Walking down a hazy hallway with fog drifting across the floor and cobwebs tickling your arms, you turn each corner wondering what you will encounter. It feels like a nightmare, but you're wide awake. The only option: Move forward.
Chamber of Horrors, a trilogy of fearful attractions at Matt Guiliano's Play Like a Pro in Hauppauge, puts you in the middle of a slasher flick.
"You don't see anything coming," says owner Marty Arominski. "Once you walk into a room, the haunter could be anywhere, waiting for you."
Part one of the journey begins when you enter Maniac Manor through the mouth of a fireplace. A grave digger measures you for a cemetery plot under the watchful stares of animal heads hanging on the wall.
"Whoever enters my house will die!" barks an intense young man named Henry, who is breathing uncomfortably close to your face. As if you weren't feeling creeped out enough, Madame Tianna predicts the way you are going to croak in the seance room. Then a claustrophobic tunnel sucks you into a vortex. This must be what suffocation feels like.
CLOWNS AND CANNIBALS
"People have clown phobia," says Cody Barker, a 19-year-old Farmingdale State College student from Smithtown who moonlights here as Chuckles the Insane Clown. "They close their eyes, scream, 'No, please!' and hold onto the person in front of them."
Joey Nuccio, 57, of Holbrook is a retired nurse who DJs on the side. His biker cannibal character, Papa Banshee, lives to freak people out.
"Psychological scares are the best. I tell them, 'I want to serve up your soul and eat your heart,'" says Nuccio. "Then I finish with, 'See you in your dreams tonight!' I like to leave them with a little something."
CHAMBER OF HORRORS
Part 2 of the program is the Chamber of Horrors, which focuses on high-concept imagery.
Feeling your way down a pitch-black corridor plays games with the mind. Suddenly, you find yourself in the shower scene from "Psycho," but everything is in reverse.
"We don't touch, but we get super close and creep up from behind," says bloodied housewife Jessica Barnett, 22, of Selden, who also works at Stop & Shop. "Sometimes their friends give away their names and we use it to taunt them."
MAZE OF MAYHEM
By the time you reach part 3 — the Maze of Mayhem — you've got a bad case of the goose bumps that you just can't seem to shake.
A maze of see-through screens with a light show and blaring heavy metal music make you manic as you confront zombie animals, falling walls and invasive skeletons. The moment you get wet from a "live" beating heart, the exit can't come soon enough.
FINISH LINE FEEDBACK
The haunt's survivors emerge from the double doors in packs of six.
"It was so scary that I was ripping my husband's shirt off his body," says Donna Graziano, 64, of Brentwood.
"The strobe lights got me disoriented," says Bryan Solis, 26, of Port Washington. "I ended up going the wrong way with some zombie bride running after me."
Brentwood residents Kenya Benn, 22, and Cleona Smith, 24, compare notes.
"The maze was insane," says Benn. "I thought I was going to be lost in there forever."
"I felt that claustrophobic tunnel was never going to end," says Smith. "I was like, 'Am I going to die here?'"
CHAMBER OF HORRORS
WHEN | WHERE 7 p.m.-midnight Friday, Saturday and Halloween; 7-11 p.m. Sunday; 7-10 p.m. Oct. 29, 30; Matt Guiliano's Play Like a Pro, 1745 Express Dr. N., Hauppauge
INFO 855-227-6384, chamberofhorrorsny.com
ADMISSION $20, $25 fast pass, $30 timed ticket
SPECIAL FRIGHT NIGHTS An extra-scary "Kill the Light" session of the haunt this Sunday, sends visitors into the darkness with a mere one glow stick per group ($25-$35).
Also: After Halloween's over, the chills continue on Nov. 1 and 2 with "Dead of Night," a full-contact interactive theatrical performance in which guests (18 and older) must wear a mask to a Halloween party hosted by a secret society. This ticketed event is limited to 120 groups of four per night, and guests must come in pairs and sign a waiver ($70 for 2; $130 for 4).