Chris Marlow understands the "creep factor." Though his official title at the Cutting Edge Haunted House is Head Stage Manager, he's perhaps better known to patrons and staff as the "Rage Rabbit."
"He just kind of happened," he says of the eerie, strange-looking character that looks like something Alice may have seen through the looking glass after eating too many mushrooms. "I saw the mask on the shelf, an Easter mask, and I pulled it off the shelf and thought, 'I can make this creepy.' The next thing I knew, the rabbit started taking shape and coming out."
That was nearly six years ago, and over time the Rage Rabbit has evolved and become a regular fixture at the Cutting Edge. You can often spot him lurking ominously in the background of photographs and see him in videos, beckoning silently to visitors to follow him into the waiting darkness.
In his Rage Rabbit "alter ego," Chris doesn't need to make noise and jump around to frighten people. That's where the creep factor comes in. It is his somber, quiet demeanor that people find most disturbing. He was once nearly ejected from a taping of "Good Morning Texas" when the featured musical guest told her bodyguards that the evil-looking rabbit was "creeping me out."
"It's amazing how unnerving just staring at somebody can be," says Marlow.
While playing the Rage Rabbit is a delightful diversion, there are nights that Chris Marlow's stage manager duties keep him so busy that he doesn't get to spend much time interacting with the customers. "Some days I put on the costume and then I end up spending all my time back stage working on stuff," he says laughing, "so basically I'm just going to work in a rabbit suit."
Each stage manager oversees one to two zones of the haunted meat packing plant, checking out props, managing actors, ensuring everyone stays hydrated and solving any problems that may arise during the night, and as the head stage manager, Chris has responsibility over all of it. With over 235,000 square feet of building, 100 plus live actors and a jaw-dropping array of props, lighting, fog makers and machinery, keeping it all running smoothly is no small feat. And this season, it's going to get even bigger.
"I'm a little nervous; we're biting off a big chunk," he says of the many changes and additions being made to Cutting Edge for 2012. "So I'm hoping we can get it all finished as soon as we want and ready to go. I'm really excited."
And what is the Rage Rabbit's favorite new area? "I'm going to have to go with Ruckus Land."
A brand new section being added on to the outside of the building, Ruckus Land is a sort of graveyard for old sets, props and equipment, including the Cutting Edge Monsta Bus, and a 13-foot tall dragon with a 27 foot wingspan.
And the theme behind Ruckus Land? "Complete and total chaos," says Marlow, "pretty much like a giant jungle gym for chain saws."
That's right, the helter skelter jumbled maze of props and equipment will serve as a hunting ground through which live, chain-saw wielding psychopaths will relentlessly stalk their prey. Okay, now THAT'S Creepy!