Monday, September 10, 2007

Fright Ranger

We took a day trip up to Mt St Helens yesterday. We stopped at the Coldwater Ridge Visitor Center and were surprised to discover that it's closing permanently this November. Could it be the incredibly out-dated "interactive" displays? The heinous concrete and turquoise color scheme? Or is it the creepiest fucking mannequin in the history of the world?

I snapped a picture of this unpleasant diorama - sadly it doesn't quite capture the pure evil of this interactive experience. In the foreground are some mannequins/statues of attentive tourists and hikers. In order not to distract from the unearthly ranger mannequin's history lesson, they are solid gray. Gee, speaking of history, remember when the mountain exploded and killed all those people, covering them in gray ash?? So, the effect I get from this is a group of undead tourists listening to the creepy ranger creature.

Ok, so what's so creepy about the ranger? They took a mannequin with a blank white face, put it in a ranger uniform, put a wig on it - and then projected a film of a woman's face on it! So the immobile ranger has a ghostly face imprinted on it, with her voice coming through the hidden speakers in the highly stilted over-ennunciated style we've all been subject to at national parks. To see her overly animated features moving on the entirely immobile mannequin is extremely unsettling. It really freaked me out. So, yeah - get your ass up there quick before they tear it down. It's awesome!!

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