The World's Greatest Haunted Attraction - Dread Central
Connect with us

The World’s Greatest Haunted Attraction



ScarefestSt. Louis, Missouri – It’s finally October, the favorite month of most of us here at Dread Central. It means the air gets a little cooler, shops stock up on candy and Halloween costumes, and folks wait with breathless anticipation for the one night of the year where it’s actually legal to scare the bejeezus out of your neighbors.

It’s also the time of year when people are faced with a choice. The “haunted attraction” business has been around for as long as anyone can remember, and every year it seems that there are at least two or three popping up in every city. So the conundrum: To which of the dozens of spook-houses should you go? Is there any way to guarantee a good time, scares, and (most importantly nowadays) that a body will get his money’s worth? If you are lucky enough to live in or around St. Louis, Missouri, the answer is a resounding and emphatic YES.


Larry Kirchner, the owner of St. Louis’ largest, greatest Halloween attraction, aims to please and delivers some of the most impressive scares in the industry. And that’s not just idle hype. Every year Kirchner invites the best and brightest in the industry to come and walk through his attraction, and every one of them comes out in awe. For his competitors to admit, on camera, that his attractions bury the rest, it has to be something big.


And big doesn’t even begin to cover it. To begin with, there’s “The Darkness,” a 30,000-square-foot monstrosity that packs in more scares per square inch than any other in the USA. Kirchner, who makes his living designing animatronic thrill rides all over the world, puts his heart and soul, and a wheelbarrow full of money, into the attractions. His work has been featured more than once on the Discovery Channel as the place to go for a terrifying experience. Included in The Darkness is a haunted hospital complete with the requisite cadavers, animated man-eating plants, and a psychedelic clown-house that is enough to give me nightmares for a month. It also includes “Terror Vision,” an interactive 3D haunted house. Let me be clear…This is not a video game or virtual reality. This is an attraction where the people wear 3D glasses and the walls around you come to life. And lest you think it’s all puppets and robots, the actors are well concealed to leap out at just the right moment. At the end of The Darkness is a gift shop and horror museum for those who are looking for a more tame experience.


Also onsite is “Creepy World,” a mammoth collection of seven separate haunted attractions. To begin with, there is “Drive-In 666,” an old-style drive-in theater complete with cars and a giant screen, on which movies like Halloween and The Shining are playing. The only problem is that all the audience is dead, and a few of them refuse to stay that way. There’s also the “Vampire Graveyard,” the “I Scream Factory,” and “Silo X,” which features a mutant melt-down theme. There’s also a bar and grill at the end, manned entirely by zombified Hell’s Angels. Included in Creepyworld is the traditional haunted hayride, which is nothing like the ones I went to when I was a kid. This one features creatures chasing the wagon, explosions going off left and right, and enough general mayhem to send everyone home happy. And to accomplish all of this Halloween goodness, Kirchner employs more than 250 actors, all trained in the art of making you piss your pants.


And, new for this year, is a special attraction that has both horror fans and paranormal buffs drooling. The Lemp Mansion, long famed for its haunted hijinx, has been featured in everything from top 10 lists to Life magazine, but few ever touch on the underground tunnels that connect the mansion with the former brewery. Kirchner, however, has capitalized on the famous haunt and has opened up “Lemp Brewery,” which takes place inside the Lemp tunnels. Yeah, you read that right. The feature begins with a fifty-foot ride down in a rickety old freight elevator and takes place entirely underground in the caverns and tunnels dug by Lemp.


Kirchner, who started making haunted attractions before he was even out of high school, has a passion for this business, and it shows. He’s found an audience, partially because the movie industry has, for the last few years, largely ignored Halloween as a time to release horror movies, and the ones they do release just aren’t scary anymore. “Hollywood is a $9 billion a year business,” says Kirchner, while Halloween-themed businesses pull in “$7 billion in the month of October alone.” And while he doesn’t really have to compete with movies, he does feel he gets real competition from the video game industry. Games like Left 4 Dead and Silent Hill desensitize folks, but it also brings with it greater challenges to give them those few moments of real abject terror.

When asked about the best reactions he’s gotten from his audience, Kirchner chuckles. “People tend to psyche themselves out,” he says. While the men in his audience are more easily startled, women, from his experience, feel the terror more deeply and with longer lasting effects. “We did have one woman literally jump out of her shoes.” According to Kirchner, this patron jumped so hard that her shoes stayed behind. She ran in her socks out to the parking lot and got in her car. When the performers tried to bring her shoes to her, she screamed even louder.


To find out more about St. Louis’s greatest haunted attraction, check out the Scarefest website, which includes more tasty pictures, videos of some of the action (including what I believe is the single most frightening gag in any haunted house in history), and their schedule of operations.

Happy Haunting!

Scott A. Johnson

Got news? Click here to submit it!
Have a scarefest in the comments section below!

Image Type 1:

Continue Reading


Michael Bay Adapting Duke Nukem with John Cena in Talks For Lead Role



I think we can all agree that this may very well be one of those times when we see an announcement and go, “Huh… That actually makes 100% sense and I’m completely behind it!”

It’s been announced that the classic FPS shooter series Duke Nukem is getting a film adaptation out of Paramount with Platinum Dunes, the company owned by Michael Bay, Andrew Form, and Brad Fuller, producing the movie. As of now, there is no script but the plan is to have WWE superstar John Cena taking on the lead role. As of now, it’s still in early stages but this is actually very exciting news as this combination seems like a match made in heaven.

Just think about some of Bay’s films, like Transformers, Bad Boys, The Rock, The Island, etc… Now imagine that kind of gleeful explosive action as the backdrop for Cena to kick untold amounts of alien ass. For those who worry that Bay won’t go hard enough in terms of violence or offensive language, don’t forget that both Bad Boys films as well as Pain & Gain were rated R for very good reasons.

Duke Nukem was originally released back in 1991 in the self-titled game made by Apogee Software. The character has since been in multiple sequels, although there are only four titles to the main storyline, and spin-offs as well as appearing in cameos in other games such as Death Rally, Blood, Serious Sam 2, Balls of Steel and can be seen in the trailer for Ready Player One. Nukem’s last video game appearance was 2011’s Duke Nuke Forever, a game that went through countless delays only to be met with critical panning upon release.

Horror fans who have played Duke Nukem will recognize many of the character’s iconic one-liners as being lifted from several horror films. Quotes from They Live, Army of Darkness, Aliens, Predator, Jaws, Full Metal Jacket, Evil Dead 2, and many more. The references were littered throughout and many delighted in their homages. However, Bruce Campbell wasn’t a fan when asked about the game back in 1999. He told IGN, “…they’re rip-off artists. Let them get their own damn material. It’s called hiring a writer.” [Source].

That being said, how cool would it be if Campbell made an appearance in the film to put Cena’s Duke Nukem in his place should he use one of those quotes? Apart from being a treat for fans of the games, it’d be a great moment in a film that’s meant to be chock full of bravado, machismo, and strong chins!

Coming back to Platinum Dunes’ adaptation, we’ll be keeping a very close eye on this project! In the meanwhile, why not tell us your favorite Duke Nukem moment in the comments!

Continue Reading


Ellen Page and The Cured Come Home to VOD



We’ve been talking about the new zombie flick starring Ellen Page entitled The Cured for quite some time now, and we’ll soon be able to sink our teeth into it courtesy of IFC Films.

The flick stars Page (Juno, Hard Candy), Sam Keeley (Anthropoid, In the Heart of the Sea), Tom Vaughan-Lawlor (Avengers: Infinity War, The Infiltrator), and Paula Malcomson (The Hunger Games trilogy, “Ray Donovan”) and is directed and written by David Freyne in his first feature film. Look for it in theaters and On Demand on February 23, 2018​.

What happens when the undead return to life? In a world ravaged for years by a virus that turns the infected into zombie-like cannibals, a cure is at last found and the wrenching process of reintegrating the survivors back into society begins. Among the formerly afflicted is Senan (Sam Keeley), a young man haunted by the horrific acts he committed while infected. Welcomed back into the family of his widowed sister-in-law (Ellen Page), Senan attempts to restart his life—but is society ready to forgive him and those like him? Or will fear and prejudice once again tear the world apart? 

Continue Reading


#Brainwaves Episode 74 Guest Announcement: Creature Designer Mike Hill – The Shape of Water and More!



We’re getting monstrous on Episode 74 of Brainwaves Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio as joining us will be award-winning artist, filmmaker, and creature designer Mike Hill, whose work you can see right now in a little film called The Shape of Water.

Join us this coming Wednesday, January 24th, at 8:00PM PT/11:00PM ET for all the shenanigans fit to be had!

It’s radio without a safety net, kids. It’s Brainwaves: Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio.


Listen to Stitcher

Brainwaves: Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio is available to subscribe to on iTunes and Stitcher.

Spooky, funny, touching, honest, offensive, and at times completely random, Brainwaves airs live every Wednesday evening beginning at 8:00 PM Pacific Time (11:00 midnight Eastern Time) and runs about 3 hours per episode.

Knetter and Creepy will be taking your calls LIVE and unscreened via Skype, so let your freak flags fly! Feel free to add BrainWavesTalk to your Skype account so you can reach us, or call in from a landline or cellphone – 858 480 7789. The duo also take questions via Twitter; you can reach us at @BrainwavesRadio or @UncleCreepy, @JoeKnetter, or @MrDarkDC using the hashtag #BrainWaves. You can also check us out on our Brainwaves Discord channel!

Have a ghost story or a paranormal story but can’t call in? Feel free to email it to me directly at with “Brainwaves Story” in your subject line. You can now become a fan of the show via the official… BRAINWAVES FACEBOOK PAGE!

Brainwaves: Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio is hosted live (with shows to be archived as they progress) right here on Dread Central. You can tune in and listen via the FREE TuneIn Radio app or listen to TuneIn right through the website!

For more information and to listen live independent of TuneIn, visit the Deep Talk Radio Network website, “like” Deep Talk Radio on Facebook, and follow Deep Talk Radio on Twitter. And don’t forget to subscribe to Brainwaves on iTunes.

Brainwaves Contact!

Continue Reading

Recent Comments


Join the Box of Dread Mailing List

* indicates required

Go Ad Free!

Support Dread Central on Patreon!


Copyright © 2017 Dread Central Media LLC