Black Moon Rising


The Black Moon shone brightly from space and cast down an aura upon SIN. Sure, the weather wasn’t much improved from Thursday, the calendar still said September and the house had plenty of down time throughout the night, but there was an undeniable energy that coursed through the veins of cast and crew. A rousing chant spurred the monsters into a frenzy and the plucky group was off to frighten waiting guests.

Vermin was once again to be found in haunt zero, traversing the ticket area and dutifully harassing pedestrians outside the building. As I sit here and reflect on the night, I realize just how many groups I engaged and there were so many memorable exchanges. One teenage girl professed that she was sick and refused to enter the attraction after her ticket had been purchased. I was honored and imagine my cohorts were as well.

Another, younger girl in that same group began to cry and she too nearly bowed out before being whisked into the haunted house. Although I didn’t break character I did reel it in a bit when she began to cry; Vermin may be a deranged scum bag but guy the behind the character actually has a pretty big heart.

A character like Vermin is tremendously fun to play — he can be very dark and disturbing and wax philosophical but when the time comes he can be humorous or even charming; charming in the manner of a serial killer that is. Whatever the case may be I find it absolutely infectious to adapt to each group or individual. It’s challenging, it’s the ultimate form of improv and it’s damn near euphoric.

Midway through the night a boisterous former Jaycee came through and wanted it made clear that he used to be a haunter, he even said to me, “I was doing this when you where this tall (indicates a height around his knee).” He actually looked about the same age as me, he might have even been slightly younger. The comment didn’t surprise me though because I’m routinely pegged as being an entire decade younger than I am.

I seized on the moment because this was a direct challenge. I turned his words against him and commented on his lack of growth in the time since I would’ve stood at his knee. That got his attention then I turned to the woman who was with him and began a back and forth over the nature of their relationship. They claimed to be cousins. Yep, cousins. All too easy.

“Kissing cousins,” I asked? He laughed and turned to a current Jaycee and said, “I see you guys are going for something different this year.” But I wasn’t satisfied, he’d called me out and underestimated me and that wasn’t going to stand. I leaned in and smelled his neck and then informed him that he reeked of the sin of incest. That caught he and the woman both off guard. They seemed to enjoy Vermin at this point and their was no more talk of relative height or years of experience. The duo entered the house under a hail of pure, stream-of-consciousness Vermin.

When not busy scaring guests, Vermin wandered the halls of the house delivering startles to his brothers and sisters or was else providing advice on the art of the scare to those still wet behind the ears. What you do during down time is crucial and I like to stay in character and encourage others to do the same. It’s a craft and it takes practice.

Outside the haunt, myself, Timmy and sometimes others would surround guests and follow them to their cars. One woman named Janette locked herself in her vehicle while her friends taunted her from outside. Eventually one of them managed to unlock the door for me and I climbed inside to be with Janette. Why not? I’d already licked her window. Timmy and I garnered a similar reaction from a group of high school girls who ultimately retreated to their vehicles, several of them made it known that they required a toilet.

And then there was Chris. I don’t actually know this guy but he works at a restaurant near my home and has been my waiter at this place several times over the years. He’s an odd duck and the kind of guy who goes to haunted houses because he wants to be a part of the show. He traded barbs with Vermin and although he was clearly outmatched I admired his enthusiasm so as a reward I insulted his face and general appearance in a smart-ass, back-handed compliment fashion. It felt good. Had I not been in character I would’ve been fairly uncomfortable being so close to this fellow, but at the same time I loved him for his passion and willingness to revel in the haunted theater; I wanted to bring him into the fold.

The final group of the night had to be broken into two parties and they were a jumpy, playful bunch — the perfect kind of group with which to end the night. Once my duties in haunt zero had been completed, I joined an enthusiastic, young haunter inside the H.H. Holmes room. Together we devised a series of scares that culminated in Vermin squirming from beneath a bed.

It had become evident from the noises inside the house that the last two parties had coalesced into one large group of eight. Mr. Holmes sprung his trap and then invited the guests to indulge in a surprise that he had prepared for them beneath the bed. No one in the group had the nerve to lift the skirt so when I spotted their feet shuffling past I wormed out to many shrieks and screams, bodies jumped and scrambled and a boy of seven or eight, named Little Tracie, took a dozen wild swings at Vermin’s incorrigible mug.

It was a near 180 from the previous night, the house had a good vibe. I enjoyed working with the kids as much as I relished the chance to unleash Vermin upon the customers. There’s nothing quite like a scare that goes off so well it leaves you exchanging a high-five with a fellow cast member. Seriously, if you’ve never worked a haunted attraction you are missing out on a primal energy fundamental to the human experience.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: