Teen Horror Fans Reprise Movie Gore in Haunted House

Times Staff Writer

Adam Gallagher and Jason Brice, 17-year-old seniors at Culver City High School, are horror film junkies.

If there’s blood and guts, a decapitation here, a goring there, screaming teen-age girls, they’ve seen it. They’re on a first-name basis with that other Jason, Michael and, of course, Freddy.

With that kind of experience, they would be a perfect choice to create a haunted house for Halloween. And that’s exactly what they have done for the Culver City division of Recreation and Leisure Services.

The haunted house opened Saturday night and will be open tonight and Monday from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Veterans Park Municipal Pool, 4117 Overland Ave. Admission is $3 for those over 12 years old, $2 for those 12 and under.


Mary Hirt, director of the Culver City Teen Center, cautions that the haunted house will be so scary that children under 13 must be accompanied by parents. Hirt said parents will be allowed to enter the house free to determine if they want their children to go through it.

Makeshift Mazes

Traditionally, haunted houses have been darkened, makeshift mazes with would-be scary pictures, perhaps something that pops out in the dark and maybe something slimy to hold.

But that wouldn’t be enough for Gallagher and Brice, two surprisingly normal-looking, creative guys who also designed last year’s haunted house for the city Teen Center.


They admit that last year’s haunted house, which was based on scenes from the movie “Little Shop of Horrors,” a musical comedy about a man-eating plant from outer space, was not all that scary.

But they promise that this year’s haunted house, whose theme is “Nightmare on Film Street: An Experience in Fear,” will be frightening.

They have recreated scenes from seven popular horror films that will include live actors and put the audience in the middle of the action.

“We want to get the people involved,” Brice said. “It won’t just be suspenseful, it will be horrifying.”

The two teen-agers said they viewed about 20 horror movies on videotape to select 10 scenes that they could recreate. They were limited by their budget ($1,500) and a shortage of labor (whatever friends they could talk into helping them out).

They also had to be practical about what they could do. They said they would have liked to recreate a scene from “The Exorcist,” where the primary character’s head spins and vomits, but that would have been too much.

“It’s not practical to have someone lying down for three hours and spinning a doll’s head, or trying to connect a hose to the doll’s mouth to make it look like it is vomiting,” Brice said.

Still, with imagination, creativity and the proper lighting, old furniture that was left on the curb or dumped into an alley, cheap lamps that were being sold at a garage sale and the back side of steel lockers, they were able to create other scenes.


‘Identifying Element’

“It doesn’t have to be exact,” said Brice, who concentrated on set design while Gallagher specialized in making up the actors. Both said they would like careers in those fields.

“It will be dark,” Brice added, “plus we found that a single identifying element was often all that was needed.”

As an example, Brice noted, all that was needed to recreate the famous shower scene from the movie “Pyscho,” in which the character Norman Bates repeatedly stabs a woman, was a shower curtain and backlighting.

“We didn’t need to recreate an entire bathroom,” Brice said.

In addition to “Psycho,” there are scenes from “Dawn of the Dead,” “Halloween,” “The Exorcist,” “Hellraiser,” “Friday the 13th” and “Nightmare on Elm Street.”

Brice and Gallagher, who work as recreation leaders for the city, are so taken by “Nightmare,” which has spawned three sequels and whose villain, Freddy Krueger, has become a popular cult figure, that they have created four scenes from the movies.

(Since the element of surprise is involved in each scene, no details will be revealed. However, actors portraying Michael from “Halloween” and Jason from “Friday the 13th” as well as Freddy can be expected at the haunted house.)


Makeup for Authenticity

A featured actor from the third and fourth “Nightmare” movies, Ken Sagoes, will be one of the participants in the haunted house on Halloween night. Most of the other actors, mostly high school classmates, will wear makeup rather than masks for more authenticity, Adam said.

Each scene will also be accompanied by the music from its movie. Groups of five at a time will enter the haunted house accompanied by two guides.

“I guarantee it will scare the living daylights out of anyone,” Brice promised.