Veteran Haunters Welcome New Actors As Fear Factory Prepares For Halloween
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – While most people in the state are wrapping up their summer holidays and preparing for the back to school season, a select few Utahns are getting a jump start on Halloween.
Fear Factory, 666 W. 800 South, is preparing for its eighth season of scares, and actors of all levels of experience showed up Saturday for an open casting call. It’s a process that brings in all sorts of people each year, said Fear Factory Founder and CEO Rob Dunfield.
He said the haunted house sees a lot of younger actors with very little experience, but that doesn’t stop the casting crew from hiring them. Someone who comes in with no experience gets started on a basic level, and they get training throughout their experience.
Each year, about half of those new actors end up returning for another season, Dunfield said.
Mackenzie Hadlow is one of those people.
She’s been scaring at Fear Factory for three years, and she’s now in charge of the vampire and “demented hospital” portions of the haunt.
“I’ve been a vampire for the last couple of years,” she said. “For me, that’s the most fun.”
On Saturday, Hadlow joined her fellow leads to screen the horror hopefuls. Potential actors were taken in groups of four into an office at the top of a metal grate staircase. After some quick photos, the actors were asked about their acting experience, why they want to work at a haunted house, and if they have any special skills that could come in handy.
Ashli Moon, clad in Halloween attire complete with a Jack Skellington dress, was in the first group to go before the Fear Factory crew.
She worked at another haunted attraction in Ohio, and she prides herself on her scream. She grew up watching horror films and loves all things Halloween.
WATCH: Actors show off their screams
“I’ve branded myself,” she said, showing off a Halloween-themed tattoo. “It’s always been my passion.”
While Moon may be a creature you’d encounter in a haunted house, you won’t find her actually paying to go through one.
“Coming to haunted houses is kind of freaky for me because I’m afraid of clowns,” she laughed. “I know they would all jump out at me!”
And, of course, there are the returning actors. One, who stood in line in 93-degree weather while wearing a full-length black duster, black boots, a black hat and a black plague doctor mask, is returning for his eighth year.
He refused to step out of character, and would only introduce himself as “Death” or “Black” or “Bubonic.”
“This is a very unique environment,” he said of Fear Factory. “It’s interactive theater.”
“Just read the rules before you go in,” he added.
Fear Factory is open Fridays and Saturdays in September and every day during October. For information, go to fearfactoryslc.com.