October 10, 2003 12:00am
House Haunts Officials, Gets X Rating
Source: Associated Press
(WENTZVILLE, MO) -- Organizers of a haunted house that includes scenes of same sex kissing and a whipping dominatrix said they're just trying to promote adult fun.
But community officials say the haunted house is so adult, it can't open unless it gets an adult entertainment permit from the city.
"The Mall of the Dead," a haunted house with 16 different scenes, has been planned for 200,000 square feet of the Mall at Wentzville Crossing, about 40 miles outside of St. Louis.
The haunted house's spokesman Dean Kemper, 44, said community officials are engaging in censorship. He said workers aren't simulating sex or engaging in inappropriate touching.
"If it were a movie, it would be rated PG-13," he said.
One scene shows two women touching each other's arms and legs and then kissing on the shoulders and neck. The scene ends with the simulated cutting of a man's genitals.
Another shows people shackled to a wall. A dominatrix whips a man attached to a leash.
Kemper said he applied six weeks ago for a conditional use permit, and was ready to open last week. Then, the attraction was put on hold because of safety code violations.
Wentzville Police Chief Bob Noonan said he heard this week that Kemper was planning to employ young people in the sexually suggestive and violent scenes. Noonan checked with the city attorney and then had a letter delivered to Kemper, saying he would need to apply for a city adult entertainment permit.
Kemper said no one under 17 is used in the sex scenes. He said employees under 18 are required to get a consent form signed by a parent or guardian.
However, city ordinance states only people 18 or older are permitted on the premises where live performers depict certain sexual activities, including sadomasochism.
City administrator Andy McCown said building and safety concerns have not been addressed and those would keep the haunted house from opening.
Kemper said safety complaints have been addressed. He said the city simply doesn't like the content of the show.