For those that want to bypass the lines and underachieved expectations of your local “Blood Manor,” “Haunted Mansion,” or other ubiquitous, frightfully-named festivity, FEARnet takes you on a ride along “Route 666” to catch a behind-the-scenes look at some of America’s Home Haunts.
From a set that seems built for the Crypt Keeper, Danielle Harris, the attractive, all-growns-up niece of Halloween’s Michael Meyers, introduces shorts that showcase home-made, DIY, haunted houses and the people behind the animatronics and scary acting. There’s the “Morbid Manor” in Glendale, AZ, the “Haunted Wolf Hollow” in Springville, UT, and another locale for every day in October, but my personal favorite is the “Terror Tour” in Taylorsville, UT which specializes in surprise over gore.
### Aside from a jaunt around a Jerry Falwell-inspired Hell House in Brooklyn last year, which was terrifying for a number of non-horror-related reasons, the last haunted house I went to that I described with such adjectives as “cool,” “scary,” or “worthwhile” was put on by my elementary school when I was eight.
In general, seasonal houses of horror are forms of entertainment that are a lot better in theory than in practice. They’re valuable only for the screams emanating from other more easily enthused participants and the expectedly high value of kitsch…like Cardboard Tube Fighting Leagues. Unless you plan on attending a haunted house that will make you wet your pants, they’re the type of event that’s better enjoyed on video than in person…like football.
I suppose the haunted houses featured are mildly entertaining when seen live, but I’m guessing the camera makes them look much cooler. It’s interesting to hear the genesis of the creations and the reasons people choose to bedeck their homes in skeletons, fake blood, and strobe lights. And sometimes they even almost seem scary. It’s amazing what quality editing, choice canned screams, and a spooky soundtrack can do.