Rob Zombie unapologetic over John Wayne Gacy room

VILLA PARK, Ill., Oct. 1 (UPI) —

A haunted house put on by musician and horror film auteur Rob Zombie features a series of rooms inspired by famous serial killers, including Chicago murderer John Wayne Gacy.




Zombie’s Great American Nightmare haunted house, which will run through November 1, opened at the Odeum Expo Center in Villa Park Friday with a sold-out concert.




The Odeum center is just 15 miles from the northwest Chicago neighborhood where Gacy lived, and where 29 of his victims — mostly young men and boys — were buried.




Guests experience a recreation of Gacy’s living room, while an actor where Gacy’s clown costume sits in a recliner blowing up balloons. Two dolls, dressed as boy scouts, sit on a couch.




"This is a really thoughtless, exploitive thing to do. They’re clearly only interested in money," said Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins, the founder of IllinoisVictims, which advocates for crime victims and their families.




"There were real families whose children were brutally murdered who are still alive and living in the Chicago area right now," she said. "And I cannot even imagine how troubling this must be to see this killer used as entertainment."




But Zombie, whose haunted house also features rooms inspired by Ed Gein, Charles Manson and David Berkowitz, says he’s not bother by Chicagoan’s sensitivity to the so-called Killer Clown.




"The Gacy room is funny," Zombie told the Chicago Tribune. "Last year what it was was these little dead kids lying around and John Wayne Gacy is sitting in the chair folding balloon animals for you."




{q:"There probably will be [backlash]," he said. "There was last year in California. They didn’t like the Manson one because that was a California issue… This is the home of all serial killers — the Midwest. So they’ll hate everything, I guess."




Last year, the Great American Nightmare debuted in Pomona, Calif. This year, they chose Villa Park and Scottsdale, Ariz., and each of the three haunts were inspired by Zombie’s movies The Lords of Salem, The Haunted World of El Superbeasto and the serial killer haunt, inspired by House of 1000 Corpses.




"Each room is a different serial killer," he explained. "They’re so detailed… You really feel like you’re going through it. So by the time you’re inside the [Charles Manson victim Sharon] Tate house and the Manson family is running wild around you, you feel like you’re there. Which — if you want that experience in your life — come on down."




But Bishop-Jenkins, who says IllinoisVictims is considering protesting the haunted house later this month, doesn’t find the Gacy room funny in the least.




"There are devastated families that I spoke to that evening that had gone through decades of agony, and are still to this day not in any… you know there’s no closure, no moving on when your child is murdered," she said.




Gacy killed at least 33 teenage boys and young men between 1972 and 1978 in his Norwood Park home. He was sentenced to death and executed in 1994.




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