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L.A. ProPoint pounds and burns metal to help scare visitors to Las Vegas’ Goretorium

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Beyond All Boundaries Attraction at the Solomon Victory Theater at the National WWII Museum Recognized at the American Association of Museums Annual Meeting in Los Angeles May 23

SUN VALLEY — Two contraptions made in the Northeast San Fernando Valley are helping scare the bejeebers out of tourists on the Las Vegas strip. Sun Valley-based LA ProPoint fabricated the metal guts of Eli Roth’s Goretorium, a $10 million horror hotel attraction in the middle of The Strip.

The fabrication and rigging company made the “Human Meat Grinder” and “The Elevator” that are the key components of the Goretorium, which opened in September. No one should be surprised at the amount of make-believe carnage guests experience at Roth’s attraction. After all, he’s the mastermind behind such horror films as “Hostel” and “Grindhouse.”

Mark Riddlesperger, ProPoint’s founder and president, said it took about eight weeks to complete the two components that help usher guests through the mock hotel, which has 24 rooms, including a wedding chapel. The grinder and elevator left Sun Valley in their raw state and Riddlesperger had no idea what they would look like after the gory props were added.

He found out during a private tour of the Goretorium earlier this month while attending a trade show. “It’s creepy and kind of gross,” he said with a chuckle. “When I saw it in the shop it was unpainted. But after all the scenic painting, lights and other parts were on it you can really see what an amazing effect it is.”

The Meat Grinder, located near the middle of the attraction, is a rotating tunnel 12 feet in diameter and about 24 feet long. Guests enter via a steel grate bridge and pass through a grisly mass of identifiable human body parts ground to a mush-like mass by the grinder blades. Reality is a lot more mundane. The body parts are made from mannequins with some reduced to bead foam chunks and composite foam-sawdust meal. The Elevator comes into play near the start of the tour. It’s designed as a freight, or fright, an elevator that simulates a free-fall of seven or eight floors.

“It only actually drops by a few inches. It is an airbag system that is programmed to shake, rattle and drop combined with lighting effects and an audio track. That gives you the sense you are dropping.” By the time the elevator door opens again the set has been changed to represent a different part of the hotel.

ProPoint has been in business for about 10 years and has done work at major studios and event venues around Los Angeles and theme parks worldwide. The company has also worked on stages for the Los Angeles Unified School District. “We do a lot of crazy unusual things but certainly this is the creepiest of all the requests we’ve gotten,” Riddlesperger said.

Much of the gore credit goes to Burbank resident Keith Kaminski, the Goretorium’s production designer. He’s been working on the project for about 16 months. The horror genre veteran has created 35 haunted house experiences over the years. This one is much different than the rest, though.

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“This is the first one I’ve done that is a year-round attraction so we had to take a different approach to the way we built stuff,” Kaminski said. “It had to be a lot more robust, like a theme park, and the quality of materials much better. Usually, we can get away with cardboard and hot glue but this had to be real drywall and steel studs. We pull off as many effects as we can using air, sound, light, and water to their best capacity to sell the illusion as best we can.”

The Goretorium is a collaboration between Roth and Las Vegas entrepreneur Robert Frey, CEO of the Munch Group. They seem to be onto something. About 1,000 people a day visit the attraction, he said, and celebrity guests have included rocker Marilyn Manson and Justin Bieber. The three-story space at Harmon Center also includes a wedding chapel and Baby Doll’s Lounge, which looks out on The Strip and City Center. The first nuptials take place tonight — a Halloween wedding, Frey said.

“One of our goals was to give a total immersion into the horror experience,” he said. “It’s kind of the most fun you can have being scared.” About 200 actors are rotated in and out of the show in the various horror scenes. Of course, there is a fictional back story. The Goretorium is based on the legend of Mr. and Mrs. Delmont, who owned the Delmont Hotel at the City Center. But bad things happened to everyone who entered and some of those experiences are re-created at the Goretorium.

“A girl gets her throat slit, a girl gets electrocuted and people get eaten alive,” he said. Tickets for tourists are $40 and a $60 VIP pass gets you to the head of the line. The experience lasts 15 to 20 minutes, depending on your tolerance level for gore. “When people are getting really scared they tend to move through pretty quickly,” Frey said.

By Gregory J. Wilcox, Staff Writer
Posted: 10/30/2012 05:00:17 PM PDT

Since 2002, LA ProPoint has been a leading provider of design, engineering, fabrication and installation of stage and show systems for all aspects of the entertainment industry, from concert halls and theme parks to outdoor amphitheaters and movie sets. Strategically headquartered in Southern California in the city of Sun Valley, the company has a huge reach.

It's highly skilled, experienced technicians, fabricators, and craftspeople regularly take on far-flung projects from the Hollywood Bowl and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas.

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