If welcoming monsters to Florida wasn’t enough, manufacturer Kurt Kuersteiner decided he needed to add maniacs to the mix in his new trading card product entitled (what else!) Monsters & Maniacs. “It’s a very innovative series…even by our standards,” said the Monsterwax representative.
Kuersteiner continued, “The inspiration for the card set came from running the Terror of Tallahassee haunted attraction [for 15] years. I had two objectives every night: 1. Scare the tar out of the customers, and 2. Make sure no one gets hurt. In fact, paranoia about customers getting hurt is what scares haunted house operators the most. You try not to obsess about it, but your mind can’t help but imagine all sorts of perils, real and unreal.
“Back in 2001, Tallahassee was also the target of several terror attacks (from Anthrax in the mail). Many people said it was too dangerous to open a haunted attraction that season because it was a perfect target for terrorism. We opened anyway, but it did set my mind wandering and worrying: what if a masked killer (or killers) were to slip into the haunt through one of the many exits? There are 13 of them and although they were locked on the outside, frightened customers routinely opened the doors from the inside to escape, unable to continue the tour. Our haunt was exceptionally big (20,000 square feet) and unusually long, taking 40 minutes to traverse through dark, twisting tunnels. It became increasingly intense, so a masked man could hang out by an exit and almost certainly encounter customers fleeing sooner or later.
“To make matters worse, we had a very large cast. Between 30 and 60 people each night. It was impossible for the staff to know everyone else. If a stranger (or strangers) were to infiltrate the place in costume, they would likely be unchallenged for some time. And if they were to attack customers, any witness would likely assume it was part of the act. We were famous for featuring graphic illusions, including beheadings, cutting people in half, and even shooting someone in the head and blasting their brains out against the wall!
“Suffice it to say, such an attack never happened. But the ‘what if…’ worry was always there. That fear, along with working in a very dramatic and atmospheric setting, was the genesis of the Monsters & Maniac concept. Such a tragedy really could happen in any haunted house. After all, you’re in a dark place with masked strangers who are ‘pretending’ to want to kill you. You assume they are only acting and you’re really safe… but that’s only an assumption.”
As is fitting, Kuersteiner himself can be found within the cards. “I’m the manager who is murdered and then has his haunted attraction taken over by the killers. I’m basically the guy getting his throat throttled by a giant, living corpse!”
Only 500 24-pack numbered boxes will be made. The main source for Monsters & Maniacs is through the monsterwax.com website and by mail order at Monsterwax, 3202 Enterprise Drive, Tallahassee FL 32312. The cards are also available at cards shows like Philly Non-Sports and Alt.con and, of course, at Kuersteiner’s new haunted house (just 1/2 mile from the old one) and at other selected haunts. As Kuersteiner said about his resurrected spook house, “I guess you can’t keep a good corpse down!”
For more information about this frightful trading card product, see the article, Tales of Tallahassee Terror, in the current Aug-Sep issue of Non-Sport Update.