This weekend, I had the pleasure of attending After Dark at Madame Tussauds Las Vegas.  I also had the displeasure of going to see Paranormal Activity 3.  Today, I would like to break down both events for you and explain why one is worth your Halloween weekend and why the other isn’t even worth a Redbox rental.

On Thursday, Oct. 20, Madame Tussauds Las Vegas hosted a media night to preview the 2011 After Dark attraction and I was lucky enough to attend this function.  After Dark is a haunted version of the world-famous wax museum that opens up each year for the two weekends leading up to Halloween.  I’m a huge fan of getting scared by haunted houses and horror movies, but I didn’t think After Dark would be nearly as terrifying as it actually was – and I mean that in the best way possible!  After assisting with the media check-ins, I anxiously waited for their reactions once they left the attraction.  While each person’s demeanor upon leaving was different (some came out running, some came out sweating, some came out thrilled), everyone unanimously agreed it was a frighteningly glorious time.  After most people had gone through, my boss Brad and I decided to go through the attraction.  My other boss, Terri, politely declined the invitation to join us.  Within moments, Brad and I were standing at the entrance to a dark corridor.  Joined by a few other guests, I was elected to lead the group with nothing but a glowstick.  Slowly, we made our way into the first hallway where shadowy figures moved around, setting the scene for what was ultimately an exhilarating experience.  Each of the rooms were styled differently, but the one common thread each room brilliantly encompassed was the utilization of the wax figures – you never knew what was fake and what was real!  Many of the figures I thought were wax would sporadically come to life to jump out and scare the group.  The uncertainty of everything was what made this haunted attraction one of the most unique I’d ever visited.  Thankfully, I made it out alive and am glad to be here so I can tell everyone to check it out as well!

Unfortunately, my Sunday night was not nearly as invigorating.  My roommate and I decided to grab dinner at Town Square then catch a showing of Paranormal Activity 3.  I had fortunately seen the first two movies, so I was excited to see where the story would go from here.  In my opinion, the first movie wasn’t very great, but the second one truly did have moments that made me jump, complete with an unexpected twist at the end which tied it back to the first movie.  I won’t give anything away, but in a nutshell, the entire Paranormal Activity series is about a family being haunted by a demon of sorts.  The third installment was a prequel, taking the audience back to the days of how the “activity” started within this one particular family.  Sure, there were a few good moments where characters jumped out, etc.  But for the most part, the entire audience laughed during moments that were supposed to be considered scary.  The invevitable twist at the end wasn’t expected, but it also wasn’t satisfying.  The end of the film was abrupt, with audience members shouting disapproving comments like “Really?!” and “That’s it?!”  One of my least favorite aspects about the film was the fact that many of the moments in the movie trailer weren’t present in the actual film, leaving the audience expecting more than was actually delivered.

To recap: After Dark at Madame Tussauds exceeded expectations, providing authentic adventure, excitement and thrills.  Paranormal Activity 3, on the other hand, was a snoozefest.