Rasputin’s Carnival of Risk

Rasputin’s Carnival of Risk is our new take on the tried, tied, and beaten do death haunted CarnEvil/Killer Klown theme. I personally hate clowns. Not because they are scary. But they are boring, easy, and so over used on haunted houses. How do you do a popular theme and still have it fresh and unique? Change the place. Change the Time. Create a storyline. Eliminate or replace the most stereotypical aspects of that theme.

It’s old Russia. Russia is in it’s Great Depression. Unemployment and bankruptcy has led to years of civil unrest, protests, and strikes. Russia is still led by a king, The Czar. He has become very unpopular. His mistakes are many. From borrowing tons of money from foreign countries and bankrupting the country, to persecuting the poor and unemployed. On top of that, it is rumored that his wife’s spiritual guide is practicing black magic and casting spells on the royalty. The Czar has no credibility, no money, and his loyal subjects are leaving. This is a time of great peril.

Grigori Rasputin, also known as “The Mad Monk” is an advisor and spiritual guide to the Romanov Royal Family. Rasputin is said to be so close to the the King that the King’s words are really his words. That the Romanovs are all of his puppets, and that they do as he says as if they are in fact under his spell. It is even rumored amongst the commoners that he “Spends too much time with the daughters”. His religious views do nothing to dispel these myths, but only to lend credibility to them. He believes that to be closer to God, one must indulge in Sin, so that he can then be purified of it. He indulged in drinking, sex with nuns, and taking bribes. Such a holy man. He has now become hated by the establishment, the friends and government of the Czar, he is hated by the people, and he is hated by the enemies of the Czar who are many and waiting.

So far everything I have said is true and factual.

Rasputin, a wretched holyman, a sinner saint, who deceives those who put the most trust in him, who demonizes those who disagree with him, and who can’t keep it in his pants could not avoid his destiny to be the “Bad Guy”.

So here is where you spin it. You weave your thread truth and myth together. Rasputin pulled the strings so to speak behind the scenes of the Tzarist government, in a time of great hardship and chaos and only made things worse. So now he becomes the Puppet Master. His religious guidance was ruinous, so now he becomes the the Sorcerer. His unpopularity leads to so many people having taken credit for his death that the accounts of them are many and varied. He was drowned, shot, poisoned, stabbed. All different stories of different people who wanted to to take credit for his death have lead to this myth that he was impossible to kill, so now he’s super human. So now not only is he nearly immortal, he’s gonna be out for revenge. He is a vengeful ghost!

We are working backward here. We have our villain.

Let’s go back to “when” and “where” like I mentioned earlier. In a haunt you want to create unease. Carnivals sometimes create unease when they are old, in disrepair. and run by shifty carny folk. So lets say we have that as a baseline. What can you add to it? Xenophobia. Fear of the alien or foreign. Set it in a place your audience (my audience are Americans) will be at unease. A foreign country, even a  friendly one is weird until you settle into how to find a bathroom, how to pay for things, etc. In the United States if you are over 30 years old you were taught from day one of of school to be afraid of Russians. Crazy Russians who want to steal all your money and give it to poor people and then nuke you. So Russia is a dark and violent place in the minds of Americans. Even if they learned better and have a realistic worldview, those images of  poverty, military threat, and of industrial decay are still in their minds.

So here is our setting. Everything is old, in disrepair. The words on the signs are unfamiliar and backwards. The food is weird and your not sure if you can afford it, or if it its so cheap you should avoid it. The lights overhead are flickering and it smells weird.

So now we bring in the when. Whether you traveled in time back them, they traveled in time to you, or they have just always been there and your just now discovering this carnival, it is a specific time. Red October, the beginning of the Communist Revolution in Russia. Violence is everywhere. Smoke lingers in the air. Angry mobs and gunfire can be heard in the distance. The walls are covered with moldering posters of revolution and wanted posters for those same revolutionaries. It is a time of great risk.

The Carnival of Risk, a collection of freaks and madmen lead by Grigori Rasputin. Traveling across the country they offer an evening of diversion and fun amidst the horror of everyday life. Be warned! The Carnival of Risk also means to entrap you. It means to put you under its spell, to make you its slave, a puppet of evil. Or worse, to make you part of its very sustenance.