Medieval contraptions and torture devices are on view at the new LA museum. (all photos courtesy the Medieval Torture Museum)

In what appears to be a mash-up between the Medieval Times franchise and the lynchpin scene from 1984, a new museum has opened in Los Angeles, and it should be a real scream. The Medieval Torture Museum, which also sports locations in Chicago and St. Augustine, claims that “[its] main product is emotion” — and elicits said response by offering visitors a guided tour through dungeons featuring lifelike wax figures being graphically tortured according to the most brutal historical standards.

“The Medieval Torture Museum is meant to feed off the emotions of people so they get a feeling and a hands-on experience on a real dark side of history,” Robert Sánchez, director of operations for museum, told the California daily newspaper Press-Telegram. “You will see a lot of torture devices, a lot of torture tools and a lot of interactive experiences,” he continued. “We want people to walk out of here (knowing) what those dark times were like.”

A device called “The Wheel.” How charming!

“Oh, goody!” said literally no one. “The rising tide of wretched humanity already available to me on every news channel and street corner is not nearly enough, I am hoping to also watch mannequins get drawn and quartered.” The museum was officially open for business in November, making it the second most elaborate Los Angeles institution devoted to human suffering, after the Hollywood film industry.

The museum offers 6,000 square feet of Medieval contraptions and torture accoutrements, including racks, metal masks for face torture, spiked clubs, neck and ankle bracelets, whips and chains, and something called a Spanish Horse that I can’t describe without a trigger warning, so I’ll just let you click that link if you’re interested. (The takeaway here is: Do not mess with the Spanish.) There’s also an interactive “ghost tour,” where you can hunt for the spirits of those tortured to death, and they will regale you with graphic tales of their own demise.

Judging by the website’s many alleged five-star reviews, however, there’s an audience for everything — though one struggles to imagine having so much available serotonin as to seek out unnecessary illustrations of human suffering. Why not make a whole day of it and throw in a one-mile jaunt down Hollywood Boulevard to see the Museum of Death, while you’re at it? Fun for the whole (Addams) family!

The iron torture masks on view

Sarah Rose Sharp is a Detroit-based writer, activist, and multimedia artist. She has shown work in New York, Seattle, Columbus and Toledo, OH, and Detroit —...