The Phantom Gazette – LouisvilleHalloween.com News
Explore the Gothic Glory of the Most Detailed Haunt in the Ville!
Do you like the British Hammer Horror films of the 1950s through the 1970s that featured horror legends like Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing? Does your October heart beat faster just thinking of those films that literally dripped with garish Technicolor blood, built around cobwebbed castles and haunted by wild eyed vampires lusting for pulsing throats? Are you a fan of the Gothic Edgar Allan Poe films of Roger Corman staring Vincent Price?
If your answer is yes, then The Devil’s Attic is the haunt for you.
Located at 647 West Hill Street, the Devil’s Attic is evocative of the mood and atmosphere of those classy, lush horror pictures that chill the blood when the chill fills the air. This is no grungy haunted house with black walls still reeking of cheap paint decorated with props purchased at the Dollar Store.
Oh no, this is the labor of haunted love of Jason Besemann and his dedicated crew, who have spent the last five years turning this building on West Hill Street into a Gothic wonderland and filling it with the most evil souls ever to torment your nightmares in legend, literature and horror movies.
You won’t find better set design, make up and special effects anywhere in the Ville. The Devil’s Attic is covered in floor to ceiling detail to the extent that one can barely take it all in on a single trip through the twisting, turning maze. You’ll pass through skull covered hallways, foggy crypts and forgotten dungeons as you make your way past some of the most evil characters ever created.
First you must confront the Devil himself in his wretched throne room, who will open the door to a portal that will transport you into the Devil’s Attic where he keeps his most fearful minions. Down the dark rabbit hole you’ll go into the Victorian era of horror where you’ll encounter Dr. Frankenstein working on his greatest creation, the lusty and seductive brides of Dracula and the caged fury of the werewolf.
Just around the corner, you’ll find a new Victorian Christmas scene which will introduce you to Santa Claus’ demonic sidekick who punishes the naughty children, Krampus! Also new this year is a period piece torture chamber straight out of an Edgar Allen Poe nightmare, complete with an iron maiden and a swinging pendulum blade. Don’t stick around long or you might end up strapped to one of these instruments of pain.
Moving forward in time, you’ll find yourself lost in one Jigsaw’s disorienting traps where you’ll need to discover the right way out if you want to ever see the sun again. You’ll also pass through the glass house seen in “13 Ghosts” and confront the completely insane specter known as The Jackal. Then be prepared to taste the glorious pain and torment inflicted by Pinhead and his cenobites. You’ll also have to risk your head on a quest to cross the bridge in Sleepy Hollow before the Headless Horseman finds you and finally, you’ll be heading down south to meet the sickest family in Texas.
Did I mention Pumpkinhead? You’ll be meeting him as well.
As elaborately detailed as the Devil’s Attic is, it isn’t the longest haunt in town. A quick stepping group might be able to complete the maze in 12 to 15 minutes, but if you get lost in Jigsaw’s maze and take a more leisurely paced trip in order to fully appreciate the impressive set design, it could take as long as 20 minutes to complete. If quality of set design, make-up and acting are more important to you than length, then the Devil’s Attic should definitely be at the top of your list of haunts to experience this Halloween.
If you’re looking for a unique Halloween gift this season that screams of The Ville, check out the twisted and nostalgic monster art of Jeremy Slawsky!
Earlier this year we introduced you to local artist, Jeremy Slawsky, when we went in search of his legendary collection of “Return of the Living Dead” memorabilia. Slawsky is well known in the horror collecting world for having the largest and most complete collection of ephemera relating to the Louisville set cult zombie epic. (http://www.louisvillehalloween.com/send-more-collectibles-exploring-the-worlds-largest-return-of-the-living-dead-collection/)
Slawsky is also a Highlands resident artist with a penchant for monster and Halloween culture, and if you’re looking for a reasonably priced piece of original art to deck the walls this Halloween, you should give his latest work the evil eye.
I spoke with Slawsky last night to get the ghastly scoop on his background, his influences and his latest monsterpieces.
“I actually dropped out of Valley High School to become a comic book artist,” admits Slawsky. “One of the first comic book pieces I did was for the high school newspaper. That was the majority of my exposure to art at that time; Superheroes and comic book characters.”
“Later I was greatly influenced by the work of Robert Crumb and Charles Burns,” says Slawsky. “More recently, one of my biggest influences has been a Louisville artist named Mooch who did all the fliers and artwork for Louisville punk bands like Kinghorse and Crain. Once a week, Mooch and I get together and trade art and ideas.”
Jeremy Slawsky’s monster art can be viewed and purchased through The Art of Jeremy Slawsky Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/jeremyslawskyart) and at Yesternook at 1041 Goss Avenue.
“Yesternook has about twelve of my paintings for sale right now,” says Slawsky. “Prices range from $30 to $150 for a really big painting, so I think there’s something for everyone.” Slawsky is also open to commissions, so if you don’t see your favorite monster here, on his Facebook page or at Yesternook, feel free to contact him with your most twisted ideas.
Stay tuned to the Louisville Halloween website for another story about a local artist who has worked with bands like Van Halen, the Misfits and Electric Frankenstein, as well as the latest haunted attraction reviews and Halloween news!
The Phantom of the Ville takes his very first expedition into the Field of Screams during its 13th spooky season!
Good Evening, Louisville haunt fans, it’s the Phantom of the Ville coming to you from the dark and terrifying middle of the six acre haunted corn maze at Field of Screams at 132 Darnall Ave in Brandenburg, KY, just one mile past the entrance to Otter Creek Park. I’m both very excited and admittedly a bit nervous because this is my very first experience in the Field of Screams and I have no idea what to expect.
One word immediately comes to mind: MASSIVE.
If you’re looking for a haunt that will both terrify and entertain you and your creepy friends for an entire evening this Halloween, look no further. I was graciously given the VIP Pass treatment by owner/operators Jan and Matt Powell and spent well over two hours exploring the corn maze, barn, haunted woods and signature Hayride to Hell. That doesn’t include any wait times. That’s just time spent in this action packed haunt. Field of Screams is without question the longest haunt in the region.
Before being sent off on the 40 minute Hayride to Hell, I got a chance to speak with both Jan and Matt Powell about their seasonal labor of horrifying love. The Powells own the land where Field of Screams is located, which explains how their haunt has grown into such an elaborate and extensive attraction. Even though they completely change the maze every year, unlike most outdoor haunts, they don’t have to tear down and rebuild everything from scratch each year. They just have to grow the corn, which thanks to a mild and rainy August this year has given them an impressive and intimidating corn maze with stalks as high 15 feet.
“This will be our 13th season in business,” says Matt. “I’ve seen a lot of unusual things over the years, but perhaps the most unbelievable thing I’ve seen is parents with small children getting so scared that they take off running, abandoning their own kids!”
“I grew up in this area,” relates Jan. “My best memories of Halloween as a child were going to the haunted forest down the street at Otter Creek Park.” After touring Field of Screams and speaking with Jan, I could see the homages paid to the legendary scenes that folks remember most fondly (in their nightmares) of the classic Otter Creek haunted attraction.
One of the most beloved scenes in the old Nightmare Forest at Otter Creek involved an actor as Jason Voorhees unexpectedly rising up out of the lake to shock customers. Field of Screams recreates this scene as customers are crossing a bridge over a black pond when an actor in scuba gear and a Jason costume suddenly emerges from the depths!
Ki, ki, ki, Ma, ma, ma!
I was really pleased to see folks of all ages climbing aboard the Hayride to Hell tractor, including fairly young kids snuggled up against their parents in the unseasonably chilly early September air. The hayride trailer is surrounded by a protective fence that might give you the impression that you are reasonably safe from the creatures of the night along the trail, but if that’s what you thought, you would be dead wrong. Killer Clowns, crazy hillbillies and flesh eating zombies will climb right on board with you and some of them have the dexterity and jumping abilities of Spider-man!
There is an unexpected stop along the route that will find you getting off the tractor for a jaunt inside a creepy, dilapidated house. After getting back on board, watch out for giant spiders dropping from the trees and shotgun toting hillbillies who really hate trespassers.
I recommend taking the Hayride to Hell first as a warm-up for the main event in the Field of Screams because once you’ve taken the hour plus journey into the field, the hayride might seem a bit tame in comparison, but I strongly recommend the hayride to families looking to test their kids’ fortitude before sending them headlong into the cornfield!
The Field of Screams is broken into three distinct areas (or four if you count the open corn maze in the middle which isn’t haunted, but could take hours to explore); the haunted corn maze, the haunted barn and the haunted woods at the end. The 12 to 15 foot corn stalks create a sinister maze punctuated by various structures you’ll need to pass through along the trail.
My highest compliment goes to both the pace and nearly endless series of scenes in the maze. There is only just enough quiet, dead space in the cornfield to generate sufficient suspense before you encounter another massive set piece. One of my favorite scenes involved a huge castle with a pentagram window that was home to a ferocious lycanthrope. In fact, I encountered several werewolves along the way as well as lots of clowns, giant snakes & spiders and a couple of twenty foot tall creeps!
There is also an amazing tribute to John Carpenter’s “Halloween” involving jack-o-lanterns, an ambulance and a very convincing boogeyman.
The haunted barn is a highlight of the Field of Screams and a very physical experience. You’ll be climbing up and down stairs and ramps and even, in one of my favorite parts, navigating a claustrophobic and pitch dark maze on your knees! You and your skin will crawl.
Lastly, you’ll travel through the haunted woods to complete your journey. Field of Screams is like a “best of” Halloween attractions experience. You’ve got indoor haunts, outdoor haunts, corn mazes and tractor rides all in one place. If length and scope are what you’re looking for, Field of Screams should be at the top of list of haunts to visit this season.
Field of Screams is open on Friday and Saturday nights through Halloween. Cost is $20 for Field of Screams and $15 for the Hayride to Hell or $30 for a combo ticket.
Louisville Halloween gets an EXCLUSIVE preview of the new “Walking Dead” and “Texas Chainsaw” scenes built to lock down your nerves at Fear Fair this Halloween!
According to the results I’m seeing from our recent 2014 Haunted Attraction Poll (https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/YVBP7GN) , nearly 75% of you say that you would drive at least an hour to experience a haunt that you heard was really, really good. Well, Fear Fair, in the quaint little town of Seymour, IN is just under an hour’s drive from the city lights of downtown Louisville, and it’s really, really great.
I’ve been the town crier for Fear Fair here in the Ville for the last five years. By far one of the most elaborate haunted attractions I have ever experienced, Fear Fair is the labor of Halloween love of Seymour lawyer, Brett Hays, who spends thousands of hours all year long working to make his haunted attraction worthy of recognition far from the city streets of Seymour.
Last Sunday I was driving back to Louisville from the HorrorHound Weekend in Indianapolis, and I decided to stop by Seymour on the way home just to see what changes I could see from the outside of Fear Fair at 800 A Avenue East. Of course, Brett Hays was there, receiving a brand new shipment of animatronic monsters from a major FX studio and working to put the finishing touches on the new “Walking Dead” and “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” scenes.
Hays operates Fear Fair as a volunteer, non-profit organization that uses its income to benefit the city of Seymour and over the years has built public playgrounds and done other charitable work for the city. It also puts a great deal of its profit right back into the haunt. This year, Hays built a completely new dressing room for his actors and make-up effects wizards and I was able to snap a few pictures to give you a little behind-the-scenes tour. Just check out the incredible sound cabinet behind etched glass with the Fear Fair logo on it. For a non-profit haunt, this is one high tech haunted attraction!
Last year, Fear Fair introduced the town of Silent Hill to the haunt. It includes the church and all the twisted, demonic freaks that come out after dark, including armless things that spit venom at customers and creatures that climb along the walls after them. Many of these props were built exclusively for Fear Fair by major Halloween FX companies.
A couple of years prior to that, Fear Fair introduced “The Walking Dead” by building the entire city of Atlanta in its backyard. There are hospitals, drugstores, clothing stores, streets and alleyways. All of those scenes are a tribute to the zombie drama’s first season, but this year Hays has updated the city to include the prison depicted in Season Four.
You’ll have to pass the guard towers and make your way through the cell block where Rick Grimes and his group of survivors called home before the Governor drove a tank through their gates and let an army of walkers into their midst. Expect surprises from above and below as you attempt to survive the battle of the prison.
Fear Fair has also completely torn down and rebuilt a new, multi-level “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” finale for its haunt this season. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the old scene, but it was one of the longest existing scenes at Fear Fair that hadn’t been significantly altered over the years, and Hays insists, “Every once in a while, you’ve got to freshen up even your favorite scenes just to keep it new” for returning customers.
Along with the new scenes, you will also experience the giant monster attack on Hangar 17 and the Fear Fair grindhouse movie theater that transports customers into the movie screen where they are forced to live out their worst cinematic nightmares. These screen accurate scenes include Frankenstein’s laboratory with the biggest, sparking (real!) tesla coil you’ve ever seen in a haunt, Rob Zombie’s “Halloween,” “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” “Saw,” an outdoor Camp Crystal Lake for “Friday the 13th” and many, many more.
Fear Fair opens next weekend, Friday through Sunday, September 19 – 21, and will be open Friday, Saturday and Sundays through Halloween. If you’ve never experienced Fear Fair before, take the advice of The Phantom of the Ville and make Halloween 2014 the first of what will likely become an annual Halloween tradition.
Louisville Halloween’s EXCLUSIVE Preview of Danger Run’s Twentieth Anniversary!
“I want to give them away but my wife won’t let me!” (Mad Man Mac, Sun TV, circa Louisville 1970’s)
Anyone reading this who is old enough to remember Mad Man Mac’s Sun TV commercials, which ran nearly perpetually in the mid 1970’s on WDRB-41, can probably relate to the reason why Mad Man Mac’s catch phrase slogan keeps running through my mind when I think about the mad geniuses behind the 20th Anniversary for Danger Run this Halloween.
The ghostly trio of Joe Bulleit, Mike Kimzey and Michael Book are the certifiably insane owner/operators behind one of Louisville’s longest enduring and most unique Halloween events, Danger Run, which will be offering the greatest Halloween value of its 20 year history for Halloween 2014. Twenty dollars gets you a ticket to the classic “spook run” and admission to THREE of Louisville’s best haunted attractions!
“We wanted to do something special for the twentieth anniversary for the loyal Danger Run fans,” says Michael Book. “We spent a lot of time over the last year discussing ideas for making this year the most special in Danger Run history, and this is finally what we came up with.”
Danger Runners are accustomed to following rhyming clues across the city that ultimately lead to two different haunted houses, but this year there will be a third bonus haunt included with admission at no additional charge.
“The clue books will lead you to the two haunted houses just like usual,” says Book. “That’s still the main goal of the road game, but within the clue books there will be an additional hidden puzzle, like a scavenger hunt, that when solved will give you the location of a third haunted house.”
It’s important to note that you will be able to save your Danger Run ticket and visit the third haunted attraction (or any of the haunted attractions) on a completely different night if you choose. After all, there are only so many hours to solve the clues and make it to the haunted houses per night. Danger Run starting gates open each Friday and Saturday night starting September 19th through November 1st at 7 PM and close at 11 PM. The haunted houses are open those same nights from 8 PM until 2 AM.
The three starting gates are located at Lowe’s: Danger Run East at 501 S Hurstbourne Pkwy, Danger Run Southwest at 6651 Dixie Hwy and Danger Run North at 1350 Veterans Pkwy in Clarksville, IN.
That’s not all you get for your $20 either. If there are at least four people in your car, you get a FREE $10 gas card from Speedway which will cover the fuel expenses of the entire course (unless, of course, you get hopelessly lost!). You also get a coupon for Buy-One-Get-One-Free cheeseburgers from DQ Grill & Chill and your very own set of vampire teeth!
There are also a few other extras and specials available that not everybody knows about, so pay attention! If you paint your car windows, letting everyone know you’re on Danger Run (must include the event name!), you get a FREE Danger Run window cling at the starting gate. If you follow Danger Run on Facebook & Twitter, they give away FREE tickets, t-shirts, flashlights and other goodies every Friday, so keep your eyes peeled for those promotions. If you have a valid Student ID, you can save $1 on admission at the starting gates on Friday nights only. If you have a Military ID, you can save $2 on admission at the starting gates any night.
Starting September 19th, you can also purchase tickets and start Danger Run online. Clue books can be printed at home or viewed on digital devices. You can even look into renting a limo for your party at Xtreme Transportation at http://www.xtremetransportation.com/danger-run/.
You probably already know that the top twenty five groups that come the closest to the exact mileage get invited to the Danger Run Finals to compete for huge prizes, including $500 in FREE gas for a year and a bunch of other cool stuff, but you may not have heard about a really cool online video game you can play for FREE that will give you a preview of the Danger Run experience!
Go to http://www.dangerrun.com/virtual-danger-run/MM-DangerRun/test-drive.htm and play the Danger Run Virtual Tour game. You’ll get a taste of solving the type of rhyming clues you’ll find in the clue books and you’ll attempt to navigate a two part course that simulates both the inner city and creepy country back roads you’ll find on the actual spook run.
If you can find a better deal for $20 this Halloween—oh, forget it. There is no better deal this Halloween. Twenty bucks, THREE haunted houses and an evening’s worth of riddles and road adventures! If you miss out on Danger Run this year, you’re probably already dead.