By Debbie Blank The Herald-Tribune
---- — During its third fall of terror, Batesville’s Fear Factory will creep into area residents’ nightmares earlier than in the past. “We could not pass up the opportunity to celebrate Friday the 13th,” explains Mary Ellen Rippe, who voluntarily co-directs the attraction with Bill Flannery.
The tour has almost tripled in size at RomWeber Marketplace in Batesville, expanding from 10,000 to 25,000 square feet. Those who love to be horrified are in for a few surprises. She notes, “If they’ve come before, this truly is a whole new experience.”
“It’s really, truly professionally done,” Flannery reports. “With the creativity of Hill-Rom engineers and the money we have, we were able to provide better special effects.” According to Rippe, “Animatronics have been upgraded. Every scene has been enhanced.” With strobe and black lights and costumed adults and students, “the scare factor is much greater.”
When imagining the tour, “we looked at what was originally in the building,” which used to house Batesville Coffin Co. It had a saw room, so Fear Factory does, too. Rippe promises, “It’s going to be really gory.”
Two special types of events (please see box) will be offered again. Spooktastic midnight tours encompass two building levels instead of just one. Lights-on tours for kids 10 and younger “will be less intense and scary” than the evening hijinks. Tykes also can participate in crafts and face painting and even pet Batesville police K-9 Jinx then.
Proceeds benefit Cierra’s Club, named in memory of Cierra Adams, who died of a drug overdose July 16, 2011, her 18th birthday. She would have been a senior at Batesville High School. The club was founded by her mother, Karen Adams; Rippe and Flannery. “Our mission is to raise funds to be used to provide safe entertainment choices for teens that do not include drugs or alcohol.”
BHS, OA and Batesville Middle School students have popped in to lend their talents. “At this point we have 35 students signed up to be actors and help at Fear Factory.”
On his own, BHS student Grant Greene produced a video that “was just too good to pass up. We wanted a YouTube video because we want to appeal to the kids,” she says. It can be viewed on the Web site www.fearfactorybatesville.com.
Citizens can pitch in as well. “We can always use monetary donations and actors,” according to Rippe. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 513-519-9936. Tax-deductible checks made payable to the Batesville Community Education Foundation and earmarked Cierra’s Club may be sent to BCEF, P.O. Box 121, Batesville, IN 47006.
Debbie Blank can be contacted at email@example.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 113.
Schedule of tours • Attendees should use the Depot Street entrance on the east side of the street between East Pearl and South streets, Batesville. • Regular 7-10 p.m. tours, $5: Friday, Sept. 13; Friday-Saturday, Oct. 4-5, Oct. 18-19 and Oct. 25-26. • Lights-on 1-3 p.m. tours, $5: Sundays, Sept. 29 and Oct. 13. • Midnight tours, $10: Fridays, Oct. 4 and Oct. 18.