared a lot. I laughed a lot. I'll probably have a lifetime of high blood pressure now.”
Julseth-White: “It definitely scared the crap out of a lot of us. I think a couple of the guys grabbed me a few times.”
What did he think watching his teammates freak out?
“I was just as scared as anybody,” Julseth-White said. “I was too busy focused on walking forward to get out of here.”