AWESOME-tober-fest 2009: Coney Island’s Dante’s Inferno and a few other dark rides
Today, I finish talking about haunted dark rides. I’m going to start with a former Coney Island attraction but I’ll also talk about a few others as a bonus.
Dante’s Inferno (Coney Island, NY) — Constructed and originally located in Europe, this two story portable dark ride was brought to New York’s Coney Island Astroland in 1971. It was originally run as an independent carnival concession until the owners of Astroland bought it outright a few years later. In the ’90s ride designer Lou Nasti completely redesigned the inside. Despite the name, the ride isn’t based on Dante’s poem nor is it a “ride into Hell”. A “bumper” type car would ferry you through several unconnected scenes of horror including monsters and human torture. As of 2008, this ride as well as the entirety of Astroland has been closed. Check out an in-depth article including pictures about this ride here.
The Haunted House (Ocean City, MD) — Located in Trimper’s Amusement Park, this ride was originally built in 1964 by Bill Tracy, a legend amongst dark ride enthusiasts. In 1988, the ride was expanded with new and updated scares. However, at least 20 of Bill’s original stunts are still intact throughout the ride making it the most complete Bill Tracy ride still in existence. Check out Surfing Pizza’s nostalgic rememberances of this ride as well as the unofficial website.
Castle Frankenstein (near Darmstadt, Germany) – I couldn’t pass on mentioning this when my theme this year is Frankenstein!! Built sometime in the 13th century by Konrad Reiz von Breuberg (who took the name Frankenstein) it is said that this castle was the inspiration for Mary Shelley’s novel. However there is a lot of controversy about this and there is nothing historically to prove it. For instance, in the actual Shelley novel, there was no Frankenstein castle. It would be James Whale’s 1931 movie that would popularize the idea of a Frankenstein castle. This “real life” Frankenstein castle, however, is now mostly in ruins as there are only two towers and a chapel left standing. If you ever go to Germany and want to see it, tours are available.