Setting up haunted houses in his mother's laundry room, producer Glenn Rae discovered his passion for scaring at an early age. Now after 20 years of designing haunted houses professionally he brings the scare factor to Arizona with his haunt The Nest. His inspiration comes from movies like The Grudge, The Ring and The Blair Witch Project
"I like the innovative, unique and different scary movies, and that's what you should see throughout The Nest."
Rae designed The Nest four years ago with set designer Steve Koppleman. Their intent was to scare, and scare they have considering MSN.com deemed The Nest the "scariest haunted attraction in the country." This year it is located at Rawhide in Chandler, and opens for tours every Thursday and Sunday, from 7 to 10 p.m.; and every Friday and Saturday, from 7 to 11 p.m., for the rest of this month. Tickets are $25 or $35 for a VIP pass, which means a chance to walk through twice and skip waiting in the line.
There is something scary for everyone. The first part, Turmoil 3D, offers psychological thrills and shrills with 3D animatronics, bright neon colors and stalking clowns. Then for the attendees who suffer from claustrophobia, Bleak, a 3,000-foot pitch black corridor, will be a sure terror. No one knows what is waiting for them in the deep darkness. For the final treat guests are welcomed into Jacob Kell's house. A guest might be so lucky as to meet Arizona's legendary but fabricated serial killer Mr. Kell. Of course, it would not be a haunted house without a chainsaw killer blocking the exit. Rae says, "The chainsaw actor is my favorite part, he is so great at what he does. His mom even gave him a chainsaw on his 18th birthday."
The most frightening aspect of the attraction are the actors, they are trained to scare. One might mistake them for statues until they jump out at you. There are a total of 70 actors that bring The Nest to life. Half of the actors are returning from previous years, others are chosen through a series of auditions. Some actors even traveled from other states to take part in the haunt. Rehearsals occurred for two-and-a-half months before the cast reached maximum fright levels. Adding to the effect is the professional and realistic make-up. Three make-up artists from Los Angeles start at 3 p.m. before each tour day, layering the actors with wigs, face paint and fake blood.
The set takes between two and three months to put together, and in one month about 30,000 people will walk through The Nest. Every Thursday through Sunday night more will meet their doom. It is recommended that visitors to the haunted house be older than 12; however, Rawhide offers Halloween-related activities for children and those who decide to stay away from fear. To learn more about The Nest and see if you would enjoy the thrill of the season visit www.frightened.com.
Amanda Petersen is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. She is a senior at Horizon Honors High School.