The father-son duo behind Las Vegas’ only R-rated haunted house
LAS VEGAS (KTNV) – JT Mollner will be the first to tell you, “It’s not for everyone.”
He and his father, Duke, are the duo behind Freakling Brothers Horror Shows. They’ve been creating haunted attractions in Las Vegas for decades.
“It’s kind of a local favorite,” JT said. “My father and my older brother started the business in 1992.”
Classified R: restricted to under 17s
Real Las Vegas residents know that Freakling Bros. is not a joke.
“This is really realistic and disturbing content,” he said. “Have something happen to you rather than watching a scene.”
What started out as a farce to scare off trompe-l’oeil has grown into one of the spookiest Halloween attractions – not just in Vegas – but across the United States.
“A few years ago, all of a sudden, we started to be on these lists,” he recalls. “USA Today ranked us number one in the country, CNN put us in their top five in the country list. Fox News put us in their top 10 in the country list.”
Freakling Bros. has three haunted attractions, one of which is Nevada’s only R-rated haunted house – Gates of Hell.
“We wanted to rate it R so people would understand that walking in it was the same experience as watching a hardcore, tough R-rated horror movie,” JT said. “It is not noted X, it is not that type of experience, but it is noted R.”
“We wanted to have the freedom to do what we wanted to do there,” he said.
Worldbuilding, character development
The R rating for “Gates of Hell” is self-imposed, but if anyone knows a thing or two about creating an R-rated movie experience, it’s JT.
“A few years ago I ended up directing my first feature film called ‘Outlaws and Angels’,” he said.
As a filmmaker, JT says a lot of what he does on set results in the creation of these terrifying worlds that people enter every October.
Watch the “Outlaws and Angels” movie trailer below.
“Doing that with the actors that we have here in the haunted houses is very similar to making a movie, we see it as an interactive theater more than a traditional haunted house.”
For each actor they hire, they write unique characters and scripts, just like for a movie.
“When the season starts, we have a casting session,” he said. “We look at hundreds of people and choose who’s the best 45 to 50 and then I work with them.”
All characters are created by Freakling Bros. for Freakling Bros., so you won’t find a generic Michael Myers or Freddy Krueger in their lairs.
“The people who come here take it very, very seriously, and we take it seriously, so we spend a lot of time getting them to experience the character, teaching them the characters, writing the lines, creating the roles,” he said. -he explains.
Although he’s busy making movies and commercials in Los Angeles most of the year, JT says he blocks September and October every year to make sure he can get home and the to do with his family.
“It’s really lucky, I’ve been able to be here every season since I started running an attraction for my dad in 2003,” he said. “It’s a tradition every Halloween.”
A tradition that his father started over 40 years ago.
Imaginary, wonderful life
“My name is Duke Molnar,” Duke said introducing himself.
“I am a real life Bellagio baccarat dealer and run the Freakling Brothers haunted attractions in my imaginary wonderful life.”
The business began in 1992 when Freakling Bros. showcased the city’s first stand-alone haunted attraction inside self-contained trailers. But before that, Duke’s haunted house empire was born in his home on Halloween night as the family offered candy to candy treats.
“One year I decided to try and do something a little more intense, maybe scare some of the kids off before giving them candy.”
He built a coffin and disguised himself as Dracula. “I had a stake in my chest and I said to my wife, ‘We’re going to put the coffin in the hall. I’ll be lying in it. ”
He says he told her to tell the children that the candy was inside the coffin. To make the plan work, he put candy on his chest like he was a prop.
“Well, sure, the kids started to come. “
Duke remembers chasing the kids around his neighborhood all night. Even the adults stopped to see what was going on.
“I remember chasing a lady a block and a half down our street before I got back. I don’t think she ever got over it,” he said with a laugh. “But it was a lot of fun for us.”
Word spread and Duke and his family became legends. Their home was the place to be every year for Halloween.
To this day, Duke says that’s still what he loves most about creating haunted attractions.
“Listening to and seeing adults running down the exit screaming the daylight to themselves. I can’t tell you how exciting it is, and it keeps happening, so I’ll stay. here for a while. “
What’s new for 2021
Last year, Freakling Bros. took a hiatus from the pandemic, but they’re back this year with three haunted attractions to explore, and they’re doing something they’ve never done before.
“We have moved to a horror park environment,” JT said.
This year, you can enter with only one ticket and you can walk through the haunted houses as many times as you want.
COVID protocols are in place and everyone, including actors, is required to wear a mask. If you don’t have one, JT says they’ll give you one for free.
Tickets start at $ 50 and there is no re-entry if you leave the park. The attraction runs until October 31.
Learn more about freaklingbros.com.
The Freakling Bros. is located at 6555 South Riley Street in Las Vegas.
This story is taken from our “Las Vegas Art Scene” segment in our brand new dedicated digital show “How to Vegas”. Watch “How to Vegas” at 10:30 p.m. on Fridays – and throughout the weekend – using the KTNV app on your favorite streaming device.
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