What do you get when you combine an artist, an "isolated looney", a
"Douglas Fir" singing Christmas tree, a love for Halloween and a home to house it in?
You get Lamar Manor, the brain child of Christopher Silvia. From the animatronics,
to the set design, this cannot be dismissed as "just another home haunt". Rather, it is a labor
of love that shows that Halloween isn't just for the pros.
Originally started in
1997 it's more like a haunted show, rather than a walk through haunt. As with most
home haunts, it all started out as a simple Halloween display, and grew
into a full blown haunt/show. With being confined to a wheelchair, Christopher
tried, for years to disguise himself with costumes on Halloween, but nothing
seemed to work. From that point on, when October 31st would come
around, he would
just stay home, but soon discovered that he could have more fun by scaring people.
Armed with ideas from the internet, an
artistic ability and an enjoyment for creating things, Lamar Manor was
born. Christopher makes all his own props and takes pride in the fact that he
has no "off the shelf" props.
Our tour starts out in the graveyard, where guests
can read all of the comical epitaphs on the tombstones. From there, you approach the door
where you see a sign for Lamar Manor. The sign then begins to speak and tells you
to be patient, the maid will be with you soon to escort you in. Once greeted by the
maid you are escorted to one of the a couches to sit down in. In front of you rests Mr. Lamar
(an animatronic prop) sitting in front of the fireplace in his chair.
He welcomes you and thanks you for visiting, but warns that the ghost of Mrs. Lamar is
lurking and that danger is soon to come. In an attempt to get rid of the spirit of Mrs. Lamar,
he calls upon a medium he has hired to perhaps make things safer, known as Lady Zora.
Inside a crystal ball in the center of the room, Lady Zora appears and tries
to contact the ghost and help her pass on, but this seems to only anger
the spirit of Mrs. Lamar. Thunder crashes, the lights go out, and the portrait of Mrs.
Lamar above to fireplace is the only thing that is lit. Blood then begins to "drip" from
the neck of the portrait. A horrible scream is suddenly heard, the light on the portrait
goes out and you are in total darkness. The very
seats you sit in start to
shake violently. Then, just as quick as it all started, it ends and the
lights once again come back on. What is this that now stands in front of you? You will just have to
find out for yourself.
You can tell that Christopher is very influenced be Disneys Haunted
Mansion with the animated props and the crystal ball and the soundtrack. All
of the props, sounds and lights are controlled by Christopher via a
computer in another room. His niece plays the maid and hands out treats to the
guest after the show ends. Last year, a good friend played 'Auntie
Veruca' in the graveyard and also helped with some painting and setup of
the haunt, but for the
most part, Christopher creates the entire thing
and gets stuck with ALL of the clean up.
Some of the props created for this show include:
1. The talking sign that greets you at the door. This prop is made
using, of all things, the inner workings of one of those annoying singing
2. The bleeding portrait of Mrs. Lamar. This prop is the only gore in
the entire show. It catches people of guard most of the time.
3. A tombstone with an urn on the top that a "small guest" resides in, as well as
lions heads on the side which "spill" fog from their mouths.
4. And who could forget Mr. Lamar himself. An animated prop controlled
by 6 computer controled servos and, as Christopher puts it, "He is very
In total, the haunted show lasts about 7 minutes. With all the props and
decor made by Chris himself, it has a very uniform look and design to it and
this is what makes this haunt more exciting to the guests, as well as what makes it
quite an interesting show. Also the fact that its more like a scary story than a walk
through haunt makes it very unique.
Christopher plans on revamping the story line for next year, as well as
adding some new animated props like a talking raven that interacts
with Mr. Lamar and Lady Zora. Also, the graveyard will also expand this
coming year with some new animatronics.
Lamar Manor is located in Portsmith, RI and is open Halloween night only
from 5:00 PM until around 1:00 AM. About 100-300 guest visit the Manor
each year and it grows each year. If you would like to learn more
Also, Lamar Manor
was visited by a film crew last year and will be on a documentary about
Halloween, so keep visiting the web site
for dates, times and updates.
Lamar Manor, in my opinion, is the very
reason why Halloween is such a
fun holiday. Not only do you have professional haunted
houses providing scares
and entertainment, but you also have the dedication and hard
Christopher, who pour their hearts into frightening and entertaining you as well.
These types of haunts really show the love they have for the macabre that comes
every October 31st. I would like to thank Christopher for all his time in answering my questions
for this article. So until next time, continue building and keep home haunting alive!