Kenny Caperton’s House of Horrors
Kenny Caperton knows every corner and crevice of the home he built for himself, so it doesn’t scare him anymore. But sometimes a rustle in the woods will remind him—this is the exact replica of the house of serial killer Michael Myers from the movie Halloween.
Caperton has lived in the Myers House for more than a decade, and he has no plans to leave. He is wiry and energetic, and walks with a bounce, smiling as he surveys his property in the bright fall sunlight. His hands lay crossed in his lap, showing the Blair Witch symbol tattooed across his wrist.
“There’s still days when I pull into the driveway, when the lighting hits it right, that it’s like ‘Wow, this is kind of a really creepy house back here,’” Caperton says.
The house is set far back in the secluded woods, down a winding gravel road in rural Hillsborough. This time of year, bright red and yellow leaves spin off the trees hanging over the driveway. A life-size scarecrow of Michael Myers leans against the tree at the end of the road, surrounded by pumpkins and fake cobwebs.
“This time of year, this is what I live for,” says Caperton. “Everything’s better in the fall, I think.”
Josh Smith, a self-described horror fanatic from Durham, visited the house last Halloween for an all-night horror movie marathon. As obsessed as Smith is with 1980s slasher flicks, he said the place still made him uneasy.
“We’re driving out there, and I mean, it’s kind of country out there, it’s pitch black,” he said. “That whole gravel road, there’s no lights—we didn’t know if people were going to jump out at us. We didn’t know, kinda, what the deal was gonna be. You’re kinda on edge when you get out there.”
The house itself looks ordinary from the outside, a two-story, pale gray family home with a big front porch. Caperton replicated the house from the original movie set in South Pasadena, California. It is an old kit house, he says, the kind people used to order in the backs of Sears catalogues to be shipped by railway to their hometowns.
“It’s a very simple, all-American home,” says Caperton. That is, until you imagine the serial killer inside.
Caperton came up with the idea for the house 10 years ago, when he and his girlfriend at the time were looking to build a starter home after college.
In the midst of the couple’s exhausting search for the perfect piece of land, Caperton took a trip out to Los Angeles to see the world premiere of a Halloween remake. While there, he made it a point to visit the original house used in filming the movie.
“I just have to go there and look at it and be like, wow, that’s beautiful… It just kinda clicked in that moment,” he says.
The first step was to convince his girlfriend. She knew right away that he wasn’t joking because, Caperton explains, “When I get a crazy idea, I tend to go a hundred percent with it.”
Despite having no blueprints, no land and not enough money, the couple committed to building an exact replica of the serial killer’s house.
Caperton called everyone he could think of to chase down the blueprints: the city of South Pasadena, the tax office and various previous owners. No one had the blueprints, but he found out that the house had been converted into offices for small businesses. Caperton cold-called the business owners and finally got one on the phone.
Carol Zorn works as a graphic designer in one of the upstairs bedrooms. Though she was surprised by Caperton’s request, she communicated with him for months to help him figure out the exact dimensions of the house.
“I would send her lists and lists of measurements, and her and her two sons, they would climb out onto the roof and they measured everything for me,” Caperton said.
One of Caperton’s architect friends was able to draw up working blueprints based on these measurements and the many, many still photographs Caperton had taken of the movie over the years.
“Everyone kinda knows I’m slightly off the deep end, so my friends thought it was really cool. I just don’t think they thought that even I could do this. And I didn’t even know if I could.”
Now Caperton’s house is a center for horror movie fans of the Triangle to celebrate the genre. Every year, he hosts a Halloween bash—anyone dressed as Michael Myers gets in for free. Last year, it was rumored that he was looking for a roommate, says Smith. People were jumping at the opportunity.
Smith says, “He’s definitely got a bit of a following.”
Somehow, horror films haven’t lost any of their magic for Caperton, though it’s rare that a movie actually scares him. He says the horror genre is perfect as “a very controlled environment to feel really specific, heightened emotions.” He remembers watching horror flicks as a child with his brother on late-night cable TV, and Halloween was always his favorite.
“The thing that’s kinda just burnt in my mind, as a kid, the scene in Halloween when little Tommy Doyle looks out the window and sees Michael Myers just staring at him and he’s just this silhouette across the street. And that really freaked me out as a kid, I thought there was someone outside my house.”