We had the opportunity to meet with OC Screams manager, Holly Starkey, who was an actor with OC Screams the previous year, for an exclusive behind-the-scenes interview and walk-through of Ocean City’s most frightening and successful haunted house. Ranked in the Top 3 Haunted Houses in the nation during its first year of business in 2016, this group puts a twist on the typical haunted house you would visit during the Halloween season.
While OC Screams remains open in the off-season, mainly on weekends, it thrives throughout the summer months, featuring rustic, wrecked haunted ship themed sets for its visitors. But the lights, fog machines, and paranormal atmosphere are only part of what make the terrifying experience its customers long for– the actors are what bring the haunted house to life.
Many of the makeup artists are also actors in the house! With only an hour prep-time before opening the doors to the public at 7pm, each actor spends a short 15-20 minutes working on their make-up and getting into costume and character. To keep it interesting, the actors switch roles and positions frequently so that everyone can experience each part of the two-story phenomenon without having to play the same part over and over.
We walked through the house before the actors were in place for an exclusive look at the sets (which were scary even without the live actors!). Some of our favorite parts were the moving floors and the gigantic, flesh-eating shark (watch out for that one, he doesn’t look friendly).
When asked which part of the house seemed to be the scariest, Starkey responded, “The entire thing. It’s impossible to narrow it down to one room or one prop; what really scares people is the experience as a whole, from start to finish.” Their goal is to scare customers, and based on all of the positive feedback and reviews they have received their first two seasons, they’re doing an outstanding job!
It’s obvious at a first glance how much time and hard work has gone into putting this haunted house together. Starting from scratch in what was previously Ocean City’s Under 21 Dance Club H2O, OC Screams opened Memorial Day Weekend 2016, ready for business.
Aside from the well-designed and thought-out sets, the live actors and employees were energetic and had friendly, motivated attitudes surrounding them (even while getting into their characters of monsters and zombies). As Starkey repeatedly said, “It’s the actors that bring this haunted house to life, and make it what it truly is.”
We loved getting a behind-the-scene look at how OC Screams operates! Check out the terrifying, rustic ship and spine-chilling live performers for yourself; we promise they will truly get a good scare out of you!
Admission is an affordable $16/person! OC Screams is open Tuesday-Sunday, 7pm-11pm. Check them out online here.