In a tiny, wooden shack in the middle of the woods, piercing screams rattled the air.
Visitors gaped in open-mouthed horror at the outstretched, bloodstained hands coming from the metal cages lining the shack’s walls.
“Please help me,” one girl whimpered in a cage. “Please help me before he gets here.”
The group shuffled along, following their solitary, brave leader brandishing a sickly green glow stick to help see the next few feet ahead.
“What are you doing here, boy?” a baritone voice bellowed behind them.
When: Indy Scream Park is open from 7-10:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and 7 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Saturday. The park will close Nov. 3.
Where: Indy Scream Park is located at 5211 S. New Columbus Rd., Anderson, Indiana 46013.
Their shuffle became a sprint as the group fled out of the Backwoods haunted attraction, pursued by chainsaw-toting hillbillies and cleaver-wielding butchers.
While the audience for such attractions at Indy Scream Park may be young, the actors within are grizzled veterans eager to put their scares to the test against the youth passing through.
“Most of these teenagers can’t even play with us,” said Backwoods Scream Park actor Michael Wable, 46, who’s been an actor for seven years at the park.
The premise of the outdoor Backwoods attraction consists of “cannibalistic, inbred hillbillies” where guests “are dinner, and [Backwoods] is the dining hall,” Wable said.
The average age of an actor in the Backwoods attraction is 32 years old, compared to the 20-year-old actors who make up the indoor attractions, said Indy Scream Park manager Trent Lockridge.
Lockridge, 47, was an actor in Backwoods for six years, where he played the part of a bloodthirsty hillbilly roaming the woods.
“My challenge was to keep up with the high school track team, the Pacers that came through and the Indianapolis Colts,” Lockridge said. “They look at my size, and they say ‘I can outrun him,’ but it’s fun to say that I made someone like Jeff Saturday run out my door.”
For Lockridge, getting into character to scare the customers was a “stress relief,” but Wable sees the job as an opportunity to just play-up who he actually is.
Bloodstains ran the length of Wable’s overalls. His matted locks of brown hair framed his rough face sporting a full brown beard. Wable hoisted his bloody axe over his shoulder.
“[I’m] just a crazy redneck playing a crazy redneck,” Wable said.
No matter when guests go to Indy Scream Park, Wable and the rest of the cast won’t be too old to frighten away any young souls looking for a scare.
Contact Adam Pannel with comments at email@example.com or on Twitter @AdamPannel.