We have a difficult job in the Haunted House industry.
We ride the razors edge between two concepts… HALLOWEEN and HORROR.
HALLOWEEN represents pumpkins, fall leaves, Trick or Treat, Ghost Stories and having fun being afraid. It has a family vibe and the seasons arrival is what puts bread on ALL Of our Tables.
The Second concept HORROR runs the gamut from classic monsters all the way to the most vile torture porn out there.
Stick too close to HALLOWEEN and your event seems tame - a show for kids only. Dive too deep into HORROR of the vile sort and you alienate a huge audience - the non horror fan haunted house going public (your biggest possible group of guests)
So what to do? Well obviously in a perfect world if you can create a show that is amazing, very scary but not nasty enough to drive off 75% of your possible business.
There are those that can pull off an extreme show and still do well, like Dead Acres and the House of Shock, but they are the exception not the rule. Also both shows in question are just flat out amazing attractions, with sets, lighting and productions at the top of the game. I think they do well in spite of some of what they do (extreme content) not because of it IMHO.
So why would someone choose extreme content? Either because they think it will help their business or they really like nasty stuff. Well the ONLY way it could help your business is to carve out a niche audience in a competitive market - because limiting possible attendees to a hard core group only is not doing your event any favors.
That leads us to a new form of “entertainment” abduction simulations. These events pretend to be Haunted Houses but they really are not. Guests sign waivers and are restrained, groped, forced to see and do disgusting things etc. Well with a VERY small group that might want to do this sort of thing, high probability of lawsuits, very slow to non existent throughput, they sound to me like a terrible business model. Unless the producer really likes torturing people why? This sounds like something for the BDSM crowd only. If it is for press… do you really want that sort of press? That when people come to your haunt they get tied up and grabbed? Will they be send their 15 year olds to you? No.
Now on to The Naked Haunt Tour. This naked thing is not really extreme, it is just flat out weird. It doesn’t seem to have anything to do with HALLOWEEN or HORROR, other that the fact it is creepy in an unsavory way. As a business choice, it will get crazy press, but it will most likely degrade the family business this place gets - imagine being the parent explaining to your pre teens WHY this haunted houses producer is doing this… What do you say? Weird weird weird idea. And NO you cannot go.
Listen I think you can do what ever you want with your haunted house - I think Haunts are like movies go ahead and make your own movie - it can be a scary or nasty or traditional as you have the skill and money to make it….
But if you do anything too crazy it WILL effect us, your neighbors. We WILL have to explain why you are the way you are to the press when they ask….
And I don’t know what we are going to say other than… NOT US! There is a reason summer blockbusters are rated PG not R. I would rather have my Haunted House be the Lord of the Rings rather than Hostel any day!