Thursday, October 11, 2012
Interview with 7th Street Haunt
Last weekend, I had the opportunity to visit the 7th Street Haunt, where I met Tracy and a few other folks working the haunt. Unfortunately, I didn't get to meet the owner, Travis, but he was gracious enough to answer a few questions for me, just to get to know him and the haunt a little better. Read on for some awesome info!
LL: First off, I was informed you ran the haunt in Indiana, Psychomania. I won't lie, it was my favorite haunt in the area. I was wondering, though, how much of Psychomania followed you to this new haunt, such as props, actors, and most importantly, influence?
Travis: I didn't run Psychomania, but I helped to create it and have been with the owners of that haunt for many years. If not for Phil Granger, one owner of the company that owned Psychomania, I would not be a haunt owner today. He got me into the scaring business when I was 16.
But, enough about that. All the props that could be saved from Psychomania are in The 7th Street Haunt. I would say about 75% of what we have was saved out of the fire. The actors have slowly followed, many walking through it and saying, "Thank you for rebuilding a home for us," Then after seeing the haunt, they want to work in the business again. I only know how to build one kind of a haunted house, and its the traditional haunted house. That's what 31 Ways to Terror, all the way to Psychomania, was. It's something that a lot of haunts are moving away from, but these are my roots, and I can't forget where I came from.
LL: I hear that for next year, you guys will be getting more space in the building, do you already have plans for how the haunt will be reworked, or if it will include a second haunt at the site?
Travis: Only time will tell. I can't let everything out of the bag, where's the fun in that?
LL: You did a lot with how little time you had to prepare for the 2012 season, and I have to give credit when due. Most folks don't realize how much effort goes into putting together a successful haunted house. Could you give us an idea of some of the struggles, tears, and pain went into creating and running this new haunt?
Travis: Well, where to start? The hardest thing was dealing with the permits and getting everything the city of Louisville wanted from us to make this one of the safest haunts around, along with just getting it built. Some of our first guests may have gotten paint on them due to us painting walls minutes before we opened. I had no home life and slept very little-if any-for the last four months. But, as you could see, it was all worth it. We have a great haunt and are looking forward to next year.
LL: There are some pretty unique rooms and features in the haunt. What do you think are the key factors that really set the 7th Street Haunt apart from the other haunted attractions in the Louisville area?
Travis: The 7th Street Haunt, like I said before, is a traditional haunted house. Its the backbone of the industry. We brought it all back to the basics. You may say unique, but I say traditional. With that beginning said we are trying to provide a haunt that will never double what another haunt does, and gives the guests a whole new look on haunts as a whole.
LL: One last thing for you. It takes a very special type of person to come up with new and interesting ways to scare the bejeebers out of people. Where did you find the inspiration to open a haunted house initially, and what drives you to keep chasing that dream?
Travis: Years of working in haunts and watching horror movies have turned my mind into one that could be studied for years. I can't look anything with saying, "I could turn that into a prop." I watch people interact with others and see what makes them uneasy.
But for the most part, my mother, Tracy Stanfield, is my inspiration. (I think you met her the other night.) As a child she was too scared to watch horror movies on her own, so I, at the age of 4 or younger, had to watch them with her. I said for years, "I will have a haunted house, and it would be great." She has always pushed me to follow my dream, and this is it. Who knew it would become a nightmare?
Well, Travis, I must say, from one demented mind to another, this nightmare is a true accomplishment, and I genuinely enjoyed myself! One thing I want to share, going back to the props from Psychomania-the room with the doors. I remember that one when I went to Psychomania, and it was just as frustratingly nightmarish as before, especially with the actor guarding the doors. We were all kinds of turned around! It was nice to see so much of Psychomania in The 7th Street Haunt, because it truly was my favorite haunt in the area, and I was incredibly sad to hear of the devastation.. I'm so glad you're back and scaring the bejeebers out of us again! Thanks so much for the Q&A session, but especially for creating this masterpiece.