The Haunted House of Horror, recently ranked the No. 3 most viewed haunted house in Alabama, formerly the old Courtland High School, is located in historic Courtland. The 40,000-square-foot facility features the latest state-of-the-art horror frights that the haunted house industry has to offer.
"We bring your fears to life," said Charlie Chaney, co-owner.
The haunted house doesn't skimp on size.
"It takes an average of 15 to 20 minutes to walk through," said Stacey Jones, co-owner.
According to Jones, the search for a location to host the haunted house took several months. However, they were given a tip about an old abandoned high school in Courtland that had been vacant for six years.
"When we first toured the six-year-old facility, we were knee deep in old debris," Jones said.
The $400,000 renovation process started in Feb. 2011 and concluded in August, according to Chaney.
"The first thing we did was make sure that all safety precautions, such as installing fire sprinkler systems, life safety, security and evacuation plans, were put into place before we started," said Chaney, a recent retiree from fire and rescue.
Both Chaney and Jones, along with other business partners, attended a national Haunted House Convention and Trade Show during the summer in St. Louis to gather ideas and advice from nearly 3,000 haunted house business vendors who were in attendance.
The Haunted House of Horror employs 46 staff members and 36 actors.
"It's a great atmosphere filled with energy and excitement to work in," said Joel McGuyre, a freshman from Wallace State who's employed with the Haunted House of Horror. "The role I play is a clown, and usually two out of three people are afraid of clowns anyway."
Guests who come through the haunted house will get their money's worth, according to McGuyre.
To ensure the safety of the public, camera monitors are installed in every room so security and staff can keep a close eye on the general public as they proceed through each room.
"It also allows us to see firsthand the reactions from everyone," Chaney said. "It also helps us figure out the areas that can be critiqued and improved so that next year's Haunted House of Horror will be better than our first one. We've had visitors travel all the way from Columbus, Ga. to view our attraction. The staff has worked really hard to bring it all together, and we're hoping that this will become an annual attraction every year."
One thing that sets apart this haunted house from the rest is the gym that has been renovated into a waiting area for the general public. Guest are able socialize, buy souvenirs from the gift shop, watch a horror movie on the projector screen, and buy pizza and drinks from the concession stand area while they wait for their tour to begin.
"We want to give our guests something to do instead of just sitting around and waiting," Jones said.
The Haunted House of Horror staff encourages everyone to come out and see why this attraction has put Courtland on the map.
"We're also in a central location that is close to Muscle Shoals, Florence, Sheffield, Decatur and other nearby towns," Jones said.
The Haunted House of Horror will be open Sept. 16 through Oct. 31. Ticket sales open at 6 p.m. and remain open until the line is empty. $20 for General Admission, $40 for Fast Pass and $60 for VIP package, which includes a Fast Pass, T-shirt and photo. For more information, go to hauntedhouseofhorror.com.