Every Sunderland player’s Halloween house of horrors nightmare reaction ranked
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Halloween, the only time of the year when it is socially acceptable to dress up like a member of Kiss and demand confectionary from strangers. Of course, you can do this at any other point in the calendar, but will usually be met with, at best, a stern talking to, and, at worst, a court-enforced restraining order.
But the end of October is about so much more than itchy wigs and tooth decay. For Sunderland fans, it is also the time that we receive the single greatest piece of club-adjacent media ever conceived. In recent years, the Black Cats have taken it up on themselves to use Halloween as an excuse to send their squad deep into the bowels of a house of horrors and film the consequences - often with hilarious results.
With that in mind, and in honour of this year’s video dropping on YouTube yesterday, let us go through each unfortunate participant together to determine who the biggest scaredy-(black)-cat of them all is. Read on if you dare...
A suitably stoic display from the grizzled midfield enforcer, who seems to stroll through much of the experience in a state of mild, slightly bemused frustration. The fact that he is barely in this year’s video at all would suggest that his fright night was quite alright.
Predominantly calm from the towering defender, who seemingly comes through his brush with the spooky largely unscathed.
Never before has such terror been met with such politeness. Anthony Patterson greets half the ghouls with a reserved amiability that feels more beffiting of bumping into an elderly neighbour in the dairy aisle of your local Co-op. A couple of jump scares here and there, but largely unfazed; a bit like Sunderland’s season thus far, actually.
A disarmingly assured effort from Clarke, who seems to be just about the only Sunderland player to remember that the whole debacle is fictitious. From telling the actress on the front door that she’s spelt his name wrong, to his gleeful little exclamation as he careers down a slide into a ball pit full of murderous clowns, the winger takes a lot of the frights on offer in his stride. Extra points for his matter of fact ‘Hi, Ingrid’ when one particularly enthused demon orders him to say her name.
A mixed bag from Cirkin, who flits between cowering in a corner, positively foetal, whispering to the almighty one minute, and swaggering out of the front gate claiming he wasn’t frightened at all the next. You can’t kid a kidder though, Dennis. An undoubted highlight is the bizarre rendition of ‘Old MacDonald Had a Farm’ in which, surrounded by two pig-headed figures, he forgets the word ‘pig’.
Patrick Roberts’ sorry experience can perhaps be best summed up by the moment in which he looks pleadingly down the camera and says, in pure earnestness, ‘You said it was going to be fun’. The poor lad has been hoodwinked hard, and what he evidently believed was going to be a bit of jolly descends quickly into him sitting in an outhouse with a bucket on his head holding a toilet brush.
All I can say is that if Jarred Gillet had been present for Dan Neil’s run through the house of horrors then the midfielder would now be facing life imprisonment. Never has one man sworn so much in such a short period of time. There could hardly have been more bleeps if R2-D2 was reading you a Morse Code translation of the transcript. Another iconic Halloween showing from the 21-year-old, who seemingly went through hell and back in last year’s video, but by no means the most cowardly custard on this list.
An understated masterpiece made all the more captivating by Pritchard’s wide-eyed distrust of absolutely every sound and slight movement. You get the impression that if the midfielder could have withdrawn his head fully into his neck like a little Cockney tortoise he would have. Full marks for cinematography too, although the decision to shoot from a hyperbolically low angle throughout might have been more to do with the fact that his arms were frozen by his side in petrified terror more than anything else. The Blair Pritch Project, anyone?
Never before has a human felt fear like this. The footage of Bradley Dack completing Psychopath may well come to be his defining legacy on Wearside. Certainly, it has already justified Tony Mowbray’s decision to bring him to Sunderland... and then some. From the moment that a faceless ghoul calls the midfielder ‘Turkey Teeth’ you know he’s in for a pasting, and things only get worse from there. Already injured, presumably Dack will now face an extended period on the sidelines with: A) a busted larynx from all the screaming, and B) the lingering after effects of 63 consecutive heart attacks. By the time he crawls out of a shed on all fours, covered in eyeliner and hysterically telling his waiting teammates that he is, quote, ‘a pretty little baby’, his fate is sealed. You don’t live humiliation like this down in a hurry. Sublime stuff.