by Gary Radice and Ed Marzola
Article: Adde
d 2000 / 2001 / 2002 / 2005 / 2006
Haunted Attraction Magazine Article: Jack Neiberlein

Jack Neiberlein was the Assistant Director at Terror on Church Street. The following appears courtesy of HAUNTED ATTRACTION magazine:

I began my tenure with Terror On Church Street in November of 1991 as an actor in the show. I recall my wife's first question being "Is this a real job?" At first, I was not sure it was, but I was sure that I was being paid to have a lot of fun. I loved the immediate gratification that I got from the guests' strong reactions.

In January of 1992, when David Clevinger became the Director of the show, my life began to change. David sensed my love of the genre and showed an appreciation of my performances. Being a life long Horror fan, I was thrilled when in September of 1992, I became the Assistant Director of Terror on Church Street.

One of my many fond memories of Terror, was the annual Street Party To Die For. With thirty live actors and two solid blocks of outdoor entertainment this party was always an extraordinary event! As the masses of people arrived, I felt like a mad scientist watching his creation come to life. Even though the change of seasons is barely noticeable in Orlando, every year in late October I would swear that I could smell the scent of dried leaves perfume the air.

My pride in Terror on Church Street runs deep, especially when it comes to cast members. I was gifted with the great fortune of auditioning, hiring and directing dozens of talented actors and actresses. Their enthusiasm and dedication was infectious and they were truly the backbone of the attraction. When the first guest walked through the door, I knew that the pure energy and dazzling performance that was given by each cast member was going to floor him. On a nightly basis, visitor reaction showed the effectiveness of the casts' talents. Alan Ostrander, Terror's exceptional make up artist, designed and applied unique, custom-built make up and appliances night after night and the level of quality never wavered. His outstanding contribution to the look and feel of the attraction cannot be overstated and was a primary reason why Terror shined among Haunted Attractions.

Terror brought the spirit of Halloween to the masses 364 nights a year in a town where the leaves do not even change color in autumn. We terrorized people from around the world. Frequently entertaining guests from Europe, Asia and South America who returned year after year just to experience Terror on Church Street. Word-of-mouth response was phenomenal. Reluctant guests were sometimes offered a money back guarantee by myself, when they questioned the quality of the show and its ability to frighten. We always lived up to the challenge. I do not recall giving a single refund for not being able to scare someone.

As Director of Operations, David Clevinger brought Terror and the entire the industry to a new level. His set designs have a classic, architectural quality and his level of detail left an impression on everyone who experienced them or had the pleasure of seeing them built. He gave enormous freedoms to the staff, and generosity was greatly appreciated. His willingness to give untested talent a break is a testament to his wisdom and self-confidence.

Was Terror on Church Street the best Haunted Attraction ever? I don't think that this is for me to judge. I do know that some visitors enjoyed Terror so much that they tried to copy it in their own town. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and this is a testament to Terror's greatness. I personally feel that the key to Terror's success was the collaboration of the cast. The strong team effort helped to propel guests' fears to new heights on a nightly basis. As with most entertainment ventures, egos occasionally caused disturbances, but in the end our goal was always clear: Provide a high-quality Haunted Attraction, fill it with talented actors, entertain the guests, and have fun!

Terror on Church Street was a unique experience for me. I was paid to be creative and work with imaginative people. I learned much about myself and the wonderful people with whom I worked. In a few years, when my son asks me what I did at Terror on Church Street, I will tell him that Daddy ran the Spook House. Not just any Spook House, the one that people came across oceans to see and talked about for years after it closed.

Thank you Terror on Church Street for one wild ride.

Image: turtlemom4bacon on Flickr


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