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A Nightmare on Mentor Avenue


Tonight, Lake County Fairgrounds gets a head start on Halloween with the opening of Fright World 2006 and its six haunted houses. The excitement starts with Faces of Death, which features more than 100 actors reenacting scenes straight out of Friday the 13th and other splatter flicks. "We take you into the coffin room and show you the person being cremated," says Mike Pattison, Fright World's creator. "Then we show how we'll dissect you and experiment on your body parts."

Next door in the Asylum, psychos roam the house with one thing on their mind. "It's where the most insane killers of all time have escaped, and they've killed all the doctors and shrinks," says Pattison. "Now they're waiting for you." The third stop is the Dark Forest, where visitors cross the Bridge of Death over a river of floating bodies. In Gore Manor, a family of cannibals gorges on human limbs. "It should be rated R," laughs Pattison. "Don't come if you have a weak stomach."

The house tour continues with the medieval Kingdom of Darkness, guarded by an army of "in-your-face terrorists." It culminates in Nightmare Factory, which comes complete with robot monsters. That alone, says Pattison, has spooked people nearly into the emergency room. "You have people with their hearts palpitating," he says. "Some faint and have panic attacks. Some get so scared that we have to get them out of the house fast, because they can't handle it."

Throughout the year, Pattison polls area students to gauge which attractions are the scariest. "The kids go, 'Yeah, something jumping at me is OK, but we want something really disgusting,'" he says. "So we've made this the first stop on the road to hell."
Fridays, Saturdays, 7 p.m.-midnight; Sundays, 7-10 p.m. Starts: Sept. 29. Continues through Oct. 29

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