Fall River’s Chamber of Horrors ending after 11 seasons
Katrina and Brian Wodill’s decade-long quest to scare the daylights out of people will soon end.
After 11 years the Wodill’s passion project, the Chamber of Horrors, will wrap-up its final season Oct. 27. The haunted house, often rated among the best in Wisconsin, is located along Heppe Road in rural Fall River. The Wodill’s property is surrounded by creeks, corn fields and winding country roads. For visitors, Chamber of Horrors could be easy to miss, but going through it is an experience most won’t forget.
While the Wodills will miss the fun they’ve had scaring visitors and connecting with local communities, they feel it’s the right time to end the experience.
“It’s going to be hard, but we have other stuff we want to do,” Brian Wodill said. “It will be nice to have weekends back to ourselves.”
The Wodills both have full-time jobs and while the haunted house is a side project, it’s very time consuming. The couple begins preparing the house in April, runs tours through October, and tears it down in December. They plan to have an auction next spring to sell many of the items in the haunt.
“It’s been a good ride,” Katrina Wodill said. “We’ve had some very dedicated customers who’ve stuck with us for a long time. They come back as repeat customers to see what has changed.”
In addition, the Wodills will miss volunteers who have helped make Chamber of Horrors a success. Many of them are local high school or college students who play actors in the haunted house. They also help set up the haunt every weekend, putting together props to make patrons shriek with terror. For their hard work, the Wodills donate money to student groups, which help pay for trips and equipment.
Student volunteers have come from across the area, from Watertown to Portage. Call them the Chamber of Horrors alumni.
“We have kids who’ve worked for us who are going to college or getting married and they have to come back to see the haunt,” Brian Wodill said. “We have hundreds, probably thousands of kids who’ve come out through the years.”
Chamber of Horrors opened for the season Oct. 5 and will feature tours every Friday and Saturday through October. Each Saturday carries a special theme. Oct. 13 will be “Star Wars” Night featuring actors from a troupe dressed as characters from the popular sci-fi series. The characters will have a meet-and-greet with fans following their tours.
“They are approved for authenticity and they are spot-on,” Brian Wodill said. “It’s usually one of our biggest nights and we’re ‘Star-Wars’ fans, so that makes it even more special.”
Oct. 19-20 will be Humane Society Nights at the Chamber. Visitors can get a $2 per ticket discount with an item for the Columbia County Humane Society. Similar to past years, tickets are $14 per visitor.
For years, the Chamber featured the Thunder Ridge Mansion (haunted house) and a haunted hay ride called the Zombie Hunt. But, due to soggy field conditions, the Zombie Hunt was shelved.
Each year, Chamber of Horrors features something new. The tour takes visitors through several dark, creepy rooms featuring mind-boggling allusions and blood-thirsty zombies. New this year is a room with hanging heads of crazed clowns, faces decked in neon colors with bizarre grimaces.
“We like to change it up, otherwise there would be no reason to come out here every year if it stays the same,” Brian Wodill said. “Some haunts pretty much stay the same, but every year we take the walls down and start over. That’s something we have going for us.”
While the tour can frighten the most stoic of visitors, it does feature “safe” rooms patrons can quickly access to gain composure. The Wodills are always amazed at visitors who think they won’t get scared then come out wide-eyed and exasperated.
“They say, ‘Yeah, I can’t get scared,’ then come out with, ‘Yeah, you got me!’” Katrina Wodill said.
“That makes me feel good, especially when they go to big haunts near Milwaukee and are like, ‘That was OK,’” Brian Wodill said. “Then they come out here to a place near little Fall River and are really impressed.”
For more information, go to the Chamber of Horrors’ Facebook page @Chamber of Horrors Haunted House.