The best haunted house to visit this time of year isn't filled with fake-blood-spattered teens lurching toward other teens. It's actually the decrepit Laclede's Landing Wax Museum, which is filled with dust, decay and freaky facsimiles.
No one needs convincing that wax museums are, as a rule, creepy places. Those not-quite-human-looking figures often seem as if they're about to come to life and KILL! KILL! KILL! the hapless visitors, as in a Vincent Price flick. It's not unusual to find guests double-checking the eyes of the wax dummies, to see if they're following the human prey that's walking through the room.
The Laclede's Landing version takes it further, though, because the place has been allowed to fall into disrepair. As you walk upward through the five levels of wax-figure tableaux, everything seems to get darker and dustier. It all culminates in a dim, bare room featuring an unlabeled Robert F. Kennedy standing in the rubble from the museum's crumbling brick and plaster walls.
Wax fingers and toes sit on the carpet beneath a bunch of the figures from which they've fallen off. Liberace, with his shit-eating grin, looks like he's ready to leap from behind the piano and strangle someone. Gerald Ford bears the overcast expression of a remorseless killer, and next to him, Richard Nixon beams like a mad clown who's just busted out of an asylum.
But beware the scariest wax figure of all: Flip Wilson's alter ego, Geraldine, is the most lifelike of the bunch, and she's even creepier than the Hitler in the basement (11 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday-Sunday, $5, 720 North Second Street, 314-241-1155, call ahead to make sure they're actually open). -- Byron Kerman
Who You Callin' Honky?
St. Louis has had a long love affair with the dirty, dirty rock & roll; blame it on the stink of our river, the presence of Chuck Berry or just our discriminating Midwestern taste for straightforward, blasting noise. Whatever it is that makes us crazy for bands who run roughshod over our concertgoing heads, that thing will be fed tonight. Honky, hailing from Texas and featuring ex-Butthole Surfer Jeff Pinkus on bass, visits the Creepy Crawl (412 North Tucker Boulevard, 314-851-0919, $6-$8) at 8 p.m. tonight to preach the gospel of loud, fast, louder, faster. Tenderizing the crowd's craniums first will be Lofreq, who know a thing or three about skull-softening. -- Paul Friswold
Board games were there. They were there when you cheated at Candy Land and gloated until your little sister surprised you with a saucepan to the back of the head. They were there for that violent round of Hungry, Hungry Hippos, when you got in a fistfight with your best friend that ended with your fist in his mouth and two busted hippos. And board games were there last week when, in the middle of a game of speed-chess, you lost your temper and administered a beatdown to an old man who'd forgotten how to castle. Come play board games from 7-10 p.m. every Thursday at the Commonspace (free, 615 North Grand Boulevard, 314-531-1707, www.thecommonspace.org). All ages are welcome -- just please don't get carried away. -- Byron Kerman
That bulbous head, those teeth like hypodermic needles, the menacing unibrow -- no, it's not Bert, the ambiguously gay Muppet, but rather Count Orlock, the obvious vampire. Nosferatu is the first (and unauthorized) film adaptation of Dracula, directed by F.W. Murnau with German creep Max Schreck as the vampire. As Orlock, he's seven feet tall, 115 pounds and ready to draw blood from you like a mutant mosquito while you sleep -- far more viscerally terrifying than, say, a guy with a thick accent in a dinner jacket and cape (which is scary for very different reasons). You can watch, with live musical accompaniment provided by the New Music Circle, at 7 p.m. at the St. Louis Art Museum (Forest Park, 314-721-0072) for a mere $5. -- Mark Dischinger