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View Full Version : Do Funny Characters belong in your Haunted House?



Tater
01-19-2009, 12:22 AM
Ok yall heres a simple question thats going to have many complicated answers im sure.

Do the Funny Characters have a place in a haunted house?

While some of you know my character Granny is not really a scary person. Shes mean yes, but shes mainly there to get the customers mind off of the fact that they are entering a Haunted House. She also sets up for other actors to come and scare while herself is getting some of the action. So to answer this I say YES! they do belong

Motograter
01-19-2009, 12:26 AM
I have been to a haunted house where they had Micheal Jackson dancing around. The room was filled with fog with a giant crystal ball in the center playing a Micheal Jackson song. It was different, kinda caught me off guard saying, wtf? The rest of the house was scary.

Motograter
01-19-2009, 12:27 AM
By the way Tater this is off topic but I just went to add you on my myspace page. Your granny pictures are f****ing HILARIOUS!

Boni
01-19-2009, 12:37 AM
I think, properly placed, especially if they fit the theme, they provide a great breather for the guests that sets them at easy, they think they are off the hook and then they turn the corner.

In my haunted hospital, we had the mad pharmisist, poppin pills, breathing some laughing gas, just a little change of pace.

Tater
01-19-2009, 12:37 AM
haha thanks Bill!

you going to transworld, if so I will see you there

Darkangel
01-19-2009, 07:28 AM
IT'S a HAUNTED house or attraction, I think they are there and paid to be scared, that is what they want and payed for. The guests will get more laughs from watching each other get scared. Unless you can book a real comedian to do standup, possibly horror related would be ideal, to do a set for the que, it's out of place IMO....

Darkangel

BruiseMuse
01-19-2009, 07:38 AM
I think humorous and quirky characters work well in a haunt. If the customers see one bloody maniac after another, they become numb to the scare factor. Encountering some random humorous character that engages and entertains them will cause there guard to go down again and allow for some great scares.

I think the point of an actor is to be entertaining; whether that be in a scary, gross, creepy, or comical sense.

Haunted Illinois
01-19-2009, 08:08 AM
If the customers see one bloody maniac after another, they become numb to the scare factor. Encountering some random humorous character that engages and entertains them will cause there guard to go down again and allow for some great scares.

Quite true. There is one attraction in Illinois that is like that. They try too hard to make their haunt the "most intense" by bombarding your senses with tons of strobe lights, loud sounds and characters constantly screaming in your ear. By the time you are halfway through it, you're numb to their attacks and become bored with the whole thing. Customers need a break between scares to cool down... then anticipation rises and the following scare attempts are more successful.


I think humorous and quirky characters work well in a haunt... ...I think the point of an actor is to be entertaining; whether that be in a scary, gross, creepy, or comical sense.

Way too many attractions focus their efforts on being the "scariest" or most "intense" and I think that is a mistake. Keep in mind that there are just some people you won't be able to scare, no matter what you do. For those less timid patrons, you need to provide some level of entertainment if you want them to come back. Just my two cents.

Nightgore
01-19-2009, 08:12 AM
I think some comedic characters are a good thing... When used right, they can actually provide the BIGGEST scares! Remember, in it's most basic form... we are NOT in the haunt industry, we work in the ENTERTAINMENT industry! It's WAY more than just scaring people... you've got to entertain them! -Tyler

gadget-evilusions
01-19-2009, 08:35 AM
I agree 1300% with Katie

Jim Warfield
01-19-2009, 08:39 AM
Very well known, successfull entertainers (who make more money in one week than the rest of us see in a year) have been quoted as saying humor is tougher than mere acting.
Humor is "Risk", you risk not being funny, you risk possibly offending someone.
Many years ago, almost from "Day -One", I took this challenge on and it is very gratifying to successfully control people in a room having them laugh then scream then laugh again, then scream and until someone has tried this and succeed, you will never know how incredible this personally feels, unless you are Adolf Hitler reincarnated.
Everyone starts somewhere and far be it from me to be critical of what others want to to do or need to be doing and being critical of what works for them is a huge waste of time and energy.
A much more personalized entertainment situation does enthrall people , makes them wonder? Brings them back to buy another ticket, gives them an experience more noteworthy, maybe more valuable?
Upon enterting a haunted attraction a gauntlet has been thrown down in which many customers are already mentally saying:"You can't scare me, I will not respond to idiots screaming in my face, everything is fake."
An excellant way to overcome this shield they put up is to catch them off their game by playing the game differently and humor and a true roller coaster ride of the trully unexpected, punctuated by normal speech, dress, humor will set up anything with almost anybody, once you engage their mind in a more normal, everyday plain.
If your audience is mostly young teens who have a very short attention span..scream in their face and be done with them although I am seldom dissappointed when I offer more , metally to an audience. They will respond moreso than not going toward the intellectual.
Acting this way, talking, adding humor or attempted humor will slow down the throughput.
I have found that doing a job well but seeing fewer customers will sustain the haunt. Seeing many more but rushing the dollar from their pocket often leaves an "injury" they don't heal quickly from.
People like to be treated as a person rather than like a mere number, this takes time.
(Disclaimer: No, I do not know everything, I have just tried to find and do what works here for me..and it has. Your results may vary especially if you are that reincarnated hitler-guy)

Jordan24
01-19-2009, 09:02 AM
Directly after someone is scared or startled in an environment they know is safe, typically the first thing they do is laugh. So I think a little bit of comedy associated with an overall 'scary' show can be a good thing.

Howie Slobber Erlich
01-19-2009, 09:19 AM
We attempt to be the most intense, scary haunt around every year. However, we have at least one or two things in the haunt that are purposely funny. It give the customers a chance to laugh and catch their breathe. By the way, I am the haunt that Bill was talking about with the MJ room. The actor did a great job in that room and was funny as hell. We had a DJ light, MJ songs blasting and pictures of McCauley Caulklin, Emanuel Stewart, Brook Shields, Bubbles the chimp and Mj record sleves all over the walls. Our actor did his best impersonation of MJ and most of our crowd loved the humor of that room.

Howie "Slobber" Erlich
Deadly Intentions Haunted House
www.deadlyintentionshaunt.com

Motograter
01-19-2009, 09:37 AM
We attempt to be the most intense, scary haunt around every year. However, we have at least one or two things in the haunt that are purposely funny. It give the customers a chance to laugh and catch their breathe. By the way, I am the haunt that Bill was talking about with the MJ room. The actor did a great job in that room and was funny as hell. We had a DJ light, MJ songs blasting and pictures of McCauley Caulklin, Emanuel Stewart, Brook Shields, Bubbles the chimp and Mj record sleves all over the walls. Our actor did his best impersonation of MJ and most of our crowd loved the humor of that room.

Howie "Slobber" Erlich
Deadly Intentions Haunted House
www.deadlyintentionshaunt.com

I must admit Howie it was pretty funny thing to do. I remember It put a smile on my face when I walked in that room. It totally caught me off guard something I would never expect to see inside a haunt.

Dr. Giggles
01-19-2009, 10:18 AM
I think one or two funny characters are just as nessecary as the scary characters. Not everyones going to be scared by the haunt, you gotta keep them entertained somehow dont you? If you cant make em cry make em laugh till they die!

graystone
01-19-2009, 10:49 AM
Inside the actual haunt? Myself our haunt is to extream for that so I would say No. Again this is what I think for my haunt only. I think people are paying to be scared.

Now outside the haunt for entertainment YES definitely. I think that if their are ones that might be too scared to go in then some funny entertainment might loosen them up.

I can say this too I have been to a couple of haunts that had a few funny skits in them that worked for them. So after thinking about it and looking I would say it just depends on the Haunt! Shane and its I think Granny will fit in just fine Shane this time!

elowther
01-19-2009, 12:44 PM
I think as long as it's not over done it can really be a crowd pleaser. Like Shane, I only put one or two funny characters on the outside of my haunt or in the queue line to provide entertainment. Once they go inside I want them to be horrified. Every haunt is different so what ever works stick with it.

Here is an old clip many of you may have seen last year but for those of you that missed it I think it shows that some humor will work to entertain people and if they have a good time they will return. We had a different character this year that was just as funny in a different way but I don't have it posted to You Tube yet. You can see the Jiminy Bob character on the Haunted Icon skit posted below.

UCyguRHUkHY

You can also use humor in your marketing. I wouldn't do this if I didn't have tons of good scare footage to counter it with. I wouldn't want to be known as the funny or goofy haunt. The advantage of doing something like this is it draws people in that may not have thought of going to a haunt before. Once we pour through the 8 hours of footage of patrons screaming their heads off the next video will be that kind of stuff. Here is the Haunted Icon skit.

http://www.hauntworld.com/haunted_house_forums/showthread.php?t=7212

Good post Tater.

Eric

Darkangel
01-19-2009, 12:46 PM
Yeah but just like you're not going to scare everyone you're not going to be funny to everyone as well. There is many forms of entertainment, we don't have to be everything to entertain them. Comedians will make them laugh, we can make them scream!!!

Darkangel

graystone
01-19-2009, 01:02 PM
I always enjoy your videos and post there good. That one is a good funny one!!! Shane and its I hope to meet Eric this year at TW Shane this time!!!!

elowther
01-19-2009, 01:05 PM
Darkangel,

I wouldn't have it any other way. I design my haunt on the inside for maximum scares and I hear non stop screams. I would never have thought of putting a funny character outside my haunt but when I let my uncle and some others do their thing in the queue line I saw it working for myself. Now I think it is a good thing if it's not over done and depending on your haunt.

Like I said every haunt is different. If I ever went to the House of Shock for instance I wouldn't be looking for a funny character. Maybe they have one but I doubt it.

Eric

Kallie
01-19-2009, 01:12 PM
Never actually thought of putting some funny gag into the house, but I'm sure it can be cool. I do think it will be more suitable for bigger haunted houses than quick ones. Also a house where passing through goes slow, it can be a nice break. After a calming down attraction, a sudden big fright might catch them really offgaurd.

elowther
01-19-2009, 01:25 PM
Shane,

Glad you liked the videos. We will definitely meet in TW.

It would be cool if others have any video of funny characters to post the clips here, it would be interesting to see what different haunts from around the country are doing with this kind of entertainment.

Eric

Jim Warfield
01-19-2009, 02:58 PM
I might have 2000 hours of people screaming on tape. It's video tape . I use their screams in my answering machine sometimes other than that I purposely don't show the visuals from those tapes.....there might be some missing persons on those images.
There might be some actual alien abductions..probably no more than a couple of hundred though.

Killer Katie
01-20-2009, 10:24 PM
I absolutley agree that homur has a place! If humor didn't have a prominent place in horror, would there be Bruce Cambell?? I shudder to think such a thing!
People go to a haunted house for a good time. There are those who don't scare. We all know one bad word of mouth travels faster than 100 good things. So entertain them however you can!!! As long as it's not overdone.
I did a character this year, insane of course, that had a little snowman named Christmas, and I pretended it farted candy canes and chrstimas trees. Um... not scary, even though i was bloody, but it made people have fun in the lines, took down there guard.

Jim Warfield
01-21-2009, 08:48 AM
Something THAT different does get their attention! They might only recall one thing about the house but if it was very strange and maybe funny, it will stick in their brains better than another chainsaw. A candy cane-farting little creature! First one of those today!!!
hahahahaah!

SpFXChic
01-21-2009, 11:46 AM
I agree that humor does have a place. (Killer Katie, your character does sound silly!) I tried a new character on for size this year...on one hand she was funny and the kids loved her, on the other hand she was horribly disgusting and terrifying for adults. I like that the fun part of her personality got people to drop their guard around her, but then the horrifying side would come out and get a scare. My main prop was a plastic fork or a "spork", not the scariest weapon at the haunt, but it may've seemed like it to some. LOL.

Anyhow, Tater, there's my opinion. Frankly, I think Granny is funny AND scary...and parts of her could probably be used to enforce the latter. Eeeeew!

Mr. Malice
01-23-2009, 11:17 AM
Uncle Milfie, the weird uncle that your parents never really talked about, reared his ugly head this past year and had the crowd in line playing 'Simon Says'. (Simon says JUMP!...come down! you lose, I didn't say simon says) They were laughing at the time but failed to see the duel chainsaw attack from both sides. Needless to say the humor distraction worked and many screams came from the crowd.

Dusti
01-24-2009, 01:22 AM
Sure there's a place for humour in a haunt.

The success of that humour depends on where you put the scene/gag/actor and how well it works with the rest of the show...just like with any other aspect of a haunt.

If you have a million chainsaws going off, with wicked amounts of strobes and fog, humour is probably not going to be noticed.

Don't waste the time, resources, and talent on a scene or character that's not going to be noticed.

As a line actor, or as a natural stopping point within the show? Yes, that works.
As a distraction from the real scare? Absolutely.

damon carson
01-24-2009, 11:15 AM
I've always tried to mix humor with scares. Mainly to entertain and to have people let there guard down. Then you strike! Its like a roller coaster ride in the very first room and then its up and down with screaming the rest of the way.
Damon

Jim Warfield
01-24-2009, 11:52 AM
I confess I have used humor and continued using that humor even after the customers begged me to stop.
It is quite a temptation when in such control of another person... not to stop.
I had them controlled to the point of gasping for air and clenching their stomachs as the pains would not subside.
I had them laughing before they got in the front door and it was still going on 45 minutes later, then I stopped, although one time two women laughed for the entire 90 minutes.
It makes the tour go longer when you have to wait for them to suck more air into their lungs.
I quit giving mouth-to-mouth years ago.
Want air? Get it yourself! See how nasty I am?
I do sometimes manufacture my own special gasses that may get inhaled and enjoyed by others. (Not available on E-Bay)
As my past employee Robert Blount used to say:"If you don't breathe deeply..there will be enough for everybody!"
As a green tinge works it's way upward from their shirt collar.

oakhillshaunterTHEFEAR
01-25-2009, 11:14 AM
I treat it like a movie if you watch a really good scary movie thats ONLY scary its only good. But if that same movie was masterful enough to squeeze other attributes into it its even better.

robos99
01-25-2009, 11:57 AM
I treat it like a movie if you watch a really good scary movie thats ONLY scary its only good. But if that same movie was masterful enough to squeeze other attributes into it its even better.

Couldn't have said it better myself. I've always considered a haunt to be along the same lines as a horror movie. And most of the great horror movies have a bit of comedy thrown in. You don't need to have a stand-up comic in your haunt, but it's possible to have a scary and funny character. Look at Freddy Kruger, he's cracking jokes while killing people. That's what makes the movies entertaining. Even dramatic movies will still have a bit of comedy to relieve the tension. If you just had straight drama, it would be boring. If you had straight scares, people would get sick of it. These days people have very short attention spans, and bombarding their senses with scare after scare might get a little old. The humor gives them a break and lets their guard down...and that's when you scare them senseless.

Of course, I've always found humor in haunts. I know I laugh after scaring people....even if they're not laughing too. Hahaha.

Jim Warfield
01-25-2009, 10:28 PM
It's Comic Relief. William Shakesphere included it in most of his tragedys, giving his audience a small refreshing break.
Sometimes just a character off stage acting like a screaming drunk did the trick, of course there were no cars back in 1620 so drunks were more funny back then.

oakhillshaunterTHEFEAR
01-25-2009, 10:42 PM
HAHAHAHAHA! Good lesson learned.

damon carson
01-26-2009, 09:09 AM
I find no humor in green toxic gasses Jim! LOL!
Damon

Jim Warfield
01-26-2009, 01:22 PM
Humor in those green toxic gasses , as long as you were their owner and you gave yourself a headstart out of the room.
Heinie-can & Schitz are the two worse brews for making wallpaper peeling gases.
I say this after indulging drunks in my house for the first number of years I was open, I learned!