Monday, October 12, 2009

Welcome to General Horrowshow

Just about every amusement park and tons of other venues in Southern California are hoping to scare up cash this month by hosting Halloween events.

Universal Studios is offering Halloween Horror Nights; Knotts Berry Farm is doing its Annual Halloween Haunt; Disneyland has both of its parks decked out with Halloween decorations and is doing Mickey's Trick or Treat Party at California Adventure; and nightclubs are staging spooky events like Fred and Jason's Halloweenie.

Me, I've been a regular trick-or-treater at Mickey's bash for several years. I'm sitting out Halloween at Disneyland this year —not unless I hear that they're tossing cans of pumpkin-flavored Isosource into the bags of trick or treaters.

But I gotta wonder whether these Halloween parties might be starting to get a little stale —like a piece of candy corn you find under a sofa cushion at Easter— and not very scary.

Well, I have a smashing idea that I just might pitch to the suits at Kaiser.

Earlier this year, Kaiser moved its Los Angeles Medical Center hospital out of its former site on Sunset Boulvard and into a brand-new state-of-the-art facility next door.

I don't know what Kaiser's long-range plan is for the old structure but my idea would give Kaiser an edge over Cedars-Sinai, Childrens Hospital, City of Hope and all of the other facilities in L.A. that are competing for consumers like you and me.

Why doesn't Kaiser make the old Los Angeles Medical Center into a Halloween Hospital Hell?

In the old hospital's last days this winter, the facility already was looking a little dilapidated and eerie —as if the guys watching Kaiser's bottom line had made a decision to let the place slowly rot, since spectacular new digs were close to completion. So it wouldn't take much to make it into a real creep fest that would give even David Cronenberg the willies.

Besides, aren't hospitals inherently scary places to begin with?

They could start by splashing black paint on the walls, or maybe just board up all of the windows. Then they could collect all of the gurneys and wheelchairs that have fallen into disrepair over the years, and bring all of the surgical instruments that modern technology has made obsolete out of hibernation.

As each guest arrived in the first-floor lobby, he or she would be handed a blood-stained gown and ordered to strip. Then they would be strapped into a gurney or bed and pushed around the facility as hooded scapel-wielding ghouls leaped out from behind partitions and demanded to harvest their organs. Or maybe they would just be pushed into a waiting area and subjected to watching "The View" on a television hung too high to turn off or have its volume turned down.

I don't want to tip my hand on other spooky elements of my hospital horror show. But the evening could conclude in the check-out station as each patient is handed an outrageous bill, a death certificate or maybe a diagnosis of a terminal disease —all in good fun, of course.

Kaiser might find this idea to be at odds with its current marketing efforts, which emphasize living healthy and thriving. But my Kaiser Medical Center Horror Show could balance out that message, which frankly I find a little Pollyannish compared against the realities that many of us face.

I'll let you know when tickets go on sale.

1 comment:

  1. Great idea. But at Cedars-Sinai the old ladies squeeze the Charmin right out of the GI ward; Childrens Hospital grants neonates along with the JCAHO funds to China to care for; and City of Hope watches embryos grow in Petri dishes after splicing them with frog DNA to toss them in the sewers. Yeah, Kaiser could compete with Knott’s; but those other guys compete with The Rocky Horror Picture Show.