ALEXANDER CAIN :::
A historical Griffin landmark is currently undergoing a transformation into a haunted house for the 2013 Halloween season.
Workers have been inside the old Griffin Hotel, 132 W. Solomon St., for more than three months, turning former hotel rooms and hallways into a haunted house experience.
We are not going for monsters or the normal cliché haunted house. What I have done is tried to do a lot of mental things that people are afraid of; there’s a lot of stuff that people are normally afraid of, and so instead of doing a bunch of gore and murder and all that stuff, we are really going more toward what people are afraid of on a daily basis,” Liz Smallwood, SinisterSuites director, stated in a recent email to The Grip.
According to Smallwood, the idea for a haunted house inside the former hotel property started when property owner Tracy Wallace approached her with the possibility of both renovating the hotel and putting the site to use in an environment where the public could both enjoy and appreciate the history and architecture of the building.
“Tracy had already done some of the construction work when I came in. I designed the entire thing,” Smallwood explained. “I’ve been working with haunted houses for about seven years.”
Smallwood’s credits as a haunted house enthusiast have included volunteer work at Chambers of Horror in Atlanta and multiple family-friendly haunted houses across Georgia.
The Griffin Hotel haunted house, now known as “SinisterSuites,” will have a family-friendly environment, Smallwood said.
“I’ve been wanting to do something like that for kids because it is a family friendly haunt. My target audience was originally about the 16 -23 age range, but any age can come in, although it’s highly recommend that people under 16 have a parent with them.”
With five stories to work with, Smallwood noted that designing something unique for each floor and stairwell has been a challenge.
“A lot of it is based on some of my favorite horror films, but basically I just kind of embraced the original architecture of the hotel and it spawned from there. Some of the rooms are designed how they are positioned and were originally designed when the hotel was constructed.”
Constructed in 1910, the Griffin Hotel has had a history unique to downtown Griffin and surrounding properties.
When the first electric streetlights were placed in downtown Griffin, it was the Griffin Hotel site that was chosen for their locations.
“What I am trying to do is bring in the history of Griffin in and get people more involved in understanding their town,” Smallwood said. “So far, everybody that has gone through has given me positive feedback on their experiences.”
The SinisterSuites haunted house will open to the public Thursday –Sundays from October 3 – November 2. Cost for admission will be $20.
Smallwood is still searching for volunteers to work with the haunted house in all positions, including areas such as ushering, ticket taking and even performing.
“People can still be involved on the last day if they want. They just need to contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m hiring actors of all ages, but obviously people under the age of 18 are going to need parental consent. Anybody that is into horror and scaring people and just having fun can come and volunteer.”
For more information visit www.sinistersuites.com. Ω