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Behind The Screams

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Even More Easter Eggs

When terrorized inside the Demon Hour room filled with dolls, watch out for a sound from overhead. How sure can you be that one hasn’t started talking?

Sound designer Bengt Alexsander said he included a sample from the band Le Tigre’s song “Decepticon,” that sounds like it originally came from a children’s book.

a close up of a girl“It’s this little phrase that says, ‘See you later,’” alongside sounds from ‘60s toys and a music box. “It’s much, much louder than everything else, because I’m hoping it’s going to catch someone for a scare.”

Spending more time listening for those kinds of Easter eggs and less time being scared is possible on one of the upcoming 90-minute behind-the-scenes tours of ScareHouse. Designers will share the creative process about how ideas — big and small — go from concept to completion.

Other details that are obscured in the dark and the fog during a regular walk-through could come to light on the tour, like the movie parody pickles in the fridge of the kitchen scene, sporting labels for “The Hills Have Dills” and “Evil Bread (and Butter)”.

Design and operations manager Nicole Conniff said she and the rest of the management enjoy those types of nuance within the sets and props throughout ScareHouse.

“All of the details are very dear to my heart,” she said. “We love Easter eggs and inside jokes and we love peppering comedy in to the haunt.”

In the freezer in End of Days, some of the fake food was given custom horror-themed labels with names like “Swan Song” instead of Swanson. Nearby, in the convenience store, Twinkie boxes are an homage to “Zombieland” and a few signs that say “toilet paper out of stock” are a nod to the early days of COVID-19.

Resting in a corner of Demon Hour’s bedroom scene is a Raggedy Ann doll, which Nicole explains is a reference to the original haunted Raggedy-Ann doll that inspired “Annabelle.” It’s subtle, but it was intentional.

“There’s always something to notice for sure,” she said. “There’s many, many layers.”

Along with props that were once used in Pittsburgh-filmed movies, Creative Director and Co-Owner Scott Simmons shared more of his favorite hidden Easter eggs:

a man looking at the cameraEntering Oblivion, the large mural that greets guests is a reference to the nightmare sequence from Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo”.

Guests enter the “Silver Shamrock Novelties” warehouse, which is a reference to Halloween 3.

Once inside the warehouse, graffiti on the warehouse wall says, “Romero Lives,” one of two references to George Romero inside ScareHouse.

Within ScareHouse, keep a keen eye peeled for discarded cans of “Zom-B-Off”, which were used in an online video we did a few years ago.

The spaceship scene is full of donated, outdated technology from WPXI, WQED, and the Children’s Television Workshop. This means that some of the gear used to broadcast “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood,” “Chiller Theater” and “Sesame Street” is now inside ScareHouse.

“Misfit technology and misfit weirdos all finding each other,” said Scott.