We recently got the chance to interview the producer of Rob Zombie’s Great American Nightmare haunted attraction, Steve Kopelman. The event takes place on various days from October 10 through November 2 and features not only an assortment of haunted houses but, also, a variety of musical acts.
Q) What were the inspirations and goals in creating the Great American Nightmare?
A) The goals were to give the patrons the most “bang for the buck” while producing an event that is quintessential Rob Zombie.
Q) How long was the design process for your three haunted houses at the event?
A) We started this past February and are still coming up with new ideas.
Q) Who designed each of the mazes and what are their respective backgrounds in the field?
A) Steve Kopelman, a 32 year haunted house veteran, designed the actual mazes but the works of Rob Zombie inspired all the themes. Essentially, Rob’s movies dictated just about every scene.
Q) Is the Great American Nightmare using its own makeup artists or did you guys contract the work out to an effects house?
A) Christopher Mills of Silver Shamrock Lab is heading up our make up department. He will be overseeing all the test make-ups along with designing numerous special character masks.
Q) With the increasing popularity of haunted attractions, what does the Great American Nightmare give guests that they can’t find anywhere else?
A) Never has a haunted attraction event been so integrated with music. In addition to 3 different haunted attractions, we will feature some type of national musical act each and every night. Our price point is more than fair and we have designed something that is just bursting with activities the patrons can experience. Additionally, people ultimately go to haunted attractions to get scared and the masses haven’t had the opportunity to experience extreme haunted houses. We truly believe we are different.
Q) Is the Great American Nightmare something that you hope to become an annual event or is this a special, 1-time attraction?
A) We not only hope and expect it to become an annual event, we hope to expand the brand globally.
Q) Are there any props from the films that the event’s mazes are based on in the mazes themselves?
A) We won’t be using actual movie props but we will be recreating many scenes from Rob’s movies.
Q) Is there anything that was deemed “too extreme” for the haunt-going public that didn’t make the cut into this year’s event?
A) When it comes to this event I don’t think we could be any more extreme.
Q) How many scare actors are you guys utilizing at the event this year?
A) There will be 140 scare actors throughout the mazes.
Q) We have to ask, will the “Murder Ride” feature a “push-car” like in the film House of 1000 Corpses or is it all walk-through?
A) No, it is a walk through, but the murder rider has been expanded immensely and will cover more than 14 different serial killers.
Q) Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about the Great American Nightmare?
A) The attractions themselves are a form of immersive theatre. It will be the patrons first chance to actual live the movie rather than watch the movie. The haunted houses are not designed for those who are easily scared or offended. They would be better off attending an amusement park.
We would like to thank Steve Kopelman as well as Kristine Ashton-Magnuson at AM-Media for making this interview possible!