Spooktacular! is a nostalgic and exhilarating look at Spooky World

Spooktacular - Courtesy Spookywood Productions
Spooktacular - Courtesy Spookywood Productions /

I have never been to Spooky World, but the new documentary Spooktacular! makes me want to travel up to New England RIGHT NOW. I love haunted attractions and horror conventions, and Spooky World sounds like the perfect mash up of these two things.

Spooktacular! includes the story of Spooky World, along with commentary and interviews with creator David Bertolino, multiple celebrities and people who have worked for the attraction over the years. Oh, and the Executive Producer for Spooktacular! is special makeup effects god Tom Savini, who also gives some commentary.

Spooky World is given credit for starting the whole haunted attractions trend, beginning life in 1991 as a haunted hayride. But Bertolino wanted it to be much more than that, and he hired his actors to do more than just sit around in costumes. Instead, he asked them to interact with the guests. Not only did he hire all local actors (often giving them comp tickets in order to entice them), he also used local materials and hired all of his “crew” locally.

Spooktacular – Courtesy Spookywood Productions /

Bertolino and his crew cleared an area in the woods to create the trail for his hayride. Although Tom Savini referred to the first version of the haunted hayride as “crappy”, it was a huge success, and it’s only grown bigger and better since then. It’s often referred to as “The Disneyland of Halloween.”

Spooktacular! looks at how Spooky World did things its own way.

The other thing that made Spooky World different from other haunted attractions was the fact that Bertolino brought in guests such as Savini, Linda Blair (The Exorcist), Gunnar Hansen (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre), Butch Patrick (The Munsters) and Kane Hodder (several of the Friday the 13th films).

Spooktacular! gives us not only great archival footage of Spooky World’s early events, we are also treated to interesting tidbits and funny stories. In 1994, Tiny Tim appeared there, and he was a big hit. He renewed his wedding vows on stage, but there is a sad story behind all of that, and you will have to watch the film to get that info.

Spooktacular! is a warm, nostalgic, exhilarating ride for those of us who love to get the stories behind haunted attractions – and better yet, to get some of those stories from the iconic horror stars we know and love.

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