Enter the AK Valley Scream Factory, if you dare
Looking for a scare fix?
New Kensington’s newest haunted house attraction — AK Valley Scream Factory — delivers and then some.
Manned by about a dozen student volunteer “scare actors” and organized by local businessman Steven Kubrick, the factory’s inaugural Halloween season is off to a successfully scary start.
Kubrick’s son suggested opening a haunted house — providing a positive and creative outlet for area youth.
Kubrick was on board immediately, offering his property, Alcoa Research Lab, as the perfect venue.
“The main goal is to give a place — a good common place — to collaborate with arts, music, painting. It’s a super good learning experience. We have students from Valley, Burrell and Kiski and the feedback from the kids is great.”
Most of the actors are ages 12-18. “The kids are excited when they do a good scare. It’s a confidence builder,” Kubrick says.
The historic ARL, built in 1929, was transformed into a house of horrors with a mad scientist laboratory theme in September when two tractor trailers rolled into New Kensington from Nebraska.
“They were delivering Halloween and a hearse,” Kubrick says. A hearse greets visitors at the front gates at the Scream Factory.
Volunteer Jason Jordan has two weeks of experience under his belt as notorious slasher Michael Myers.
Only visitors may smell him before they encounter his character, the masked killer from “Halloween” movie fame.
“I wear a lot of cologne because I get so sweaty doing this,” Jordan says. “I love it. It’s been so much fun and I made a little kid run out of the building.”
Art director Albert Pantone of Turtle Creek brings decades of haunted house experience to the Scream Factory.
“We have 36,000 square feet that has been transformed here,” Pantone says.
The scare actors aren’t allowed to touch visitors, but they can get close.
“They were all good scares,” says first-time haunted house visitor Jake Preston, 14. “I would come back.”
Scream Factory is not recommended for visitors who are pregnant, in poor health or have heart conditions.
The factory is recommended for children over age 13, and no one under age 7 will be admitted.
Food trucks will roll into the Alcoa parking lot, open to the public, from 5:30 p.m. on weekends.
The tour utilizes strobe lights, fog machines, loud noises and smoke and is wheelchair accessible.
Guests are invited to tour in their Halloween costumes, just leave the weapons and masks in the car please, say organizers.
There are no refunds. “We have had people bail and leave. Some people don’t even want to go in when they are in line and hear the screams coming out of the factory,” says Palichat.
Organizers have placed emergency exits throughout the attraction in case anyone gets too frightened to continue.
A portion of early October ticket sales were donated to the Brian Shaw Memorial Scholarship and local PTAs in the AK-Valley.
Kubrick plans to bring back the Scream Factory in 2019.
“We (my friends and I) have close to $350,000 tied up in this and it will be back,” Kubrick says. “They all appreciate what we are doing here. These kids need something like this.”
Joyce Hanz is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.