Radley Haunted House was our first haunt visit of the season, and what a way to kick things off. The story this year is about the unfortunate Dr. Radley, who obtained a mysterious statue, unleashing a nightmare god who torments him in his sleep.
The queue film is important to the setup. This professionally produced short by Andrew Ford tells the story of Dr. Radley, and the genesis of his nightmare machine. Give it a watch:
The office set is the first room you enter. The film sets you up to experience the story as you walk through, and it’s very effective.
We arrived at about 7:00pm, 30 minutes before opening. We got a good parking spot right across the street, and watched the haunters get ready. The haunt cost nearly $15,000, part of which was provided by a Kickstarter. All that funding didn’t go to waste. The score, the film, the details, and the freakin’ amazing costuming all shines.
The two girls in line ahead of us were what I call “screamers,” teenagers who love to be scared, but, well, they’re scared. One of the setup guys (in fact, it was Dr. Radley from the queue film) walked along the line, and the little brunette asked: “Is it scary?” Heh. He answered: “Nah, not at all.” I laughed and laughed. It was kind of an evil laugh.
Folks went in 2 or 3 at a time. When we entered the first room, the girls were still there, afraid to go on. They begged us to go first. I took the lead, and the Spousal Unit brought up the rear, so they would be surrounded by safe, older folks who don’t scare easily. It didn’t take long before my charge had to hold my hand, and I pretty much dragged her and her friend through, with Bill occasionally pushing from the back. They were so terrified. It was adorable.
You won’t get any spoilers from me. I will only say that this is one of the finest haunts I have been to, pro or home. I class it with Baron von Gooloo’s regular gig at Fright Town in Portland, Oregon. The reason is originality. So often, the story is just a loose prop that allows haunters to drag out the same old tropes. At Radley House, the rooms firmly support the story. The actors are great, and the costuming–well I think I already mentioned that.
This was a fantastic experience, and the perfect opener for haunt season.
Radley House is at 3900 19th Street N, St. Petersburg, FL 33714.
Dates: OCT. 9th-12th, 16-19, 23-26, 30-31, NOV. 1-2
$5 donation is appreciated.