Halloween Haunting 101: Home Haunt Cinema-spiration

It’s a rather dreary Sunday here at Vespertine House. As your curator, I can say without a doubt that we are loving this weather here. 🙂

It’s perfect for films and writing… and writing about films!

We’re officially at the 100-days-til-Halloween mark on the calendar and what better way to kick things off than with some Home Haunt themed cinema!

Last weekend I watched several documentaries about Home Haunters. Not only is this my favorite new documentary genre, but it’s also the most informative for those of us looking to break into the Haunting game. 🙂

Maybe not that serious, but still… let’s get to it!

 

The American Scream, 2012

This film follows three deeply devoted Halloween enthused families in Massachusetts. Each family goes the distance by turning their homes into neighborhood haunts for one night a year.

What I loved most about this film was how devoted each haunter was. They work tirelessly all year to see their idea of the perfect haunt come to fruition for just one night. Not to mention you see the best bare-bones DIY prop-building. If you’re a home haunter you’ll completely admire the use of duct tape and PVC here.

Out of all the films I’ve seen so far on the subject this is by far my favorite. The people in this film display the greatest passion for Halloween and truly hope to bring some magic to the people in their community. Not for personal gain, but solely because they want to. I’m instantly reminded of how great Halloween was for me when I was a kid, a large influence in that being my Dad and his DIY attitude towards making it as spooky as possible while on a budget. No matter how much he worked, he’d make the time to make Halloween memorable and magical for me and my sister.

Shoutout to you, Dad. Thanks for keeping it creepy. ❤

Definitely check this one out- I believe she’s still available on Netflix!

 

Haunters, 2014

This film documents a Michigan family who operate their “Phobia” haunt every year. The owners of the haunt being year-round Halloween/Costume Shop owners who are devoted to building up the best for-profit haunt in their area. You see everything from conception to building to the launch. Plenty of melodrama ensues.

I enjoyed this one sheerly because it was great to see someone take the initiative to start their own indie haunt. We see plenty of these pop up in our own towns every year, but actually seeing what goes into that is a lot of fun. It was good to see so many people come together to help create an intricate full-on Halloween production.

Definitely available to watch on Amazon Prime- get at it!

 

Monsters Wanted, 2013

This film documents the creation of a large scale Halloween “Scream Park” in Kentucky. The Haunt is run by Rich Teachout and his small team who take the backlot of a paintball park to the next level with intricate builds and production. Lots of drama ensues.

This one documents a lot of the business side of the up-and-comers industry in haunts. This isn’t necessarily a large-scale, big time attraction, but it’s certainly one that’s well on its way. I can’t say this was at the top of my list as the best, mainly because there was a lot of unnecessary drama that was documented. It overall took away from the end product. I honestly felt that the team in this film spread themselves too thin by trying to create a giant theme park with minimal help and funds. There was a lot of great effort and plenty of amazing concepts but it really fell short overall.

It’s most definitely on Amazon Prime- Give it a shot and tell me what you thought!

 


All in all, i’m hoping to see more of these home haunt docs crop up. I absolutely love seeing what’s happening on the indie circuit. A common thread that these films shared was the passion for haunting and Halloween. Everyone creating these haunts are immensely dedicated to creating something amazing. I can totally appreciate that.

Have you seen these films? If so, which was your favorite?? 

Until next time!

-Sarah

You Can’t Leave: Two Extreme Haunts I Will Never Visit 

So, I love Haunts even though they scare the living misery out of me! ☺️ I… Enjoy that kind of action though. 😏

There are two Haunts that I think are brilliant but way too extreme for me, and you would NEVER catch me in either of them.

I’d lose my shit and never recover. ☺️

McKamey Manor

In a nutshell, this San Diego home-based haunt is like living in a Torture Porn, and you’re the star. Russ McKamey, owner and mastermind, built the haunt in his home and holds tours via reservation year round. Currently the waiting list is rumored to be around a few thousand, which I totally believe. ☺️

Check out a video of a walk-through with one of McKamey’s unfortunate victims.😏

[WARNING: The following video includes extremely graphic images that may be disturbing to… Well, normal people. Viewer discretion needed.] 

In McKamey Manor everything short of actual brutalizations and murder is completely possible. As of right now, no one has actually finished the full tour which is 8 hours long. 😳 I’d skip out while just driving up the road. ☺️

Blackout

Blackout is a sensory based haunt that runs limited shows in select cities on the east and west coast during the Halloween season. This Haunt is similar to McKamey Manor in the sense that it’s extremely physical, however, Blackout maintains that the experience is far more theatrical and psychologically trying. You more or less won’t be covered in blood and screamed at endlessly while being shoved and prodded…

Okay, I lied, you might… But just a little. ☺️

The scariest thing about Blackout is that you must do it alone. Even if you show up with a group of friends you have to walk it completely alone. This Haunt also messes with your mind quite a bit. It’s pitch black and you’re often bound and hooded while being guided through by someone.

Those two things alone are enough to keep me far, far away from this Haunt.☺️👍🏻

Both of these Haunts have received varying amounts of negative press concerning the extreme lengths at which the Haunters go to frighten their guests. Many would argue that this all “goes too far”, but I think it just coincides with modern society’s need for a thrill.

Considering how desensitized we’ve become to a lot of horrible things, these extreme Haunts are designed for those looking for a serious adrenaline rush and psychological challenge. Because this is all done in a controlled environment with professionals who have done it hundreds of times before, and know what they’re doing, I completely approve and applaud how disturbed and bizarre it all is. ☺️

I for one get my thrills elsewhere but as far as Haunts go, these certainly are the cremé de la cremé in terror. 😏👏🏻

What do you guys think, would you ever attend an Extreme Haunt? Would you last in either of these places? ☺️💜

💜🎃💜

-Sarah