That’s the plan at Monty Summers’ four haunted house cavalcade in Kansas City’s East Bottoms.
“I’ve been doing this for 38 years, crazy huh?” says Summers, the founder / owner of The Edge of Hell, Beast, Chambers of Edgar Allan Poe and Macabre Cinema. “People faint, pee their pants, hyperventilate – do all kinds of crazy stuff – and we have 18 to 20 adults every night that are scared to death and they leave (early). But you know, it’s the best advertising we have.”
Summers’ Edge of Hell – founded in 1975 – is the second oldest haunted house attraction in the country behind Akron, Ohio’s Haunted Schoolhouse that was established in 1974.
That out of an estimated 3,500 to 5,000 “haunted attractions” nationwide.
“Hmmmm, you can’t write it,” he says. “People do stuff that you can’t make up. They react and it’s never a dull moment. You know, all those reality shows on television are pretty lame. We get a lot more drama than that pawnshop.”
That said, Summers wants to make one thing perfectly clear.
“It’s a family thing. We’re one of the last family entertainment options left. You know, serving alcohol is not really family entertainment and pretty much anywhere you go these days there’s alcohol, but we don’t sell it. Good clean fun – that’s what we are.”
As for that $4.99 a slice of pizza at Worlds of Fun’s Halloween Haunt, the most expensive thing on Summers menu is a loaded $3 hotdog.
“We’re not like the guys at the ballpark where you’re a captive audience and they take advantage,” he says.
“Well, I’d say the Macabre Cinema or Poe,” he says. “But the Macabre has a 40-foot fireman’s pole exit, but you have to be 16 and have a driver’s license to do it. And people have to sign a waiver.”
What? No soft landing?
“We have a big pad,” Summers says, “but I don’t care how soft it is, if you fall 40 feet you can hurt something.”
As for the less perilous parts of the Macabre, “It’s got all the scarey movies – Freddy, Jason, The Shining – and the premise is, it’s a 1940s movie theater and seats 50 people. And you walk through the screen and become part of the movie You become the victim. You’re the one everyone’s chasing and the people that go really like that.”
In Poe, “it’s all about Poe’s writings brought to life,” Summers says. “The Pit and the Pendulum, Rue Morgue, House of Usher, The Raven – and the graveyard’s actually laid out like the cemetery where Poe’s buried. It’s a gorgeous set.”
That brings us to Summers’ twin Main Event, The Beast and Edge of Hell.
“The Edge is always heaven and hell,” he says. “It’s more your vampires, snakes and rats – your more traditional fears. The Beast is more about werewolves, castles, forests and knights. You know, Medieval Times.”
“This year The Beast is the favorite,” he says. “Usually it’s The Edge of Hell.”
On a good year, Summers haunts will attract upwards of 50,000 or more fright fans.
On top of all that, The Edge of Hell’s 25 foot 2 inch python Medusa was just named “Longest Snake Ever in Captivity” by Guinness World Records 2013 edition.
One caveat: children age 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult.
Tickets are available here.