Instructors and Staff

Frightmasters University is compiling a team of experienced industry professionals to design classes and video lectures specifically designed to address many or the common aspects newer haunters have questions about as well as aspects not commonly thought of. Below are just a few of the instructors Frightmasters University has to offer:

Mr. Maniacal: Michael J. Maxim a.k.a. Mr. Maniacal started in the haunted attraction industry in 1989 as a student actor at a local charity haunted attraction in Ohio. In the mid-90’s he joined the Legion of Terror rising to the rank of Knight by perfecting his skills in improvisational style acting and special FX makeup. He left the Legion of Terror a few years later and helped establish another acting troupe then eventually going on his own as a freelance performer and consultant. He took on the role of Mr. Maniacal in 2000 as part of duo known as The Maniacal Brothers. Over the next few years The Maniacal Brothers traveled to haunts as performers and consultants across the country. By 2004 The Maniacal Brothers parted ways following different paths. Mike Maxim chose to remain in the industry as a dark performer and consultant while the other Mr. Maniacal has become an accomplished professional musician. Over the years he has worked at in the capaity of performer, manager, FX artist, designer, and consultant to some of Ohio’s top haunts some of which include Bloodview, Cleveland Haunted Hollow, North Ridgeville Haunted House and Cemetery, The Haunted Forest of Carousel, The Haunted Hydro, Mansfield Haunted Prison, Robert Kurtzman’s Mad FX Lab, and many more. Mr. Maniacal also wrote the book The Art of Fear: Theories of a Dark Entertainer which explores the creative aspects of the haunted attraction industry. He currently still freelances in he industry and is the host of the horror hosted movie show INSANITY. He also created the concept of Frightmasters University and serves as the head of the curriculum and online school itself.

Melody Sonnenberg: A veteran haunt actress, makeup artist, prop builder and costume designer with over ten years of experience in the haunt industry. She has worked every type of haunt venue from small home themed haunts to nationally known haunts. Melody is also a novelist and writer which gives her an advantage in the areas of character development. Her haunt philosophy has always been “do more with less,” forgoing fancy assembly line props and cookie cutter costumes in exchange for unique custom pieces that can be built on any budget. Melody has joined forces with Mr. Maniacal in developing Frightmasters University and making it a reality. Driven to see the industry thrive and haunts to improve their staffs where needed she is developing a series of online courses for Frightmasters that will be beneficial to haunters of every level. She is also our Editor-in-Chief for our online blog which will provide tons of information for both home and pro haunters.