The following is an online interview with Rodney Montgomery, a member of the haunt industry and the creator of The Shadows.
Information regarding The Shadows, an 18+ event opening to the public in Buffalo, New York, this upcoming October, can be found throughout the interview.
Additionally, information about the creator that is generally unknown to the public is revealed toward the interview’s conclusion.
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In 2016, you officially announced The Shadows, a new haunted attraction that is currently scheduled to open on October 6th, 2017.
According to the website (
www.theshadowsbuffalo.com), those who participate in the 18+ experience will be subjected to “psychological torture and mild physical contact.”
Due to the age restriction and aforementioned description of the event, it is particularly interesting to me that you are advertising The Shadows as a haunted attraction.
Why did you decide to advertise the event with that label? Additionally, how is the event distinguishable from immersive horror experiences?
People in Buffalo are familiar with the term “haunted attraction,” but there is not much awareness of immersive theater as a whole in the area.
Several years ago, a haunt I was working for opened an age-restricted house as a 6-dollar add-on, advertised as “extreme.”
By way of this house, people became aware of the concept of an extreme event. The house was very well-received.
Buffalo is highly saturated with haunted houses, so the demand is there, but there is also a demand for something new.
By calling The Shadows an “age-restricted/extreme” haunted house, we can appeal to both the immersive theater and haunted attraction markets.
As time progresses, the haunt industry is continuing to expand in regard to both the types of events offered to the public and scare tactics used.
The Shadows is an age-restricted event, which is still fairly uncommon to find in the haunt industry, especially on the East Coast.
Are there any specific details that you are willing to provide that will further explain the reason why The Shadows is an event designed exclusively for adults?
Almost every room in The Shadows needs the customer to provide us with their consent before participating.
We’re going to have rooms that may pose physical danger and rooms that are sexually explicit.
The way it works is that each guest will face specific challenges while progressing through the event. Failure to complete a challenge will result in a punishment.
Along with the legal implications of having a minor go through this, we also want to keep the event at a mature level.
The demographics for haunted attractions in Buffalo have a strong number of teenagers attending, and this is often a complaint among veteran customers attending the same attraction.
As far as specifics, I want everyone to know that we are NOT waterboarding or force feeding of any kind.
Physical limitations of guests will be respected.
This is not a shot at other extreme events; it is just something I don’t want associated with The Shadows. That being said, we will push people to their limits, and I fully expect people to use the safe word in order to get out.
There are three different options currently listed on the website for those who are participating to choose from: admission to the regular version of the experience and the art gallery found at the location ($30.00); what is being referred to as a “guided [tour]” ($15.00); and a “more extreme” version of the experience ($75.00).
How do each of these options differ from each other, specifically in terms of overall interactivity and length?
The $30.00 ticket price is the standard admission fee. What we want to provide with this is an experience lasting over 1 hour in length. The guests purchasing this feature will be touched, restrained, and tackled.
Our $15.00 guided tour is a chance for people to get their feet wet and also serves as an art installation for the art gallery. Through the tour, they can decide if they’d like to experience the entire event and buy either a standard or more extreme ticket.
We will be showing these guests a sample of the rooms offered. Anyone buying this ticket will be asked to wear duct tape over their mouths and a mask to hide their expression.
Since they will be seeing some of the rooms while the attraction is live and running, they can’t interfere with our guests. This also plays into themes within The Shadows, so they will become part of the installation.
The $75.00 ticket is for people already well-versed in extreme haunts. This ticket will be reservation-only and occur after hours.
The first phase of this tour, which differs from the standard ticket, is an escape room. Guests will have to work together to free themselves from restraints before even encountering the actors.
Once breaking free, the actors will get a hold of them and be much rougher than a standard tour. There will be a few added rooms not seen in the standard haunt, as well as an additional character.
We also want to provide some sort of meet-and-greet with the cast afterword, but that is still up in the air as to whether we will do that or not.
You aren’t new to the haunt industry, despite this being your first event. Halloween and horror are two subjects that you consider yourself to be knowledgeable about, based on your YouTube channel, thecolorofdye.
Do you believe that your positive and/or negative experiences at various haunted attractions have had a significant impact on the development of your upcoming event?
In addition, would you be interested in pursuing a more active role in the haunt industry if The Shadows is a success?
On top of the reviews I do on YouTube, not many people outside of Buffalo are aware that I’ve spent 8 years as a scare actor, 4 of those years building and 1 year designing and managing a house.
My current job is in real estate photography, which allows me to travel the country. Around October, it can get pretty crazy, because I’m running around trying to visit as many attractions as possible in my free time.
I would say that in the past 3 years I have been to over 30 but have only had the time to review a handful.
This is a lot of knowledge and, of course, I think just as anyone else would, I have kept that in the back of my mind when designing my own attraction.
I firmly believe that the layout of a haunt determines its success, so I try to look for that as much as I can.
The other thing I pay attention to is the customer service aspect of the business. I want to be as fair and as open with my customers about costs and their expectations of my attraction [as possible].
In the future, I would like The Shadows to be successful, but as far as myself becoming more active in the industry? I think the people will be the ones to decide that.
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