October 17, 2013 Kansas City, When it comes to ranking the scariest attractions, Travel Channel and its adviser Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, named Kansas City’s four epic haunted houses in the West Bottoms (Chambers of Poe, Macabre Cinema, Edge of Hell and The Beast) among the 10 scariest haunted attractions in the U.S.
The Travel Channel will broadcast “America’s Scariest Attractions” that features all four West Bottoms haunted houses in October. In addition to this recognition, Haunt World named Edge of Hell as the “Best and Scariest Haunted House among the Oldest and Longest Running Attractions” while HauntedHouseRatings.com, which ranks votes by visitors, put Edge of Hell and The Beast as tied for 7th place in the nation despite Kansas City being a smaller metropolitan area than all but one of the top ranking haunted houses.
“Kansas City has long been a capital of haunted houses from its height of thirteen- plus haunted houses in the 1980’s and through its transition to fewer yet more sophisticated haunted houses today, said Amber Arnett-Bequeaith “Queen of Screams” operating the West Bottom Haunted Houses. “The survivors must be suited for the ever-discriminating thrill-seeking visitor that witnesses extremes on video games and movies.” Fewer houses are also a fact that seasonal business can be a frightful venture with so many potential catastrophic events that can kill a business that only has weeks to recover. The West Bottoms, just west of Downtown Kansas City off the 12th Street Bridge, has defied the downturn in haunt offerings and reigns as the Haunted House epicenter with four large haunted houses in this one historic community.
The houses are located in large multi-storied commercial buildings built around 1900 and each has something unique that makes it a must-see horror attraction.
· Chambers of Poe: paranormal activity, ties with Poe’s tales of madness, 4-story window leap and featured in the movie Horror Filmed
· Edge of Hell: sits at 666 feet above sea level, oldest running commercial haunted house in the U.S. est. 1975, focused on phobias, home to the record-breaking reticulated python, 4-story slide
· The Beast: located on 13th Street, first haunted attraction to utilize an open format and a live alligator and lots of front door entertainment including the Thriller Dancers, Headless Horseman, The Beast and more
· Macabre Cinema Haunted House: staged as a 1930’s haunted movie theater with a collection of actual horror-movie sets and props and a 4 story bat pole that takes people from screen to scream
Despite the short season, the haunted houses stay intact year-round given their size, scope and technology with crews that update and refresh them in the off-season. The haunts include a range of technology from holographic videos, laser trips and animatronics. Live snakes, rats, spider and crocodile also live in the houses year-round but make their appearance during the season to create a scare that is truly a 4-D experience.
Elvira, Mistress of the Dark summarized, “On Kansas City’s west side is one of the most unique haunted venues I’ve ever had the displeasure of visiting. The KC West Bottoms area is made up of several late 19th-century buildings that were just made to be haunted houses! This “village of the damned” has 4 -- count ’em 4 -- epic haunts: The Beast, The Chambers of Edgar Allan Poe, Macabre Cinema and the granddaddy of ’em all, The Edge of Hell -- each one is a unique, must-see experience for haunted house afflict-cianados.”
Travel Channel’s Best Halloween Attractions 2013 (slideshow)
The Local Show visits Full Moon
It’s that time of year…the leaves are starting to turn crimson and burnt orange, pumpkins adorn front doorsteps and those who are not faint of heart line up on the streets of Kansas City’s historic West Bottoms for a frenzy of fright inside the neighborhood’s famous haunted houses. For almost 40 years, Full Moon Productions have been masters in fear, garnering national attention for their popular empire of devilishly-detailed haunted houses and ability to bring nightmares to life. Full Moon is the company behind beloved KC haunted houses The Beast (America’s largest haunted house), The Edge of Hell (KC’s oldest haunted house), The Chambers of Edgar Allen Poe (explore the twisted tales of Edgar Allen Poe), and Macabre Cinema (which allows you to experience scenes from your favorite horror movies).
Thursday, October 11th at 7:30 pm on 19.1 HD, on KCPT’s primetime public and cultural affairs program, THE LOCAL SHOW, Producer Sandy Woodson and Videographer Dave Burkhardt went behind the scenes of Full Moon’s haunted houses, where visitors travel through a variety of imaginative, immersive and technologically advanced spine-tingling rooms, corridors – and even a five-story spiral slide. THE LOCAL SHOW introduces viewers to the people behind the make-up who bring the scares to life: including “The Rat Man” and Amber Arnett-Bequeaith, the third-generation owner of Full Moon Productions. But Full Moon Productions is about more than just houses of horrors and Medusa, the 25 foot snake who was just awarded a Guinness World Record as the world’s longest snake ever in captivity, the company is also heavily involved in the community and charities, with Chambers of Poe and Macabre Cinema proceeds going to the Dream Factory, an organization that grants wishes to terminally ill children. Don’t wait too long to get your scream on; the haunted houses close their doors for the season after November 3rd.
Muster up your courage and let interested parties know to tune in to THE LOCAL SHOW for a spooky, goosebumpy time, and be sure to check our website for a list of repeat airings and online episodes.
Founded in 1991, The Beast is America's largest haunted house. The Beast pioneered the "open format" design, where you're not in a line, you're wandering through the scenes, never knowing when a spook or an activated scene will rock into action. At the Beast, you are not just looking at the scene, you are part of the action!
It takes about 40 minutes to go through the Beast -- IF you don't get lost in the fog in the Werewolf Forest, stuck in the maze, or pulled toward the light in the three-story light tower. The exit is a four story slide, it's straight down and faster than you might find comfortable!
The Werewolf Forest, a 1/4 acre in size, requires you to find an exit in complete darkness. It drives up every abandonment issue one could ever have. Every 30 minutes, the werewolves scour the forest to escort out any hysterical guests who haven't found the exit yet. The storm scene's thunder and lightning will make your hair stand on end, the cobblestone streets of Jack the Ripper's London will seduce you, beware the raging wolf. And don't forget about the swamp with it's blood thirsty alligators, the deranged pirate or the man-hunting lion.
The Beast gets better every year. The local press conducted surveys of avid haunted house devotees, who termed it "the best", but cautioned visitors it may be unsuitable for some children. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. If children under 10 have frequent nightmares -- they're not ready. And if you're unwilling to be videotaped or have serious phobias, then please stay home.
The Edge of Hell
Founded in 1975, The Edge of Hell began as KC's oldest and best haunted house--and has evolved into the national model for celebrating the entertainment value of confronting fear.
A converted five story warehouse, it offers a quarter-mile walk through sensory stimulation--that ends abruptly 30 minutes later, as you slide from heaven down the five-story spiral slide into the arms of the Devil himself. This is the granddaddy of 'em all--and with good reason.
The Edge of Hell is constantly re-inventing it's five floors. New scenes are always added to the cast of 45 live performers with the newest state-of-the-art technology. The air crackles, your fingertips sizzle. One million volts surge to grab you. A Vampire lunges, his hot breath violates your lungs. A 20 foot live Anaconda's eyes dart left then right, poised to crush his live prey.
Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. It's generally way too scary for kids under 10 who have nightmares. Then again, it's also too scary for claustrophobic aunts, big crybabies or people afraid of snakes. (And that's just the beginning)
The Chambers of Edgar Allan Poe
Come journey through the imaginative and twisted tales of Edgar Allan Poe.
Can you face the madness? Witness the dark writings, tales, and poems come to life in the haunted Chambers of Edgar Allan Poe. Be a part of your favorite nightmarish tales like The Raven, The House of Usher, Rue Morgue, The Black Cat, and more! Experience the feelings of being buried alive, suffocating, or claustrophobia to the extreme.
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Lights, Action, SCREAM!
Are you ready to go from the screen to SCREAM? Welcome to the Macabre Cinema. Don’t just watch it, LIVE the action of classic and contemporary horror scenes on your 45 minute – one hour adventure through our haunted 1930’s movie theatre. Macabre Cinema continues the open format of The Beast Haunted House (opened in 1991) through more than 30 dramatic scenes housed throughout the 4 floors and, if you dare, the dungeon.
The Beast and the Edge of Hell are open until the fog lifts in Werewolf Forest, or Hell freezes over... whichever comes first.
Opening times vary depending on the day of the week and the month. Closing times depend on weather and the crowd -- usually around Midnight, often later on weekends in October.
Medusa, a Reticulated Python owned by Full Moon Productions in Kansas City, Missouri, USA is the longest snake ever in captivity.
The 8-year-old, 158.8 kilogram (350-pound) reptile is primarily kept coiled up in a nook in a haunted house attraction (The Edge of Hell) with its cavernous turn-of-the-century brick warehouse.Medusa's primary diet consists of a combination of rabbits, hogs and deer, served to her every two weeks. Watch the video.
The haunted house staff knows her as the sloppiest eater within The Edge of Hell attraction, as she's been known to accidentally bite into herself instead of her dinner. While a python's behavior could be wild and unpredictable, Medusa is typically tolerable and respectable of others unless agitated, hungry or provoked.
According to Medusa's handler and Edge of Hell's general manager, Larry Edgar, "We try to keep Medusa well-fed and slightly out of reach as there have been instances with Reticulated Pythons where they've had to cut people out of them! We never underestimate that she does always have the upper-hand."
During the Haunted House season, Medusa enters into a performance mentality; a state the owners call her "stealth mode," in which the snake remains extremely still as patrons pass by.
She has also been known to "purr" like a cat when content and "huff" or "hiss" if she's distressed or annoyed.
Medusa prefers that Larry assists with her shedding and if the python has any spots that prove tough to shed, she will nudge him for assistance.