News for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Behind The Scary Scenes At A North Texas Haunted House

Misty Keasler
D Magazine
Thrillvania's Verdun Manor is in Terrell, east of Dallas.

Everyone loves a good scare – especially this time of year. Internationally-known photojournalist Misty Keasler got a behind-the-scenes look at one of the largest haunted house attractions in North Texas, a place called Thrillvania, which is east of Dallas in Terrell. 

Keasler talks about her photos, which appeared in the October issue of D Magazine.

Credit Misty Keasler / D Magazine
D Magazine
Harold Kines in character as Silas Murphy.

Interview Highlights: Misty Keasler…

… On the founder of Thrillvania, Lance Pope:

“Lance Pope loved haunted houses. He bought one of the original haunted houses that the Disney imagineers constructed. ... While he was working on getting the house up to speed where he wanted it to be, he actually lived in the house, upstairs, in a coffin.”

… On why haunted houses are really only big in developed countries:

“I’m fascinated by these spaces. I did a series several years ago on Japanese love hotels -- they're themed rooms that couples rent by the hour. And I actually find there’s a great similarity between the haunted houses and the love hotels. They are these rooms that are very intentionally created for a very specific effect. People are spending so much time and effort on these effects to create fear, and you know that type of thing is only happening in, really, places of great privilege. So you think about where war is happening or big conflict -- of course, there’s nothing like that because people’s lives are pretty scary on a regular basis.”

… On how she approached the portraits in the series:

“I really wanted them to be very serious portraits – serious in the same way that I would treat a very sensitive subject in any of my other work that required a lot of respect or that I really wanted to dignify. I wanted to take that same approach to these actors who are dressed in horror clothes and horror makeup.”

Former KERA staffer Jeff Whittington was executive producer for special projects and Think, as well as host of Anything You Ever Wanted to Know. He also created and launched the KXT Live Sessions series for KXT 91.7.