Scary Stories : Corpse Barn – First Jason Music Video Shoot
Laugh cry scream or die….but you will never forget the experience of the gritty mass of murderous illusion known only as the Corpse Barn Shock Haunt! Corpse Barn is a high energy sensory shock haunt in Jackson, Michigan.
Last April, Corpse Barn was chosen as the location site for a music video shoot by Ari Lehman, the original Jason Vorhees actor from the “Friday the 13th” film series. We recently sat down with Clint Tacy, co-owner of Corpse Barn, and talked movies, metal, and mayhem.
SlashMachine : Thank you for taking the time to speak with me Clint ! We’ve gotten a huge response from this project. There’s no rules here. We pretty much just want to hear about your journey, and any cool stuff you can throw in in between.
How did you start off creating and being involved in the haunt industry ?
Clint : I’m going to talk your ear off. Is that cool with you ?
SlashMachine : That’s what we are here to do. That’s totally cool with me.
Clint : Good. Because the two things I rattle off about are my kids and my haunt.
Haunted houses or anything scary for real…started for me a long time ago as a kid. My dad’s birthday was on Halloween, and so that was always a big deal for me. The other thing is because my mom would never let me watch horror movies or anything like that because of her fear of them, and so naturally I was drawn to them.
SlashMachine : Funny how that works. The things your parents try and keep you from are what draws you closer.
Oh yeah, yeah shoved me right to it. What helped me along is my aunt was like 10 years older than me and she was like a big sister to me, and she was into that stuff, so I was doing what my cool older sister was doing. We used to watch a lot of horror movies together. When I was like 10 or so we went up to northern Michigan and they had a haunted house there and they let me go in it, and I was just mesmerized by all the strobe lights and everything, and I screamed my head off. It scared the hell out of me. Then one of the characters sort of cornered me, and I screamed and screamed and screamed. He came out of character to calm me down, and I screamed again, and they just had to carry me out of there, and I got outside and everyone is laughing and giggling, and after I calmed down…I wanted to go in and do it again. I think that’s what started it for me. Getting into haunted houses and horror stuff.
SlashMachine : What were some of your favorite movies back in those days ?
I always liked B-Rated stuff. You know like Zombie movies. My aunt and I would watch like part 6 of Planet of Killer Whatever…you know whatever cheesy low rate horror movie we could get our hands on, and of course everyone watched Friday the 13th, and Nightmare on Elm Street. I was always drawn to Zombie movies, and I think that was because those were the movies that scared the hell out of my mom. She would watch Night of the Living Dead..the original, and at the time we were living in a farmhouse and outside her bedroom window was a cemetery, so when she watched that movie she thought Zombies were going to come out of the cemetery and come and get here. After she watched it she wouldn’t sleep for like 2 or 3 weeks. I remember her telling me that story, and I was like “Wow”, what’s so interesting about these Zombie flicks? I zoomed right into those.
SlashMachine : How did your love for these films evolve into you wanting to get involved and put together a haunt of your own ?
When I got to be a teenager I came across a documentary about Tom Scanini (sp?) about all the make-up stuff that he did, and that just really resonated with me, and all the sudden I started going out getting these make-up kits and making my dad into this devil. Then I started to go to make-up seminars at my local college. So I really wanted to get into make-up. Then by the time I was 17 I decided that when I graduated high school I wanted to move to Pittsburgh and go to the institute of arts there, and take special effects. I took a trip down there and toured the school…and then last minute I kinda freaked out right before it was time to move,and didn’t go.
So then after that I’m sitting at home and I’m like
“What do I want to do now ?” I didn’t have enough balls to go down there, so I started writing. My grandfather was a writer. I started dabbling around and writing screenplay’s. I sat down and wrote my first one in 2000. There was a film shot in Jackson in the 70’s called “Demon Lover”. I got associated with the people who made that movie from around here. Jerry Young, Phil Bates, Don Jackson who made “Hell Comes to Frogtown 2” with Roddy Piper, and then I went out to Hollywood with this screenplay and I hooked up with those guys. I didn’t sell the screenplay , but it allowed me to see the film business inside and out. I decided to start a production company. It eventually fell apart and I sat down again and was like “well I wanted do make-up and that didn’t work, and I wanted to write…and that didn’t work…maybe I should just try to make my own movie. So…I got some people together and we were going to try and shoot a few horror shorts to submit to different festivals, and that didn’t pan out…and I’m sitting there and like…”I really want to do something in this industry…what do I do?” That’s what led me back to Haunted Houses.
In 96, I did my first Home Haunt…and we got a really great response…People asked us to do it the next year…and it just kept getting bigger and bigger. We put an ad in the paper and we had people coming from all over town, and we were like “Ok, we’re on to something here.”
In 98, I started working at a business place up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and they had this Haunted cubicle contest, and I did that and won. First Place was a $500 gift certificate to a travel agency.So I grabbed a couple of my buddies and we went up to Canada and partied in a suite for a weekend. That’s where I really got to know my current business partner. Him and I sat down and said “Ok, so we’ve sorta dabbled in this front porch haunts and we did this little Haunted Cubicle contest. He said, “Why don’t we do something bigger ?”. His parents had a giant farm with lots of land out in the suburb of the main city where we are, and in 1999 we did a 2 day haunt there.
We charged donations. We had about 10-12 actors. It was outside and inside. It was the most elaborate thing I had done at that time. We made $400 off donations in just 2 days. We were in our early 20’s and that was beer money for us.
We decided to go back and do it again a second year and we charged $2 and did a little bit of advertising. You know 8×10 paper flyers, and we put them at the record shop, and places like that. We had a pretty good turnout from that.
In 2003, I got this large building in downtown Jackson,Michigan that used to be a movie theatre and then a nightclub. So now I had this 3 level haunted house and we put like $10,000 into it, and we were down there alot painting and modifying it, but we were partying way too much. We were in our early to mid-20’s and we had no idea what we were doing. We didn’t advertise. I put all this money into it, and I think we made $1200. It was a complete bust. There was nightclub in there before us and the liquor cabinet was still full. All of the actors, who were buddies of mine, were getting into and getting trashed. Breaking stuff. Then they would leave in the middle of it to go get beer and then coming back. It was just a bad deal.
I was thinking I was mister big time. I was paying the actors. I would say “ok” you’re going to make X amount of dollars for every night that you’re here. I didn’t anticipate I wasn’t going to make any money. I was like. “I’ve done this before” People have shown up. I thought I was going to make a killing. So at the end everybody was like “Where’s that money?”…I was like well…”We didn’t make any money.” So after that complete disaster. I was like I’m never doing another Haunt again.
Then in 2009, Brad, my current business partner, found this old barn, and he called me up and said “You gotta see this barn…We’ve gotta do a haunted house in it.” I go out there and I check this place out and it is just fantastic, but in the back of my mind, I’m remembering my last complete disaster and I don’t want any part of it. Then were walking around and I run across this old trap door, and I bent over and opened it and it just made this creepy sounding squeak, and I was like “Ok, I’ll do it”.
It took about a year to get it operable, and then it just kinda took off from there.
SlashMachine : I’ve noticed on your facebook page that you guys use a lot of video to promote your haunt. How important is that element to the success of your haunt ?
Clint : Very important. The video shoot we just recently did with Ari Lehman, the very first Jason Voorhies in the Friday the 13th movies, lives in Chicago and he’s got a punk/metal band called “First Jason”. About 2 or 3 months ago he asked to be my friend on facebook….I was like “Oh Cool” I got to his page and I notice he has this band, and he was looking to this video for his song “Victim”, and in it Jason Voorhies is like killing all of these Zombies. So I sent him a message and invited him to come to barn and shoot it. So in a few weeks it was a done deal.
Last Weekend he brought 50 or more people from all over the world…a make-up guy from Alabama. He had actors from Tennessee, Carolina, New Jersey..2 guys from Germany…one of them played in “Hellboy”. So we had some moderate star power. We shot the video. I sent out press releases. The local news showed up. We got great coverage for it. We got introduced to a whole other circle of artistic friends. We met make-up artists, photographers, animators,etc. That video alone got us a ton of attention. I’ve been bumping into people all week and everyone has been asking all excited “How’d that video go…How’d that video go?” In our immediate area…everybody has heard about it ?
SlashMachine : When are they scheduled to release it ?
Clint : We wrapped last week. They didn’t give me an official time, but I know they still had to do some editing. I’ve been agging them along on their facebook page. We shoot little video trailers here at the barn to promote the haunt and we told them we were going to post 1 Corpse Barn video a day on their page until they get finished. You know…just kinda agging them along to finish it. We haven’t gotten an official release date yet, but it should be soon.