The Electroshock Spotlight is a series focused on presenting an inside look into the world of those who dedicate their lives to the haunt and entertainment industry. Each piece will focus on owners, actors, and staff who have deep passion and love for haunting. With this edition, we take a look at the career of Lynn Griffin Jr. Not often can one claim that they “saved” a haunted attraction, but Lynn Griffin Jr. can always place on his resume that he helped save the Circle of Screams from an almost certain demise.
Four seasons ago most respectable haunt “reviewers” and media wrote of the Circle of Screams, in Dickson City, PA as a dead attraction. From logistical problems to a horrific storyline, we once stated that we would not recommend Circle of Screams to our worst enemies it was that pathetic. However, last season we noticed a shocking renaissance that has continued through the 2017 season. Circle of Screams is no longer a joke attraction and while not at the same level yet as some of its competitors is a show that relies on the strengths of its “actors” to drive success. A strong actor base is the core strength of the revived attraction and Mr. Griffin has played an intricate role in its ability to thrive.
Mr. Griffin has played an integral role in the management team’s new focus, providing a quality attraction that stands out in a competitive field, and has worked at Circle of Screams since 2014 (once portraying “Beetlejuice”). He credits his background in theater as a source of inspiration, and his ability to help bring out the best in his scare acting team.
Describe your history in the industry, including what roles you play at your current and former haunt. In 1998 I joined the Milton Haunted house as their director/Choreographer for the entertainment pieces. In 2014 Brandi Morris, then manager of Circle of Screams invited me up to act in one of their scenes, I enjoyed it immensely. The following year (2015) I was asked to be the tour guide due to my theatrical experience and adlib abilities. At the end of the season, I was asked to become the Creative Director/Lead.
I took on the position of Haunt Manager and opened the attractions with only eight weeks to set up, train and implement slight changes. In 2017, we started much earlier, I added in the “Cirque De Peur,” “Delfino Manor,” and “Dark Circle” event. I would love to play a role in a scene my responsibilities to my actors and business keep me in the management role which I am thrilled to do so as I get the opportunity to see my vision come to life. (Note: “Dark Circle” was cancelled for mysterious reasons not clear to this day)
Describe your interest in the haunt industry. What made you want to work in a haunted attraction? What first interested or inspired you? I have always been in theatre, working in a haunted attraction allows me to flex my fear factor, which is something not commonly done in a theatrical environment. With my love of horror movies, this is second nature to me to scare others. I enjoy diving deep into my psyche to discover and create what will genuinely scare others.
What is the source of your creativity? What drives you? My nightmares first inspired me. Then it turned into what nightmarish creatures can I come up with next that drives me now. I can implement my designs in years to come while sticking right to my theatrical background, always trying to push my actors to the limit of what they can do.
What do you enjoy most about your position? I enjoy watching my actors bring scenes to life. The moment they “get it” is amazing to me as a director. And then watching their excitement as they get the desired reaction from guests going through pushes the amazement further because then their creativity kicks in and they give input as to what they could add to their scene.
What are the most significant challenges you face each season? The most notable problem is coming up with new scenes and figuring out how to make new stunts work with live actors. Also keeping up with the competition can be mentally draining itself. Each season before a new feat is taught to the actors; I learn how to perform the task myself so that I can explain my performers to do it safely. I spend a great deal of time learning and training people with new makeup techniques and character development.
If you could tell your customers one thing, what would that be? Why? Enjoy the performance. The hard work, the actors, put into every one of the scenes is much appreciated. Pay attention to what’s going on around you.
Where do you see the industry in 10 years? The industry is continuously growing. More haunts are opening up each one has their niche, and everyone can be satisfied if they stay true to their original format. Stick to your strengths and support each other. I feel in 10 years the next generation will begin to take over haunted attractions with innovative ideas.
Any advice for those who one day would like to enter the haunt industry? Stray true to yourself. And your creative ideas. The industry is continuously evolving, keep up with the times. Don’t get disheartened when it comes to the first few years because it can be costly but the return can be much greater. You will get out of it what you put into it.
I would like to give special credit to my fantastic team at Circle of Screams. From my Assistant manager- to my zone leads. We all work together like a fine-tuned machine, and without them, I would be running around like a headless zombie. Come check out the Circle of Screams 1911 Scranton Carbondale Highway, Dickson City, PA