The Fear Experience 2011
Cousins Max Simon and Nick Francis aren’t even old enough to legally drink a beer, but they’re running their own haunted attraction for the fourth year in a row. What started as a bid to win a homemade haunted house contest on "Good Morning America" has mutated into what is now The Fear Experience in North Olmsted.
“We built a 10,000 square foot haunt in his backyard,” Simon says of their first haunt together. “We opened one night and 500 people came through. The city of Toledo said, ‘You guys are insane. You can’t do this in a backyard again.’ So we made the choice to go commercial the next year.”
Now located in a strip mall, the small backyard project has evolved into two unique scare houses, a buried-alive simulator and a stage featuring live bands, thanks in large part to the young men's impressive DIY principles.
“There’re very few things here that are commercially bought. We pretty much find cool things that we like and we build them here- bigger, better and cheaper,” Simon says beaming. “We’ll start working, for example, on next year’s on November 1st. So, it really is all year. It never stops.”
For the bargain price of $13, you get access to The Fear Experience, a showcase of common phobias Simon describes as “a culmination of all your greatest fears and nightmares.” Admission also includes entry into The Insane Asylum, filled with infected patients.
For an extra $5, you can climb into a coffin and experience a touch of the afterlife. The "ride" jostles your body around as you’re transported to your final resting, hearing the voices of the people disposing of your body and feeling rats crawling around at your feet.
They may not have won the GMA contest, but keep your eyes on these two ghoulish lads. Thinking about what these talented and driven young men have in store for us in the coming years is just plain scary.