COVENTRY TWP. David Barton has always loved haunted houses since he was a child.
"I really liked monsters at a young age," Barton said.
Growing up, he and his friends built a haunted house in a friend’s garage and he began to realize this was something he could expand upon. Growing older, the Springfield High School grad watched Disney attractions such as "The Haunted Mansion" and "Pirates of the Caribbean" and it inspired him to create scenes such as those in the movies.
Barton’s haunted house has been long in the making. He first started on it in 2002 when he began leasing a portion of Acme building on Manchester Road. Acme formerly used the space for Acme-Click. Barton said he has been working on the site off and on, and that he has been collecting items for 14 years.
Barton originally wanted to open his scary attraction last year, but believing it wasn’t ready, he decided not to rush it.
"I wanted to create top notch scenes," said Barton, who has worked at haunted houses for many years and has visited many around the country.
Barton also gained experience from some time in Hollywood, where he worked as a makeup artist and a set designer. Now, he is putting that experience into his own creation. Part of his creation even comes from a the dinosaur incubator from movie "Jurassic Park III".
The theme of the haunted house this year is a factory that processes meat. Guests travel through multiple scenes including a laboratory, jail cell, hallway of doors and a clown room, just to name a few. Connecting each scene are dark tunnels with even more freights. Guests also take a few steps up into a dark attic, which leads into a house.
Items featured throughout the haunted house have come from a wide variety of places, including antique shops, the haunted attractions show in St. Louis and even some items found on the side of the road.
"My friends are always looking out for stuff," Barton said.
Barton only is using 9,000 square feet of the 16,000-square-foot building. He said he is always adding new items daily, but he plans to expand more next year into the unused space.
"There is not a wall in here I haven’t touched," Barton said. "There is a lot of me into this haunted house."
While Ghoul Brothers may not be the longest haunted house, Barton said the focus is on providing quality detailed scenes.
"We try and pack in as much as we can," Barton said.
On average, 40 to 50 monsters work in the haunted house each night that it is open and Barton said he has a really good crew with great acting skills. The design allows for each monster to scare guests more than once in each scene.
"We have people that want to be here and enjoy it," Barton said. "Without good actors, it is just a cool museum to look at."
With a few weekends of scaring complete, Barton said things have gone "Ok," and he believes he is on par with others he has talked to in the haunted house business.
Ghoul Brothers, 3235 Manchester Road, will be open each Friday and Saturday from 7:30 to midnight through Halloween. It will also be open on Sundays and Halloween night 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
More information can be found at www.ghoulbrothers.com.