I scream, you scream, we all scream for Washougal High’s ‘Screen Screams’


What: Washougal High School drama department’s “Screen Screams” haunted house, based on classic horror films

When: From 8:30 to 11 p.m., Friday, Oct. 26; 7 to 11 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 27; and 7 to 10 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 31

Where: Washougal High School, 1201 39th St., Washougal

Cost: $5 per person

Washougal High School (WHS) junior Shane Fussell, 16, paints props Oct. 20, for the WHS drama department's 2018 haunted house.

Washougal High freshman Brooke Staples, 14, works on a prop for the "Nightmare on Elm Street" portion of the "Screen Screams" haunted house.

Washougal High School senior Braden Harness, 18, drills a prop at the high school on Saturday, Oct. 20.

A warning to be included in the "Screen Screams" haunted house at Washougal High School.

Alexis Brock, 16, a junior at Washougal High School, models various makeup effects Oct. 20, during a prop-building day for the "Screen Screams" haunted house.

Faun Corkum, mother of Washougal High School senior Tori Corkum (not pictured) shows the template she is painting Oct. 20, for the "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" prop to be used in the high school's upcoming "Screen Screams" haunted house, which opens Friday, Oct. 26.

Washougal High School (WHS) drama teacher Kelly Gregersen (left) laughs with students Tori Corkum (second from left), Emma Free (second from right) and Aubrey Turner (right) during a prop-building day for the WHS drama department's 2018 haunted house on Oct. 20. Corkum, 18, a senior, organized this year's "Screen Screams" haunted house, which is inspired by classic horror movies.

The finished product may be designed to induce terror, but Washougal High School (WHS) students recently proved that the act of creating a haunted house is an entirely joyful affair.

“This is really student-run,” said WHS drama teacher Kelly Gregersen as he led a visitor through a “behind the scenes” look at the in-progress “Screen Screams” haunted house produced by the WHS drama department on Saturday, Oct. 20.

The students will open the fifth annual WHS haunted house on Friday, Oct. 26, but they will have put dozens of hours worth of prep work into the event beforehand.

On Oct. 20, the students rushed back and forth between two floors, encouraged by WHS senior Tori Corkum, the organizer of this year’s haunted house, to keep painting and drilling set pieces or to experiment with their monster makeup looks.

“This year’s theme is based on the greatest horror films,” Gregersen said.

Visitors will check into the Bates Motel from “Psycho,” run through the sewers of Stephen King’s “It,” and wish they’d never gone to sleep once they stroll down Elm Street from the “Nightmare on Elm Street” movies.

The haunted house will run from 8:30 to 11 p.m., Friday, Oct. 26; 7 to 11 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 27; and 7 to 10 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 31, at Washougal High School, 1201 39th St. Admission costs $5 per person.

“I love that we can make this affordable for a family, especially when everything is getting so expensive,” Gregersen said.

The student-built, student-run haunted house has become a tradition for WHS’ young theater enthusiasts. Although other WHS students join in the fun, it is the school’s drama department that keeps the haunted house alive, coming up with new themes each year and spending their weekends and after-school hours designing, building and decorating the spooky scenes.

“It takes about 60 to 70 kids to make this happen,” Gregersen said. “A lot of family members help out, too.”

Indeed, organizer Tori Corkum’s parents showed up on the Oct. 20 prop-building day. While her dad worked on the heavier set pieces, her mom, Faun Corkum, crafted a painted prop for the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” part of the haunted house.

“Tori has been putting us to work,” Faun said, noting her daughter’s on-the-ball organizational skills. “She tells us where they need help, and that’s where we go.”

Gregersen said the students will stay after school Friday, Oct. 26, and stay until the haunted house closes — then they will come back for two more shows on Oct. 27 and Oct. 31.

“They are really amazing,” the drama teacher said of his students. “They’ve really put this whole thing together.”