One ‘scary’ family Volunteering at Field of Screams is a thriller
By: NOELLE BARRETT Record Express Correspondent, Staff Writer
Blood drips from her wounded head. Her sunken eyes look right through her victims, piercing their souls. As she gets closer, the hairs on the backs of necks stand up.
"Do you want to play?" she asks.
Her name is Brieanna Kopp, a sophomore at Warwick High School, and the grim props and gruesome makeup are part of a stage set to scare. It’s Halloween theater, and Brieanna and some of her family members are part of the creepy cast at Field of Screams, the haunted carnival of attractions that come to life this time of year.
In addition to Brieanna, this Lititz crew includes her brother Austin Peacock, her mother Sue Peacock, and Sue’s boyfriend Zeffy Penn (of Harrisburg). They spend their Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays volunteering at the seasonal event.
Sue signed the family up last year, and Zeffy joined the fun this year.
"I’ve been there many times as a customer, and I always wanted to see about being an actor," he said. "I love horror movies, and I just wanted to be able to scare people."
Brieanna, 15, plays a dead child in the asylum, where Sue takes tickets at the entrance.
People often ask Sue, "This isn’t scary, is it?"
Venture in and find out for yourself.
"It scares people just to look at me," Brieanna chimed in. "It’s pretty gruesome. I’ve had a lot of younger girls crying, and I get a lot of people screaming back at me or saying they want to punch me."
The key is to stay in-character, even when the hecklers come through.
Some of the people who act tough are the most easily frightened, said Austin, who is an actor in the Den of Darkness.
"It’s easy to tell what people get scared the most," said the WHS junior, "and I go after them."
Tricks and jokes are another way to frighten and entertain, simultaneously. Brieanna fools many when she pretends she isn’t real.
"The adults get scared if I’m hiding or I’m acting like a mannequin," she said. "They don’t know I’m really real. So I jump out, and they scream."
"I used a fake rat and put it in a girl’s face and made a sound that I can’t even describe," Austin added. "She just dropped straight to the floor and everyone was just laughing."
Much of what happens during skits and scares isn’t scripted, said Zeffy, who plays the role of the executioner during the haunted hayride.
"We can do and say whatever we want to as long as it’s not profanity," he explained.
"A lot of the reactions depend on the phobias people have," he said. "I know a lot of people are scared of pigs or scared of chain-saws, or scared of clowns."
"The last room has our chain-saws, and it’s pretty normal to see people running quickly out of the building," said Sue, who works by day at Lancaster-Lebanon IU13.
Zeffy even performs a staged execution in which another actor is trapped in a guillotine. The suspenseful speech that encourages audience participation is "executed" perfectly.
"The head rolls out, and my assistant grabs the head and shows everyone," he said. "We pump up the crowd (before the execution), and have them chant, ‘cut her head off."
No one has the same exact reaction, he points out. Every crowd is different, but it’s all like one big family having some bloody fun in the Halloween tradition of horror.
Sue said the people she volunteers with are the same way.
"At (Field of Screams), everyone is a family. It doesn’t matter what your background is," she said.
"I have never been bored," Zeffy said. "It’s very exciting. I’m having a great time."
"Not only is it something to do in my free time, but (also) something I can share with my family and a lot of friends," Brieanna added.
Family night at Field of Screams runs through Nov. 4 and features three different frightening attractions, in addition to Corn Cob Acres for younger children during daylight hours. More information is available at fieldofscreams.com or corncobacres.com. More SCREAMS, page A21