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‘Kingwood Asylum’ set for Halloween

Monday, October 25, 2010

Trilla Cook

Bring canned goods for “Haunt for Hunger” food drive The “Kingwood Asylum” haunted house is the creation of the Torrans and Fuson families in Hunters Ridge Village, and is free to everyone this Halloween. Kingwood High School friends since 1991, two local residents have found that scaring their friends and neighbors on Halloween is extremely fun. It was Halloween 2007 when Kirk Fuson and Shayne Torrans created a custom built, industrial sized smoke machine in the Torrans’ front yard. As trick-or-treaters walked up to the door, they would have to walk through the fog and pass by Fuson and Torrans who were in full fright costumes. The combined reaction of the trick-or-treaters that evening sparked the interest to create their first haunted house in 2008. According to the master haunted house builders, before the 8 p.m. opening time in 2009, they had more than 500 people waiting to get in. Torrans has become proficient in creating faux finishes, which accomplish the haunted house illusions. “Let me just say that it was one of the most overwhelming experiences of my life,” said Fuson. “Nobody in our group of volunteers could have imagined the sheer number of visitors we would get that evening. Halloween is my birthday and I can’t think of a better present than seeing more than 1,200 people running for their lives and having a blast in a haunted house that I built with my friends and family.” Torrans said he, too, would never forget opening night last year. “Kirk was working the front door and I was in “Dr. Blackman’s operating room” making last minute preparations,” said Torrans. “Every three to five seconds, Kirk would come across our headsets demanding to know why we weren’t ready, and when he could let the first group in. I told him repeatedly that it would be a few more minutes…I couldn’t figure out why a few trick-or-treaters were pressuring him to open up. It wasn’t until later that I could get out front to see why Kirk was freaking out. A mass of people as far as the eye could see stretched out in front of Kirk…It was amazing.” The ideas for the haunted house are a collective effort by the two creators and their families and friends. “We all enjoy horror movies,” Fuson said. “Both Shayne and I have studied psychology extensively. We know that the best way to scare people is to let their imagination fill in the blanks. What scares one person might not scare the next. We offer the environment and the possibility of extreme shock and horror. By playing on all five senses we create an unfamiliar environment that targets the ‘fight or flight’ response. That is really the secret to our success.” Starting in 2009, they really played up the “Kingwood Asylum” brand. They researched the history of Kingwood/Humble and rewrote history to create the background for their “Dr. Blackman,” along with all of the other characters, which helps their cast of volunteers connect with the characters they play in the performance. They are ready to take the “Kingwood Asylum” to the next level, after receiving comments last year that the haunted house was scarier and much better than the larger haunts in the greater Houston area. Both men say they have been very fortunate to have an understanding neighborhood association as well as great neighbors. They believe that the neighborhood association realizes that they are giving the residents of Kingwood and surrounding areas a free, fun, family event that isn’t centered on profit. This year they have partnered with the Kingwood United Methodist Church and the Society of St. Stephen to include a “Haunt for Hunger” food drive. Large bins and a truck will be on hand to collect all canned goods. The canned goods donations are not required but are highly encouraged. The “Kingwood Asylum” haunted house location is 3919 Oak Gardens Drive in Hunters Ridge Village. It will be open Oct. 30 – 31 from 8 p.m. to midnight. Photo: Alex Evans, back row left, Ray Prichard, Shayne Torrans, Kirk Fuson, Paula Ellisor, Gavin Torrans, front left, and Riley Neal – enjoy working to create the “Kingwood Asylum” haunted house for Halloween 2010. Photo by Trilla Cook

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