By Noah Wullkotte
The haunt industry is a vast jungle full of eye candy as far as the eye can see. It’s a haunter’s paradise with everything from airbrush makeup to animated monsters. There are a lot of hard working vendors such as Gore Galore, Unit 70 Studios, Distortions Unlimited, Ghost Ride Productions, Poison Props and many others. But not all companies are created equal. There’s a few that take advantage of haunters and the leader of the pack is none other than Scarefactory.
Since 1998, Scarefactory has resided in Central Ohio and they’re a big part of what makes Transworld’s Halloween & Attractions Show in St. Louis, MO so special. Nearly half of the Dark Zone is littered with Scarefactory props. This is a company that designs over the top haunted attractions and custom creatures. They’re famous for their eye catching props and infamous for their horrible customer service and poorly built products. The Better Business Bureau gave them an F and the internet is flooded with bad reviews.
Many haunts have to rebuild their props once they’re delivered because of poor welding, cheap parts and more. They’re literally falling apart half of the time. If you attend Transworld’s Halloween & Attractions Show, you’re bound to see a few of their animatronics not working properly. Scarefactory is notorious for ripping customers off by not delivering their products and keeping the money. The IAAPA Expo has even banned them from ever being a vendor due to complaint after complaint they’ve received. Many customers have tried to get in contact with their vice-president and co-owner David Fachman, but they were ultimately ignored.
Scarefactory is an example of a company that takes advantage of people. They’re a company that’s been locked out of their building by the local sheriff numerous times and they’ve been involved in more than one lawsuit. This is a company that has cut corners for many years and they aren’t ashamed of it.
From at least January 1st, 2015 and continuing through December 31st, 2018, David Fachman withheld and collected the trust fund portion of the employment taxes from his employees’ paychecks but failed to file timely and to remit the payment to the IRS. In total, Fachman failed to pay employee and employer federal employment taxes totaling $547,854.73. He was involved in massive tax fraud to say the least.
In 2002 they built a haunted house for the Ohio State Fair. The haunted house didn’t have sprinklers or an automated alarm system required by the city code. Firefighters were worried that the fog machines and lighting effects might confuse fire spotters looking for issues with the haunt.
Scarefactory had a state approved safety plan, but they still agreed to the $3,000 overtime cost for a fire lieutenant. The 10,000 square foot haunted castle ran for 17 days and the city paid $38,000 to have 4 firefighters at the haunt everyday. Scarefactory said that they would have employees perched above the haunt as they looked for problems. If they spotted a fire, they would use their fire extinguishers. State fire marshal Robert Rielage approved of the plan, but the city firefighters were not happy. They said that the spotters couldn’t see the entire haunt if there was smoke and that smoke can cause death.
Hopefully someone who’s interested in their animatronics does a simple Google search beforehand to see what they’re all about. Sadly, Scarefactory is probably the most well known prop company in the haunt industry. Hell, they’ve even had a short lived show in 2008 on the History Channel called Surviving History. It focused on the owner and staff building ancient devices.
Scarefactory is currently taking orders, with no cash up front, and they’re getting props ready for pick up within weeks. They’re taking cash upon pickup. I commend them for trying, but there are so many victims that have been screwed over . It’s a little too late.
Scarefactory creates beautiful props and has talented artists. The Impaler is one of my all time favorites. But their business practices aren’t good and too many people have been taken advantage by them. My advice is if you order from this company then make sure that you’re using a credit card because you’ll be protected. Make sure that you pick up your props in person instead of having them shipped.
Will Scarefactory change their ways? I hope so. Scarefactory now has its own Christmas company known as Christmas Animated Magic. Hopefully they learn from their mistakes. There are so many hard working and respectable companies in the haunt industry. Do your homework before spending big bucks with companies that have reputations like Scarefactory. You’ll thank me later.