The Woods of Terror: A North Carolina Classic
By Noah (AKA Jolly Pumpkin)
Today we learn about one of the most popular haunted attractions in North Carolina, The Woods of Terror. If you don't get scared at these haunted woods then you might not have a pulse. Considered by many as one of the best attractions in the United States, The Woods of Terror has scared thousands of scare seekers throughout the years.
What are some of the attractions people will experience at The Woods of Terror?
There are 14 small, separate attractions. Each attraction is separated and themed differently. When you arrive, you enter the Midway, nicknamed Halloween Town, with a DJ, gift shop, Concession stand, and horror memorabilia museum. Next is the Black Hole, a turning tunnel that is an optical illusion. The Tomb is the black maze. It is a series of hallways that are shrouded in complete darkness. Then comes the Tour of Terror, starts off with very intense scares, as to warn the faint of heart. There is also a tilting room and a chainsaw scare, right off the bat. Movie Maniacs is next. Movie Maniacs is set in an old style theater scene, with scenes from some of your favorite horror movies. Next is Jungle of Doom. The Jungle of Doom is a set that has been revamped this year. All new this year in the Jungle will be a 100 ft pirate ship. The name of the ship is still unknown at this point. The Gold Mine is next, which is a man made cave. Our haunted house is a facade of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It is an exact replica of the famous house featured in the TCM movies. Redneck Hayride is next, making fun of our southern heritage. This hayride is meant as comedy relief to add the to roller coaster effect of emotions felt at haunts. Creeperville, is after the hayride, and it houses 4 “Creepers” as in Jeepers Creepers, complete with a genuine Guilford County School bus. Anyone who has seen JC 2 will remember the scenes depicted in that movie. Heavy Metal Nightmare comes next, and features the deafening sounds of Slipknot music, strobes, and laser light shows. The Funhouse of Fear is next, and it houses many, many clowns, all in 3 D. The 3 D Experience is the next attraction and you wear 3 D glasses through the whole thing. The 3 D Experience is painted in complete ultraviolet paint best lit by black lights. The Vortex is the final attraction and a fan favorite year after year. It is a 24 foot turning tunnel of terror.
How has The Woods of Terror become what it is today?
Starting out as a small haunt, WOT has grown into a large corporation employing over 100 employees per season. What used to take a few months to set up is now a year round job for me and my key employees: Darrin Vaughn, Dustin Barnett, Addison Ingram, Crystal Gardner, and Gabriel Younts, work year round to make WOT a huge success for a 16 night season.
What is the most popular scene at Woods of Terror?
For the 2007 season, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre house was a big hit. Again, it is a replica of the house featured in the TCM movies. You can view a video of that on youtube.com. Type in Woods of Terror, find the one that says Texas Chainsaw Massacre house in Greensboro NC.
How would you compare The Woods of Terror to other haunted trails in the United States?
I have been to the major Halloween trade shows and have also visited the top haunts in the US. I think WOT can be considered in the top 20 haunts in the US. I have a very large outdoor attraction, one of the biggest on the East Coast. Having had the opportunity to see top haunts, such as Netherworld, Bates Motel and Hayride, Headless Horseman Haunted Houses and Hayrides….I see how my own attraction stands up to these haunts, and I believe that it has the quality that those large, top rated haunts do.
What is the back story of The Woods of Terror?
In the beginning, I did not have and could not afford a commercial building for a haunted house. I had to use what was available to me, which was the woods on the back side of some family land. The disadvantage to this situation is its outside, and the weather elements can make or break a season. The advantages are numerous. Two advantages are that I do not have to create an atmosphere of a fall crisp night, we're outside, and the ambience is unreal. The leaves rustle, the smells, the moon light through the trees. You get the idea, some scenes cannot be fabricated, there is nothing like the real thing.
How is the haunted woods, haunted hayride and haunted house organized and constructed every year?
We try to rotate the 14 attractions every three years. We will tear down and rebuild 3-4 attractions yearly, while other undergo minimal changes. We work year round to be able to have this ready by the haunting season. It requires numerous hours, and an unbelievable amount of creativity and manpower to keep WOT fresh and exciting for our customers.
What are some of the obstacles you guys face when bringing life to all of your attractions every year?
Five years ago, I planned on having the biggest, the best, and the most expensive haunt in this area. I have probably achieved that, and to be able to keep up the biggest, the best, and the most expensive haunt is like a nightmare in itself. Bringing all these attractions to life and to detail these attractions as much as they are is very time consuming.
Tell us a little about how you got involved in The Woods of Terror?
I had a friend who worked at a haunted house as a teenager, He had worked for 4 weeks, for $40, and he knew that they had made a lot of money in that season.
I knew that it didn't seem fair what he got paid for that amount of time worked, and I suggested that we start our own. I worked to produce a small haunted trail that season, and told him that if he would help me, I would pay him $100 no matter what I made. He worked with me for four years after that before moving on, but that is how WOT was born.
Where do you see the future of The Woods of Terror?
Being so busy with WOT, running my own business from 9-5 Mon-Fri, I haven't thought much about the future further out than the next 2-3 years. I am building bigger attractions, with more detail, that I will start changing every 5 years instead of every 3 years. I really feel that I can't say a whole lot about the future directions WOT will take, due to the fact that I have been a leader in this industry, in this area for quite some time, and I do not want to give any other local haunts my great ideas for future endeavors!
What would you be doing if you weren't involved in The Woods of Terror?
Honestly, I would probably be more involved in my local church, and would acquire some other hobby that would occupy my time as much as WOT seems to.
What are the plans for this year's Woods of Terror?
We will be decorating and detailing the entire haunt to make it refreshed from last season and focus on the total break down and rebuilding of four attractions. These renovations are already underway as mentioned before with the undertaking of building a 100 ft pirate ship!
For more info on The Woods of Terror please visit www.woodsofterror.com.