Creak. creak. Thud-thud. You can hear your own heart pounding a 100 miles per hour. As you make your way through a dark hallway, you can hear the sound of the wood board creaking.
Unable to see anything, you turn the corner and suddenly a zombie comes flying at you from the ceiling causing you to scream at the top of your lungs.
Reign of Terror all started from founder Bruce Stanton’s 2,000-square-foot home which he decorated annually as a hobby. This year marks the 15th anniversary for Stanton’s fright-filled 70 room, 15,000 square-foot haunted house which is ranked as one of the top 10 haunted houses in the United States.
The haunted house is run strictly by volunteers who gain enjoyment from supporting their local community.
“I love Halloween and have a passion for helping the community,” said Rob Nitzsche, volunteer actor at the haunted house. “I also love that it’s supporting the teen center.”
All proceeds collected are donated to the Conejo Recreation and Parks District which benefit the district’s Thousand Oaks Teen Center, the Thousand Oaks Young Artists Ensemble and Conejo Theater.
“I never wanted the haunted house just to be a business,” said Stanton. “We are a non-profit organization and I just wanted to do this for fun.”
Stanton said that when he first constructed the haunted house at his own home, him and his team had to set up in September, run it in October and tear it down.
“It was fantastic because it was my own house but the problem was that it got so big and so popular that we just needed more space,” said Stanton.
Now that it operates from the Janss Marketplace lot in Thousand Oaks, Stanton can work on the house year round, giving volunteers more time and room for fresh ideas.
“Stanton is over the top and I’ve never seen so much amount of energy, commitment and has such a big heart for the community as a whole,” said Jay Dodwell, Teen Services Coordinator of the Thousand Oaks Teen Center.
Stanton points out that the Reign of Terror experience and setup provides a more impactful and stimulating experience as opposed to some of his competitors.
“We truly feel that we have a product every bit as good as Universal Studios, in fact, we think it’s better than Universal Studios because we put you in a smaller group,” said Stanton.
“If you go through a haunted house with you and a couple buddies, it’s a lot scarier than going through with a hundred people.”
For more information about The Reign of Terror visit rothauntedhouse.com.