Madness at McKamey Manor
McKamey Manor is an real life, extreme combination of a haunted house and the worst horror films that have been created. This haunted house is based around the participant's individual fears, and actors have the goal to put the participant into a real life, gruesome, horror film. According to The Guardian, as well as many others, “At McKamey Manor, people sign up to be kidnapped, bound, masked, slapped, stomped on and held under water” (The Guardian).
The manors are located in Huntsville Alabama, Nashville Tennessee, and the original in San Diego California where the manor is located in Russ McKamey’s backyard. Russ had been in the navy for 23 years, and has the ultimate goal of making people feel like they are living their own horror movie.
This house is not for just any ordinary person. In order to enter you must complete 4-5 hours of physical and mental activities. This takes place at Holly’s Playhouse, and it is said that if one cannot survive this house they will have no chance in surviving the manor. They must also have no existing physical or mental conditions that could put them at any greater risk of danger. Participants also need to have a background check, pass a drug test, sign a detailed 40 page waiver, and bring a doctor’s note that states that they are physically capable of completing the experience (McKamey Manor). If you are able to check off all of these requirements you still may not be able to participate because there is a waiting list of over 27,000 people.
Each year the manor has a goal of making the experience scarier and scarier. Russ has spent over $500,000 on these houses so far, but that cost is necessary to keep up with the high demand of people who wish to attend the 8-10 hour extreme event. Russ had stated that, “Every year it’s got more crazy, more aggressive. We wouldn’t be infamous if we weren’t able to deliver the product” (The Guardian). There is one show per week, and it is free of charge for those who enter the house. In order to make a profit Russ accepts donations in the form of cash and dog food for his pet greyhound. Out of the thousands that have entered not one person has been able to complete the entire night, but if they were able to they would receive a $1,000 reward. The cost of attending this house is a strain on one’s physical and mental health, and the benefit is no more than the satisfaction that they had gone through it. There is no safe word, and you are not allowed to leave no matter how much you beg; the only way to get evicted is to return the contact to the actors (which is hard to do when they have you chained and duct taped together).
Overall, this show is beneficial to the local economy of Texas, Tennessee, and California. This event brings in a population from all around the world, because so many wish to partake in the experience. In turn this creates a heightened profile for the cities surrounding the houses as the people who attend also bring profit to the goods and services within the area.
Carroll, Rory, and Mae Ryan. “Extreme haunted house: inside the real life kingdom of masochists.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 30 Oct. 2015, www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/oct/30/extreme-haunted-house-masochists-mckamey-manor.
McKamey, Russ. “McKamey Manor.” mckameymanor. 10. 2017,