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Museum of Horrors - Any Information?


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As anyone who knows me is well aware, I adore Kings Island history and know far too much about the park's past. One area I'm still pretty uninformed in though is FearFest's first year, when the event was created by Sudden Impact! Entertainment and Kings Island did not play a large role in creating the attractions. As the park took control the following year, attractions from 2000 like Torture Tower, Pirate Jack & the Legend of Halloween in 4-D, and Museum of Horrors are poorly documented and there isn't much information on them whatsoever.

This brings up my question - does anybody have any pictures, information, or whatever else from Museum of Horrors? All I know is based off old news articles, reviews, and the old FearFest spotlight posted on this website a couple years back. The below text is pulled from a "research paper" of sorts I'm writing:

Museum of Horrors was an overlay of Phantom Theater. The attraction now featured scarier faces on the characters, moments of complete darkness, and ten live actors. While some scenes were intensified, others were simply covered with black scrim. The attractions sound track was also switched out.

Phantom Theater did not operate during regular park hours, but became a nighttime-only attraction.

In addition to the thematic changes for Phantom Theater, operational changes also existed.

Were going to load (only) every other car, said Mark Gildersleeve, creative director with Paramount Parks design staff. It's worth it to cut (the hourly ride count) in half to get a quality show.

Gildersleeve worked alongside Paramount Parks project manager and producer Russell Dishman to coordinate the first FearFest.

In addition, here is the only picture I can find, courtesy of Dafe.org:

06museum.jpg

Does anyone know more about the attraction, or maybe even have pictures or videos worth sharing?

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I had heard about it but don't know much about it. Would have loved to have ridden it though, sounds awesome. Wish they would do a bit more like that on Boo Blasters some year. I like the addition of the live actors they do but making it scarier in general would be awesome

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The actors banged loudly with clubs on the cars. It was widely rumored at least some of the cars were damaged. Rubber snakes were tossed onto some riders at times. Actors would sneak beside a moving car and scare the bejabbers out of the occupants.

That's all I remember, offhand.

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Were there still "haunted" attractions like this I might consider going through them. Now I'd rather ride the rides while everyone else goes through the haunts that don't even scare my child.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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From what I've heard from my mother, FearFest was much more frightening then Halloween Haunt. And yes, she still calls it FearFest.

I'd love to know more information about Torture Tower.

Yea I wish they'd make it scarier and better houses again. even if it meant having fewer mazes. And definitely do more with the dark ride.

If every house could be like Madame Fatale's, or Urgent Scare it's first year that'd be awesome.

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  • 6 years later...

The live actors part was done during Cedar Fairs run as well. I remember going around 2013 and there were 3 or 4 scare actors that would jump out at you or slap their hand on your vehicle in Boo Blasters. It made it more fun as with the rotation of the cars sometimes they could hide where you couldn't say and they made my friend jump in his seat one time. Agree with safety standards I don't see it happening again but it was a lot of fun when they did it.

Always heard about the live actors at Knott's for the log flume and calico mine train that they no longer have and wish i could have experienced those too.

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The live actors in Boo Blasters weren't able to get close enough to the cars to slap them, as I recall. They were actually on a rope that restricted how far out from the walls they could move.

That was a neat gimmick, in my opinion.

EDIT: The actors themselves, not the "being tethered to a wall" thing. :P

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I seem to also recall the actors being tethered to a wall so that they could not get close to the vehicles to be injured by them.  Similar to how the characters on parade floats at Disney World are tethered to the float.

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On 9/21/2020 at 1:39 AM, SonofBaconator said:

Wow, scare-actors purposely jumping into moving vehicles and beating park property with hard pieces of metal....sounds about Paramount.

Today we would call those "OHSA violations"

None of this is true.  I was a Rides Manager at the time, and worked as a "scare-actor" on several occasions on this attraction.  The roles of "scare-actor" (in the moving ride area) were played by Rides supervisors, managers, and full-timers.  All of these folks had to go through training & certification prior to being allowed to participate.  They wore full-theater makeup, just like the actors in the houses.  As mentioned above, each associate had to wear a belt harness and was tethered by a cable to prevent the associate from getting too close to the track and moving cars.  They did not jump in cars, or on cars, throw things into cars, etc.

Every other car was loaded so that the actors had time to reset between guests.  This was prior to half the cars being removed for Boo Blasters, so capacity was roughly the same as the current capacity.  The ride stopped once per hour for about 5 minutes to give the actors time to rotate stations & get a quick break.  Effectively, all the cars were unloaded, the ride was powered down for rotation, then restarted.  

I recall the following "stations" (I'm sure there were more).

- Associate jumping out of a door with a chainsaw

- Spark wall, where an associate hit a metal wand against an electrified "fence" to create noise and sparks (really cool effect, very grueling and hot work)

- Associate hitting the back of the cars with a foam mallet (no, it wasn't metal, no it wasn't enough to damage the cars)

- Associates poking through various "windows" and "doors" to startle guests

- Associate throwing a fake "head" at cars as they passed - essentially, a "head" attached to a series of two cables that allowed it to swing towards the cars, but stop way short of contacting guests

Similarly, the actors working the top of Tower were also Rides managers.

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^ Thank you so much for posting! It's really cool to get firsthand accounts of a time in the park's history that doesn't get talked about in detail often.

As far as the spark wall goes, do you know if that's the same prop that was used in Massacre Manor when it was located in Coney Mall, towards the end of the house? I remember something similar being used there.

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Massacre Manor did have a spark wall effect towards the end of the house, not sure if its the same one as they are pretty easy to make and the AC to DC inverter that powers the effect will eventually burn out.

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15 hours ago, Dane said:

Massacre Manor did have a spark wall effect towards the end of the house, not sure if its the same one as they are pretty easy to make and the AC to DC inverter that powers the effect will eventually burn out.

Agreed with Dane here.  The spark will effect is fairly common, so I don't know if it's the same one (or not).  The one at Phantom Theater was located in the electrical room scene (one ghost was hanging upside down by a rope tied to his foot, while another ghost pulled the rope).  The fence for the spark wall ran most of the length of the scene, so you could move along the fence as the cars went by.

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17 hours ago, Maestro said:

I recall the following "stations" (I'm sure there were more).

- Associate jumping out of a door with a chainsaw

- Spark wall, where an associate hit a metal wand against an electrified "fence" to create noise and sparks (really cool effect, very grueling and hot work)

- Associate hitting the back of the cars with a foam mallet (no, it wasn't metal, no it wasn't enough to damage the cars)

- Associates poking through various "windows" and "doors" to startle guests

- Associate throwing a fake "head" at cars as they passed - essentially, a "head" attached to a series of two cables that allowed it to swing towards the cars, but stop way short of contacting guests

Similarly, the actors working the top of Tower were also Rides managers.

Thank you for sharing this! Museum of Horrors has always been a Kings Island mystery for me so it's great to hear information from someone involved in the project.

If you're open to answering a few additional questions, I'd love to hear more about the attraction.

-Were the characters and props still turned on and part of the attraction, or were most turned off / covered in scrim and the actors were the focus?

-Outside the actors, were there many props/scenes added to the ride?

-How was guest reception to the attraction? I'm curious if it only lasted one season because of the amount of work involved (including closing the ride to daytime guests), poor guest reception, or maybe some combination of the two and other factors.

-Regarding Torture Tower on Eiffel Tower, I'd also love to learn more about that attraction... operationally it sounds like a challenge. Did you send up a group, have them navigate the attraction, and then take them back down in the same elevator? Or was the attraction long enough you could simultaneously drop one group off and pick up the next? Also did the maze really take advantage of being on the Eiffel Tower? In my opinion it seems like a bit of a gimmick that wouldn't pay off, but I never got the chance to try it myself.

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6 hours ago, TombraiderTy said:

Thank you for sharing this! Museum of Horrors has always been a Kings Island mystery for me so it's great to hear information from someone involved in the project.

If you're open to answering a few additional questions, I'd love to hear more about the attraction.

-Were the characters and props still turned on and part of the attraction, or were most turned off / covered in scrim and the actors were the focus?

-Outside the actors, were there many props/scenes added to the ride?

-How was guest reception to the attraction? I'm curious if it only lasted one season because of the amount of work involved (including closing the ride to daytime guests), poor guest reception, or maybe some combination of the two and other factors.

-Regarding Torture Tower on Eiffel Tower, I'd also love to learn more about that attraction... operationally it sounds like a challenge. Did you send up a group, have them navigate the attraction, and then take them back down in the same elevator? Or was the attraction long enough you could simultaneously drop one group off and pick up the next? Also did the maze really take advantage of being on the Eiffel Tower? In my opinion it seems like a bit of a gimmick that wouldn't pay off, but I never got the chance to try it myself.

It's been a while, so don't count this as gospel, but here's what I recall:

- Most of the characters and props were still turned on and working.  While the actors enhanced the experience, I don't believe they were designed to be the focus.  In my opinion, there weren't nearly enough actors to make it the center of the attraction.  Not all scenes had an actor.

- Tough one to remember - I don't think there were a lot of adds, short of the props the actors used.

- The line was always long, so I don't know that guest reception was the issue.  There were a few attractions that were dropped after the first year.  It was definitely labor intensive.  Capacity was fairly lousy since every other car was loaded, the speed of the cars was slowed slightly, and the once per hour breaks.  It might have just been more trouble than it was worth.

- Never personally worked this attraction but was on-duty some of the nights it was open.  My opinion?  It was kind of a stinker.  If memory serves me, a group went up in one elevator.  Walked around the platform, which mainly consisted of a few temporary walls to hide actors, fake cobwebs, and a few hanging body bags.  The main attraction was the electric chair gag.  I don't recall how they got down - my gut tells me the associates staggered and paced the groups on the platform such that the guests just went back down the next elevator.  Terrible capacity.  I think what made it "cool" was the aspect of being up in the tower.  Totally get why this one didn't make it past year one.

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3 hours ago, Maestro said:

The main attraction was the electric chair gag.

Was said electric chair gag the same one seen at the current Haunt (some years it is near the front gate) or a different one?

Also, although this thread is about Museum of Horrors, do you have any more information on The Freezer (as in, what was the experience like/was it really cold in there, etc.?)? Someone answered my question about it in the "History of the Haunt" thread a few years ago, but I was wondering if there was any other info about it. Thanks in advance and thank you for providing all the interesting behind-the-scenes info! :)

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13 hours ago, MDMC01 said:

Was said electric chair gag the same one seen at the current Haunt (some years it is near the front gate) or a different one?

Also, although this thread is about Museum of Horrors, do you have any more information on The Freezer (as in, what was the experience like/was it really cold in there, etc.?)? Someone answered my question about it in the "History of the Haunt" thread a few years ago, but I was wondering if there was any other info about it. Thanks in advance and thank you for providing all the interesting behind-the-scenes info! :)

Sorry, don't know about the chair.

Also - don't have any info on The Freezer.  I've got some history with Tower and Phantom Theater because they were staffed with actors from the Rides team, and the Rides team was responsible for them.  The other attractions were managed through Entertainment, and I wasn't a part of that group.

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On 9/23/2020 at 7:32 PM, MDMC01 said:

Was said electric chair gag the same one seen at the current Haunt (some years it is near the front gate) or a different one?

Also, although this thread is about Museum of Horrors, do you have any more information on The Freezer (as in, what was the experience like/was it really cold in there, etc.?)? Someone answered my question about it in the "History of the Haunt" thread a few years ago, but I was wondering if there was any other info about it. Thanks in advance and thank you for providing all the interesting behind-the-scenes info! :)

I'm not sure if the electric chair on Torture Tower is the exact same one, but if it isn't it did the same thing.  I only did that attraction once, when I was able to get away from working the front gate one of the first few weekends (later weekends, it was so crazy busy that there was no escaping my post in Admissions).  While it was cool being up on the tower, the attraction overall was kind of lame.  Terrible capacity and too short.  I'm not a big fan of attractions with obvious hiding places like walls or stacks of crates and that's basically what it was.  That's why Tombstone Terror-tory was never one of my favorites.  Walking along WWC's exit path... ooh, there's a stack of crates, someone's behind it... ooh, there's a stack of crates, someone's behind it... ooh, there's a stack of crates, someone's behind it... repeat over and over.  I know some great scareactors that worked that attraction, I just didn't like the setup.

I only went through The Freezer once too.  It was a tent near the Eiffel Tower and if I remember correctly was a chain link fence maze.  It was well done and I always considered it to be the inspiration for Maze of Madness/Death Row in later years.  I don't know if they pumped cold air into the tent because I went through on a chilly night.  I remember because it was the same night I did Terror Tower and it was cold up there.

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It would be nice to see some more elaborate tents in future Haunts, if they can do so without clogging up the pathways.  at HHN at Uni, some of the marquee haunts (Stranger Things) are actually in a large tent (with pumped in HVAC).  It would save on the expense of constructing a prefab building used only for several weekends a year.

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8 hours ago, XGatorHead 8904 said:

I'm not sure if the electric chair on Torture Tower is the exact same one, but if it isn't it did the same thing.  I only did that attraction once, when I was able to get away from working the front gate one of the first few weekends (later weekends, it was so crazy busy that there was no escaping my post in Admissions).  While it was cool being up on the tower, the attraction overall was kind of lame.  Terrible capacity and too short.  I'm not a big fan of attractions with obvious hiding places like walls or stacks of crates and that's basically what it was.  That's why Tombstone Terror-tory was never one of my favorites.  Walking along WWC's exit path... ooh, there's a stack of crates, someone's behind it... ooh, there's a stack of crates, someone's behind it... ooh, there's a stack of crates, someone's behind it... repeat over and over.  I know some great scareactors that worked that attraction, I just didn't like the setup.

That may explain why it was a good first Haunt maze for me as it wasn't too bad (I enjoyed it!)! Now Trail of Terror on the other hand... that scared me really bad the first (and only) time I went through. I'm proud to say I'm much braver now! :D

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9 hours ago, XGatorHead 8904 said:

That's why Tombstone Terror-tory was never one of my favorites.  Walking along WWC's exit path... ooh, there's a stack of crates, someone's behind it... ooh, there's a stack of crates, someone's behind it... ooh, there's a stack of crates, someone's behind it... repeat over and over.  I know some great scareactors that worked that attraction, I just didn't like the setup.

Do you think it would have been better as a rideable attraction where you would just ride by different haunted scenes? I've heard they stopped operating the train during Haunt in favor on Winterfest because of the amount of hours each locomotive's boiler had. If I'm wrong could someone please correct me.

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On 9/25/2020 at 8:36 PM, SonofBaconator said:

Do you think it would have been better as a rideable attraction where you would just ride by different haunted scenes? I've heard they stopped operating the train during Haunt in favor on Winterfest because of the amount of hours each locomotive's boiler had. If I'm wrong could someone please correct me.

I'm not sure that it would have been better that way, at least to me.  I'm more of a fan of in-your-face scares.  With the distance that would be required keeping the actors away from the trains, those wouldn't be possible unless they stopped the train at each scene, which could potentially make the wait time in line unbearable for a busy Haunt night.  Although on the other hand, the train does have a high capacity and they did use it for Tombstone, but that was only one stop.  Riding by scenes and not stopping would be good for people who like tamer attractions, but I think a lot of your typical Haunt patrons may be disappointed with that.

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3 hours ago, XGatorHead 8904 said:

I'm not sure that it would have been better that way, at least to me.  I'm more of a fan of in-your-face scares.  With the distance that would be required keeping the actors away from the trains, those wouldn't be possible unless they stopped the train at each scene, which could potentially make the wait time in line unbearable for a busy Haunt night.  Although on the other hand, the train does have a high capacity and they did use it for Tombstone, but that was only one stop.  Riding by scenes and not stopping would be good for people who like tamer attractions, but I think a lot of your typical Haunt patrons may be disappointed with that.

They could do a show scene by the old western town where the train would stop

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I remember going to the first Fear Fest pretty vividly.  If I recall correctly, the houses were all subcontracted out through another company, hence why none of them returned.  I remember there was one in the KI Theatre back areas called Captain Jack or something along those lines that was pretty good.

The Freezer, I believe, did have cool air pumped into it.  I remember it being colder than the outside.  I believe that it ran around the front half of the Eiffel Tower in the circle.  I distinctly remember a lot of the characters having "icicles" on their faces, in their beards, etc.  It was well done.

 

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On 9/29/2020 at 2:03 PM, teenageninja said:

 

The Freezer, I believe, did have cool air pumped into it.  I remember it being colder than the outside.  I believe that it ran around the front half of the Eiffel Tower in the circle.  I distinctly remember a lot of the characters having "icicles" on their faces, in their beards, etc.  It was well done.

 

Yeah, that would scare me as I don't like the idea of freezing to death. :unsure: On the other hand, going through something like that a few times would be a great way to conquer that fear...

-MDMC, never a fan of those adventure stories about someone climbing/being stranded on a snowy mountain

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