Steve Kopelman said the Chicago area has really good haunted houses, but the haunted house producer and designer -- who has worked in the industry for over 30 years -- can't help but feel that the area is missing that one great one. He hopes to fill what he perceives to be a void this year with Rob Zombie’s Great American Nightmare.
Kopelman and the rocker-turned-horror movie director launched the haunted house in Pomona, Calif. in 2013 and this year are moving the haunt to two new locations, including the Odeum Expo Center in Villa Park. The Odeum was the former home of Hades Haunted House and, more recently, Asylum Xperiment.
“There are very good haunted houses in Chicago but there hasn’t been that one must-see attraction,” Kopelman said.
Zombie isn’t the first rocker to delve into the genre. Alice Cooper has lent his name to haunted houses around the country, including a location in Phoenix that Kopelman was part of over a decade ago.
“That was a royalty deal,” Kopelman said of Alice Cooper’s Nightmare in Phoenix. “We paid royalties to get (Cooper’s) name and likeness. Rob and I are partners on this. Rob is very much involved with the product and what goes on. He always wanted to do something like this and had certain predetermined ideas. We’ve been able to use his movies as an initial floor plan.”
Great American Nightmare is inspired by Zombie’s growing list of horror films and features three haunted houses: The Lords of Salem in Total Blackout, The Haunted adventures of El Superbeasto in 3D and Haunt of 1,000 Corpses. Zombie will kick off the opening of the Villa Park location with a concert at the Odeum Sept. 26.
In addition to the three haunts, Great American Nightmare will include a freak show, musical entertainment and themed food and drinks.
Is the plan for Great American Nightmare to remain at the Odeum for years to come?
“We’ll see how it goes,” Kopelman. “I know we won’t do the same attraction at the same location two years in a row. Let’s say we come back to Villa Park next year, we wouldn’t bring the same three attractions.”
Rob Zombie's Great American Nightmare
When: Sept. 26-Nov. 1
Where: The Odeum Expo, 1033 N. Villa Avenue, Villa Park, Ill.
Tickets: General admission is $25 online and $30 at the door, VIP is $36 online and $45 at the door; greatamericannightmare.com
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