Thrillvania’s effects, actors worth commute

    147
    print

    The cool night air carries the faint odor of wet hay and mud. Fear mounts as thrill seekers trudge along, clumped together in small packs. Each collective step is marked by a frail bravado. Only the occasional scream or nervous laugh breaks through the mist. Welcome to Thrillvania.The Environment

    Located off a county road in Terrell, the broken-down mansion facade is situated over 20 acres of a 50 acre plot. The house is open regardless of weather, and it includes a fortune teller, a magic show and other standard vendors.

    The Background

    The house came from the imagination of special effects artist Lance Pope. The house is currently owned by haunted house design expert Steve Kopelman. Since the change in ownership, Thrillvania has become a nationwide success. This year, Thrillvania was one of 11 haunted houses chosen to appear on the America’s Best Haunts list and was on AOL’s “Best Haunted Attractions” list.

    The Houses

    “Dr. Lycan’s Trail of Torment”

    The screams and sound of gunfire emitting from the Trail of Torment can be heard from the parking lot, making many visitors hesitant to enter. Those who choose not to enter miss out on the most technologically advanced piece of the attraction, the Claustrophobia. Just as the name implies, the Claustrophobia compresses its occupants, testing their ability to cope not only with a lack of space but with lack of light, as well.

    Rating: 5 jack-o’-lanterns

    “Granny Lupus’ Seance Theater”

    With its boarded windows and rusted tin sides, the Seance Theater is more of a dilapidated shack waiting to be demolished than a theater. Inside, under the skeleton chandeliers and amidst jars of various appendages, a mechanical Granny Lupus brings a few nonviolent spirits back to life.

    Rating: 2 jack-o’-lanterns

    “Cassandra’s Labyrinth of Terror”

    Cassandra’s Labyrinth is a crazed, multicolored structure, with Christmas lights and clowns cluttering the porch. The inside of the labyrinth, decorated with black lights and graffiti, has the look of a run-down asylum. The labyrinth’s occupants are coated in blood at various stages of congealing. They run the visitors down the seemingly endless series of halls and finally out into the night.

    Rating: 4 jack-o’-lanterns

    “Voodoo Bayou”

    Voodoo Bayou is a foggy, swamp-like trail leading to Verdun Manor. The Bayou includes a pyrotechnic dragon and a blood-filled fountain, but it is dependent on the occasional appearance of a ghoulish actor for screams. Its main purpose is to build suspense and tension for the Manor.

    Rating: 2 jack-o’-lanterns

    “Verdun Manor”

    The main attraction and overall crowd-pleaser of Thrillvania is Verdun Manor, a mansion full of beasts, chainsaws and gore. Visitors are chased from room to room by an array of subhuman beings, from Pinhead to werewolves, zombies and axe murderers. The house was designed for maximum fear.

    Rating: 5 jack-o’-lanterns

    The special effects, actors and design make Thrillvania well worth the long commute and hefty admission fee.

    Overall Rating: 4 jack-o’-lanterns