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Time for a scare: Frightworld returns for 21st season
By Max Faery,
Buffalo, N.Y. (WBEN) - A walk through the infamous grindhouse, the carnival boneyard and, of course, the eerie state asylum.
It's that time of year again, time for Western New York horror fans to immerse themselves in the spooky state of mind and it all starts with Friday's opening of Frightworld - America's Screampark, located on 1001 Hertel Avenue in Buffalo, back for an impressive 21st season.
"What we really wanted to focus on this season was perfecting our haunted houses," says Trevor Feger, Frightworld's General Manager. "We have five award-winning haunted attractions in one location, and we have been working on them all year. We've completely demolished full rooms and built from the ground up, completely new set scares, and then we've also included all new characters for each attraction this season."
Feger mentions that each of the five haunted houses this year will be equipped with at least two new rooms for those returnees to enjoy a whole new set of frights, including the longest-running returning attraction: Grind House, Feger's personal favorite.
"It has been here for 11 years now, and it is our highest-rated house with all of our customers. So it's kind of a backwoods, serial killer house. You're going to be walking through a massive, almost mansion-style attraction, and there's two serial killers waiting around every corner, waiting to jump out."
Entrance to the Grind House at Frightworld (09/21/2023) Photo credit Max Faery - WBEN
One thing that Frightworld fans love most about the attractions is the dedicated performances by the scare actors and scream team. They hire 175 people every season, 125 people being the scare actors.
"We go through a rigorous training program, we like to call it "Scream School." It really gets our actors acclimated to how busy Saturday nights are going to be. We're throwing them in the houses, teaching them all new scare tactics, how to keep their voice going throughout the entire night, how to creep out customers, hitting them high, hitting them low, getting their timing perfected. Then we bring a lot of our veteran actors in to do that as well, and they teach the new actors how to become the best character they can be."
The scare actors take immense pride and joy in their scaring duties, they, like guests at the attraction, enjoy the thrills of a good scare, they find the humor in it, but it's also a lot of work.
"We do really enjoy scaring people and it is absolutely exhausting. If your body from head to toe is not completely sore by the end of every night, you didn't do your job right. It is very exhausting. But there is no stress relief like being able to kick through doors and scream at people, scare the living crap out of them every single night," said Zach Rosati, scare actor.
"It definitely steps it up from going to watch a horror movie or going to a casual Halloween party being in a fully-immersed attraction and really getting that escape from reality coming here."
There are several special events that will be at Frightworld this year, including the Little Frights with Lights event on October 28, where kids can trick-or-treat and go through the houses with the lights on from 11 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. There will be balloon animals, face-painting and more! For the hardcore horror fans, there will be lights out events on November 3 and 4, where they only provide the guests with glow sticks. Click here to purchase tickets online.
Lastly, there will be a special giveaway to the first 100 people that come to Frightworld on Friday the 13th. Appropriately, they will be handing out Jason Voorhees masks.
Rude, creepy doll that wouldn't stop looking at me Photo credit Max Faery - WBEN It's Jason! Photo credit Max Faery - WBEN This one looks like a weeping angel... don't blink. Photo credit Max Faery - WBEN Chopping it up at the Grind House Photo credit Max Faery - WBEN The crystal ball will tell you that it's not looking good. Photo credit Max Faery - WBEN