Spooky season is in full effect at Terror on the Coast, where ghosts and ghouls and goblins (oh, my!) run amuck.
Kevin Mitchell, who co-owns Sideshow Props 2.0 with Lawrence Barattini, is gearing up for Terror on the Coast’s fifth year.
Mitchell and Barattini – the guys who created sets for horror productions like “Scream” and “American Horror Story: – have 33 rooms filled with movie-set level props and approximately 150 cast and crew members ready to bring you a night of adrenaline-inducing scares.
“I used to love to go to haunted houses, and what I’ve learned from owning a haunted house is that it’s all about the adrenaline rush,” Mitchell said. “You get a shot of adrenaline every time you get scared. It’s a lot of fun.”
Mitchell heads up the Gulfport location. His partner Barattini, who has worked in the movie industry for 20 years, runs the Louisiana location.
In addition to working on more than 100 films each year, they also build props for the entertainment industry, including special events for casinos along the coast, events in New Orleans and weddings.
Sideshow Props 2.0 began on the Gulf Coast in 2014 when they began storing props in the building located at 3420 Giles Road in Gulfport.
“We started building cities inside this warehouse. We figured we should be diversified in what we did in Gulfport,” Mitchell said.
So, they decided if they were to build cities and sets in the warehouse, people would come out and want to see it.
“We rent space for venues and private events. It kind of progressed into that,” he said.
In 2014, they were working on approximately five horror films and had haunted houses from out of state requesting to buy the props they had built.
“They were interested in renting our props from ‘American Horror Story’ and ‘Scream’ and a few other films,” Mitchell said. “It gave us the idea. We have plenty of space here. We’re in an 86,000-square-foot building. So, we said, ‘Hey let’s build our own haunted house.’”
And Terror on the Coast was born. They set out to build a Hollywood-style haunted house; and in the first year, they created 15 rooms.
Now, in their fifth year, they have 33 rooms, and their cast and crew of 40 people have grown to approximately 150 volunteers.
“Terror on the Coast has been a phenomenon for us, and it was completely by accident,” Mitchell said. “Our first line of business is in the movie industry, renting and building movie props.”
Since Netflix arrived on the scene, some of the notable productions they have created props for include “Preacher” and “Into the Badlands.”
They have also worked on numerous movies, including the remake of “The Magnificent Seven” and “The Free State of Jones.”
“We’re kind of known for specializing in Western and carnival type stuff. So, we work on a lot of movies in that genre,” Mitchell said.
Since they have built a successful career in the movie industry, Mitchell and Barattini help out students hoping to break into the industry as well.
University of Southern Mississippi film students, Mississippi State University engineering students and Ocean Springs’ robotics class have been able to utilize the warehouse for various projects.
“We have worked with several schools, high schools and colleges,” Mitchell said. “Not only are they following their passion but working on their portfolio. This is a great place for students to feed their passion and follow their dreams and learn more about the industry they want to be in.”
Volunteers with Terror on the Coast have also launched careers in the movie industry recently, and the haunted house gave them ample experience in makeup artistry and acting.
“It’s a gateway for our volunteers to follow their dreams and enter the movie industry,” Mitchell said.
Terror on the Coast is open each Friday and Saturday night from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. The haunted house will also be open on Halloween night, Thursday, Oct. 31.
Both general admission and VIP tickets can be purchased online on their website terroronthecoast.com, and general admission tickets can be bought at the door. VIP tickets allow visitors to skip the line, as the lines tend to get longer the closer it gets to Halloween, according to Mitchell.
He added that the haunted house is not only a scary good time but also safe.
“We have a no-touch policy,” Mitchell said. “The rooms are larger than a normal haunted house. We’re wheelchair accessible. Our rooms are basically movie sets. Everything has been in a movie, built for a movie or rented for a movie. Each room is different. We have 33 rooms that are all completely different and over the top.”