Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Haunted Houses Ready to Scare or Make You Howl with Laughter

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Haunted Houses Ready to Scare or Make You Howl with Laughter

Article excerpt

Byline: SANDY STRICKLAND

When you least expect it, beware.

They are masters of the surprise scare, the kind that causes you to bolt for the door, dive for the ground or give a bloodcurdling scream. After all, they've been dishing out the thrills for 32 years.

In the early days, a nurse was even on duty in case anyone fainted or felt woozy. Once, a visitor got so scared that he sprang backward, knocked over a plywood wall, then sheepishly pointed to his girlfriend and said, "She did it."

The Jacksonville Jaycees Hall of Terror is the city's longest-running haunted house. In 2005, it found a home at Adventure Landing and is now at both locations - 1944 Beach Blvd. in Jacksonville Beach and 4825 Blanding Blvd. on the Westside.

This year's edition features about 30 bloodcurdling scenes and a cast of vampires, aliens, mummies, horror movie legends and other creatures of the foggy netherworld. It's even inhabited by a fearsome T. rex.

Then, as now, the Halloween fundraiser features its famed intricate maze and chain-saw man, or two or three, as is the case at Blanding, said Andy Stansfield, Jaycees president. And just when you think it's over, it's not, said the Southside resident, adding that the ghouls, some of them Jaycees members and some of them longtime volunteers, know just when to pounce.

OH, AND BEWARE THE CLOWN.

Both locations feature a visually stimulating guy in an electric chair. This year, it's also physically stimulating, since the floor has been rigged to shake, he said.

The partnership with Adventure Landing has brought more special effects and technically advanced props, Stansfield said. The Blanding location, he said, is less crowded and has more technical features.

Lee Hovis, general manager of Adventure Landing on Beach, said electric guy and T. rex were made by the theme park's staff. Some props were bought while others are vintage Jaycees props that Adventure Landing stores, he said.

Every night, the action, which takes place in the laser tag area, changes slightly and attracts repeat visitors, Hovis said. …

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