Here is the Haunted Attraction Industry News for February 20th.
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Conventions & Mixers
The Midwest Haunters Convention (Rosemont, IL) announced the haunt destinations for the Pre-Convention Bus Tours, taking place on Thursday, June 8th and Friday, June 9th. Thursday’s Pre-Convention Haunt Tour (sponsored by Fearworm) will take guests to Hush Haunted Attraction, Eloise Asylum, and Erebus Haunted Attraction. The Friday Night Haunt Tour (sponsored by TicketSpice) will visit The Old Joliet Haunted Prison. Tickets will be available soon on the event’s official website.
U.S. Haunts & Events
The Hotel of Terror (Spingfield, MO) is at risk of being declared eminent domain by the Springfield City Council. The city’s Main Street Bridge is deteriorating and the city will need to remove the haunt’s building to fix and widen the bridge. The city and owners of the property have been in negotiations since 2019 but have yet to reach an agreement on relocation costs. “They’re not even at 50% of what it would cost me to renovate my other property and move it other there,” said owner Sterling Mathis in a local news interview. ““I have no problem moving it, but the problem is, the haunt is the building. The building is part of the haunt …You know, it’s built into it.” In 2019 the city offered Mathis $200,000, however Mathis claims relocating the 45-year old haunt to his other property, Dungeons of Doom, would be a $1 million project. Talks are still in progress. If the city and Hotel of Terror owners can agree on relocation compensation, condemnation proceedings will be terminated. The city council will vote on the bill on February 21st.
A class-action lawsuit has been filed in Will Country, IL against HellsGate and Statesville Haunted Prison. The lone plaintiff, Amanda Zabinski, is seeking damages after she claims that non-exempt employees of the two haunts were paid “far below” minimum wage. Zabinski said she made an average of $6.95 per hour while working 8 ½ to 11 hour shifts, while the state’s minimum wage at the time was between $11 – $12 per hour. She claims in the lawsuit that she and others made no more than $75 per shift, and that the two haunted houses could not have operated without the efforts of the workers. Haunt owner John LaFlamboy, Jr. has denied the allegations, saying “Most of our people are above minimum wage.” He contends that Zabinski was not an employee but an independent contractor. Zabinski’s attorney argues that although Zabinski was called a “independent contactor”, she was treated in practice as an employee and there are hundreds of employees working in similar conditions at these haunted attractions. The lawsuit is seeking back pay and damages for Zabinsky and other employees.
Nightmare Chambers (Foley, AL) turns Mardi Gras into the sinister Slaughter Gras Fridays – Sundays until March 5th. If you dare, journey into the haunted house on your way to the Mardi Gras Ball. Survive four horrifying scare zones, each more bone-chilling than the next: The Mausoleum, The Butcher, The Mortuary, and The Slaughter Gras Ball. Tickets are on sale now starting at $19.99 for general Admission or $29.99 for Fast Pass.
This year’s Haunters Against Hate raffle at TransWorld’s Halloween & Attraction Show raised $3,800 for the organization. HAH would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has donated prizing, purchased a raffle ticket, t-shirt, pin, or patch, bought a copy of The Book of Haunters, or made a donation.
Film & TV
Haunted Mansion, the upcoming movie based on the beloved classic Disney ride, has received a release date: July 28th, 2023. The film is directed by Justin Simien and has a star-studded cast including: Rosario Dawson, LaKeith Stanfield, Owen Wilson, Tiffany Haddish, Winona Ryder, Dan Levy, Jared Leto, Danny DeVito, and Jamie Lee Curtis. No trailers have been released so far, but the film’s premise has been shared: A single mom named Gabbie and her 9-year-old son, who are looking to start a new life, move into a strangely affordable mansion in New Orleans, only to discover that the place is much more than they bargained for. Desperate for help, they contact a priest, who, in turn, enlists the aid of a widowed scientist-turned-failed-paranormal expert, a French Quarter psychic, and a crotchety historian to help exorcise the mansion.
Upcoming Events: February 2023 - April 2023
Fear on the Farm (Winfield, WV) – February 25
Nightmare Chamber (Foley, AL) – February 24 – 26, March 3 – 5
Podcast Episodes You Might Be Interested In
Super Nintendo World Opens in Hollywood
We discuss the impact of Super Nintendo World on the themed entertainment industry and look at the pay raise Universal Orlando is offering.
4 Reasons to Add an Off-Season Event to Your Haunt (Replay)
Why should you consider opening for an off-season event? Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and even Halfway to Halloween – more and more haunts are opening outside of the traditional Halloween Season. We’ve heard plenty of examples here on the show. Today, Scott Swenson will walk us through his list of 4 reasons: additional revenue, utilizing assets, expanding your audience, and building loyalty.
Two Iconic Dark Rides are getting Refurbished in the UK
Today’s episode is from one of our partners – ScareTrack. ScareTrack is the UK’s first podcast showcasing the Scare Attraction & Haunted House Industry. Today, the team is in the studio discussing Duel: The Haunted House Strikes Back being rethemed to The Curse at Alton Manor and Derren Browns Ghost Train being rethemed to Ghost Train at Thorpe Park.
Vampyres: TransylMania! at The Haunt in Atascadero, CA
Atascadero is about midway between Los Angeles and the Bay Area. Despite being in this isolated market, The Haunt in Atascadero has been growing steadily. Opening for Valentines’ is a tradition for the haunt, and they’re up to 5 show nights plus a lights-on tour, the longest-running valentine’s show among haunts in California. I stopped by on Valentine’s Day to hear about this year’s from the owner.
Haunted Attraction Industry News for February 14th
Read more here.
Takeaways from Disney’s Q1 Earnings Call
We recap the latest earnings call from Disney and their union challenges.