By Todd Travis
Tom Angrick, owner and president of Fright Manor Haunted House, started his haunted house business back in 1982 sheerly out of his enjoyment for scaring people. He didn’t have much when he first began, but he wanted to make a place where people could come and have a good time while voluntarily getting frightened.
“I enjoy scaring people. I think once it gets in your blood, being a haunted house person, it’s hard to get it out,” Angrick stated.
The business started at the former Lutheran High School location and was called “haunted gym.” After three years Angrick moved the business to Southport City Park, and over the span of 20 years business revenue gave $320,000 to help beautify the park. Afterward, Fright Manor moved to Southport Little League where it currently runs.
“I grew up playing in Southport Little League and then my kids played in Southport Little League so that was kinda neat. We give them some of the proceeds which helps them out,” Angrick mentioned.
Over the years the haunted house has evolved and added new ways of scaring people. One of the big advancements that helped Fright Manor improve was the addition of animatronics. The machines automatically jump up when someone walks by and scares them. Even with the addition of animatronics, Angrick considers Fright Manor more of a traditional haunt style with old-fashioned methods.
“I remember before we added any of the animatronics, we had a DJ visit Indianapolis to check out the different haunts around town. He made a comment that the last room in our haunted house was the scariest one he had seen in his life. The funny thing was that all we had was some bushes, trees, and fog and a guy jumping out scaring people. So with haunted houses you always have to remember that at the end of the day people just want to get scared. It doesn’t have to be too complicated,” Angrick described.
Fright Manor has been visited by different celebrities to make appearances for the guests. Pat Priest, who played Marilyn from “The Munsters,” Linda Blair from “The Exorcist” and Courtney Gains from “The ‘Burbs” have all visited Fright Manor.
Angrick has help from his daughters Laura Page and Amy Allgood as well as his head foreman Brian Fowler and his kids Derek and Brittany Fowler. Go to Fright Manor to see what’s going on at this longtime establishment. Visit their Facebook page: facebook.com/frightmanor or website: frightmanor.com