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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Spooky World (1994) A Video Visit to America’s Horror Themepark


Opening its doors to the public back in 1991, Spooky World is a Halloween horror theme park originally based out of Berlin, Massachusetts. Anyone who was lucky enough to visit this large-scale haunted attraction was subjected to what can only be described as a horror and/or Halloween fan’s dream, or should I say nightmare come true.

I’m originally from MA, so i was fortunate enough to make it to Spooky World with a couple of friends sometime towards the end of it’s run at the Berlin location (the park would relocate to Gillette stadium in 1998). Needless to say, as a lifelong fan of horror as well as being completely obsessed with Halloween, it was everything I had imagined and more.

This was probably about 20 years ago now, and while my memory of the experience is a tad fuzzy, I’ll never forget the overwhelming feeling of joy that came with being able to visit such a massive haunted attraction. It was my Disney World. Thankfully, however, with the help of a video tour VHS that Spooky World released in 1994, I can relive that joyous experience wherever I so choose.

Spooky World: A Video Visit to America’s Horror Themepark features some interesting horror talent behind the scenes. This 23 minute video tour was directed by horror/cult filmmaker Ted V. Mikels and produced by special effects legend Tom Savini. But the horror cred doesn’t end there, as this video is narrated by Jason Voorhees himself, Kane Hodder, who guides viewers on a behind the scenes look at what you can expect to find when visiting Spooky World.


During the brief runtime, the video features a live performance of the Halloween party classic, The Monster Mash, by Bobby “Boris” Pickett, something that was a staple of the theme park. From there the video moves onto the infamous haunted hayride, giving viewers a brief look at some of the insane set pieces, which includes decapitations, electrocutions and even a Troma-inspired section featuring everyone’s favorite Tromaville super hero, The Toxic Avenger.

Following the hayride, the video proceeds to give a short tour of Tom Savini’s haunted house, which is really nothing more than your typical indoor haunt. That’s not to say the haunt doesn't kick all sorts of ass, but having a name such as Savini’s attached to a haunt, the expectations are extremely high. These were my feelings when I went to Spooky World as well; I fully expected a gorefest of Romero proportions, but the haunted house was nothing more than what you would find at any number of haunted attractions. Surprisingly, the haunted hayride delivers the gory and violent goods in a way that Savini’s should have.

That’s pretty much the meat and taters of Spooky World: A Video Visit to America’s Horror Themepark. However, I’d be hard pressed not to mention one of my favorite elements of this video, and that is the absolutely awesome animations featured throughout. We’re talking the mid-90s here, and the animations totally have the look of something you’d see in a hokey video game cutscene. It fits in so well with the entire package, and this is especially due to the fact that the package comes wrapped in the form of a video tape.

While it’s marketed as a video visit, and it is that, Spooky World: A Video Visit to America’s Horror Themepark is most certainly a commercial for Spooky World, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it’s a pretty awesome thing. While this incarnation of Spooky World is no more, this video visit still lives on to remind us of how cool of a place Spooky World was while also working as a nostalgia trigger due to the retro nature of the content and format it was released on.

You don’t have to be bound by a VCR to check out this video visit for yourself, as you can give it a watch via the embedded video below. It’s only 23 minutes and certainly worth your time if you’d like a trip down memory lane, even if it’s not a memory you even have. 

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