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Anyone remember what the interior of the Haunted Castle looked like?


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Hello Great Adventure fans!

 

I am working on a passion project of mine where I am recreating the Haunted Castle attraction in a 3D modeling software (Unity) to recreate the experience of walking through the Haunted Castle prior to the fire. This would not be a game. Just a virtual tour where you would control a first-person camera and have the ability to walk through the attraction as it once was.

 

I have the layout of the Haunted Castle and how it should appear from the exterior, but I lack knowledge on the interior of the attraction. I know all the displays inside the Castle (i.e. Rat Lady, Spider, Lady on Wheel, Cave Room, Strobe Room, placement of emergency room doors, etc.), but I don't know the look and feel of the interior...how it felt and looked to walk through the Haunted Castle.

 

I am reaching out to you Great Adventure enthusiasts. Does anyone remember what it looked like to walk through the Haunted Castle back around 1983? How dark was it? What do you remember hearing and seeing? Were the displays I mentioned previously behind plexiglass embedded in to the walls, or were they displayed out in the trailers and just surrounded by some railing / fencing?

 

I also need someone to describe how the barrel room worked (did it spin and the guests would have to walk directly through the spinning barrel and risk falling)? What came right after the barrel room and the exit? I saw somewhere it was documented the 'Nails' room came after the spinning barrel, anyone remember this portion of the attraction? I can't find any information on this online. What did the guest see after exiting the barrel and leaving the attraction?

 

If anyone has any photos of the interior of the Haunted Castle prior to the fire I would love to see them.

 

Thanks in advance for any information anyone could share with me.

 

~Michael

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In a word the Haunted Castle was dark. The walls were made of plywood and generally painted black. There was very little light inside so any details that were present could hardly be seen.

 

The static displays that did not include live actors were behind plexiglass. The display areas were inside the trailers and the pathways went around them. In general the plexiglass windows were only on one side of any given display and were from the waist level to the ceiling.

 

The live actors areas were generally open except for some fencing in a few of the displays. The barrel consisted of a walkway enclosed within a chain-link fence sides and ceiling. The barrel rotated around the walkway when it was working and had props attached to it and painted with glow-in-the-dark paint so you could see the props spinning around you. The nail display after the barrel was simply an additional set of props behind plexiglass. It included rubber body parts attached to protruding nails.  The most clever of the props was a part of a head with a crushed Rolling Thunder see-through visor still around the scalp.  Although  at one point music did play outside of the Haunted Castle inside sounds consistent primarily of guests and ghouls yelling.  
 

It’s long in coming but at some point we will do a spotlight on the Haunted Castle attraction (not so much the tragic fire).  

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Thank you so much for the reply. This is EXACTLY what I was looking for.  I am not interested in the fire, just what the attraction was like when it was fully functional. I went through the Haunted Castle when I was like five years old. I do not remember it all this time later, but it did get me in to loving Haunted Houses and the horror genre in general. It holds a special place in my heart.

 

I hope you don't mind a few follow up questions. I have spoken to a few people that remember the Haunted Castle prior to the fire, but you are by far the most knowledgeable.

 

You said it was dark. I heard from some people that it was so dark that you could not navigate the Castle without feeling along the walls. Would you say this is an over-exaggeration? I understand it was dark, but would you say it was so dark you could not navigate the corridors without feeling your way along?

 

Considering the corridors were very dark, how were the static displays lit up so you could see them? Was there a light source built in to the static displays inside the plexiglass container?  Also, I heard that the displays would not illuminate until you stepped close enough to them (causing like a jump scare effect).  Do you remember if this is true?  How were the static displays lighted, and were there any parts of the Castle that would illuminate only when you came in close proximity of it?

 

Were any of the static displays animated?  Like did the Lady on the Wheel actually spin around?

 

Thanks again!!  This is extremely helpful information to help me recreate the Haunted Castle as a 3D model...plus I have always been fascinated with the attraction.

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There were dark areas where you would feel your way along the walls but I am not sure if this wasn't because some of the passages were so narrow it was just your instinct to do that.  Usually there was a light or display always in sight that you were generally heading to a light source.  However, if one was burnt out you had to feel your way around.

 

The displays had lights (if I recall, mostly mounted on the floor) aimed up at the props.  A few of these lit displays turned on and off intermittently but it could have just been on some sort of timer.  The Lady on the Wheel and the barrel did spin.  I think the lady hanging in the spider's web also did move (turn slowly).

 

 

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Posted (edited)

29yrswithaGApass - As I started to build out the Haunted Castle digitally I ran in to a few more questions I hope you don't mind taking a shot at:

 

1 - The Haunted Castle was up in trailers, but the entrance was on the ground floor. Do you remember if there was a set of steps going up right after you entered the Haunted Castle or was the stairs after the portrait area (I don't think the initial portrait area was part of the trailers)? If there were no stairs, do you remember how people 'got up' to the first trailer?

 

2 - Do you remember how the Butcher actor was dressed? I am assuming as a crazy looking meat butcher maybe holding a meat clever and some fake blood?  That is just a guess, though.

 

3 - I heard 'Phantom' refer to as just a Phantom and as 'The Phantom of the Opera'. What did the Phantom look like? Did he look like the main character from the Phantom of the Opera, or was he more of a ghost type Phantom?  Do you remember what Phantom looked like?

 

4 - I believe the Hunchback station was initially intended to be manned by a live actor. But in later years it was no longer manned.  Do you remember anything about the Hunchback display / area?  Did they retrofit it with some type of display, or was it just an empty stage behind some railing or plexiglass?

 

5 - Going back to the stairs, I am guessing if there were stairs going up, there would be stairs going down after the 'Nails' room?

 

6 - There were two displays in the trailer right before the Cave Room. The second was the Spider Lady display, the one before it I am not finding too much information on. I have seen it labeled as the Dungeon display and as the Old Man display. My guess is maybe it was an old man on a torture rack or maybe one of those old-fashioned 'stretching' torture devices?  Do you remember anything about this one?

 

7 - For the Frankenstein display (found right after the Strobe room), was Frankenstein just standing up with his arms reaching out, or was he lying down?

 

8 - Do you remember anything significant about the entrance area or the exit areas? Were these just large open areas with the same decor was the rest of the corridors? Maybe these areas were where the stairs were located?

 

Thanks again!!!

Edited by mcapone888
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1 - The three rooms built into the building's façade (skull exit, main entrance, red side exit) contained ramps that were on a slight incline taking guests from ground level to the height of the trailer floors (entrance) and back down (two exits).  The floor of the majority of the attraction (in the trailers) was level without any stairs.  The only exception was a slight ramp in and out of the spinning barrels.

 

2- The Butcher and Phantom areas were staffed by live actors so the ghouls there depended upon who was working.

 

3 - Once again, the Phantom area was for a live actor(s) although there was a pipe organ prop.  Both the Butcher and Phantom areas could be accessed by the actors via the backstage control room which also served as a dressing room and makeup room.

 

4 - I don't recall live actors in the Hunchback area.

 

5 - As stated, there weren't any stairs.  The nail area would have been close enough to the exit that the down ramp back to ground level would have started somewhere around there.

 

6 - It was a basic dungeon scene - nothing too extravagant.  

 

7 - Frankenstein was standing up with arms outstretched.  It also included a Bride of Frankenstein figure.

 

8 - The two exit areas were pretty plain with walkways with handrails on the side.  The walkways were elevated and spanned the space from the trailer floor heights to ground level.  Sometimes ghouls would hang out on the sides of the walkway (like in a pit) to give a last minute scare so guests would run out yelling (in an effort to make it seem really scary to those waiting and watching outside).  The entrance area was a large room split into halves (one half for each side of the castle).  Once again it was a ramp with handrails going from ground level to trailer level.  On each side (the right side of the room for the left side of castle, and the left side for the right side of the castle)  there was a casket with skeleton that you looked down to see and above it was a small balcony with a large picture frame.  Often a ghoul would sit still inside the frame to appear to be a painting and then jump out to scare guests.  When a ghoul wasn't posted at the picture frame, a grim reaper painting was placed inside the frame.  This station for the ghouls was also accessed from the backstage control room.

 

One other piece of info, the props were near mirror images of each other.  The only difference was the Coffin scene.  On one side it was a lady in a casket and the other side a man.

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

okay, I promise just one last question, please.  I was just modeling this part of the Castle and I see there are two triangle like rooms that I have no idea how to build and texture. In the area right across from Hunchback and the windows that looked in to the barrel room, there were two triangle shaped rooms. These two areas can be seen on any of the maps of the Haunted Castle online. Some maps have them both listed as storage closets which were locked and contained things like a toolbox or some extra parts to the Castle.

 

Do you remember how these two areas would have appeared to the guests as they passed by them? Did they just appear as walls with a locked door in them? I assume there were two doors since most of the maps I have seen have two separate 'triangle' liked 'storage' rooms.  I attached a map for reference. I circled the two rooms in red that I am referring to.

 

Thanks again (and again, and again)!!!

 

areas.png

Edited by mcapone888
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There weren't any doors on the public paths outside of the emergency doors.  I believe the two triangular areas must have been just walled off voids.  The goal was to redirect the guests to walk towards the barrel which they could see spinning through a chain link fence hinting at what awaited for them ahead on their path.

 

hc copy.png

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I was always under the impression that there were three windows (cut outs covered with plexiglass) allowing the guests to look in to the barrel room after they passed Hunchback. Is that not right? So you're saying that the entire section of wall (the area you painted green) was not a wall at all, but a piece of chain link fence from floor to ceiling? So in actuality, someone could have poked a stick or something through the fencing and touched the spinning barrel?  Not saying they would do this, but I just want to get a good understanding of this area as I initially built it with three window cutouts looking in to the barrel room.

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No, there was fencing on the wall once again probably waist height up. You could see and hear the barrel spinning and there were props mounted on the outside of it that went around.  The fencing was far enough from the barrel that you could not touch it.    

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This is really, really interesting. I need to go back over my plans as I had three cutouts at that location covered in plexiglass and a fence over the entire wall (which now that I think of it would not have made sense as why would you need a chain-link fence if there were only three cutouts behind it protected by plexiglass - the chain-link fence was the only thing in that area that separated the two rooms (at least from the waist up).

 

I will redesign it so that the entire wall in that area has plywood from the floor to about waist-level, and then a chain-linked fence the rest of the way up the wall to the ceiling panel. I will also plan on adding props to the outside of the barrel (that also makes sense as it gives you more of a reason to look at the spinning barrel).  Thank you again. This information is nowhere else on the web so thank you again to you and this excellent site.

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Posted (edited)

Yes, there was a red and blue side each made up of 8 trailers (for a total of 16). There was one control trailer situated between them (making it a total of 17 trailers). The red and blue sides were a mirror of each other (with a few differences between them - like the exit structures (red had an exit door while blue had an exit skull). For my project I am just focusing on the red side (for now at least).

Edited by mcapone888
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3 hours ago, I Have No Name said:

I seem to recall reading that during busy days; there was actually a second entrance?

 

One main entrance - two doors.  The left (blue) side was usually used only on higher attendance days.

 

DC-Jul79TOMay80-scan002 copy.jpg

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  • 4 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Thank you GreatAdventureHistory for all of this information. I've been working on my project to model the Haunted Castle the past two weeks and it is nearing completion. The information you provided me in this thread was very useful. I had one doubt coming in at the end here. It's a pretty significant piece to the layout of the attraction and I was hoping you could remember. In the Phantom area, there was a door which led to the other actor's stage in the first trailer, but was there a second door in the Phantom area which led to the employee corridor which led to the control trailer?  I circled the area in question in the screengrab. Thanks!

 

WasThereADoorHere.png

Edited by mcapone888
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