Special Guest Star Katie Lane
Just like TV shows can have guest actors, so can haunted attractions! If you come to ScareHouse Friday, October 13 or Saturday, October 14, you might see a new scary face for one weekend only — actress Katie Lane, who’s been working in the haunt industry for nearly 30 years.
“I believe I first met [ScareHouse founder] Scott Simmons at TransWorld’s Halloween & Attractions Show nearly 15 years ago” says Lane. “We became friends and we always hang out at the different shows and conventions. Last year was the first time he brought me out to ScareHouse to come and guest act for a weekend.”
The Cleveland native balances her passion for all things haunted with a “not-so-exciting day job” managing a psychological private practice. She says she uses a bit of her background in psychology to read the guests and figure out how to interact with them.
“I’ve done guest acting for over 15 years. I love being able to create unique characters. A lot of traveling actors create one or two icon characters and that’s what they always do; I’m too much of a chameleon. I’ve done over 100 characters.”
In addition to her own acting, Lane also provides training for other actors, which requires a lot of considerations.
“It’s a mix of everything. Safety is a huge priority in haunts. Unlike actors in theater or movies, we’re acting within inches of our audience. You need to know how to read a customer and when to stand back. Inadvertently a guest might have an elbow raised – it’s not intentional, but some people, when they’re scared, they go into fight or flight mode.”
How the actors approach “scares” is another important facet of training.
“From a business standpoint, you want to keep the crowd moving forward. Otherwise, that messes with the flow of the show. Body language, how to move more as creatures, is another training tool. Newer actors will do the T-Rex hands, and it looks like they’re gonna do the Thriller dance. Character development and creating a full character are also important. Dialogue is one of my specialities, and my characters are talkers. Audiences want a character with some depth—the costume, the makeup—they’re all cohesive.”
Lane says she loves creating new characters, acts, and costumes. In fact, she has an entire room in her house dedicated to costuming. If you happen to be at the Midwest Haunters Convention Costume Ball, you probably can’t miss her.
“For that show, I usually go really big and outrageous. I’ve done eight-foot-tall giant bat wings that had aluminum framing with latex tatters, giant hoop skirts that were covered in animal pelts. I’ve done a goat that was disassembled and reassembled into a costume. I’m known for doing a lot of quirky weird things.”
So what does Lane have in store for ScareHouse this weekend? You’ll have to wait and see.
“Scott gives me a lot of freedom. Last year, I did my hysteric, turn-of-the-century mental patient. She’s a lot of fun. She’s a big talker. Then I also did my maid last year, which was fun playing off of The Bride in line with the guests. I think ScareHouse is a great show with such unique characters. Scott and his team definitely encourage creativity and thinking outside of the box and pushing the limits of what is expected from a haunt.”