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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hillsborough house of horrors

Posted by on Sat, Oct 31, 2009 at 11:39 AM

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Who wouldn't want to live in a house where a strangely indestructible white-masked serial killer began his reign of terror? For many horror fans, Kenny Caperton is living the dream.

Caperton is the owner and proprietor of the Myers House North Carolina, a Victorian residence in rural Hillsborough designed to replicate the veneer of the house used as the residence of the Myers family in John Carpenter's horror classics Halloween and Halloween II.

He moved into the house in March 2009. Since then, it's served as the base for a number of local horror events, and will celebrate its first Halloween Bash starting tonight at 7:30 p.m.

The event includes screenings of the original Halloween and Halloween II, special appearances from two child actors from the horror film The Strangers, a couple of costume contests (including one based around Michael Myers, the iconic killer from the films), a memorabilia raffle and more.

Caperton says he's heard from fans coming in from other states to attend his party: "There's a lot of people who want to check it out. Halloween fans are just like Trekkies." It's only appropriate, given Myers' look originally came from a Captain Kirk mask.

Caperton describes himself as a "crazy Halloween fan" (he even enjoys the Myers-less Halloween III: Season of the Witch). "The original Halloween has been my favorite movie my entire life," Capterton says. "I just grew up with it. I always told everyone that if I could have any house in the world to live in, it would be the Myers house."

He takes people by tours on appointment (reservations can be made through kenny@myershousenc.com), or during his occasional events. Neighbors, he says, haven't been too much of a problem. "You can't really tell what it looks like from the street," Caperton says. "We only have one neighbor, so you would never know it's there unless someone told you."

His dream came true under circumstances that would have most fans green with envy. A fan of rocker/filmmaker Rob Zombie, he designed a fan site for the "Baby" character played by Zombie's wife Sheri Moon Zombie in his films House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil's Rejects, which led to his doing Web and promotional work for Zombie. That in turn led him to an invite to the world premiere of Zombie's 2007 remake of Halloween.

The trip proved inspirational for Caperton. "I was looking to buy a home, and I was really frustrated by what was out there, all the restrictions that neighborhoods have," he says.

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While out for the premiere, he visited the original house used for Halloween, and found himself wondering what it would cost to build a house like it."In the next five minutes, I was literally calling the South Pasadena city planner office to try and find blueprints."

As it turned out, there weren't any blueprints on record for the house. So he took his photographs from his multiple trips to the house, and "watched the film over and over and over."

The original house was now being used for office spaces, and one of the businesses was a designer named Carol Zorn, who helped him with the "lists and lists and lists" of measurements he needed. "She measured every thing I asked for, which meant I didn't have to fly out to the house once while I was building this," Caperton says. "It saved a lot on plane tickets."

A friend helped him come up with a building plan, and soon the house was underway on five and a half acres of country land in Hillsborough. The result has gotten raves from horror fans, and Capterton says the owners of the Halloween franchise are interested in shooting a short documentary about it for a re-release of the original film on DVD.

He's already gotten a taste of filmmaking with Judith, a "tribute film" he wrote about the sister killed by Michael Myers in the opening sequence of the original film. A trailer for Judith, which comes out in 2010, will screen at the Halloween bash. "I sleep in Judith's bedroom every night, so you start to imagine some pretty crazy stuff that could happen," he says.

Living in the house hasn't warped him too badly: "I do have a habit of walking around in a Michael Myers mask, but my girlfriend just shushes me and tells me to stop." And the community of Hillsborough has proven supportive so far: "Everyone I've talked to about it thinks I'm completely crazy, but they're still really intrigued."

But why did he want to live in a house like this in the first place? "There's just something about haunted houses, and I think everyone has an obsession like that, to some extent," Caperton says. "I'm just a little crazier than most."

Click here for more information on the Halloween bash. The weather forecast for tonight is poor, which may affect the planned activities.

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