In this series of portraits, actors work in their element at the Barn of Terror, a haunted-house attraction just north of Bloomington that I have been photographing on and off since 2012. Personally, I love Halloween and am a fan of horror movies — the cheesier the better, I say. My approach was to create what amounted to individual film stills from such movies. I was given behind-the-scenes access prior to the haunted barn’s season opening to capture the various character actors, where I had the opportunity to work with them individually in each scene.
Photographing in moody low light, I was easily able to replicate the feel of the grainy, low-budget horror movies I grew up with in the ’80s. And it helped that the individual tableaux visitors must navigate through in such haunted-house attractions often pay homage to many classic and well-known horror-movie and horror-television show scenes, such as The Ring and The Walking Dead, along with pop culture and video game references.
Commercially, Halloween now generates around $9 billion in sales annually. Of that amount, $3.4 billion will go toward costumes, while more than $5 billion will be spent on candy and decorations ranging from jack-o-lanterns to fake cobwebs to glow-in-the-dark ghouls. The average adult will spend around $85 on Halloween this year, with some of that money going toward intentionally being terrified. Haunt attractions have become wildly popular for young and old alike across the country. The Barn of Terror is one of approximately 4,000 haunt attractions in the United States in an ever-growing, $300-million-dollar-per-year industry.