Student scare actors at Universal's HHN share stories
After attending Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights every year since she was 13, graduate student Randie Aderman is taking her love for the event one step further; by finding out what the other side of horror looks like as a “scare actor” at HHN.
These “scare actors,” whose job descriptions are to startle and frighten visitors, do so while facing the risk of guests turning violent. Earlier this month, it was reported that a HHN “scare actor” was kicked in the face by a visitor while working at a haunted house.
But for Anderman, what drew her back to the event as a “scare actor” was the idea of a new thrill.
“Ten years of going to an event is a long time,” said the criminal justice major. “Although it is still spectacular every year, the scares start to be predictive after awhile. I thought that being on the other side of the scaring would give me a whole new perspective and bring back how I felt about the event the very first time I went.”
This is Aderman’s first year as an employee instead of a guest. She works as a “swing” in the Asylum in Wonderland 3-D house, which means she plays a multitude of roles, from Alice to the Mad Hatter.
She said she loves playing multiple characters, despite the challenges.
“At times it was a lot to take in and a lot to learn, but I like the difficulties of it,” she said. “It has been a lot of running around and learning, but it has been fun.”
But getting into character isn’t the only challenge. John Deen, a sophomore majoring in radio-television production, is one “scare actor” who has experienced a violent guest.
Deen, who plays a “breathing man” in the Insidious trilogy haunted house, said he has already had a guest kicked out after the visitor pushed him back into the cut out in the wall from which he scares unsuspecting patrons.
“This guy I scared, he had this huge Minion plush, and he smacked me in the face with it, and I stumbled back into my boo hole,” said Deen, who is completing his first year as a “scare actor.”
Although Deen hasn’t suffered any serious injuries from the job, he said his friends have gone through some real horror stories. One of them was punched in the head and rushed to the hospital with a fractured skull and a concussion.
However, Deen said he still enjoys getting the chance to add fright to someone’s night.
“You have to plan your scares accordingly,” he said. “When they’re coming, I look for girls that cower, or the guys that are looking around. You have to profile people as they come through.”
Even with all the screaming and cowering she’s caused, Aderman said she doesn’t feel bad about being the cause of terror.
“People pay to be scared, and that’s what we are there for,” she said. “We are there to make their time enjoyable, and for them, enjoyable is being scared.”
Deanna Ferrante is a Senior Staff Writer and Watchdog Reporter for the Central Florida Future.