The Phantom Gazette – News

The 7th Street Haunt Wants to Take You from the Gates of Fort Harmony to the Gates of Hell!

Louisville Halloween gets an exclusive early tour into the maze of madness that is the 7th Street Haunt’s third season.

“Now witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational battle station!”

The Emperor, “Return of the Jedi” (1983)

Greetings, Boils and Ghouls, it’s the Phantom of the Ville coming to you from the haunted space at 2900 7th St. Road right next to the Expo Five. When owner/operator, Travis Boling, invited me out to preview the third season of his old school haunted maze, I did not realize that his haunt was already finished, fully operational and fully staffed with dozens of costumed maniacs.

“If we needed to open this weekend, we could,” says Boling. Actually, Boling was engaged in training his cast and working out the final bugs this weekend, but you wouldn’t know that his haunt wasn’t already operating at full steam.

Now in its third season in the same location, the 7th Street Haunt is returning this year bigger, better and more confident than before. Among the numerous additions and improvements this year is a fully themed and interactive queue that will allow patrons waiting in line to step inside the cursed town of Fort Harmony for a couple of good scares before they even step into the first scene of the haunt.

“After Halloween last year, we took six weeks off,” says Boling, “but by January 1st we were back here at the haunt working to make it better than it was before.” Boling has a full staff of 50 people helping him build and run his haunted attraction, and a cast of 42 actors working inside the haunt on any given night.

“This year our story focuses on what has happened to the residents of Fort Harmony,” reveals Boling. “Every one’s inner demons are–(Boling pauses dramatically before cracking an evil smile ) —manifesting.”

Just like the 7th Street Haunt’s first two seasons, Boling’s secret weapon this year is Set Designer, Nancy Poindexter, who can make a corn field out of empty water bottles and a cave out of crinkled paper and paint. This year, Poindexter has really outdone herself by creating a climax that will take patrons right into the fiery, volcanic pit of Hades!

“It’s mostly mattress foam and Christmas lights,” admits Boling as I gawk at the glowing lava flow running through the Hellish scene. One of the things I love about the 7th Street Haunt is the old school, DIY nature of the whole enterprise. There is absolutely nothing in Fort Harmony that was purchased from a Halloween trade show or FX company. Everything is built from scratch on site by Boling, his family, friends and devoted staff.

Even the musical score was written locally by Boling’s partner, Matt Clayton, under his musician’s pseudonym of “Kitten.” Clayton has also delivered the score that will be used by The Devil’s Attic this season.

“In our first season, we sold 849 tickets,” admits Boling. “Last year we sent 7,161 people through, and this year we hope to scare even more people.”

While Boling was upfront with us that not everything was 100% finished, and that there were special effects, lights and other things that still needed to be tweaked, he let us experience the 7th Street Haunt in its early, trial version and we can give you a sneak peek at what you’ll be able to experience yourself this Halloween.

You enter the haunted saloon in the queue line, and turn a couple of creepy corners before you’re faced with a line of video screens that give you the rules of the haunt. Then you must pass through the hospital doors and into the terrors awaiting beyond.

You’ll pass through ruined hospital rooms populated with unspeakable demons right out of “The Evil Dead,” padded asylum cells and a fog filled room where you can’t see two inches in front of your face. You’ll then have to get through a demented child’s room and into his delirious dream world filled with creepy clowns and twisted circus attractions. This area contains one of my favorite new additions, a gigantic ventriloquist’s dummy that’s serving as puppet master for a human puppet!

From there, things get darker and more Gothic as you pass through a haunted cave, an ancient crypt and the world’s creepiest church. Then you’ll go from house to house through Fort Harmony to experience the evil that has invaded the whole town through voodoo ceremonies and Ouija board possessions. Ultimately your dark journey brightens up. There’s a light up ahead! Unfortunately for you, it’s the blistering fires of Hell and your nightmare has just begun!

The 7th Street Haunt opens to the public on Saturday, September 13th, but they also want you to know about a big, family oriented Halloween event that they’re hosting on Saturday, October 25th which will include free trick-or-treating throughout the haunt for kids. It’s a themed car show called the Halloween Car Show and will take place in the 7th Street Haunt’s parking lot.

A $5 registration fee benefits Crusade for Children. All cars, trucks and motorcycles are welcome. There will be over 25 awards given out, including the Top 13 Best Halloween Displays. There will be music, food, games, door prizes and, of course, monsters. For more information, contact Travis Boling at (502) 759-1295 or

The third year looks like the charm, or in this case the curse, for the 7th Street Haunt. If you liked the old school feel and locally crafted look of this haunt during its first two seasons, then I think you’ll scream for this year’s major upgrades. If you’ve never visited the town of Fort Harmony before, then this Halloween it should be at the top of your haunt tour list.

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August is for Zombies

Louisville prepares to wake the dead with zombie make-up classes, Zombie Night at Slugger Field and the 10th annual Louisville Zombie Attack!

When there is no room left in Hell, the dead will walk the Ville, and apparently it’s getting crowded in Hades. You won’t be able to walk two city blocks in the next two weeks without bumping into a walking corpse in the River City. Zombies are going to be on everyone’s minds, and brains are going to be on every zombie’s menu before the end of August, and there’s only one store clerk who can help you prepare for the apocalypse.

No, it’s not Ash. It’s special FX make-up artist, Athena Prychodko of Make It Up by Athena. Prychodko, who works part time behind the make-up counter at Caufield’s Novelty at 1006 W. Main Street and who also moonlights at Seindenfaden’s Café at 1134 E. Breckinridge Street, is also a professional special effects make-up artist, actress and filmmaker with fifteen years of experience.

Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the unofficial “zombie capital of the world” thanks to the living dead films of George Romero, Prychodko graduated from Tom Savini’s Special Make-Up Effects Program in Pennsylvania before embarking on a career doing gory special effects for Toe Tag Pictures, the infamous creators of such films as “August Underground” and it’s follow-up, “August Underground’s Mordum.” Both of those “found footage” murder films were so realistically staged and disturbingly graphic that many viewers who discovered them through bootleg VHS tapes and DVDs believed they were genuine snuff films before Toe Tag Pictures finally took creative credit for their production.

Prychodko also acted in several of their films, such as “The Redsin Tower” (2006), while also serving in the make-up department. Her most recent film, “Open Me” (2014), premiered last week on her birthday at Seindenfaden’s.

Since moving to Louisville, she has started several related side businesses.

“I do face painting at various events and festivals, as well as at Halloween parties,” she says. “I’m also Vice President of the Louisville Gore Club.” The Louisville Gore Club hosts horror movies regularly on Sunday nights at Seindenfaden’s.

Prychodoko will be teaching two more zombie make-up classes at Caufield’s this August.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 20 from 5:30 PM – 7 PM and

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 27 from 5:30 PM – 7 PM.

To sign up, you must come in to Caufield’s and put $10 down to save your spot, as spaces are very limited. That down payment will go towards $10 worth of make-up on the day of your class, but you will also need to bring in an additional $20 cash to pay Athena on class day.

Her first class could prepare you for the first of two big zombie gatherings in the Ville on August 21st.

LOUISVILLE ZOMBIE NIGHT with the LOUISVILLE BATS at SLUGGER FIELD: Thursday, August 21 at 7:05 PM. Cost is $7 – $12. The living dead theme will be seen throughout the whole ballpark, and there will be live music and $1 beer before the game between 5:30 PM and 7 PM. If you aren’t already made up as a zombie, Caufield’s representatives will be on hand to turn you into one for $5. There will be zombie costume contests, in game zombie promotions and zombie photo-ops. Upload your pictures to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using #BatsZombieNight and you could win free tickets to Zombie City provided by Asylum Haunted Scream Park!

The second, and probably the biggest, zombie gathering this month takes place on August 29th at 8:29 PM, and this year marks its 10th anniversary.

THE LOUISVILLE ZOMBIE ATTACK 2014: Thousands of zombies are expected to march through the Highlands, killing and eating every living thing along the way, as they shamble from the corner of Bardstown Road and Eastern Parkway to the Highlands Taproom at 1058 Bardstown Road where the world’s biggest zombie jamboree will be held. Bands scheduled to play include Dead Dick Hammer, The Vice Tricks, Dead Halos, We Are Hex, The NulyDedz and The Trophy Wives.

This year, the Louisville Zombie Attack is being sponsored by The Devil’s Attic haunted house! There will be a costume contest and much more. If that’s not enough zombie action to hold you over until Season Five of “The Walking Dead” premieres on October 12, then you’re likely already dead and only care about eating brains anyway.

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Alchemy: Louisville’s Only Marvelous, Magical Olde World Emporium!

Explore this new, mysterious curiosity shop which has suddenly materialized on East Market Street that seems to have sprung right out of Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley!

Step up, my friends, step up. Step up to the marble columns outside of Alchemy at 415 East Market Street in downtown Louisville. Let your eyes take in the turn-of-the-century font etched onto the front window glass: “Tonics and Treasures! The Marvelous Magical Olde World Emporium on Market!”

Step inside. The first thing that hits your senses are the scents of exotic tonics and otherworldly potions that fill the air just before your ears pick up on the dreamlike music being pumped through the shop’s stereo system. In my case, it was John Williams’ score to the Harry Potter films. As your eyes become accustomed to the soft, natural lighting and star shaped light fixtures, you find yourself in a waking dream world of fantasy and imagination.

I’m not kidding when I say that Alchemy looks like it could have been magically transported from one of Universal Studios Harry Potter attractions in Orlando directly to East Market Street across from McDonald’s due to some accident of inexperienced sorcery or mispronounced spell. A wizard’s mistake is Louisville’s gain in this instance!

The current shop hours are from Monday through Saturday from 12PM – 6PM. The shop appears to operate mainly on magic. There is minimal electricity. You won’t even find a modern cash register or office phone on the premises, but the owner can be reached at (502) 540-3015.

I had a chance to speak with store creator and owner (and probably sorcerer), Ricky Moores, over the weekend and get the tour of his singular retail brainchild. Moores was born in Danville, Kentucky, but was raised from a toddler in Louisville. His most recent career adventure has seen him as a food stylist and stage designer for the food advertising business, but his creative impulse has seen him working for Disney in the past, once even interviewing as a Creative Director.

Locally, you may remember his work on one of his very first jobs working for Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour in the Mall St. Matthews, where he designed and built the cave-like tunnel that customers passed through to transition from the ice cream restaurant area to the magical candy shop.

“My goal with Alchemy is creating a space that evokes memories and experiences, and that activates all the senses from the moment you walk in the door,” says Moores.

Moores’ influences, from Harry Potter to the Wizard of Oz to Disney’s Haunted Mansion, are all on full display at Alchemy, but everything he stocks is handmade or created by small family businesses. You might think Alchemy is the end result of a childhood dream, but Moores insists it was more a result of a mad impulse of delight!

“We opened about three months ago on Derby weekend,” he relates. “You would think I spent years planning this place, but honestly it just sort of popped into my head last year. I spent more time dealing with the zoning boards than I did coming up with the concept. There really isn’t anything else like this in Louisville.”

No truer words have ever been spoken. Moores took me on a brief tour of his emporium, starting with some of the tonics in jars. You’ll find Bourbon Maple Syrup that Moores says, “isn’t just for pancakes. It’s good in cocktails, on meat or ice cream.” You’ll find scented oils, lotions and soaps, including a handmade Bourbon Soap.

Alchemy also carries incredibly realistic stuffed animals and puppets. “The memories and imagination of our childhood live inside all of us, but most people won’t let themselves show it,” says Moores. The stuffed animals, some of them life sized, are made by a small company in Australia and all of them have wire armatures inside that allow them to be posed for display.

Moores also intends to carry a lot of books. Right now, he stocks the entire Ologies Series (Dragonology, Monsterology, Vampirology, Illusionology, etc.) and various Harry Potter volumes.

“I’m expecting a large shipment of Halloween related books next week,” he says. “I’ll be carrying the entire ‘Bunnicula’ boxed set, some volumes of Edgar Allan Poe and a set of Steampunk Tarot Cards.”

“I’ve also got a shipment of what I hope will be high quality skulls on the way,” he adds. “Good skulls are very hard to find. I’m looking for skulls that are detailed and well made, but also affordable. It’s hard to get both!”

“We live in an age of over consumerism and over consumption,” says Moores. “There’s so much stuff out there, and all of it is crap!”

“What I want to do is give people a place to discover things that they wouldn’t  find anywhere else,” explains Moores. “For example, a company called NECA recently made a limited edition of Golden Ticket replicas from ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’ and there was a version of which they only made 36, and I have 12 of the original 36 on the way right now.”

I noticed a series of paintings from Disney’s Haunted Mansion ride sitting in the corner. They are replicas of the four paintings found in the “Stretching Room” near the beginning of the ride. I thought that Moores had probably bought them at the Disney Store or through one of Walt Disney’s limited Haunted Mansion collector’s events, but it turns out that he painted them himself!

I consider myself somewhat of an expert on Disney’s original haunted attraction, but Moores’ replicas certainly fooled me. “There are actually many different variations of the Stretching Rooms paintings because they were all hand painted, not copied,” he explains. “There are the ones they made for the Anaheim version, the Orlando version and then the ones for Phantom Manor in Paris are completely different. No artist can ever paint the same face exactly the same way twice, so there are small differences in all the paintings.”

Alchemy and its inventory are constantly changing. Not only is Moores planning to change the stock and atmosphere of the store for Halloween, but he showed me some of things he plans to carry for Christmas including an incredibly detailed golden dragon ornament carrying a candy cane.

This magical emporium of tonics, books and creatures is a unique escape in Louisville’s downtown landscape that I think all Halloween lovers will want to discover. Tell ‘em the Phantom of the Ville sent ya!

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Haunted Attraction Survey 2014

Good Evening, Haunt Fans, it’s the Phantom of the Ville here. The haunting season is only six weeks away and haunted attraction owners and operators are hard at work getting their fear machines ready to terrify you this fall. Please take a minute to answer the questions in this survey to give them a better idea of what you’re looking for in a haunted house. What do you LOVE in haunted houses? What do you HATE? Let us know!

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world’s leading questionnaire tool.

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The Haunted Palace Hosts a Mad “Monsters” Party in August

Meet the ghosts that lurk in the shadows of the Louisville Palace Theater and check out a whole series of classic Universal Monster movies all August!

It’s August, Boils and Ghouls, just two months away from our favorite time of year, but the historic Palace Theater downtown on Fourth Street is starting the monster bash early this year with a month long series of classic Universal Monster movies.

Designed and built in 1928 by fabled, grand movie house architect, John Eberson, the 2800 seat Louisville Palace has hosted countless films and concerts over the last 85 years inside its arched Gothic ceilings and underneath a blue simulated night sky. The atmosphere inside the Palace is unmatched anywhere in the Ville, and it makes the absolute perfect venue for experiencing this summer’s “Monsters” screenings with a live audience.

Last night at the screening of Louisville native director, Todd Browning’sDracula” (1931), I sat in the open balcony amid a nearly full house of enraptured film fans, many of who were seeing Bela Lugosi’s Transylvanian vampire king projected on the big screen for the first time. This weekend saw screenings of both Lugosi’s horror film debut and Lon Chaney’s silent “The Phantom of the Opera” (1925), but fear not! There are four more weekends and eight classic monster films still coming your way.

Tickets are $5 per film, or you can buy a collectible Season Pass for $30 that comes on a laminated card with the picture of the Frankenstein Monster on the front and the movie schedule on the back that will get you into as many screenings as your dark heart desires. A bucket of fresh popcorn and a soda only costs $5 as well, making these screenings the best family entertainment value of the summer.

A word of warning to the easily spooked, however, the historic Palace Theater is a popular venue for both the living and the dead. The Palace has a number of resident ghosts who loved the building so much that they have chosen to stay even after they have shuffled off the mortal coil.

To get the spooky scoop, last night I spoke with Live Nation representative and Palace Manager, Johnny Downs, who has been with the Palace for the last twelve years.

“If you take one of the local downtown Ghost Tours, you may hear about a ghost named Bernard,” says Downs. “But Bernard is just a nickname that was made up by staff to explain some of the ghostly things that happen occasionally around here.”

“If you ask one of us, we’ll tell you that the ghost’s name is Fred,” reveals Downs. “Fred was a maintenance man who worked at the Palace for 50 years and ultimately died of natural causes right here in the building. He has been seen many times over the years and everyone always gives the exact same description.”

Downs shows me a vintage photo of a man in his 50s with black, horn rimmed glasses. “This is Fred,” he says.

“Although Fred does occasionally indulge in a bit of mischief, like unscrewing a whole series of light bulbs,” admits Downs, “we believe he’s mostly here to help. He’s like a protector of the building.”

“One time a young teenage girl was screwing with one of the light structures, and she walked away to chat with one of her friends. She then came back to continue screwing with the light and she was tripped and fell down, but nothing was there to trip her.”

“On another occasion, a customer called to tell us he had lost his cell phone somewhere on the balcony. The balcony is huge and I knew it would take a long time to search. After I had gone up and down about three rows, I stopped and said out loud, ‘Hey Fred, help me out here.’ Just seconds later, I heard a phone vibrating on the floor just the next aisle over.”

“No one had called the phone,” says Downs, “and the phone battery was dead.”

“Probably the best example I can give you of Fred helping us is the leaking pipe story. One weekend we were about to close up and the lights behind the stage started to flicker on and off. You can only turn those lights on and off from behind the stage, so I went back there to see what was going on. I heard running water and discovered a pipe had burst. If I hadn’t found out about the pipe and we had closed and left for the week, the whole stage area would have been flooded by the time we found out about it.”

The other ghost well known by the Palace staff is the Grey Lady.

“I’ve seen the Grey Lady multiple times over the years,” says Downs. “You can see right through her and she’s wearing a period 1930’s grey formal dress. She appears to be reading a theater program as she walks along.”

“I believe the Grey Lady is what is known as a residual haunting, like a recording of something from the past. Every time she appears, it’s the exact same image. She takes about four steps and disappears in a puff of smoke.”

There are also stories of ghost children playing amid the theater, as the building where the Palace was built was once home to Saint Joseph’s Orphanage, so don’t be surprised if some non-corporeal entity is sitting beside you in the dark watching classic monster films with you.

The schedule for the August “Monsters” screenings is as follows:


Frankenstein” (1931): Friday, Aug. 8 at 7:30 PM and Saturday, Aug. 9 at 2 PM

The Mummy” (1932): Saturday, Aug. 9 at 5 & 8 PM

AUGUST 15-16

The Invisible Man” (1932): Friday, Aug. 15 at 7:30 PM and Saturday, Aug. 16 at 2 PM

The Black Cat” (1934): Saturday, Aug. 16 at 5 & 8 PM

AUGUST 22-23

The Raven” (1935): Friday, Aug. 22 at 7:30 PM and Saturday, Aug. 23 at 2 PM

The Bride of Frankenstein” (1935): Saturday, Aug. 23 at 5 & 8 PM

AUGUST 29-30

The Wolf Man” (1940): Friday, Aug. 29 at 7:30 PM and Saturday, Aug. 30 at 2 PM

The Creature from the Black Lagoon” (1954): Saturday, Aug. 30 at 5 & 8 PM

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