The Haunted Tuuuube

Taking the notion of transformation just a few steps too many over the established lines of decency, the good folks of Time Stereo are once again hosting their deliriously devious Halloween spectacle, the Haunted Tube.

Hike up your ghost sheet and lift your princess dress — it’s time to jump into the “wrong door” — you’ll find yourself inside a womb of squishy (and sometimes moist) pitch-blackness. Watch out, someone’s grabbing at you!

Once inside, you’ve got to feel your way out of a labyrinthine cardboard tunnel. And you will find your way out … how else are you going to go again?

With all the buzz that surrounds the Haunted Tube event, it is hard to believe it has only been only eight years since its inception. Somehow it feels like this homegrown tradition has been around forever.

Quite frankly, it’s hard to believe a lot of things about the tube.

From the internationally commissioned exhibitions of the Tube to the “lost and found” list that grows stranger each year, the surprises never cease.

“Each year we find Chuck Taylor All-Star high-tops, watches, rings, glasses, 40-ounce bottles, wallets, car keys, a man’s hand, a finger, an iPod, Outkast CDs, a purse, small flasks,” explains Davin Brainard, one of the masterminds behind the carnival of comic carnage.

And no matter how many times you’ve attended this art project-cum-funhouse of refrigerator boxes, bubble wrap, fake blood and noise, there’s still a good chance you have no idea what is going on behind the scenes. That’s part of the fun. But for those who insist on a little more insight into the inner happenings of the Tube, Metro Times has put together a Q&A primer with some help from Brainard.

What is the Haunted Tube?

“The basic Haunted Tube framework is made from dog bones, dirt, rocks, cardboard, duct tape, two-by-fours and dried blood — so getting the materials together is actually what takes a year of preparation. The setting up of the Haunted Tube really only takes a few hours. This involves making sure that the bat wings flap properly and the revolving blade of death is set to the right speed. The wear and tear that the Haunted Tube experiences when it’s operational greatly reduces the need for breakdown time at the end of the night. Usually after being open for an hour or two, the Haunted Tube is pretty much falling apart.”

What is it, really?

“We compare the Haunted Tube experience to being in a small cardboard box filled with smoke and strobe lights.” Brainard describes the atmosphere as “super loud” and explains that the encounter can be likened to “being in a traffic jam where you’re in a car with people you don’t like and you can’t see anything. It’s great,” he testifies.

What is the inspiration?

“[Myself] and Kenny Green [of the band Princess Dragon Mom] worked at a legitimate haunted house in a parking lot at the mall nine years ago and were excited to learn that you didn’t need any special license or training to open up your own haunted house.”

Their love of the bizarre and able construction skills begot the Haunted Tube, and landed them here — creators of one of the craziest and most-talked-about festivities to grace the D-town on Halloween.

Who is your staff?

• The Devil’s Robot: the evening’s charming host who repeats the same slogans all night long until the audience begins to mindlessly repeat them as mantras.

• The Wolfman Who Thought He Was G.G. Allin: a werewolf who chases people around with horrible things that nobody wants to have near them.

• The Big Black Bug Engine: Located at the heart of the tube, this animate component of the tube tries to steal your shoes when you crawl nearby.

• The Zombie Nurse: an undead aide who gives candy and toys to all disoriented patrons who make it through the Tube.

Hmmm … I wonder who collects the shoes?


The Haunted Tube can be found at the Shonen Knife, Hentchmen and Terror at the Opera show, Oct. 31 at the Magic Stick (4120 Woodward, Detroit). Call 313-833-9700 for more information.

Melissa Giannini is a Detroit-area writer. E-mail [email protected].