View Full Version : Cheap Scenes
05-05-2007, 10:46 PM
As I mentioned in my previous post my investor decided to try and screw me, so now I am trying to figure out how to open without him. I need help on some good cheap scenes/scares. I already have several air cannons, I plan on a DOT room, a complete dark room with no visible exit and creepy sound effects, an actor hanging above the patrons with an air sprayer and some other things. What I need is some very effective cheap scares. Any help and all suggestions are welcome. I am nt worrying about a theme because I can't afford one...I just want about 15-20 good cheap scares so that I can open my doors and not make a fool out of myself.
05-05-2007, 11:11 PM
I will give some scenes that I did with a volunteer haunt called GHOST RIDGE. But first, what is your budget, and a theme? The haunt I did had no theme really.
In the haunt I did, as you walked in there was a treasure island theme. Then you went on past an Egyptian tomb with mummies and stuff. You then went to a pirates ship, then on to a tiki hut. After that one, the guests walked over a snake pit. It was a piece of strong fiber glass on a bridge type of thing with snakes and spiders under it. after that, you went on to the scene I did. It was a farmers field with an old antique tractor with bails of hay, a picket fence and other stuff. You then went throug a balcked out tunnel, which brouth you to Sleepy Hollow. There wasw a 20 foot tall paper mache tree, a paper mache horse, a scarecrow, leaves on the ground foggers, lights, and a few live actors. When you were done there, you went to a wester saloon, which had skeletons playing poker, a horse in the corner, and a wagon on "fire". Next up was a circus. We hung clowns from the ceiling, had some fiber glass animals and a live acotr. Then there was just a room with Dracula and a victim. The patrons then came upon a mad trappers house. We had all kinds of animal traps, a dummy wrapped up in barbed wire and some furs. Next was a midevil castle with walls to the ceiling. Then there was a mask room with about 20 masks on people/dummies. There was also an animatronic. Then the guests came to a funeral home with coffin, crematory and more. Then there was a restaurant with foods like hands, heartsm brains, heads, you get the idea. The last indoor theme was a scene from the Exorcist. When they got outside, there was a large cemetary, and a fortune tellers booth.
If you want any detailed info about props in any of the scenes, what the scares were, or anything else, just ask.
Hope some of this helps.
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05-06-2007, 08:42 AM
Hire some helpers that are the town's or area's "Scary-Guys", elderly , strange guys that all the local women are afraid of (for no real reason) of course I am referring to actually harmless people who just scare some people by being eldely or a bit different .
One guy sounded like Darth Vadar when he breathed (too much nicotine in his life) another such guy was just real cranky and bitchy, yet tried to have a business in which he had to deal with the general public.
Of course you do have to keep it a secret these people work in your place until AFTER people buy their tickets!
I never got alot of measurable "Work" out of these guys but I didn't have to! Living, manniquins!
05-06-2007, 08:49 PM
I'm not sure if they have trades days like they do in East Texas, but I was able to find all kinds of crazy stuff that looked like laboratory equipment and old computers. I started collecting mannequins and any size especially large (36 inch) saw blades. It was a lot of work detailing these peices but all for probably under $450 that became several rooms tied together.
Last year the event coordinator said they wouldn't be using my lab scene or saw blade room this last year and did I have an idea for 2 rooms? 2 weeks before opening I said how about a saw blad room and a laboratory?
I ended up over time cutting power cords off of any junk appliance I could find and in the lab I had hundreds of exposed wires and cords hanging with electrical sound effects like some might be live. It was not as dense but similar to a tube room that had to be negotiated.
There ya go a tube room isn't that expensive. Any old duct work and large tubing and lots of aluminum foil makes a cool boiler room.
Jail cells made out of electrical conduit and some PVC.
Used office furniture becomes the doctors office, you can go to second hand office supply stores and buy what is so crappy they haven't been able to sell for 5 years and get things dirt cheap. File cabinets labeled for poison, list of who to poison, recipies for poisons and so on.
Perhaps rare in your area but fill rooms full of cut off trees. Either plain or white with colored light in low light looks cool.
Cemetaries need not be super detailed if the lights are low it can just be styrofoam (white) not even painted or marked in any way just cut out giving the impression of a cemetary.
It is tough to come up with furniture that hasn't already been in a crack house or is priced like louis the 5th himself sat on it once.
Contact local colleges for old charts of chemicals and even human anatomy, it need not be in pristeen shape, you might get to clean out a few closets with microscopes that don't work and such.
Luclily I get to drive through neighborhoods and have actually seen cool finds being set out for trash. I always knock on the door and make sure I can take it rather than just be a garbage man. In a way, you see something and then figure out what can be done with it. Patio furniture lounges become a skeleton tanning etc. One year someone threw out a sunglass display so every creature, prop and monster had sunglasses.
You would be suprised what you can find with a few thousand dollars and a mission. If you have as many actors as you have scenes it all adds together to be something.
The big thing is it can all be junk, never has to function and even having a corner knocked off is fine. Tables with only 2 legs get bolted to a wall or distressing need not be done or can be enhanced. Places where a chunk is out gets enhanced to be large monster teeth marks with a grinder in seconds.
05-06-2007, 09:11 PM
Of all the haunts I have seen the only things that have bothered me was one was all unpainted drywall walls and lots of walmart level "props", the other was a fabulous other wise haunt but for some reason this couple of panels they decided was a library and had like posters of books on the wall and really bad things like that stand out. It would have been better to reverse think. Instead of this is going to be a library it becomes we have this and it could be......
If you already have these things in your head you can literally go through and decorate in a matter of a few days and pull it off with out a written plan. lots of stuff IS detail. You do have to have somewhere to store all this stuff though as you cull through it and having a dumpster to return it to God if it is unusable is good too.
I like any kind of vent or grate or drain to put into walls. I have not yet (I'm saving it) have collected odd hubcaps for years as Vampires like shiny objects or, while you are in here we are stealing your hubcaps! Of course now most cars do not have hub caps. It has been such a long adventure.
05-07-2007, 07:00 AM
Thanks for the ideas.....the bottom line I am getting is to use what you got or find and make it work..... I tend to overthink things
05-07-2007, 07:07 AM
"Over-Thinking" can have a paralyzing effect, just look at what a skin-magazine centerfoldout can do in this reguard!
I mean, "Come on!" It's JUST a piece of paper stapled in a magazine!
Close the the thing sometime today and get back to work already!
The odds of EVER meeting that woman are ...? ten million to one?
05-07-2007, 10:23 AM
maybe you need to work for the Nightmare on Grayson for a couple of years to figure out what it is you really want to do. you do ask some good questions, but questions you don't need to ask if you've done some research, read some Hauntworld and HAM mags, or have been to some trade shows. you are placing yourself and your $$$ on the line and you don't really appear to be ready yet. not trying to be mean, but you are going to be in a world of hurt if you go in to this thing we all love like you are right now.
05-07-2007, 07:31 PM
What just occured here was the transfer of real knowledge. Sure you can plan, make business plans and lists, draw out themes until everyone you know hates you. When it really comes down to it a whole successful haunt with the right stuff in your head can be completely assembled and decorated, wired and saftey ized in less than 20 days with only a few helpers and one rough drawing.
All this overthinking and super organition are really excuses in a way of why someone should not be in a certain business. Real business involves going to work and doing things. Knowing the tools the moves and the rules. But, above all things picking up your tools and going to work is how money is made. Actually he is quite lucky a proposed investor exposed himself early and did not continue to waste gobs of time.
Opportunities open up when you actually have the physical haunt and all the junk that goes with it. My way of doing business has it's limitations but I have walked in and taken over a business or started one without any tremendous amount of money and generally made it work and got accolades and compliments along the way. However until you have done it a few times, you are going to be obviously limited by what the world has told you a real business requires to set up. In reality with a haunted house, one need not form a corporation, have an attorney on the board of directors and assign committees for think tank sessions. It isn't retaking market share for Apple computers or anything like that. It's people being silly with grease on their face.
You want to not risk big money? Don't spend it and still do it.
And actually many of the things hired consultants say to do? Are not really a concern but if you put yourself in the situation of being a consultant, you would certainly tell people only the conservative party line about this and that and how many thousands it will cost, because you are likely to get sued for being the big advisor. It is not the reality of going and doing, getting it done.
So some older lady starts making cookies in her kitchen and turns the reciepy into a multi million dollar company. Do you think she never gave someone a cookie to try and even sold some before hiring a string of consultants and business specialiosts and financial advisors? No it grew gradually and when the money came about, THEN these things were invested in.
Certainly great detail takes time and years to accomplish, for example Nightmare on Grason is quite a few years old now with full time assembly, modification and scenes taking place in conjunction with the same crew outfitting Dallas Scaregrounds. All those salaried positions are kind of taken by skilled dudes.
To start somewhere one can not necessarily just work on something for 20 years and then open. Now he might have quite a few hundred hours he didn't expect but sometimes it comes down to if the location presents itself, you have to do it or not. Preparedness is in the what can you do at the creative level. Can you think from your feet or do you need to write a manual and refer to it continuously. This different approach with a different creative perspective could actually help existing haunt markets be a continued force in San Antonio rather than detract from one or the other.
San Antonio, at least a few years ago was the city proper being 350,000 people and spread out quite a bit. I think he has enough money to pull it off. Sure that money might never be seen again but, that is the way it is in any business. Sometimes you never get your origional investment back at all.
If you buy a semi truck and go make money, 10 years later it is worth about 3 cents on the dollar. Even any franchise is money down the tubes but you end up with a peice of matured real estate when it is over. So why not do something you are genuinely interested in? Buy the tools to be who you want to be? In this case a bunch of cheap or free junk can pull it off.
Look at all the ambient crap on the walls at a cracker barrel. Some of it is reproductions, some of it is genuine but, to decide you are going to decorate 800 stores across a region has made just supplying such crap a cottage industry. So is the crap that is in a detailed haunted house.
Simply, are you going to say we want a plow over here then search the globe looking for that right antique plow or say hey this plow we found will look great over here.
I might add it takes some gumption to ask lots of good questions.
05-07-2007, 09:48 PM
Thanks for all of the feedback. I am gone to spend two mre weeks trying to find a good location (that I can actual get) and then I'm going to call this year over. I have talked to 27 places in the last week and none will consider short term leases or won't entertain them until the very last second. I am going to keep trying, but if I can't secure something soon, I think I will simmply not have enough time left this year.
05-15-2007, 03:50 PM
If you need help finding a place or anything else, send me an email and I'll see what I can do to help. firstname.lastname@example.org
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