TOP OF THE PROPS: Peter Anderson in his Mary Street workshop.
TOP OF THE PROPS: Peter Anderson in his Mary Street workshop. Steph Allen

Halloween fan's amazing Rocky Horror Show

LIFELONG horror fanatic, Peter Anderson, has a dream to create Rocky's first full-size professional haunted house.

The Emmaus College grounds keeper has always had a passion for art.

He paints flowers, welds and builds, constructs sensor operated and pneumatic robotics, creates production props, and dabbles in sculpture, but there's one thing he keeps going back to.

Mr Anderson, 48, creates horror masterpieces.

"I've been a horror fanatic from when I was little and I've always built props so this is just a natural progression. Halloween is just a small part of it, I build all sorts of nasty props for all sorts of things,” he said.

A self-taught visionary, Mr Anderson learnt most of his skills from YouTube videos, and after discovering how little Australia caters to Halloween compared to America, began to hunt down tools, props, and materials online and in the local skip at work.

"Unfortunately you can't get a lot of them here. I actually bring them from the States,” Mr Anderson said in his garage workshop.

"Foam heads are $17 to buy them locally, so I bring them in now and they cost me $2.45 from China or Thailand ... eBay has been a boom because all the pneumatics. You can't afford them. A ram is like $70 here. I can get it for $7.95 from China ... I couldn't afford to be doing this if I was buying Australian.”

Mr Anderson also developed a taste for 3D printing two-and-a-half years ago, which he says has been "just fantastic for doing props”.

This Halloween, he is gearing up for his first Rockhampton haunt.

There will be sensor-operated props, a creepy maze, a decked out garage illuminated only by amber strobe lights, and plenty of startle scares.

"Everything's designed for distraction. Distraction scares are the bread and butter of scaring people,” he said.

"How do I get my ideas? They just come to me. Like today I was looking for something and I came across one of those shower things and I just thought ... that'd be a really good lamp for the maze out there.”

Mr Anderson's biggest inspirations come from H.P. Lovecraft and from classic horror movies like Halloween, Psycho, The Shining, and Silent Hill, which he says is a "great atmosphere movie”.

Atmospheric horror is a strong theme in his work, and he believes that even with nothing but sound and light, he could scare even the most impervious horror buffs.

"When you get into serious haunts its all psychological. It's not what's there, it's what you think is there.”

Mary Street haunted house maze.
Mary Street haunted house maze. Steph Allen

However, Mr Anderson isn't your usual horror movie buff.

"I don't see it the same as everyone else because I watch and go 'wow, that person's head just come off, how did they do that?' It's all foam, latex and paint.

"A particularly scary scene - I'll go back through it ... and I'll look at the points and the aspects, and how it became scary, what they did to the atmosphere to build it up to that point. And normally it's not the actual action, its everything leading up to that point.”

Mr Anderson's wife, Paula, certainly wasn't expecting the barrage of gory props when she joined him at his Bajool church for their third date.

”I walked in and I'm looking around thinking 'where are the plastic drop sheets?'”

”All this stuff, you can't hide it. It was all in the church and she thought she'd met the next Dexter,” Mr Anderson said.

One day, Mr Anderson plans on selling his Bajool church to fund his vision of Rockhampton's first haunted house and joining the ranks of other former garage home haunters who have gone on to owning their own professional haunts.

Mr Anderson's Mary Street haunted house will be open to the public next Saturday, October 28, from 6.30-10pm.



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