It takes a special kind of undead to be a part of Fright Fest at Six Flags Great Adventure.

During a behind-the-scenes look at the annual haunted attraction, I caught up with some New Jersey residents who have chosen to be zombified for seven weekends and make park visitors wish they stayed in the comfort of their own home.

New Jersey 101.5's news director, Eric Scott, actually got the zombie treatment himself — see the videos above and below for how it went.

Pete Tirella of Seaside Park, known to the crew as Chainsaw Pete, has been spooking park-goers for more than ten years. He’s a teacher by day and a dead guy by night.

 

Pete Tirella, before and after becoming "Chainsaw Pete" (School photo/Dino Flammia, Townsquare Media NJ)

"It’s such a rush just to have people running away from you,” said Tirella, speaking through a prosthetic mask of blood and bone. “It’s as close to a super power as you can get.”

Not just anyone, though, can fill these kinds of roles. Wannabe zombies must undergo a serious audition process.

Adam Ducoff of Edison was picked from the bunch a couple years ago; he had some experience from playing the part of a demon in an independent film.

Since then, he’s terrified Fright Fest visitors as a SWAT team zombie, a voodoo creature and, this year, a nightmarish pig man.

“It’s more than just saying, ‘Roar, I’m gonna get you,’” Ducoff said. “You’ve gotta know what you’re doing.”

Some cast members can spend hours in the makeup and costume area, all in anticipation of making you scream each night.

Each weekend during Fright Fest, Audra Adler of Lakewood transitions into Stella the Dark Passenger. (Dino Flammia, Townsquare Media NJ)

“I try to make people pee their pants,” said Lakewood resident Audra Adler, who prefers to go by Stella the Dark Passenger.

Adler was preparing to equip her already-pierced tongue with a chain of safety pins in order to startle guests as they pass by.

The ghoulish characters are the product of Tony Mandile, supervisor of the operation. He’s been interested in special effects makeup since he was a little kid, and he taught himself all the skills he has today.

“This is my 16th year at Fright Fest and I keep coming back, trying to bring more and more to the table, make it more interesting; go bigger,” Mandile said.

Mandile loves the “immediate payoff” of his job. He can create a zombie, follow it out into the park and watch the guests freak out.

 

 


Be sure to check out more of Tony Mandile's work at AnatomyFX.com, on Facebook or on Instagram @FXTony. Got a project in mind? Reach him at TonyM@AnatomyFX.com or 732-604-0212.

Fright Fest continues at Six Flags Great Adventure through Nov. 1. See the Fright Fest site for more information.