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Theater's haunted house not for faint of heart

Those brave enough to enter the Randall Theatre Company's haunted house will encounter a horror-movie caliber nightmare world.

The gore-filled Nightmare Chamber Haunted House is modeled after the "Silent Hill" horror video game and movie series. Ghoulish actors populate a maze of rooms with elaborate sets built by theater experts. Adding to the horror-movie effect, former Universal Studios make-up artist Rachel Dubin is lending her talents to the annual attraction.

"The level of detail we put into the haunted house, and now the make-up special effects we have, bring it up to another level," says Robin Downward, managing artistic director for the theater. "There's no section of the haunted house — not even a wall — that doesn't have something to look at and scare you or psychologically get into your head."

The Haunted House runs from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday, Oct. 17-19, Thursday through Sunday, Oct. 23-26, and Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 30 to Nov. 1, inside the Randall Theatre's 10,000-square-foot warehouse at the corner of Third and Front streets in Medford. Tickets cost $10 and are available at the door, by calling 541-632-3258 or by visiting www.randalltheatre.com. Discounted $8 tickets are available at Magic Man Fun Shops at 880 Biddle Road, Medford, and 1448 Williams Highway, Grants Pass.

It's recommended for adults and kids who are at least 11 years old.

The first step into the haunted house reveals it's not for the faint of heart or people averse to blood-and-guts.

A disemboweled  figure in a gas mask hangs in the air with intestines drooping down. Mirrors, strobe lights and air cannons are bound to startle people. A skeleton in a suit rises up, towering over the cowering mortals below.

"We put a lot of things up high so people feel smaller," Downward explains.

Another set of rooms has walls covered in fake fecal matter, while a rat inhabits the most befouled toilet anyone is ever likely to see. Visitors must pass a giant spider and navigate through extraordinarily realistic fake barbed wire.

A person locked in a cage gnaws on femurs and skulls, while a visit to the principal's office reveals a desk topped with a meat cleaver and severed fingers and ears.

The theater's haunted house uses characters from "Silent Hill," including faceless nurses, a spider made of mannequin parts and a janitor who crawls on his stomach, feet curled up behind him like a scorpion.

Incorporating new technology and special effects wizardry in many of the rooms, the theater company also relied on an 1800s-era magic trick with mirrors to create the illusion of a person cut in half.

The haunted house has minimal lighting — requiring visitors to use their cellphones or LED lights provided by the theater company to illuminate their way through the twisting maze of rooms.

Escaping the haunted house will require a feat of willpower as visitors face down a final "Silent Hill" monster.

The Nightmare Chamber Haunted House is the major fundraiser of the year for the nonprofit Randall Theatre Company, helping to keep the theater's doors open and allowing it to offer lower-priced tickets to the community.

Dubin will lead a special-effects makeup workshop from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18, at The Randall Theatre. The cost is $25 per person and includes a tour of the haunted house with the lights on. Register online at

www.randalltheatre.com or by calling 541-632-3258.

The Nightmare Chamber at the Randall Theatre in Medford will open on Oct. 17 and run through Nov. 1. Mail Tribune / Jamie Lusch