Going into the darkness and behind the scenes at Frightworld


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Enter through the door at Frightworld, and leave the real world behind.

“We want you to think you’re in this make believe world,” said Steve Szortyka, the General Manager for Frightworld.

This make believe world was created 15 years ago in a backyard. It’s now in a warehouse, boasting five different haunted houses. It has been recognized as one of the most terrifying attractions in the region and nation.

“The whole park has become something bigger than what we would have ever imagined,” said Szortyka.

Each house hosts different characters, telling terrifying tales while taunting those brave enough to enter.

“They want to know a story; they want a background behind an attraction,” said the GM about why they work diligently to develop their ideas. “They want to know the actors story lines.”

The 60-plus person cast goes through Boo Camp where they learn how to scare visitors, learn more about their characters and the roles they’re in while working at Frightworld.

That’s just part of the process, though.  Szortyka and staff sit down in January with Halloween on their minds. The year round process includes, planning, designing and developing sets and stories.

“We have to evolve every year because our returning and new customers expect to see new things,” said the General Manager. “Society is consistently changing when it comes to what scares you.”

Finding what frightens people is something the longtime Frightworld manager enjoys.

“Seeing the customers run through the attraction scared, screaming but laughing and having a good time is the best feeling in the world.”

The Frightworld staff works to make the sets look realistic, collecting furniture from area yard and estate sales. Szortyka feels it’s important to heighten all senses while walking through the haunted houses.

“What you see here will stay with you,” said the GM. “We have two seconds to make a lasting impression.”

When the leaves turn, the lanterns flicker and Frightworld welcomes in people wanting to face their fears.

“They’re leaving the real world behind and stepping into this imaginary controlled environment filled with fun, scares and screams.”

To learn more about tickets, pricing and hours of operation, go Frightworld’s website.

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