31 movies to watch in October: Haunters: The Art of the Scare

Photo: Haunters: The Art of the Scare.. Image Courtesy Jon Schnitzer
Photo: Haunters: The Art of the Scare.. Image Courtesy Jon Schnitzer /

As we near the end of our 31 movies to watch in October challenge, I am going to shake things up a bit and go with a fun (and sometimes touching) documentary. If you are someone who loves Halloween with a deep, abiding passion, you are sure to identify with at least one of the people featured in Haunters: The Art of the Scare.

Haunters was released in October of 2017, and delves into Halloween haunted attractions. Although it briefly touches on large attractions such as Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights, it primarily focuses on three people not quite as well-known.

“Scare actor” Shar Mayer is the most sympathetic, and has literally pursued her career through blood, sweat and tears. Though she has suffered multiple injuries, the worst was caused by a drunk patron who decided to jump on her back. The result was three crushed vertebrae, and she says in the film that she is in pain every single day of her life, but still loves being a haunter. Her husband is not at all into the haunt stuff, but completely supports Shar’s passion for scaring people.

Donald Julson operates a home haunt (Nightmare on Loganberry), which he works on most of the year, and only opens during Halloween. He does not charge admission, so it’s amazing to see the amount of work (and money) he puts into his haunt. His new wife does not enjoy his hobby and insists that the haunt will have to end when they have children.

Now, let’s talk about the third haunter featured in the film: Russ McKamey. You have probably seen Russ and his notorious “extreme” haunt McKamey Manor pop up in the news each year at Halloween, because it is quite a sensation. McKamey Manor scares patrons with a literal hands-on approach.

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The actors scream in patrons’ faces, duct tape their eyes and mouths, submerge them forcibly in water, force them to eat disgusting substances, drench them with water and fake blood, sometimes for hours on end. And, at the time the documentary was made, there was no safe word. From what I have read, that has since changed.

McKamey seems to take great delight in the trauma his actors inflict on the patrons, which is a little disconcerting. He also films the guests as they go through the haunt, and taunts them on camera. On the plus side, all he charges for the McKamey Manor experience is dog food, which he donates to a local dog rescue.

All of this makes for a fascinating documentary, and I highly recommend it if you enjoy, or are terrified by haunted attractions. Haunters: The Art of the Scare can be seen on several streaming platforms, including Tubi and Netflix.

Next. 31 movies to watch in October: The Witch. dark

Do you enjoy Halloween haunted attractions? Do you think some of them go too far? Let me know what you think in the comments section.