CORUNNA — After nearly a decade of creating horror at his home on M-52, north of Oakley, Theron Nielsen is moving his “Garage of Terror” to the old commercial building in McCurdy Park.
For the past month, Nielsen and Chris Bates have working around the clock to transform the empty building into the Garage of Terror, which opens Friday.
“It’s pretty much just been me and (Theron),” Bates, 40, said. “We’ve had a few people come in and help with a few small projects but all of the building of walls was me and him.”
Each room in the haunted house has a different theme, including a child’s play room, medical examiner’s room, living room with a TV playing old black and white films and a bathroom with a bloody bathtub.
The duo started building everything on the inside of the haunted house from scratch after relocating from 17005 Oakley Road (M-52).
Nielsen started the Garage of Terror in 2008 in the unused upstairs portion of his garage to entertain his friends during a Halloween party.
“This is a way better location because it’s indoors,” Bates said inside the Corunna haunted house Wednesday. “Last year we really fought the weather a lot, it rained every weekend so I think that deterred a lot of people from coming out. Seventy-percent of that haunted house was outdoors.”
Nielsen has dedicated his free time outside of his job at Meridian Brick to give people the best thrill he can in a 25-minute tour.
“I’ve always loved scaring people from the time I was a kid,” Nielsen, 47, said. “It’s always been a passion of mine.”
Bates joined in on the business three years ago. Bates, of Vernon, owns Moonlight Studios in Vernon.
In years past, the haunted house hosted up to 1,000 visitors, with people from the area and elsewhere. Bates said recent feedback through a Facebook page shows people are happy the location is going to be more central.
“People message both of us (individually) or the page all the time (to be actors),” Bates said.
Patrons can enjoy more than just scares inside, they can order food and drinks from a concession stand or sing some “scary-oke.”
The two are continuing to put the finishing touches on the haunted house itself, as well as coming up with a storyline. So far, 33 actors have signed up to scare people.
“It is scary for all ages,” Nielsen said.
The most difficult portion of the haunt may be the final 1,000 square feet — a “lights out” area for patrons that is 100 percent pitch black.
“We built it and we couldn’t get out, but it was fun,” Bates said.
The Garage of Terror opens at 8 p.m. Friday and will run every Friday, Saturday and Sunday during October. It will be also be open Halloween Day. Admission is $14 per person with $1 off up to five people with a Garage of Terror flier.
The duo said WOAP will broadcast from the Garage of Terror from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday.
Bates and Nielsen said they hope to make McCurdy Park their permanent location.
“If we can stay here then we would create escape rooms and we’d be open on the weekends, which would help the city because we (will) donate money (to Corunna) from the haunted house,” Bates said.