Over the river and through the woods will not lead to grandmother's house in Taneytown starting Sept. 27.
Crossing the bridge over the bubbling creek at 3939 Old Taneytown Road, travelers will find themselves in the Land of Fear, a new haunted attraction set on a parcel of the Paintball Adventures Park.
The area's newest site for fans of fright offers a guided walking tour that will take small groups through the woods to eerie sites such as a castle and a cemetery. Evil clowns and zombies, as well as a large snake, will add to the night's fright.
"I had this vision and wanted to stick with it," said owner Greg Durkin, who has thought about opening his own haunted attraction for years, sketching blueprints, buying discounted Halloween decorations and building a large shed in his backyard in Parkville to house castle walls after he started building them.
On Wednesday, Durkin's 30 actors and five guides gathered to practice their make-up and learn their responsibilities before this weekend's opening.
"I am writing quality material for actors to deliver and stay in character," said Erin Brown, operations director and Durkin's nephew. "I just want decent entertainment as people move through, and not just people just jumping out to scare you. Do a part properly, and it is a little more theatrical, a little more like a show."
As she touched up her clown face, Brittney Lucas confessed that she was looking forward to the opportunity to scare people.
"I'm always the one going through [haunted parks] terrified," said Lucas, of Thurmont. "I think this is fun. I'll definitely do it again."
Amanda Fossett, of Eldersburg, based her character on her own fears.
"I've always been freaked out by demonic dolls," said Fossett, in full doll regalia. "I think they're really scary."
While she has done lots of community theater, including productions with September Song, Brittany Rasnake, of Finksburg, has never acted at a haunted attraction before.
"I'll take any role and thought this would be cool," said Rasnake, as she sat in her zombie gear.
Cary Miller, of Taneytown, signed up after his son, Benjamin, did.
"My wife said 'Why don't you do it? You like to scare people'," Miller said.
As he walked his crew through the maze, giving directions and searching for props, Brown was all smiles.
"This is fun," Brown chuckled. "I get to hire zombies and play with pick axes."
With opening night fast approaching, Durkin has been busy finishing up the set, laying down mulch, hanging the sound system and numerous other jobs that keep popping up. He has already stayed so late one night, that he just slept on the trail's operating table.
"I want to live up to the name on the sign and have people be totally scared," Durkin said. "The focus is to get the adrenaline going and move it up a notch."
Land of Fear opens Sept. 27 at 6 p.m. at 3939 Old Taneytown Road, Taneytown. Admission is $20. For information, go to http://www.landoffear.com.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun