Manning delights with fright
ASHTABULA_The horror genre has a special place in my heart, as weird as that sounds. My love for it started pretty early in my childhood. With my disease I always had fractured bones or was having surgeries. So watching movies was kind of my escape. It wasn’t always horror though. At first it actually terrified me. But my dad loved it. As I grew older my dad and I would bond over movies. He gradually diminished my fear of horror by telling me facts about them and making me analyze them. As my fear in horror diminished my interests flourished. I loved horror and wanted to know how the movies were made. Maybe make my own. Years went by and I got a Facebook and saw an advertisement for Forsaken Haunted House. That was the first haunt I worked at. Because of my abnormal look people referred to me as ‘The Cage Thing’ which I loved. I terrified and confused people. Which is good considering messing with someone’s head is half of the scare technique. It’s way more than just slapping on make up and screaming at people. Since then I’ve worked at Regal Vineyards Haunted Winery and The Ohio Gorematory. I started just with acting; then got into makeup when I realized I could make my own monsters like Dr. Frankenstein himself. My mom was a professional clown; she gave me her make up kit to start. It’s definitely grown since then.
Working in haunted houses was like being in a horror movie. I loved it. It was like I had my own team and being different made me a star player. I wanted to thrive in the business. Not just act. But do make up and eventually learn fabrication of haunt props, set design, costume design, anything I could learn. I even hope to be the first spark slider in a wheelchair. I normally have severe anxiety. But my will to thrive at the haunt industry prompted me to put myself out there and socialize to see if I can get anywhere with this industry. Many people have told me its hard to make a career from the haunt industry, but despite the difficulty of it I quickly discovered its not impossible. With my differences, uniqueness and dedication to the business I quickly received several offers. After working at one haunt per year I decided to try my hand at guest acting at haunts around Ohio. I’ve been mentored by a veteran haunter Frank Mamana and advised by people well known in the haunt industry such as Amanda Ravange, Ed and Marsha Edmunds of Distortions Unlimited, Roger Miller, Kyle Vest a contestant of Skin Wars who’s haunt career took him from Orlando Universal Studios to California and even Tokyo, and I even worked with a Syfy Faceoff star Anthony Kosar. Haunting helped me find my love for special make up effects. I hope to learn make up skills from different haunts. And some day go to FX school. But no matter what I want to do the horror business. And haunting is the best there is next to making a real horror movie. Although I have recently been in an indie horror/comedy film. But nothing beats genuinely scaring someone until they pee.
This will be my first year travel acting. So I made a “Haunt Tour” event page on Facebook. For two reasons, I’m very excited to excel in the haunt business and also because I have friends asking when and where I’ll be. I’d love for them to come see me at my shining moment doing what I love. Outside of the haunt world I tend to be an outsider; so I’d love for people to see the side that haunting brings out of me; as scary as it may be. I’ve played zombies, evil dolls, an amputee in a sink, a demonic zombie teddy bear called the ScareBear. I love it when people see that I put a lot of effort and dedication to whatever character I’m playing.
I worked at Bloodview Haunted House in Broadview Ohio Sept. 23; Blood Prison in Mansfield Reformatory Oct. 14 where the Shawshank Redemption was filmed. That one is to honor my friend Brandi Williams who recently died of cancer. She loved haunting as much as me. I will be at The Trail of Haunted Tales Oct. 21st
I hope to be working at The Scareatorium in Columbus, Ohio Saturday, Oct. 28th.
But dates and times are still coming in, which is why I made the Facebook event to track dates, times, locations, ticket info and more. You can find the event on Facebook under T-Rex Haunt Tour
I’m expecting this season to have a big impact on my career in the haunt Industry and hope to have as much support as possible. Despite the fact that my differences make me unique and a good asset it can be difficult finding people who want to work with someone in a wheelchair. Especially in the haunt Industry. But that just pushed me to try harder and make a big name for myself. But support is key. I’m determined to make a name for myself in the industry. Maybe making it to world wide known haunts such as Halloween Horror Nights in Universal Studios.