Ormsby House resurrects Haunted House for charity

The shopping list for the Ormsby House marketing department has been a little bizarre recently:

Black lights, glow-in-the-dark masks, bones, black paint, gooey gore, more bones, glistening blood, sharp implements, liquid latex and do you think we could get a few more bones?

Tonight, the Haunted House of Horror II - bigger, longer and uncut for the millennium - opens at the Ormsby House. Marketing director Mike Hyams promises attendees a better - make that worse - scare than at the first one last year.

"The adult side is going to make you wish you'd never set foot in the place," Hyams said Thursday as he arranged a few disconnected body parts in the 12,000-square-foot attraction.

He said it takes 140 employees to bring the haunted house to life, though that's not quite the right word for it.

In its inaugural eight-day run, the 1998 Haunted House of Horror earned $35,000 for area charities and organizations, Ormsby marketing director Mike Hyams said. It also earned the designation of the "number-one haunted attraction in Nevada" in a poll conducted by Haunted Attraction Magazine, he said.

The haunted house features 33 rooms on the adult side that offer sudden shockers, assorted and distorted body parts, gooey surprises, hair-raisers and goose bumps.

The nine rooms on the kids' side are aimed more toward fantasy, Hyams explained. For instance, Winnie the Pooh is joined by pals Eeyore and Tigger in one scene.

Haunted attractions are something of an entertainment industry these days, Hyams said. Planning for the Ormsby House 1999 version began last November just two weeks after the first haunted house closed.

"We actually have a board of directors and a charter for it and they have been meeting weekly since then," Hyams said.

One of the big changes was to double the number of performances to 16 this year.

"We want it to continue to be an annual event," he said.

Another refinement is sure to be popular. Hyams said people waited in line as long as three hours last year, just to scare the stuff out of themselves. This year, he said, the wait to be scared senseless should be no longer than 45 minutes.

Hyams said the expansion of the haunted house, along with other events like the frequent and ever-larger holiday fireworks displays above the Ormsby House, is part of how the business is maintaining its role in the heart of the community.

"We're putting the shows on for the town, not because a haunted house or fireworks have anything to do with the casino business," Hyams said.

He said he expects such activities to continue to expand since the recent purchase of the Ormsby House by local businessmen Al Feigehen and Don Lehr, partners in the Cubix Corp. computer manufacturing firm.

"I think part of the reason they bought the place is that we've made such a statement with the fireworks and other events," Hyams said. "It's all part of what they bought and I think they're very endeared to it.


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