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HauntedHouseQueenof62
10-19-2007, 07:35 PM
People aren't getting scared anymore by haunted houses. We need to step it up a notch...

- Real/working chainsaws
- More blood
- Actors should chase the customers around more

How can we make people scared again?

Ghost River Duck
10-19-2007, 08:56 PM
People aren't getting scared anymore by haunted houses. We need to step it up a notch...

- Real/working chainsaws
- More blood
- Actors should chase the customers around more

How can we make people scared again?

God I hope those aren't the solutions. You're never going to scare them all but you CAN entertain them all.

Jim Warfield
10-20-2007, 03:18 AM
From my 20 years of running a haunted attraction, Open almost every night of those years (this would equal How Many little two-week October seasons?)
I have come to the conclusion that yes is is very hard to scare some people, usually the people with smaller than average brains who also have no imagination.
Real scares may often involve real involvement with the customer, something that is usually anti-through put.
Real eye-contact, speaking slowly enough to be heard and to allow your thoughts to trully be comprehended are great beginnings, tatoos ? Optional.
If your exterior of the place is bizarre or you say unusual things to the customers THEN you get their imagination going and that part of the brain is where the fear records are kept. They know what scares them, you don't.
Get their imagination cranked-up and they begin to think anyway

Brandon_K
10-20-2007, 07:16 AM
We have a "no chase" policy in place with our actors.

If someone starts running, the actor is to stop, immediately.

This year we've had a half dozen twisted ankles and another half dozen skinned knees and palms. All females. For some reason, girls in our area seem to think that high heels are appropriate dress for an amusement attraction. Do you wear heels to Disney World? No? Why in gods name do you think they're acceptable here, where your walking around in very darkly lit spaces?!

You should see the number of twisted ankles & skinned knees I have on incident reports from last year, before we implemented a no chase policy...

haunter112
10-20-2007, 08:28 PM
People aren't getting scared anymore by haunted houses.

If your haunt isn't scaring people, check for these common mistakes:


1. Actors


Have you trained all your actors to scare properly?

Do you have enough actors to run your haunt effectively?


2. Lack of creativity


Are your scares tired or outdated?

Do your customers know what to expect?


3. Too much light/not enough fog


Can your customers see the scare coming?


4. Too little light/too much fog


Can your customers see anything at all?

hauntcamp
10-22-2007, 01:13 PM
You're never going to scare them all but you CAN entertain them all.

I can't remember where I first heard that qoute but I lived by it when designing our Haunt and so far it is paying off. We have managed to scare most and those we haven't have still claimed we are the best in the area. I believe that's because we kept that qoute in mind while building and training our actors. Actually it helps to intensify the scare when it does come.

Jim Warfield
10-23-2007, 07:37 AM
Screams! Laughter, Screams! Laughter!...quite a memorable combination, inspiring people to want to return, bring their friends.
This has worked for me for 20 years, OPEN almost every night, located in the middle of pretty much "Nowhere" by other's standards.
No Hollywood monsters, no gore, no "Butcher Shop", relying very heavilly upon my own ideas and art, it is alot of physical work to be acting , talking, handling people.
I have spent almost no money on advertising for these last several years and last weekend the percentage of "Virgin" first-timers here was probably around 80%!!
People believe their friends much more than big wall posters ..or maybe it's just that creeping illiteracy rate that weakens the bragging poster's potential?
"Pictures!", they need more pictures! hahahaha!
How many customers can one very happy, inspired customer bring to your place?
When I first started I know a Doctor from 35 miles away brought, sent and even paid for the tickets for at least 100 people..and then they all bring someone eventually......
How "important" is the show that you are giving to each person? How potentially important will that one more happy customer be?
Only important if you pay your bills with money.
My good looks withered eons ago, so it's strictly "money" for me now!

screamshow
10-23-2007, 11:17 AM
People aren't getting scared anymore by haunted houses. We need to step it up a notch...

- Real/working chainsaws
- More blood
- Actors should chase the customers around more

How can we make people scared again?


I haven't noticed this problem.

First though, remember that most of your guests are not coming to your haunt specifically to get scared. MOST come to be entertained. And that should be your objective. Second, no matter how clever you are, how tricky, how violent or gory or loud, there are some folks that you are not going to visibly scare. This doesn't mean that they didn't have a good time (or even that you did not scare them).

You have to look at the experience from the point of view of your guests, starting when they first exit their cars. They are nervous then; they don't know what to expect. I'm a haunter and I still get that delicious shiver when I arrive at a new haunt. Your guests have it too! But only until you blow it. If your signs are crappy, if your queue line entertainment is guys running around in masks, if the place looks like an overgrown garage haunt, you will have already done a lot to dispel their voluntary suspention of disbelief.

This continues inside. The level of entertainment and fear is directly proportional to your production value (costuming, decore, detail, etc). This doesn't mean million dollar animatronics, but it does mean taking the time to build an immersive attraction. If you call yourself, "Project X -- Laboratory of Horror!!!" then your sets need to look like an actual institution of some kind. If they don't then you will have blown their suspention of disbelief.

Actually, let me back up just a smidge.

Ever watch an action movie where you are into it, then there is some scene so silly that you sit back and have to restrain the urge to shout, "FAKE!" at the screen? One scene like that can blow the whole movie for you, and if it happens enough, it will. With that in mind, look again at the scenes you are running. Do your guests actually believe that the painted great stuff on that sheet of plywood is really an operating table? If not, then get rid of it. Look at every room in your haunt and ask yourself what it's supposed to be. Why, exactly, is there a room full of colored dots in this victorian manor? Who hung these sheets up here and why is there a clown with a chainsaw? And what the hell is this T-Rex doing here?

If your guests are expecting a walk through (for example) a haunted victorian manor then it is your JOB to deliver that as best you can. And the better you do, the more people you will entertain (and scare).

All of which is only one guy's opinion. Your mileage may vary.

Chainsaw Charlie
10-23-2007, 11:33 AM
Screamshow,

Couldn't agree more. Create a world with scary, appropriate things in it, not just a maze of random animatronics and sets. Also remember to keep it simple, using shadows and fog and lights will always be more effective than an elaborate but predictable scare or a pneumatic that looks fake.
I think people today want scares that are almost up to the point of being real.
Just my 2 cents.

Chainsaw

Ghost River Duck
10-23-2007, 12:01 PM
Screamshow, with your permission (and maybe even without) I'd like to copy your reply and hand it out to my guys that work with me. I couldn't have said it better myself.

Ghost River Duck
10-23-2007, 12:12 PM
Everybody gets THAT GUY in their haunt atleast once a night. And you know the guy I'm talking about. 17-20 years old. There with his girlfriend or frat buddies and he's the tough guy in the bunch. He's made up his mind getting out of the car that your haunt is lame and he cannot be scared. He's going to say smart @$$ things to your actors and try to tell his friends were the next scare is coming from. A few times I've put that guy down on the floor or through an impact wall but it don't happen very often. To do it you've got to hit this guy with something so out there he's in the truck and still doesn't know how you got him. But when you put him down it's the sweetest taste of all. Orgasmic.

When you see him don't let him get to you. Just smile and remind yourself that this genius just spent $10 or $20 to NOT enjoy your haunt. Just say to yourself "that's alright buddy. We already got your 20" and pump up for the next group. Really, it will all be alright. His 20 will spend just like the rest.

screamshow
10-23-2007, 01:25 PM
Screamshow, with your permission (and maybe even without) I'd like to copy your reply and hand it out to my guys that work with me. I couldn't have said it better myself.

No problem! I appreciate the compliment.

Ghost River Duck
10-23-2007, 01:41 PM
No problem! I appreciate the compliment.

Thanks, man. I printed it out and put it in my haunt notebook

screamshow
10-23-2007, 02:00 PM
Everybody gets THAT GUY in their haunt atleast once a night. And you know the guy I'm talking about. 17-20 years old. There with his girlfriend or frat buddies and he's the tough guy in the bunch. He's made up his mind getting out of the car that your haunt is lame and he cannot be scared. He's going to say smart @$$ things to your actors and try to tell his friends were the next scare is coming from. A few times I've put that guy down on the floor or through an impact wall but it don't happen very often. To do it you've got to hit this guy with something so out there he's in the truck and still doesn't know how you got him. But when you put him down it's the sweetest taste of all. Orgasmic.

When you see him don't let him get to you. Just smile and remind yourself that this genius just spent $10 or $20 to NOT enjoy your haunt. Just say to yourself "that's alright buddy. We already got your 20" and pump up for the next group. Really, it will all be alright. His 20 will spend just like the rest.

That's very true.

There is another approach that can also sometimes work. It's a very simple idea actually. If you can identify them early enough, ideally outside in the queue, you can sometimes get them on your team.

Here's the principle behind it:

Generally, when people act out like this it is nothing more than a call for attention. Comedians and magicians see this all the time. If you can get them to help yolu in some way, they aquire a vested interest in the success of your show. To quote from the book, Creative Clowning: "One of the best ways to quiet a heckler is to have him help you with one of your routines. He can come up on stage or stay in the audience, just as long as he is able to satisfy his need for attention."

Believe it or not, this does actually work sometimes -- or it has for me anyway. Rather than having your queue line entertainment or security get confrontational, instead recruit him as a friend. As one example, the other day I had a guy talking loudly about the Professional Wrestling body slam he was going to put on me. Rather than confronting him with the whole "You'll go to jail" sillyness, I instead got him involved in telling me all about what he was going to do and then what I was supposed to do -- making him a part of entertaining his friends thropugh sillyness and fun rather than his machismo. It went something like this...

Me: "So then, after I hit the ground, I am supposed to say, 'Uhhg?' Like that?"

Him: "Yeah, but you know, really more of an 'UHHHGH!!'"

"UhhhGh?"

"Yeah!"

"Okay, then what?"

"Well then I go do the triple suplex (or whatever) and you go OUCH! and scream."

"So after the Uhgg, then you do your thing, then I say ouch then scream?"

"Yeah!"

"Sweet! Then what?!"

etc...


And as silly as all that sounds it worked. I had a new friend and one fewer jackass tough guy inside the haunt. Believe it or not, from my experience it works most of the time. If they didn't think you were at least somewhat cool they wouldn't feel the need to tear you down in order to build themselves up. By inviting them "up" to your level your grant them the attention and status they want. Another consideration is to try and correctly identify the TYPE of jerk heckler you have quickly, and then target your approach based on what motivates them. I think most of these idiots fall into three groups: tough guys, snotty girls, and drunks.

Obviously this does not always work. Sometimes they go too far too fast. Sometimes they are just jerks and you can't settle them down. But from my experience if you can catch them early enough you can have some success. And if you don't you still have their money -- there are some people who are determined to be miserable. You can't change them.

Just my two cents.

txaschainsaw
10-23-2007, 05:18 PM
well this is how my haunted house (The Doll House) scares people, we have 3 people with chainsaws, 4 sliders, anamatronics, and whoever is just a normal BOO scarer has either a shaker can, and/or gloves with metal things on the end(knotts scary farm style) ive gone to knotts scary farm alot, thats how i get these ideas. If you would like i can tell you what the sliders use at my haunted houses.

Jim Warfield
10-24-2007, 01:53 AM
Tonight this goofy 15 yr. old boy was rather high-strung and twitchy repeatedly saying , "Nice try." to me as if I was trying to scare him with every little move I make, none of which were attempts to do anything like scare him!
Then right infront of everyone I suckered him into setting himself up for the scare from which he let out a loud scream to which I said, "Nice try." (At pretending to be not scared)
Later the kid decided to scare his own Mother.
Her unplanned reaction was to punch him!
"Nice try Mom!" (Jim's line)
"What comes around, goes around."