Despite the reassurance one could take from the theme ‘You’re never alone in the dark,’ for a 23rd year the Boys and Girls Club of Red Deer’s Haunted House is set to scare thousands.
This year, the club will have the help of creatures such as The Tormentor and Man’s Best Friend.
The latter, however, will likely be no friend to the squeamish, and the former did not come upon its name flippantly.
At 4.2 metres in height, The Tormentor is the big new scare at the annual Haunted House.
“He’s sure to send you running,” said co-ordinator John Johnston of the “giant puppet” operating on an air compression system that has already made the inspecting fire marshal jump.
Those brave enough to take in the attraction at Lions Plaza (7710 50th Ave.) will get an ominous invitation into the ‘psych ward’ from an “interesting character” at the beginning of their walk-through, after which they will encounter the robotic and demonic at every turn.
The annual house of horrors opens tonight and will run every day from 6 to 10 p.m. until Halloween.
It is bigger and it is better, said Johnston, with the combination of popular returning animatronics like The Flying Vampire and actors who have auditioned for the right to scare the socks off all comers.
“Hats off to our volunteers. They’ve done an amazing job in terms of not just the layout of the haunted house, but the real attention to detail,” he said.
Actors are shown a training video that is used by those in the fright business at Universal Studios, through which they learn the art of the scare without touching people.
“It’s not just about jumping out and screaming. It all depends upon the role you’re in.
“A subtle scare, a hard scare and how to scare — they learn all about that,” said Johnston.
Among the special events scheduled during the two weeks are toned-down matinees for children from 1 to 4 p.m. on weekends and the even scarier Midnight Madness for adults only from midnight to 2.m. on Oct. 26. The standard daily openings are recommended for an audience over 10 years of age.
The event is the main fundraiser in support of the local Boys and Girls Club. Last year, it raised $80,000, with this year’s target $100,000.
Johnston said last year’s cold snap during the attraction’s two weeks hurt attendance, while decent weather tends to see more people come out. This year, he said, people need not fear the cold outside as they fear the frights inside.
“Don’t worry about the cold, because we’ve got a massive, huge lobby this year and we can put a lot of people in the lobby and they’ll be warm in there,” he affirmed.
Tickets are $15 at the door, while groups of at least 10 can get theirs at the Youth and Volunteer Centre for $12 per person. A ‘Spook Pass’ providing entrance plus other benefits for $20 can be reserved online.
Matinee tickets cost $10 per person while Midnight Madness tickets can be had at the door for $20.
Johnston said more volunteers are always welcome to help with the attraction.
A full schedule of special events and further information is available at the attraction’s website: www.zedhauntedhouse.com.