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.”