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drfrightner
03-29-2009, 08:44 AM
I wanted to thank everyone who came to the tour, everyone who thanks us for opening for this Haunt Show. We had over 1,300 people walk through last night. Sorry we opened 40 minutes late, but the last group did in fact go through just 2 mintes to midnight. That timed ticketing thing was confusing for the people who bought the pre-tour event. That is really what caused some confusion. Live and learn.

The reason we opened 40 minutes late was because we never had the time to hire and train actors. We were still building the haunted house right up to Saturday night as you could see our new building wasn't even done. Most of those actors had never acted in the Darkness before. Those are not our normal actors, and trying to get them into place when they didn't even know where they are suppose to go was tough.

The actors kept telling me that most of the customers would just stand there and look at stuff. Oh well I hope you enjoyed the haunted house, I hope you loved all the hard work we put into building the haunted house.

It was tough building a new bulding, two new attractions, renovating the existing haunt, and producing two Hauntworld magazines, and installing a bunch of attractions all in four month. Next year we won't have all those problems. The building itself will be done within a month or so, and we'll finish The Darkness and then we'll turn our attention to operations. Next year without all these issues we will be able to focus on operations.

The focus of the tour was the HAUNT ITSELF... I hope you liked it! On the Thursday night tour we had a lot of issues with electric going out, that is why some of it was DARK, eventually we had to have someone stand over there and keep flipping back on breakers. All the electric was new in both buildings... it was still be installing as of Thursday. The following day our electrian came by and fixed the problem, the electrician hooked up more breakers and we didn't have the problem on Saturday.

As we finish it I will update you with more photos as promised weeks ago!

Agan thanks for coming out, and sorry for opening a bit late, I'm sure you've all been through it before.

Thanks
Larry

SteveR
03-29-2009, 06:29 PM
Hi Larry -

No worries, I thought it was great and really appreciated you opening up your haunt like you did. We all understand tech problems and actor problems and whatnot, it comes with the territory. Who among us hasn't had those issues!

So tell me when you're next out of town so I can back up a trailer and haul off a few of your completed rooms :-) It would take me decades to even come close to what you've created!

SomeThingInTheIce
03-29-2009, 06:34 PM
larry, great haunt! That thing is huge!!!!!

Grimley
03-29-2009, 07:51 PM
I have only been to a handful of haunts but here is my take.

First Larry you promised great weather so I want my money back on that one. It felt like Vegas all over again. Freezing my ass off in the wind and rain. Obviously you prayed to the wrong gods so you may want to switch them up.

I am not at all convinced that time ticketing works. It was unanimous that everyone in earshot was in agreement that first come first serve may have worked better. We had 8Pm tickets got there early and still did not get in until after 9pm.

There was no que line entertainment which is something I really wanted to see. There was the one guy out there for a few minutes but even he was smart enough to get out of the cold. The crowd was left to entertain themselves.(Lots of drunk people helped you out there)

My partner was trying to figure out if there was a story or theme to the haunt but we failed to find anything. Maybe the animated character at the beginning was supposed to tell the story but I was not sure as he was out of order.

On the positive side the haunt was the most detailed I have ever seen with the exception of the 13th gate. The crew was professional and did there job very well. The scares were there and we had a very good time. The guys running around in the silicone masks were especially entertaining and were fun to interact with. The little person that was standing in the doll room nearly made me hurt myself as I was flying in the opposite direction. I was walking up to him and pointing out how real looking he was and grabbed for me. I ran all the way back one room. I don't scare easy but that made me loose my shit. He stayed perfectly motionless. If I had the chance I would go again and would recommend the haunt to anyone in the area.

The auction at the end would have been better had it been set from like 6-7pm were everyone could attend. I think you guys would have raised more funds with everyone there. When we got out there was no one there and I didn't even know Rich was auctioning something off.

Thanks to Larry and the cast of the darkness. I hope constructive criticism is allowed.

Jim Warfield
03-29-2009, 08:16 PM
Delete the "D",from delete does that leave you elete?
False promotions never fool anyone except the chronically simple.

Nicole
03-29-2009, 08:26 PM
We weren't disappointed... and we've been to several big budget haunts such as Netherworld, DreamReapers, Terror on the Fox, etc., and this was on the level and then some (in certain aspects). The only thing that sucked was the wait outside and wishing there was a beer or hot cider/rum salesperson - it was damn cold, the weather of Wisconsin followed us. :)

Amazing detail, and LOTS of... everything. Starting with the queue line - I've never seen such a detailed queue and it continued to the very end. You can tell a lot of time, detail, money, thought and hard work has gone into the haunt. Placement of scares were great and got the non-haunt spouses in our group. Actors... not on the level of some other haunts as mentioned above, but Larry admits these were actors that were untrained/new and not used to the new layout. We enjoyed actors such as the guy who worked the line, the girl in the playground room, the little actor who said "daddy" got our guys in our group to jump back 10 feet, and the awesome interactive/improv actor in the "plant room" - otherwise, you can tell some of the actors where thrown off by all of us being clinical throughout the entire thing. If this was the first time for some of their actors, they were literally thrown into the fire - would you want to be a first-time haunt actor playing to the toughest crowd ever - seasoned haunters? Had to cut them a break here. The length of the haunt was great - we were expecting less time inside and it seemed to go on and on.

The talk on our ride back was - are we glad we went? Consensus was YES.

actiondeath
03-29-2009, 08:50 PM
Larry, this thread sounds like an apology. I wasn't there, but I'm sure you and your crew did your best. Don't be so hard on yerself, man! Stuff happens.

Reviewers should spend less money on web hosting and design, travel, and admission costs and start saving for that AMAZING haunt that they're going to build. One that is flawless in every way with only the most elaborate sets and costuming. One with only the best, most expensive props and only adult actors who have been haunting for 10+ years.

Do the work. Make your unbiased opinions mean something. Otherwise it's just a bunch of words strung together.

Kevin Dells
03-29-2009, 08:51 PM
It really is too bad myself and Svenpuss couldn't have made it to TW this year sounds like Larry could have used some seasoned actors to rock the place!

I do want to also add that as an actor thats worked 3 TW open haunts(1 at Rockford Screamfest & 2 at dreamreapers) it is next to impossible to scare owners it's a fact, you entertain them if at all possible. I even recall Ken Spriggs sharing how many times people of the haunt community have let his staff down by how drunk and unruly they can be. Im pretty sure i just read a mention of drunk people in line.

Im very curious as to where the Darkness's haunt crew was?
If they are one of the Top Haunts in America you would think they would be there to represent!

I know for a fact that Screamfest brought in extra's to add to our already 100+(Thank you 11th hour crew)

And i also know every year Dream Reapers held it we fought over spots because there were so many of us,not literally fought!

Don't know Larry maybe this is a lesson learned? Maybe don't invest so much into decor and props and more into your people or at least try to hit a midway blend of the two.

Bottom line is haunts are great because people within in them scare the daylights out of you, if you don't have that all you have is a place that looks pretty with no scare. Thats not one of the nations topped ranked haunts in my book no matter what time of year it is, Crew is Crew is Family and you all have each others backs all year long!

That explains all the people in costume walking the TW aisles, their CREWS! Should have offered them some pizza thats all we ever asked for to help out.

God Love the Haunt family!

Jim Warfield
03-29-2009, 08:56 PM
The more money you pay for something, the more you expect from it.

Over the years I have terrorised the livid crap out of some haunt owners, I am always embarrassed for them when this happens. What got them? Usually very simple things that cost under $1.oo.
One of them flew backwards about 15 feet across the room when he went to open a coffin and I put my hand on top of his at the edge of the lid!
Seeing grown adult haunters fall flat on their butts because I scared them by making a face and they think I'm a hideous mannquin really takes the old "cake".
I will never forget the owner of a very large haunt saying," Nobody can scare me." Then the cardboard cut-out doll made him dance and spin, arms and elbows elevated looking for ...something?
"Oh, you got me, you got me!" He freely admitted.

Kevin Dells
03-29-2009, 09:13 PM
The more money you pay for something, the more you expect from it.

Over the years I have terrorised the livid crap out of some haunt owners, I am always embarrassed for them when this happens. What got them? Usually very simple things that cost under $1.oo.
One of them flew backwards about 15 feet across the room when he went to open a coffin and I put my hand on top of his at the edge of the lid!
Seeing grown adult haunters fall flat on their butts because I scared them by making a face and they think I'm a hideous mannquin really takes the old "cake".
I will never forget the owner of a very large haunt saying," Nobody can scare me." Then the cardboard cut-out doll made him dance and spin, arms and elbows elevated looking for ...something?
"Oh, you got me, you got me!" He freely admitted.

Yes but have you ever been tackled by a Haunt Owners wife!!
Been there done that,scared her so bad coming out of my cage she took my butt OUT!
Screamfest 2003 oh the memory's of that night! If i remember right i never went home that night i slept in a coffin in the cemetary.

Killer Katie
03-29-2009, 09:13 PM
I went through, expecting an entire haunted house. Had their been ANY indication that the acting was secondary, I would have saved my money. I thought that was what the lights on tour was all about.

I feel for the actors, since they were up against haunters. I guarantee noone told them to be prepared to not get scares, and timing, etc... which larry explained, after the fact.

As a cast manager, I did expect at least more than heavy breathing and stalking, and being pushed out of the way so they could take a break. There were a few great actors, and some decent dialogue, but it was rare.

Don't get me going on makeup and costume...

On a positive note, there were some great looking scenes, scary or not is a whole nother question.

I loved the atrwork in the 3-D house, in fact I removed my glasses to really appreciate the talent! The "treehouse" room where the floor moved was very nicely put together as well! (Just naming a few :) )

But, as a member of the "actors AND animatronics" school of thought, I was dissappointed in the amount of animatronics that were there, just because.

I also like haunted houses that are dim and disturbing, and the lighting was so bright in some rooms, it ruined the illussions. (i.e. room with the cannibal statues, they were lit from behind, which totally betrayed them as props not possible live actors.)

With the price that was charged, all of the elements should have been 100%.
Because of the expense out of your fellow haunters, your haunt will be judged with a more harsh eye... simple fact.

Larry - I really hope you appreciate the honesty that your "peers" are giving you, because it can only make your haunt stronger. Noone knows absolutley everything there is about this industry.
Take the good, bad and ugly posts (as we haunters are VERY passionate creatures) and grow!

xxxdirk
03-29-2009, 09:32 PM
ummmm, 40 min? Our ticket said 8, were on time but the line did not start moving until 8:30, meaning 1st group entered then. WE did not enter the haunt til 9:25PM. It was a nicely detailed haunt, SOME good actors and VERY long. It took us about 1 hour for the tour....

HauntedMemphis
03-29-2009, 09:34 PM
Having attended all three haunts with the tours, I learned a lot this week and I had a good time. I don't regret spending what I did attending any of them. There were definately some rough spots with the tours this week, with most of the big items having nothing to do with the haunts themselves. I'm not going to do reviews of the haunts or anything like that, but I do have some comments.

I really hope the actors of all three haunts didn't get too down by not getting scares they hoped to. This was a REAL tough crowd from everything I saw. There were several factors working against the actors. I saw some of the hardest working actors I've seen in a haunt during this week. Some were really trying everything they could for that scare, but were fighting a losing battle.
Almost everyone going through was an experienced haunter. They are simply less likely to get scared than the average audience of teenage girls. Everyone was there as much to learn as to enjoy. I don't think anyone was there trying to get scared. That mindset changes things a lot. We were doing a lot of critiquing on what worked and didn't work while the actors was trying to do their jobs. While they were tring to get our attention, we were busy looking at the detailing in scenes.

As I stated from the onset, I found all three haunts both educational and entertaining. They were three very different haunts, which was great for me. I learned a lot of pros and cons of different styles of haunts, and this really reenforced my likes and dislikes in haunt design. I'm a big believer that you can be entertained without necessarily being scared. There can be a lot more to the total experience of a haunt. I know that isn't necessarily the opinion of many, but it's the outlook I've taken on the industry.

I'd love to see some decent debate on what people learned from the haunt tours, but it would require not letting it degenerate into insults or arguments.

Nightgore
03-29-2009, 09:42 PM
Larry,

We went through with Kelly & Lee, and the Raycliff Manor crew... HAD A BLAST!!!! The haunt was amazing, and I've seen some very nice haunts, the actors were energetic and fun (Kip, awesome... Scary Gary and Little Man... amazing and FUNNY!!!)...

My hats off to Jim Kelly and the HPI crew for busting their asses off on this awesome haunt. I went in knowing and expecting to only see about 80% of finished haunt... and was still blown away.

Again, we had a VERY good time and we're looking forward to doing it again!

Thank YOU! -Tyler


PS: We got in line at 10:25 and only waited around 45 minutes... not bad!

Jim Warfield
03-29-2009, 09:50 PM
If ever all of my helpers showed up at the same time, only the "Special" helpers would be staying around. The regular employees would leave.
I like to think they would not be leaving because they are scared, it would be just because they have not begun to master invisibility as of yet.
One part of the basement sometimes sees a show put on by "them", they never talk , they just touch, pull sometimes..they sure do scare most people though, so far as I know of though nobody has ever died from this treatment.
One young woman who came here on a date and was extremely over-dressed to be here at the tour's conclusion someone made her hair fly right up over her head, as if someone took both hands and lifted/flipped it hard.
She will never be coming back here ever again.(She seemed "bitchy")

voodoo willy
03-29-2009, 10:01 PM
Okay I've lurked on here for sometime and just now started posting..I'm new so please bare with me.

First off let me say that some of the details and room designs were the best I have seen. The que line was excellent and rivals most theme parks that I've been to. Now with that said lets move on.

The lights on tour was very disappointing. First off lights on in my opinion means lights on...not show lights on. That should be reserved for the show. People paid a fare amount of money to see what made the Darkness tick. The show on Saturday had more lights than the lights on tour on Thursday. This was taken straight from The transworld web site describing this event. This will be your only opportunity to tour The Darkness with the lights on! I toured the Darkness on Saturday with brighter lights ...hell I seen things on Saturday that I walked right pass on Thursday because it was so dark.

I know your a salesman Larry...Hell I used to sell used cars too!!! There is a thing called perceived value and actual value. I think this event was priced for as a perceived value, people said wow 125 bucks it must be good. Even tho my spidey senses went off after you kept raising the number of tickets I still told myself that this was going to be awesome, hell this is Larry and the Darkness.

There is a point where karma will come back and bite you in the ass. And I hope this wasn't done on purpose. This event wasn't supposed to be about the money but to help Transworld draw more buyers and to share in your expertise. By the amount of people you signed up you should be well on your way to covering the expenses for the Darkness upgrade.

Hope you have a great Haunt this year.

Grimley
03-29-2009, 10:18 PM
I also heard several people in line complaining the lights on tour was not lights on and was the same as Sat but with actors.

Front Yard Fright
03-29-2009, 10:49 PM
True... The show was hyped on this board (as well as being advertised on thedarkness.com) as a lights-on, BEHIND THE SCENES TOUR, yet that was not the case. The lights were NOT ON. And there was NOTHING "behind the scenes" about it.

The tour was under regular show lighting, without the actors. I was told by a reliable source that there was one patron who tried to check out a "behind the scenes" area, but was scolded by one of the Darkness staff and told to go back the main walking path with the rest of his group. "Behind the scenes tour"? NOT! What a joke!

I thought the same thing. And it wasn't only The Darkness. I thought the Columbia Haunt TOUR was going to be just that, a tour! But instead it was just open.

People need to be more clearer and choose their words they use carefully!

N2SPOOKINU
03-29-2009, 10:56 PM
Front, the Columbia haunt Tour was a tour of two haunted houses in Columbia Missouri. As far as a tour, we turned our lights on at 1AM and gave a complete light on tour of our attraction to those who stayed to ask questions. We were there until 2:30 touring and answering questions anyone had. Sorry you were confused about what we had to offer but we thought we made it clear that we were turning the lights on after the show.

Front Yard Fright
03-29-2009, 11:07 PM
Front, the Columbia haunt Tour was a tour of two haunted houses in Columbia Missouri. As far as a tour, we turned our lights on at 1AM and gave a complete light on tour of our attraction to those who stayed to ask questions. We were there until 2:30 touring and answering questions anyone had. Sorry you were confused about what we had to offer but we thought we made it clear that we were turning the lights on after the show.

Yeah but for me, I couldn't stick around that late as I had car pooled with people from TW.

No worries though. It was still great to come out there and check your place out.
:).

N2SPOOKINU
03-29-2009, 11:16 PM
Front, sorry you had to leave early. We met alot of GREAT haunters AND actors and had a fantastic time sharing our haunt. We hope all of you had an enjoyable time.

DollFacexHorror
03-29-2009, 11:28 PM
Honestly, I had a good time there were a few good scares as I'm not jaded 100% yet on haunts. I was with good company as well. There were a few things about the event that didn't go as I thought it would be but I had a great time.
________
ultimate fighter (http://ultimatefighters.org/)

Jim Warfield
03-29-2009, 11:43 PM
I wood have portrayed the guy from The Wizard Of OZ who sticks his head through the curtain and says:"Ignore the man behind the curtain, the Great and Powerfull Oz has spoken! And while you are at it ignore the curtain too, if you look behind this curtain, you will see my bare behind, sorry there was some miscommunication it was to have been an obscenes be-hind the curtain look with tights off! I don't usually wear them.

damon carson
03-29-2009, 11:48 PM
Whats that Jim about wood behind the curtain? LOL! Or did you mean would? Ha ha! Sounds more like a peep show to me. Sorry I dont care to see the man behind the curtain. Thankyou!
Damon

DollFacexHorror
03-29-2009, 11:50 PM
I went through, expecting an entire haunted house. Had their been ANY indication that the acting was secondary, I would have saved my money. I thought that was what the lights on tour was all about.

I feel for the actors, since they were up against haunters. I guarantee noone told them to be prepared to not get scares, and timing, etc... which larry explained, after the fact.

As a cast manager, I did expect at least more than heavy breathing and stalking, and being pushed out of the way so they could take a break. There were a few great actors, and some decent dialogue, but it was rare.

Don't get me going on makeup and costume...

On a positive note, there were some great looking scenes, scary or not is a whole nother question.

I loved the atrwork in the 3-D house, in fact I removed my glasses to really appreciate the talent! The "treehouse" room where the floor moved was very nicely put together as well! (Just naming a few :) )

But, as a member of the "actors AND animatronics" school of thought, I was dissappointed in the amount of animatronics that were there, just because.

I also like haunted houses that are dim and disturbing, and the lighting was so bright in some rooms, it ruined the illussions. (i.e. room with the cannibal statues, they were lit from behind, which totally betrayed them as props not possible live actors.)

With the price that was charged, all of the elements should have been 100%.
Because of the expense out of your fellow haunters, your haunt will be judged with a more harsh eye... simple fact.

Larry - I really hope you appreciate the honesty that your "peers" are giving you, because it can only make your haunt stronger. Noone knows absolutley everything there is about this industry.
Take the good, bad and ugly posts (as we haunters are VERY passionate creatures) and grow!

.... aside from this I never saw you at the show... sigh we had drinks waiting LOL :P
________
Yamaha QY10 (http://www.yamaha-tech.com/wiki/Yamaha_QY10)

Haunting Copy
03-30-2009, 01:20 AM
. . . we turned our lights on at 1AM and gave a complete light on tour of our attraction to those who stayed to ask questions. We were there until 2:30 touring and answering questions anyone had. Sorry you were confused about what we had to offer but we thought we made it clear that we were turning the lights on after the show.

This is a fact. Brad and I stayed after closing and was generously escorted through a VERY thorough walk-through.

Thanks again, guys and ladies of FearFest. Y'all rock.

Haunting Copy
03-30-2009, 01:20 AM
.... aside from this I never saw you at the show... sigh we had drinks waiting LOL :P

That is for damn sure, LOL!

drfrightner
03-30-2009, 02:54 AM
Let me make a few comments here... some people are without words! Some people just love to cause problems no matter what you do good or great or when you make mistakes.

Let me elaborate...

1) I had someone climb over one of my ropes and tear apart my TIME MACHINE which we are going to rehab into a truck. Yes they tore things open to see how it works, broke BOTH arms on the thing and took a really cool handle on top of the stick shift to boot.

2) Someone SMASHED my COBRA facade... 5 years ago this was re-hard coated, and the thing has been uder the stress of tens of thousands of people never even a crack but some jerk smashed it to bits not one side but both sides.

3) Another jerk stuffed a whole role of paper towels down my super nice bathroom and flooded it during the tour. A bathroom I was nice enough to tell people we had.

4) I could go on and on about the props people broke, skulls that where torn off the walls, someone actually ran up to me and reported the torn off skull but I couldn't find the person. I was walking through the attraction today and I could NOT believe the amount of stuff people BROKE, RIPPED UP, or simply whatever to be a jerk or I guess wanted a sample of our rocks so they broke pieces off I don't know what else.

5) Here is another one... someone came in with the same radios we used and started making up stuff saying "The Impailer head fell off'. So then we scrambled over there to check it and no it hadn't fallen off, but someone RIPPED off the Impailers hand just ripped it right off the animation.

People threw trash all over the haunt it was just a mess.

Aside from these handfull of issues, 99.9% of the people I talked to where nice as peaches, thanking us up and down for opening, people coming up to us at the show telling us it was the best haunted house they have ever seen, praising the 3D, making comments about how we painted the floors, or endless amounts of talk about our swamp house. I think I must have heard 500 plus people make comments to me about the swamp house.

I want to THANK YOU ALL for the comments you made, the endless thank yous we received over and over and over again. Again 99.9% of you I thank and you made all the hard work worth every inch of time we spent over the last 4 months worth it.

Larry

drfrightner
03-30-2009, 03:08 AM
Let me address all concerns with one post... and understand we are not going to get into some month long debate on this. If you have an issue email me darkrides@sbcglobal.net or feel free to call me directly 314 504 3970 and I will be happy to addres your concerns directly with YOU and listen to any complaints you may have.

1) Lights on tour: My take on the lights on tour is show lights on so you can see what the attracion looks like if you walked though just with NO FOG! I posted on these boards several times this is exactly how we planned to showcase the that event. If I would have done it the other way people would have complained they wanted to see the lighting. One or a half dozen of the other... I'm sure everyones photos came out perfect with your flash. People took so many photos the lines never moved, people left the attraction to get new batteries and wanted back in. I thought this was the best presentation.

If you thought otherwise I'm sorry, but I heard nothing but rave reviews of the attraction during the lights on tour. One point I will make some area's where dark because a fuse kept breaking. All the power was NEW... not until everyone tried to step on pressure pads and set off millions of things at one time did this happen. First night issues... sorry. We got our electrican over and he fixed it by Saturday. We did however place someone at the breakbox and flip it back on every time it went off once realized the issue. Outside of that one problme everything seemed to go great.

2) Darkness Opening Late: Again it probably wouldn't have been a big deal had it not been cold and raining but it was... I don't control the weather, however I do appologize for not opening on time. I didn't want to open when where not ready. We had some actor issues... many of the people who promised to show (REGULAR actors did not show). Maybe because of the snow, or rain or whatever I do not know. Over half of the people had never worked in the Darkness before. I did not expect this but it happens and with the weather being so bad I don't know. We had issues explaining where scenes where to all these people who never worked there before. All of our radios we charged but most of them would NOT take a charge since they sat idle since October. It was an oversight, so this made getting people ready very tough!

For all of this I apoogize. This was not our normal crew, we did have many people who did a great job and tried very hard.

No matter first and foremost I wanted to do my best so we opened late. It was the first time we've tried to open since October, and we just didn't do a good enough job planning for the operation because we kept working on the haunt itself.

3) The Focus: The focus of our tour was always to build the best haunted house or one of the best haunted houses you've ever seen... I posted months ago that it was impossible to finish, we bit off more than we could chew, and it would be tough getting ready. I feel we did the best we could to finish the haunt on time, we worked on it all the way up to Friday. The focus was always on the haunted houses.

All of the comments I heard from fellow haunt owners was 'amazing' 'awesome' 'stunnng' 'just like Disney' all weekend long. This was our focus it was always our focus, and yes we should have put more focus on the actors but we just kept trying to build the haunted house, on top of everything else we where doing.

I understand these complaints, and since the show is coming back to St. Louis I can tell you this one thing...

NEXT YEAR... I will just open up and charge $20 or $25 bucks and we'll just open one night and we will focus on the show, the actors, and just scary the HELL OUT OF YOU PEOPLE!

I thought and I think I was right, the focus was people wanted to see the HAUNT and that was the focus from day one!

Anyone who thought the haunt wasn't good well I don't know what to say because I heard nothing but WOW's all weekend.

We have built many projects in our day and done some near impossible things but this was the hardest thing we've ever done just because of the short time frame, and because of all the other factors involved.

Next year we won't have to build a new building, two new attractions and put so much time and energy into helping promote a show for the industry and all of that. We'll focus more on the production and less on renovation and showcasing the HAUNT!

So yes I understand some peoples concerns and comments but I know we had a lot of actors in there that did awesome and got a lot of scares... I KNOW ROSS FROM HOUSE OF SHOCK GOT IT FROM OUR BABY ROOM!!!! C'mon Ross I heard all about it... LOL.

Again thanks for coming out, thanks for all the awesome, wonderfull, glowing comments everyone made about OUR HAUNTED HOUSE and next year I will do everything I can to simply put on a SHOW at the normal cost of going through Darkness, and not some big major over the top build everything, detail down to the bone, effect and scene!

Again anything else on this subject just email me directly or call me I'll be happy to hear your comments and feedback!

Now onto the future... you have roughly FIVE months to get ready to open your haunted houses!

Now the heat is on you guys! I hope the show gave you all the inspiration you could handle!

Good luck and again thanks for coming to the tour!


NOW DIRECT RESPONSES:

Grimly: No the weather wasn't terrible for the whole show it was great on Friday and Sunday it just sucked when I opened my haunt... what an Omen! LOL I agree with you I would NOT do timed ticketing for my haunt now or in the future. Sorry we didn't have any que line entertainment outside however we did have it inside. Lastly you said you didn't pick up on a theme... yes there was a theme.

Downstairs was all lost temple type theme. Upstairs was a mansion starts with a swamp/graveyard to a mansion facade and finally out the backyard, garage, green house, blah, blah.

KEVIN: Next time let me know I'd love to have you work here that would have helped out a lot I know that!!!! Here is the truth of the matter we have AWSOME actos, in fact the tv guy for the America Haunts show said we had the best actors of all that he saw last year. We just didn't do a good enough job recruiting them or something... we had a walk through like 10 days before the show. Over 100 people showed up all said they wanted to work, I told everyone we'd pay them that night, I brought $6,000.00 but they just didn't show up. Maybe because of the weather, maybe because everyone wanted to watch the Missouri vs. UCON game. Remeber Missouri made the elite 8, so this must have had an impact I don't know. We will fix this next year I promise. But yes you are right we focused more on the haunt for this tour than the performance.

Voodoo: I think I explained that we had a power problem. We fixed that on Saturday. We didn't turn the overhead lights on because honestly we thought peopele would rather have the house so they could see the lighting just NO FOG for pictures. I think most wanted it that way but obviously some didn't... I apologize for the confusion but glad you liked the attraction.

Larry

xxxdirk
03-30-2009, 09:18 AM
Even though some of you do not care for Larry, I really hope you can learn to handle your hatred in a different way. The damage that you haunters did is not excusable and I really hope you never have a customer at your haunt act that way....

damon carson
03-30-2009, 09:24 AM
Ya that is pretty p*** poor I cant believe that! Ya lets buy a ticket to tear up the Darkness and then we will have others bash it all over the msg boards. Bunch a little pansies! Its too bad cameras didnt catch who did it. Or more Darkness staff couldnt have seen who done this. Then you would have to pay for what you did. It really is unexcusable coming from so called haunters.
Damon

voodoo willy
03-30-2009, 09:29 AM
Hey Larry..no worries :D . I know you did a lot in a short amount of time. I was just hoping for more from the lights on. I really wanted to get a good look at your set up and with show lighting I just couldn't do it. I did get a couple of ideas from what I did see so that made the price worth it....to me anyways.

Darkangel
03-30-2009, 09:41 AM
Anyone who intentionally damages his property should be ashamed. How ridiculous don't take your personal feelings out on someone's property are you 10 years old? A lot of hard work went into the show from people other than Larry. As haunters you should know the hard work that goes into doing this, if you damaged things on purpose remember karma can be a b***h and wait to your stuff gets damaged then you'll remember why it came back to you...

Motograter
03-30-2009, 09:42 AM
That's really a shame that some people tore the place up and flooded your bathroom out Larry. I wouldn't expect that coming from another haunter. That's just very unprofessional.

IHAUNT
03-30-2009, 10:04 AM
Sorry about the JERKS bashing The Darkness Larry. ( Both literally & figuratively )

I think it all boils down to one thing.............JEALOUSY.


Tom.

Raycliff Manor
03-30-2009, 11:44 AM
Larry,

Regarding the Lights on Tour:

Three of us, Lee, Ree and myself, went through on Thursday night for the Darkness Lights on Tour. We had seen your progress pictures posted here on Hauntworld and I have to say, the pictures do not do justice to the real thing! I was one of the people who came back on Saturday and told you that I felt the Darkness was "Disney quality". 360 degrees of incredible set design and detail!Seriously, I still don't know how you pulled off what you did in just 4 months. Our hats off to you, Jim Kelly and the rest of the crew for "moving mountains" this year! Even if you only had the Darkness to work on and were not dealing with all your other clients projects, this would still be nothing short of a miracle. It's great to see you receive and process the constructive criticism from haunters professionally, while maintaining a focus on the positive feedback as well. It takes thick skin to open your show to haunted attraction owners who can be your most critical audience!

I know it has already been mentioned by another, just the inspiration for ideas we were able to generate from the lights on tour make the tour worth thte price of admission. We took tons of pictures until our camera battery finally died. You're right, the flash pictures captured incredible detail, especially the wall treatments, faux painting and design. We didn't feel hurried along in the lights on tour, but made sure to keep a pace in consideration of others. We had enough time to explore each room and the setup, operation and detail within them. We're VERY glad we took the tour!

Regarding the Saturday night show:

We had 9 of our crew go through the Darkness and we must have looked like a bunch of tourists pointing in all directions saying things like, "Oh my God!", "Wow!", "Look at that!", "Awesome!", etc. I'm not sure if we hit the timing just right or what, but we found the acting from the cue line to the exit to be great! We had a couple of our crew who were singled out as targets, and rightly so, and even though the rest of us were still focused on analyzing the sets, scare locations and acting, the Actors did an awesome job of getting screams from our team members and hysterical laughter from the rest of us! Lee almost added to your tinkle tally, he was laughing so hard at how effectively the Actors were targeting and delivering scares on Ree and Amanda in our group.

Kip did an amazing job in the cue line and we can't figure out how he was able to reappear throughout the haunt to locate Amanda and Ree and deliver scares over and over again! Several of our group lost it in the doll room when your "little man" Actor NAILED US! Seriously, we all FREAKED in a chain reaction of screams and hollers! Please let him know that! There were too many great Actors to even try to name them all. I'm sure it helped to have two people in our group that were actually good targets for scares and that probably energized the Actors and reinforced their desire to deliver, which enhanced our overall experience.

We were lucky enough to also have Brad, Tyler and Eddie join our tour group and they added to the laughter and fun! Sarah, sorry you weren't able to make it out to the tour with us, but you were a kick at dinner!

Regarding the damage to the Darkness:

I know it's already been said, but KARMA can be your best friend or your worst enemy, your choice! To the people who damaged the props and sets, I'm just glad you are the exception and not the rule in the Haunt Community! I did notice some damage on Saturday that I hadn't seen during the lights on show and I wondered about it. Larry, I'm sorry this happened to you and I'm sure with your exhaustion and fighting illness, this had to be a blow. I know it would be for me! Again, I'm glad to see you are focused on the positive feedback you've been receiving and still able to capture the pride and joy of a job well done! I hope Jim and the rest of the crew are following suit. As a pioneer in the industry, you will always have critical eyes on you and in some cases, jealousy to contend with. Of course good constructive criticism, like has been delivered in posts in this thread, is helpful. Destruction to your property is obviously not! I hope you and the rest of your team can get a little R&R and recuperate. Then I hope you can get together as a team and celebrate the success of the tours. Thanks for a great time!

Kel, Lee and the Raycliff Manor Fright Team

Haunting Copy
03-30-2009, 12:47 PM
Larry, I'm so sorry to hear that *haunters*, of all people, tore up your sets. How infantile! I will be sure to hear Criticism of Larry with a careful ear, more so now than ever.

For me, you have earned yet another notch of respect, simply for the way you handle the bashing of you and your property. I guarantee you I would not have been so kind!

Warm regards,
Sarah

Tater
03-30-2009, 12:51 PM
Larry

Sorry to hear about your Haunt getting torn up. That under NO circumstances is right! The bad thing is that the people readign these messages might of known who did it. If anyone out there knows someone that torn up larrys Haunt please Private message me...There is a reward for info as long as you have proof. On a side note larry when we went threw on saturday around 10 I didnt see any thing missing or broken...However I was paying more attention to all the detail that yall put in your haunt then looking for broken props...

Haunting Copy
03-30-2009, 12:53 PM
Larry,

Regarding the Lights on Tour:

Three of us, Lee, Ree and myself, went through on Thursday night for the Darkness Lights on Tour. We had seen your progress pictures posted here on Hauntworld and I have to say, the pictures do not do justice to the real thing! I was one of the people who came back on Saturday and told you that I felt the Darkness was "Disney quality". 360 degrees of incredible set design and detail!Seriously, I still don't know how you pulled off what you did in just 4 months. Our hats off to you, Jim Kelly and the rest of the crew for "moving mountains" this year! Even if you only had the Darkness to work on and were not dealing with all your other clients projects, this would still be nothing short of a miracle. It's great to see you receive and process the constructive criticism from haunters professionally, while maintaining a focus on the positive feedback as well. It takes thick skin to open your show to haunted attraction owners who can be your most critical audience!

I know it has already been mentioned by another, just the inspiration for ideas we were able to generate from the lights on tour make the tour worth thte price of admission. We took tons of pictures until our camera battery finally died. You're right, the flash pictures captured incredible detail, especially the wall treatments, faux painting and design. We didn't feel hurried along in the lights on tour, but made sure to keep a pace in consideration of others. We had enough time to explore each room and the setup, operation and detail within them. We're VERY glad we took the tour!

Regarding the Saturday night show:

We had 9 of our crew go through the Darkness and we must have looked like a bunch of tourists pointing in all directions saying things like, "Oh my God!", "Wow!", "Look at that!", "Awesome!", etc. I'm not sure if we hit the timing just right or what, but we found the acting from the cue line to the exit to be great! We had a couple of our crew who were singled out as targets, and rightly so, and even though the rest of us were still focused on analyzing the sets, scare locations and acting, the Actors did an awesome job of getting screams from our team members and hysterical laughter from the rest of us! Lee almost added to your tinkle tally, he was laughing so hard at how effectively the Actors were targeting and delivering scares on Ree and Amanda in our group.

Kip did an amazing job in the cue line and we can't figure out how he was able to reappear throughout the haunt to locate Amanda and Ree and deliver scares over and over again! Several of our group lost it in the doll room when your "little man" Actor NAILED US! Seriously, we all FREAKED in a chain reaction of screams and hollers! Please let him know that! There were too many great Actors to even try to name them all. I'm sure it helped to have two people in our group that were actually good targets for scares and that probably energized the Actors and reinforced their desire to deliver, which enhanced our overall experience.

We were lucky enough to also have Brad, Tyler and Eddie join our tour group and they added to the laughter and fun! Sarah, sorry you weren't able to make it out to the tour with us, but you were a kick at dinner!

Regarding the damage to the Darkness:

I know it's already been said, but KARMA can be your best friend or your worst enemy, your choice! To the people who damaged the props and sets, I'm just glad you are the exception and not the rule in the Haunt Community! I did notice some damage on Saturday that I hadn't seen during the lights on show and I wondered about it. Larry, I'm sorry this happened to you and I'm sure with your exhaustion and fighting illness, this had to be a blow. I know it would be for me! Again, I'm glad to see you are focused on the positive feedback you've been receiving and still able to capture the pride and joy of a job well done! I hope Jim and the rest of the crew are following suit. As a pioneer in the industry, you will always have critical eyes on you and in some cases, jealousy to contend with. Of course good constructive criticism, like has been delivered in posts in this thread, is helpful. Destruction to your property is obviously not! I hope you and the rest of your team can get a little R&R and recuperate. Then I hope you can get together as a team and celebrate the success of the tours. Thanks for a great time!

Kel, Lee and the Raycliff Manor Fright Team


Kelly, thank you. What a treat it was getting to know your team and yourself. I love your upbeat and positive attitude.

For anyone reading this post, if you are a haunter and you want to be a better haunter, follow Kelly's methods - of marketing, in particular. Reach out to your customers and let the fun jump out of the box!

Study how Kelly did it. Get his book, "How to be a Haunt Entrepreneur." He knows his stuff.

(NB: When I say "Kelly," I do mean the whole team. :) )

In haunting love,
Sarah

Ken Spriggs
03-30-2009, 01:17 PM
Larry.......Dream Reapers offered up 5 actors for Saturday night.
We would have loved to show off our costumes in a haunt!

BUT when we had them get suited up and work the tradeshow....we inquired about working.

We were told.......well you can bring your costume and we will see if we need you.

Well I don't know why someone would have said that to our guys.....who like I have said before.....I would rank as some of the top in the industry.

If DR's folks and Svenpuss would have been there.......that would have been pretty crazy!!!!
Kev we miss you here!!!!!

drfrightner
03-30-2009, 01:21 PM
Ken,

I never said that to anyone. I wish they would have come by for sure! We needed them... your costumes looked awesome, fantastic, I got to see them for three days since the kept walking up and down our lane.

Great job! Anyway that was a missed opportunity! I would love to know who told you this? That is amazing! I do want to take this opportunity to THANK the guys who did work in our haunted house from other haunted houses... does anyone remember the guy who got in his underwear and was pulled around by a golf cart? We worked the GREEN HOUSE and I heard NOTHING but amazing reviews of his performance!!!!

We had two guys work our clown maze and they also did amazing!!!! I wish we could have had the Dreamreapers guys as well that would have been nice. I also heard awesome comments on our front door guy GARY, and I know CAM scared almost EVERYONE who entered the building. Cam is our little person and we brought him to the show on Sunday. I know a lot of people got photos with him on Sunday...that made him feel pretty SPECIAL! So thank you again!

Larry

hauntedhousenut
03-30-2009, 02:01 PM
I'll keep it short, your show was Disney like and the only complaints I have is the acting.

Jim Warfield
03-30-2009, 02:29 PM
Cannot be tolerated in a haunt, the stuff is too rare, expensive, time consuming to get, find, buy or build.
Alcohol abuse makes some normal people turn this corner from respectful and normal law-abiding to the vandal/idiot.
Of course in their own mind (or what is left functioning of it) they come up with lame excuses when caught. No, I don't think the ticket price was too high but if you did , don't buy a ticket!
I wanted to keep an emergency baseball bat handy to adjust their shoulder blades with one swing.
I eventually made everything outdoors from steel, welded and bolted together, this slowed down alot of the crap from happening.
Halloween as practised by most is at least a rude holiday at the other extreme an aggressive holiday. Intentionally scaring someone is considered "Rude" in polte society, afterall.
Yelling in someone's face and threatening them is a "criminal" offense if pushed in our normal day to day lives, so just as racing fans might leave when the event is completed with their gas peddle buried because of what they just spend all that time watching and listening to, so do haunts and haunted entertainment affect some customers who get abit caught up in the basic mood of the holiday...but being drunk does propell many into areas of bad behaviour.

Mike Honcho
03-30-2009, 04:07 PM
That's really a shame that some people tore the place up and flooded your bathroom out Larry. I wouldn't expect that coming from another haunter. That's just very unprofessional.

I agree with bill,
the show was fantastic, I can tell you and your guys put a lot of effort into your work, and it shows beautifully.
as for people trashing your haunt, what are you 5 again? I mean the guy opens his haunt to us and your gonna break his stuff WOW.... thought most of us were out of high school ...

oh and for some of those saying there was a congo line, well thats because a lot of folks stopped and took pictures as if it was a lights on tour

Phil Miller
03-30-2009, 05:47 PM
Larry,
Awesome work!
I thought the actors did a good job when I went through, I would have enjoyed it without actors just to see the lighting and effects. It would have been worth the trip even if Transworld wasn't in St. Louis. Thank You, Phil Miller

SomeThingInTheIce
03-30-2009, 07:31 PM
Larry, sorry to hear that some people trashed the haunt, that sucks because it looked awesome. We were going to act, even brought our gilles and mask , I talked to your partner and he said that you had more then enough people so we just went to the show. When we went through it looked like you had a lot of actors in there, oh well it was very enjoyable and I would tell anyone who is thinking of going to your haunt to do so, they would not be sorry.

Jordan24
03-30-2009, 08:20 PM
On the negative side, the acting wasn't the greatest I've seen, we waited over an hour, and the tickets were a bit pricey, but I still enjoyed the haunt.

The sets, detailing, animations were amazing, and it took over an hour to get through the whole thing. Overall we had a great time and would definitely go again, even though the cost was pushing it a bit.

That's terrible to hear about the vandalism, really wouldn't of expected that.

Killer Katie
03-30-2009, 08:40 PM
I can't believe so called "haunters" would tear up your place... it's completely shameful!!!

I would like to pose a question- what time did the people that had a "really great time" go?
I'm wondering if it was towards the end of the evening, when they weren't pushing people thru fast at the beginning and when the actors got warmed up? I know personally I never go to a haunt before 9pm, because that seems to be when the actors really hit their peak.

Larry, if that "doll" actor in the kids room is one of your regulars, I'd treat them like gold, and make sure that he was really the talk of the actors that night!!!
And I totally agree with next year, about the "scaring the hell outta you" kinda night! That would be awesome!!!
Still have the lights on the night before, and then make us pee ourselves the next night!

Lastly, to the post about the negative posts being "jealousy", those words were very instigative, and are just as likely to cause more opposite posts. Giving your honest opinion about how you fealt about something, in an industry you love, is not jealousy.

AND...
I so wanted to meet everybody, but couldn't find ANYONE!!! I was at the bar both nights til late, and gave myself a headaches looking at badges... *sigh
I know you were all avoiding me! LOL

Haunting Copy
03-30-2009, 08:50 PM
AND...
I so wanted to meet everybody, but couldn't find ANYONE!!! I was at the bar both nights til late, and gave myself a headaches looking at badges... *sigh
I know you were all avoiding me! LOL

I should have asked for your picture before I left to go to TW. :(

mindtumor
03-30-2009, 08:51 PM
I had a really good time both nights. You guys really changed a lot from last season, I don't know how you got that all done. It looked really good. The little guy does a really good job and some girl on the swingset got me when I was standing by it.

I don't know what it was like for everyone else but when we went through it was slow because the two groups ahead of us would not keep walking. They just kept stopping and looking at stuff.

Destroying other people's property is never cool.

SHELDON
03-30-2009, 09:40 PM
Larry.......Dream Reapers offered up 5 actors for Saturday night.
We would have loved to show off our costumes in a haunt!

BUT when we had them get suited up and work the tradeshow....we inquired about working.

We were told.......well you can bring your costume and we will see if we need you.

Well I don't know why someone would have said that to our guys.....who like I have said before.....I would rank as some of the top in the industry.

If DR's folks and Svenpuss would have been there.......that would have been pretty crazy!!!!
Kev we miss you here!!!!!

Unfortunately, this is true. The young lady working the Hauntworld booth explained to us that you had a full house and that all spots were well covered but that we could bring our costumes (all 200lbs of them between the 5 of us) with no guarantee of acting. She said that we'd place us if needed. I greatly wanted to work your haunt and entertain your line but I feel that we, as experienced and successful character actors, "bring it" hardcore wherever we go and were a bit more deserving than an alternate/replacement/fill-in badge. Might I suggest a thread next year for guest haunters to confirm their intentions to work your amazing haunt. I'm sure you'll find that the list will be long enough for you to take your pick. This will be a thorn in my side until next year so take this as my official "Intent to work" post. Be it Crushorn, Sheldon or something new, I'll be there rain or shine.

Having not attended the haunt, I was working the main entrance of the hotel which afforded me the luxury of overhearing dozens of reviews (some of them heavily slurred) from the patrons returning from the event and this was the overwhelming consensus:

"The haunt was absolutely amazing but it was more like a showroom or museum... lots of eye candy but too quiet. Some of the actors seemed to be more focused on texting than haunting."

I know from personal experience that there is NOTHING more annoying than entering a room and finding a zombie checking his email on an ipod... ESPECIALLY when its one of your own. Some things, like weather and unruly teen actors, you just can't controll. Roll with the punches Larry, bruises heal.

Patti Ludwinski
03-31-2009, 12:10 AM
What a kick in the butt. I'm so sorry. I wish everyone wouldve asked me or Larry. Such a missed opportunity for us. I will say that the actor from Derek Vitas' crew (I think his name was Charles) did an amazing job acting in the haunt. THANK YOU for your time and dedication. You were simply awesome.

---Patti

Ken Spriggs
03-31-2009, 08:58 AM
Larry?

I did warn you!!!
Just because we own haunted houses and operate them.......doesn't mean we get to be aholes when we visit other haunts. Who knows Larry you have a few people who don't like you.......................sounds like they took it out on your haunt!
Still no reason for it!!! That is BS!

Haunters are a great group......and they can really be the worst group in a haunted house.

I know for a fact....your actors were wondering WHY DON'T THESE PEOPLE GET SCARED?
It took us 2 years to get the tradeshow crowd down with our actors!
You need to take the cream of the crop (actors) and tell them.......ANYTHING YOU DO.....WILL NOT SCARE THE CUSTOMERS......do your thing and make it good.....they will appreciate it.....but they will not be scared.

spookhaven
03-31-2009, 08:28 PM
Larry, Patti, and crew from all haunts that participated:

I attended the lights on tour around 10:30 pm. I had to call Larry/Patti and ask them if they would let us in and they both responded in the middle of a CRAZY day of getting ready. Our plane was delayed for over 7 hours and they were wonderful. We would all like to thank you for staying around!

Being newer to the industry it was a good opportunity for us to see what we were doing correctly and what we needed to improve on.

Saturday night was cold/rainy and it sucked standing in that weather and not getting in there "on time with timed ticketing". Lets all keep this in mind next time we are sick of hearing people bitching about standing in line for our haunts or waiting because we had a technical problem to address at the last minute. I thought it was worth the wait and I saw it Thursday.

What really sucked for us on Saturday was that people were so jammed up because they were looking at everything, they should have attended the Thursday night tour. So we didnít get the full effect. And the guy that stopped us before going into the 3D room did a great job at keeping us there to break it up.

I think we are the worst group of people to host a tour for because we all know this same stuff happens to us at one time or another. If it hasn't, it will.

Larry was a bit "short fused" in my opinion but with 1500 peers I would have been as well. And it not going off without a hitch would have made me unnerved as well.

I think you did a wonder job for everything you had going on and deadline to meet.

My hats are off to everyone that helped The Darkness with this project. It was a good time no matter that it might not have been perfect (are any of us?). To bad there was miscommunication with others that wanted to help out. I am sure that will not happen next time around.

I think the constructive criticism everyone is giving here will be taken into consideration, but anyone that damaged the haunt should be ashamed because it's a lot of time and money for Larry. This was a very big undertaking and all in all we should respect the work everyone did.