Creators of Terror Behind the Walls, Eastern State Penitentiary’s annual haunted house show, are looking to frighten visitors more than ever. In the prison cell blocks, maniacal laughter and shrieks echo through the dark. Strobe lights flash and reveal twisted faces, and nurses covered in bulbous warts carry cups of blood to goad visitors into the attraction.
This year, visitors have the choice to walk through the prison cell blocks or to become part of the action, allowing actors in horror movie make-up to grab them and lead them down hidden passages separate from the group.
Those who choose to participate in the action are “tracked” by a glow necklace and marked with blood on their cheek. Amy Hollaman, the show’s creative director, says this allows participants to take off their necklaces if they become too terrified.
“We want to focus on that scare and for the people who are ready, give them what they want. But if you need to take it down a notch because the show is better than ever, you can take the necklace off and take a breather,” said Hollaman.
The profit from Terror Behind the Walls is key to keeping the abandoned prison operating all year long, added Hollaman. “Not only is it America’s largest haunted house,” she said, “but it’s also a fundraiser for this national historic landmark.”
Terror Behind the Walls runs through November. Visit Eastern State Penitentiary for more information.