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.
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.
· 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.”
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Queen of Haunts, is a legacy in the haunt business, earning the title from her immense experience and achievement in the industry. Queen of Haunts started in the business of scare as a small child who slept in a coffin at the family's Edge of Hell attraction. Now, 44 years later the attraction is still operating alongside her other nationally acclaimed haunts.
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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.