As the 2019 season continues “The Haunted Hayride” at Reaper’s Revenge, has been voted by customers as one of the best attractions, and even the scariest on some evenings. Featuring world-class set designs and scare acting, the haunted hayride is perhaps the most immersive and theatrical show on the mountain. Reapers Revenge has invested heavily in enhancing this fantastic spectacle of an attraction, and we had the privilege of interviewing the attraction’s management team in this special edition of the “Reaper’s Revenge Blog.” “Haunted Hayride” is the core attraction featured at Reaper’s Revenge, and is an immersive experience, that goes beyond the boundaries of the general “hayride” attractions featured in numerous attractions across the country. Each scene is picturesque featuring incredible scenic designs augmented by immersive, lighting, and special effects that transform the trail into a hauntingly beautiful tribute to Halloween, the perfect stage for memorable performances.
Reapers Revenge Blog (RR Blog): We would like to introduce and thank the three members of the management/supervisory team whom each helps bring to life the “Haunted Hayride” attraction. We asked each to provide their background in the industry and to give insight into their work in the haunted attraction world!
Mathew Adams (Matthew): I’m an eight-year veteran to Reapers Revenge. I was the biggest fan of Reaper’s Revenge for years before I became a five-year actor as the big Reaper in the final scene of the hayride. I served one year as an Actor Trainer for the Hayride before assuming control as the Attraction Manager for the last two seasons. I now get to be a variety of characters throughout the season, but I most often might get spotted as a shadowy cloaked Reaper observing my minions, or blood-covered hillbilly towards the end of the hayride.
Angela Roscioli (Angela): “I have been working with Reaper’s Revenge for two years. This is my first year in a management role, so I feel like I’m still transitioning into it, but apparently, it had something to do with hard work, dedication, creativity, and bringing my own collar and leash. I treat everyone the same. I go over the overall vision for the scene, have the actor show me how they interpret it and work with them to fine-tune their performance. I genuinely want the actors to be comfortable and live what they are doing, so I value their opinions.”
Kendra Louderback (Kendra): I have had the pleasure of working for Reaper’s Revenge for seven years. I first started with Reaper’s Revenge as a clown in the “Lost Carnival,” and on the next weekend, I wanted to try something different and ended up as a zombie in the “Walking Dead” hayride scene. I immediately fell in love with the “Haunted Hayride” attraction and found my place for the following five seasons prior to becoming promoted as one of the hayride supervisors.
RR Blog: What inspired you to work at Reaper’s Revenge?
Mathew: “I was a tremendous fan of horror and haunts in general, often traveling for hours to see them. But when I found Reapers, I knew there was something special here. I would come every weekend, bringing different family members and friends, turning them into fans like me. I often remember leaving after a show saying to them, “the only way I could love this place more is to work here myself.” Then one day it became a reality. Being placed as the big Reaper at the end of the hayride was like becoming the quarterback to your favorite football team, or at least, so it felt to me. It was the love for the haunt that I already had as a fan that drove me as an actor, and even still as a manager to shape the show that we put on.”
Angela: “I’ve been interested in performing and acting since high school and have always loved going to haunted attractions. So, when everything kind of fell in place in my life, I applied to try something new, and fell in love right away.”
Kendra: “I have always been “big” on Halloween and haunted attractions. I was actually on Reaper’s Revenge’s website to buy tickets one evening and decided to apply because they were hiring. Less than 24 hours later, I was called for an interview, and I was now a part of the Reaper’s family!”
RR Blog: How do you approach acting and interacting with customers?
Mathew: “I try to think about what the customer would want to see and find entertaining while also thinking about what our best option is to put on an exceptional show. We on the hayride are unique in the sense that we are given a stage that is the wagon to perform for a large group, versus the intimacy of a walkthrough. There are so many different scenes and characters, some of which have huge expectations to live up to from seeing them in the movie. If Freddy Kruger doesn’t act as Freddy does in the movies, people will realize that because of the expectations they already have of it. It’s here that I feel the actors of the hayride especially need to pay attention to the little details and make our show the best we can.”
Angela: “As far as my approach to acting, it’s all very situational. I usually start with a deep breath, clear my head, and let my character take over. What I do and also say changes based on the audience, as well. Kids get a different performance than adults do. It’s all about assessing and knowing the audience”
Kendra: “I believe that one of the most important differences for the hayride attraction compared to others (where they have smaller groups) is that we get everyone at once and it is important for actors to know their “roles” and act in a way that reaches the entire wagon. Actors need to perform so that each side of the wagon gets the same fantastic performance.”
RR Blog: What is the most challenging aspect of performing and/or working at Reaper’s Revenge?
Mathew: “To continue to be innovative and dream big but also to keep the dreams reigned in so that they can be achieved. Being progressive and driving in new directions is absolutely necessary to be competitive in this industry, but sometimes my enthusiasm can even get the best of me.”
Angela: “Probably dealing with weather changes as the season goes on. Cold rainy nights are never fun.”
Kendra: “I think the most challenging aspect for the hayride would be the “turn-over” once the show has started and the long-nights and weather. We work hard to fill roles, make sure actors are prepared, and are prepared for the tractors that come about every three and a half minutes, which makes training and swapping characters sometimes challenging.”
RR Blog: What is the most rewarding aspect of performing and/or working at Reaper’s Revenge?
Mathew: “I love to hear the stories of the amazing visits that customers have. Seeing ideas that I’ve helped create come to life, or ideas of my own becoming a reality in a place I once only looked forward to visiting in the fall, is a great source of pride within me. Having become a peer to the people I looked up to and respected in our management team is also something I hold in great regard. But even before all of that is the people, I get the privilege of leading. Teaching and leading the actors of my attraction really is something I take great pride in. In the end, after all of the building is done, the decorations are hung, and the speakers are placed, the haunt doesn’t really come to life until the actors invade it. The team that we put together really is what makes us unique and special, and it’s a privilege to be the guy that gets to lead them into the show. Reapers’ Revenge wouldn’t be what it is without its phenomenal acting team.”
Angela: “Being part of the Reaper’s family. It’s amazing to be a part of something that allows me to truly let my weird little self be just that and not worry about what someone else is thinking. We all accept each other, strangeness and all.”
Kendra: “The most rewarding aspect is the atmosphere and the whole staff that makes Reaper’s Revenge feel like “home.” I have made many friends from my time at Reaper’s Revenge, and I am blessed to have such amazing partners and friends (Matthew and Angela) that share the passion for the “Haunted Hayride” or as we call it; “Team 911!”
RR Blog: What is your favorite scary movie and horror character?
Mathew: “Jason Vorhees and Captain Spaulding would be my favorite horror characters, but the Tales from the Crypt TV series is where my love for horror.”
Angela: “My favorite scary movie is Ginger Snaps. Favorite horror character would have to be the original Pennywise the Dancing Clown.”
Kendra: “My favorite scary movie is a difficult question to answer because I have many. But I do love the classic horror movies and characters, especially Michael Myers. I also enjoy the movies Pet Cemetery and Nightmare on Elm St. franchises.”