A Horror institution rises from the dead

By Jeff Boudreaux


House of Shock 2

Photos courtesy of The House of Shock


House of Shock 1



Just when everyone, including yours truly, thought that “The House of Shock” was gone forever after the 2014 Halloween season, forever turned out to be a very short time indeed. Like a vampire that just can’t be killed or a zombie that rises from the grave, Jefferson Parish’s own embodiment of horror will return in 2015 as if it had never left in the first place. October will be business as usual for owner and co-founder Ross Karpelman, who returns as “Lord Belial” for the one-of-a-kind festivities that only the House of Shock can offer. According to Karpelman, an online Kickstarter campaign and a wealthy fan who wishes to remain anonymous has provided the operational expenses for at least one more year.

This is great news, as anyone who has ever been to the House of Shock will tell you that this isn’t your grandparents’ house of horrors. Founded in 1992 by Karpelman, along with friends Steve Joseph, Jay Gracianette, and Phil Anselmo of the legendary heavy metal band Pantera, the House of Shock has evolved from a little haunted house in a backyard in Metairie to the all-out Halloween festival located on Butterworth Street in Jefferson. The lines are much longer now for the actual haunted house than it was back then, but waiting is easy and half the fun when you can enjoy live music, pyrotechnic-filled stage shows, and last but certainly not least – a full-service bar complete with shot girls! There’s also no reason to head into the house with an empty stomach. The snack bar known as “Hell’s Kitchen” will be serving up great tasting food each and every night.

Unfamiliar with the House of Shock’s practices? Well, let’s just say that as long as you can take cardboard Satanism with a grain of salt, you’ll be just fine! Sure, it’s blasphemous, terribly irreverent, and has done publicity stunts anywhere from stamping guests with the number of the beast to seating them in a satanic chapel. It’s obvious that the establishment is playing on the same fears that a majority of horror movies do nowadays, which is intensified in a predominately-Catholic city such as New Orleans. But there’s also an undeniable dedication for the art of horror and all of its many facets. Karpelman and company are fans themselves, first and foremost, and know how to thrill an audience. It’s no secret that in spite of financial setbacks in recent years (including extensive damage from Hurricane Isaac in 2012 and a Halloween night rain-out in 2013) the House of Shock had previously enjoyed national recognition as one of the top haunted houses in the United States, and was extensively featured on VH1, the Travel Channel, and Fuse TV.

Can the House of Shock reclaim their glory days? Only time will tell. They’re not the only horror attraction in town, and main competitor “The Mortuary” appears to be raising the bar this year with the “7 Deadly Sins” theme and its “Mystere Escape Rooms.” Not to be outdone, the purportedly all-new House of Shock’s theme this year will be aptly-named “The Resurrection,” and there will be two new attractions: the “Bordello of Freaks” and the three-dimensional “Laff in the Dark.” The one thing that sets the House of Shock apart from any competitor is its free festival and party atmosphere (you don’t have to buy a ticket to hang out, drink, and have fun). In a city known for its haunted history as well as its partying, the resurrected House of Shock is sure to find a happy medium as it always has, delivering the best of both worlds to a legion of fans that won’t get their scares from anywhere else.

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