The Nightmares Fear Factory “Fear Pics Remix” contest

Shortly after I started my blog last year, I wrote a post about Nightmares Fear Factory in Niagara Falls, Ontario.  Having spent the past 25 years catching every haunted attraction I could find, Nightmares has always remained my favorite.  I wanted to spread the word about this spooky little gem, in hopes that other folks could share in the chills.  I had no idea at the time that my favorite haunt was about to become an Internet sensation.

Over the years, Nightmares has taken to snapping some rather amusing pictures of their patrons and posting them to their Flickr feed.  If you’re familiar with the way that big theme parks take photos of roller coaster riders, you’ll have a general idea of what they do.  The difference here is that instead of bracing for a big fall, Nightmares customers are photographed while having their wits scared out of them.  The resulting “Fear Pics” are often quite entertaining, if not downright hilarious.

Well, in early October of last year the currents of social media picked up on the Nightmares Fear Pics and they went viral.  All types of media started buzzing about the pictures and Nightmares was even featured on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and ABC News.

Building on all of this publicity, the folks at my favorite haunted attraction have come up with a new idea which is sure to be entertaining.  From April 9th-June 8th of this year, Nightmares Fear Factory is holding a “Fear Pics Remix” contest.  Entrants are asked to break out with their Photoshop skills and transform one of their existing Fear Pics into something even more fun and creative.

The first place prize will be a 8GB iPod Touch, 4 Tix to 4 premier Niagara Falls Attractions (Nightmares & 3 Ripley’s), & Nightmares T-Shirt.  Voting will be in the hands of the fans, so you’re welcome to enlist the help of all of your friends on Facebook and Twitter.  Full contest rules may be found here.

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As always, thank you for reading.  If you’ve ever visited Nightmares Fear Factory, please share your experiences.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Dublin, OH haunted house features unusual holiday display

Howdy folks.  I hope that your holiday plans are coming along nicely.  Typically, the holiday season is about as far away from Halloween and other spooky festivities as you can get.  However, if you happen to be in the Columbus, OH area and need a little fix of the macabre, I believe I may have scared something up for you.

The ScareATorium haunted attraction, in Dublin, Ohio features an unusual holiday themed window display lighted from 6-10 pm nightly through December 31, 2011.

Growing up in Worthington, Ohio; it was a holiday tradition for ScareAtorium Producer Kelly Collins to travel to downtown Columbus with his family to see the Christmas window displays at Lazarus.  They would spend hours looking at the windows and then drive around town to see the festive lights on local buildings.  It’s those memories that inspired Kelly to decorate the windows at the Scare-A-Torium; their Halloween haunted attraction in Dublin at the Dublin Village Center.

ScareATorium Actors spent two weekends decorating the Castle façade with garland and lights and creating several window displays.  Of course; since it is a haunted attraction, they needed to keep some of the attraction slightly on the macabre side.  “I guess the zombie and clown toy workshop teeters towards the Nightmare before Christmas theme” said Kelly Collins;  “and the Christmas trees are adorned with pumpkins, spiders and a few skulls” he added.  Additional window displays include a giant Sock Monkey in one window and holiday pigs in another.  Collins noticed dozens of people driving by were stopping to observe the decorators in action; with some walking up for a closer look and picture-taking.

The Scare-A-Torium is closed until next Halloween season, but the window displays will be up providing holiday cheer on a dark side of the shopping center through the end of the year.  So if you are driving around the Dublin/Sawmill road area at night, be sure to swing by the Dublin Village Center and spend a few moments enjoying the Halloween themed Christmas displays!

About the Scare-A-Torium:  Located southwest of I-270 and Sawmill Road (exit 20) in the Dublin Village Shopping Center at 6765 Dublin Center Drive, Dublin Ohio 43017.  The Scare-A-Torium is a 30,000 square foot haunted house open in October (Thursday through Sunday evenings) which hosts the Scare Store gift shop featuring Halloween makeup artistry provided by Funhouse Faces.  For more information, email Info@ScareATorium.com or please call 614-433-9343 or visitwww.ColumbusHauntedHouse.com.

Haunted Attractions

As a child, I was scared of my shadow.  While I loved Halloween and spooky things of all sorts, I had no stomach for them.

Every Saturday afternoon, Rochester had its own version of a “Creature Feature” after the children’s cartoons were over.  Each week a different monster movie would be featured and each week I would faithfully tune in.  However, also each week, I would turn the channel within moments after the host would introduce the movie.

I guess my first experience with a “haunted attraction” was the annual “haunted house” at the Dome arena in Henrietta, NY.  I must have been about 5 or 6 years old and had seen the signs along the road as we’d head off to get groceries at Wegmans.  Like a moth to a flame, I begged my folks to take me.

They agreed and off we went.  I was fascinated by the decorations and creepy sounds.  However, when it came to enter, I started to get weak knees.  Ultimately, the “good witch” at the “Scardey Cat’s” exit was my savior and I was back in the safe, light of day.  This ritual played itself out for at least the following few years.

My fortunes started to change when I was around 11.  That year there was a haunted house held at Gillette elementary school in Henrietta (where the School of the Holy Childhood is now).  I successfully managed to make my way through the gauntlet along with a couple of my little buddies.  That little victory changed everything.  lol.

From that point on, I threw myself headfirst into any scary attraction I could find, with great glee.  Ultimately, I guess that’s what lead me to starting to work for the Cobblestone Arts Center’s Haunted House and wearing the Frankenstein (err, monster) suit.

At any rate, I’ve made it into quite a hobby over the years.  As a matter of fact, back in ’97, my ex-wife and I spent a week touring some of the best “haunted attractions” in the country.

One of the best haunted attractions I’ve ever encountered is up in Niagara Falls, Ontario.  Open all year, Nightmares Fear Factory is not for the faint of heart.  Don’t be fooled.  It’s not one of the cheesy haunted houses on Clifton Hill, with static displays from the 70s.  This is the real deal.

Instead of being populated with bored teenagers in latex masks, the Fear Factory is run by hardcore folks who pride themselves on making their guests call out “nightmares!” (an act which will immediately lead to them being escorted out of the attraction).  You will find no Spencer’s Halloween decorations or Halloween soundtracks here…Nightmares is a “feel your own way” romp through pitch black corridors in complete silence (aside from the sounds that you and your companions make).

Seriously, I realize that I enjoy this stuff far more than the ordinary individual.  However, if you happen to find yourself up at the Casino or passing through, on the way to Toronto, you should check it out.  I promise that you and your friends will be talking about it all the way home.

Dream Reapers Haunted House presents: Nightmares Before X-Mas

I’ve been a busy monster these past couple weeks.  Between recuperating from Halloween festivities and planning a move, I haven’t had much to report.  However, I caught wind of something today which I had to pass along.

The folks over at Dream Reapers Haunted House have been scaring folks as the #1 haunted attraction in Illinois for 3 years in a row.  Unfortunately, this year, they were the victims of a robbery at the end of their season.  In order to recover some of their losses, they are planning a special event in December.

For 4 days this December, Dream Reapers Haunted House will present a tale of Christmas fear…Nightmares Before X-Mas!

I’m seriously considering a road trip for this one (anybody else interested)?  It would be great if they could recoup their losses.  Beyond that, consider the trend that could be started if a high profile haunt like this has a successful December run.

You can check out their information here.  Spread the word and give me a yell if you’d consider paying them a visit with me.

Thanks for reading.  Hope you’re all making the transition into the holidays nicely.

Nightstalker Manor…where your nightmares begin #Rochester, NY

In my last post I made mention of the passion and good spirited nature of Halloween fans.  Today I’d like to illustrate that by telling the tale of a charity haunted attraction in my hometown of Rochester, NY.

Joe Naber and his family are some of those “Halloween people” I’ve been talking about.  Over ten years ago they started a home-haunt.  As time went by, the creation grew and for the past two years they’ve been a charity haunt for the Henrietta Food Cupboard.

Ultimately, his operation got too big for his little home.  This year, Nightstalker Manor will be held at the Henrietta Moose Family Center.  Best of all, their haunt isn’t the only thing that is growing.  For 2011, all proceeds will go to The Ronald McDonald House of Rochester, Moose Charities, & the Henrietta Food Cupboard.

This kind of thing just makes me happy.  Considering all of the hard work (not to mention jumping through hoops) which is involved in operating a haunted attraction, going the charity route is very cool indeed.

I’ve been reading Joe’s posts for a couple of months now.  He and his crew are pumped and ready to put on a killer show.

If you’re one of my readers in the Rochester area, I strongly urge you to check out Nightstalker Manor this season.  With an admission of only $6 ($5 with a canned food item for donation), how can you go wrong?  If you’re not in the area, maybe just give them a shout out and some encouragement.  These are the kind of folks who make our hobby so special.

Location:  The Moose Family Center, 5375 West Henrietta Rd., West Henrietta, NY  14586

Ticket Pricing:  $6 (Cash Only) or $5 with non-perishable food donation

Hours & Dates:  7pm-11pm every Friday & Saturday through October

Phone:  585-451-9996

Website:  www.nightstalkermanor.com

Nightmares Fear Factory

    

     It should come as no surprise that a fellow who enjoys dressing up in a 9′ tall monster costume would enjoy haunted attractions.   I do, and indeed I have since I was a small child.   There’s something just incredibly fun about them, whether it be the thrills of being scared or even simply the props or music.

     Over the past 25 years, I’ve made it a point to visit every haunted house, hay-ride, or theme-park that I could manage to find.  Of all of these, Nightmares Fear Factory stands well above the rest.

      Nightmares Fear Factory is located in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.  Just minutes from the Falls, Nightmares is a true gem.  It lies just a short walk from Casino Niagara and Clifton Hill.  Unlike the overwhelming majority of haunted attractions, Nightmares is open 365 day a year.

     The premise of the haunt is that it occupies the site of the former Cataract Coffin Factory.  As the story goes the proprietor, Abraham Mortimer, was constantly hounded by young vandals and pranksters.  One night, while chasing off a band of teens, a rope came loose and Mortimer was crushed under a large stack of solid oak coffins.

     Having had no heirs, Mortimer’s factory went out of business and soon fell into disrepair.  Shortly after his burial, Mortimer’s coffin turned up unearthed and empty.  Ever since that day there have been rumors of strange happenings at the old factory.  Some even claim that Mortimer’s ghost walks the halls, seeking revenge on those who dare trespass on his beloved factory.

 

     What makes Nightmares Fear Factory so entertaining to me is what they do different.  When someone thinks of a haunted attraction, the first things that typically come to mind are spooky background music and a creepy set & props.  You’ll find none of these here!  Nightmares is a horrifying journey through complete darkness and silence.

     It hits you the moment you enter.  Immediately upon hearing the doors slam shut, you are immersed into an environment that is pitch black and so quiet that you can hear yourself breathe.  It also becomes apparent that you are not alone.

     Unlike many cheesy haunts in touristy areas, Nightmares does employ live actors (or perhaps the place is really haunted).  Yes, while you grope your way through the darkness, the denizens of Nightmares are well aware of your progress and can hear your every whisper.

     With twisting paths and shifting walls, Nightmares is not for the faint of heart.  As such, there is a system in place for those poor souls who get a little too scared.  Yelling out “nightmares!” while inside the attraction will cause someone to come fetch you and lead you back to safety.  I’m sure this sounds a bit laughable while sitting at a computer desk.  However, the attraction boasts a “chicken list” of 110,616 people at the time of this writing.  Don’t assume for a minute that these were young children.

     For more information about Nightmares Fear Factory, I’ve included some useful links below.  If any of you have ever attended the haunt or are a fan of haunted attractions in general, I’d love to hear your experiences.

Nightmares Fear Factory Website:   http://www.nightmaresfearfactory.com/

Nightmares Fear Factory YouTube Page:  http://www.youtube.com/user/NightmaresFear

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     Finally, being a big Frankenstein fan, I had to slip in this one last picture.  This Burger King is located just around the corner from Nightmares Fear Factory and is worth a peek if you’re in the area.