Boo! Lincoln Mill Haunted House at Manayunk’s Mad River space.
Everyone loves to be scared, but no one wishes to live in fear. That’s apparent from how architectural designers Brian Corcodilos (from Designblendz, who doubles as a local entrepreneur) and Jared Bilsak (from Breslin Architects, also a horror fanatic who crafts storylines and visions for interactive installations) turned sour lemons into Lemon Drops when 2021’s Hurricane Ida all-but-destroyed one of Corcodilos more recent investments, the Mad River bar and restaurant space in Manayunk, wielded the power of its mystery historic backstory (its Textile Mill past) and yielded the Lincoln Mill Haunted House – a walk-able interactive spooky center with 40 live scare-actors, production quality sets, props, animatronics, and creepy-crawly special effects.
“Jared eats and sleeps horror,” says Corcodilos of his college best friend with whom he created many a campus horror house and fear fest during student fraternity times at Philadelphia University (now Jefferson University).
When Ida hit in September of 2021 and made a soggy mess of Manayunk, Brian brought Jared in to relive their college freak-outs, only this time with more fog, blood, strobes and walking dead actors for what Bilsak calls a “living story,” one where a hurricane has destroyed their property, and all that survives is the savagery wreaked by the fictitious Viktor Kane, the mad mill owner in the 1930s who tormented and experimented on his workers. Within the hidden chambers located deep below the basement level of the scarred industrial structure, many a body was found (at least 40 actors’ worth) and a dark truth was discovered about the mill’s past. One that attendees of the Lincoln Mill Haunted House get a crack at with every walk-through.
“Hurricane Ida caused tens of millions of dollars in damage to buildings and other infrastructure,” says Corcodilos. “We decided to use one of our greatest fears, the potential of another flood occurring, to our advantage. We felt that a present-day event, Hurricane Ida should become the premise to our story due to its significant impact on the area. Inhabitants living in the Philadelphia region, especially in Manayunk, knew how devastating the flood was and most likely saw some photos of the Lincoln Mill underwater on Facebook We also might have never created this attraction if the flood did not occur.”
Along with Halloween events, Christmas events, and Valentine’s events, the Lincoln Mill space is, in Bilsak’s opinion, the “perfect opportunity for the biggest and baddest escape room on the East Coast.”
See for yourself. Starting October 7, Lincoln Mill’s principal haunted house event will run at night every Thursday, Friday and Saturday through November 5. Tickets are sold in hour time slots from 6:45 to 11:45 p.m., family-oriented experiences happen every Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. with no scare actors and an integrated scavenger hunt in its place. Plus, Corcodilos was adamant about mentioning that $1 from each ticket is donated to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Saturday daytime tickets are $24 each, and general admission for other times is $29. VIP tickets start at $55. For information, visit lincolnmillhaunt.com