Welcome to the 2nd installment of “Confessions of a Haunter”. With the Halloween season 2 months away and the fate of the season in COVID’s hands, lets get the season started early with another Haunted Attraction actor or “Haunter” as they are known.
If you are a Haunter or know someone who is and would like to be featured on a future spotlight please reach out to me on Facebook, Instagram or send me an email at SouthJerseyJason@gmail.com
What is your first memory of watching a horror movie?
One of the memories that stands out to me the most is that I went to see a movie in the theaters called, “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” in 2010. In the movie, it had these creatures from the ash pit in this old mansion where they lurk in the dark. Right at the climax of the movie, the lights, the screen, everything in the theater went black. I thought it was all a joke. Then walking out that day, I saw the concession stand and the corridors that led to other theaters in the building went through a blackout. That was one of the most freakiest things I have ever experienced. I haven’t even finished watching the movie to this very day.
What was your first haunted attraction you attended?
My first haunted attraction experience that I can remember is going to this haunted trail in Riverside. I don’t recall what the name of it was or where it was actually located. My mom took me and my sister there. One of the things I do remember is going through that very dark forest; seeing a vampire to a decaying bride, from a demented, cleaver-wielding chef serving popcorn with eyeballs to a man in a cow suit holding an big medieval-like ax. Clowns with chainsaws to walking through a strobe tunnel with people in camouflage with weird black and white patterns on both walls. Hearing some noises coming the river right next to us was pretty freaky because you’d never know if someone or something was there.
What made you get into the art of the haunt (how old were you?)
It all pretty much started with going to haunts in 2007 with Knott’s Scary Farm and Halloween Horror Nights when I was 14 years old. I then branched out into other haunts such as Sinister Pointe in 2011 starting with their Christmas haunt and going to Dark Harbor and such. That same year, I started getting into the idea of creating haunted houses starting with a couple of buddies of mine who were Halloween fanatics like I am trying to get something going in LA but nothing happened until a garage haunt was done called Haunted Hollow, which would then become The Haunted Diary.
In 2013 the second year after working at Sinister Pointe I picked up on the idea of when you have a costume and a different face, it can be treated like a full-fledged character and I believe that’s where I started to taking a haunting a bit seriously. I also still have bits and pieces of ideas, concepts, drawings, and articles of creating haunted attractions that I would like to do someday, whenever that and time and day might be. During the past decade, I started to become impressed with some of the home haunts that popped up around Southern California that are amazing in terms of design and such. I would like to do something like that. It’s just a few of those showcases of art that I really appreciate.
Do you showcase 1 specific character or do you have more? What inspired your character(s) Do you design the clothing/make up yourself or do you utilize others to help you?
There is one character that I would call the father of my haunted attraction career if you will. I call him Rodent. He’s a Southern, music-playing hillbilly with a hippie-like attitude. I created this character in 2013 and the makeup was first handled by makeup artists. I have since been tinkering with him ever since by adding accessories to drastic face changes that I’d like to bring once I dress up as him again. I also have created characters since than which have only been showcased probably only once such as a mysterious golden-masked figure for a party in Santa Ana called
“The Fool’s Festival in March 2017.” I played a conflicted priest in an exclusive haunt in Scare LA in 2016 called “Blood Offering.”
I created this character simply as the Four- Face because of the four faces covering parts of the head, walking on canes. I do make the masks and costumes from time to time and sometimes I have roles with specific costumes and make-up provided for me. So it really varies; depending on which endeavor that I would take.
What attraction do you currently work at? Can you tell us about it? What other attractions have you worked at?
The last haunt I worked was last year at Dark Harbor at The Queen Mary. Right now, it is all up for grabs. I could end up going back on the Ship or I could end up working Knott’s or somewhere else. Wherever I may end up, it’s very likely that you’d find me somewhere in the haunt scene in SoCal, which is very vast now. It really is amazing! I worked at Sinister Pointe from 2012-2013. I worked at The 17th Door in 2015. I was a part of these theater groups in North Hollywood called Zombie Joe’s Underground Theater and Force of Nature Productions who have had their share in the haunt community. I’ve also delved into immersive theater with Shine On Collective for their March show called “To the Wild” as well as at the first installation of “Santu Deliria.” I also worked at a pop-up haunt in August that year too with The IT Experience: Neibolt House in Hollywood. I also was a part of a small haunt with my Four-Face character, outside of The Egyptian Theater that premiered the documentary: “Haunters: The Art of the Scare.”
What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a haunter?
I would say just look at what everyone is doing. Attend various haunts. Look into certain characters from movies that you like even if it was from a horror movie or other genre. Look into real life, possibly look at what happened to you in your life. Look into different types of performances. What talents do you have that you’d like to bring to the table? Look into stories. Look at what other people in the haunt industry are doing. Watch videos from various haunts everywhere. You just never know what source of inspirations that you might pull from when you go into this medium of performance. Haunting is definitely an art form, so always keep an open mind.
What is your most memorable experience you had when interacting with a patron at your attraction?
One of the many memorable experiences was when I worked at The 17th Door in 2015. I walked in with a fresh group of guests into the haunt in the classroom. You’re told the rules by a teacher and such. Some guests did believe I was going in alone and told me that I had nothing to worry about as I was acting as if I was anxious. They were hooked line and sinker to what was happening and right when I pulled out a prop gun, I hid when it was my time. They legitimately freaked out. Right when I pulled the trigger, blood splatters behind my head and they screamed. They were scared out of their minds that someone just died before they were on their way to start their journey through the haunt. That’s one of those moments in working in the haunt industry that I would never forget.
Who are some of your favorite haunters that you follow on social media or personally know?
There are various people that I’ve met throughout the years of being part of the haunted attraction scene. One of the haunters that I know is Shar Mayer from Knott’s Scary Farm. I first met her when she was working one night at Sinister Pointe for their Bloody Mary attraction in 2014. Her approach to scaring was more theatrical and that’s what I really liked to see how scare acting can be done in another way. Another one was at Sinister Pointe and that was Iris Markofsky (aka Ms. Darkness.) She was my first muse. I remember seeing what she was doing; that all of her characters were all her own. I looked into the process of how she made the costumes and the masks. When I found out that it was all made from certain materials that anyone uses for other art projects such as paper-mache, that made me wrap my head around that it is something that could be doable and that it showed me that doing something elaborate is possible.
Do you have any social media accounts that you would like to promote for your character(s) and the current haunted attraction you work at?
I do have a Facebook page that promotes my character, Rodent. You can also find me on Facebook, Adam Shows as well as Instagram: @a.shows33. Follow me wherever haunted attraction or other artistic endeavor that may take me and I really look forward to having you onboard with me.