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Arts & Culture

Podcast 86: ScareLA And Extreme Haunter Russ McKamey

Beth Accomando
Extreme haunter Russ McKamey with Cinema Junkie Beth Accomando. Does he look like the sadist his "haters" say he is or just the nice guy next door who does a home haunt? (And that's the headpiece Lora Ivanova refers to in her interview.)

Convention celebrates all things Halloween and continues to grow in its fourth year

86: ScareLA And Extreme Haunter Russ McKamey
Episode 86: ScareLA and Extreme Haunter Russ McKamey Checking in at ScareLA Halloween convention and with extreme haunter Russ McKamey who was on a panel that got a little crazy. Subscribe to the Cinema Junkie podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcatcher.

There are less than three months until Halloween. Spirit stores are already posting signs looking for employees and I am still trying to track down tentacles for my Lovecraft haunt this year. So basically it’s panic mode.

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Fortunately, I spent this past weekend at ScareLA where my sense of panic was understood by fellow Halloween enthusiasts.

ScareLA, which celebrates all things spooky and fun, has grown so big in its four short years that it had to move to the Pasadena Convention Center last year to accommodate the crowds.

This podcast is dedicated to ScareLA. Founder Lora Ivanova talks about suffering from "post-Halloween depression" and how 365 days was too long to wait between holidays so she launched ScareLA to add some Halloween fun to the summer.

To give you a sense of what the floor is like and what you can find at the show, I am also going to include some interviews from a 2014 story on ScareLA that I did for NPR.

I close out the podcast with controversial extreme haunter Russ McKamey of McKamey Manor.

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McKamey began home haunting decades ago with what he called a boo haunt — something fun but not too scary — for his neighborhood in San Diego. That eventually became the extreme-haunt McKamey Manor that gained international notoriety for not having a safe word people could use to get out of the haunt.

McKamey is someone people seem to either love or hate. His fans adore him and his haters want him locked up as a terrorist or torturer. But to me he is really a showman, the PT Barnum of home haunts. But that’s why interviewing him is so tough because when McKamey answers questions you can never be sure where the truth ends and the public relations begins.

I got to do a "sissy" tour of the old McKamey Manor for an NPR story and KPBS TV story. Here are he videos from my coverage of McKamey Manor.

Exclusive Behind the Scenes Look at McKamey Manor's Extreme Haunt
Post McKamey Manor Video
Extreme Haunt McKamey Manor To Leave San Diego
McKamey Manor: Meet Mary