Billy Finn has been a professional “Scareactor” at Halloween Horror Nights™ for four spooktacular years and counting. Go behind-the-screams of a job to die for as we discuss the ins, outs, and shouts of scaring thrill-seekers for a living!
How did you get into scaring for a living?
Back in New York, I grew up helping build and scare in different houses out in the woods. Once I moved to LA, I found out about Halloween Horror Nights, and knew instantly that I was going to audition to be a part of it.
How long have you been scaring?
This’ll be my fourth year performing Halloween Horror Nights! In that time, I’ve gotten to be a part of The Walking Dead, The Purge, an insanely creepy mime on one occasion, and many others.
What are some of your best scare tactics?
One trick I’ve learned is to definitely pace yourself. You want the last guest of the night to have the exact same terrifying experience that the first guest of the night gets. Also, I gotta give props to the props. I once had a huge cricket bat that I got to wield each night, that did most of the scaring for me. So if you’ve got a chainsaw, or a cinder block at the end of a pole…have fun.
You see a crowd coming. Is there a way you can tell who’s going to get the most scared?
First off, you’ll always have those doe-eyed people, smack dab in the middle of their group, most likely keeping their head down and trying to drag their group through like they’re trying to win a marathon. Those are probably your easiest targets, but a challenge is always fun too. Honestly, I’m 5’6, so there’s nothing I love more than making a 6’5 tall guy scream like there’s no tomorrow.
What’s your favorite memory or experience scaring someone?
My favorite experience was probably back in 2016, when I was a part of The Purge: Gauntlet of Fear Scarezone. I remember this woman rounding the corner, only to see me standing there, completely in shadow, and waving slowly. She instantly dropped to the ground, started crab-walking backwards, screaming bloody murder, and crawled her way right back out of the maze. I was glad no one else was coming through, because I could not stop myself from laughing.
What’s your all-time favorite Halloween Horror Nights maze, character, or Scare Zone?
My favorite Scarezone would have to be The Purge: Gauntlet of Fear, in 2016. Everyone cast there worked so well together, trying out new scare-tactics, and keeping things fresh so that guests, even if they came through multiple times, could experience something brand new.
What scares you?
The funny thing is, I’m scared immensely easily! I absolutely dread watching scary movies, which usually consists of me watching through my fingers for two hours. I can’t help but scream my way through HHN each year, even after I know where the jump is coming from!
What can fans look forward to from this year’s Halloween Horror Nights?
Stranger Things is going to be a part of Halloween Horror Nights lineup this year! I’m also really excited to check out the cult-classic Trick ‘r Treat Scarezone, Hollywood Harry’s Terror Tram, and I may be a bit biased, but make sure to check out The First Purge too…
Finn and many other Scareactors are waiting to “meet” you… if you’re brave enough! Check out all the info on Halloween Horror Nights and https://hhntickets.universalstudioshollywood.com/PurchaseTickets.aspx get your tickets before they’re scared away for good!
* Photos by Mack Murdoc