“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before…”
From “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe
Do you want to see something scary? 2005 SASHS graduate Riley Cameron sure hopes so! Cameron has been creating haunted attractions and things macabre as long as he can remember, and he’s made a business out of his passion. In 2014, his Chambersburg-area business, Nevermore Productions, will celebrate its 5th year of creating unique, frightening works of sculpture and other attractions for “haunts” all over the world.
This is Cameron’s busiest time of year, but he kindly took a few minutes to sit down and answer some interview questions for the art department’s Alumni Showcase.
How long have you been doing things related to horror?
Ever since I was old enough to walk. My parents always carved pumpkins with me, made costumes, decorated the house, had Halloween parties, etc. Halloween was a big deal for us and there were always plenty of opportunities for creativity
Who or what do you count as a major influence?
I’ve always have been intrigued by Poe's work. (It is) a perfect juxtaposition of beauty and elegance with dark and gruesome… Very raw.
Where did you go to school?
Shippensburg University. I graduated in 2009 with Bachelor of Fine Art.
How did you learn about special effects make up and processes?
I use a lot of my classical background...sketching, sculpting, etc., that I learned in high school and college, but the majority of the special effects techniques were largely self-taught. There is a wealth of information on the Internet and I would spend hours researching and learning, joining forums to talk with others in the business, looking at and studying other companies and the props that they produce and most importantly, taking the skills I learned and trying them out for myself. That’s the best way for me to learn: getting my hands dirty and trying a new skill. Whether it’s making molds, engineering animatronics, programming the animation, etc ., it’s best to just jump right in and give it a shot.
Tell us about your business and projects
(2014)...will be my 5th year owning my company. We produce everything from large scale animatronic monsters, set pieces, static props, costumes, and complete haunted attractions. There is a main tradeshow we go to in March of each year where almost all of the haunted houses in the country, and some even out of the country, attend. We set up detailed booths to display our new products and set pieces, interact with the customers, and take orders. During the summer months we work as a production company, filling orders which could range anywhere to one or two items to 50 or more. Occasionally we will get requests for custom work where we sit down with the client, discuss ideas, I usually do some concept sketching to make sure we are on the same page, agree on a price and go to work creating whatever the client wants. Usually each year there are one or two large scale projects that a client will commission us to create an entire walkthrough attraction or part of an attraction.
For whom have you done work?
Our clients come from all over the world, ranging from small yard displays to major theme parks... Busch Gardens, Cedar Point, Six Flags to name a few. Field of Screams, Jason’s Woods and the Bates Motel are some of the more local haunted houses…
What is the most interesting work you've done?
Last year I was asked to be a part of a major project by another company, (Eerie Productions), building and installing a haunted house in Taiwan. We worked for 2 months practically non-stop creating a top of the line, super realistic, super high tech haunted house. Then we tore it down, shipped it overseas and then went to Taiwan for a month to install it at one of their major theme parks.
What do you hope people take away from your work?
I hope people look at my work and see how far the haunted house industry has come from its humble beginnings to a legitimate industry pushing the limits with realism and blurring the lines between fantasy and reality. I strive to not just imitate reality, but create it.