Fairbanks inmates are running the Asylum

John Seiler/Sun Star Reporter
October 30, 2012

Doom at the Fairbanks Asylum. Photo by SJ Powell courtesy of the Fairbanks Asylum.

Fairbanks has been severely lacking in horror and gore. Don’t fear, Fairbanks Asylum has got you covered in buckets. From 6 a.m. to midnight until Halloween night, Fairbanks Asylum is the haunted event of the season.

Started by Rob and Debbie Fisher, Fairbanks Asylum is trying to not only be one of Fairbanks’ most fearsome haunted house, but also provide deluxe costumes, prosthetics and accessories year round.

“We drove an hour out of town last year to Salcha’s haunted house, but the wait was very long,” Rob Fisher said. “On our way back, Debbie and I talked about why Fairbanks doesn’t have there own haunted house.” With no prior experience, Rob and Debbie started creating their own props, wounds and costumes.

Around February, Rob and Debbie, along with Josh Stubhl and Brielle McKenna, started planning the first horror house by Fairbanks Asylum. Through casting calls and outreach at the 2012 Tanana Valley State Fair, they gathered over 30 souls to help put on the event.

One of the performers was Blake Gurtler who was contacted via email. “Since I LARP [live action role play] with the Minds Eye Society on weekends as a hobby, I’m already into improv acting, scary stuff and costumes, so the job fit me like a glove.”  When asked if she would return next year, she said, “This is the best job ever. I couldn’t ask for a better way to spend my October! If they will have me back next year I will certainly be here!”

I explored the dark hallways of the Fairbanks Asylum and it was an absolute blast. As I entered, the sounds of screams and wails immediately set the tone for the experience I was in for. Each room had a different feel that harkened back to other classic horror settings: the operating room, the butcher’s kitchen and the mad scientist’s lab to name a few. As someone who enjoys making costumes and my own costume prosthetics, I was amazed by the level of detail of some creations on display.

The costume I was most impressed with was “Doom,” the Fairbanks Asylum mascot. Seeing nothing but glowing yellow eyes and black tubes at first, a figure emerged from the darkness in a black gas-mask who towered over the other Asylum visitors. His size, horrific design and movements intimidated me as I journeyed with the other patrons.

I asked Debbie Fisher about what went into the planning of some of the monsters and she talked about having to stay within their means. “We got to see what our strengths and faults were, and we have great ideas for next year.”

Rob was very pleased with the reception they have received from the community and expressed interest in doing more events. For its first year, Fairbanks Asylum has had an impressive debut and it will be exciting to see where they take the horror next.

More information on Fairbanks Asylum can be found at fairbanksasylum.com or on their Facebook page.


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