Creating a scare – Hollywood style |

Creating a scare – Hollywood style

Jarid Shipley
Appeal Staff Writer
photos by Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Eduard Thomas, 14, rehearses as a predator in the graveyard of the Grimes Castle haunted house being created in the former Wal-Mart building in South Carson City.

Michael Grimes hates haunted houses. Over the course of his life, he said, he’s only been through a total of three. He just wasn’t a fan – that is until he took his nephews to one.

“The smile on their faces when they came out. I said, ‘I’ve got to do this,'” Grimes said.

Shortly after he began creating Grimes Castle, a 4,000-square-foot haunted house in the abandoned Wal-Mart building on South Carson Street.

To help make his scary endeavor become reality, Grimes began working with Dan Hogan, who has spent most of his life scaring people.

“I started as a character when I was 13 and worked with people who are very good at what they do,” Hogan said.

The house revolves around the theme of the evil doctor and his experiments and is designed to stand out from most haunted houses.

“We want a totally different kind of scare. Less of people jumping out for cheap scares and more getting in people’s heads,” Grimes said. “We are going very much for a Hollywood haunted house with effects and visual aides.”

The house will employ more than 25 volunteer characters, use makeup, masks and sound effects to enhance the bone-chilling settings.

“The kitchen is my favorite room. I just kind of went insane in designing it,” Hogan said. “There’s an area on the back side of the house that makes people feel very cornered.”

Hogan said he can’t see himself doing anything else.

“This is just too much fun. It’s in my blood now, once you do it you just find a love for it,” Hogan said. “But to do this you have to be creatively sick. To do it well, you have to be able to create terrifying illusions of reality.”

The castle will also feature a candy and souvenir shop, a photo booth as well as the Cap-A-Clown game. Players will be given the opportunity to hit an evasive clown using a paintball gun while wearing 3-D glasses.

Grimes said that despite the work and expense to create the attraction, it will all be worth it when the public gets to see it.

“When I’m standing in a corner and watching the looks on people’s faces, it will be worth it,” Grimes said.

• Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at or 881-1217.

Other spooky events to get you in the

Halloween spirit:

The scare tactics feature the ever-popular Carson City Ghost Walk, this year themed, “Grave Concerns,” which has brave visitors touring a specially tailored, one-mile, 90-minute walk along the historic Kit Carson Trail.

A word of caution: reserve your tickets now for this popular event. An annual sell-out, the Ghost Walk attracts more than 1,000 victims. Call (800) NEVADA-1 or (800) 727-7677.

For the more courageous souls, the panic has also spread to channeling spirits in the Gardnerville and Genoa areas with a cooperative package developed by the Carson City Convention and Visitors Bureau, Douglas County Historical Society and Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Authority.

Included is a haunted evening at the Gardnerville Ghost Walk, a Genoa Cemetery Tour with living history characters escorting participants, and the haunted sights and historic landmarks of Genoa, which has claims to being Nevada’s oldest settlement. This four-event package is just $30 along with a variety of lodging options to round out the weekend of ghosts and goblins. For special room discounts visit:

• The guided evening tour of the Gardnerville Ghost Walk featuring historic sights and long-gone residents is Friday. Tours are available at 6:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

• The Carson City Ghost Walk is Saturday, Oct. 21 beginning at 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., with departures every 30 minutes from the St. Charles Hotel on the corner of Third and Carson Streets.

• The historic Genoa Cemetery is featured 6:30-8 p.m. Saturday. Step back in time as family members and others bring to life some of Nevada’s earliest pioneers on a spirited adventure into haunted history.

• The weekend of activities concludes with the Genoa Ghost Walk 10:30-11:30 a.m. Oct. 22. Mormon Station, later known as Genoa, was the first permanent settlement in Nevada and has a rich and colorful history.

• On Halloween night, the spirit world strikes the Comstock with Virginia City’s Witching Hour. The event includes a children’s parade at 4:30 with events and trick-or-treating on C Street from 6-9 p.m. The tour includes stops at The Fourth Ward School, Piper’s Opera House, Silver Terrace Cemetery and St. Mary’s Art Center. Tickets are $5 for each location or $7 for all.