Our newest contributor, Leah Cevoli, traveled to Las Vegas last week and thought it would be a great opportunity to visit Eli Roth's Goretorium. The haunted attraction recently opened on The Las Vegas Strip, and for the first of a two-part special feature, we have her interview with Goretorium CEO Robert Frey:
Thanks for taking the time to talk to us. I was searching a little about you online and saw you say that you haven't been a horror fan until now. So as a non-horror fan, how did Goretorium happen?
Robert Frey: Well, I’ve always been a big fan of Halloween; it’s my favorite holiday. I like dressing up and just seeing everyone in costumes. With my background of being in Vegas, the holiday was always a big deal. That’s the date that Nevada was admitted into the Union, it’s a local holiday, and everyone gets really fired up for Halloween.
So when you say you’re not a fan of Horror, you mean more of the gory stuff?
Robert Frey: I wouldn’t say I’ve seen every movie, but it’s been interesting that ever since I started working with Eli, I’ve gotten a bigger appreciation. If there was a game show, I’d put him against anyone. He knows more about horror in every language than anyone put together. He knows Italian horror, all the film classics, and he watches every horror movie that’s ever been made.
So did you and Eli know each other ahead of time or did this project bring you together?
Robert Frey: We were introduced by some friends and we just hit it off right away. If you had to pick a poster child for what horror represents, I think Eli would be on that short list.
What is your background in business? Mostly nightclubs and things like that?
Robert Frey: I grew up in Las Vegas, so just in retail and entertainment. I started with a little coffee shop when I was twenty six.
So you’re just a born entrepreneur? You knew that you just wanted to start creating things in Las Vegas.
Robert Frey: Yeah, my Dad said go open a cappuccino stand and that was before Starbucks. I got a nice push from my Dad.
That’s awesome. Was your Dad also an entrepreneur?
Robert Frey: Yes.
Now that the Goretorium is up and running, have you been through the entire attraction as customers experience it? Is it still scary to you because you were involved in the hiring and know what’s about to happen?
Robert Frey: Yeah, they still get me. I’ve gone through it about seven hundred times now. We like to perfect it. So we constantly go through it to make sure we’re providing the best entertainment possible.
What’s the scariest part for you personally? Without giving away any big secrets…
Robert Frey: I’ve sat in on all the designing. I know where every scare is. It's if someone gets me when I’m not expecting it…
What was the audition process like? How did you pick the actors?
Robert Frey: Yeah, it was a big interview session and we kind of narrowed down the field. You over-hire because you hope that out of every twenty or so there will be a few great actors. The cast we have is great. No one has ever done it to the level we are. You stay long hours and you’re working every night.
Was there any resistance from the city or the neighborhood that there was going to be this year-round haunted attraction?
Robert Frey: Well, it’s right on Las Vegas Boulevard and next to the casinos, so no, we didn’t have any problems. There was no interference at all.
The soundtrack to Goretorium is created by DJ Ashba, who is currently finishing up a residency in Las Vegas with Guns N’ Roses. How did that happen? Is that something where Eli and DJ kind of came together? Were you involved in that?
Robert Frey: One of our investors introduced us to DJ Ashba. DJ’s a big horror fan and he said "why don’t I do a song." And then one song led to a whole soundtrack. It’s unbelievable and is one of my favorite things about the entire haunt.
I was reading that Goretorium features movie-quality sets. Is that possible because of Eli's involvement?
Robert Frey: That’s exactly right. We’ve tried to make it as entertaining as possible. We wanted it to be more than just a haunt and wanted it to be a show as well. The sets are really good and it’s just as entertaining when the lights are on, as when they are off.
Since opening, have you received any feedback that you plan to make any changes with?
Robert Frey: We are constantly making changes and I’d love to hear your feedback as well. We’re actually developing more stuff now, but you won’t get to see these changes implemented yet. If you want people to keep coming back, you have to change things up so that they don’t see the same thing twice.
The nice thing is that I’ve had people go through a few times, and each time, they see something new that they hadn’t noticed the previous time. There’s a lot going on in there.
I read that there may be plans to expand to other cities?
Robert Frey: We’re trying to establish a brand and if the right opportunity comes along, we will certainly consider it.
What cities do you think could be a good option?
Robert Frey: Where ever we’re drawn to. It could be Chicago, New York, LA, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Beijing, or wherever. It all depends on the deals that are made and the right timing.
I know a lot of celebrities have already come to visit. Was there anyone that was terrified that you didn’t think would be?
Robert Frey: You know Justin Bieber came by and he was having a good time. We got him real good a few times. And RZA (Wu Tang Clan) came by and it was just really fun to watch him walk through. Actually, a couple of the guys were with him and we got one of the guys so good, he went into a karate chop stance. They actually had their concert after-party at Goretorium and that was a lot of fun.
A lot of celebrities have stopped by: Mike Tyson, Evan Rachel Wood, Marilyn Manson, Afrojack, Dave Navarro, Paris Hilton, Chris Jericho, Selena Gomez, and Dan Aykroyd off of the top of my head.
Has anyone not made it out?
Robert Frey: Yeah, a few. A couple of times that I’ve seen that. There was a lady so terrified, that we had to take her out.
I'd like to thank Robert for taking the time to talk with us about Goretorium. Also, I want to give a big shout-out to the social media team behind the Goretorium Twitter account, as I reached out for this interview and visit because of them. They're hilarious, and it's absolutely amazing how they interact with everyone. If you're looking to learn more about Eli Roth's Goretorium, I'll return later this week with my impressions of the attraction.
*Editor's Note: To learn more about Eli Roth's Goretorium, visit: http://goretorium.com
You can also catch up with Leah Cevoli online at the following social links: