Halloween has always been my favorite time of year. Growing up, I loved getting into costume and going out trick-or-treating. I also loved going to haunted house attractions with my family. One of my favorite Halloween memories is being chased out of a haunted house by some guy in a cheap Leatherface knock-off costume and his very real chainsaw. Running back to the parking lot, I looked back and saw the actor head back inside to get ready for his next unsuspecting victim. It was such a visceral moment, it’s stayed with me all these years.
I haven’t visited a haunted house attraction in years, but I’m still fascinated by them. When I stumbled across an article about the new breed of haunted houses called Extreme Haunts, I couldn’t help but read it. In an Extreme Haunt, there are no barriers between audience and performer. Guests are abducted, tortured and put through the ringer all in the name of creating real and genuine scares. It’s a weird marriage of traditional haunted house scares and performance art. After reading the piece, I sought out more material about these places. Blackout Haunted House, Haunted Hoochie, McKamey Manor; they all specialize in pushing the boundaries of what constitutes a traditional haunted house.
Reading about these Extreme Haunts, I couldn’t help but wonder “what if?” What if one of these places went too far. What if the madmen and monsters they present crossed the line and became real? The question evolved into the basis for Extreme Haunt. Initially planned as a novella, it grew into a novel during NaNoWriMo. I spent the last few months cutting it back to novella length, only to realize it was better off as a full length. I’m currently in the home stretch on this novel. It seems like it’s been a long time, but it’s only been five months since conception. I can’t wait to open the doors on this haunt and introduce you to Hellion, Butcher and Brute. They’re eager to show you a night you’ll never forget.