by Gary Radice and Ed Marzola
Article: Adde
d 2000 / 2001 / 2002 / 2005 / 2006

Terror on Church Street: What and Where was it?

Terror on Church Street opened in 1991 in downtown Orlando (Florida, USA) and was the first American installation of the popular Pasaje del Terror concept.

The Woolworth building was transformed into what people described as "the most elaborate" of the Pasaje attractions up to that date (November 8th, 1991). Visitor participation, constantly changing scripts and actors who were encouraged to improvise made each journey unique.

The promotional leaflet states:

"A ghoulish monk peers from a cobwebbed doorway, ushering visitors into a nightmare journey of fear. Down dark, winding passageways, you enter a terrifying world where hi-tech special effects, live actors and multiple sound tracks accompany your passage through individual theatrical sets and scenes, creating the ultimate experience in horror. Beyond panic, beyond the limits of fear, there is Terror on Church Street.
For the first time on American soil, this European terror attraction that has thrilled millions is striking fear in the heart of Orlando. Dare to experience the most horrifying adventure of your life, adding a chilling new dimension to your evening downtown. Enter the ghostly labyrinth that is Terror on Church Street!"

Visitors entered Terror on Church Street in groups of eight. However, exiting groups were often smaller - thanks to the "chicken" exits for the faint of heart.

An Advertising press release for Terror on Church Street at the time stated the following:
"Everyone is afraid of something. You've probably had at least one terrifying nightmare that just wouldn't leave you alone.
Maybe it involves a rabid dog with evil red eyes panting in a dark alley; or possibly you've envisioned a madman with a horrific smile staring at you through your bedroom window...
Whatever the nature of your greatest fears, you'll come face to face with them at Terror On Church street in downtown Orlando.
A word of warning - this is no kiddie haunted house.
It's not like seeing a Hollywood horror movie either.
This is a completely unique experience in fear because you don't just SEE it - you feel it.
It's all around you.
While the actors never come into physical contact with the visitors, the theatrical use of light, temperature, sound and the element of surprise combine to create an environment of apprehension and dread."

Convenient parking was available nearby and in peak season it stayed open until 1am!

From the Calendar section of The Sentinel (November 8 - 14, 1991) Debra K. Minor of the Sentinel staff wrote the following:

"Bad dogs? They got 'em. Evil dolls? Those too. Lots of dead, undead and some who would rather be dead? Uh-huh."

The horrors were not defined. Much was based on suggestion, anticipation of what might happen and conceptual kinds of fears.

Terror on Church Street actually missed its deadline for opening due to construction difficulties. It was hoped Terror on Church Street would open in time for Halloween. It actually opened on November 8th 1991.

The Orlando attraction opened in 1991 (the Spider's name is Boris!).



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