A Pale Night in Pittsburgh
“Tech guy” Kip Polley laughs when asked what his official title is at ScareHouse.
“That’s funny. I don’t officially work at ScareHouse. I actually live in St. Louis. I don’t know what you’d call me.”
Talk about the ultimate mystery from the man behind the Stalked By A Killer escape room.
Polley, who owns the Pale Night Productions prop and effects business, mostly gets into the tech nitty-gritty of making ScareHouse projects hit their targets, and 2020 was one of the busiest for Polley when it came to meeting deadlines.
“They asked me to come out and help them with The Old Mill restoration they were doing at Kennywood. When that was finished, Scott asked me if I could look at the space they were moving ScareHouse into, which at the time was just a vacant H & M store with stuff piled into the corners. So we decided that I would spend the better part of the next five months building ScareHouse. I’d spend about three weeks a month in Pittsburgh for about five months or so getting the haunt built from the ground up, through opening weekend.”
Since he spent most of 2020 in Pittsburgh, what did the out-of-towner think of the Steel City?
“I don’t know what I had in my head of what Pittsburgh is like, but it’s a much prettier area. I’ve really enjoyed that. I never get a chance to leave the haunt and go out and hike or something. But what I have seen is pretty.”
With his wife working in business with him, he was able to bring her and their two-year-old daughter with him on the extended work trip.
“My wife is a huge Pittsburgh Penguins fan.”
Polley went to school for manufacturing engineering, thinking that he’d work on roller coasters and thrill rides, but soon fell into the haunted house industry as a side job during college.
“While I was in school, I got a job at a local haunted house doing maintenance and things. Then I parlayed that into building stuff for my own company and losing money doing that for three years,” he says with a laugh. “Eventually we got really busy and I quit my other job, and I’ve been doing this for 16 years.”
Today, Pale Night Productions builds props and effects for attractions all over the world.
“A lot of our bigger projects are overseas. We’ve done a couple in Ukraine, Russia, Thailand, Kuwait.”
And Pale Night Productions’ permanent blood paint, which is used all over ScareHouse, has also been used in some film and television projects, including The Walking Dead, Zombieland, and by notoriously bloody directors like Eli Roth.
“Yeah, he buys a lot,” says Polley with a chuckle.
Whether it’s repairs to scares or showing animatronic characters some extra love, Polley is the guy that makes sure ScareHouse gets back up and running.
“I’m sort of a long-distance consultant.”
Maybe that’s officially his title. A long-distance technical consultant?
“Sure, that sounds good.”