Spirits Return to an Original Halloween Tradition
Season Opens for The Beast and Edge of Hell Haunted Houses
September 11, 2015 - Cool nightly breezes and a penchant for the fear-induced tradition of visiting the world-renowned Kansas City haunted houses casts the spirit of Halloween as The Edge of Hell and The Beast Haunted Houses ready to open for the 41st season this Friday at 7:30 P.M.
The Twelfth Street Bridge Historic West Bottoms District, near downtown Kansas City, Missouri, is a sort of nerve center for commercial haunted houses with the granddaddy, Edge of Hell opening in 1975, and cited as the first, large-scale haunted house in continuous operations with neighboring Beast opening in 1991.
Both haunted houses rank among the best in the United States which has required many adaptations to the original haunted houses over the decades, including more elaborate sets, make-up and costumes, animatronics, holograms and techniques to “transport” scare cast members from place to place. “We have been sending chills for decades but the 4-sensory experience (sight, sound, smell and touch) is even more compelling today with Millennials wanting to be part of the experience versus just watching a movie or playing a video game”, said Amber Arnett-Bequeaith, a.k.a. Queen of the Haunts (facebook.com/QueenOfHaunts) who heads up operations for the West Bottoms’ haunted houses as well as the national spokesperson for the haunted house industry, America’s Haunts americahaunts.com.
Haunted house producers have hired more than 300-plus people, including scare cast members, ticket takers, and operational assistants on site to help the crowds and make the joy of fear fun.
New this year, the Festival of the Full Moon offering a feast for the senses on the streets around the world-famous West Bottom haunted houses. Daring performances, dance troops, food trucks and carnival activities planned every Friday and Saturday.
The Beast has earned its reputation as a top 13 haunted house in the nation for years. Find your way through this thrilling open format design where visitors pass by dramatic scenes on four floors with a twisted path out. Traverse through the haunted house in a true 4D experience that includes movie-quality special effects, holograms, props, animatronics and a real alligator.
Time: Opens Friday, September 11 at 7:30 P.M. Season opens with evenings on Friday and Saturday in September and Thursday through Saturday in October. Also open Sunday, Nov. 1st, 6th and 7th. Closes when the fog lifts on the Werewolf Forrest
Place: Kansas City’s Historic West Bottoms District, off the 12th Street Bridge
Address: The Beast: 1401 W. 13th, KCMO 64102
Phone: 816.842.4280 and INFO LINE: 816.842.0320
Website: kcbeast.com Social: facebook.com/kcbeastedge https://twitter.com/Beast_HauntKC
October 17, 2013 Kansas City, When it comes to ranking the scariest attractions, Travel Channel and its adviser Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, named Kansas City’s four epic haunted houses in the West Bottoms (Chambers of Poe, Macabre Cinema, Edge of Hell and The Beast) among the 10 scariest haunted attractions in the U.S.
The Travel Channel will broadcast “America’s Scariest Attractions” that features all four West Bottoms haunted houses in October. In addition to this recognition, Haunt World named Edge of Hell as the “Best and Scariest Haunted House among the Oldest and Longest Running Attractions” while HauntedHouseRatings.com, which ranks votes by visitors, put Edge of Hell and The Beast as tied for 7th place in the nation despite Kansas City being a smaller metropolitan area than all but one of the top ranking haunted houses.
“Kansas City has long been a capital of haunted houses from its height of thirteen- plus haunted houses in the 1980’s and through its transition to fewer yet more sophisticated haunted houses today, said Amber Arnett-Bequeaith “Queen of Screams” operating the West Bottom Haunted Houses. “The survivors must be suited for the ever-discriminating thrill-seeking visitor that witnesses extremes on video games and movies.” Fewer houses are also a fact that seasonal business can be a frightful venture with so many potential catastrophic events that can kill a business that only has weeks to recover. The West Bottoms, just west of Downtown Kansas City off the 12th Street Bridge, has defied the downturn in haunt offerings and reigns as the Haunted House epicenter with four large haunted houses in this one historic community.
The houses are located in large multi-storied commercial buildings built around 1900 and each has something unique that makes it a must-see horror attraction.
Chambers of Poe: paranormal activity, ties with Poe’s tales of madness, 4-story window leap and featured in the movie Horror Filmed
Edge of Hell: sits at 666 feet above sea level, oldest running commercial haunted house in the U.S. est. 1975, focused on phobias, home to the record-breaking reticulated python, 4-story slide
The Beast: located on 13th Street, first haunted attraction to utilize an open format and a live alligator and lots of front door entertainment including the Thriller Dancers, Headless Horseman, The Beast and more
Macabre Cinema Haunted House: staged as a 1930’s haunted movie theater with a collection of actual horror-movie sets and props and a 4 story bat pole that takes people from screen to scream
Despite the short season, the haunted houses stay intact year-round given their size, scope and technology with crews that update and refresh them in the off-season. The haunts include a range of technology from holographic videos, laser trips and animatronics. Live snakes, rats, spider and crocodile also live in the houses year-round but make their appearance during the season to create a scare that is truly a 4-D experience.
Elvira, Mistress of the Dark summarized, “On Kansas City’s west side is one of the most unique haunted venues I’ve ever had the displeasure of visiting. The KC West Bottoms area is made up of several late 19th-century buildings that were just made to be haunted houses! This “village of the damned” has 4 -- count ’em 4 -- epic haunts: The Beast, The Chambers of Edgar Allan Poe, Macabre Cinema and the granddaddy of ’em all, The Edge of Hell -- each one is a unique, must-see experience for haunted house afflict-cianados.”
Travel Channel’s Best Halloween Attractions 2013 (slideshow)
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"USA Today names The Beast one of the nations spookiest haunted houses!"
The Beast - Americas Largest Haunted House
Founded in 1991, The Beast is America's largest haunted house. The Beast pioneered the "open format" design, where you're not in a line, you're wandering through the scenes, never knowing when a spook or an activated scene will rock into action. At the Beast, you are not just looking at the scene, you are part of the action!
It takes about 40 minutes to go through the Beast -- IF you don't get lost in the fog in the Werewolf Forest, stuck in the maze, or pulled toward the light in the three-story light tower. The exit is a four story slide, it's straight down and faster than you might find comfortable!
The Werewolf Forest, a 1/4 acre in size, requires you to find an exit in complete darkness. It drives up every abandonment issue one could ever have. Every 30 minutes, the werewolves scour the forest to escort out any hysterical guests who haven't found the exit yet. The storm scene's thunder and lightning will make your hair stand on end, the cobblestone streets of Jack the Ripper's London will seduce you, beware the raging wolf. And don't forget about the swamp with it's blood thirsty alligators, the deranged pirate or the man-hunting lion.
The Beast gets better every year. The local press conducted surveys of avid haunted house devotees, who termed it "the best", but cautioned visitors it may be unsuitable for some children. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. If children under 10 have frequent nightmares -- they're not ready. And if you're unwilling to be videotaped or have serious phobias, then please stay home.