THE CIRCUS LEAVES TOWN!
Back in the early spring The HOD!!! was visiting the basement
lair of Charlie McFree, the iconic mass murdering yet strangely lovable janitor
of The Dent Schoolhouse. Every year Dent’s co-owner and “Architect Of Fear”
Josh Wells replaces around a third of the attraction to keep the event fresh
and up to date. That’s what Josh tells the press, anyway-we have it on good
authority that he really does it to keep Charlie from getting bored and coming
after him. Anyway, right outside Charlie’s workshop the hallway was stuffed
with a multitude of evil haunt Klown animatronics that had been scattered
around the PTA Carnival area. When asked what part of the house they were being
moved to, Josh responded with “Nowhere. We’re taking the Klowns out of the
haunt this year”. Now, we at The HOD!!! love Klowns. Some of our best friends
are haunt Klowns. We even thought we saw one across the street working near the
Schoolhouse’s short bus, but it turned out to be co-owner Chuck Stross
tinkering with the lighting. With the Circus leaving town, how would Dent ever
be able to survive?
More importantly, giving the Klowns the boot allowed Dent’s
second attraction, the Detention Hall (which was home to Boss Honk and his army
of homicidal Klowns last season), to be completely rethemed and rebuilt. In its
new incarnation as the Queen City Slaughter Yard, it represents a huge upgrade
over last season. Rather than the standard fence maze of years past, it’s now
more of an attraction that can stand on its own. Starting off in the animal
pens, you slowly work your way towards the rendering plant. Once inside, you’ll
find it contains a freezer, meat smoking room, holding cells, and a bevy of
scantily clad babes being chased by a horde of huge guys with chainsaws. LOTS
of chainsaws. This place is somewhat of a chainsaw nirvana, and it uses the
real thing. There’s nothing like the smell of gasoline and the roar of an
actual saw to convey an air of menace-prop chainsaws are sometimes necessary in
closed areas but simply aren’t nearly as effective. For a ‘sideshow’
attraction, there’s some good detail-the corpses in the freezer actually have a
glaze of ice on them. Add a pounding soundtrack put together by Bud and a
totally bizarre video playing outside (an old B/W movie featuring the
human-sized Cincinnati Dancing Pig-where does Bud find this stuff?) and you’ve
got a winner. “The Slaughter Yard is our R-rated haunt”, said Josh. “It’s got
plenty of blood and violence and I guess you saw the half-dressed girls”.
The Killer Line-up Of The Queen City Slaughter Yard
Dent’s also added extra actors to its roster, bringing
the total inside the Schoolhouse to as many as 50 with an extra 20 or so in the
Slaughter Yard. This not only allows multiple characters for some rooms and
areas and multiple appearances by Charlie, but also allows some of the ‘faculty’
to have the victims we’ve talked about. This is one haunt where they don’t just
threaten and talk about what they want to do-they SHOW you. This goes a long
way towards increasing the unease of hauntgoers and making them actually feel
as if they might be in danger. There
were no unprepared actors in the Schoolhouse and they all had their parts down
pat. The scripting seems to have cut down on actors leaving their scenes and
coming out of character. They’re the ones bringing the Schoolhouse to life and
making it believable.
And of course, no HOD!!! article on Dent is complete
without hearing from local haunt icon and longtime Dent actor Damien Reaper.
This year, you’ll notice Damien is a bit different. He’s…he’s…positively HUMAN!
Playing Detective Damien, he’s roaming the playground outside and investigating
the disappearances of the students. In the process he’s also setting the stage
for the journey into darkness every group of hauntgoers sets out on. Will he
ever catch up to Charlie so The HOD!!! can have the satisfaction of telling
Damien to “BOOK HIM, Dan-o!”? Well, maybe, but we’re betting Damien will likely
end up on a meat hook in the basement as part of next year’s show. Let’s hear his
meandering musings about his transition from damnation to do-gooder…
“After 14 years of reinventing Damien Reaper, the evil
soul taking monster, it was time to showcase myself underneath the monster
makeup in my performance this year while keeping the name (like The Undertaker
from WWF/E changing from being The Dead Man into a Biker). This is my 15th
Season entertaining "Meatbags". I had the idea last year to do the Detective
but became a Priest instead. Our new personnel manager Terry Rook Jr. originally
wanted to make me into a cop, but our new costume manager Lindsey Wagner found
out a cop uniform was 500 buckaroos, so I suggested a Detective. I was given a
script written by Terry this year as well. He had the idea of a greeter or host
to lead you into Charlie’s world. This in my mind is like another reality much
like DC comics with Earth 1 and Earth 2. This Damien Reaper is in another reality
of The Dent Schoolhouse.
Josh Wells and his crew created the masterpiece that is Dent and Queen City Slaughter Yard. Sadly Bludzo and Fatso decided to take a year off-it's weird to not see them around so it's a bittersweet feeling. The sweetness we do have is a hell of a cast this year. Together we are the star attraction, The Dent Schoolhouse. We had a pretty big build up to this season from Midwest Haunters Convention as 50% of our cast members were active in their events…I even did Scaryokee unmasked. I rode there with Addam Grim and his future bride to be Kristin Rochelle Jones. Julie Langenderfer got 2nd place in Miss Midwest Haunter. I also played a zombie on Fountain Square taking part in the WEBN Fireworks commercial and also appeared at the Riverfest zombie infestation. Cool thing about that is other haunts were down there. I was happy seven or so years ago that art wasn't looked at as art. I feel that Dent will be like the McDonald's of haunting in the mainstream world. Bud & Chuck Stross and Josh Wells are my pals and I’ve enjoyed working with them in this adventure for 7 years. I do this for the passion and Chuck's balls (meat balls) in my mouth.
In 1998 I started at The Dungeons of Delhi in the days of Freddy, Jason, Frankenstein
(David Espich) to Fatso (Dan Leopold), Toxic Lou (John Colleta) and Chainsaw
Cec (Cecil Rouse) then doing three Haunts in 2006 (Dent, DOD and USS Nightmare)
within a year after moving to Dent. Thanks to every single cast member, crew
member and make-up artist from past to present that I worked with. Every reviewer
from City Blood to Ohio Valley Haunts to Haunted House Tours. And of course The
Guy I respect 10 fold for spot lighting me and who gave me the 1st Hall of Fame
award, Mr. Randy "Master of Doom and Gloom" Schadel. Thanks to The
Damned Nation who keeps believing in me and lives the haunted lifestyle. Thank
you from me as Damien Reaper, Detective Damien Walker and Daniel Ruwan. The
last 15 years is dedicated to all of you.”
Aiding Dent’s live actors are the dead ones-or as they’re
often called, animatronics. Designed primarily to distract hauntgoers for the
benefit of the live actors, these creatures also fill in the roles of the
large, demonic creatures an actor couldn’t portray. These creatures have been
attracted to the Schoolhouse by the evil goings-on, and range from the ghosts
outside the nurse’s office and in the auditorium to the giant insect in the
boiler room and the gargantuan demons in the A/V room and sewer. Sometimes an
entire room is themed around them, such as the new library that features the
spirits of two librarians floating around the stacks ala ‘Ghostbusters’. Josh’s
subtle room design is also on display as you are routed though the room not by
rails but rather stacks of debris that block access but allow a clear line of
sight-just as would happen in a Schoolhouse that’s been abandoned for 60 years.
The zombie room is another new scene in the basement, and
as in most rooms as Dent, has a lot going to both distract and amaze
hauntgoers. There are zombies behind fences that topple, zombies in the
ceiling, and an impressive animatronic ‘zombie door’ where a whole slew of the
undead come busting in through a garage door, tearing apart the wood to get at
Perhaps our favorite new scene, though, is the girl’s
shower room (which will be of no surprise to anyone that knows us). While you
won’t see the silhouette on the shower curtain of a busty gal lathering herself
up as was originally planned (but they’re working on it!), you will get the
pleasure of being attacked by a massive rat with blazing red eyes. This baby is
big enough to fit most people in its mouth, and has enough mass to where it bounced
staffer Brian (“That’s MR. Klown to you, buddy”) Robbe off the opposite wall after
plowing into him during a ‘test drive’. The rat will also eventually provide
another service, that being scare pictures. A camera mounted above records the
reactions of hauntgoers as the rat hurtles at them, providing a photo you’ll be
able to buy after completing the tour. Josh showed us several scare photos
taken by the rat, and they’re priceless. The expressions of pure fear and
surprise on the faces of the customers are hilarious.
The event also has several special nights planned-a
zombie night (where all the characters turn into zombies), a lights on tour
where you can get a good look at the sets and detailing, and returning from
last year is the popular lights-off tour where you brave the Schoolhouse in
almost complete darkness. While the lines can get long, there’s plenty to keep
you occupied-custom made movies featuring the backstory and murders of the
Schoolhouse play on the big screen out front. There are plenty of actors
roaming the outside areas. The movie showing outside the Slaughter Yard also
features one of Dent’s cooler ideas. It was originally presented in four parts
online and chronicled the stalking and eventual murder of a young lady at the
hands of one of the butchers. There was an online vote taken on exactly how she
was going to die, and you can see the results of the voting on the big screen
out back. We’ve told the Schoolhouse’s owners they should be selling these
films on DVD-they’re great. We have a copy of an older one from a few years
back and break it out every so often when we need a dose of haunting in the
Josh tells us that the attraction has finalized leasing
the building for an additional two years, so the immediate future is set. What
lies beyond that? “Well, our crowds have outgrown the capacity of the
Schoolhouse to accommodate them,” said Josh. “So we’re looking at all kinds of
options for after that”. Speaking for ourselves, we envision a custom built
haunt theme park that features an entire haunted town of which the Schoolhouse
is only one building. But that’s just us-we’ll have to wait and see what Bud,
Chuck and Josh have up their sleeves for the future. For the present, Dent’s
elite status is reflected in a two page spread in the “Fangoria: America’s
Haunts” special magazine (which you can pick up a copy of at the Schoolhouse’s souvenir
stand-we did, and it’s a feast for the eyes of any haunt fan). While the circus
has indeed left town at The Dent Schoolhouse, it’s resulted in a tighter
attraction with better pacing while maintaining its high standards in every
other aspect. So it’s the new, improved Dent-now with even MORE chainsaw
killers! Ask for it soon at a ticket office near you.
Welcome To The Club!
The Initiation Is A Bit Rough, But Once You're In...
Somebody Let Angus Young Out Of That Locker!
Whatever Happened To Damnation, Officer?
The Dent Schoolhouse-Faculty & Class Of 2013 (as provided by the Detective)
Ellen Irvine plays Alice Hertz
Teresa Campbell plays Betty Bledsew
Tina Bigham plays Zoe Zombie
Marybeth Rook plays Slice
Kayla Butcher plays Mrs Miller
Becca Minges plays Mrs Edwards
Matt Godfrey plays Silas Krone
Andy Becker plays Frank Loomis
David Knollman plays Davy Rodden
Katie Willson plays Jillian
Alicia Littleton plays Burnadette
Missie Thornton plays Bekki
John Williams plays Anthony
Brandon Rook plays Jimm Blaze
Xander Otten plays Trinna the tranny
Brynn Homan plays Rose
Jodan Jones plays Ethyl
Rod McGaha plays Dewey Phillps
Sara Boler plays Nurse Nancy
Chris Varin plays Boyles
Josh D Wells plays Fritz Farkus
Nat West plays Electra.
Shaina Huy plays Mabel
Katie Ludmann plays Ms Lew
Kris Sheeley plays Delores Painsworth
Mollie Uthe plays Helen Kramer
Maggie Baker plays Gracie Lou
Devyn Farmer.plays Framer Ozwald "Dookie"
Jimmy Matthews plays Richard McFree
Emma Wilson plays Lola Rutledge
Krystal Crouch plays Patty Cakes
Kevin Slaughter plays Otto
Tynan Taylor plays Sexy Sadie
Anthony Loehl plays hungry hank
Jim Millspaugh plays Jacob Traversom
Rae Powell plays Arabell Cagedgirl
Kat Wipple plays Billy Anne
Kayleigh Sampson plays Alexxxis Starr
Derrick Stone plays Dane
Aryn Fox plays Leslie Anne
Julie Langenderfer plays Rosie Rottentail/Old Woman Josie
Lindsey Wagner plays Ungh
Dusten Helton plays Patrick Bateman
Kevin Butcher plays Eugene Bites
Matthew Miller plays Oskar von Striecher
Steven Penny plays Aagod
Troy Baldock plays Helldrake
Jake Reynolds plays Isaac Legion
Jason Henry plays Jeremiah Haaman
Allison Holdcraft plays Cassie
Zak Foster plays Big Bruce
Telfore Nyte plays BIG BABY
Scott Rook plays Bubbles
Alexandra Fulton plays Emily
Patrick Hennessey plays Fruitloops
Donnie Centers plays Big Donnie D
Robert Burnham plays HOCK
Julie Candelaresi plays Gyspy the zombie
Bud Stross plays Suger
Michael Powell plays Headmaster Demontia
Alex DJcrew Cruey plays Charlie McFree
Jimmy Matthews Jr plays Charlie McFree
Charlie Geluso plays Charlie McFree
Say WHAT?!? Did we actually see Josh Wells’s name in there as an actor?
2013 EVENT INFORMATION
THE DENT SCHOOLHOUSE 2012
The Creep Sure Commands Your Attention!
It's A Good Thing The Ghostbuster's Ecto-1 Will Be Appearing At The Schoolhouse...
CHARLIE BRANCHES OUT!
Haunt actors come and haunt actors go, but some are eternal. Such is the case with Damien Reaper, one of Dent's resident haunt icons. Damien has returned to his traditional post as front man for the Schoolhouse in the Memorial Playground. Seems his stint as a guidance counselor for the kids inside the attraction didn't work out so well-for them. Let's face it, "Damnation" is not a career path many of the young moppets look forward to. So what's on his mind this year? Well, we usually can't figure it out either, but it sure is interesting in a criminal psychology sort of way. Sporting yet another new look for his 14th season, Damien had this to say to HOD!!! readers-as well as giving us the lowdown on just who else can be found crawling around in the basement.
Dent Schoolhouse Cast
Thanks to every actor, crew member, Josh and Leslie Wells, Bud, Chuck and Michelle Stross
Cincinnati-Thanks for letting me be myself!
Our God the Cool Ghoul!!
And House of Doom!!! for years of support to The Dead Man!!"
The Detention Hall is for unruly students to cool their heels in after finding their way out of the Schoolhouse. In this case, EVERYONE is considered unruly-the School administrator waiting at the exit WILL find a reason to give you detention. And of course, it's no secret that detention is always filled with the class cut-ups...only in Dent's case, this should be taken literally. Boss Honk and his kadre of killer klowns get DT every night and they're more than happy to let you in on their...fun. Even though we haven't seen our old pal Bludzo in action for several seasons now, he's running amok on selected nights as well, having been tricked into moving out of the house so as not to indulge in a binge of destruction on Josh's meticulous sets. And that whole blood-spewing thing works better outside, y'know. The fog choked maze dares you to find your way out, and Boss Honk even has a special surprise for everyone who does. Detention Hall is much improved over previous seasons, with more sightlines being blocked, the top covered, cascading lighting that will have you in darkness one second and lit up the next, and a bizarre soundtrack that might be the creepiest thing we've ever heard in a haunt. It features old oddball songs played at different speeds and gives the whole experience a nightmarish and twisted feeling. When I asked Chuck how long it took Bud to put together, he laughed and said "He was in here at 3 AM last night trying like crazy to get it put together".
Such is Dent's notoriety that there's even a miniature Dent Schoolhouse, complete with the grounds and crowds of people, in EnterTRAINment Junction's seasonal train display. Now THAT'S something we'd love to have in the HOD!!!'s offices! We just wonder if the small version will have all the promotions the real thing does! We've already mentioned the 'lights out' tour and the 'lights on' tour-there's also 'zombie night' where every character is transformed into one of the shambling undead. Outside, there'll be a visit from the replica Ecto-1 vehicle as seen in "Ghostbusters". Radio station WEBN has regular remote broadcasts on the grounds. The lines to both the Schoolhouse and Detention Hall have entertaining Dent produced videos and movies to watch while waiting. Many of Dent's best known actors (like Fatso) interact with the crowds outside-not to mention a hulking ten foot tall creature with scythe blades for hands. Media 'dahlings' Jasper and Jinx might be spotted, although Jinxy seems to have gone missing and Jasper is taking a page from Bludzo's book and trying to put together a late Presidential run. There's food available and two different souvenir shops, the apparel shop selling the awesome 'Dent Schoolhouse Teacher's Pet A+ Thong' for the ladies. Well, we just KNEW that our gal Ayame would be a perfect fit for the small pink version. The only thing that really worried us was if the hillbilly we were talking about earlier was wearing one-after all, he did offer to hump our leg if it would help out the review. The Schoolhouse always has something cooking-just show up and see what the night has to offer. Or they might come to you, since Bud Stross enjoys loading up the 'short bus' with a group of rabid actors and turning up in the strangest places...
Dent, as well as Charlie, continues to branch out and innovate. They ride the tsunami of haunt technology and are always pushing themselves to become better with each season. Now in their 7th season (has it REALLY been that long?), they've managed to do so. The lease on the current building expires next season, and there are several possibilities that the event is exploring. The future promises to be just as exciting as the day Josh, Bud, and Chuck took over a classic but tired attraction that had seen better days and brought it back to life. Nationally ranked #2 by "Top Haunts" magazine and routinely put at the top of every haunt 'best of' list, Dent earns every accolade it brings in. And that's whether a crazy hillbilly humps your leg or not.
...That Ends In Hell's Hall
School Bus Alley
Graveyard For Outdated Vehicles-And Hauntgoers