In one word...YES!
Think of it this way, if it's been in a book, magazine or movie it's copyrighted!
Sure you can put it in your haunt, and some people do. However, the movie production company, writer, director and probably a list of others has to right to sue you for infringement and they will win, period.
I have NEVER used a licensed character and feel haunts shouldn't for two reasons...
First with the exception of a very limited few, you wil never do justice to the on screen images. They have thousands of dollars t create that scenec, you have hundreds. Anyone seeing it a haunt will make comments like, "that doesn't look anything like the movie".
Second, it's just as easy to create your own unique characters and story lines. This way it's more creative, original and you don't have to worry about anyone permission. Your audience also gets a new and unique experience that they can ONLY get at your attraction.
IF they want to see Freddy, go to a movie or rent the video. But if you want to see the story what happened to Mortimer and Dr. Vander at Meadview Asylum...you'll have to go to my haunt!
Besides you can have fun with it! We had the Asylum and wanted a second attraction. So I wrote a whole story tying the two attractions together with a common thread. So now I have people go to the Asylum and then want to go to Hotel Fear to see the rest of the story!
Just go to the web site http://www.lasvegashaunts.com/
Click on either the Asylum or Hotel Fear
On the top of each of the pages you see an icon "Listen to the story of the Asylum (or Hotel Fear)" I had a voice actor record the story of each.
Sure it took a little longer than throwing a freddy mask on someone, but the results are worth the effort.