The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Cutting Edge Haunted House delivers record-breaking scares

Cutting Edge Haunted House delivers record-breaking scares
A creature from your nightmares.

People have a wide variety of often strange, unique fears, from being chased by devilish horned clowns to unhinged surgeons hovering over an operating table. Some fear long dark hallways, chainsaw-wielding psychopaths or bats.

Chances are, that whatever it is that haunts the deepest recesses of a person’s mind can be experienced at Cutting Edge Haunted House in a section of downtown Fort Worth appropriately dubbed “Hell’s Half Acre.”

The spooky attraction is operating through Saturday, making it the perfect Halloween hotspot.

The house is open from 7p.m. or 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. or 12 a.m. depending on the day.

Emily Manney, 19, from Watauga, Texas, was one of the first in line to enter Cutting Edge one night recently.

“There was this guy chasing me with a chainsaw, and I was like ‘Oh my God! Oh my God!’ But it was great,” she said.

Started in 1991, and currently the Guinness record holder for “World’s Largest Walk Through Haunted House,” Cutting Edge occupies an abandoned 105-year-old meat packing plant — chosen specifically for its creep factor.

Retired high school teacher Todd James, now owner and founder of the gargantuan house of horror, insists that size was never the goal.

Cutting Edge emerged from a collaboration of haunted houses that Todd and his friends and family operated in the North Texas area and Austin, Texas.

“It wasn’t about being the biggest, that wasn’t the decision,” said James. “Our decision was let’s pull the team back together and let’s all focus on doing one thing, one event, and just be the best at it. That was the goal. And the big just came out of it.”

Due to its size and success, Cutting Edge has been featured on a myriad of “Best Haunted Houses” lists over the years and has received nods of approval from papers such as the Wall Street Journal and the Dallas Morning News.

In 2009, the attraction was featured in Travel Channel’s “America Haunts,” a show that profiles “the most terrifying, well-orchestrated haunted houses” in the United States.

According to James, the creation of Cutting Edge is a product of a meeting of minds of everyone on the team — from ticket salesmen, to the people who work in the parking lot, to the actors who spook those brave enough to take the 55-minute walk through the attraction.

“We have an idea board in the back and people come up and say ‘hey we’ve got this great idea’ and we put it on the board. It doesn’t matter where it comes from if it’s a great idea it’s a great idea,” said James.

From the standard dead guy hanging from the ceiling to the more obscure psychiatric ward room with a single little girl standing completely still and wearing a bloody, torn
white dress, cutting Edge definitely seems to have pretty much everyone’s fears covered.

The attraction ends with an alarming pitch-black maze where patrons are told to find the door that says, “I want to live” before time runs out and they die.

No one ever finds the door — they just run around in a panic thinking they will actually die unless they find this elusive door — and then the lights come on and the whole experience is thankfully over.

Cassidy Fitzgerald, 17, who entered the house of horror with Manney, emerged thoroughly pleased with her spooky experience. However, those with weaker constitutions should be warned, some people just couldn’t take the terror.

“There was a girl with her boyfriend who started sobbing in the first room,” Fitzgerald said. “Security had to escort her out.”

According to Tammy Saxton, office manager at Cutting Edge, the revenues for the haunted house comes from ticket sales. While Halloween is without a doubt the most popular season, it is not the only time of year to get scared.

Once Halloween is over, the team starts preparing for the next event, Valentine’s Day, in February. This year there are nine planned events ranging from the expected Friday the 13th, to the quirky “Zombie Prom Night” May 18.

James elaborates on the amount of work that goes into Cutting Edge.

In January the core team, who is employed year round, begins tearing out and rebuilding the attraction.

“It’s a bit like being a concert promoter and a Broadway director at the same time. We have to build these elaborate sets and beautiful things and work with animatronics, then audition our actors,” James said, “And then it’s almost concert-esque because we only have six weeks to do it.”

Brooke Bordelon is a senior journalism student at Southern Methodist University. She can be reached at [email protected].

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