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Opening the trap door: A look into Kansas City’s haunted houses

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A venture to Kansas City’s West Bottoms would serve visitors well with four haunted houses to choose from. Fears will be unmasked while walking or running through the numerous floors filled with ghoulish goblins and eerie atmospheres.

According to Amber Arnett-Bequeaith, vice president of Full Moon Productions, the four haunted houses in the West Bottoms draw in 100,000 people each fall.

Full Moon Productions was created by Arnett-Bequeaith’s grandmother, mother and uncle when she was five years old.

The Beast, The Edge of Hell, Macabre Cinema and The Chambers of Edgar Allan Poe are owned by Full Moon Productions. All the profits from The Chambers of Edgar Allan Poe and Macabre Cinema go directly to the Dream Factory, a non-profit charity organization that grants dreams to children with critical or chronic illnesses.

Arnett-Bequeaith said it would be impossible to pick her favorite haunted house. It would be like “asking me to pick a favorite of my four children. They each have their own qualities that make them special,” she said.

“For each person, they’re different,” Arnett-Bequeaith said. “Some people may come here and say ‘Oh, I really thought The Edge of Hell was the best,’” and someone else may say, ‘No, Macabre Cinema was awesome.’”

Arnett-Bequeaith said she doesn’t have time to visit other haunted houses, and said many people come to the West Bottoms and copy elements of their houses, which she dislikes.

“We’re more into haunting than gore,” Arnett-Bequeaith said.

She prefers unique elements,  and though the haunted houses are permanent installations, they change the routes each year and add new scares.

The haunted houses are only open seasonally, and the rest of the year, to the company must find other ways to maintain its income.

Arnett-Bequeaith said the company has to pay for the buildings’ maintenance all year. After Halloween, the spaces are often leased out for events such as First Fridays.

Haunted Houses:

The Beast

Number of actors and actresses: 60-70

Established: 1991

Former use of the building: John Deere Headquarters

Number of floors: four, with a four-story straight slide

Drawing attraction: The Beast is based on the fear and phobia of being lost, and visitors have to find their own way out. No guide is provided.

Something unique about The Beast: Multiple publications and websites have ranked The Beast as one of America’s scariest haunted houses.

The Edge of Hell

Number of actors and actresses: 50

Established: 1975 –  the oldest commercial haunted attraction in the U.S.

Former use of the building: warehouse

Number of floors: five

Drawing attraction/unique angle: The Edge of Hell is where customers will find Medusa, which is a 25 foot 2 inch long eight year old Reticulated Python. This python holds the title of longest snake ever in captivity for the Guinness Book of World Records.

Macabre Cinema

Number of actors and actresses: 45-50 actors and volunteers

Established: 2007

Former use of the building: warehouse

Number of floors: four

Drawing attraction/unique angle:  Macabre Cinema is a haunted 1930’s movie theater where customers pass through a slit in the screen and become the victim in the movie sets. The cinema includes real sets from “The Mummy King,” “Scorpion” and “Killer Clowns from Outer Space.”

The Chamber of Edgar Allan Poe

Number of actors and actresses: 45 actors and volunteers

Established: 2007

Former use of the building: warehouse

Number of floors: four

Drawing attraction/unique angle: This haunted house is a literary walkthrough Poe’s writings, and features a recreation of his gravesite on the 4th floor.

Admission prices vary by haunted house, but start at $20. Combo tickets are available for The Beast and The Edge of Hell. The quad ticket admits customers into all four houses one time, and is the best value. Price specifics and directions can be found at www.fullmoonprod.com.

rmortensen@unews.com

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