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Nightgore
10-09-2008, 10:09 AM
Hey guys,

I am needing help with a dark or black maze. Any info you guys can give me about design, scares, effects, etc. etc. would be awesome. This is turning out to be our HARDEST maze to create!!!

Any help would be great! Thanks. -Tyler

Raycliff Manor
10-09-2008, 10:51 AM
Believe it or not, something that has worked for us in a pitch black room is to hang pool noodles. Put a rop through the noodles and through a washer at the bottom of the noodle to hold it in place. As long as it is pitch black it freaks people out when they touch the noodle, it swings away from them and then swings back to hit them again. Also, loud heartbeat sounds and whisper voices are effective in a black-out area. You can also use a drop panel in a black-out area and have a light go on for a moment revealing a creepy creature and then off as the drop panel is slammed shut. You can also hang different textures on the walls for people feeling their way through the dark to touch. In the dark a lot of things are effective that otherwise wouldn't be! Even an old piece of shag carpet when felt in the dark can freak people out!

Kel

Nightgore
10-09-2008, 11:07 AM
THANK YOU!!! I never thought of using a pool noodle, how clever! Ok, so here are the ideas we have:

-Hanging/wade material: Pool Noodles (thanks Kel), Fishing line, and just torn fabris
-Noises and sound
-Textures on walls: fishing worms, fabrics/carpets, vasaline/KY, etc.
-Floor effects: "crunchy" matter on floor, ramps, etc.
-Effects: Drop panel w/light (thanks Kel), blinder light, bubble wrap room, loud noise/buzzers, smells, air blasts/"machine gun" blasts, train horn, sirens, etc.


Again, any more ideas would be awesome! Thanks so much! -Tyler

gadget-evilusions
10-09-2008, 11:44 AM
That's sounds cool and all, but what about some actors?

Nightgore
10-09-2008, 12:00 PM
Well, duh! That's kind of a given... lol... there's no way I wouldn't put actors in this! hahaha... -Tyler

drfrightner
10-09-2008, 12:44 PM
Here is a tip... put your black maze at the end or near the end and not the begining because when you do the guests bottle neck up and it really creates problems it did at the Darkness. If you don't have a massive attendance well its okay but on those busy nights watch out.

There are all sorts of tricks you can use as well like pump fog in there and put a bright green light in there for example it will turn all the fog green, so in other words a black mazes doesn't have to be black if you get what i'm saying.

The point of a black maze is you can't see in front of your hand, and well you can accomplish that in a variety of ways not just in complete darkness.

Larry

Nightgore
10-09-2008, 01:26 PM
Well, the black maze is it's own attraction, one of three! Thanks for the advice, I like the idea of "contrasting" the maze... like you said, just have to be "pitch black" to not be able to see. Thanks! -Tyler

Haunting Copy
10-09-2008, 10:58 PM
so here are the ideas we have:

-Hanging/wade material: Pool Noodles (thanks Kel), Fishing line, and just torn fabris
vasaline/KY, etc.

-Tyler

Tyler, I don't know how happy a customer would be after running his or her hands through Vaseline. It's a pain in the butt to get off. KY would be *much* better.

Okay, leave the jokes alone, guys. :roll:

Sarah

GothycDesigns
10-10-2008, 01:24 AM
Exnay on any lube used on the walls. You also would not want the guest to rub their eyes or face if used. Go for basic things like a piece of shag carpet for the texture. We had thought, and if time permitting for dry time. To mix a little silicone
such as GI-1000 or skin flex and put thin layers brushed ontop the walls. As they run their hands from a dry panel, then they feel this next odd silicone texture. We never got around to doing it, for the owner of the haunt, which liked the idea. took too much time to think on it and we missed our application time. So we never out it on.

As for Actors...Our haunt does not allow any actors in the Dark mazes. 1. You don't want someone reporting a groping/fondleing of the guests. Although I have been a main character myself and have gone into dark mazes with guests in the past. Its just not a safe mix. you get into too many who said what. And being dark no one could really ID the culprit. 2. If a actor is going to be going through them. Be a designated person as a monitor and not allow multiple actors. Reserve this for a seasoned and responsible player. I usually got the the dark maze entry, listened for anyone, and if nothing sounded like echo or hands on the walls, I went thru. you could always be a element of surprise as the guests enter. They feel thru the curtains and bump something just there or you beat them to the punch and bolt out at them. It can be played very well and with an actor that has great timing. Then let the guests pass and act as if to follow them, then disappear. The onto the next scare.

Fishing line is traditional and works great, but don't be too heavy with the line evenly spaced lines.

We did one year have a gross dark maze. guests went in and this was a long maze. As the got around a corner they would trigger a beam whihc wouldactivate a 1 sec. light flash and on the walls made it to look like dead something "cat" as we called it. fake fur, bloody spots. I think we had a water mister added one year, and always an air cannon is used. An air cannon in the dark maze work very well. too.

Also a different year we used the same 1 sec. light but this time made the whole hall flash of Evil Clowns. We made the look as they were climbing down off the walls, hangupside down in the corners. One was set up as an FCG which made his arms go berzerk. People screamed and needless to say, we did get a few that pee'd their pants or curled up in fetal position. We had IR cameras which we could also monitor if a bottle neck happened plus if any non authhorized actors were going in. There is so much to think about the safety of the guest wbout the dark mazes, but still need to be fun. Hope this helps.

Nightgore
10-10-2008, 09:45 AM
Ok... so how come the vasaline/KY is such a time honored haunt "staple"... so many haunts use and I haven't heard ANY complaints about it. Also, we have nightvision cameras to put in ALL of our attractions, SO, if a complaint about a "grope" happened to come up, we have it all on tape and could review it... so that's not an issue with us. We can either prove them wrong or we can get rid of that actor and let the people deal with him/her. At the same time, we are NOT promising that you WON'T get touched, that's an impossible gaurentee!

Thanks for the help, I'm really going to use the idea of silicone texture on the walls, that's awesome! THANKS!! -Tyler

dr0zombie
10-10-2008, 08:58 PM
Anyone have that layout for the 60 degree maze? We used one for a while and it was a very effective maze.

Duke of Darkness
10-11-2008, 01:18 AM
There is a product that we used to use in a dark maze that was made to feel like slime, but wouldn't come of on the fingers. I think it was a silicon mix, but I can't remember what it was called. Anyone?

While I would not go so far as to not have actors in your dark maze, especially if it is attraction unto itself, I would be very selective about who can act in there. One reason is the groping issue. Camera or not, it is likely to happen -- or to be said to have happened -- and even with video evidence it is a major PR and employee hassle. Secondly, people tend to strike out at people in the dark. They feel anonymous, and think that they can get away with it. I have had more actor get kicked, punched, etc in dark areas than anywhere else.

That said, I love to work in dark areas. A couple of gags that have worked well for me...

One is to simply walk up to people and whisper in their ear. I have great night vision. Especially if blinder lights had been used, I could always see them, but they couldn't see me and they found it very disconcerting.

Another gag that was used at a haunt I worked in was to really stress to the guests that they were not to touch the monsters. They were told that if they did not touch the monsters, the monsters would not touch them. A large person was then stationed not too far inside the dark maze. He would simply stand there and wait for people to run into him. He would then yell "don't touch me!" Made people scream their heads off, though it is pushing the limits due to the above listed concerns.

Just some brain food to get your thought processes working.

Dave

Nightgore
10-11-2008, 09:41 AM
I'm not worried about the "touching" issue... it'll happen in every house whether it's completely dark or extremely well lit. That's why we pay our lawyer what we do and have the cameras inside our haunts.

We'll have the rule like everybody else, don't touch the actors and they won't touch you... but if any of our actors are hit/kicked we have a policy for that too... that guest will be thrown out without refund and if it's serious, will have charges pressed against him/her. -Tyler

dr0zombie
10-11-2008, 10:22 AM
Dave that is hilarious. We had a rules video playing while people waited in line. It gave them the don't touch rule. Then in between the rules we would flash back in our theme character reading the rules with sarcastic comments. One of these was "Dan will touch you!!! Don't say you weren't warned". People would be freaking out in line over who is Dan and why can he touch me...LOL.... when we made that list of rules we did that because Dan was the man on the 3 foot stilts with the long skeleton hands. He hit everyone with those things, if he tried or not...and with the extended arms he could reach over the maze walls and tap people and scare the hell out of them. So we worked it in... and at the end of the event if they said the guy in the giant reaper costume touched them we would say... UH, didn't you listen to the rules.... :)

Greg Chrise
10-11-2008, 03:12 PM
Maybe it is an open room but the carpet covered Squares keep moving around (because there are people in there doing the Wile E. Coyoty thing.

One I went through is very memorable as the last half of our groupd didn't make it out and were screaming for help. They were just being blocked by the actors. The first couple though did get blocked but slithered through. The customers can also become undetectable by not breathing and generally turning ninja. They get to escape. Screamers must stay.

This successful dark room was simply a tar paper shack, really black as it was in the country with no street lights. As a customer no possiblity of knowing the lay out of the room.

I have gotten annoyed with the trick where you pass the keeper of the maze and go into a room that winds in a u and are directed back a few times like you haven't found the proper way then as time is up the keeper was standing in front of the door the whole time.

I always thought the vaseline thing was just for props someone might grab. Hence no bad report as they were trying to grab something they should have left alone.

Greg Chrise
10-11-2008, 03:16 PM
Another annoying thing is finding out people put lights in your dark maze because people were complaining they couldn't see the way through it. Like what ever.

Greg Chrise
10-11-2008, 03:19 PM
So maybe there needs to be a glow in the dark sign in there, this part of the maze was intentionally left dark. Don't be a whinner.

EnterAtYourOwnRisk
10-11-2008, 03:59 PM
Dave talked about 2 things that I want to comment on:

1. I think the slime product that won't stick to your fingers sounds MUCH better than vaseline, KY, or anything that will stay on your body.

2. He says that he has great night vision so he is able to approach the customers in a dark maze but they can't see him. Why not get night vision goggles for any actors who are working in the dark maze? Are they too expensive or are there other problems with them? Just wondering.

Greg Chrise
10-11-2008, 05:18 PM
If you are using camera with the infared lamps on them, perhaps just having infared lenses for glasses would pick up the light enough to see a little? Infared is invisible to the naked eye.

Real LAS, light amplification systems are $3500 a cheap one eye binocular for hunters is maybe $900 but, too easy to get elbowed and put this into your skull. They aren't necessarily that rugged to be dropped or kicked around. Too much money to be tossed around like a toy inless your haunt is funded by the government. Also this implies that there is SOME light to be amplified to be able to see anything.

John Coen
10-11-2008, 05:46 PM
KY or vaseline on a prop that can be seen (but not to be touched) is fine. Making me walk in pitch blackness while running into walls of vaseline will never be "time honored" . Why not just smear dog poop on the walls? Is this a Kings Island Haunt? Cause I want to know which haunt to avoid.

Take pieces of garden hose (about two feet long) and fender washer them to the wall sticking into the pathway below the knees. You can contact cement pieces of foam to the ends to make it less sharp feeling. As people walk through the haunt it feels like someone is grabbing their legs. Changes in the floor (ramp up/down) , and lots of fog even if it is pitch black. That renders cell phones useless as a flashlight.

Jute or rope dipped in latex can be fun as well.

Nightgore
10-11-2008, 07:35 PM
Thanks for the tip about the fog... we were just thinking of ways to keep people from using their phones as a light source; even though it's easier for them to see, it's makes them an easier target! ;)


I also love the idea of jute and latex... sounds very, idk, creepy feeling!

NO! This is not a haunt at Kings Island, this is a haunt we are building for an event in Lexington, KY. Maybe you can come down next year to see it! ;_

Thanks for all the help, this is awesome! You all don't know how much we appreciate this! -Tyler

Nightgore
10-12-2008, 12:25 PM
Ok, so my partner brought up this concern about the thick fog. Although he likes the idea of this as it will not allow people to use their phones as a light source, won't it be dangerous in the event of an emergency. Like, he is saying that when our overhead emergency lights kick on, that it will still be so foggy that people still won't be able to find the exits fast enough?

So, how can we do this and be safe about it? I suggested putting some large fans above the haunt hooked into the same lines as the back-up lights, so that if/when the lights kick on, these high powered fans will literally blow away all the fog... we can get these fans extremely cheap if not free... so, could something like this work?

Thanks. -Tyler

Boni
10-12-2008, 10:41 PM
Was thinking about this today, get a spray adhesive of some sort, like a contact cement spray, and spray some on the floor so when they get to certain spots its like walking in a theatre. Have some audio about a blood spill right there as they walk through it.

The garden hose idea is great with audio about lab rats escaping. now they think its rats running over their feet and brushing up against their legs.

Nightgore
10-12-2008, 11:30 PM
OH MAN! That's a great idea! Thanks! -Tyler

Boni
10-13-2008, 12:53 AM
Glass coffin

If you can rig it up right, either have a sunken area, or a ramp up onto a platform.

Have your actor in a glass coffin that the guests are walking on and then he/she flips on the light and starts screaming. Have some rats or snakes in the coffin with him. A strobe would be cool here.

Haunting Copy
10-13-2008, 04:33 AM
Was thinking about this today, get a spray adhesive of some sort, like a contact cement spray, and spray some on the floor so when they get to certain spots its like walking in a theatre. Have some audio about a blood spill right there as they walk through it.

The garden hose idea is great with audio about lab rats escaping. now they think its rats running over their feet and brushing up against their legs.


You guys are merciless! I love it!

Sarah

Haunting Copy
10-13-2008, 04:38 AM
Ok, so my partner brought up this concern about the thick fog. Although he likes the idea of this as it will not allow people to use their phones as a light source, won't it be dangerous in the event of an emergency. Like, he is saying that when our overhead emergency lights kick on, that it will still be so foggy that people still won't be able to find the exits fast enough?

So, how can we do this and be safe about it? I suggested putting some large fans above the haunt hooked into the same lines as the back-up lights, so that if/when the lights kick on, these high powered fans will literally blow away all the fog... we can get these fans extremely cheap if not free... so, could something like this work?

Thanks. -Tyler

Tyler, there is a recent thread *somewhere* on this forum that discusses this very topic. Somebody's fire inspector wanted an "evacuator" of some sort, to clear the fog in the event of a fire.

But then they realized that if they were to clear the air with a fan that it would actually worsen the fire situation.

I don't know if they found a solution. Maybe someone reading this will remember.

Sarah

Nightgore
10-13-2008, 10:05 AM
Hmmm.... glass coffin eh? Know anyway to build this safely? That's such a great idea, thanks! -Tyler

DeadManWalking
10-13-2008, 09:30 PM
Make the 1 1/2 hour trip to Jeffersonville Indiana and visit Pitch Black. Do exactly the opposite of what they do and you will be fine. We went last week and it was the worst haunted attraction experience I've ever had.

It was just what they say it is "Pitch Black". No blinder lights, random strobes, any light at all. It actually had dead ends in the maze. How do you get away with that? They either have the worlds best evacuation plan or the worlds worst fire marshall. You would walk down a corridor and run into the edge of a wall panel. You could not feel your way through with hands out to the side feeling the walls because you had to keep one hand in front so you didn't crack your head on a panel edge. And talk about being touched, with the dead ends customers were flowing both directions in the same corridor. You literally would walk right smack in to people. There was one spot with a water sprayer that was either timed or foot pad activated that hit me about 5 times as we tried to get out of that area. My hair was actually dripping. Not my idea of fun on a cold October night. Now to me all of this is reason to never go back but I've saved the best for last. There were customers in this maze that were literally pleading to be shown the way out. The only response they got was a worker yelling "put that phone away" or "no light". Every event I've ever worked or ran, when a customer asks to be taken out you take them out. It's one of the few times I would ever allow an actor to break character.

Boni
10-13-2008, 11:08 PM
Glass coffin should be "plexiglass" coffin.

I saw plans for this, it might have been at Haunted Illinois or Monster Pages, can't remember.

Basically really thick plexiglass with wood frame, 4x4's. You don't really need to build the sides, just the top, people will be on it, build a wall right up to one side where the actor can slide in through the wall, the other side could be wood or a platform floor.

Nightgore
10-13-2008, 11:13 PM
Awesome, thanks! -Tyler

GothycDesigns
10-15-2008, 12:46 AM
One of the other things we did, we did add the ups and down in our dark mazes, but we went one further. The rampers were only the height of a 2x4. So it wasn't too high. We had to keep in mind for those ladies HIGH heels not to be too steep on the ramps. So within the flooring pieces, added air hammers as we called them. So we bought cheap air chisels from Harbor Freight. cost of $10-15 or less. We built a special cavity to hold these on their sides. With some testing, we used 3/4" this steel for it to bang on. The chisels were anchor down in the cavity of the floor and pressure pad was added at the beginning of the dark maze or a few feet in. One of our haunt had 3 long dark mazes in it. So they would work really well. Especially with the pressure mats. You could step hard or soft and it would start up as such, hard or soft to full vibrating capacity. Since they were pnuematic we set them on a delay so the air resivours could replanish on those heavy nights. but most of the time, they went on for only a few seconds at a time.

When I roamed the halls I would gently step on the pads and then lean my wieght into them and hold it. So it would be like if you had a recording of a jackhammer going and turned the sound off, then slowly brought it back up. Thats pretty much how it sounded. They were built for us by Bill Boggs that did some haunt building for Brutal Planet and some other haunts. He's a Special Effects artist for the movies and commercial industry but has always had a passion for haunts. This effect works really well. Being in a dark maze enclosed and having the sound echo for a couple of seconds was nerve wracking. But always fun. Plus you feel the concussion of it in the floor since its built into it. you could feelit up the walls and feel it in the air to at times. Again its something that has to be messed with to get a good timing down or distances from the steel plate.

One night was so busy we had to change the steel plate. But i think a thinner gauge was used first. so a piece of hardened steel 3ĺ" x 8" wide works well.

gregsalyers
01-07-2009, 12:25 PM
When you guys talk about a maze....is it actually a maze with dead ends and wrong ways? If so doesn't this create a congestion problem when you get a "less than smart" patron that can't find their way thru in a timely manner? Also is it just hallways or do you still have rooms?

BruiseMuse
01-07-2009, 01:55 PM
I've managed haunts that had pitch black mazes, and I found that having actors in there was a must. Not only do they provide scares (especially if they are clothed entirely in black), but they can help prevent back ups and point lost groups in the correct direction.

There is the risk of an actor getting hit in the dark, but with your cameras that is less of an issue.

I love the different textures on the floor. There is this old rubber scrap (used on playgrounds, don't know the name) that provides a strange effect when walking and it is definitely creepy.

Allen H
01-07-2009, 02:35 PM
"Glass coffin

If you can rig it up right, either have a sunken area, or a ramp up onto a platform.

Have your actor in a glass coffin that the guests are walking on and then he/she flips on the light and starts screaming. Have some rats or snakes in the coffin with him. A strobe would be cool here."

In my opinion this is a great idea on paper but would not work to well in practice. Would you want to be the one stuck under the floor for a six or seven hour shift. I will suggest as an alternative have a lexan panel (lets not even use the word glass) at the end of a straight hall that ends in a 90 (so they are sure to hit it) then the actor can be standing and through the use of doors and such the actor can get more than one scare. I have learned that for the most part Actors are not that happy to be trapped. Also there is the issue of girls wearing skirts and dresses.
Just a thought,
Allen Hopps

Ironman
01-07-2009, 02:37 PM
http://members.peak.org/~robbpynes/rbr/play.htm

Allen H
01-07-2009, 02:39 PM
Nightgore-
Another thing I have done successfully in black mazes is to put an actor in a white painters suit the full body kind and just paint white body shapes all over in a few areas. the guests will kind of be able to see the shapes but the actor will really cream them if he plays it right.
Allen H

Jim Warfield
01-08-2009, 09:35 PM
About what will work in a black maze but let's re-think it , will the same things work in a dark brown maze?
A pink maze?
"Is this a black maze?"
"Yes, and watch out for the black bear in the Black Forest eating licorice at midnight!"
(I have actually said this to people .)
Nothing is foolproof! A strand of fishline once caught on a sweaty eye lid, caught and almost seemed to rip the eye lid as the person walked!
How do I know that this really happended and isn't just BS? Because it happened to ME!
Right in the old JCs haunted house.
I actually expected to see blood dripping from my eye it hurt so much and felt as if something got ripped.
I used scraps of rubber from a factory that made gaskets. these could pluck out a contact lense, it happened more than just once or twice.
Anytime you have such things in the path someone will turn them into slapping whips for the next person behind them, sometimes accidently, sometimes on purpose.
Vaseline on a reachable prop will usually get you Vaseline smeared on your wall right afterwards.
Maybe customer apprehension and fears could be generated by someone in the middle of the maze walking passed them, all illuminated showing off their very realistic exterminator's uniform as he carrys a work box full of poisons and a gunny sack full of furr and tails?

tchaunt
01-09-2009, 03:17 PM
There is a product that we used to use in a dark maze that was made to feel like slime, but wouldn't come of on the fingers. I think it was a silicon mix, but I can't remember what it was called. Anyone?
Dave
The name of the "slime" is Sil-slime. CFX makes the stuff.

MDKing
01-10-2009, 07:27 AM
Katie,

Are you referring to the rubber mulch for the ground? It's ground up old tires sometimes, we bought some dark rubber mulch and had a huge pallet and box delivered for use in my yard!

Allan

swampboy
01-10-2009, 11:31 AM
According to CFX: Sil-Slime is safe for skin contact but is very sticky, so handle with care if you want to avoid cleanup with makeup remover or a good scrubbing. Sil-Slime may stain fabrics. Intended for professional use. Not for use in the mouth.

never seen the stuff so don't know if it sticks to clothes, hair, etc or passersby. Btw, I tried to come up with something funny about the 'not for use in mouth' but I'll leave that to Warfield :)


On the shredded tire...not trying to be an alarmist but...check out your shredded rubber carefully. We had some shredded rubber in a playground at a local park. It caught fire and MELTED the swingset. Luckily it happened when no one was playing (happened at night). Not sure how flammable this stuff is but supposedly a lit cigarette is to blame....though my money is on some teenagers goofing around...I'm sure there are different grades/types of shredded rubber and it looks like our park picked the wrong one.

Jim Warfield
01-13-2009, 12:24 AM
The guy in California? Who had collected something like 5Million used tires , had them just piled up, and they caught on fire and nobody could put that fire out for quite some time. The EPA was not happy.
Shredded tires could also have some very sharp metal in them. Some tires had/have steel cable in them along the bead.
A local man used to get his heat during the winter by burning old tires. He would make a fire from them in the yard then stand around the fire as it burned, he had a definately "Commando" blackened face look to him(and a rubberish smell?)
He only drove the 8 miles into town once a week or less to use the gas station's rest rooms to clean up in.
The old school bus in his junkyard had no electricity, plumbing nor heat. Most old busses don't but he was living in this one.
He lost a foot to frost bite, died in the nursing home.
Yes, tires burn rather well but I don't think Toyota will be making a car soon that uses them for an alternative fuel.(The trailer pulled behind would have to be rather large, I think, I could be wrong though.)

michilson
03-28-2009, 02:19 PM
I liked the Idea of the Fog and Color Lights I would add one suggestion to this idea! Place several Colors in a Square pattern threw out the whole maze so that 1/4 of the maze is a solid color so ex:

Area 1 Green
Area 2 Yellow
Area 3 Blue
Area 4 Red

This lets them say okay Iíve came from green so thatís not the way out!

Hereís the twist set this up so the Colors Change like every 5 mins or something depending on the size of the maze

Now

Area 1 is Blue
Area 2 Red
Area 3 is Green
Area 4 Is Yellow

This will make the maze a little harder to figure out and make them more disoriented.

I've never done this setup before but it would be worth trying i think but you light have to make the maze easier depending on bottle necks and attendance.

The other option would to put in one way doors that once they get to a certain point they canít go back!