Fright Dome welcomes Halloween
Jason Egan, and the small army that works with him to create Fright Dome, fine-tunes the annual Halloween mega-attraction right up to the last hour before the first hearse rolls up to the black carpet at the entrance. “We’re testing everything,” says Fright Dome founder and head “hauntrepreneur” Egan. “Literally, I’ve had the paint dry an hour before the show starts. I believe in giving 110 percent effort in everything, and knowing that we did everything in our power to make this event amazing.”
The tour de force of Fright Dome is its neighborhood of a half-dozen haunted houses. This year, the offerings include a house full of crazed clowns, a holiday nightmare, a labyrinth where guests roam among witches, an “isolation-style house” that guests holding special passes enter with a flashlight as their only source of illumination, and two houses based on legendary movie franchises. One of the movie-themed houses stands on 10,000 square feet of space made available to Egan after last year’s Fright Dome.
“We put our new haunted house called Zombie City in there,” says Egan, who created a zombie-themed house with the late George Romero several years ago and maintains a love for the genre in its film and television forms. “It’s over 15,000 square feet. It combines another area I used to use with the new area, so it creates the biggest haunted house we’ve ever done in Fright Dome history.” Chainsaw Massacre, in which visitors make their way though foggy confines while evading chainsaw-wielding maniacs, was inspired by the late director (and Egan’s friend) Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
One house is a “solo maze” for fast pass customers and VIP groups only. “Everybody is going through by themselves,” says Egan. “There’s no guides, there’s no groups, there’s no safety in numbers. It’s unbelievable. The fun thing about this house is the only thing you get to guide you through is a flashlight. … The interesting thing is the haunted house is in control of the flashlight.”
Fright Dome also includes themed Scare Zones, including one where puppets come to life. Egan enlisted makeup effects creator/designer Gary J. Tunnicliffe, whose work includes the Hellraiser and Halloween franchises, for a second straight year to create the looks of the various creatures. A “4-D” theater provides an immersive experience set to the most shocking highlights from the Friday the 13th films, and prop comic Joe Trammel and “laser magician” R.J. Cantu are featured live performers.
“Fifteen years for anything in this town is amazing,” says Egan of Fright Dome. “And for our numbers to keep going up and in the right direction, that’s huge. We want to make sure we’re giving back every year and creating something new and amazing each year, and making it better. … I never, ever, ever get the comment like, ‘Oh, that was the same as last year,’ because it wasn’t. Definitely wasn’t the same as last year.”
Circus Circus, 7 p.m.-midnight Oct. 16, 20-23, & 26-31, starting at $36.95, $56.95 fast pass, $89.95 VIP plus tax and fee, may not be suitable for under 12 years. 702.794.3939