American Haunters

TV review by
Matt Springer, Common Sense Media
American Haunters TV Poster Image
Behind-the-scenes look at haunted house creation.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The series emphasizes the value of creative thinking and applying that creativity for the entertainment of others.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Each of the team members working on the haunted house has their own role to play, and are very good at their jobs. They also understand how to accomplish difficult tasks by applying creative and innovative thinking.


No actual violence, but the haunted house depicted on the show does feature macabre, violent, and scary imagery, occasionally involving mild blood and gore.


Use of words such as "damn" and "hell," and "crap."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters are occasionally depicted smoking and engaging in social drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this short-form reality series offers a unique view of how creative energies can be applied to a fun and unconventional project -- the creation of an annual haunted house for Halloween. There is gore and violence at the level of a typical theme park haunted house, although since the series focuses on the behind-the-scenes work put into building a haunted house, it is made clear that the gore is make believe. Language is occasional ("hell," "crap"), and there's some peripheral smoking and drinking.

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What's the story?

Located in Poughkeepsie, New York, Kevin McCurdy's Haunted Mansion is an annual haunted house experience put on during the Halloween season. With 35 years of experience, McCurdy's team has become masters of great scares, with an actual old mansion, a warehouse full of supplies, and their own creative minds at their disposal. AMERICAN HAUNTERS tracks the evolution of the 2011 Haunted Mansion in a series of three-minute episodes.

Is it any good?

AMC has taken a unique approach to their series American Haunters, which chronicles the development of one of the nation's most amazing seasonal haunted houses. The show is a series of three-minute episodes. As such, these episodes move fast, picking a specific topic and focusing tightly on that topic to illustrate the work involved for the Haunted Mansion team.

It's an interesting approach, and the show's content is engaging -- teens especially may enjoy the inside glimpse at how these neighborhood haunted houses are developed by very passionate and eccentric creatives. Perhaps the major drawback is that each episode is so short. It does leave one hungry for more, but also somewhat dissatisfied. Here's hoping AMC puts the episodes together into a single special that will make for a more cohesive and enjoyable experience.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the level of violence in the haunted house. Does something need to be violent to be scary?

  • Do you enjoy visiting haunted houses? What makes them fun? What about watching scary TV or movies?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love reality shows

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