Something is in the air. You start your day, walk into any coffee shop and you can smell the familiar scent of pumpkin spice. Maybe you take a trip to the store and you probably see Halloween candy lining the aisles.
Fall is back.
And with the normal activities that come with this time of year, another tradition in Northern California has already started hearts to race in anticipation...and fear. The Heartstoppers Haunted House in Rancho Cordova is primed to bring the scares again to the masses.
What started as a small spooky house in his neighborhood, producer Joel Watson, found that fans from all over were flocking to his neighborhood to see what he had up his sleeve. He saw something bigger and better. That was in the past, that small house that caused traffic in his neighborhood is now a huge sprawling production with thousands of fans waiting to bang on its haunted doors. We spent some time with Joel to talk about it.
NON: So you have been doing this for a while, what is new about this year's version of the Heartstopper's Haunted House?
Joel: We have expanded all our haunts. We have upgrades throughout the property. The Mineshaft is a great location, coming back here gives us a perfect setting for what we want to do in this area. We have also added new stuff for the family to do together. Our production team is great. Sometimes the things they want to do are a bit too elaborate(laughs.) It's funny because I've had to say no to ideas. I would say, "Look, we can't have a helicopter as a part of the scare. We don't really have the budget for that(laughs)."
NON: I checked out your website, one thing I love is all the different kinds of themes you have. Plus, you actually give a list on what to expect, just to make people aware of what may scare them. So I saw in one specific haunt, you have monsters, mind games, loud sounds, and intense visuals. I like that.
Joel: Yes, we like to scare our fans in so many different ways. We have all been to that haunted house where it's just a scary guy chasing you around the corner. We try to scare you in different ways and different angles. And we constantly thinking of ways to do that.
NON: Your haunted house has so many themes. Do you have a favorite?
Joel: I don't really have a favorite theme. They are all great. What I like is that each area has a story. It's not just a random haunt. Each haunt has it's own personal story. Like, our haunt called Deadlands. It's about a bad bounty hunter named Cyrus Lynch. And something he did in his story has brought Deadlands to life. Everything in that haunt is because of something he did. I like that. Some fans might not really be into it for our stories, but I am sure some really appreciate them and like them.
NON: I'm just guessing here. But, I think you probably love horror films(laughs.) For someone who loves these types of films, in your opinion, what are a few of the essential films for horror fans to see?
Joel: Oh my gosh, there's so many on that list. Dead Alive, directed by Peter Jackson, it is one of the bloodiest and goriest movies ever made. I really loved The Puppet Master series, also. And the Evil Dead series...those are some of my favorites.
NON: Since we are talking about scary movies, what do you think about all these remakes? Halloween has a remake coming out...do you hate when that happens? Don't touch the classics or do you like when these movies are reinvented?
Joel: Honestly, I don't mind them at all. Well, they have to be good(laughs.) They just redid Evil Dead a couple of years ago. I didn't mind that at all.
NON: You mentioned earlier about this event being at the Mineshaft. I read about this place and it's supposed to be haunted, also. Is that true?
Joel: It is. There's a spirit, a little girl. We had a security guard who refused to go inside anymore because he would hear things. He would hear giggling and laughing in the house. He would see her walking around. But, we don't think it's a vengeful spirit(laughs.) It's a playful and fun one.
NON: Halloween has to be your favorite holiday, right?
Joel: No, it's Saint Patrick's Day. I'm kidding(laughs.)
NON: I was guessing maybe it was Arbor Day(laughs.)
Joel: Flag Day is pretty big too(laughs.)
No matter what day you celebrate in the next two months, you have to check out Heartstoppers Haunted House. You will not be disappointed! The fear starts on September 29!
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