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One of the Biggest Haunted Houses in Michigan - Night Terrors
Tue, February 18, 2014
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Michigan's - Wiard's Orchards' Night Terrors

By Hauntworld Magazine

TO FIND MORE HAUNTED HOUSES IN MICHIGAN CLICK HERE ... http://www.hauntworld.com/michigan_haunted_houses

MIchigan Haunted Houses are some of the scariest and best in America!  Hauntworld.com rates and review the best and Scariest haunted houses, haunted attractions, and Halloween events in America!  Wiard's Orchards' Night Terrors is located in Ann Arbor just outside Detroit, MIchigan near and has one of the scariest haunted houses in America!  Prepare to scream!  Sit back and prepare to scream through our review of Night Terrors. This Halloween you can't miss the scariest and best haunted attraction in the entire state of Michigan, Wiard's Orchards' Night Terrors. Night Terrors which is not far from Detroit is one of the biggest hot beds for haunted houses more than 100 haunted attractions call this area home and Night Terrors stands out as one of the best overall experiences.  Why?  Because its the TOTAL Halloween experience unlike most of the haunts in and around the Detroit Michigan area Night Terrors is a COMPLETE Haunted Screampark with several haunted houses, and attractions.

To learn more about MIchigan's Wiard's Orchards' Night Terrors visit their websit below:
www.hauntedhousemichigan.com


 

TO FIND MORE HAUNTED HOUSES IN MICHIGAN CLICK HERE ... http://www.hauntworld.com/michigan_haunted_houses
 
If the University Of Michigan is Washtenaw County’s shining star, then Wiard’s Orchards’ Night Terrors is the dark cloud of doom off in the distance.  Just over the line from Ann Arbor in neighboring Ypsilanti, Night Terrors Thrills & Chills Park at Wiard’s Farm is a Michigan legend brought to horrific reality. They have 6 attractions (The Ultimate Haunted Barn, the Asylum, the Mindshaft, the Labyrinth, Hayride of The Lost and Alien Caged Clowns).  The original Ultimate Haunted Barn opened in 1984 making Wiard’s the oldest known Haunted Barn attraction in the USA. Every fall thousands of customers flock to Wiard’s Night Terrors to get their fill of fall fright! Wiard’s Orchards has been a family-owned business since 1837. Their focus was always on agriculture, but in 1984 they dipped their toes into the haunted event game. Their working staff immediately loved scaring just as much as the customers loved being scared, and so tradition was born.  Flash forward to the present (it will be 30 years this coming season!) and Night Terrors is home to 6 haunted events sprawled across almost 100 acres with over 115 actors.  While others have come and gone over the past three decades, Wiard’s survived and thrived, and after our visit to their impressive facility, we quickly learned why.

Upon entering from the parking lot, you can’t help but notice “The Ticket Coop” as it has a 10-ft tall, mutant-sized rooster perched atop of it.  While waiting in line, guests are entertained by sideshow performers and fireworks display.  Lots of haunts and scream parks offer queue line entertainment, but the quality varies.  This was top notch!  At the ticket window, we were given the option of ala carte, Package Pass or VIP Package Pass. The Alien Caged Clowns and Labyrinth only came with the Package Pass and for a few bucks more, you can upgrade to the VIP (which came with a free pass to their daytime Country Fair too!).  The VIP upgrade included a Disney-like Fast Pass (straight to the front of the line) and the Country Fair pass was a $13 added value!  With our glow-in-the-dark VIP necklaces in place, we set off down the torch-lit path to Night Terrors.  Upon exiting the path, we were met with a column of flames rocketing from a train atop the Mindshaft roof.  Presentation and detail are absolutely on-point at this haunted event.  We made our way back to the Hayride of The Lost to start our evening.  The Hayride of The Lost entrance is an old 1800’s looking structure with shop signs and wooden porches.  As you approach, you hear a creepy legend pumping out of hidden speakers telling the tale of the hayride and setting the haunting stage for what’s to come.  (Turns out the person reading is a BBC voice talent.)  The frontage is really impressive, and we were pleased to see they carried the theme inside the building where the same voice over was giving a set of safety instructions and warnings to guests waiting in line.  As instructed, we took the VIP path and quickly got on the very next hayride wagon.  I especially liked the efficiency by which the haunt ran.  It’s quite obvious they are tried and true with 30 years experience in the haunt industry.  The hayride wagon was good sized, and we had a nice mix of families and college aged kids riding with us.  Guests on the hayride were chuckling about the long ride out to the woods entrance.  It was definitely upping the anxiety of fear as everyone approached the haunted hayride trail.  Once you reach the trees, Hollywood quality lighting effects draw dramatic attention to the majesty of the tall trees and haunted forest giving everyone a sense of just how small we are in comparison to the dense forest.  The first scene is a Wild West style structure and the greeter that burst from the doors was hilarious and entertaining.  His warning was well done, and he additionally adlibbed in response to a teenage heckler.  Hiring quality haunt actors is important to Night Terrors. 
 
 
As we progressed into the hayride, every set design was large and varied.  For example, we passed a full-sized boat with a waterlogged fisherman, a flesh-eating bootlegger, a western town with an angry posse, a full sized antique train with ghouls, a Civil War encampment, a large cemetery and an oversized firehouse filled with murderous firemen.  Special effects ranged from fireballs to monsters flying overhead.  The scenes in each section were detailed and very well done, but because this trail is also part of their Country Fair Hayride, it’s less gruesome and gory than its sister attractions.  What it lacked in gore, it certainly made up for in solid scares and showmanship, and could be ranked THE MOST fun and entertaining haunted hayride of all time.  Everyone on our hayride was either screaming, laughing or crying at one point or another.  Everyone had a blast!  In fact, they all actually started applauding after the last scene.  Our ride concluded with a complimentary donut and cider which we scarfed on the way to our next haunted attraction. The Labyrinth doesn’t need as much of a write-up as the others, but it’s still a favorite for many and definitely worth noting.  An ominous tall brown stockade fence goes just above your line of site, so you can’t tell how large the maze is or where the way out might be. Along the way, there are towers that go off with sound and lighting effects as you pass under them.  In contrast to the silence and darkness, this is jarring and distracting as you’re constantly on guard for the species that lurk.  I’m not sure just how large their monster hallways are, but the actors were able to continually bombard us from both sides relentlessly.  We were turned around more than a few times and were genuinely lost for a bit. The disorientation brought much fright from those daring enough to enter.  The sign for the Labyrinth was a large hand-cut metal sign professionally backlit with leds.  I stopped counting after a while, but I’m pretty sure there were about a thousand leds that some poor tech had to wire by hand.  It added another flavor that fleshed out the “Thrills & Chills” park vibe.
 
Our next stop was the Alien Caged Clowns which was a large red building with a retro-spaceship sign blinking “Alien Caged Clowns”.  A chime went off and the ticket-taker pointed to the entrance.  When you walk through the red and white flaps you first notice the large handmade calliope with stairs going up into the middle of it.  Before you proceed, a voice to your left draws your attention. A disemboweled ringleader resting on his elbows atop a cage with his mouth and face cut and ravaged begins warning of the dangers ahead before sending you onward into the calliope.  Once you exit the stairs you find yourself in a vortex-spinning tunnel.  These are always quite cool.  While lots of haunts have them these days, the Night Terrors staff added two elements that greatly enhanced the experience: (1) The wobbly body language of the clown-creature that stalked us all the way down the bridge made that vertigo, seasick feeling even more intense, and (2) the addition of clown faces on the spiral tunnel carried the theme deeper.  

 
After exiting the tunnel, there’s a dark ramp that opens into a large foggy room of heavy fog, blinking lights and loud vintage carnival music.  The cage path twists and turns and double-backs on itself.  The actors obviously know the room well and how to work every moment the lights go out, because they kept coming out of thin air.  The setup in this event was really well done. There were two animatronic maniacal clowns, one with a honking horn and one with a large axe.  They were good eye-candy, but what impressed even more were the makeup jobs on each actor.  They were downright wicked and sold the inhuman concept really well.  This attraction was so well done that it left me wanting more, so my ONLY complaint would be my wish that it was longer (which the Night Terrors staff later informed me of their plans to change that for the coming 30th year anniversary season!)
 
The Asylum definitely has the coolest outside decor of all of the events. The Asylum sign is actually an antique hearse that the Night Terrors design team built.  All of the outer Asylum structure is covered in hand carved foam rocks that their design team also created.  The entrance to the line runs between two massive vintage lampposts at least 30 feet tall with a courtyard at the entrance enclosed by tall steel fencing and stone pillars. The fright-filled Asylum legend plays from the courtyard as you wait in line along the fencing.  The Night Terrors’ staff always does a good job of building the anticipation of fear prior to entering each attraction.

Our tickets were stamped at a fake security office, and we were allowed entrance after a phone call came in to the security guard.  Upon entering into a waiting room/study you are ordered to sit down by a tall man with a mangled face dressed in a doctor’s lab coat.  The detailed waiting room included an ornate fireplace, a chandelier, and wood panel walls.  The tall man in the lab coat, Dr. Wiard, gave a well-delivered warning.  From security office to waiting room, the acting once again holds to a high standard here at Wiard’s Night Terrors. 

After leaving the rather pleasant waiting area of the Asylum, the décor quickly changed from the warming wood walls to disgusting cold tile.  We were attacked by an eyeless irate guard, a screaming lunatic man in a wedding dress, a mutant giant who bent back his cell bars to come after us, and a skinner with a live victim sewn into a sewing machine.

After the sewing room, we were nearly crushed by a barrel rolling down the staircase as we fled into a large closet with camera flashes going off everywhere.  With their victims now blinded and disoriented, the actors managed ongoing successful scares as they ushered us toward the shock therapy room.  In this room, the Night Terrors crew creatively remade their Distortions Electric Chair.  They recorded their own soundtrack and turned it into a full-blown spectacle.  Wall-mounted crackers along with one of those fake sparking boxes really helped to sell the switch throwing, making their electric chair seem quite real.  

The next scene found us in a morgue with bodies sitting on large shelves of a giant cooler through freezer flaps. This was one of those white rooms with fog and strobes, but they also hung frozen corpses from the ceiling as obstacles.  You exit the white room into a wide open space with tall ceilings, and when you look up, you realize the room is upside down.  They affixed an entire furniture set mounted to the ceiling probably 20 feet high. They even have an upside down television stand.  Guests are left to wonder…Is the room really upside down or am I becoming as crazed as the Asylum patients?

The final scene was a tried-and-true chainsaw scare.  You come around the corner into an inflatable wall that pinches just below your shoulders.  Facing you is a huge operating theater with multiple levels going back.  They had dummies positioned all around behind the railing looking in your direction.  Just as you get about halfway through, the surgeon bombs you from above with the chainsaw, sending you running outside for safety. This event was well paced, good variety with tons and tons of detail.

Our second to last event was the Mindshaft.  The outside is a collapsed, condemned mine entrance with rocks, pick axes and other mining paraphernalia strewn about. This event also has the legend playing through speakers outside building anticipation.  Once you enter the indoor waiting area, you are met with a large cave wall, large beams supporting the ceiling, and pipes running everywhere.  At the base of the cave wall is a pile of rubble with skulls, miner’s caps and pick axes.  Upon entering the Mindshaft, we were given yet another well-written warning about what we would encounter once inside.  From that point on, the Mindshaft turns into a steady series of one-two punches that propel you forward. The focus in here is less gore and more ferociousness.  Air chisels, ringing bells and earthquake rumbles help to set the tone and keep you on edge.  More than once, we were almost on our hands and knees crawling through tunnels not sure what was on the other end.  We were met with exploding dynamite and a monstrous snake exploding from the wall.  They had also built a great prop that had you looking down a full-size mineshaft that went on forever.  Once we got through all of the loud noises and tight spaces, we found ourselves in a large cavernous tank where a corpse being eaten by a spider flew out at us from another shaft.  The final room is absolutely massive.  They have a fog/laser light false ceiling on the top of a pit so you can't see anything below. 
 

After the last angry miner spirit drove us from the pit, we were hit with one last blast from an oncoming train.  I really loved how this one kept you flying almost the entire time.  There were some dark hallways where you had to feel around. The entire event had textured rock walls which helped to sell that realistic feel.  This event was much like The Asylum attraction where you had scene after scene after scene and excellent detail throughout. Our final stop was their famous and longest running attraction, the Ultimate Haunted Barn. The exterior of the barn is hand-painted with the original orchard logo and has various farm paraphernalia on the outside of it.  Since this is the original barn it looks as it should.  The ticket-taker lets people enter through a sliding barn door.  Immediately, we find ourselves in a boxed-in porch area with a series of old TVs scattered amongst farm debris.  The extremely demented footage that we are subjected to was apparently concocted by Brandon Wiard, their film expert on staff.  After taking in the gore, we are led into another chamber which looks like something from the TV show Hoarders.  A disheveled man in overalls and a straw hat greeted us.  It would be an understatement to say this guy was good.  I tried complimenting him on his performance and he didn't flinch or break character at all (which was that of a hermit out of his mind). After yet another well-written introduction, we were on our way.  From that point on, it was go time and their actors let us have it!  We had madmen clawing at our feet, chainsaws flying overhead, oversized pigs bum rushing us from trapdoors, a live victim being butchered and other nasties along the way. This is another dark light event but the level of detail is still high.  Brandon fondly recalled one customer who stopped dead in his tracks while his girlfriend took off screaming.  One of their guides checked to make sure he was okay, and he said he was just taking in all of the detail work in the scene. The Ultimate Haunted Barn exited into their Country Store, so we compared notes while munching on fresh donuts and hot cider!
 

TO FIND MORE HAUNTED HOUSES IN MICHIGAN CLICK HERE ... http://www.hauntworld.com/michigan_haunted_houses
  Posted by Larry 2.10 PM Read Comments ()
 
 
 
 
The Darkness Haunted House Tour Coming March 20-23, St Louis, Mo
Wed, January 15, 2014
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St. Louis, Missouri - The Darkness Haunted House

By Hauntworld Magazine

TO FIND MORE HAUNTED HOUSES IN MISSOURI CLICK HERE ... http://www.hauntworld.com/missouri_haunted_houses

The Darkness will open its doors to the entire haunted house industry March 20-23, 2014 during the national Transworld Halloween and Haunt Tradeshow.  Get all the details at www.TheDarkness.com including tickets.  The tour includes behind the scenes tours to live actors making haunters scream! We figured this was the perfect time to feature one of Americas Best Haunted Houses just prior to the haunt tours. The Darkness is America's Scariest and Best Haunted House located in the heart of downtown St Louis Missouri next to Soulard Market.  The Darkness is full of amazing animations, special fx, live actors, unreal Hollywood level set design and has been featured on multiple television shows!  Prepare to learn the history and secrets of The Darkness!
 
To learn more about St. Louis, Missouri's The Darkness visit their websit below:
www.Scarefest.com

The Darkness also opens each year to the Haunt Industry for a special tour get more details about the annual March tour at www.TheDarkness.com


 

TO FIND MORE HAUNTED HOUSES IN MISSOURI CLICK HERE ... http://www.hauntworld.com/missouri_haunted_houses
 
The Darkness Haunted House is one of the longest running haunted houses in America and one of the most well-known haunted attractions in the World.  The Darkness has operated in downtown St. Louis for over 20 Halloween seasons first opening its doors in 1994.  The Darkness has been featured on more national television shows than any other haunted house in the country including The Today Show, Shipping Wars, National Geographic Channel, NFL Network, Travel Channel and even Modern Marvels.  Producers of Halloween themed television shows keep coming back to film again and again at The Darkness for one reason…The Darkness is not your ordinary haunted house.  We will explore the history of The Darkness Haunted House the impact it has had on the haunt industry and where this legendary haunted house is headed into the future.

When the Darkness was first conceived owner Larry Kirchner was looking for a location in the downtown St. Louis area and came upon a huge boarded up building which in its heyday built everything from shoes to baby cribs.   Construction started on The Darkness in the summer of 1994 located on the second floor inside this 37,000 square foot building.  The first year it cost approximately $150,000 to construct the entire attraction.  In comparison, this 2014 it will cost $250,000 to $300,000 to simply renovate the attraction.  In its very first season, the Darkness was named the best haunted house in St. Louis by the city’s major daily newspaper, The Post-Dispatch, and 20 years later in 2013 another newspaper, The Riverfront Times, confirmed The Darkness is STILL the best in St. Louis.  The Darkness has set a standard for St. Louis haunted houses which has become difficult for even The Darkness itself to match, creating a market of haunt critics who know if and when you change something, if it was or is scarier than previous seasons, and if the length was or wasn’t increased.  There is a lot of pressure each year on the crew of The Darkness to meet the expectations of their own customers, but time and again they not only meet but exceed those expectations, setting the bar even higher.

In 1994 when The Darkness was being conceived, the creative team (known today as Halloween Productions) struggled with names for the attraction.  John Denley, a friend of owner Larry Kirchner, recommended Professor Orbs, and while Larry toyed with the idea, even asking a local artist to see if a logo could be developed, that name was abandoned rather quickly.  From there a massive list was brainstormed on paper and included everything from “Nightmare this” to “Nightmare that”.  This proved harder than naming one’s child, until one day during build-out they came across a story about the building referring to it as THE SUNSHINE FACTORY.  The irony was obvious, considering the building was completely boarded up and in complete darkness, but on the back exterior of the building, there it was again, painted on the building THE SUNSHINE FACTORY.  The huge building featured over 400 windows to allow ample sunlight for factory workers back in a day when electric wasn’t available.  The name at that point became obvious.  What was once a sunshine factory is now a factory of complete darkness and THE DARKNESS name was born.
 
The Darkness experienced instant success attracting nearly 30,000 guests in its first year, and in later years would reach nearly 50,000 per season.  The year after The Darkness was opened, Kirchner visited Spookyworld, a haunt owned and operated by David Bertolino which featured a horror museum, multiple haunts, a hayride, gift store and several Special Event nights with horror movie actors signing autographs.  Soon after, Halloween Productions decided to develop its haunted attraction into The Darkness Haunted Screampark which included 13 holes of Horror Mini Golf, a horror museum, Horror Celeb Nights, an arcade, a horror theater, nightly magic shows and even a carnival at the exit.  
 
Sadly, the old Sunshine building where The Darkness called home was eventually sold for renovation into an apartment complex.  Halloween Productions bought the smaller building next door, and ever since The Darkness is and always will be its permanent resident.  However, the new building was only 20,000 square feet, and could only house The Darkness Haunted House.  No longer could they fit all the elements of their Screampark style haunt.  
 

Halloween Productions additionally builds attractions World Wide, and they needed more space.  So in 2009, they built an addition to their building adding 16,000 square feet more!  The building addition would cost in excess of $600,000, but it added a much needed work space for Halloween Productions AND helped bring back elements of The Darkness by adding a horror museum, a gift store and a new attraction called Terror Visions in 3D.

2009 brought many new exciting twists to the legacy of The Darkness Haunted House.  Transworld, the producer of the Halloween retail show, announced they would produce the first ever Haunted Attraction Industry tradeshow and it would be located in St. Louis, Missouri in March of ‘09.  This Haunted Attraction tradeshow would bring over 5000 haunted house owners, operators, amusement parks and entertainment facility managers to St. Louis to buy everything from animations, props & special FX to masks & costumes and even complete haunted houses.  This allowed an opportunity for The Darkness to open to the haunted house industry that March.  Opening for the haunt industry brings a lot of pressure with the customers being haunt owners themselves.  The tradeshow, now located annually in St. Louis, forces The Darkness team to constantly raise the bar with over-the-top renovations, spending in excess of 2.5 million dollars to build custom & never before seen FX like the now famous Swamp House room, the Falling Barrel Wall scene and the Ice Scream Truck, plus all the Hollywood level scenes and horrific sets.  Many of the biggest prop and animation companies in the industry have also joined the fray to help The Darkness exceed expectations yearly.  These companies too have the opportunity to showcase to haunt owners their amazing props and animations showcasing them IN ACTION inside The Darkness!  Companies like Unit 70, Gore Galore and Ghost Ride are some of the main companies who have invested the most time to create mind blowing animations and more for the annual DARKNESS haunt tours (www.TheDarkness.com).
 
What makes The Darkness so well-known across not only St. Louis or even the haunt industry but WORLD WIDE?  Because of its innovation in technology, set design and marketing, The Darkness annually welcomes visitors from across the World and even celebs have visited.  The entire crew of the Miley Cyrus tour and the entire cast of Phantom of the Opera have visited The Darkness, plus they’ve hosted several horror celebrity Event Nights with guests like Elvira, Linda Blair, Robert England, the late great Bobby Boris Picket of Monster Mash Fame and more. 

With over 20 years in haunting, The Darkness has seen a lot of things change from trying to find good latex masks to life-like silicon monsters, from using endless loop cassettes to digital audio that you can trigger upon command.  Technology has greatly changed not only The Darkness but the entire haunted house industry, and The Darkness has always been at the forefront of those changes.  The Darkness was the first haunt in the industry to create and utilize computer generated special FX, also known as CGI.  Halloween Productions was the first company to offer multi-motion animations for sale to the haunt industry and through that experience was one of the first haunts to have a massive amount of animations within their haunt.  The Darkness has been the site of over 30 produced how-to videos sold to the haunt industry with instruction on how to build sets, create gore scenes, operate a successful haunted house and more.  The biggest selling how-to video of all time in the haunt industry was filmed inside The Darkness in 1995 called How to Create Your Own Haunted House which sold over 50,000 copies worldwide.  

The haunt industry knew of The Darkness in St. Louis even before the internet, but now it’s come to know the attraction on a personal level thanks to the Transworld Halloween and Haunt Tradeshow.  Because of the tradeshow, The Darkness crew spends at least two to three times more time and more money redesigning their attraction annually than if the show was not located in St. Louis due to the immense pressure to open to the haunt industry.  Every year as the Transworld show nears, the long hours and tensions increase towards efforts to create something unexpected for the industry to marvel.  Halloween Productions crew members admit the environment can become tense.  It’s not easy opening for the haunt industry.  Every year, The Darkness crew wants to amaze their guests and amaze themselves too, and the time frame to rebuild the attraction from November to March is a tall order.  Every year they build new sets, scenes and special FX plus work with vendors for new creations all while trying to additionally build their booth and decide what to exhibit new at the show.  Everything adds up to a real life reality show.
 

To even have a chance to open in time for the haunt industry by March, Larry Kirchner must start planning his renovations prior to even opening for the Halloween season in October.  “When I see The Darkness over and over again trying to open the haunt for Halloween season, and when I walk through thousands of times perfecting and fixing things or checking on actors during the season, I start to see and realize the scenes I want to replace.  The crew and I figure out early in October, sometimes even September, which scenes must go.  Typically, it’s around 2-3 rooms on the first floor, another 2-3 on the second floor of The Darkness, some renovated existing scenes, plus new scenes for Terror Visions 3D and some new monsters for the horror museum.  Any scene that is left as-is must be a scene that the haunt industry might feel is worth seeing again, and that isn’t easy,” says Kirchner.     
 
 
In early October, the new scenes, special FX, animations and more are decided upon and vendors are called and brought up to speed on the new vision.  Some vendors even travel to The Darkness to measure, plot and plan.  Next, drawings are created to give everyone a more exact idea of what they’ll be creating.  Once the season ends, a massive dumpster is brought in and an army of people start tearing out old scenes.  When The Darkness is cleaned out, the long process of building movie-level sets and special effects ensues until finally one night in March the haunt re-opens bringing an entirely new level of stress…Will the haunt industry respond positive?  “The best day of the year for our team is the day after the Transworld show is over, because finally we all take a well-deserved week off for recovery!” says Kirchner.  “Opening for the haunt industry has been a curse and a blessing,” describes Kirchner, “a curse because the stress can take a toll on our entire crew, but a blessing too because over the last five years my staff and I have creatively pushed ourselves to levels we may never have realized we’re capable of achieving.  It’s helped us create a new line of How-To videos for the haunt industry. It’s helped us learn faster ways to create amazing detail which in turn helped us build better haunted attractions for our clients worldwide too.  Now going on our 6th renovation for the Haunt industry, the stress has turned to excitement.  We’ve taken all the things we’ve learned from the last five years and become better at everything we do.  We have more confidence.  Something we at times dreaded, feared and stressed over has now become something we enjoy.  We look forward to entertaining and inspiring haunted attraction owners from around the World!”
 

The Darkness has more in store, more to offer than ever before, but the World around us has changed and even as The Darkness changes its themes, scenes and FX, the haunt itself needs to evolve in an ever changing World.  The marketing of a haunt use to be so simple; now everything has changed.  The owners of the Darkness feel their haunt needs to evolve more from the marketing and promotion side to find new customers and get them excited to attend the haunt than ever before, because it’s hard to reach target audiences in today’s world.  “No longer can you get by simply updating or changing your haunt,” says Kirchner.  Moving into 2014, The Darkness is undergoing a massive renovation for the Haunt Show and the Halloween season which will include some of the most amazing stunts, special FX and scene designs EVER attempted, but it doesn’t stop there.  Once the scenes are done, the paint dries, and the animations have been tested, it’s time to re-energize the fans with clever ways to market this St. Louis haunt.  

The Darkness hasn’t attracted crowds nearing 50,000 in a decade.  Ticket prices have risen sharply and competition from a multitude of entertainment has embraced this new generation.  The Darkness plans to not only renovate the haunt itself but renovate its approach to marketing too.  They intend to create the most unique promotional vehicle ever, complete with computer FX and more.  The implementation of an Actor Troupe will emerge to do parades and events.  They will develop new logos and create aps to help promote the attraction.  In many cases, they intend to get back to the basics with efforts towards getting their haunted attraction in front of real people the old fashion way.

During the last 20 plus years, there have been so many drastic changes, from the invention of the web to almost all media being digital based.  The owners of The Darkness believe to keep a haunted house relevant you must build a national awareness of your event.  You must never assume you know enough, never stop pushing the envelope, and never stop pushing yourself to greatness.  “Every year we grow an even deeper sense of confidence that some might find off-putting, but that’s not our intent.  We just feel if you love what you’ve done, then you can sell it, promote it and be confident about who you are and where you are going.  Confidence, Fearlessness, Loud, and Proud…You feel these things when you think you’ve achieved something great, and when you believe you have the certainty and ability to go even farther!” says Kirchner.  “It’s a great place to be, and if I could advise someone, I’d encourage…You should never judge yourself and your accomplishments against what others think about you, but what you yourself know you can and will achieve.” 
 

The Darkness Haunted House is one of our industry’s greatest haunts.  It’s blazed its own trail of innovation, something that has been rewarded with 20 plus years of scaring people.  The Darkness is filled with breathtaking scenes, millions of dollars of special FX, props, animations, one of a kind scenes, gaps, scares and screams.  Plus, there’s Terror Visions 3D, an add-on haunted attraction found after completing The Darkness Haunted House.  Terror Visions has been hailed by the industry as the best blacklight 3D haunted house in the industry.  For this attraction too, the Halloween Productions crew continues to strive to innovate, improve and go over-the-top for the haunt industry every March during Transworld’s Haunt Show.  

Will The Darkness one day close?  Because The Darkness continues to reinvent itself for an ever changing community always looking for new forms of entertainment, its longevity is secure.  The Darkness is and always will be trying to stay ahead of the curve.  Truthfully, The Darkness may never close, because Larry Kirchner has handed the haunt bug down to his own kids, and they dream of a day they can put Dad into retirement, so they can take over.  True story!  Realistically though, all great things come to an end eventually, but The Darkness like many other long lasting haunts such as Edge of Hell in Kansas City and Haunted Schoolhouse in Akron seem to be woven into the fabric of their community.

The Darkness will open for the Transworld Show March 20-23, 2014.  The newly renovated Darkness will include several new scary scenes including Medusa’s Lair with a fully animated Medusa character masterfully created by Unit 70. The new Bone Muncher Monster scene will feature a room of bones with one giant animated bone munching monster created by Gore Galore designed to touch, grab and eat the guests.  Upstairs, The Darkness will feature three massive new haunt scenes including the coolest most high-tech decrepit bathroom ever attempted, a room with an animated actor ridden wheelchair that storms down a staircase, and a must-see scariest haunt scene called Sawzilla with a special effect that might just be the most talked about FX of the year.  Sawzilla will feature an enormous destructive saw carved through the ceiling designed to terrify haunted house guests as it cuts everything in half!  The Darkness is trying to become more interactive and more extreme in 2014 by creating extensions for actors and animations designed to touch and engulf every horrified victim.  The Green House scene is also being renovated.  They’re building a massive Venus Fly Trap that you actually walk THROUGH, but once in the middle it attempts to swallow you whole.

A blacklight haunt readily allows for video CGI effects to beautifully enhance and add high-end depth and dimension to the scenery of a 3D haunted house, so inside the now famous Terror Visions 3D Haunted House, they are adding several new video FX, and a new scene with yet another giant actor controlled animation created by Gore Galore that will grab and eat guests.  Kirchner says, “This will be the biggest renovation we’ve yet attempted, and we can’t wait to see the haunt industry’s reaction and then our guests’ reaction in Halloween season 2014!”

To learn more about the haunt tour in March visit www.TheDarkness.com and to learn more about The Darkness for the Halloween season visit www.Scarefest.com
 
 

TO FIND MORE HAUNTED HOUSES IN MISSOURI CLICK HERE ... http://www.hauntworld.com/missouri_haunted_houses

Here is a Video of the 2013 Transworld Darkness Haunted House Tour see what you missed and make sure to attend in 2014! 



 
  Posted by Larry 1.11 AM Read Comments ()
 
 
 
 
Hauntworld Reviews Orlando Year Around Haunted House
Thu, January 09, 2014
() Comments


Kissimmee, Florida - Legend's A Haunting At Old Town

By Dale Lucas

TO FIND MORE HAUNTED HOUSES IN FLORIDA CLICK HERE ... http://www.hauntworld.com/florida_haunted_houses

Orlando Florida Haunted Houses are some of the scariest and best in America!  Hauntworld.com rates and review the best haunted houses, haunted attractions, and Halloween events in America!  Legend's A Haunting At Old Town is located in Kissimmee, Florida near Orlando and has one of the scariest haunted houses in America!  Prepare to scream!  Sit back and prepare to scream through our review of Legend's. This Halloween you can't miss the scariest and best haunted attraction in the entire state of Florida, Legend's A Haunting At Old Town The Legend of Old Town is a YEAR AROUND haunted attraction open every night in the biggest tourist town in America ready to make you scream.  When you are looking for things to do in Orlando Florida especially at night take a visit to the ONLY and BEST year around haunted house in Orlando Florida.

To learn more about Kissimmee, Florida's Legend's A Haunting At Old Town visit their websit below:
www.legendsoldtown.com


 

TO FIND MORE HAUNTED HOUSES IN FLORIDA CLICK HERE ... http://www.hauntworld.com/florida_haunted_houses
 
Picture if you will a lovely, all-American street dotted with brightly-colored buildings and cheery, festive lights.  Shoppers and strollers float merrily down the lane… only to pause for a moment before a shadowy, solitary structure that seems somehow out of place in such a blissful atmosphere: a seemingly-abandoned, reportedly haunted house.  Many of these same passers-by will press their faces to the darkened windows of the gloomy edifice, hoping to catch a glimpse of what terrors might linger within.  To their disappointment, only darkness stares back.

This is not the set-up for some grainy old ‘70s horror film, but rather, a snapshot of what was a closed down haunted attraction in Kissimmee Florida, located in the heart of the Old Town entertainment complex.  The Haunted Grimm House, which had operated there for 25 years, had closed its doors. 

 
But Dallas haunters, Jim Shackelford and Jay Westerman, along with their Orlando-based partner, Dan Carro, saw potential and dove into the daunting task of building a whole new haunted attraction in the old Grimm House location.  They liked the potential the location had to offer.  Old Town is a walking district in Kissimmee with a unique collection of shops, rides, dining options, amusements, events and night life.  Renovations began in February of 2013, as the building was gutted to the studs and the creative team undertook the labor of designing an entirely new haunt experience for the space.

The all-new show titled Legends A Haunting at Old Town challenges guests to enter the halls of Ashdown and Son's Undertakers.  As the new attraction's story goes, the mortuary was established in 1889 by Archibald Ashdown, an unscrupulous undertaker who drummed up business by poisoning perfectly healthy townsfolk and interring them alive while their unsuspecting loved ones paid prime dollar for inflated funeral expenses. 
 
 
Fast forward to the present: Ashdown's evil deeds have awakened something dark within the mortuary. Now, the dead won't stay dead and Ashdown's victims are returning to exact their revenge upon the Ashdowns—and anyone else they may find roaming within the mortuary halls.

“Story is important to us,” says Carro, who has worked as a freelance artist, writer and director for several well-known Orlando attractions.  “Not just our back-story, but our guest's story. Our real story is about a night when a group of people got more than what they bargained for while taking a tour of a mortuary and our guests are the stars.”

“We're right around the corner from some of the greatest attractions in the world,” says Westerman, “so we knew we had to create a high quality experience for our guests.  Most of our visitors would’ve just spent the day at one or more of Florida’s greatest theme parks, so our goal was to give them a theme park worthy experience at our haunted attraction too.”

Shackelford, with his degrees in interior architecture and design as well as several years of experience working in an actual mortuary, was the perfect man to bring authenticity to Legends.  “We wanted this to feel like you were walking into a real place,” says Shackelford.  “It needed to look lived-in and functional as a mortuary.”  As such, a great deal of thought went into the look of each room.  Antique furniture and actual funerary items were sought out and used throughout the haunt, including real embalming tables, caskets, church pews and antique Victorian funeral items.

Several custom pieces were also created for Legends, including two full-sized animatronics of the sinister Archibald Ashdown, the show's icon character.  Ashdown was brought to pneumatic life by Ed Edmunds of Distortions Unlimited and was even featured on an episode of Travel Channel's ‘Making Monsters’.

“People often ask what separates us from what the big parks are doing at Halloween,” says Carro, “and let me say we are first in line to see those shows. We live for them!  But the big difference with us is we are year-round.  So you can come get scared in March if you feel so inclined.  Also, we don't have to be ‘people eaters.’  We aren't taking in thousands of guests every night.  We don't allow groups larger than six people. So you get a more intimate experience. We can take our time with you. Learn your names.  Figure out what really scares you and use that to tailor our performance for you.  It’s an incredible haunting experience!”

That incredible performance is given by true haunt actors, hand-picked from year-round attractions such as the classic Terror on Church Street, Skull Kingdom and seasonal giants such as Universal's Halloween Horror Nights and Busch Garden's Howl-O-Scream.  “We are so fortunate to have a fantastic team who knows their stuff,” assures Westerman.
 

While reviews for Legends A Haunting at Old Town by the Central Florida press and national and various travel writers have been decidedly positive, there are still challenges that come with operating a year-round haunted house that seasonal haunts rarely have to consider.  Many haunts operate for a month or two at a time and usually only on weekends.  Legends is open Tuesdays through Sundays, all year long, including holidays.  This means that animatronics, props and sets accumulate a full season's worth of wear and tear in only a matter of weeks.  

“There's definitely more upkeep to be done,” says Shackelford.  “But the artists and techs on our team are very good. They're up to the challenge.”

Another peril of year-round haunting: keeping the show fresh for performers and guests alike.  “Repetition is a sure-fire wire to make things boring for performers, so our actors aren't chained to a particular set,” says Shackelford.  “We designed our show to be a playground.  The haunt actors can and do go anywhere.  Plus, this design allows for more extreme acting!”

“We had a group come through three times in a row,” Carro recollects. “After their second trip through, we completely changed the show up.  We could hear one of the patrons through the wall counting the differences. ‘There was a guy over there before…Where did he go?’”

Like any good haunt, Legends will make new additions before next Halloween such as upgraded costumes, new animations and quality effects, plus an icon-character merchandise line for the gift shop and even a Ghost Tour that will launch in 2014.  

One room that rarely changes however is The Chapel.  It’s a favorite set-piece among cast and guests alike.  “It's the finale,” says Carro.  “We wanted to make sure we had a full storyline with a set-up, a rising action, a finale, and an epilogue just like any good story.  The Chapel is definitely our finale.”  
 

The Chapel is certainly the largest room guests enter in the haunt.  Having just traveled through a tight labyrinth of hallways, guests then enter into a large detailed set filled with flowers, church pews, a large pipe organ and an open casket.  The room is quiet enough... at first.  But as guests move further into the scene, all hell breaks loose as several animatronics and live actors descend from all angles.

“Guests are hysterical getting through here,” laughs Westerman. “This is where guys leave girlfriends behind, mothers abandon their children.  Fight or flight kicks in.  People really freak out!”

While Shackelford, Carro and Westerman refuse to boast whether they are the goriest, the longest, or even the scariest haunt on the market, they all proudly agree that their guests are consistently pleased and terrified.  “I think people are surprised by how much entertainment they get from a satellite attraction in the Orlando market, which is our benchmark of success,” says Shackelford.  “Plus, a wonderful thing for us is our location.  Many of our guests come to shop, dine or experience the rides at Old Town with no idea that they were going to wind up in a haunted house that night.  For many, it's been months since they thought about Halloween or haunted houses and now they're coming in cold and really getting scared to death.  It's a good feeling.”
 

TO FIND MORE HAUNTED HOUSES IN FLORIDA CLICK HERE ... http://www.hauntworld.com/florida_haunted_houses

orlando haunted house year around
  Posted by Larry 1.05 AM Read Comments ()
 
 
 
 

Find Haunted Houses, Haunted Attractions, Real haunted houses, the best and scariest attractions in the World.  Hauntworld.com 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 www.Hauntworld.com.  Hauntworld.com helps you find real haunted houses, zombie runs, fall festivals, Halloween and Haunted Attractions.  Hauntworld.com is also the best place to find year around haunted houses across the World including the biggest and the best haunted house attractions.  Hauntworld.com 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 Hauntworld.com 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 Hauntworld.com is the biggest and best haunted website on the planet!  Halloween has gone crazy in America and now the World and Hauntworld.com 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! 

 
 
 
 

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