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Kristen Ellingboe


The five weirdest, scariest things you will see at Containment

Commencement ceremonies at Containment University took place Wednesday, and forty-three actors are now certified to scare you as much as possible. I didn’t know graduating from scare school was a thing outside of Monsters Inc. but I guess this proves you really do need a degree to do anything these days.

The diploma-toting actors will perform at strategic junctures in the half-mile maze crafted out of freight containers. This is the first year Containment has been at Atlantic Station and it has all the bodies and mirrors you’d expect to find in any good haunted house. Here are the most noteworthy things you’ll counter.

Controller 13
Scare level: 3 Weirdness factor: 3
This guy has long blonde hair, looks like a Disney movie prince, and his job is to greet you at the entrance and start you on your half hour of anxiety. He gets a three on the scare level because I think attendees’ pre-haunted house-jitters will make him seem like a creepy enough character—even though he’s not supposed to be.

Hell Boy and Real Doll
Scare level: 9 Weirdness factor: 7
These two aren’t related at all and they’re not unusual tenants for a haunted house but that doesn’t make them any less scary. “I mean I am literally the son of Satan,” was the second sentence Hell Boy said to me. Without their makeup they seem so nice and friendly, BUT THAT’S WHAT’S SO SCARY. They smiled and shook my hand and then completely turned on me.

Scare level: 7 Weirdness factor: 9
These particular students were admitted to CU based on skills other than acting. Their ability to “read” individuals to figure our how to best entertain (scare) everyone is one example. Another is their ability to twist their bodies into unnatural shapes. It’s sort of a circus-meets-haunted-house type thing and it’s terrifying.

Yourself—in the Scare Cam
Scare level: 10 Weirdness factor: 10
Like the cameras that capture your most authentic look of terror and/or thrill on a roller coaster, hidden cameras will take your picture after a particularly nerve-racking incident. And these photos are available to buy afterwards—if you want to spend money to remember your face at its most freaked out. There’s also a chance to pose for a picture in front of a green screen if you want to have more control over your look.

Paranormal Container
Scare level: 8 Weirdness factor: 8
This is a great example of the variety of scares Containment offers. In this container you are “invited” (i.e. forced) to find your way through a room packed with shaped TVs spewing anxiety-inducing images.

Containment opens tonight and runs nightly from 7-11 p.m. through November 3.

Atlantic Station will also have a Spooky Express haunted train running if you’re looking for a more mellow haunted experience.

Atlantic Station’s opening a ginormous haunted house made of shipping containers


Atlantic Station’s debuting a Halloween attraction loosely pegged to Atlanta’s railroad history. “Containment,” a 25,000-square-foot, quarter mile long maze will be the largest haunted house inside the Perimeter this year.

The attraction is being constructed entirely out of old cargo containers. As visitors make their way along a 1,300-foot path, live actors will terrify them at various stops along the way.

According to “legend” (aka the back story posted at Atlantic Station’s blog) a collection of demonic artifacts ended up at Atlantic Station after a mysterious train derailment. Frightmares Inc., owner of the relics, collected all the cargo at the site and controlled the situation . . . at least until Halloween season.

The teaser trailer is worth watching. It’s terrifying, suspenseful, and gives away few specifics about what the actual attraction will be like.

“Containment” will run October 4 through November 3.

Stay tuned: Next week we’ll bring you a behind-the-scenes tour of the maze, and find out exactly what it takes to be a certified haunted house thespian.

Study: Georgia is the most expensive place to own a car

We all love to hate Atlanta traffic. We like to whine (okay, kind of boast) about how it’s the worst in the country. Well, practice your whining some more: our list of auto-related woes still just got a lot longer.

A recent study by Bankrate.com found that Georgia is the most expensive state in the nation for car owners.

Taking into account total costs—gas prices, insurance, repairs, taxes, and fees—the annual price tag for owning a car in Georgia is $4,233, which is about $1,000 more than the national average, according to Bankrate. Oregon secured the bottom spot with an annual price of only $2,204. Yes, the irony is rich: people in transit-loving Oregon pay half as much to own cars as those of us in the asphalt-happy Peach State.

The other states rounding out the top five for auto expenses are:

Rhode Island—$3,913

The top five states all lack viable public transportation alternatives and have above average gas prices. Georgia comes in around average for insurance prices, but we pay almost twice as much as the national average in taxes and fees. Suddenly that one percent sales tax increase to fund T-SPLOST doesn’t seem like such a big deal does it?

Atlanta’s always been touted as a cheaper place to live than other big cities. And sure, you’ll spend a lot less on a house or condo here than in New York or San Francisco. But in 2012, a joint study by the Center for Housing Policy and the Center for Neighborhood Technology ranked Atlanta the No. 6 metro area where housing and transit costs place a high burden on middle and moderate income residents.

Atlanta: Third happiest metro area in America


Despite (or possibly because of?) being ranked nerdiest and most redneck among major U.S. cities, Atlanta has secured a spot as the third happiest metro area in America, according to a study released today.

Here’s the good news: of the top ten major metropolitan regions included in the Harris Interactive poll, we are the most optimistic about the future. To be fair we have plenty of room for improvement, if other polls are to be believed, including one that just ranked us top for lack of upward mobility.

Atlantans are among those most likely to say their spiritual beliefs are a positive guiding force, according to the Harris study. And we apparently even feel like our voices are heard in national decisions that affect us.

The bad news: Atlantans worry more about their current financial situations than their peers in other big cities, and we’re less likely to find happiness in our friendships than most other cities. (Maybe because we apparently have few sports victories to celebrate together?)

The study looked at individuals’ perspectives on their lives to determine whether location has an effect on overall happiness. We tied with Philadelphia for third happiest overall, behind Houston at number two and Dallas/Fort Worth at number one.

And just in case you were wondering here’s the full list from most to least happy:

Dallas/Fort Worth
Atlanta, Philadelphia (tie)
Los Angeles
New York
Washington, D.C.
San Francisco

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