Photography by Bluefish Studios
Ryan Kozar is gearing up for his fourth year of scaring the pants off of Edmonton. Firefighter by day, Kozar is the mad scientist behind Deadmonton, a haunted house that takes over the Paramount Theatre from September 29 through November 5.
Q: Why did you decide to open up a haunted house?
A: I came across a gentleman who was doing it in Vancouver and the videos blew me away. The actors were having a blast and the people coming out were just having a great time, so I flew out there to take a look at it and the rest is history. I have a passion for re-creating realistic sets and that was my opportunity to make it happen.
Q: Where do you get your inspiration from?
A: Anything and everything. I will watch a movie or even come across something in the street, like a building or the architecture. I will just combine what I see and what’s in my head and go from there. I’ll also tour a lot of the haunted houses in the United States to see what’s working.
Q: How do you go about designing the space?
A: A lot of times I change as I go, but I try to come up with an overall theme for the upcoming season and then I’ll work off of that. I try to make all of the scenes blend together to fit the story line to a certain degree. It’s from scratch right from construction down to the painting; it’s almost like building a house. I try and change as much as possible every year to keep people interested. It also allows me to be creative with new scenes every year.
Q: What charity are you supporting this year?
A: [Working with a charity] is something we started with [in year one] , we thought why not help out any way we can. This year it’s going to be Santa’s Anonymous. Every year we pick one night that’s the charity event night and we have a ton of prizes for silent auction and we donate money from ticket sales. We will also be taking donations throughout our entire season.
Q: What can people expect this year?
A: I’m geared towards trying to put on an amazing show that people enjoy and I’ll go to the extreme to do it. This year is the biggest as far as the most additions, props and money put into the show. The theme this year is “The Summoning,” based on the tale of the ghost at the Paramount Theatre, Frankie. He’s a little ticked off at what’s happening in his home here and so he decides to summon his friends from the dead.
This article appears in the October 2017 issue of Avenue Edmonton. Subscribe here.