Print Wear a diaper to scary Zellner haunted house
Written by Greg Ruland   
Saturday, 29 October 2011 00:00

Five people wet themselves trying to make it through the haunted house operated by the Zellner family in 2010. About 20 others couldn’t complete the tour, Justin Zellner said with more than a little pride.

Frights are found around every corner at the haunted house being held at the old Masonic Lodge above Old Town. Proceeds from the $2 tour through the scare-fest benefit the Immaculate Conception Parish’s Youth Ministry and will help to fill a retreat scholarship fund.For the past three years, the Zellners have invented new and innovative ways to terrify people during the week leading up to Halloween at a haunted house constructed for their own personal enjoyment.

“We’re twisted people,” Zellner said with a laugh.

“Part of the joy of it is watching people freak out,” said Rose Zellner, the family matriarch. “It’s great when you hear people scream at the places they’re supposed to scream. You know you’re doing something right.”

“We don’t use a scream sound track in our haunted house,” Justin Zellner said. “We don’t need it.”

This year, the Zellners are scaring people for a good cause. Money raised from their haunted house at the old Masonic Lodge above Old Town will go to the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church Youth Ministry.

“Proceeds go to establish a retreat scholarship fund for our teens who can’t afford to attend retreats and other events on their own,” Youth Minister Justin Hammons said.

Some of the money will be used to send members of the church’s youth group to the 2013 World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Hammons said.

Around 50 volunteers, including more than 20 members of the Zellner family, will ultimately donate more than 1,000 hours to remodel the interior of the lodge into a house of horrors at 770 N. Verde Heights Drive and to staff it.

Much of the equipment, lights, props and costumes at this year’s haunted house were paid for out of the family’s personal bank accounts and from money raised during Halloweens past.

A Hannibal Lechter figure waits to frighten those who dare to scamper through the haunted house at the old Masonic Lodge above Old Town. The house opened Friday, Oct. 21.These include a mechanical Hannibal Lecter with muzzle, a demonic Jack in the Box, and a television set from which a decaying Samara crawls as in the 2002 horror film, “The Ring.”

While some of the stops on the tour will be familiar to people who attended in the past, Rose Zellner said she has several new shocking displays for visitors this year, but declined to comment further. Some horrors must remain secret until the right moment, she said.

Few of the attractions were ready for viewing during a tour of the house Thursday, Oct. 20, but the place was frightening nevertheless. A long, dark hall with strobe lights flashing off a fan at one end was disorienting, almost to the point of nausea. Beware of a small, lost child there.

Leatherface from “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” werewolves, vampires, zombies, trolls and many more Halloween favorites will be on hand to enhance the haunted house experience.

The full tour, which costs only $2, might take as long as 30 minutes to complete, although some have been known to finish in less than two minutes by fleeing at top speed, Justin Zellner said.