by Byte Staff
Who doesn’t love haunted houses? They’re an integral part of the American Halloween tradition. The actors, spooky sets, dull lighting and scary sounds hold a special place in the hearts of horror fans and for good reason. According to the Smithsonian, this tradition has brought joyful fright to the masses as early as the 19th century, though not exactly with the time commitment and polish of today’s haunted attractions. Interest in these types of attractions began to boom after Walt Disney opened Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion in 1969, making haunted attractions a staple of American Halloween tradition. After it became mainstream for patrons to pay to experience the frightful and spooky, Halloween horror attractions and haunted houses started popping up all over the country.
With this brief background in mind, let’s take a look at a more elaborate, modern example of these horror attractions. Located in Anderson, Indiana is the famous horror attraction, Indy Scream Park.
Originally founded in 2010, Indy Scream Park has become known as Indiana’s Premier Halloween event. When asked about how they go about recruiting scare actors, Indy Scream Park’s Marketing Director, Jon Pianki told us “We start initially in Anderson and then branch out from there, trying to employ as many people as possible. I think we bring in around three to four hundred actors each year. Each night takes around 150 actors to fully staff all the attractions. We just try to constantly reinvest in the park to keep it going.”
So obviously a lot of love and hard work goes into crafting Indy Scream Park. But here’s the real question: is it scary? Well let’s take a closer look at the actual attractions. Indy Scream Park features five attractions:
- Pandemic: Mutation
- Zombieland: Unchained
- Brickmore Asylum
- Rage 3D
Each of these attractions attempts to scare you in different ways. Nolan Leahy, a Byte staff member comments, “In my case, this was my first time going to a haunted house run by actors.” He continued, “The only haunted house I’ve been to in my life has been at Frankenstein’s Castle at Indiana Beach, which isn’t exactly the optimal experience for the die-hard horror fan considering it relies on mechanical prop scares.”
Nolan was able to attend two of the attractions: Brickmore Asylum and Pandemic Mutation.
First we’ll start with a look at Brickmore Asylum. Brickmore Asylum runs with the idea of a mental health institution that abuses its patients.
Nolan states that:
“Brickmore Asylum caught me off guard from the get-go with its walkthrough event. The constant tension of walking in between rooms offered a much more serious tone than originally anticipated with blind spots strategically placed for the intended participants’ surprise.”
He then adds, ”The rooms in the Asylum were mostly dark and foggy with only one well-lit room to break up its continuity, and the presentation also doesn’t discourage the act of looking around each corner with a careful step in mind.”
So the premise here is simple: those who enter don’t make it out. Will you be the exception?
Next, let’s take a glance at Pandemic: Mutation, one of the two new attractions featured this year at Indy Scream Park. This attraction is based on the idea of human-made mutations, and these cross-contaminated creatures gone awry fully intend to frighten park-goers. Even scarier: it is one of the interactive attractions. What does this mean exactly? Nolan weighs in saying that “each member of the group is given the option to wear a glow stick necklace or to keep it off.” Why is this important? Wearing the necklace allows scare actors to touch you, so make sure you’re comfortable with that before going in!
In the end, the choice is yours. Jon Pianki says that “If you really want to kick it up a notch, wear the interactive necklace and become a part of the show.” For those who love the thrill of being scared, you may want to give this interactive option a try.
If you need a break from the constant scares, Indy Scream Park features a hub area in the middle of all the different haunted attractions, appropriately named Monster Midway. This section contains stalls selling food, beverages and merchandise, as well as Zombie Paintball, a fun mini-game where you fire paintball guns at undead actors stumbling towards you across a field.
When asked about his overall experience, Nolan Leahy had this to say:
“Despite only visiting two of the five attractions, my experience with Indy Scream Park was phenomenal. The amount of work put into the attractions and acting makes Indy Scream Park well deserving of the title of ‘Indiana’s Premier Halloween Event.”
Horror attractions have come a long way since the beginning. It is highly unlikely you would find an interactive attraction that would allow actors to pull you from your group and place you in an electric chair in the 19th century. While times have changed and what constitutes as horror is subjective, Indy Scream Park is an undoubtedly scary experience that horror buffs and anyone looking to join in on the Halloween spirit will absolutely love.
Indy Scream Park will continue running until November 4th. Tickets can be purchased online at Indy Scream Park’s official website. By following Indy Scream Park on Twitter and Facebook, can participate in various contest giveaways for a chance to win tickets to the park!
Click the image below to see more from the show!
Images provided by Nolan Leahy
Emily is a Telecommunications (Film and Media Studies) major minoring in Japanese and Professional Writing in Emerging Media. Her review Netflix’s ‘Death Note’ grossly misunderstands why the original was a success and her feature article Studying Abroad in Japan: The weebs are wrong won honorable mentions in the CSPA journalism awards categories for Entertainment Reviews and First Person Experiences. She is the 2018-2019 host for the Input 2 podcast. In the past, Emily has interned at WFYI Indianapolis as a Production Intern and studied abroad in Japan.