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Raycliff Manor
06-02-2009, 07:38 PM
What would you consider to be the best investment in providing the greatest perceived value in a haunted attraction? Some things that come to mind immediately would be the following:

Length of haunt
Special effects
Animatronics
Elaborate Costumes
Elaborate Makeup

I'm interested in hearing everyone's opinions on this and what else you think should be a top priority in providing an outstanding perceived value to your guests. Thanks!

Kel

N2SPOOKINU
06-02-2009, 08:00 PM
Hey Bro, this is a great topic! I think alot of perceived value has to do with what your customers are used to seeing. What works in one city may not work in another. Putting a haunt like Netherworld up against a smaller haunt will give a totally diffrent value for the customers.
At fearfest we try to find a happy medium with animatronics, actors, haunt size, scare effects, special effects and entertainment. Our main goal is to entertain our customers weather it be by screaming or laughing we strive for entertainment. Some customers you cant scare but if they are entertained and have a good time the perceived value is increased in my opinion.
I think alot of the value is perceived by what the area has to offer. If you have many large haunts with huge animatronics i dont think the value of a smaller haunt will be realized or appreciated.
There are many smaller haunts out there scaring the crap out of people so size is important but not totally necessary. I think it is the way it is put together, operated and the actors in it that make a sucessful haunt. Like I said earlier, this is a great topic and I cant wait to hear the opinions of others.
Greg
Fearfest

maliciousstudios
06-02-2009, 08:04 PM
Que line entertainment..... Sometimes we forget how long we wait in line because we arent in line.... good kick-ass queline entertainment helps pass the time. I know of a kick-ass haunt that used a freakshow to entertain the crowd while the actors all took a break. The performed suspension acts with the hooks through their skin.... Another I know of had freaks pounding nails into their noses and swallowing swords and etc.

Thats my advice, Good quality kick-ass que line entertainment.

HELL YEAH !

Nightgore
06-02-2009, 08:17 PM
Length of haunt- 25%
Special effects- 25%
Animatronics- 10%
Elaborate Costumes- 20%
Elaborate Makeup- 20%

= 100% AWESOME haunt!

I think people love to see detail, they want to BE in the enviroments you've made for them! People aren't stupid, they'll see quality when they get it. So I think people want to be able to believe that the sets/enviroments they're in are real. Yeah, special effects are nice... animatronics are cool... etc. etc... but if the SETS and ENVIROMENTS don't work, the whole haunt won't work.

People also will get scared easier if they believe the enviroment they are in is real. Real Enviroment + Real people in pain (actors) = Real fear.

Kel, I'm guessing this is research for you new haunt, the steampunk theme. I would try looking for set dressing like:

-Corrugated metal sheeting
-Old pipes/distressed PVC piping
-Old electrical boxes/electrical wirings
-Fog burst (simulates steam)
-Corrugated (dryer) tubing
-Assorted knobs, pulls, switches, etc.

I think stuff like that would add a percieved amount of value, greatly! Or at least this would work for me! Just sayin'. -Tyler

Jim Warfield
06-02-2009, 09:33 PM
The physical plant can usually only do so much then it falls upon what is said, how a show is designed to run, hopefully building a high level of at least anticipation that will be felt even if it ends with a laugh instead of a scream.
Assembling the physical plant is alot of long, hard work but you better be able to entertain people or it all mostly goes for nothing.
Being open almost every night for the last 20 years I have made it a point to ask my customers what is the most scary, neatest, most memorable thing that they have ever seen in another haunted house?
The very sad answer is often a blank look followed by silence and a shrug of the shoulders, NOTHING impressed them enough to remember it!!!!!
Do you all hear this?
Sometimes they also tell me fantastic things that I know could never exist, it was just their imagination being stimulated by the haunt experience, which is a really good sign that someone did their task rather well. When this type of thing happens here I give the credit to the house, ambience can be everything to some customers and I'm referring to ambience that I could never create or influence..one of the advantages to a haunted,haunted house.

maliciousstudios
06-02-2009, 10:10 PM
my opinion was in addition to the list you had Kelly.... I think all of those you stated are of obvious importance, but I think allot of haunts forget about the people waiting in line.... if they are cold and misserable they will have less fun once they are inside. With som enntertainment they will worry about the line less and have more fun plus its more bang for the buck.

damon carson
06-02-2009, 10:16 PM
Well trained actors is the key. And I dont mean these types that think they can act and they talk ect & are more annoying than anything. They have to be scary. Thats the key! They have to flow with the customers and prey on there fears and ablib and be fast thinkers when something is said to them. And then they need to say something that they dont expect or make the others with them laugh at them. Ive been to alot of haunts and I dont care how many dollars are invested. How many animatronics you own. How detailed your sets are. If the actors arent on there game its all a bust. I would say well trained actors that can really act. Then great costumes/ makeup & masks. Then set and room detail. And lastly animations and static props.
Damon

Haunts of Richmond
06-02-2009, 11:10 PM
I would say well trained actors that can really act. Then great costumes/ makeup & masks. Then set and room detail. And lastly animations and static props.


That's basically how our haunt is set-up, Damon. We don't have the budget to go nuts on props, animations, etc... so we look for the best actors first. The story-line is key for us, too. We work really hard at creating characters and back-stories for every single actor and scene you find in Blood Lake. I believe this gives our audience high entertainment value for the money they spend with us.

Ryan

damon carson
06-03-2009, 12:00 AM
Exactly Ryan! Thats what it all boils down too in the long run. If you entertain your customers and give them a good thrill. Without that I dont care what alls in your haunt. Every Scarefactory animation made and the greatest sets ect. The average teenager or haunted house customer is gonna pretty much fly by all this without evening looking twice. But if you have several good character actors that play with there head and give them a good scare your giving them what they came there for. We have always had a low budget as well but if you looked at our haunt you wouldnt know it. But we always tried to set up things like a rollercoaster ride. The front room is the very tallest hill you climb and then after there raised up they are dropped off into the other rooms of the haunt where its a thrill ride up and down and around every corner till they make it back to the safety of the vehicle. Our parking lot was even fair game with our actors. They would practically chase them to the car and they would run and lock there doors. Now thats scary!!! But alot of fun!
Damon

stafford
06-03-2009, 12:13 AM
Ok, have to ask because it was brought up, not trying to hijack thread Kel.

Is steampunk supposed to be scary? Am I missing something?

I probably don't understand it, but from what I've seen, modern technology that looks old, and old technology combined to be modern?

Don't get me wrong, I've seen some cool steampunk things, including the old guy in the wheelchair at Transworld, just not sure how it has any connection to a emotional reaction of fear. Seems kinda whimsical (yeah I said whimsical)

I'd like to understand it, a couple of our guys are all excited about steampunk, excitement can breed creativity, always a good thing.

Chris

Mr Nightmarez
06-03-2009, 04:56 AM
Great question / debate Kel.

I believe 50% is actors, que line and costume/make up.
Another 30% for storyline - cohesive flow/theming - decor - atmosfear
and the other 20% is all the other elements in my opinion...

Good debate/question

Raycliff Manor
06-03-2009, 07:11 AM
Wow! Great responses! I appreciate all the participation in this thread. It really helps to gain a broader perspective. I was glad to see Actors brought up too. I should have definitely had Actors on my starter list! Without our Actors, the life blood of our attraction, all the rest would be in vain.

Chris, we are incorporating the steampunk look and feel into our new attraction because it lends itself well to really cool set design and the Victorian era. We're still working on exactly how it will be incorporated and what the sets will look like. Thanks for the suggestions Tyler!

Back to the larger question though, I'm going to start another "spin off" of this thread thread with a more specific direction regarding providing "perceived value". This time I want to address the "First Impression" for arriving guests. Anyone else with thoughts on this topic, please share! ;)

Kel

damon carson
06-03-2009, 12:08 PM
A first impression of a customer just pulling into your parking lot and choosing your haunt over another could more than possibly cost you some money. I guess it starts with your advertising. If you have a well produced radio commercial thats gonna get people to your door. Then the next step is getting them through your door. Good well lit signage is a must. The inflatable facades that Distortions make are impressive and can really draw attention. They definately can give a good first impression and dress up your building. But how many seasons would it take to pay for it if you live in a smaller town??? Proper trained staff in the parking lot who speak well and can answer any questions a person may ask. And there appearance with a t-shirt with your haunt on it helps them know they are apart of the attraction. I think a themed que line/ ticket booth is also a good idea. You definately need queline entertainment as well w only some of your best actors. Anything gothic on the outside of your building I think helps a first appearance as well. The Edge of Hell in Kansas City looks awesome on the outside. They have large Gargoyles on top of there building, and victorian looking lamp posts with dragon heads and a cool red awning with Edge of Hell on it. Alot of this Im sure you know but I think all of this helps with a good first impression.
Damon

damon carson
06-03-2009, 12:18 PM
A first impression of a customer just pulling into your parking lot and choosing your haunt over another could more than possibly cost you some money. I guess it starts with your advertising. If you have a well produced radio commercial thats gonna get people to your door. Then the next step is getting them through your door. Good well lit signage is a must. The inflatable facades that Distortions make are impressive and can really draw attention. They definately can give a good first impression and dress up your building. But how many seasons would it take to pay for it if you live in a smaller town??? Proper trained staff in the parking lot who speak well and can answer any questions a person may ask. And there appearance with a t-shirt with your haunt on it helps them know they are apart of the attraction. I think a themed que line/ ticket booth is also a good idea. You definately need queline entertainment as well w only some of your best actors. Anything gothic on the outside of your building I think helps a first appearance as well. The Edge of Hell in Kansas City looks awesome on the outside. They have large Gargoyles on top of there building, and victorian looking lamp posts with dragon heads and a cool red awning with Edge of Hell on it. Alot of this Im sure you know but I think all of this helps with a good first impression.
Damon

Badger
06-03-2009, 01:32 PM
Well-trained actors, hands down. you can have the best scenic designs, animatronics, fog machines, sounds, props, and everything else but if you don't have good actors, it's not the same.