By Jacqueline Monahan
Photos by John Wesley Hardin
Fright Dome: For Those Who Thought They SAW It All
Yes, they’re back, in all of their ghoulish, clown-like, chainsaw horror. The Adventuredome at Circus Circus has once again taken a month-long plunge into the dark, smoke-filled world of ghostly creatures, monsters and bona-fide freaks. All this and a roller coaster, too!
This time around Fright Dome has entered into a partnership with Lionsgate studios and Twisted Pictures in order to feature handcrafted replicas of the "games" set by Jigsaw in the popular SAW saga.
Opening night was Friday, Oct. 2, and the frightful fun will run until just after Halloween. Bring your running shoes. Over five acres of harrowing horror contain questionable life forms that descend from the ceiling, or artfully animate their awful wingspans; some roam mischievously toward and behind the crowd with diabolical bulb horns and leering grins. They’ll spring out at you from photo booths, and scream at you from hidden black peepholes, their revved up chainsaws punctuated by the startled screams of unsuspecting visitors.
Add to this eight different freak shows that take place throughout the evening featuring people that puncture their nasal cavities and lie on beds of nails for your viewing pleasure. There are little people and amputees; tattooed sword swallowers, and those who like to lie down on broken glass. Family fun for all ages. Um…no. This place is not recommended for those under twelve.
Then there are the five haunted houses, two of which are themed after the SAW movies. You won’t have a hard time discovering which ones they are. The predominant color is red, and the decorative scheme is decidedly gore. Bodies line the walls and floors. Those who are not yet dead will let you know in shrieks how much they are in pain. Some will beg you to free them. Some will want you to join them.
You’ll just want to run…into the next adventure, even if that means a Drop Demon swoops down from the ceiling right in front of you. They live on the screams of the unsuspecting, and at last viewing, appeared quite well fed.
The usual rides are operational for those who like their queasiness automated. You can make a giant roller coaster loop, splash yourself silly on the Rim Runner, flip and spin on The Inverter or The Disk-O. If you don’t scream from the ghouls, you surely will from these scrambling sensations.
As if that’s not enough, there are simulated motion movies that will take you through haunted houses, although the one I waited in line for had audio issues and I had to abandon it for the greater horror of trying to find a restroom before the prowling terror team startled me into not needing it anymore.
Think you can find a quiet place to rest your still-living bones? You can try. Your humble correspondent thought she was safe in an empty photo booth, until a seven-foot zombie swiped open the curtain with a menacing sneer. Expect the same and you won’t be disappointed.
Fright Dome is open from 7 p.m. to midnight Oct. 2-4, 9-11, 15-18, 22-25 and 28-31. General admission tickets are $34.95 and fast pass tickets are available for an additional $15 which allows express line entry for all five haunted houses. Even express entry will take some time, as it seemed an inordinate amount of guests shelled out extra bucks for this option. When that happens, express entry becomes a moot point. You will have to wait for the rides as well.
What you won’t have to wait for is the chaos, excitement, and fearful, ferocious fun that Fright Dome is known for. British slayer Jack the Ripper would be quite at home here, no doubt pronouncing it to be a bloody good time, indeed.
For further information:
The Adventuredome at Circus Circus
2880 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Ken Block Makes an Impression at the Hilton
First impressions are indeed important, and Ken Block’s repertoire is amazingly large. The entertainer’s 90-minute show, which took place in the Hilton Showroom on September 29, began with a video incorporating his face into scenes from “Taxi Driver”, “The Godfather”, and “The Little Rascals.”
Block’s impressions put his characters into situations that are decidedly out of character for them. For example, his Arnold Schwarzenegger is an Austrian English teacher; a drunken Dudley Moore (Arthur) is a woodshop instructor. Latin lover Fernando Lamas presides over a Spanish class where everyone “looks marvelous.”
All this, in the first ten minutes, set the pace for a rapid, machine-gun-like barrage of impressions, amazing because of their sheer numbers. Block seamlessly transitioned from one to the other, sometimes shamelessly punctuating his act with groaning punch lines and eye-rolling wordplay. Dean Martin sings, “Everybody Wants My Body Sometimes,” Woody Allen comments that his wife and child is “actually the same person.”
After getting off to a wobbly start, the impressionist scored with the majority of his featured stable of celebrities. His Ozzy Osbourne and Elvis Presley, both with wig props were humorous, venturing into parody. Women seemed to cause him some difficulty, though. Joan Rivers was a stretch, although her plastic surgery banter was designed to deflect from this fact; an Edith Bunker sounded more like Marge Simpson.
In spite of this, Block managed to impress the assembled crowd with Old Hollywood favorites including Jimmy Stewart, Humphrey Bogart, Cary Grant, John Wayne, Clark Gable, Groucho Marx, Bing Crosby, and James Cagney.
Television stars, both vintage and current, descended like confetti from the stage. Desi Arnaz, Jr., Jackie Gleason, Ed Sullivan and Paul Lynde made an appearance, as well as Regis Philbin, Bill Cosby, and Jerry Seinfeld.
Don’t think that the music industry was neglected. Ray Charles, Louis Armstrong, John Lennon and Frank Sinatra paid a visit, along with Kenny Rogers, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Joe Cocker, the Bee Gees, and Roy Orbison.
Dr. Phil dispensed advice, but so did Tony Soprano and Archie Bunker. Comedians Buddy Hackett, Jackie Mason, Jay Leno, Jeff Foxworthy, and Rodney Dangerfield shared the stage once more with Johnny Carson and his telepathic alter-ego, Carnac.
A video/live performance of Block’s impression of boxing great Mohammad Ali and colorful commentator Howard Cosell gave the crowd a nostalgic look back at the two sports titans.
You say you want presidents? Block has them and will summon each one, from JFK to Barack Obama in a masterful medley that culminates in George W. Bush singing the Sinatra classic, “My Way.”
Not to be outdone, Sinatra himself (well, Block’s version, anyway) materializes to sing “New York, New York.” George Burns, with trademark glasses and cigar, gets to say goodnight to his Gracie once more in a moving finale.
He’s accompanied by a band that includes keyboard, guitar and drums. The drummer is kept busy, frequently punctuating a bad joke with the familiar, “bad um-dum!” Example: “I came to this country from Cuba in a boat with two oars. They were named Carmen and Rosalia.”
Block performs his one man show in venues as varied as theaters, cruise ships, corporate events and showrooms from Hawaii to Atlantic City. His impressions number upward of100 in each show and span more than 50 years of entertainment and political personalities.
With all this going for him, it’s no wonder he hasn’t been himself in years. He’s having too much fun trying on voices and mannerisms like so many like suits and ties. In fact, with his range and versatility, you might say that Block’s one of the “best-dressed” impressionists around.
For further information: