News

Their job is a scream

By ELIZABETH CIEPIELA

Staff writer

A 20-foot green cyclops hangs off the side of a roller coaster at Enchanted Village for this year’s Fright Fest.

The cyclops, which is made of a welded steel substructure covered by a lightweight, molded foam, is the creation of Ben Isitt, the amusement park’s maintenance man/prop fabricator.

Isitt has been creating props and masks since 1989, when he was working on movie sets in California and he met a man who created freak creatures for movies.

Isitt, who said he is inspired by “just the love of creating stuff,” is also the creative director for Enchanted Village’s Fright Fest look. He said he wanted to “create a whole haunted atmosphere throughout the entire park.”

Standing behind the Haunted Mausoleum, he puts the final touches on zombies, decapitated heads and skeletons that populate the “mausoleum.” The attraction will be ready to go with the right music and fog for paying customers on Fridays and weekends between now and Halloween Oct. 31.

Within the theme park are more of Isitt’s creations: A graveyard with humorous tombstone epitaphs, a macabre vision of monsters riding a carriage, and the Mad Lab, inspired by the movie “Alien Resurrection.”

There’s also the Boot Hill Cemetery, which features a glow-in-the-dark skeletal horseman atop his skeletal horse. The scene was inspired by the movie “House 2.”

Isitt and his team began creating props and characters in mid-summer. They attempted to create a haunted atmosphere by incorporating 10 “truly fantastic” scares throughout the park — another new feature this year.

“At night (the park) will come alive to scare people,” said park spokeswoman Cathryn Schmit. She added that the 10 scares will be teen and adult-oriented “true thrills.”

“We like to call them PG-13,” Schmit said.

Many attractions are geared toward children. Fright Fest will also feature safe trick-or-treating throughout October on Saturdays and Sundays.

Enchanted Village officials said they’re careful to keep the thrills and chills age-appropriate to avoid frightening children too much.

“We’ve gotten good feedback through our corporate office as to what makes sense and what doesn’t,” Schmit said. “We go off of industry standards.”

Other events and attractions will include a comedy hypnotist, a snake and critters show, fortune tellers and pumpkin painting. The latter is for children, while the fortune telling is all-ages appropriate. The comedy hypnotist and the snake and critters show are geared toward teens and adults.

The creepy critters show is new this year to Fright Fest, which itself is a relatively new addition to Enchanted Village. The fest is a Six Flags tradition and was incorporated into the theme park three years ago when Six Flags purchased it.

Staff writer Elizabeth Ciepiela: 925-5565, eciepiela@fedwaymirror.com

Fright Fest runs every Friday (6 p.m. - 11 p.m.), Saturday (12 p.m. - 11 p.m.) and Sunday (12 p.m. - 8 p.m.) throughout the month. General Admission is $29.99 plus tax.

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