Eli Kerr

Local magician and illusionist extraordinaire Eli Kerr, who grew up in Carson City, is the owner and operator of Reno Fright Fest, an annual haunted house attraction. This year, the haunted house is called “SlaughterHouse,” and it’s located in Meadowood Mall, 5000 Meadowood Mall Circle. For Halloween weekend, the house will be open Thursday, Oct. 29, through Sunday, Nov. 1, 7 p.m. through 11 p.m. $12. For tickets or more information, call 885-6999 or visit

So what’s Reno Fright Fest?

Reno Fright Fest is located inside of Meadowood Mall. This year’s haunt is called SlaughterHouse, and it’s located inside a 7,000-foot storefront inside Meadowood Mall. It’s one giant haunted house, it’s actually Reno’s largest ever haunted house.

What are the scares like?

We have up to 40 actors in there per night that we’re open. We’ve got a lot of misdirection, a lot of animatronics, and a lot of unique scares that take place—it’s not just hiding in the dark and freaking you out. There’s a lot of special effects and lighting, and some custom pieces that you don’t see in just any haunted house. Basically, the entire thing is themed around a slaughterhouse, a thousand ways to die.

So a slaughterhouse like in Texas Chainsaw Massacre?

More so that than a butcher shop. [Laughs.] There’s some mass murdering going on. The basic structure of the house is like a burnt out Victorian-style home. That’s what the façade of it is, as well. Inside it takes you through different areas of this house, and there’s a torture room, and living rooms and a bathroom, as well, like a general house would have, but they’re all filled with monsters, creatures, chainsaw murders, and all kinds of fun stuff. Everything you need for Halloween.

Do you perform in the house, too?

No, I don’t actually. I’m the owner, so that means I run around like an idiot all night long, fixing problems and stuff. I would love to actually be an actor in there sometime, but I rarely get in there long enough before I get a call on the radio.

Do you have an age recommendation?

It’s a tough call. As far as admittance is concerned, children under 5 are free, but we don’t get a lot of small kids. It depends on each person. It’s kind of up to the parents’ discretions. It is open to all ages, but usually small children are accompanied by an adult. We’ve had 16, 17-year-old girls refuse to go in there—like run out of the line before they even get in. And we’ve had 8-year-old kids love it.

Have you had anybody freak out in there?

We’ve had to escort a few people out. We’ve had two people wet themselves in there and one person puke.

When that kind of thing happens do you feel like it’s an accomplishment or do you feel like you might’ve gone too far?

It’s actually an accomplishment. Our actor coordinator [Taija Ferguson] had a bet with everyone, an award thing, if someone could make somebody pee their pants, and it happened, I think, the first night.