It was a beautiful day as Chris Rowan and his family appeared at the Horror Sideshow Market. Chris revealed his custom-made tent and set-up with Buffalo Bill for fans to take photos. Chris took some time to talk to me for a Horrornews.net exclusive, at the Horror Sideshow Market in the Lehigh Valley.
So, tell me why you decided to buy Buffalo Bill’s house?
Chris- If I told you, it was a master plan of mine, I’d be lying, because it wasn’t. I’m a lifelong horror fan, and I was sitting having breakfast one morning back in October and I went on one of the horror sites that I frequent for news. There was an article published that Buffalo Bill’s house was for sale. I thought, that’s so cool, and as a fan I love horror film locations. I’ve visited Camp Crystal Lake in New Jersey, the Myers house in Southern California. Within a very short time, the wheels started turning. I thought this would be an amazing opportunity to turn my passion for horror in to a business venture. I talked it over with my wife and we decided to put a bid in and here we are, six months later.
What are your goals for the house? How long can people stay? Are you serving meals, etc.?
Chris- It will be a short-term rental that people can rent. When you rent Buffalo Bill’s house, it will be you and your party. We are not offering food of any kind, no meal service. It will be you renting the house and enjoying the property. The game plan is to open it up this summer for overnight stays. Down the road, we want to expand in to guided tours for people who don’t have the ability to stay overnight. We want to offer guided tours and people can come in and see the actual film location, and learn about the home’s rich history.
Are you going to open the home up for photo shoots or ghost hunts?
Chris- It’s funny you mention photo shoots. That’s actually available right now. I make a living in the film production industry. I’m an art director and a props stylist so my responsibilities include, sourcing props, handling the aesthetic needs of photo shoots, film shoots, commercials, and things of that nature. So, with a background in that profession and the fact that I shoot on location a lot in my daily career, I think Buffalo Bill’s house is the perfect place to open up to the film community. It is available right now.
What do you want to say to The Silence of the Lambs fans?
Chris- This is a dream come true and it wasn’t necessarily planned out, but once I found out it was on the market, it was an idea I couldn’t let go of. The ability to wrap up my life long passion for horror, and turn it into something that I could share with like minded fans is important to me. I’ve been going to horror conventions for a long time. I’m also the host of the New York City Horror Film Festival. It’s an annual event that takes place in New York ever fall. We also do an awards ceremony where we give out a lifetime achievement award to noted horror genre icons. I’ve been fortunate to moderate some Q&A’s and hand out to awards to the likes of Wes Craven, Tony Todd, Robert Englund, Angus Scrimm, and Greg Nicotero. The list goes on.
I love that. So much talent. How did you get started in the film industry, and do you have any upcoming projects coming out?
Chris- Yes. I graduated college in 2004 with my degree in Communications and Film Production. I consider myself fortunate that I knew I wanted to be in the film industry. I started as a PA and I worked my way up. I worked on some horror features, commercials, shows for Discovery, The Learning Channel, corporate media, and more. The next project I have coming up is a technology commercial and we’ll go from there.
That’s awesome. How long can people stay at the house?
Chris- It’s a one night minimum but if you want to stay for a week or two weeks, as long as you have the ability to stay. I would probably say a week or two but we will have to talk about it more.
(Please contact buffalobillshouse.com/ to find out how you can stay at Buffalo Bill’s House)
What do you want to say to the horror community and what do you want to say about this awesome house and film location?
Chris- I have some big plans for Buffalo Bill’s house, outside of it being a beautifully 1910 built home of Victorian architecture. The home was used extensively in The Silence of the Lambs. The scenes with Ted Levine and Jodie Foster. The exterior scenes and interior scenes including the porch, the foyer, the dining room, the kitchen, and the basement stairwell. Unfortunately, the famous wall where he kept his female victims was shot on a sound stage away from the home. Buffalo Bill’s workshop of horrors and the well does not exist at the home but with my professional background as an art director and a prop stylist I have some big plans to replicate those in full capacity for photo ops. We will put the well in the coal cellar in the basement and on the other side, we’ll do Buffalo Bill’s sewing station, the mannequins, the disco ball, and the newspaper clippings of his murder spree. I’m sure we can manage to have “Goodbye Horses” set to play, so if you want to get your Buffalo Bill dance on, then that’s also going to be possible at Buffalo Bill’s house.
Do you guys have a favorite room in the house so far?
Chris- That’s a great question. I guess I can answer that two ways. In terms of movie locations that we’re featured on-camera, I guess I would say the front door foyer is iconic because its that forced interaction with Jodie Foster as Clarice and Ted Levine as Buffalo Bill. They have this iconic exchange and I feel like that’s such an amazing moment in time. For me, as the home owner, I love the parlor room and the dining room. The dining room did have scenes. The parlor room is gorgeous. The property is expansive, outside of the house, it sits on 1.7 acres of property. It’s in a beautiful town called Perryopolis, Pennsylvania about 30 miles outside of Pittsburg. It’s a beautiful place to hang out and spend a weekend. A nice little tidbit I will tell you is, in the establishing shot when we first see Buffalo Bill’s, they shoot an old bus right next to the river. That bus still stands, but its not part of our property, that is private property. I’m not telling anyone to go on someone else’s property. You can see it though.
I am so glad I got to talk to you today. I am excited to hopefully visit one day. Congratulations Chris to you and your family.
Chris- Thank you so much.
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