Racing heart, soiled pants

WHAT: The Haunted Basement WHEN: Oct.17 âÄì Nov. 2 nightly from 6 p.m. to midnight WHERE: The Soap Factory, 518 2 St. SE TICKETS: $15 Welcome to Scaretown âÄî population: You. With all hallows eve only a week away, there should be only two things on your mind: The sepulchral and the macabre. Since magic doesnâÄôt exist (filthy muggles) and the verdict is out on ghosts, we must resort to the next best thing – haunted houses. Most figures of speech associated with scariness are ridiculously hyperbolic, like, âÄúYou scared the crap out of me,âÄù âÄúI almost pooped my pants,âÄù and âÄúI canâÄôt believe I defecated that much out of fear!âÄù Gross. âÄúThat scared the living daylights out of me!âÄù What does that even mean? Exaggeration aside though, The Soap FactoryâÄôs Haunted Basement is so mothaâÄô-trucking terrifying that there are no phrases that can do it justice. Now in its second year, this completely artist-designed project is quickly picking up steam. Its goal is to make the patron feel so uneasy, so uncomfortable, so scared that they will never want to go again. ItâÄôs not working. With only 300 spots available per night, the haunted basement tickets are selling out faster than tin spoons when itâÄôs raining soup. LetâÄôs hope that the overwhelming popularity of the Haunted Basement will work to generate interest in the gallery itself. The Soap Factory, originally called No Name Exhibitions, opened in 1988, giving a new identity to what was once the National Purity Soap Company. Following the Walker and the MIA, it is the third largest space for contemporary art in the Twin Cities. The appeal of The Soap Factory, aside from its devotion to experimentation and innovation, is its status as a nonprofit organization. It functions as a gallery for established artists but also as a platform for emerging ones to get their work into the public domain. The 100-plus year old Soap FactoryâÄôs basement is spooky in and of itself. The Haunted Basement uses this inherent scariness to its advantage, turning the rusted soap vats and picturesquely huge furnace into diuretic entities that detach their patrons and their bladders from the present. At times, it is difficult to decipher what is art and what is simply basement, so much so that The Twin Cities Paranormal Society is conducting an official investigation of the site âÄî no lie, an official investigation. The genius of The Haunted Basement lies in its completeness, its craftsmanship. It is obvious that the artists have put an enormous amount of work into this; in many ways it functions as another exhibit, another gallery. The Haunted Basement is terrifying and disturbing in many ways, but at the same time, itâÄôs beautiful. Get ready to poop yourself and then afterward appreciate the innovation of creativity at work. Then change your pants.