Oregon’s only strip club haunted house is making its return this fall after a two-year pandemic pause, but this time inspiration for its ever-changing theme didn’t come from slasher flicks, time-travel fantasies or the cardinal sins.
In 2022, the scariest thing organizers could think of was their own hometown.
R.I.P. City is—yup, you guessed it—based on the disastrous reputation our downtown core (and, in some places, the entire town) has acquired over the past two years. Strip Club Haunted House impresario DJ Dick Hennessy is once again the mind behind the show, which has a new location.
Since it began in 2015, amassing a couple thousand visitors during a brief, three-night run, the haunted house has taken place in Old Town-Chinatown’s Spyce Gentlemen’s Club. Hennessy said the owner of that venue has been busy expanding the business in Florida, so he decided to relocate to Guilty Pleasures Gentlemen’s Club on Southeast Powell Boulevard near 136th Avenue.
“I feel like this year it transcends beyond a haunted house—that’s why I’m calling it an ‘Experience’ at this new location,” Hennessy tells WW. “It’s a mix of parody and sexiness and horror.”
Every year, the Strip Club Haunted House has grown, both in number of days and ambition. The theme also constantly changes: The seven deadly sins were represented in its debut; a mashup of Hot Tub Time Machine and Back to the Future shaped year two, which took people through different eras; and in 2019, 1980s horror classics inspired not only the walk-though, but also an 11-minute film starring Hennessy and some of the dancers.
Now, a Rose City that has lost its bloom is the backdrop.
“Portland, to most people, it’s the most terrifying thing there is. And it hits close to home,” says Hennessy. “There will be iconic Portland things, like a vegan cannibal restaurant as one of the scenes. We’re also going to do a play on Salt & Straw and Voodoo Doughnut. There’s going to be a couple of surprises along the way—possibly having Kate Brown and Ted Wheeler doing an appearance.”
People will enter the experience through a tent located outside of the club and then walk through a cloud of narcotic smoke (“or, whatever you imagine,” Hennessy adds). That leads to the world of Portland after dark: graffiti, needles, boarded-up windows, discarded mattresses, Dumpster fires.
“Creatively done,” says Hennessy, “but scary.”
And if you make it through a night in this Portland, there’s a surprise waiting at the end that just may involve extraterrestrials.
The Adult Halloween Experience begins Oct. 13 and continues Thursday through Saturday through Oct. 29. It also operates on Sunday and Monday, Oct. 30-31. General admission is $20, and a VIP ticket, which includes a product from Northwest chain and event sponsor Taboo Video, is $30. And everyone will have the opportunity to sample spirits courtesy of Shine Distillery, another sponsor.
“I’ve been working on this for the last few months, putting everything I have into it,” says Hennessy. “I want all of the details to be really dialed in and for people to remember what they loved about the past years [of haunted houses].”