PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - Eastern State Penitentiary is one of Philadelphia’s hottest spots around Halloween.
Now, you too can be a part of ‘Terror Behind the Walls.’ The penitentiary is the perfect backdrop for a haunted house. The outside looks like a castle. It is pretty intimidating itself and have 200 actors a night scaring the you know what out of you.
Terror Behind the Walls is a massive haunted house set inside the 30-foot high fortress walls. All the proceeds benefit the preservation of the national historic landmark.
FOX 29 Photojournalist Bill Rohrer got an inside look at what it takes to become a zombie.
Each year, people stand in line, each with hopes and dreams of making it on to the cast of Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary. Luis Santiago runs the auditions.
“This is the perfect backdrop for a haunted house. The outside looks like a castle. It is pretty intimidating itself and has 200 actors a night scaring the you know what out of you,” Santiago explained.
Terror Behind the Walls is a massive haunted house set inside the 30-foot high fortress walls. All the proceeds benefit the preservation of the National Historic landmark.
Jake Christiansen has been on the cast for the last 11 years.
“There is a lot of energy we get out of the crowd. When I scare someone all the way to the ground and they look up to me with that scared look, it gives me the energy for the next scare,” Christiansen said.
For some, this is their first year trying out.
“It is fairly difficult cause we have a lot of talented applicants come in. But, we have so many positions, we can find something for everyone,” Santiago said.
“It just comes from inside. I just love watching horror films. It is something that I always liked to do. When I was a kid, I used to scream into the mirror and my mom was like, ‘Why are you doing that?’ I said I was practicing. Look where I am now,” Amy Patton said.
Patton remembers the first day performing.
“I just walked in here and was like, ‘Wow!’ It is very professional. I felt like I stepped on a Hollywood set,” Patton explained.
It pretty much is. Last October, Fox 29 watched the controlled chaos as an elite team of makeup artists transform their over 200 performers just three hours before show time.
“It makes me feel very proud. We are giving our guests an experience that keeps them coming year after year for a scare, but we are family friendly, too,” Santiago said. “We want to scare them and make them laugh. We want them excited and happy for Halloween,” he added.