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Author Topic: The "Perfect" Haunted House?  (Read 6387 times)
NCHadmin
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« on: November 16, 2009, 08:08:01 AM »

FrightSeekers,
To help inform owners and actors in area haunts, please help answer the question:

"What, in your opinion, would be part of the  "Perfect" haunted house experience?

It could include anything, from the time you turn into the parking lot, wait in line(s), get tickets, or anything related to the show.
Let us know what you think!

Regards,
-NCHAdmin
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zippy
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« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2009, 09:24:21 AM »

i thank on the way there is and geting to the haunt are two of the beast things about going to a haunted house
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k2quiere
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« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2009, 12:45:52 PM »

Oh wow, great question!

I definitely think that what happens in the parking lot and while waiting on line are important elements toward a satisfying haunt.  Timing within the haunt is extremely important.  Some of the best haunts for me have some down time that allows my heartrate to slow before they startle me into another flight or fight episode.  While sets are an important element of a haunt, they aren't the be all-end all for me.  I want monsters coming from all angles.  People, to me, are much scarier because you never really know what they're going to do.  I think each set should have at least one actor making the walk through worthwhile. 

I'll leave you with this comparison (as I am a teacher):

Creating a great haunt is like writing a great paper.  The entryway, like an introduction, should put me on edge in anticipation for what's to come.  If there is nothing interesting going on in your introduction, I don't really have anything to look forward to in the body of your work.  Then we get into the body, the meat so to speak, of your haunt.  I'm looking for each set to be complete in its own right.  Don't leave me wondering what you meant to say, meant to do...that means something is lacking.  Make sure that the music, visuals, acting, and smells all fit the stage you're setting; Michael Myers at Freddy's house doesn't make sense!  The most important part of a good paper, and a great haunt, is the conclusion.  Do you leave me with a lasting impression or do I just take a long, boring walk out to my car?  Does the ending make sense with the rest of your haunt or are you just throwing in an extra chainsaw to make noise?  Do you keep me wondering about what you could possibly do to me next year?

While I like length in a haunt, a great haunt doesn't have to last an hour if all the elements work together.  A great first and last impression can make up for a short haunt. 

Last thing: Don't think that you have to add more disconnected stuff to make your haunt interesting or new.  It is my personal opinion, that whole "Last Ride" thing is irrelevant to the effectiveness of a haunt.  Put your time and effort into making me feel like I might not leave your haunt alive rather than close me in a shake and bake box.  This is probably my biggest complaint about the token vortex found in almost every big haunt.  I like the vortex and all, but just walking through the spinning wheel does not make it an effective part of your haunt; you have to add something more, like an actor or a gimmick.
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K2
MidwayHaunter
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« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2009, 05:58:20 PM »

This is probably my biggest complaint about the token vortex found in almost every big haunt.  I like the vortex and all, but just walking through the spinning wheel does not make it an effective part of your haunt; you have to add something more, like an actor or a gimmick.
  lol!!! I was just talking about that for us at, Midway!!!! I have to agree 100% and I'm guilty of over looking that!!  you guys really DO!! take your haunts seriously..awesome Smiley
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k2quiere
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« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2009, 06:23:03 PM »

lol...glad to help Wink
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handfulofrubies82
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« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2009, 07:21:54 PM »

A little bit off topic, but I think technology could make the "perfect" experience

I'm not a haunted house expert by any means, but I've been going to them for a few years now. I love the haunted houses like Hacker House or Dr. Evil's , for example, where the actors and the environment really work together and produce a great scary attraction.  It seems though that not every attraction can produce that 'magic' per say.  And what if you do get the 'magic', but its just not long enough?  I think the perfect experience relies on the interaction between you and your environment. Most haunted house environments consist of their actors and sets that we walk through. --  After doing this a few years, I WANT something else. Its seems the more and more I attend haunted houses, the more I'm desensitized to the traditional scares. I want the scare, and I go, to chase after that feeling, but sometimes it just not there. Of course, I'm going to keep attending haunts, but I'm kind of looking for something else too. I want something new added to the mix. What if you added a competitive edge or a sense of game into the haunted experience? Are those two genres ever going to cross? Those of you who attend the big haunt conventions, is this happening elsewhere?

How will advancing technology change haunts, or will it at all. I've been reading up on, for awhile now, urban gaming/arg's and gps technology. Will there ever be a crossover between haunts and urban gaming? What if you took a haunt attraction in the off season, and used those sets as a background for an alternate reality game. These ARG's all have background stories, similar to how a haunt does. If a haunt didn't completely change their scenes in the off season, it seems they could open without their seasonal actors and offer something different. Reminds me of The Haunted Mill, where they do the putt putt and parties.

I also wonder if haunted trails/forests/attractions outdoors could incorporate GPS technology into their haunts. I've read that a lot of these args use technology such as cell phones, their camera technology and gps technology. Could that technology be used in cornfields during the daytime? Maybe you'd have to find certain GPS points and collect ?codes/take pictures,/etc... and it could be made into a competition of sorts. Its a little bit different than the traditional haunt, but it seems as if you could combine the two and make it interesting. 


I've also been pondering the idea of more interactive haunted houses. Not just interaction between guests and actors, but  an interaction where guests manipulate their surroundings/props/etc..  I researched this idea a little to see if their were any haunted houses doing this and I stumbled onto one. They used simple technology like motion sensors and audio guides to make their haunt more interactive. For instance, a person may have to move an object in the room, such as a book, or open up a trunk, and when they do, they trip a motion sensor and then they can move on. The haunters also used speakers to prompt their guests with riddles, or cues on what to do to go on. I guess it all depends on how much you rely on your actors to move your guests through the attraction. I can see, for a large attraction, that this might hinder there ability to push a maximum amount of people through because naturally these activities would slow everything down.  - I like what hacker house did this season with the coin at the beginning and then tossing into the pot at the end. But did that last the entire season? Our second visit we didn't see the coins, so what kind of effect did the coin interaction? Did too many people keep the coins?

I'd like to know what everyone else thinks too, please post.





 
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Slappy
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« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2009, 07:38:30 PM »

My opinion...

Having visited the best haunts in the area the past 2 seasons, and since I've been visiting them since I was about 2, I've formed a very vivid idea of what I would think is the perfect haunt. 

1.  Different levels of fear.
Say you pay $10 to be scared.  Then you pay $20 to be scared to the point of almost wetting yourself.  Say you could pay $35 to have the ultimate haunt experience.  The haunters can touch you, you can be subjected to more "graphic" images, costumes, make-up, props, scenes.  Let the people decide how badly they want to be scared.

2.  Senses.
You want to scare the crap out of me?  Deprive me of my senses.  I'm talking all out sensory deprivation.  Put me in a pitch black, HUGE room, and set me loose.  Make me find my way out, but let there be monsters around.  Props, scenes, actors that pop out at you, turn a lot on for a few seconds, then move on.  Or when I'm waiting to go in, put in a small, dark, sound-proof room.  That way, when I go in, it's almost sensory overload.

3.  Cheese.
If I want cheese, I'll go to the store, or I'll watch a funny movie.  I'm paying money to be scared, damn it!  I don't want to hear jokes, I don't want to hear stuff about rednecks, or boogers, or silly anecdotes.  If you want to have a fun house at your haunt, that's fine, but let me decide if I want to go through it.  Otherwise, SCARE ME!!!

4.  Monsters.
The classics are just that...classics.  Michael Myers, Jason Vorhees, Freddy Krueger, Leatherface are all great, but only in something that looks like a scene from their respective movies.  Don't put Freddy in a bathroom, and don't put Michael in a graveyard.  And please, PLEASE have some originality!  Show me something I haven't seen before, not 25 teenagers in clown masks with chainsaws.  No rednecks eating fried chicken (if I wanted to see that, I'd go to Bojangles!).  Hookers aren't scary, dorks aren't scary, and "rednecks" are just plain stupid.

5.  Actors.
DO SOMETHING!!!  Staring at me with your eyes all wide isn't scary, it makes me feel like you want to take me on a date.  If a line you say doesn't get a reaction, LOSE IT!  Get out of your comfort zone, that's the only way you'll get other people out of theirs. 

6.  Props.
Black lights are cheesy, but if used right, make a good effect.  Air cannons need to go back to the 1980's when they were still startling.  Animatronics are good, but only if they're functioning.  The biggest scares I've gotten have been from the use of diversionary tactics.  Every haunt owner and actor should learn this.  While I'm looking there, someone is sneaking up on me here...AH!  Perfect!  And I love places that have things I can touch.  What happened to that?!  Touch is one of my 5 senses, yet very few haunts take advantage of that.  Bombard all my senses!!!

The biggest problem with haunts anymore is the same problem with horror movies, there's no imagination.  Not only by the movie-makers, but by the movie-watchers.  Some of us still have an imagination, and believe me, nothing I've ever seen can compare with what I can come up with in my head.  Use that to your advantage every chance you get.  Let me think something specific is coming, and then throw something completely different at me!

Okay, I'll stop now.
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handfulofrubies82
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« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2009, 09:10:38 PM »

I really like your points #1,#2 and  #6 (being able to touch things)
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Dr. Johnas Hacker
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« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2009, 06:20:02 PM »

Slappy's Quote :  And I love places that have things I can touch.



I loved places like that also but one reason why haunt owners don't do that anymore is because someone will always take or distroy what they can get their hands on. My biggest scare at a haunt attraction is walking in to a pitch black room and then the door slams shut. As  I slowly walk in trying to get my senses, dime lights come on shining down on open caskets leaning against the walls, with all look a like corpese. You see this briefly, then the lights shut off for about 15 seconds. Lights come back on and all the caskets are still filled with corpeses but one. Again lights off! Waiting on that one corpse to give me that piss in your pants scare! But that will never happen.  Roll Eyes "piss in pants"
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Slappy
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« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2009, 09:41:43 PM »

Oh, I'm more than aware of people's desire to destroy things.  I don't know what it is that makes them have these urges, but it's sad and pathetic.  These are the same people that park next to you at the store and smack your car with their door.  They have no respect for their own belongings, so why would they it for yours?

I do like your idea though, Jonas.  Again, it's using your imagination, which I love!

One thing I nearly forgot to make the perfect haunted house.  A breathalyzer test before you go in.  If you blow above a certain amount, you don't go in.  And I think you should have to buy your tickets first, and then tack the breathalyzer.  And guess what, if you fail, no refunds!!!   Grin
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ReLlIK ThE KiLlEr CloWn
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« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2009, 03:53:51 PM »

See one of the things I try to make sure my part is, Is originality. I make sure you have never seen some of the stuff in my part if I can control that, I honestly get tired of the same thing over and over at haunted houses... I agree full 100% with the fact that Slappy brought up about actors, I wish they were more enthusiastic (prob mispell) but I mean just grunting at me, is only making me laugh, Now someone brought up the whole fun house thing, For the act I set up, I set up a 25% comedy 75% scare, The comdedy is mixed in with the scare... I seem to always make sure of that, cause then you came to circus and not a haunted attraction...  But that is just some things I take into consideration that I have read.
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Cousin Levi Slaughter
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« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2010, 06:52:27 PM »

I don't want to speak for all haunt owners, but personaly I would love to do alot of things in a "perfect haunt" that MOST of us haunt owners can't do due to insurance / safety rules.  Things like having real fire in trorches in caves & in latterns on the trail, otherwise pretty much complete dark,grabbing  or touching customers, having customers  walk through a room with REAL snakes ,rats,& bugs without anything to seperate them from the customer ,A part in the house where I could  "abduct" a member of a group or a member  of the couple  in the complete dark & they wouldn't get back together untill they are out side the haunt. "Can you imagine going into a haunt with a friend then not seeing them again untill it's over" you wold be like ,"W.T.F".
I could go on,but you get the idea!
However none of this could actually be done because  you would defintally be sued
But it's always nice to dream.
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ReLlIK ThE KiLlEr CloWn
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« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2010, 11:01:20 PM »

I like that dream lol
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handfulofrubies82
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« Reply #13 on: November 05, 2011, 09:01:00 PM »

Did anyone ever catch the show Estate of Panic on syfy? It was a game show that made contestants compete, while introducing common phobias as obstacles. I'd love to see a haunted house with a competitive edge. Stumbled onto their forum and one topic was ideas for new rooms. Some of them sound interesting.  Here's the link: http://forums.syfy.com/index.php?showtopic=2317257
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nctrembley0613
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« Reply #14 on: November 05, 2011, 09:57:41 PM »

I did watch that show, it was kind of corny, but very cool concepts at the same time.  I wanted to be a contestant...lol.
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...I find delight in the gruesome and grim...(Oh that's terrible! Madam Mim)...Thank you my boy, but that's nothing, nothing for me, cause I'm the magnificent, marvelous,...mad, mad, mad, mad Madam Mim!!
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