Documentary ‘Spooktacular’ Explores America’s First Haunted Attraction In New Clip

November 20, 2023

Written by Kelli Marchman McNeely

Kelli Marchman McNeely is the owner of She is an Executive Producer of "13 Slays Till Christmas" which is out on Digital and DVD and now streaming on Tubi. She has several other films in the works. Kelli is an animal lover and a true horror addict since the age of 9 when she saw Friday the 13th. Email:

Horror fans love nothing more than heading down to their favorite haunted attractions during the spooky season, and while Halloween may be behind us, Spookywood is aiming to explore haunts in their upcoming documentary Spooktacular!, following its successful festival tour.


SPOOKTACULAR! takes a deep dive into the intriguing and sometimes scandalous story of America’s first Halloween Theme Park and the genius mind behind it. The documentary not only explores Spooky World founder David Bertolino’s remarkable journey but also gives a heartfelt insight into the lives of numerous individuals who were part of this iconic park.


With a rich palette of interviews featuring luminaries from the vast spectrum of horror history, SPOOKTACULAR! features interviews with Linda Blair, Kane Hodder, Robert Englund, and Tom Savini, who also serves as the doc’s executive producer, and more. The film uncovers the thrilling voyage of a man who dared to tap into the zeitgeist of a generation, inspiring and frightening them while laying the foundation for the mammoth Halloween creations that followed.


The documentary made its world premiere at Fantastic Fest in Austin, kicking off an autumn of packed screenings and critical acclaim. At Beyond Fest’s sold-out West Coast premiere, the packed audience was treated to appearances and a discussion with Academy Award nominee Linda Blair (The Exorcist) and Kane Hodder (the Friday the 13th and Hatchet franchises), frequent Rob Zombie collaborator Daniel Roebuck (The Devil’s Rejects, The Munsters) and Ice Nine Kills’ frontman Spencer Charnas.


Following the American screenings, SPOOKTACULAR! made its international premiere at the Sitges Film Festival in Spain. Currently, the documentary has scored 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, with rave reviews rousing nostalgia from critics who had visited as children and those who wished they had.


To celebrate the critical and audience success, Spookywood Productions has released a new clip centered on Spooky World’s infamous Mouse Girl. Aspiring actress Ruth Phelps transformed herself into a young girl who had fallen victim to the mischievous clowns of the Cirque Macabre, who tormented her and held her captive in a plexiglass cage teeming with real mice. As eager visitors approached, curiosity piqued, leaning in to scrutinize her authenticity, Ruth seized the opportunity. Just as they whispered in disbelief, “She’s not real,” she’d spring into action, eyes popped open and mischievously menacing. Startled patrons often met her antics with cries and, occasionally, a loss of bladder control – the ultimate compliment for any Spooky World performer. During Ruth’s tenure, this became an everyday occurrence, cementing her status as the park’s number one attraction.







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