Niagara Falls, Ontario
This claustrophobic scare-your-date maze borrows from The X Files and Aliens -- a traditional haunted house attraction with a theme and props.
The live action part of Alien Encounter is preceded by a switchback walk along a gallery of scary-but-familiar aliens, rendered in life-size resin. It's the reptilian Species chick, the mandible-pussed Predator, skullhead from Invaders From Mars, and other Hollywood exofiends. This area is apparently designed to keep the queue distracted on a really busy day at AE -- which today isn't.
The gallery ends at a door. Before you ente,r you must choose either the red option ("You will be touched.") or the yellow option ("You will not be touched."). We opt for yellow, less out of nameless fear than of practical concern that our video camera would be smashed by some minimum wage lifeform.
A 30ish guy in geek glasses and a white lab coat, carrying a clipboard, ushers us into a chamber -- the "Research Center" -- where we stand in front of a glass tube containing a dead alien. If you've ever played Half-life or watched, well, pretty much any movie that has labs and aliens in them, what comes next will be no surprise.
Sirens shriek! Strobe lights strobe! Explosions echo! An entity has escaped -- and the geek runs out of the room, slams and bolts the door, and leaves you to find your own way out.
He hasn't really left, though. He shadows you the rest of the way, standing just behind walls, screaming and banging, making the floor lurch, rattling door knobs, and wailing like an animal half-devoured by an extraterrestrial with acid for saliva. Lots of dry ice smoke, noodly alien music, purple lighting, and tableaus of smashed labs and oozing refrigerators add to the atmosphere.
The Alien Encounter "concept" is apparently successful enough that it has invaded other tourist towns -- we saw something similar in Lake George, NY.