Fans vote Oblivion best haunted attraction in Wisconsin
By Alex Frantz and Riley Hays
photo by Katie Meulemans
Volunteers get ready to scare approaching victims during
the second year of Oblivion.
Made Ya Scream Productions (MYSP) ranked Oblivion Haunted House as the No.1 haunted attraction in Wisconsin.
“The award is a voter’s choice award…we at MYSP must also say Oblivion deserved their win,” MYSP website coordinator Doug Rickert said.
MYSP is an entertainment company that provides information and reviews on haunted attractions.
Patrons received a new experience this season as the house was completely remodeled.
Construction began in July and completed shortly before opening weekend.
“The problem attractions like ours have are that most all of them never change anything.
“We are one of the only haunts that changes the entire event every year, so it will never be the same if [patrons] come back,” Erick Gyrion, co-creator and director of technical theatre at UW-Fox, said.
Oblivion also added their Dark Arts Gallery and gift shop for visitors to purchase “creeper masks”, coffee mugs and other memorabilia.
“The Dark Art Gallery and gift Shop was added as a bonus attraction at the exit of the haunted house,” Gyrion said.
Oblivion’s production team went with a theme of steampunk without a back story this season.
Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction merging high-tech fantasy with Victorian era fashion, culture and architectural style that arose during the 1980s and early ‘90s.
“I don’t think people read into these fake backstories. They just want to get scared,” Gyrion said.
Visitors thought creators paid close attention to detail and overall scare factor of the haunt.
“You could tell that an enormous amount of effort and planning had gone into the event because everything from the playlist to the smoke machines added to the atmosphere,” freshman Breanna Everetts said.
“The house was fantastic from lighting, acting, sound, makeup to an awesome job of room design,” Rickert said.
The Campus Activities Board (CAB) sponsored UW-Fox Night at Oblivion on Oct.22.
The first 150 UW-Fox students received free admission to the haunt.
In addition to their winning title, Oblivion donated $4,000 to local high schools and non-profit organizations, $800 to Orphan Animal Rescue of Neenah and dog and cat food items collected at their Children’s Day Pet Drive.
“The event was started as a way to give back and will continue to give back in years to come,” Gyrion said.
Gyrion and his production team employed the “Minions of Oblivion”, a group of nearly 400 area high school students and volunteers to terrify visitors every weekend.
“I have known Erick for a number of years … [Gyrion] has a very talented crew working with him and it really showed in their house this season,” Rickert said.
“Many of our actors are high school groups that come in and act for a portion of the proceeds from the night they’re working [to benefit] high school theatre groups and other local non-profit groups,” Gyrion said.
Oblivion also supported campus groups such as Engineering Club, the UW-Fox dance team and the boys’ basketball team through concession sales this year.
Sophomore Megan Rasmussen worked as an actor at Oblivion.
“When you’re an actor, the best part is scaring people. People that are really scared, they jump, that’s what keeps you going,” Rasmussen said.
Oblivion has been featured as one of the nation’s top ten haunted attractions by Haunters Digest, Rotting Flesh Radio and was contacted by The Travel Channel.
“Our crew is amazing…we really could not do any of what we do without the support of the University staff, students, our sponsors and the community,” Gyrion said.