PDA

View Full Version : Are Clowns Old Hat?



Empressnightshade
12-07-2006, 04:23 PM
"Many People Are Afraid Of Clowns..."

After knowing this fact for many, many years (I use to be a clown called Troubles for kid's parties), the first two years of my haunt reinterated it for me. Since I love clowns and many are afraid of them, why not put two of my loves (clowns and scaring others) together to create a theme for our 2007 haunt.

The thing is....

Aren't clowns old hat? They have GOT to be one of the most popular and quite possibly overused theme for haunted houses. Since I'm one who loves to come up with original ideas and storylines, taking on a theme that is centered around characters overly used just isn't my cup of tea.

But, then....

I COULD come up with a completely original idea and storyline behind the clowns, themselves. They do represent both sides of the way I endeavor my haunts to be - Scary and Fun! Plus....I just bought six clown masks and a pair of clown shoes off ebay. LOL!! :lol:

Are clowns out of the picture as a main haunt?

Mike Bizub
12-07-2006, 05:32 PM
I think creating an interesting storyline is a great way to keep the clown character fresh. As far as being old hat? what about chainsaws? Leave them out and people always ask where was the chainsaw guy? Take care, Mike

Jim Warfield
12-07-2006, 05:54 PM
After my comedy chainsaw routine in the front room, nobody asks me "Where's the chainsaw.?"
Clowns and the fear of them is a phobic thing for alot of people, so for those so afflicted , they will not be seen as old-hat, but some clown-phobics do not enjoy that fear in the least and might not enter or return.
I have never understood how people can be so afraid of clowns, but then I never dated one in high school either.

Empressnightshade
12-07-2006, 06:58 PM
I've done a bit of research since posting this thread.
The fear of clowns is called "Coulrophobia." There's actually those who claim they can treat and cure those with this phobia. Yahoo at one point rated Coulrophobia as number nine out of ten phobias.

After reading several threads from other forums and comments from those how are afraid of clowns, their main reason is the fact that they wear such dramatic makeup. And there is the smile, of course. The smile and the image of being happy all the time makes people suspicious. One guy even went as far as to say that clowns are weirdos, perverts and sickos. DAMN!

John Wayne Gacy was mentioned quite often by clown-a-phobics, as well. Which is something I just don't get. Why must he be seen as a clown who turned serial killer? In my opinion, he was a serail killer who turned himself into a clown.... :!:

Greg Chrise
12-07-2006, 08:40 PM
Haunt clowns aren't really John Wayne Gacy directly, not are they the happy clowns with a code of ethics traceable to some clown college. How they are percieved in a haunt is just like the unknown man in the mask with a twist.

On the internet it seems all those represented from Christian clowns to Birthday party clowns are perhaps falsely and pretentiously happy. I think they are far more retarded than the haunt clowns. But, then you will go all the way to the dark and discover clown perversion.

In the real world good clowns visit hospitals, raise funds for the needy of all ages and have to learn how to ride a unicycle, juggle and learn a bunch of gags and skits to be a card carrying professional clown.

Then you run into the anyone can be a clown problem and blow up balloons and get a gig of some nature. It is a job? It doesn't mean they are good people.

Kids will sit on Santa's lap and go into trama because they are with a stranger. They are faking something and smell funny and mommy is way over there.

You have to throw away what you know and have been informed about in the happy world, then start all over to deal with what haunt clowns might be capable of.

As children the victims have been conditioned that like Santa, things are not really right here and mommy has lied so many times. They freak. Worse than a chainsaw but, still harmless for the most part in the controlled environment of the black plywood habitrail.

One nice site is www.madclowns.com take the time to listen to any music like the juke box plays a few different songs.

Empressnightshade
12-07-2006, 11:03 PM
Does anyone know of haunts with a clown theme that has a photo gallery or video on their site that I can show my crew? Some of my crew cannot picture how a clown haunt would work at all.

Are there any displayed on the Haunt World Videos/DVDs?

Greg Chrise
12-08-2006, 12:29 AM
Hauntworld Tape #9 has a tour of Verdun Manor, the second attraction ends in quite a few rooms that are clown. A room of hundreds of clown masks on the wall, clowns wandering the hall with a horn. A spiralling wheel on the wall. Clown graffiti.

It has been done but I have never seen more than a few rooms. Oh I take that back I did see one out in the real world that I did like. Stripes on the walls or big dots, spinning light effects, chainsaws painted clown. Generally mazes and balloons two feet thick on the floor. The entry way was up into a circus wagon, in the old days the horse brought these through town as a parade to the circus grounds as quite a spectacle and they were large and ornate with statues and carvings.

Some ideas for reference material is to look up circus wagons circa 1870 or earlier. Colors seem to be red and yellow stripes or blue and red stripes and white stars on tents. In looking at what has been done there is always the jack in the box that is a clown head or clown masks from Killer Clowns from Space the movie.

For costumes you could take any wild color from the groovy section of Goodwill and add polka dots and stripes even with the airbrush with mismatched panels of materials. What is being offered as real official clown costumes start out at $150 and go up to $1000 as far as serious clown "traditional old" designs go.

Also on Hauntworld videos are several visits to Terror Visions in 3D. There are clown puppets and stalk arounds available from Wayne Toth, Exmortis.

Other things I have seen that look cool are buying hundreds of cheaper masks and costumes and putting them out in the wind like an army of clowns walking by at a distance. Of course when ever there are many a few are potentially real.

The fun part is just about any object can be painted clown. Big saw blades, peddle cars with wagons on them (clown limosine) Ford pintos.

Just put the word clown into the search engine of this forum for some wild ideas we all came up with some time ago. Don't make me go into Barry's head again.

You can do a hallway of clown hands, some may be on sticks that come toward the customer slightly, Any monster or vampire mask can get a clown nose attached and a little paint and it is weird. Dolls can be painted up, you don't see much clown furniture but, there you have it any old crap is striped out to look wrong. Lots of circus signage and so on. Posters of the side show freaks on even the interior walls. Any thrift store painting can be modified to be a clown theme or portrait.

The rest is acting and dummies. What looks like a poorly animated clown robot becomes a jumping clown in real life. For the most part just following patrons is all that is needed to freak them out. Plus duplicates of the same costume can make some freak out as the "same" clown is somehow everywhere.

There are few photos from inside of haunts. Search words would also be carnevil, badclowns, badclownz, whatsinbarrysheadnow.com (just kidding)

Russ
12-08-2006, 02:33 AM
hey Emperess did you get any of the masks from darkside studios? They are as close to the Killer Klowns movies as you can get. I have the shorty one.

I forgot to take out the newspaper that it came in and now there is some ink inside the mask. What's the best way to get rid of it?

Jim Warfield
12-08-2006, 07:16 AM
But if you get rid of the newspaper ink what will you read as you are bored waiting for the parade to begin?
That mask is big enough to have a pretty decent light on inside of them.
My "shorty" is on a manniquin in the corner of a well-lit room. Some people ask us to put a blanket over him so they can walk into that room.
The last time I wanted to put a blanket over a clown I resisted the temptation, I just lunged across the campfire and accidently punched my best friend in the mouth, the dam clown ducked!
Rolled up in a blanket , belts tight keeping the roll in place, a shallow creek and he will submerge with help.

Empressnightshade
12-08-2006, 09:12 AM
Hauntworld Tape #9 has a tour of Verdun Manor, the second attraction ends in quite a few rooms that are clown. A room of hundreds of clown masks on the wall, clowns wandering the hall with a horn. A spiralling wheel on the wall. Clown graffiti.


Greg,

Excellent stuff! Everything you've said has gotten me more excited about my choice of theme. Going to Transworld? I would love to meet, sit and chat a while with ya.

Russ,

the masks I purchased were not from Darkside Studios, but I HAVE seen them. Fabulous stuff! They are on my list!

Jim,

on one of the "I hate clowns" forum I went to, there are a few examples of how clowns have indirectly caused accidents such as a twisted ankle and such.
I know that those who boarder between not being afraid and just a tad freaked by clowns will have a good time. However, those who cross that boarderline I'm quite leary of. I don't want my actors being punched. I always advertise what we're about ahead of time, so perhaps those with a serious issue about them will stay away.

MindWerxKMG
12-08-2006, 10:04 AM
Empress,

I think I remember seeing a video of Larry Kirchner's Terror Visions in 3D haunt on one of the Hauntworld videos. Terror Visions was Larry's 3D clown haunt. I'll check and let you know.

There are pictures of the Terror Visions 3D artwork in the Hauntworld Haunted House Photos section http://www.hauntworld.com/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=31

See ya at TW!

Empressnightshade
12-08-2006, 10:18 AM
Wow!
I wish we COULD paint a walls so professionally. There were a few simple walls that gave me ideas.
Thanks!!

SpFXChic
12-08-2006, 10:28 AM
Clowns...don't sleep or they'll eat ya.

We've had clown rooms throughout the years, generally never more than a couple back-to-back rooms, though.

However, years ago we had a 3-D show called Carnival of Illusions. Much of it was circus/freak-show themed. People loved it.

I think if you are going to theme a full haunt with clowns, that going all out would really help, as far as those who aren't really afraid of clowns are concerned. Cover every little detail. I've got ideas galore running through my brain....

Empressnightshade
12-08-2006, 11:01 AM
I think if you are going to theme a full haunt with clowns, that going all out would really help, as far as those who aren't really afraid of clowns are concerned. Cover every little detail. I've got ideas galore running through my brain....
Oooooh, Honey...

Write me a PM and DO share!!

Greg Chrise
12-08-2006, 12:49 PM
Russ, I'm afraid the ink is there forever. There is nothing that willl get it out without ruining the latex. Off season though I would fill it with paper towels or terry cloth to absorb any ink that might ooze out. Basically you have an ink stamp right now and over time you will put it on and the newspaper will be printed backwards on your face creating a whole new character.

Emp, This year I will be sending Jim Warfield on my behalf to Transworld. You can tell him anything. Once again the decorative concrete business has left me seasonally a poor man after paying all of the taxes on way too many helpers. Unless something good happens in the next two months?

The clown thing gets a lot of feed back from customers as it is certainly one identifiable thing: I saw these clowns! They were doing things. In comparison the other monsters and zombies might be a bit less identifiable like that girl with white hair and blood on her or the ninja guy and so on. So having 20 clowns is maybe a good thing for fun. Which clown? Can you describe him Miss? He had green hair and suspenders and big feet. Oh, yeah we know the one.

Raycliff Manor
12-08-2006, 01:52 PM
I say go for it Emp! We've had clowns in our haunt 3 years in a row now and they have been a huge hit every year! We got the prosthetics from http://www.screamteam.com/ for our clowns this year and they took on a life of their own! The press and media love these characters. They are the same prosthetics used by Heckles and Twitch www.madclowns.com Of course, we used different makeup and costuming as we didn't want to copy/steal their character identities. :wink: They are a great inspiration for freaky clowns though! :twisted:

Kel

MDKing
12-08-2006, 04:26 PM
Is it pretty easy to work with the Scream Team stuff? The pics of characters look great, but it is relatively easy to create characters that realistic?

Thanks,

Raycliff Manor
12-08-2006, 04:45 PM
Check out the pics on our website www.eurekascreams.com and on our Myspace page www.myspace.com/eurekascreams We didn't get our clowns to look as outstanding as Heckles ans Twitch, but the prosthetics sure brought the makeup up to all new levels as far as appearance and believability go. :wink:

Kel

virgil
12-08-2006, 05:29 PM
I don't think evil clowns have lost their appeal.
If album sales and current trends in haunt music
are any indicator I'd say they're still in style.

"Klown" is one of my top selling CDs and with
Midnight Syndicate talking of releasing a
carnival disc I can't imagine evil clowns
going away anytime real soon.

ClusterOne
12-10-2006, 12:18 AM
My two cents;

Speaking as someone who can get seriously freaked out over clowns (and dolls...oh how I hate dolls!!!), they can be very effective as a scare or theme. But it is easy to do do a clown room or haunt wrong.

Take the new pro haunt that opened in our town this year. They had a whole clown 3-d haunt that was unfortunately not very good at all. When you have people in street clothes with a clown mask on trying to scare you with a "Raar!", it really doesn't work. Even my mom was bored, and she gets worked up over everything! The sets looked nice and it was a good layout, but nothing original and the actors sucked. I see so many haunts do this, it's like they think "well we have clowns, everybody is scared of clowns, thats all we need, let's call it a night."

I have seen a lot of circus themed haunts and there was maybe one that was at least memorable. Adding a story line that is not too involved would help a lot, I think. Rather then just starting them into a florescent/neon world, why are they there, what is the back story, things like that. Then adding a twist to it so it's not like all the other clown haunts out there and you should have a great year. But knowing you and your level of passion for this industry you will knock it out of the park!

bodybagging
12-10-2006, 06:43 AM
Empress take alook at our new KLOWNE,
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v71/bodybagging/HUMPYDARK.jpg

bodybagging
12-10-2006, 06:45 AM
Empress take alook at our new KLOWNE,
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v71/bodybagging/HUMPYDARK.jpg

bodybagging
12-10-2006, 06:46 AM
OOPs a KLOWNE that cool had to be posted TWICE!

Empressnightshade
12-10-2006, 09:26 AM
Adding a story line that is not too involved would help a lot, I think.
Joel,

You hit the nail on the head when you wrote this. I TOTALLY agree! In fact, this is what I've been telling the crew. Some of them are trying to warm up to the idea of clowns while others are trying to give me a complicated storyline. I've always had a habit of getting too deep with my storylines when really, it's too much for hauntgoers to retain. Many don't care anyway since they are freaked out at the beginning and just want to get the tour over with :D . What they need and especially for a theme like clowns is a simple, straight to the point storyline. And I think I've found one.....

In 2007 The Scream Extreme will be transformed into:

THE HA HA INSTITUTE FOR THE COMEDICALLY INSANE.

We're the ONLY asylum where clowns from all over the country and all walks of life are committed to when declared mentally incompetent. We're also the only institute who has discovered a "special treatment" to cure Coulrophobics.
Why are hauntgoers there? To see the doc in hopes of curing their clown issues.

Since there really are those who suffer from Coulrophobia, we'll of course, have to put a disclaimer on all ads we're not medical professionals and this is for entertainment purposes only, but I think the whole concept will work. I already have a few scenes worked up in my head. How sick is that? It's not even Christmas. Maybe I need the treatment.....

Empressnightshade
12-10-2006, 09:28 AM
Empress take alook at our new KLOWNE,

bodybagging,

that's just nasty! :twisted: I love it!

Jim Warfield
12-10-2006, 09:52 AM
So.."Comedically Insane" would be people who think they are funny but they aren't?
Delusional.
We all have at least a touch of that from time to time. The clowns you have to really worry about are the ones who have had their make up replaced by tatoos of make up, they be serious clowns!

Empressnightshade
12-10-2006, 09:54 AM
The clowns you have to really worry about are the ones who have had their make up replaced by tatoos of make up, they be serious clowns!
You just gave me an idea...THANKS! :)

Jim Warfield
12-10-2006, 10:08 AM
This is ALL about Ideas. Good, bad, goofy, sinister, popular, unpopular, common, and not-so-common.
Wait a minute, were "Ideas" what lost mankind access to the Garden of Eden? No, maybe it was more "curiosity"?
And that came from an idea, I betcha!

Empressnightshade
12-10-2006, 06:57 PM
Has anyone used rolls of Mylar to mirror your walls?

Empressnightshade
12-11-2006, 03:47 PM
I don't think evil clowns have lost their appeal.
If album sales and current trends in haunt music
are any indicator I'd say they're still in style.

"Klown" is one of my top selling CDs and with
Midnight Syndicate talking of releasing a
carnival disc I can't imagine evil clowns
going away anytime real soon.

Sweetie,

I took a listen to the samples of Klown and whether clowns have lost their appeal or not...Klown is just plan darn good music...PERIOD! So, I bought it. LOL!

SpFXChic
12-12-2006, 10:51 PM
Has anyone used rolls of Mylar to mirror your walls?

We did this season! Not sure of the exact brand...I can ask if you'd like.

Empressnightshade
12-12-2006, 10:58 PM
I think I've found a fairly inexpensive place to order it from, but yes, ask for me.

What I really need to know is how you adhered it to the walls and how effective it was.

drfrightner
12-13-2006, 04:07 AM
One of my actors put it this way...

People don't realize just how scared they're of a clown until they see one in the dark.

Trust me people are terrorfied of clowns!

Larry

Jim Warfield
12-13-2006, 08:39 AM
Almost any haunted house owner would love to see a few car loads of clowns show to be his customers, imagine , say three little-bitty cars parked infront of your place and you're full-up , filled to capacity!!
(Elelphant parking in the rear!)

Empressnightshade
12-13-2006, 09:14 AM
One of my actors put it this way...

People don't realize just how scared they're of a clown until they see one in the dark.

Trust me people are terrorfied of clowns!

Larry
I told my children the other day that I had chosen a haunt theme centered around clowns. I was completely shocked at the reaction I got from them.

My daughter (22 yrs old), the eldest and having my first grand baby today....HOORAY...her response was, "Eeeew! I'm NOT going in next year! They weird me out! They're just not right."

My eldest son's (19yrs old) response was after laughing, "I don't know if I'm going through....You are completely insane, Mom!" Well...I knew that! :P

My middle son (15yrs old) reacted with a "What?! I don't like that. They are always trying to be happy, cute and dancing all around....PLEASE!"

My youngest (10yrs old) is the one with Autism. I have not explained it to him since he's a visual person and seeing it being created is the best way to present it to him. The clown masks and shoes I'm waiting to be delivered will be a start in introducing the idea to him. But, I know my little man. He's gonna love it!

Now, the first three are the demographics we're trying to target. If I'm getting this reaction from my own, what about the rest of the city and county? For the past two years we've been asked by customers before entering, "Are there any clowns inside?" If the entire haunt consist of clowns, we're probably going to loose those particular customers. If so, I'm hoping it will also bring others that wouldn't normally show. I'm guessing, there will be more children as some parents will feel the haunt won't be as threatening and scary......WRONG.....!

I've been researching all aspects of clowns for the past several days and it has brought back all these deep feelings and memories I've stored away as a child. One is the fact that my mom dressed me up as a huge clown for the Halloween costume contest in Elementary school. I took 1st place for the Funniest and was the most popular kid on campus that day. They kept following me around asking me to fall down. They would laugh and laugh to see me rolling on the ground. Of course, by the time I got home, my costume was split up the crotch and my stuffing was coming out, but I didn't care. I had a ball! I was one of those who wanted to run away with the circus for a time, so although I can understand how clowns can get the reaction they do from a large part of the population, I cannot agree. However, it is this understanding that will allow me to play on every fear they have of them. :twisted:

I think this theme has been coming for me for a longtime. And I think that's why I'm having more fun than I ever had planning it. :D

Jim Warfield
12-13-2006, 05:49 PM
Solve your potential clown problem as to whether to have them or not? Whether they are going to make fewer people come through your place or not?
Have all the clowns in a clown room and make it optional, an item of customer choice. Also have a sign or statement advertising an extra scary room and have this be the clown room, this way some clown-phobic people will accidently end up there getting their extra scare, just like you offered!
Haunted entertainment is always a balancing act, too scary? Not scary enough? And everyone is different as to what scares them. (pretty much)
I maintain the ultimate amount of flexibility here often talking with people before they enter the house discovering what some of them are looking for in a tour here , and discovering that some of them are being drug in and really do not want to be here , and they have certain fears or phobias and they will not be having a fun time if those things happen to be a fixture in my presentation.
We adjust the show, but then I adjust the show for each group that comes in here.
This can be alot of extra work and require extra time to do it, but on the other hand, these people just drove for a couple of hours to get here and might never come back again if they are being lied to by me and get overly embarrassed infront of their family, friends and maybe some strangers in the group.
This is my job, my livelyhood, I have nothing else bringing in any other money, I can't afford to leave people sitting in the van while everyone else sees the house. Of course once the nervous ones laugh, settle in, I can take my time to frighten the brave ones in the group, seeing them scream makes the chicken have a good time!
We might even set the chicken up to affect a good scare on the rest of their group! Talk about converting a potential non-customer to a returning fan! This does it! "Remember the time I got to scare you, Grandma?"
"Yes, I'll never forget it, and just think, at first you didn't even want to go in the house!"
I need people to come back again, give me some more of their money.
These customers don't have to see an expensive ad, they already know all about the house(A $aving$ right there), since they had a fun time here , they convince everyone else to make the trip, take the time, make the effort and spend the money to do this, very, very few ads, if any , can ever begin to be nearly as effective in bringing in customers as word of mouth.
They are a walking, talking, testimonial-giving , genuinely enthusiastic, unpaid salesperson!

Empressnightshade
12-21-2006, 07:20 PM
I've taken another step, a quite large one I must say, towards transforming our haunt into a mental institute for the comically insane in 2007.

Last week, I went on craigslist and saw where a woman was holding a sale to get rid of all her father's medical equipment. He's a pediatrician who had a stroke and can no longer practice. I immediately wrote to her seeing if she could donate any items that did not sale. Well, she and her mother and father did better than that.....they donated ANYTHING WE WANTED in his office!!!
So, after two loads of stuff, this is what we got:

Two (2) Adult size Examination Tables

One (1) Baby Scale/Examination Table

Working Computer

White Desk

Doctor's Office Scale

Clear Glass Cannisters holding Cotton, Long cotton tipped Swabs, tongue depressors, etc.

Blue Plastic Cannisters

HUNDREDS of Syringes in individual packages (Saw II immediately came to mind! :twisted: )

Four drawer File Cabinet

1 Reflex Hammer (the one doc hits your knee with)

Blood pressure instruments

Ear/Nose/Throat instrument (The one doc uses with the tiny lite to look in your ears, nose and down your throat)

Oodles of Draping Cloths (To cover your nakedness when you're sitting on the table waiting for doc)

Wicker Chest full of toys (For waiting room)

Winding Bead Toy (The one that has the colorful winding wires and beads on each for a child to follow along the wired path. For Waiting Room)

LOTS of chid related and parent magazines (For waiting room)

Five Pictures of flowers with gold frames (For waiting room)

1 Picture of Fish

Several "In and Out" boxes for paperwork

1 box of new file folders

Two desk chairs

Lots of stationary stuff such as message pads, pens, pencils, staplers, staples, tape, post it notes, rubber bands, paper clips, etc..

Working Typewriter with lots of spare ribbons and correction tape.

Clipboards

2 clear Bins that attach to the outside door of an examination room. They hold your medical files in them.

One TV Cart

One Push Cart

One HUGE metal file bin

Three large wood organizers that sit on top of a desk

There's more stuff that I know I have forgotten to list, but all in all this blessing is definitely going to make our haunt more believable!

PumpkinHead
12-21-2006, 07:51 PM
Sounds like an awesome score, Empress ! I did a clown haunt last year and an asylum one this year. You are combining two of my favorite themes into one! Be sure to have a morgue with a freezer doors on one wall.

Two cannibals were dining on a clown. One cannibal said to the other, "Does this taste funny to you?"

-PH

Jim Warfield
12-21-2006, 08:37 PM
I overheard two of my customers discussing possibly giving me 50 old dental chairs, they owned them, didn't know what to do with them!?
I could have series them and raised a really big room full of people with all of those chairs,Then drilled alot of teeth!
Didn't happen, oh well?
Now I don't have any reason to be looking down in the mouth.

SpFXChic
12-21-2006, 10:20 PM
Empress hit the JACKPOT!!!

Congrats! That's an awesome haul!