Literally A Haunted House Sneak Preview 2013!

The Culbertson Mansion Pays Tribute to Classic Horror this Halloween!

Good Evening, Monster Fans, it’s The Phantom of the Ville coming to you from the creaky halls of the haunted Culbertson Mansion in New Albany, IN with another exclusive advanced preview of a beloved local haunted attraction.

Literally A Haunted House has been scaring the ghost out of loyal patrons since 1985 when it was introduced as part of the old Jaycees Spook Run. The first year of this haunt was really just a brief skit with a “Boo!” finale inside the actual mansion itself. Starting the second year, the haunt was moved to the carriage house out back where a more fully developed attraction could be created and it has haunted that location ever since.

This week I spoke with Culbertson Mansion’s Holly Crisler about her wicked plans for Literally A Haunted House for the 2013 Halloween season. Crisler started working the Culbertson haunt as an actor in 2001 and took over as chairman in 2004. Ever since she has been in charge of coming up with and developing a new theme for each season, completely revamping and rebuilding the carriage house interior each year to reflect the new theme and keep the haunt fresh.

“This year we’re paying tribute to Classic Horror,” says Crisler. “We’ll be showcasing the classic movie monsters of the black-and-white era as well as many of the classic horror stories written in the 1700’s and 1800’s. We thought that would be a good fit since we have an 1867 Victorian-style mansion as our backdrop.”

During my visit, Crisler’s crew was hustling and bustling about building sets and preparing wardrobe to make the carriage house look like a 1930’s Universal Monster movie. Costume maker and wardrobe specialist, Mary Sieg, brought in a nearly completed mummy costume that an actor immediately tried on. I was told the look would be completed by a professional latex mummy mask purchased at the Transworld Halloween & Attractions Show. I was able to visit the nearly completed Mummy’s Tomb set, and I must say the detail Crisler’s crew have put into the scene is amazing.

I was taken on a behind-the-scenes tour of the entire haunt where every scene has been designed to make you feel like you’ve stepped into either a Universal Monster movie from the 30’s and 40’s or a Hammer Horror film from the 50’s and 60’s with a little Roger Corman/ Edgar Allan Poe era vibe thrown into the mix.

You’ll be witness to a witch burning at the stake whose dying curse brings out the rogues gallery of monsters to follow. You’ll face vampires, travel through the dark woods where werewolves lurk, enter the catacombs for a “Premature Burial,” discover Dr. Frankenstein’s lab in the attic, be forced to make your way through the dungeon and maybe even run into the Creature from the Black Lagoon!

That’s not all, however, because Literally A Haunted House has also added a classic, pitch dark maze area that’s full of classic gags as well as some unexpected “shocks.” That’s all I’m going to say.

“We are keeping the coffin ride near the exit,” says Crisler. “One member from each group will be taken away and put into a real coffin for a ride they won’t soon forget.” The last scene is being kept under wraps, but Crisler promises most guests won’t be walking casually out the exit.

I’m very excited to see the results when everything is completed, the Jacob’s Ladders and electrical equipment are buzzing, the coffin lids are creaking and the Full Moon is shining. I’ve wanted to see someone attempt to bring back the Classic Monsters of the silver screen in all of their atmospheric surroundings and Gothic glory for years. I’ve always felt that Dracula, the Frankenstein Monster, the Wolf Man, the Mummy, the Creature from the Black Lagoon and all their brothers, sisters, sons and daughters somehow capture the true spirit of Halloween in its purist form.

Have a great weekend, and I’ll be back soon and often with more haunt previews, movie reviews, convention news and more. Follow us on Facebook for the latest news! Until then, I bid you goodnight.

The Phantom of The Ville

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