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AcoreMANNER
10-26-2007, 02:51 PM
The GOLDEN AGE of haunts is upon us. We have reached an enlightenment period. Just over the past few years we've seen a dramatic improvement in the drive, creativity, and artistic risk taking of haunted shows alike.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>
This will be remembered as inspired times,
<<<<<<<<<<<<<
where a flurry of haunts raced to stake out their land.



What do you guys think?
Are we in a GOLDEN AGE?

Brandon_K
10-26-2007, 04:29 PM
I disagree, to an extent. While I agree that we have seen more originality, creativity, drive, etc, I don't think we're in the "golden age".

Look at animatronics, audio, video, controllers, etc.

Just a few years ago, solid state, CD quality audio players were out of the grasp of most haunts. Just a few years ago, digital video players were also out of the grasp of most haunts. The special effects that can be done with automation, audio and video are becoming less and less expensive and putting them into reach of haunts that before otherwise couldn't afford them.

It's a very exciting time in the haunt industry, but I don't think it's the golden age just yet.

Definitely a neat thing to think about though.

Jim Warfield
10-26-2007, 06:09 PM
"Golden Age"
"?"
OK, now who's pocket is the "Gold" in?

TheNightMare
10-26-2007, 07:03 PM
Golden Age I remember playing that game - Oh wait that was Golden Axe

Infoamtek
10-26-2007, 09:03 PM
I have to totally disagree with you about the "Golden Age" definition. Golden Age refers to the first big flowering of something and I would have to say that for haunts, that would be the late '60s to early '70s. The time when Campus Crusade and Jaycees both started fundraising haunts across the country. They were simple, sometimes silly, but they scared and entertained patrons everywhere. And inspired many young aspiring haunters to volunteer and work at them, then to go create their own haunts, their own visions. So that to me was the "Golden Age". We are now in the "Silver Age".

Greg Chrise
10-26-2007, 10:40 PM
I think we are in the crustacian period. Watch all those crusties!

screamshow
10-27-2007, 03:47 AM
Time will tell, but I don't think it's the golden age at all. It's kind of like calling today's big-box walstores and mile long strip malls the golden age of retail. It's golden if you own a big box store, but if you own a family hardware or clothing store you are toast.

While animatronics and high tech stuff have gone down in price a bit, the cost everything else, from leasing property to complying with an ever expanding list of "safety" regulations (and regulation in general), has exploded. Further, while the price of haunt toys has dropped, customer expectations have risen at a pace dictated not by the haunt industry, but by Hollywood.

Jim Warfield
10-27-2007, 04:02 AM
Maybe a true golden age of haunted entertainment could be created by not compeating with "Hollywood".
Rather than trying to sufficiently entertain several thousands of bodys in a walk-through situation, slow it down, raise admission price and make and take the time to more personalise their experience.
"Hollywood" can begin to personalise the experience by using close-ups and camera placement to involve the mind into feeling as if they are more a part of what they are seeing. They force the audience to look at what they want the to see and consider unlike a haunt where we can only usually hope they are looking where we need them to look.
Live actors can use eye contact and an actual human mind to respond to the audience in ways that a film never could...but of course all of this requires time and energy and risk of not remaining financially solvent in the final tally.
Of course one man cannot produce the comperable volume of sheer work-product that a machine can. People should be valued much higher and paid accordingly and not be put into direct competition with machines...in a perfect world...

screamshow
10-27-2007, 02:58 PM
Maybe a true golden age of haunted entertainment could be created by not compeating with "Hollywood".
Rather than trying to sufficiently entertain several thousands of bodys in a walk-through situation, slow it down, raise admission price and make and take the time to more personalise their experience.

Certainly many smaller haunts could do this, but it is probably impractical for the larger shows and scare parks. Personalizing each guest's experience is impossible once a certain volume of guests is required.

But I actually think that you are touching on something interesting.

My prediction for the future (dusting off my crystal ball here) is that the economic realities that brought us Mega haunts have changed. The cost of doing business continues to climb, yet the customers willingness or financial ability to attend (which translates into how much they will spend) has remained the same or declined, at the same time the number of American children has declined as well from it's peak in the sixties and seventies. Further, the entertainment or scare product offered by many of these scare parks has not actually improved in any significant degree -- what they offer their guests over the smaller shows is not a better experience, only a longer one.

They have placed themselves in the unenviable position of having to burn through tens of thousands of customers just to break even, and they have real competition from other similar quality mega-haunts. Nor, at their size, can they compete through show quality. They don't have the money to turn their 90,000 square foot Walhaunt into a full length immersive experience. They compete by buying the latest and greatest Super Scarelators, purchassing lots of advertising, and seemingly by cutting their staff.

I believe that many of them are heading for the auction block within the next few years.

Perhaps this will lead to the next golden age of haunting. I think that smaller haunts focussing on the guests entertainment experience are the future.

AcoreMANNER
10-27-2007, 04:29 PM
thank you screamshow...well said

Warren Vanderdark
10-30-2007, 06:19 AM
Call me a pathetic old coot if you like, but I got my start in the "black wall" haunts of The Louisville Jaycees back in the mid-70's and I think that was probably the "Golden Age". Things were fresh and new, your ideas for scenes were limited only by your cash and the amount of scrap lumber you could scavenge. We didn't have to worry about competing with the haunt across town with a budget larger than the gross national product of Switzerland. Give us a few bucks for a local charity at the door and our friendly staff dressed to the hilt in tattered bedsheets, grease paint and Don Post masks would do its damnedest to scare the pants off of you.

I miss those days...

Jim Warfield
10-30-2007, 08:12 AM
Yes it was alot of fun back then, discovering that a desire could go almost mainstream and provide an artistic/thetrical outlet.
I liked it so much (Yes, I had a "Spookhouse" in my parent's basement too) that I could never see the logic of only having such fun for such a limited time of each year.....hence, eventually The Ravens Grin OPEN almost every night!
I have never smoked, drank, or used heroin, yet I have this strong addiction to the fun of it all, entertaining people in my own darkened theater.
This addiction has managed to keep me from ever fully figuring out why so few people aren't more like me in their feelings and attitude toward doing what I do.
This blind spot also keeps me guessing with my October help when it comes to trying to figure out their motivations because I just love it so and always have.
I had SO MUCH FUN here last night!
This one guy was uncredible! I kept scaring him and he kept screaming and jumping across the room, then laughing, and of course it was all very simple scares which makes it all the more fun and laughable!
Whata victim! Hurry back SOON! I miss you already! hahahahahah!
I "Toyed" with him for probably 90 minutes AND I feel good the morning after!
Nice addiction!

bhays
10-30-2007, 08:50 AM
Call me a pathetic old coot if you like, but I got my start in the "black wall" haunts of The Louisville Jaycees back in the mid-70's and I think that was probably the "Golden Age". Things were fresh and new, your ideas for scenes were limited only by your cash and the amount of scrap lumber you could scavange. We didn't have to worry about competing with the haunt across town with a budget larger than the gross national product of Switzerland. Give us a few bucks for a local charity at the door and our friendly staff dressed to the hilt in tattered bedsheets, grease paint and Don Post masks would do its damnedest to scare the pants off of you.

I miss those days...

Warren,

Coming from someone with one foot in both sides of things, I miss those days too. While we are way past the black walls, Fear Fair is still a Seymour Jaycees production - although we have more non-Jaycees folks involved these days than actual Jaycees members. As we prepare to wrap up the season tomorrow night, our heads are all spinning with new ideas for next season. We build almost all of our own props and effects and our build team works every Sunday in the off season. It is nice to have moved past the scrap lumber, however, I don't miss pulling nails all day. ;)