MONSTERS WANTED Haunt Documentary World Premiere at Fandomfest!

Be Among the First in the World to See the Louisville Haunt Industry Documentary, “Monsters Wanted,” this Saturday Night at Fandomfest!

Greetings, my fellow Halloween fanatics and haunted house aficionados, it’s the Phantom of the Ville coming to you from the historic Galt House Hotel in downtown Louisville where I have already taken up residence in anticipation of the mega fan convention known as Fandomfest which will completely overrun both the Galt House and the neighboring Convention Center on the weekend of July 26th through July 28th. Amid the rooms filled with KISS demons, “Star Trek” captains, “Walking Dead” cast members and comic book titans, there will also be a series of horror films in the “Fright Night Film Fest” part of this multi-genre convention.

The biggest premiere will certainly be director Brian Cunningham’s follow up to his hit directorial debut, the sci-fi/horror comedy, “Overtime,” which itself premiered two years ago at Fandomfest before finding international distribution. The World Premiere screening of “Monsters Wanted” will take place Saturday night, July 27th, at 8PM in the Cochran Ballroom of the Galt House. Attendance is FREE with a Fandomfest wristband or badge, but you can also buy a ticket for just the “Monsters Wanted” screening for $10 at this link:

The film follows “haunt-repreneursRichard Teachout and Janel Nash as they risk everything they own for the love of Halloween in the attempt to open Louisville’s first haunted theme park. Cunningham’s camera captures every joy and heartbreak over the incredibly stressful six month period they spent building Asylum Haunted Scream Park, through the trials and tribulations of opening night and beyond. You’ll also catch a glimpse of other Louisville Halloween institutions such as Horner Novelty, the Baxter Avenue Morgue, the Haunted Hotel and the Louisville Zombie Attack.

This week I sat down with both film director, Brian Cunningham, and Asylum Scream Park creative director, Richard Teachout, to talk about making this horror-centric documentary.

“Like any good story,” Cunningham suggests, “it starts with, ‘I met a girl!’” Cunningham had recently met Kaley Roberts, who was recently hired as stage manager for Teachout’s new haunt. Roberts took Cunningham with her to meet Teachout at a local Denny’s.

“Richard had been sitting at Denny’s for eight hours with his laptop,” says Cunningham. “It was his office. I’ve just met him and he tells me he’s working an IT job making over $100,000 a year, and tomorrow he’s going to quit and start up a haunted theme park.”

“I thought,” continues Cunningham, “there’s a story here! I could feel Richard’s passion for this project. I immediately knew I wanted to tell this story, but I had no idea where it was going or how it was going to end.”

A graduate of both Trinity High School and the University of Kentucky, Cunningham had one feature film under his belt, but had no experience with shooting a documentary. “It was like starting back at zero,” he says.

Over a six month period, Cunningham and his co-director, Joe Laughery, followed the Asylum Scream Park crew as they scrambled to build three complete haunted attractions and one circus sideshow at the Paintball Asylum on Pond Station Road. Over two hundred hours of footage were finally cut into the 90 minute film set to premiere on Saturday night.

Cunningham traces his horror fandom roots back to when he was nine years old and asked his mother to show him the scariest movie she had ever seen, which turned out to be “The Exorcist,” but horror isn’t his only interest. In fact, he says his next movie will likely be a comedy.

Richard Teachout, on the other hand, can’t remember a time when he didn’t love the Halloween season, and sites a childhood trek through The Darkness in Saint Louis as a formative experience. “I knew as soon as I came out the exit,” Teachout explains, “that this is what I wanted to do.”

“I reached a point in my life where I felt it was something I had to try,” Teachout says. With a background in both theater and computer technology, Teachout seems to be a child of two worlds. His computer skills have provided him with a comfortable living, but his passion is really reserved for theatrical haunting. “We treat Asylum like a Broadway show,” he says. “We’ve tried to bring an element of live theater to our haunts with actors and storytelling that make the people going through feel like they’re an interactive part of the show.”

Through the film, one really gets an appreciation of how much work, sweat, stress and money goes into creating one of these attractions that we often take for granted every October. Over the 90 minute runtime, we get to know these people and feel every ounce of the mounting pressure they feel as opening night draws closer. It’s not all roses and pumpkins.

“I’ve completely lost my temper once in my career as a haunter,” says Teachout, “and it’s on film for everyone to see.” Cunningham’s cameras were rolling when a confrontation with a team member whose name and face have been removed from the film (he refused to sign a contract) heats up. Another scene sees a sleep deprived Teachout eating coffee grinds from the can and randomly throwing props and smashing equipment as he tries to get the show up and running.

“It’s a blur,” remembers Teachout. “We got to the point where we didn’t even notice the cameras following us around.” It’s these very real, very human moments that make “Monsters Wanted” so compelling.

There’s a supplies shopping scene shot at Horner Novelty where the sticker shock look on Janel Nash’s face at checkout speaks volumes about the financial pressures taking their toll on her psyche. If you ever wanted to start your own haunted attraction, I recommend you see this film first!

When asked if there were any scenes Cunningham hated losing when he cut the final film, he says, “There was a lot! There was a whole subplot we were following where Rich had spent $6,000 on wrecked cars to use as props that never showed up. Ultimately, I don’t think they ever showed up! In the end, however, I had to cut everything that didn’t follow the main story thread.”

“Actually,” Cunningham admits, “I didn’t know what the movie was really about until I cut the last scene.” He continues, “All of these people came together through this experience and found themselves in a new family. The movie is really about ‘creating a family’ and all the madness that has to happen to reach that goal.”

Don’t miss the World Premiere of “Monsters Wanted” this Saturday night at 8PM at the Galt House Hotel during Fandomfest Comic Expo! For more information about Asylum Haunted Scream Park see and be sure to follow them on Facebook. Stay tuned in the following weeks for a complete sneak preview of everything new at Asylum this season. Brian Cunningham’s first movie, “Overtime,” starring Al Snow and John Wells, is available on Blu-ray and DVD on For a full Fandomfest “Fright Night” film schedule, see

The Phantom of The Ville

Write a Review


Comments are closed.