New York Haunted Houses can be found here at www.Hauntworld.com. Are you looking for the biggest, best and scariest haunted houses in New York? Every haunted attraction in New York from haunted houses, haunted attractions, hayrides, corn mazes, Screamparks, to everything between can be found on these pages. If you are looking for the best and scariest haunted houses in Buffalo, Rochester, Long Island, Poughkeepsie or New York, New York the scariest haunts are found here at HauntWorld. New York Haunted Houses are some of the best and scariest haunted houses in the United States. We offer a zip code finder so you can locate the scariest haunted houses in New York closer to where you live.
Not your average ‘scarytale’ - Grim take on brothers’ stories at playhouse
Organ grinder music played while an ashen-faced circus barker beckoned to patrons between breaks of blowing fire into the air outside the Gateway Playhouse Friday night. Once inside, audience members realized they got a little more than they originally bargained for under the theatre’s big top, a re-imagining of Grimms’ fairytales.
“If you don’t want to get scared, then don’t go in,” said 14-year-old Rocky Point resident Nikki Garguilo, who was the winner of the Gateway’s Facebook contest granting her the privilege of being the first to enter the ‘haunt’ — as playhouse staff calls it — this year as part of the preview. Between breaths, the teen, who makes a point of visiting as many haunted houses as she can every fall, said she was particularly impressed with the Gateway’s production this time around. To her, most haunted houses have characters who are predictable, but not the Gateway, where once you think you are done, characters like a pair of raven-headed creatures dressed in the black and white tunics of Roman Catholic clergy follow you through the maze. “It’s like, ‘What are you?’ and ‘Why are you here?’ ” said Nikki, who felt her way through the pitch black ‘haunt’ with her three friends in tow. “They made us scream at the top of our lungs.”
The playhouse’s crew has transformed the seating area into a distorted, nightmarish version of the fairytales and nursery rhymes so familiar from childhood, leaving little to the imagination. Once inside the playhouse, patrons Friday met up with some not-so-fairytale revelers, including demonic versions of Little Miss Muffet, the Pied Piper and his children, not to mention a visit to Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother’s house in the woods. It’s all part of a story that plays out amid the backdrop of moving walls with secret compartments, where actors play out the stories of tortured souls caught up in a fairytale gone awry, according to Mike Baker, the playhouse’s company manager. Leading reporters past the operation’s brain — a room that controls sound and animatronics — down a long hallway as artists put the finishing touches on the set, Baker described the way everything (and everyone) in the production pulls together to tell the story in one word, more or less.
“This is crazy,” he said, talking above varying degrees of hammering, while techies scrambled about, talking on headsets. As the maze continues, compartments drop out revealing actors walking by in other areas, then a hallway features realistic-looking-and-feeling body bags hanging from the ceiling; a room is maneuvered to make it appear as though the walls are closing in, then in another room, the ceiling comes down, and yet another hallway becomes a glow-in-the-dark mineshaft with funhouse mirrors. The elements of disorientation are only enhanced by one thing: the darkness.
“When it is dark outside, it is very dark in the ‘haunt,’ ” Baker said.
There’s a degree of control to the all of the craziness, though. All of the actors know their places and the roles that they are charged with playing. Some of the actors are stationary, confined to one room; others have the freedom to move around the ‘haunt.’ This year’s ‘haunt’ features a mix of actors, including some locals who have been doing the show for years.
“It’s just fun,” said 20-year-old Bellport resident Amber Mallon, a participant in the haunted playhouse production for five years. Mallon shaved her head except for a small patch to clip a long, curly ponytail hairpiece. Though she desperately misses her hair now, she knows it will grow back in time. “I’ve always had weird hair, so it was not too big of a change. I had a mohawk for forever, so I really didn’t have much hair anyway.”
Wearing a dark blue baby-doll dress, Mallon giggled girlishly in character contemplating her role when asked what exactly it was.
“I’m just disgusting, just creepy,” Mallon said, continuing to giggle. “I haven’t felt it out yet, so I don’t really know too much of what it is.”
Fellow actress Kristi Baldwin, 21, of Yaphank, claimed to be in love with her character, a bearded lady.
“You gotta get used to it, the glue and stuff, but it tickles, you know, because I am not used to it,” said Baldwin, pulling her long brown, scraggly beard down into a point. “It’s fun because I get to flirt with a bunch of people and freak ‘em out. I have a little kid with me who is going to be freaking people out, too.”
“He’s around somewhere,” she added, laughing about her errant little partner.
Staying focused while having fun, as well the actors being open to change are what makes the production successful, according to Baker.
“If you try something you think really works and you like it, great!” he told a group of actors before curtain call. “I am not going to say, ‘What are you doing? You are supposed to stand here.’ ”
What is expected is the unexpected.
“You are all here because you can all improvise,” he said. “Remember some of the story if you get stuck — you are all trapped in this fairytale, your souls have been sucked out. You are stuck here. You have no other choice. This is what you are doing. This is it.”
DATES OF OPERATION IN RED - click on RED DATE for hours
Featured Content :
It's the GRAVEST show on earth! You’ll journey into the darkest corners of your mind, as you travel through twisted corridors, and mind tripping labyrinths with heart pounding scares at every turn. A macabre carnival known as the Grimmling Family Traveling Show brings horrific fairy tales to life, as evil spreads through this gruesome haunt.
Highlights of Attractions :
Professional actors, make-up artists and designers from Long Island’s oldest professional theatre have won this attraction numerous “Best Haunt” awards. In 2011, named to USA Today’s “Top Ten Haunted Houses in New York.” Refreshments available. Recommended for mature audiences.
Special Events :
$10 discount - Preview weekend on Sept. 27-28.
Check in via Foursquare to win great prizes - including a behind-the-scenes "R.I.P." tour!
NY Gateway's Haunted Playhouse DIRECTIONS: From Sunrise Highway Exit 56 Station Road south to South Country Road. Left on South Country Road for 1/2 mile, theater on your left. From Southern State Parkway Exit 44 Sunrise Highway East. Exit 56. Station Road south to South Country Road. Left on South Country Road for 1/2 mile, theater on your left. Directions by Google Maps Gadgets powered by Google From Long Island Expressway (I495) Exit 62 South - Route 97 (Nichols Road) Go 5 miles to Route 27 East (Sunrise Highway) Go 5 miles to Exit 56 South Station Road Go 2 miles to South Country Road. Make a Left on South Country Road - go 1/2 mile, theater on your left. 215 South Country Road Bellport
Long Island New York is the home of one of the scariest haunted houses in America called Gateway's Haunted Playhouse. New York has many incredible haunted houses and Hauntworld rates and reviews the best haunted attractions in America. Hauntworld can help you find hundreds of haunted houses in New York and Long Island.
Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse is the rare occasion that brings the words “haunted house” and “professional theatre” together in the same sentence. And, although these thoughts appear to be worlds apart, the Gateway Playhouse proves that the two subjects not only go — but also can grow — together …And GROW they have!
The Gateway Playhouse is located in Bellport, N.Y.—a coastal village that lies on Long Island’s south shore, 60 miles east of Manhattan. The Gateway, now a non-profit organization, was first established in 1950 and remains the region’s oldest professional theatre. Since the early days of summer stock shows, limited staff and shoestring budgets, the organization currently employs over 200 theatre professionals who cast, design, build, stage and perform in nearly ten Broadway quality productions each year. Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse first launched in 2009, during the middle of America’s “great recession.” Paul Allan, the theatre’s managing producer, recalls that this haunted house move had been discussed for several years prior, as a way to compliment the theatre’s main business. “Our staff originated the idea of doing a haunted house. We would talk about it at the end of production meetings for our summer shows — or often times after work over a few drinks,” Allan said. “Our summer season of musicals ends in September and many of our creative staff and technicians worked at haunts in New York and across the country during our down time. Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse was born because they were enthusiastic about creating our own haunt.”
For Allan, a haunted house has all the elements of a great theatrical performance and also allows the theatre’s artists to exercise every fiber of their creative muscle. Compared to a theatrical production that has a predetermined script and setting, the haunt provides a blank slate that is ripe for creativity. One such creator is haunt director Michael Baker, a longtime aficionado of haunted attractions. Every year, Baker, Allan and the theatre’s staff set a new theme and concept for each version of Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse. These stories are built on historical facts and are often spun from the theatre’s rich history. One such story involved the horrible creations of a demented prop maker from the early days of the theatre, while another showed the lasting effects of a vengeful caretaker. These tales come to life when placed against the backdrop of the Gateway property — a mix of different architectures that create a macabre visual appearance when properly lit. Some buildings remain from the original settlement, now centuries old, while others were constructed by the prominent Mott family after the Civil War. It is widely believed that members of the Mott family still haunt the playhouse and its surrounding buildings.
Recently, the theme has been borrowed from strange occurrences outside the theatre. Long Island is home to many government laboratories — each with their own unique lore — which provided the groundwork for the creation of a government controlled airborne virus brought havoc to the surrounding community of Bellport. As a result, 2012’s haunt was christened “Hellport” and a dystopian version of the tranquil village was reproduced inside the walkthrough attraction.
Once a theme has been decided, Baker begins conversations with wig and makeup designer Trent Pcenicni, who sketches specific characters that deepen the storyline. Each room in the haunt will be themed around the lives of these individuals. Baker and Pcenicni take great care to include a wide assortment of characters and types of scares so that people of all ages and backgrounds — from those who plunge head first into the haunt, to those who cower at the tail end of each group — are affected by what’s inside. This mixture of characters and effects is designed to assault all bodily senses for the scariest haunted house experience possible. In some rooms, pungent odors of rotting flesh and raw sewage clog the air. In others, patrons wade their way through a sinking floor and feel their way through a dark room, blockaded by bodybags suspended from the ceiling like hanging meat in a haunted butcher shop. Around another corner, patrons cower in fear as they come face-to-face with a shower of sparks created by a burly, chainsaw wielding psycho who wildly slices through an electrified fence. While these haunting characters provide ample scares for patrons, their sensorial assault is also used to setup a deeper, subtle, more lasting fright: the “psychological” scare. This haunt technique utilizes the character’s inner emotional state — not just what the character is doing — to achieve its outcome.
Pcenicni describes a “naked man” character in order to illustrate how a “psychological” scare can be effective when placed against other types of terror. During one haunt sequence, patrons had their senses jarred by a sequence of moving floors, a loud “startle scare” in an electrocution chamber, and an eerie environment filled with televisions emitting static. They then discovered a character that appeared to be nude, lying motionless and speechless on the floor of the following room. Despite not having to speak or move, the actor accomplished his scare, because he remained true to his story. Moreover, patrons continued to rave over the existence of this ‘naked man’ long after exiting the haunted house, even as they walked to their cars.
This type of committed, live actor gives Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse its unique intimacy. Quality acting has long been synonymous with the Gateway name, as actors such as Robert Duvall, David Carradine and Gene Hackman have trod the boards on its stage. The theatre is also home to the Gateway Acting School, which trains nearly 300 young actors annually. Baker, a Gateway Acting School instructor and member of Actors’ Equity Association, teaches and rehearses each company of haunt actors. Although many are trained stage, film and television actors, the entire cast undergoes a general audition to assess how each could be suitable in particular roles and scenes. During the audition, actors assemble into groups and are first encouraged to utilize their senses of smell and taste as they act out facing cold, wet or arid conditions. Specific rehearsals are devoted to voice, which helps each company member produce a catalog of sounds — from loud screams and dizzying cacophonies, to low groans and slight whimpers. As the improvisations become more specific, all actors explore three different character types: victim, aggressor and helper. Baker believes that this process lays a foundation for any scene that would be included in the haunt. “We rehearse over and over because it’s important that the actors are comfortable in their circumstances. These sessions give them the tools necessary to stay in character,” Baker said. “There’s no ‘right or wrong’ in how to act. It’s about commitment to the situation. Even transitions in our haunt are still scenes and require the same level of commitment, in character. After each scare, our actors are trained to maintain their focus as they reset and prepare for the next group of haunted house victims.” This dedication to the actor’s body and mind bleeds through into design and technical decisions. Although full, over-the-head masks are often used for intimidation, Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse prefers not to depend on them solely, because they constrict the actors’ emotive abilities. Instead, costumes and makeup applications are relied on to make a distinct, visual look that is specific to each haunt character.
Given that haunted house actors are seen up close, these distinct looks must be intricately recreated. Pcenicni and six other makeup artists begin applications three hours before the haunt begins. To speed things along, the makeup team uses two dozen airbrushes filled with cosmetic grade paint. After the night is over, it takes another hour and a half to remove prosthetics and other effects. Once the first group of patrons enters the haunt, Baker monitors and communicates with each actor to maintain the high quality of each performance. Actors carry character description cards that prove extremely useful when a standby or replacement actor is needed. Baker encourages his haunted house cast to experiment, keeping in mind that timeliness and consistency are crucial for the smooth run of each haunt. “We have the freedom to play in rehearsals, but we also have to reset in a matter of seconds as new patrons come through the haunt,” Baker said. “It’s important that the actors not spend a lot of time with each group, because we need to keep the flow moving.” The flow becomes more and more critical as attendance multiplies each year. Although Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse attracted only 2,500 people during its 2-week debut season, attendance TRIPLED the following year and DOUBLED the next! The haunt schedule has expanded from two to six weeks to meet this demand and now continues into November, as well. This huge increase in attendance is a direct tribute to the quality production at Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse. These figures have given Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse the resources to extend its construction period from a number of days to two full months, giving patrons a more satisfying, detailed experience. Each year, the haunt must be quickly built and tore down, to accommodate the theatre’s winter production schedule. The acting company has also grown thanks to this increased attendance. What began with only a few professional actors and several volunteers from the Gateway Acting School and the theatre’s technical staff has grown to include 40 professional actors and another 40-50 volunteers. During the Halloween season, nearly 120 people are included on the payroll, taking technical, sales, security, custodial, parking and concessions staff into account.
Each year, the walkthrough path moves to include new areas on the property and concepts continue to evolve as the organization gains more and more experience in the haunted house genre. The original end sequence required patrons to turn and witness an onstage scene — like in a theatrical production. Now, patrons are encouraged to discover and connect stories and events at their own pace, instead of watching an act unfold in front of them. This relationship is now established before the haunt actually begins. “Once people approach the haunted house entrance, they are extremely excited to encounter what lies inside. In this state of suspense, asking them to read a written story or watch a preview movie — which we have done in the past — has proven to be counterproductive,” Allan reasons. “We now let the story unfold inside, with them being a part of it. They can’t wait to have their space invaded and feel their safety questioned.”
This illusion of danger, amplified by a disorienting haunt environment, can spark a distinct, different emotional response from each patron. Because these reactions are sometimes difficult to predict, Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse takes great measures to keep all parties free from actual harm. A dedicated security team has always been in place for each haunt and is now headed by a retired officer and training specialist from the Suffolk County Police Department. This force has the capability to anticipate and address any situation within moments, thanks to dozens of two-way radios that are operated by actors, technicians and staff. Although each instance of growth has led to valued change, the theatre proudly maintains the haunt’s intimacy by giving each effect a human touch, even in a digitized age. Pcenicni has personally made dozens of hands, feet and severed heads, in addition to his other duties. And, although the haunt uses a limited amount of automation, all effects are controlled by a computer program called VenueMagic, which grants the theatre’s technicians precise, moment-to-moment, control over any effect.
This dedication to even the smallest of details has not gone unrecognized. Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse has received favorable reviews from the New York Times, was named on USA Today’s “Top Ten Haunted Houses in New York” and was voted “Best Haunted House on Long Island” for two years in a row by News12 — the area’s leading television news outlet. Allan hopes that this wide appeal will familiarize more people with the theatre’s high level of artistry and, in turn, bring a new demographic of patron to the playhouse’s other events throughout the year. With regional and statewide accolades under their belt, as well as thousands of patrons anticipating the newest installment, how will Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse continue to grow?
Baker sums it up best: “We always ask, ‘what haven’t we done. Where else can we go?’”
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!