Nick Markoff is the oldest of three brothers who help run Calleva Farm in Dickerson, Md., home of Markoff’s Haunted Forest — itself the home of the scariest bunch of chain-saw-wielding hillbillies we hope to ever meet. He also plays one, quite convincingly.
Who are your terrifying inspirations?
“Saw,” Leatherface — there are some dark characters that can really inspire you. Personally, I know some pretty hard redneck guys out here who cut wood for a living, with their right arms twice the size of their left from pulling the cord.
Is there a model of saw you prefer?
I love steel, it’s real solid. We go through a LOT of chain saws. We have one guy just dedicated to fixing, tuning and fueling them. We burn ’em out because they rev pretty high.
Last time I went to the forest, I got totally abandoned by my friends when the chain saws started.
It’s like people never heard a chain saw before! Some stop and curl up in fetal positions. Some run full speed and don’t care if they’ve left their spouses behind.
What’s so scary about the woods?
I grew up in the woods, but a lot of people are suburbanized. We get a lot of city folk out here, and as soon as the traffic lights end and you drive by a rundown house, they’re scared. Some haunts are into the gore, but the woods — that’s a primal fear.