Add Your Event/Create an Account
News Blogs
Scariest Haunted House in Salem Massachusetts Review
Tue, July 22, 2014
() Comments

Salem, Massachusetts - Hysteria Screampark At Connors farm

By Hauntworld Magazine

Massachusets Haunted Houses are some of the scariest and best in America! rates and review the best and Scariest haunted houses, haunted attractions, and Halloween events in America!  Hysteria at Connors Farm is located in Salem, Massachusets just minutes from Boston and is one of the scariest haunted houses in America!  Prepare to scream!  Sit back and prepare to scream through our review of Hysteria at Connors Farm. This Halloween you can't miss the scariest and best haunted attraction in the entire state of Massachusets, Hysteria at Connors Farm. Their attraction features some of the scariest actors, crazies scenes, and amazing set design. Now sit back and read all about the best haunted house in Massachusets, Hysteria at Connors Farm If you are looking for one of the best haunted houses in Boston Mass or Salem Mass look no further as Hysteria is located right between he two area's.  Massachusets features the town of Salem which is an entire Halloween themed tourist town with Witch Musuems, Halloween themed events and much more.  Each October visit the Salem area and make sure to tour Hysteria Screampark with five different haunted attractions.  Now read our entire review.

To learn more about Massachusets' Hysteria at Connors Farm visit their websit below:



It’s a crisp October night. The moonlight pierces the low hanging fog that clings to the cornstalks at Connors Farm in Salem, Mass.  Cold October nights have created this same eerie feeling every year since settlers first planted the fields on this farm in the mid 1600s.

Located in the Halloween capital of the world, Hysteria is the newest rising star among America’s haunted attractions. In 1692, Danvers was known as Salem Village, the center of the infamous Salem Witch Trials. Although the town fathers changed the name to escape controversy, the events that transpired on these grounds are forever etched into the historical records. Many believe that to this day, a curse still hovers over a remote area of Danvers known as Connors Farm. This sets the stage for Hysteria.

Hysteria’s mission is to help their guests create positive memories that impact them long after they leave the attraction.  This mission shapes the overall haunt philosophy and culture at Team Hysteria.  There are many moving parts within the haunt and every facet must come together in order to deliver a first-rate performance each and every night. A focus on high caliber acting, quality costumes, strong themes and detailed sets create a realistic, haunted experience for guests that is sure to keep them coming back year after year.

With over 50 acres of entertainment, Hysteria has something for everyone. The venue consists of 5 main haunted attractions with varying levels of intensity.  Guests can enjoy the family friendly Maze of Darkness, a walking tour through Hysteria’s historic “Burial Grounds” or immerse themselves in the extreme terror and over the top gore in The Fields attraction. Visitors can shoot zombies at Hysteria’s signature Zombie Hunt at Connors Compound or squeal and squirm at the sights and sounds of Madame Abattage’s Cirque du Dement travelling circus and sideshow.  
Hysteria’s management team is responsible for making sure every component of the haunt operates smoothly.  Brothers Bob and Pat Connors are co-owners of Connors Farm and together, they ensure each haunted house has a high overall production quality.  As heads of the leadership team, the Connors know it’s important to surround themselves with loyal, dedicated, enthusiastic people. The core management team is comprised of JC Fox, Operations Manager, as well as Creative Managers, Benjamin Selecky and Alexis Abare.  From brainstorming to problem solving, the haunt team works together to make sure all decisions are well thought out and continue to move the haunt towards the common goal: to help their guests form lasting memories by providing them with a first-rate haunted experience.

A frantic 911 call from a lost family at Connors Farm created a media frenzy.  It catapulted the popularity of their haunted attraction and jump started the evolution of Hysteria into THE premiere Halloween destination in Massachusetts.

Each fall, the Connors Family Farm turns part of their property into a themed maze where visitors come to “get lost.”  Connors Farm has been involved in the Agritainment industry for several years.  They expanded their daytime operations to include numerous family activities as well as pick your own apples and pumpkins.  Their fully stocked farmstand and country kitchen, with famous hot apple cider & donuts, compliment the overall business and draw numerous crowds each season.

In 2011, inside the Salem Village themed maze, a family had to be rescued by local authorities after literally getting lost in the field as darkness fell. The story received international attention from media in Ireland, England and Australia and domestic news outlets such as The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Associated Press. Television hosts Jay Leno and Chelsea Handler also joined in the fun and Saturday Night Live writers included the incident as part of their Weekend Update segment.

This incident was explosive for business.  Many guests flocked to the farm to see the newly termed “911 Maze” and haunted cornfield.  Everyone wanted to visit the Massachusetts farm and haunted event that was generating all the media buzz on radio, newspaper and television.  The incident was plastered on the front page of countless local and Boston area newspapers.  Was the cornfield really haunted that night?  Did the darkness swallow the family whole?

Bob was bombarded by phone calls from news organizations coast to coast.  The day following the incident, he was interviewed by 12 different radio shows.  Good Morning America even wanted to fly him to New York City to talk about what happened LIVE.  This incident created a buzz in the Halloween maze industry that has not been duplicated to this day.

Connors Farm is a proud member of The Maize Company, founded in 1996 by Brett and Nicole Herbst.  The Utah based organization is the world’s largest corn maze company.  Since its inception, membership has grown to include over 260 mazes throughout the United States, Canada, Poland, and the United Kingdom.

After the explosion in attendance stemming from the 911 incident, Bob had the financial ability to dedicate more resources to improving the haunted house.  The acreage used for the haunt was expanded.  The staff added sets and upgraded props to improve the overall horror experience.  

A local company was brought in to handle lighting and sound.  New England Event Producers, based in South Hamilton, is owned and operated by 2 young entrepreneurs.  Each year, their crew handles the power distribution needs for the haunt.  Since Bob brought them on board, the quality of lighting, sound and fog has steadily improved.  Being able to control these special effects in an outdoor environment is challenging due to the unpredictability of New England’s weather. The crew does a great job of managing these elements and maintaining a quality product each night throughout the Halloween haunted house season.  

A strong emphasis was put on building a team of quality actors. The leadership team pays particular attention to the interests and talents of the actors and takes every opportunity to foster creativity.  All of the people currently involved in makeup, props, costuming and sets have developed from within. Cultivating these functions in-house has created a sense of pride and ownership within the staff and has allowed team members’ talents to flourish.  This approach has taken the overall production quality of the haunted house to a new level.

Hysteria’s core team has attended the annual Transworld Halloween & Attractions Show for the past 2 years.  The industry tradeshow has been instrumental in driving the constant improvement of the haunt and has been a great learning experience. Sharing the industry’s best practices as well as staying updated on new developments and keeping up with the latest trends has kept their attractions fresh for their customers each year.  While at the show, Hysteria’s team also networked with key players in the industry and took every opportunity to learn from their success. The team at Hysteria firmly believes they can learn something from every player in the industry.  “If you stop learning, you stop evolving,” says Connors.

In 2013, Bob took a risk on a new attraction with Zombie Paintball.  He purchased trailers anticipating that it would create excitement and a buzz on the street that would take the haunt to a new level. The risk paid off. The addition of Zombie Paintball proved to be a great asset to the venue.  The attraction has substantially increased attendance to the farm and has strengthened the overall experience for their guests. A marketing blitz of billboard and radio combined with online advertising and word of mouth, created an overwhelming demand for this new zombie attraction.  This year’s Zombie Hunt takes the guests beyond the safety of the Compound’s gates and will be a whole new thrilling experience. The attraction is shaping up to be bigger and better than any of its kind in New England.  They continue to add more trailers, more zombies and increase the number of shots for their guests.  This year, they also have some great surprises in store for their zombie hunters. “It’s sure to be something that our hunters will not forget,” says Connors. “All of these changes planned for 2014 will undoubtedly culminate in a Halloween production that will exceed all expectations and drive the business for years to come.”

“Hysteria is not just a haunted venue; it’s a state of mind,” says Connor. The entire philosophy of the haunt is being reinvented for the 2014 season.  Having a great experience starts from the moment guests enter their property. Every aspect of the haunt must work together to contribute to an overall positive trip to this Scream Park, and it starts from their very first encounter in the parking lot.  Unlike many other haunts in the area, Hysteria does not charge their customers for parking.  When guests arrive at Hysteria, they are welcomed by the host: Cerberus, The Soul Keeper. The Keeper is the watcher over the farm, and absorbs the souls of the people that are sacrificed in the fields. He is Hysteria’s version of the Grim Reaper. Cerberus is outfitted with a handcrafted burlap mask and tophat from the Grim Stitch Factory.  The quality construction, stitching and painting of the mask sets The Keeper apart from scarecrows seen at other haunts.  

Once at the main entrance of Hysteria, guests have several choices for which attraction to visit first. They can have their photos taken with their choice of several queue line actors. Icon characters entertaining the crowd are wearing full body costume suits made by Global Fear Enterprises. Each of the costumes are highly stylized suits with extraordinary detail from head to toe. All of these characters will no doubt be posted all over social media as guests snap photos. Under the umbrella of Hysteria, there are presently 5 main attractions: Zombie Paintball at Connors Compound, The Fields, Cirque du Dement, The Burial Grounds and the Maze of Darkness. In addition to these main attractions, there is plenty of queue line entertainment, concessions and other activities for guests to enjoy. Free mechanical bull rides keep people wildly entertained while they wait in line enjoying barbeque concessions fresh from the grill. They also serve popcorn, kettle corn, cotton candy, hand dipped caramel apples, homemade fudge, and hot apple cider with fresh donuts.

Inside the safety of The Compound, a stage overlooks the eerie pond and glowing bonfires. Local bands and other live entertainment keep guests engaged while they wait to hunt the undead. Visitors are encountered by several zombies on the loose as well as the farmer’s daughter, who lives inside The Compound despite her infection. When guests return from the hunt, they have an opportunity to get their photo taken with a zombie. Once they leave The Compound, guests head across the street to see the 3 remaining attractions.

The Maze of Darkness is a 7-acre corn maze with a different theme each year and is fun for all ages. Visitors can access clues to help them find their way. Some guests choose to navigate the field only with the aid of the moonlight, while others flock to the safety flashlights. Although there are no actors inside this maze, the haunted field alone is enough to scare most. Each time the wind blows, the sound of the corn stalks rustling keeps guests looking over their shoulders. Guests can complete the corn maze at their own pace, and the complexity changes every year.
After the Maze of Darkness, the first haunted attraction to encounter is The Fields. The Holt Brothers and their extended, inbred, twisted family live there on the farm. Each October, the family performs an annual “Ritual of the Fields” where visitors become victims and are sacrificed to their god. Visitors follow a path cut through the cornfield and get a glimpse of the Holt Brothers’ childhood. Next, they trek through a wooded area bordered by an ominous swamp where members of the Holt family live and hunt for their next victims. The real smells and sounds of this natural setting are unmatched by any indoor attraction. Guests also get a glimpse inside a few of the shacks and cabins where twisted members of the family live. The next stop is the Holt family home. Soon to be victims get a full tour through the filth and horrific sights inside the dilapidated cabin. The trip through the cabin would not be complete without descending into Stanley’s basement workshop. Here, guests encounter a frightening man wearing a mask made of skin. Stanley is an imposing, ominous figure that enjoys skinning his victims and using their skin, hair and teeth to construct gruesome clothes and masks.

If guests are lucky enough to escape Stanley’s dungeon, they find themselves in the middle of the annual Ritual of the Fields, where guests become the ultimate sacrifice. The creative team does a great job of using all the senses to completely engross guests in the haunting experience. Every element of the haunt supports the storyline and creates a believable environment for guests. They also do a fantastic job of using main and supporting characters to develop the theme and achieve a realistic experience.

The same level of realism they accomplish in The Fields carries over into the final haunted attraction, the Cirque du Dement. The costumes, sets and characters create an immersive experience that places patrons inside a vintage traveling circus and sideshow. The host of the show is Madame Abattage. Madame is a bombshell exprostitute that inherited the business when one of her “Johns” died under mysterious circumstances. She is now the woman on top and she rules with an iron fist. Her right-hand hound, Star (a squirly carnie), does her bidding for her with the point of a finger and swiftly administers punishment to underperformers. Guests enter the attraction through a Vortex tunnel and once on the other side, it is like a whole new world. The props and sets create a genuine vintage feel, and it’s almost as if traveling back in time. Once inside the big top, the Ringmaster sets the tone for what the guests are about to experience. Each set has a demented twist that is sure to turn stomachs and make people squirm. Smells and sounds help create the scenes throughout this haunted attraction. A mix of backstage and under-the-tent sets help to create the feeling of a full tour through this Cirque. In addition, the Cirque also uses specialty acts to entertain and dazzle. A skinned woman works a lira which is a hooped trapeze act that can’t help but draw attention, and a rotating mix of other acts include tumblers, contortionists and fire breathers. The team at Hysteria always done a great job creating an atmosphere that is consistent throughout. Every element comes together nicely in order to put the customer into the scene, resulting in an overall convincing experience. After exiting the Cirque, visitors travel through a Midway with photo opportunities, food and various concessions.

Hysteria at Connors Farm is also the site of a unique historic attraction: 17th Century Burial Grounds. Located deep in the haunted woods and surrounded by rundown fencing, “The Burial Grounds” offers a ghostly experience that no other haunted venue has been able to duplicate. The guide leads an exclusive group of guests through low lying fog, down lantern lit paths to the site of these timeworn tombs. This historic site is authentic. Guests won’t find any foam tombstones at this graveyard. Hysteria’s use of real settings offer guests an experience that is unparalleled by other attractions. Overall, the team at Hysteria does an outstanding job of staying consistent with the theme. Every element reinforces the storyline of the individual attractions. The main characters sell the story and the supporting cast reinforces the feeling that the guest is part of the action. The realism created by the mix of historic, natural and man-made sets is unmatched by indoor attractions. Team Hysteria realizes the importance of always staying fresh. Each offseason, the crew improves upon the existing infrastructure and works hard to bring some of their new ideas and concepts to life. The team always strives to achieve realism. Every aspect of the haunt must be believable in order for the customer to experience true fear. People visit Hysteria to get scared and have an overall great experience. Team Hysteria works hard to make sure that they exceed all expectations.

The next time you are in Salem for Halloween, don’t forget to take a drive to Salem Village (Danvers, MA). This IS where it all happened.

Visit our haunted website,, and check out our daytime attractions,

Photo credits: (characters) Gary Young Photography


scariest, haunted house, salem, boston, massachusetts
  Posted by Larry 2.11 PM Read Comments ()
Hauntworld Magazine Issue 27 Shipping Now
Wed, July 16, 2014
() Comments
There is a new edition of Hauntworld Magazine the best haunted house magazine for the haunt and Halloween attraction industry.  Hauntworld Magazine is now available to purchase and or simply get a year long subscription at  Issue 37 is shipping now and features 4 different haunted house reviews plus a marketing article to help your haunted house get over the hump!  Lastly this issue deals with EXTREME haunted houses learn what is working, what is not working the controversies, the does and the don'ts.  Hauntworld Magazine helps the haunted house industry grow their business, get the inside scoop and anything and everything cutting edge within the Haunted Attraction industry.  Do you own a haunted house, attraction, hayride, corn maze then get a subscription to the only professional magazine for the entire industry.

Grab your copy today or simply grab a subscription.  Hauntworld Magazine is shipping now! 

  Posted by Larry 6.22 PM Read Comments ()
Hauntworld Reviews Portland Oregon's Scariest Haunted House
Fri, July 11, 2014
() Comments

Portland Oregon's - Frighttown

By Hauntworld Magazine


Oregon Haunted Houses are some of the scariest and best in America! rates and review the best and Scariest haunted houses, haunted attractions, and Halloween events in America!  Frightown is located in Portland, Oregon and has one of the scariest haunted houses in America!  Prepare to scream!  Sit back and prepare to scream through our review of Frighttown. This Halloween you can't miss the scariest and best haunted attraction in the entire state of Oregon, Frighttown. Their attraction features some of the scariest actors, crazies scenes, and amazing set design. Now sit back and read all about the best haunted house in the the Portland area Frightown When you are looking for the biggest, scariest and best haunted house in the entire state or Oregon Fright Town is your haunt and now Hauntworld will give you the full scoop of what makes Frighttown the ultimate Haunted Attraction in Portland, OR.

To learn more about Oregon's Frighttown visit their websit below:



The celebration of Halloween, as we know it today, is a heavily American tradition. But when you think about America’s great haunted attractions, chances are you’re only thinking of places east of the Colorado River. Haunted attractions like Netherworld in Georgia, The Beast and The Darkness in Missouri and Headless Horseman in New York have fame and infamy the world over, but with the exception of an elephant in the room like Knott’s Scary Farm, the Western states rarely offer even a blip on the scariest haunted houses radar. So when we heard about a horrifying haunted attraction that was tearing it up in Portland, Oregon, of all places, we knew we had to dig into that shallow grave and see what popped up.
The undisputed heavyweight haunt champion in that land of moss and microbrews is FRIGHTTOWN, a vast, macabre complex of three haunted houses located in Portland’s Rose Quarter: the giant entertainment complex in the center of the city housing the Moda Center and the Veterans Memorial Coliseum and home to Portland’s NBA team, the Trail Blazers, the WHL Winterhawks, and every major event from Disney On Ice to Lady Gaga.  Filling the Rose Quarter’s Exhibit Hall, a 40,000 square foot “basement” adjacent to the hockey rink, FrightTown is now celebrating its tenth year as Oregon’s premier haunted attraction. We had a chance to sit down with FrightTown’s producer and creative director (and mascot), Dave Helfrey, and talk about being a big haunt in a small pond.

HAUNTWORLD: Let’s start at the beginning. How did FrightTown come about?
FRIGHTTOWN: It’s funny. FrightTown was never “the plan.” It was a lucky coincidence where an amazing location, an eager crew of talented artists and my own midlife crisis all just kinda came together.

HW:  You’re going to need to expand on that “midlife crisis” thing.
FRIGHTTOWN: It was pretty much exactly that. Some guys buy a convertible and start birddogging girls half their age. I dressed up like a vampire and opened a haunted house. (laughs) Becoming a professional haunter was a long road for me. My whole life I’ve always LOVED Halloween and haunted house scares. As a kid, I would draw monsters until I ran out of paper, but my lily-white, middle class upbringing steered me towards a job in marketing…which I really only liked, for the most part. But I was pretty good at it and ended up a partner in my own agency.

HW: Like in MAD MEN?
FRIGHTTOWN: More or less. I was the creative director, so I guess I would have been the Don Draper. Only without the square jaw and the parade of one night stands. So yeah, a lot less, actually. (combined laughs) Long story short, my advertising agency lost momentum when the dotcom bubble burst.  I was trying to figure out my next move when 9/11 happened, and I thought “You know what? Life’s short, so #### it. I’m gonna open a haunted house.”

HW: I’ve heard a lot of 9/11 stories, but that’s a new one. So you actually credit 9/11 with giving you the motivation to fulfill your haunted house dream?
FRIGHTTOWN:  Well, there were a lot of other feelings first, of course, but I do credit 9-11 for firing up my sense of carpe diem, so to speak. The rest fell into place afterward. I started researching haunts online.  Then, I found out about the Transworld Haunt Show, back when it was still in Chicago. Somehow, I talked my way in and I was overwhelmed by this haunted attraction industry that I had no idea even existed. I was blown away.

HW: And then, FrightTown happened?

FRIGHTTOWN: Not yet. At Transworld, I met a guy that ran a haunt complex in Portland called Scream At The Beach. (It was actually called TerrorWorld but after 9/11 everyone was scared to use the word “terror” for a while so he changed it.) He was expanding and experiencing some growing pains, and offered me a small chunk of his floor space. Less than 2000 square feet is tiny for a haunted house, but that was the year I started Baron Von Goolo’s Museum of Horrors, the haunt that would become FrightTown’s cornerstone.

HW: “Baron Von Goolo’s Museum of Horrors” is kind of a weird name for a haunt.  Can you tell us why you chose that direction?
FRIGHTTOWN: It is a weird name but The Museum is a pretty weird haunt. It’s not so much a “haunted house” as a parody of haunted houses. I do love Halloween but I love making fun of things even more, so I thought it would be a hoot to tease the hockey mask & Visqueen crowd. Baron Von Goolo is sort of a cross between Dracula and Willy Wonka, and his museum is likewise equal parts evil and satire. Anything that makes us laugh finds its way into The Museum. We’ve had actors dressed as zombie penguins and the ghosts are old school, just wearing bed sheets. The stoners and the hipsters loved it. Still do.

HW: So the Museum made people laugh on purpose? Again, that seems weird.  Unique, but weird.
FRIGHTTOWN: I know, right? But that’s the beauty. You get someone to laugh, they let their guard down. It causes an actual chemical reaction in the human brain that starts to put people at ease, and then WHAM! around the next corner you scare the holy hell out of them. You do that three or four times and by the time the fifth joke comes around, they don’t know which end is up. I would tell my actors that it didn’t matter what they said when they pop out of their drop panels, because as long as they delivered it like “I’ll swallow your soul!!!” they were sure to get the scare. So they would pop out yelling things like “I have a rash and I vote!!” and “I’m naked from the waist down!” and ta-da, they’d still get the screams. And then the guests would catch their breaths and say “Wait – was that demon wearing a bunny suit?”

HW:  So it’s safe to say that Baron Von Goolo’s Museum of Horrors is nontraditional?
FRIGHTTOWN: Everything about it. It started as a rejection of the traditional notion of theming, which I know a lot of haunters swear by. I had all this stuff that I had built from my former life as a home haunter and an unrepentant hoarder. A mummy here, an evil clown there, a bucket of space mutants, whatever. So a friend of mine suggested that I style the attraction after a museum. Perfect! You could walk from a forest full of werewolves into crashed alien spacecraft and then into a circus freak sideshow and in the context of the different wings in a museum, it all made sense! I didn’t know about the “rules” of theming and that ignorance saved me.

HW: So how did the Museum of Horrors become FrightTown?
FRIGHTTOWN: In 2005, we were outgrowing our space at the other haunt and things were getting strained. I got a call from a radio station that we worked with – which I expected, because I was Scream’s marketing director - and the rep dropped a pretty big bombshell on me. Turned out that the event managers at the Rose Quarter had heard about haunts at other venues like Madison Square Garden and loved the idea enough to want their own Halloween event. Beneath the Veterans Memorial Coliseum, they have this cavernous, cement sort of bunker that was 40,000 square feet of underutilized space. It’s totally unfit for most events but when you turn the lights off and crank up a fog machine, it’s freakin’ perfect for a haunted house business. Santa got my letter! Fast-forward and later that year, FrightTown opened right across the quad from where Bruce Springsteen plays. It’s a great location. And the moral of the story? Be nice to your radio reps.

HW: 40,000 is a lot more square footage than you were used to. Were you ready for that kind of expansion?
FRIGHTTOWN: No, but we were too starry-eyed to notice. On our best day we really only had the resources to pull off two haunted houses but our new space was so huge it really demanded three. So at the last minute, we made the call to do a darkness maze that covered close to 10,000 square feet. We capped the ceilings, painted the walls with gore, made invisible hidey-holes for the actors to pounce from, and added a few strobes that went off when a monster attacked you. We called it The Black Box. The idea is that you shouldn’t be afraid of the dark; be afraid of what’s in it. It was just dark walls n’ halls with gory monsters lurking everywhere. Simple. One monster was a feral, child zombie still attached to the corpse of her mother by a huge, rotting umbilicus. She’d run at you like a junkyard dog, and the umbilicus would snap her back like a tight leash. It was ghastly. People loved it. The Box has returned a couple of times since that first Hail Mary season, but since then we’ve had the time to truly craft it and our other haunted houses.

HW: That’s as good a segue as any: what are some of the other attractions you’ve had at FrightTown?
FRIGHTTOWN: We try to rotate out a different haunted house every two to three years, so that there’s always something fresh to entertain our returning customers, and we also balance the “flavors” so that the three haunts don’t blur together. For example, The Museum will be more brightly lit and slower paced, so you can drink in all the eye candy, but the other haunts will be darker and louder and bloodier, aimed specifically at video game playing teenagers. So besides Baron Von Goolo’s Museum of Horrors and The Black Box we’ve had Elshoff Manor, your gothic castle haunt, The Asylum, which is rather self-explanatory, The Contagion, our zombie apocalypse haunted house, The House of Shadows, which was a flashlight haunt where we started to delve into the theme of demonic possession, and The Chop Shop, an auto scrap yard filled with inbred mutants that turned themselves into cyborgs using the car parts. I loved that haunt. We nicknamed it “Hillbilly Hellraiser.”

HW: That’s one I wish I had seen.  The inbred theme is a favorite of mine...Lots of good scares and screams!  
FRIGHTTOWN: Yeah, it was solid. Five bucks says we bring The Chop Shop back in 2016. And then last year we introduced The Madness, a haunt based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft.

HW: Sounds interesting. How was The Madness received? Were you worried that approach might be too obscure or highbrow for the Paranormal Activity crowd?
FRIGHTTOWN: Not at all. At least, not here. Portland is a teeming hipster-nerd mecca with a lot of very literate horror fans. Because of the weather, people stay indoors and huge bookstores, like Powell’s, still thrive. Folks read here. Plus, Portland hosts the annual H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, and there’s even a Goth bar in town called The Lovecraft. Their response to The Madness was thunderous and epic. We created a rotting New England fishing village in our echoey cement box under the Coliseum. We got a lot of feedback that it was not only our best looking haunted house ever, but also THE BEST looking haunted house that a lot of our guests had ever seen. That win felt good.

HW: That sounds awesome. So do you have a Cthulhu?

HW: No?
FRIGHTTOWN: That was the first rule I laid out for the team, in fact. No Cthulhu. I’ve been reading Lovecraft and Derleth and the others since I was in junior high and I respect the source material too much to phone it in. Cthulhu is a hundred feet tall and looking on him drives you mad – a haunted attraction can’t deliver that. So we went deeper into the mythos and pulled out the more esoteric stuff. Deep Ones and Pickman’s Model and shoggoths and yes, of course, even zombies of a sort. Don’t worry, though; The Madness still has plenty of tentacles. And we even threw in a Re-Animator room. You know. For kids. (laughs)

HW: Did I detect a tone in your voice when you mentioned zombies?
FRIGHTTOWN: Myself, personally, I’m done with zombies, but with the Walking Dead craze and the zombie genre so popular, I’d be shooting myself in the foot to ignore them. You gotta give the people what they want, you know? We keep all of our inside jokes to The Museum, but the other two haunts at FrightTown always cater to the more visceral tastes of teens and young adults. Ergo, zombies.

HW: Our readers will want to know what’s in store for them at FrightTown 2014. Anything new?
FRIGHTTOWN: Tons. 2014 is FrightTown’s tenth anniversary, so we couldn’t let that go by without doing it up right. Besides Baron Von Goolo’s Museum of Horrors and The Madness – both of which will have massive remodels – we’re building a new haunt called The Witch House.  It’s an old warehouse where cultists are squatting and worshipping the demon, Orobas.  That’s a “real” demon; we do our research.  The warehouse gets raided by cops who discover the cultists are being possessed and transformed into demons themselves. It’s going to be very supernatural in feel, and we’re drawing heavily from the Paranormal Activity movies as well as demonic transformation movies like Night Of The Demons and Gates Of Hell, with a little Wicker Man thrown in for spice. (The Christopher Lee Wicker Man, not the Nicholas Cage Wicker Man.) People might pick up on a little True Detective vibe, too.

HW: So Baron Von Goolo’s Museum of Horrors is a part of FrightTown every year?
FRIGHTTOWN:  It’s our cornerstone and my personal playground. We change and grow it every year with revolving exhibits like The Food Court Of The Damned, The Petting Zoo Of The Unsettling, The Institute of Evil Clown Surgery and others. The sets are detailed and the characters have more Addams Family in them than Freddy Krueger. It’s not everybody’s cup of tea perhaps, but I can’t think of any other haunt like it, anywhere. Horror film director, Jovanka Vuckovic, even wrote a travelogue about us for Rue Morgue Magazine back when she was editor-in-chief and said The Museum was ‘the most amazing cabinet of curiosities she’d ever seen,’ or something like that. It was huge props.

HW: It sounds like you and your crew craft some fairly vivid environments at FrightTown, and that the artistry of it all is pretty important.
FRIGHTTOWN:  Yeah, you could say that. It’s not just important; it’s why we do it. I’ve been an artist all my life, and half the people I know are artists. When we get together and make props and costumes and more for FrightTown, it’s game on. Beneath the surface, our haunted house is a walk through art gallery, where the patrons are totally immersed in the horror we craft. We have an impressive armada of industry standard props and animatronics from companies like Ghost Ride and Unit 70, and we’re huge fans of Midnight Studios and Poison Props. I’m personally addicted to the silicone masks that Immortal Masks puts out – so darn pretty.  On top of that, we have collector grade props from Hollywood effects studios and amazing creature creators like Jordu Schell, Casey Love, Jonathan Fuller, Neal Kennemore – I could go on. But the glue that holds everything together, that makes FrightTown a truly one-of-a-kind haunt, is the stuff we create ourselves. I was so fortunate to start FrightTown in a youthful, energetic city like Portland that attracts artists from every discipline. We have artists from LAIKA (the studio that did ParaNorman and Box Trolls), and we have artists from Michael Curry Design (that did the puppets for The Lion King musical), plus folks from Intel and TV shows like GRIMM and yadda yadda yadda - and they all CARE. They care because they know their contributions will be respected and not wasted on some shoddy spook show. And then, our actors enter these worlds we’ve created for them to play haunted house in, and they get motivated by the beauty and energy of it all, and in turn they bring the sets and the props to life with the characters they create. And all of that artistic energy results in FrightTown being the best haunted house event in the Pacific Northwest.

HW: That’s a bold statement.
FRIGHTTOWN: We’ve got 40,000 people screaming their fool heads off every year to prove it.

HW: That’s a solid crowd. So being in Portland hasn’t been a challenge for you?
FRIGHTTOWN: Well, I don’t remember saying that. Portland is small. The population isn’t huge like Atlanta or other established haunt cities, so we’ll never have numbers like some other haunts do. And unlike the Midwest and the East Coast, Oregon and Washington folk don’t think of haunted attractions as a go-to thing to do to celebrate Halloween yet. But we’re preaching and they’re learning. On the flip side, I don’t believe that I could have pulled off FrightTown anywhere else. I mean, we’re located in the biggest entertainment venue in the state, for cryin’ out loud! And all the energy and creativity that our crew and actors are willing to invest to make FrightTown so amazingly terrifying – I don’t think it could have happened the way it did anywhere else. I think we’ve got the perfect storm of haunting here.

HW: Is it that “perfect”? I understand that all this – the three haunted houses, the stuff in the courtyard, all 40,000 square feet – is all mobile?
FRIGHTTOWN: Oy. [Helfrey put his face in his hands.] Yup, every year we have about ten days to get the hell out of Dodge. It all has to come part and fit on pallets. We fill ten semi trailers and our 2,000 square foot workshop to the roof with spooky stuff. And we get 1 month to put all the attractions back together the following year.

HW: You’ve got to be kidding!
FRIGHTTOWN: (laughs) I really, REALLY wish I was. I do envy haunts with permanent locations. There’s just so much damn stuff here. It’s funny. Every year, at least one of our actors asks me how much all this stuff is worth. And I tell them it’s worth about a million dollars to a haunter, and about thirty bucks to anybody else. It’s all relative. Every year, we put at least $100,000 into the new show with more gags, more props, more stuff. There are no laurels to rest on. We’re giving the people what they want. Upgrades, new animatronics, new tricks to old floor plans or, of course, entirely new haunts like this year’s Witch House. The overhead on a good haunted attraction is insane. But the result is a good show that people enjoy and respect. We get feedback from patrons that they’re glad that FrightTown is “a part of Portland.” We’re in the zeitgeist, now. Hell, we should be on Portlandia! You can’t buy that kind of love. So we do what we have to.

HW: So after all these years, how do you keep things fresh? Where do you get your inspiration?
FRIGHTTOWN: My crew and I are such media junkies that we find inspiration in the wildest places. Obviously, we follow trends in horror; things you can’t miss like scare pranks on YouTube that get ten million hits and how “amazing” teenagers thought Insidious was because no one born after 1997 had seen Poltergeist. For that reason, we do pull ideas from older horror movies since the source material is much less likely to be recognized.  We’re big fans of urban legends, and some of that influence will be found in our Witch House haunt this year. For The Museum of Horrors though, inspiration could come from anywhere…from 1950’s classroom “scare films” to 70’s musical variety shows to EC Comics and everything in between.  Plus, we watch a lot of Adult Swim. You’ve got to see Superjail.  It’s an acquired taste and maybe skip Season 2, but it’s a must-see.    

HW: Thanks for the tip. One last question: what advice would you give someone trying to get into the haunted house industry?
FRIGHTTOWN: My advice is that Taco Bell is always hiring.

HW: (laughs) I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic or not.
FRIGHTTOWN: Mostly not. The ONLY reason to open a haunted house is because you live and breathe Halloween and can’t imagine doing anything else. Otherwise, to compete at the big dog level these days, the barrier to entry is insane. Even here in sleepy, little Portland. Customers are so jaded by Silent Hill this and Resident Evil that, that the days of peeled grape eyeballs and Freddy masks are ancient history. Like I mentioned before, the overhead for an outfit like FrightTown is staggering, and then you’ve got insurance to deal with and fire marshals and prima donna actors ruining things for everybody else and on and on and on – no one ever tells you about all that stuff. ASCAP hunted me down a couple of years ago. I had no clue! I just wanted to make monsters, but I rarely get to anymore because I’m in marketing meetings and dealing with city permits and whatever else. That can be a bummer but then opening night rolls around, and I see that my crew and I have made a machine where wary people walk in one end and happy people walk out the other. I love that so much. We’re not curing lupus here or anything, but we are bringing the joy of Halloween into thousands of people’s lives. Making people happier is worth something. More people should do it. And some days, that’s enough.

HW: Whoa. That got unexpectedly profound there for a second.
FRIGHTTOWN: Yeah, I know. Sorry. Quick – tell me a fart joke.


portland, oregon, haunted, house, attraction, scariest
  Posted by Larry 10.10 AM Read Comments ()

Find Haunted Houses, Haunted Attractions, Real haunted houses, the best and scariest attractions in the World. is the biggest online directory for anything and everything Halloween, Haunted, Spooky, Scary and everything bump in the night.  Are you looking for the best haunted houses near you then use the Hauntworld haunt finder directory to help you locate attractions throughout America, Canada and the entire World!  Please take time to review the attractions you visit and post your reviews online for all to read.  If you are looking for any type of scary attractions from the very scary gory haunted houses to even the family friendly events like pumpkin patches, hayrides, corn mazes to even zip lines and more you will find them here on helps you find real haunted houses, zombie runs, fall festivals, Halloween and Haunted Attractions. is also the best place to find year around haunted houses across the World including the biggest and the best haunted house attractions. is also the only website on the web that rates and reviews haunted houses across the globe with our field of reporters reviewing only the scariest haunted houses in the country.   Now will help you stay updated on all the Zombie haunted themed attractions like Zombie Runs, and or Zombie themed haunted houses!   Do you want to learn the history of the haunted house industry then we can provide this as well is the biggest and best haunted website on the planet!  Halloween has gone crazy in America and now the World and will help you find just the right scary attraction for your next haunted encounter!  Also join our facebook page to stay updated daily!  Happy Haunt Hunting! 


  All images, content and information contained on this website is © 2014 Hauntworld, Inc.. • All Rights Reserved  Condition of Use | Privacy Notice | Sitemap  
  Graphics and Design by Brainstorm Design Group, Inc. - Developed & Maintained by iSummation Technologies