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The new $3, 000, 000 “Horrorwood Haunted Theater” opened to much acclaim at Janfusun Fancy World, Taiwan, on June 16th, 2010.  Built to resemble an abandoned theater, this high-tech, 4-D attraction, produced by the US-based Mirage Entertainment (an industry leader in live theme-park entertainment), is an extravagantly-themedhaunt, combining live actors with the latest mechanical and multi-media effects, in an homage to the best horror movies of both East and West.

American standards, resembling the Phantom, Jason, Hannibal Lector, Jigsaw’s puppet, a werewolf and a vampire bride are all there, along with some Asian favorites, recalling “The Grudge”, “The Painted Skin” and some Chinese zombies.Thoughnot overly gruesome, the family-friendly attraction still manages to deliver its fair share of thrills and chills to an audience largely unfamiliar with the western-style haunted house.

Preceded by a publicity campaign featuring popular Taiwanese actors, Aken and Nado, the highly anticipated opening was attended by Yunlin County Mayor, Su Chi Fen, Janfusun General Manager, Chen Jin Rong, Director of Operations, You Yi Shien and Vice Chairman, You Guo Chian.  Following a formal premier ceremony and V.I.P. tour, the haunt was opened to an enthusiastic public with spectacular success.  12, 000 attendees cycled through on the first day and the attraction has drawn 4, 000 – 6, 000 guests to the park every day since. “All-in-all, it’s been a huge success, ” says Mirage co-founder and CEO, Charlie Kao.  “In fact, it’s one of the most successful attractions in Taiwan!”

Producer, Leonard Chau credits the success to “a great team and a great client”.  He went on to say that everyone on the Mirage creative team:  Director, J. Michael Roddy, mechanical effects master, Jeff Schiefelbein, and multi-media magician, Mike Huff, “all delivered top-notch stuff…  and the Janfusun team was really good, really supportive of the whole project.”  He also said, “this project represents a new horizon for Taiwan” – A sentiment backed up by Rides and Attractions Manager, Anna Hsu, who explained that it is taboo in Taiwan to speak of ghosts and the dead out of local superstition.  As such, the western-style haunted house attraction is a new and bold prospect for a Taiwanese amusement park.  “The crowds want new experiences and we want to have the new attractions at Janfusun, ” she proclaims.

Having attended myself, this reporter can attest to the enthusiastic reception that Horrorwood got on its opening day.  I saw groups of all ages tumbling out the exit showing everything from wide-eyed fear to nervous laughter.  In some cases, grown men would react with shock to the more surprising thrills waiting inside, while clusters of teen girls would run through clinging to one another in long conga lines, screaming non-stop all the way.  Many would have a good laugh at one another when they got out.  All-in-all, I would say that most customers were scared silly!

Visit the link to the Horrorwood Haunted Theater Commercial. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZq-Lq8n0k4

By Jerry Koch