House of Shock scares NOLA for one last season

Ben Shooter, Contributing Reporter

Located close by in Jefferson, Louisiana, the House of Shock provides twisted thrills to audiences several days a week during its last Halloween season, terrifying crowds with horrific realism.

The next few weeks are the last window of opportunity for audiences to experience the House of Shock before it closes its doors for good. The House, which has existed for 22 years, is coming to an end, in part because of a rained-out Halloween last year.

Ross Karpelman, one of the establishment’s co-founders, said he hopes the haunted house will end on a high note.

“Saying this is our last year, I think, has probably encouraged a lot of people to come, and to come see it for the first time,” Karpelman said. “A lot of people are pushing their fears aside to come see it now that we’re leaving, which is a shame because if these people would’ve come last year we’d still be around.”

What started as a backyard event has morphed into an acclaimed and greatly enjoyed establishment. The House is known for its realism in settings and acting, but its stage show and dedication to New Orleans roots truly set it apart.

“We also do an amazing stage show that’s complete with pyrotechnics, stunts and video and audio interaction,” Karpelman said. “We stick very close to New Orleans themes. We have the above-ground cemeteries, a swamp thing, a French Quarter scene. We use creative license to create a time warp type thing, into the depths of Hell.”

This year, the show runners have found new ideas can come from unsuspecting places-like the performing volunteers. With a cast and crew made up of 300-400 volunteers, the House of Shock is full of creative potential.

The last night of the show, Nov. 1, will present some important decisions for the organizers of the House.  With the end date looming ahead, uncertainty has cast a shadow over the house even murkier than the terrors inside it.

“We’ll kind of see where we are and make a decision of whether or not we are going to just demolish everything and sell it off or sell the business outright,” Karpelman said. “Or we’ll change it in a different fashion, changing the theme completely or doing an entirely new event in the place where we are now. That’s still on the table.”

Karpelman insists, however, that the House of Shock as it is now will be gone forever. The schedule for the House’s final shows is available online at the venue’s website. Oct. 30 is “College Night”  students can show a valid college ID to get 20 percent off general admission.

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