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Randall Theatre promises 'X-treme' nightmares

The Randall Theatre Company of Medford once again offers up a frightfully good scare as it celebrates the Nightmare Chamber’s 10th consecutive year, with only the best of truly twisted terrors to challenge even the bravest of souls.

Created by the theatre company, the Nightmare Chamber Haunted House opened in October of 2010 as a way to raise money for the then new non-profit, volunteer based community theater company.

The designers for the haunted house had an intriguing idea — change the theme, reconstruct the interior and give the local population something exciting, scary and new every year. It’s a trend that has continued to this day.

Over the past decade, the haunted house has seen the ghouls of “Resident Evil” and “Silent Hill,” both based on highly popular video games. The icons of horror — Leatherface, Michael Meyers, Jason Vorhees and Freddy Kruger — joined forces one year to terrorize the Rogue Valley, while yet another season took you into your worst nightmares with “Night Terrors.” In 2018, patrons saw the cult classic horror movie “Evil Dead” turned into a walk-through haunted house.

The theme for 2019 is “Nightmare X-Treme.” The creative director for the haunted house, Randall Theatre’s artistic director Robin Downward, wanted to bring back the best scares from the past decade and put them all into one haunted house at 10 E. Third St. in Medford. While the best scares have been added back in, the biggest change comes from the addition of an extra 2,000 square feet of haunted house. This addition is in the form of a new fright-filled, interactive indoor cue line called the “Hall of Nightmares.”

“One of the comments we get from a small percentage of patrons that return year after year is that the haunted house is fantastic, but that the wait can sometimes be long,” Downward says of the new addition in a press release. “The wait is due to the sheer number of people who come to the haunted house, sometimes upwards of 700 people a night. Guests always say the haunted house is worth the wait, but that they wished there would be something to do in line to keep their minds off the wait. We listened.”

Since the Randall Theatre moved from its warehouse location to a new production space at 20 S. Fir St. in Medford a year ago, that opened up the 2,000 square feet where the old theater was located on Third Street. The Randall Theatre’s haunted house design team went to work on how best to use the space. The answer was clear — bring the waiting patrons inside and scare them to death while they are in line to go into the main haunted house.

“Disneyland uses themed cue lines to entertain guests while they wait to go on the rides,” Downward continues. “We took that same idea and ran with it, creating a themed area filled with jump scares, themed actors and an indoor concessions stand. If people would like to get a snack to eat in line, they can. Otherwise, they can go past the concession area by using a bypass lane.”

Guests to the haunted house can bypass the indoor cue line altogether and instead go straight into the main haunted house by purchasing a Fast Pass, a special ticket that helps to reduce wait times for people purchasing general admission tickets. The new indoor cue line will be chillingly fun to go through, but there will still be a wait to enter the main haunt.

Downward offers up a few tips about how to avoid the wait times: “Number one, purchase a Fast Pass. The Fast Pass can cut your wait time by two-thirds. Number two, come early. The haunted house opens at 7 p.m. Get in line as close to 6:30 p.m. as possible and avoid the longer wait times of later hours. Number three, come on weeknights. There are fewer people waiting to get in on weeknights. Number four, come earlier in the Nightmare Chamber run. The haunt opens on (Friday) October 18th. As it gets closer to Halloween, the crowds get larger and larger. With the addition of the indoor cue line, there will still be a wait for people purchasing general admission tickets, but they’ll be entertained while they wait.”

Larger cities have haunted houses where patrons enter in one single long line and the scares can be seen coming. Traditionally, these types of haunted houses are not as scary as you can see what is going to scare you. The Nightmare Chamber is different in that each group enters separately at approximately 2 minute intervals. This staggering of the groups gives the patrons the feeling that they are the only ones in the haunted house, and the frights are much more of a surprise, Downward says.

The haunt runs from 7 to 10 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, Oct. 18-27, and Tuesday through Saturday, Oct. 29-Nov. 3, at 10 E. Third St., Medford. If there are enough people in line to warrant staying open longer, closing time will be extended to accommodate the crowds, but the extend hours shouldn’t be depended on.

Tickets are $13, or $16 for a Fast Pass, and are available at randalltheatre.com or at the door. Discounted tickets can be purchased at all Magic Man Fun Shops in Medford and Grants Pass. Regular tickets can be upgraded to Fast Passes for $5 at the door. Combo tickets for Randall Theatre’s production of “Evil Dead — The Musical,” and admission to the Nightmare Chamber are $23, and are available through the theatre’s website.

The Nightmare Chamber Haunted House is not recommended for children 10 and under. Any child not able to walk on their own will not be permitted into the haunted house for their safety.

The Randall Theatre Company's haunted house brings back the best frights from the past decade.{ }Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune